My husband and I love to travel and visit new places. We’ve been fortunate to travel a good bit over the years even though I wouldn’t say we’ve traveled extensively. When I was on vacation recently, I started realizing that there are some places I wouldn’t ever return to. Once I’ve been to certain locations, I feel like I’ve checked those off the bucket list and can move on. I also came to realize that there are some destinations that I would most definitely return to even though we always try to explore new places. I thought I’d share our favorites for those who enjoy traveling. Here are my top 7 picks, in no particular order, of vacation destinations that I would return to again.
Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park and any coastal town in Maine like Kennebunkport. When we lived in Western Massachusetts, it was easy to take a weekend trip to Maine. If you haven’t been, go! Hiking, biking, canoeing, sightseeing, whale watching, leaf peeping in autumn and so much more. Get popovers at Jordan Pond in Acadia after your hike. There are many B&Bs which are super cute. Sit on a porch overlooking the water. Catch the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain which is the first place where the sun rises in the U.S. Just sit somewhere and enjoy the coastline and nature. Simply wonderful!
The Oregon coast is a favorite too. Take a drive along the coastline. Go for a hike. Play golf at Bandon Dunes. Visit a winery or two. Stay at the Haceta Lighthouse B&B and watch the sun set from the porch or on the rocks below and enjoy their 7 course breakfast the next day. So much to see and do in that area and the coast is just beautiful. We will definitely be back.
Banff National Park, Alberta Canada—-I particularly loved staying at the Fairmont Banff. One thing that I loved most was the Rundle Lounge inside the Fairmont where you could get drinks. There is various seating options for either two or a few people or larger groups but they were situated interestingly enough that each group felt somewhat private. I loved it! Beyond the hotel itself, hiking and sightseeing are a must! And the water color at Lake Louise and other areas is simply incredible! You will say to yourself “is this real” and “am I dreaming?”.
Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, Wyoming, Montana, and Canada. Wow! You will just say “wow” a lot on this vacation from Grand Prismatic Spring to Old Faithful to the amazing scenery every direction you turn. We are wildlife lovers and we loved seeing all kinds of animals at these national parks. You can see bison, mountain goats, big horn sheep, coyotes, and grizzlies, and you may see elk, moose or a wolf. My favorite hikes at Glacier were Avalanche lake and Highline Trail hikes. I would not have gone on the Highline Trail hike without peer pressure. If you have a bit of fear of walking on a narrow ledge holding onto a garden hose bolted onto the side of the mountain, suck it up for the short distance and enjoy the rest of the hike. Yes, it is super scary at the beginning of the hike for a few minutes but go with a group of friends (or make new friends with others wanting to go on the hike, which is what we did). There are so many vistas, valleys, and hiking destinations to explore in both parks. Just don’t forget your bear bells! No matter what you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
The Greenbrier Resort, West Virginia. I love to get dressed up once in a while and you must do that at this resort. The dress code is business casual with jackets required for men and dresses or evening suits or dress slacks for ladies. Fun to do for a weekend! Play some golf while you are there. I am not really into stalking famous people but at this resort you may just run across someone famous. I literally almost ran into Lee Trevino at the golf course and my husband saw Jerry West even though I had no idea what Jerry West looked like. But you must eat at his restaurant at the resort, Prime 44 West! It was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. You can tour the Bunker which was a top secret Cold War Fallout shelter. I hope to tour that next time we are there. You can also go for a hike, play tennis, go for a swim, go horseback riding and so much more. Just a beautiful spot for a romantic getaway.
Venice, Italy. We just got back from our European family vacation and this was my favorite destination during those travels. It is just a cool place. If you can overlook all of the tourists and tourist traps and venture into the parts of the town that aren’t as crowded, you will enjoy it so much more. Find the small restaurants with good reviews that are off the beaten path. You will especially want to get some homemade pasta and gelato during your stay. Do the obligatory gondola ride but just not on the main canal. It is worth it. I would absolutely go back with just my husband because it would be much more romantic there with just the two of us.
Kiawah Island, SC. My husband and I went here on our honeymoon and then again for our one year anniversary. Many years later we returned over Christmas break with our kiddos and they fell in love with Kiawah as much as we did. There are wide hard-packed sand beaches. We rent bikes and ride up and down the many miles of coastline from the famous Ocean Course golf course to the lower tip of the island called Captain Sam’s Inlet where we can watch dolphins come up to feed at low tide. For this golfing family, there are several wonderful golf courses on the island. There are alligators (except when it gets cold enough for them to hibernate) which are fun to watch from afar. There are many paved trails inland for running or biking where you can see marshes and wildlife and maybe get some shade on hot southern summer days. You aren’t far from the great town of Charleston which makes for a fun day trip of shopping and eating. Grab some low country southern food like fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits. I can’t say enough wonderful things about Kiawah. It is a special place.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed my short list of memorable and favorite places. Get out there and explore this amazing world of ours!