1. California Coastal Trail, CA
This one is especially close to my heart… and my home! This is my favorite not only because it’s so beautiful, but because I have direct access to it. The 1200 miles of the Pacific Coastline stretch from Santa Barbara to Oregon with views of Big Sur and Tijuana.
California Coastal Trail
2. Umpqua Dunes of Winchester Bay, Oregon
Where are the camels? oh wait, it’s in oregon…
You’ll feel like you’re in an exotic land on these amazing sand dunes!
Umpqua Dunes in Oregon
3. Third Beach to Oil City, Olympic National Park in Washington
During low tide, you can see starfish, anemones and slugs
Third Beach to Oil City, Olympic National Park in Washington
4. Dungeness Trail, Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia
Explore the moss covered ruins of the Carnegie Mansion… beautiful and creepy at the same time! One of the coolest things about Cumberland Island is that wild horses roam free on the beach…
Ruins of Cumberland Island, Georgia
Wild horses on Cumberland Island, Georgia
5. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI
The North Country Trail stretches from Crown Point in New York’s Adirondacks to Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota. Here it is in Michigan along Lake Superior…
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
6. Sunken Forest, Fire Island, NY
I haven’t been to Fire Island since I was a kid, but I remember riding my bike from one end to another and enjoying this rare holly forest…
Sunken Forest Fire Island NY
7. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Anchorage, Alaska
You might spot a bald eagle here, flying through the snow-capped mountains along Knik Arm, home to some of the world’s fastest tides…
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage, Alaska
8. Clayhead Trail on Block Island, RI
Walk along the beach and enjoy views of the Block Island Sound
Clayhead Trail on Block Island, RI
9. Precipice Trail, Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park, ME
This trail is not for the faint of heart! It’s a dangerous, vertical climb up Champlain Mountain using boulders as stairs. From the top you can see views of the Cranberry Islands and the Maine coast.
The Precipice Trail on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park, ME
Also on my wish-list… Sorrento is a beautiful town in Campania, Italy, near Naples and Pompeii. From the beautiful coast you can see Naples, Vesuvius, and even the Isle of Capri from the right spot. I can imagine driving down Amalfi Drive through the cliffs down to the beach, where I would relax and drink limoncello!
The coast of Sorrento, Italy
The perfect spot for dinner!
Evening cocktails overlooking the Sorrento Marina
Parco Dei Principi Hotel Restaurant
Sorrento Coast and Marina
Sightseeing at the Sorrento Ruins
Slim Aarons, famous Hollywood photographer, photographed “attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.” He followed the jet-set crowd on vacations and to parties, many of which were centered around beautifully designed pools in glamorous destinations.
A home in Palm Springs designed by Richard Neutra, photo taken in 1970
Villa Artemis in Palm Beach, Florida taken in 1955
Fontainebleu Hotel, Miami 1955
Eustaquio Escandon Estate in Acapulco
El Venero Moorish Villa in Marbella Spain, taken in 1971
Boardman Estate in Palm Beach, Florida, taken in 1985
Villa Gli Arieti in Italy, 1986
Lake Tahoe 1959
Home of James Pendleton, interior designer, in Beverly Hills 1960
Bouldereign Estate in Carefree, Arizona, taken in 1973
Palm Springs Tennis Club in California 1970
Which pool is your favorite?
Photo credit: Photographers Gallery
Virtuoso’s Luxe Report revealed the top domestic travel destinations for 2011. Hawaii dominated the list, demonstrating US traveler’s need for exotic island vacations in 2011!
1. Maui, Hawaii
Four Seasons Resort Maui
What has been recognized as the “Best Island in the World” 16 years in a row (out of 23) by the Conde Nast Reader’s Poll. So it’s no surprise this amazing island took the top spot as most sought after destination of 2011! Not only is it a great leisure destination, but offers adventure activities as well. Whale watching, exploring active volcanoes, water sports, golf and more can be found on the islands of Hawaii.
2. New York City
Hotel Plaza Athenee
In 2010, NYC drew in 43 million tourists. That’s a 7% increase from 2009. It’s possible that 2011 may hit 50 million tourists. It makes sense that NYC tourism is doing so well in this economy because it offers plenty of things to do, is within driving distance for a good amount of people on the east coast, and it’s larger-than-life attitude can be just as thrilling as the exotic Maui!
3. Las Vegas
Bellagio Las Vegas
It seems like the perfect place to let off some steam. Casinos, nightlife, shopping, and shows are the main attractions. Summer is great for Vegas pool parties too.
4. Napa Valley
Auberge du Soleil
Napa draws over 5 million tourists every year. People come to visit wineries and take in the beautiful landscape. Plus, you can stop by San Francisco (#5) on the way.
Disney travel is huge, and with new renovations this year, exciting for many.
6. San Francisco
W Hotel San Francisco
People come to San Francisco for the food, architecture, art, and entertainment. It’s a great place for a romantic getaway or a family vacation. San Francisco is to the west coast what NYC is to the east coast – a great weekend spot that’s not too far, but you still feel like you’re going on a substantial vacation.
7. Colorado Mountains
Ritz Carlton Vail
The Rockies are really popular during the winter and early spring for skiing and snowboarding. There are lots of great resort towns, like Vail, Aspen, and Steamboat Springs.
8. Big Island, Hawaii
The second Hawaiian island to make the top 10, Big Island is (as it’s name might suggest) the largest. It’s also an active volcanic site, which is one of its biggest attractions.
Another great place to go for a long weekend and have some fun. Relax on the beach during the day and enjoy the South Beach scene at night!
10. Kauai, Hawaii
St. Regis Princeville
The third and final Hawaiian island on the list…Kauai is the oldest and has been featured in over 70 Hollywood movies. Directors can’t get enough of the beautiful landscapes of Kauai!
The Galapagos Islands are known for their exotic wildlife. It’s a great place to take kids or go on a secluded romantic vacation.
Galapagos Islands are great for kids
The Islands are an archipelago, a string of 6 islands formed by large volcanic domes fused together. It is one of the most volcanically active places on earth! Isabela is the largest island, but still only has 2000 inhabitants, most of which are fishermen.
The Galapagos Islands are a string of 6 islands, formed from volcanic domes.
The Islands were discovered accidentally by Spain when a ship went off course. It was thought to be worthless because of the rocky terrain, but has been used as a pirate hideout and food source. Whalers ate about 200,000 tortoises and wiped out an entire sub-species. Charles Darwin made the island famous when he discovered natural selection, and on the 100th anniversary of Origin of Species the Charles Darwin Research Station was created.
The Galapagos Islands have a large tortoise population
The tortoises are huge!!
Now the Galapagos Islands are a huge tourist attraction for wildlife enthusiasts. There are some truly unique variations of animals to be found here. The Galapagos penguins, red-billed tropical birds, waved albatross, blue footed boobies, Galapagos finches, giant tortoises, and fur sea lions are just a few!
Galapagos Islands sea lions
Galapagos Islands Blue Footed Boobies
Where to stay: The Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge
This beautiful lodge is located just steps from the ocean on Santa Cruz, the most important of the inhabited Galapagos Islands. The town there, Puerto Ayora, is the largest town with 15000 residents. The lodge was designed to blend with the mangrove forest and seafront that surround it. It offers the best views of the bay and two seaside restaurants.
Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge, Galapagos Islands.
With us today is Anne Petrone of 500 Places With Kids. Stay tuned for her family-focused guidebook of 50 fabulous trips covering all of North America!
What is your dream destination, and who would you take with you?
My “dream” destination is a sun-drenched cruise through the Greek Islands on a small yacht with my husband and two sons. I can’t imagine a better family vacation that incorporates lots of sun, good food, and tons of history and culture. I can just picture my family exploring the museums and archaeological ruins on Crete or Rhodes in the early morning, then heading off to their beaches to relax in the hot afternoon. At night, we’d find some local taverna and make a meal out of mezes (light appetizers) before sailing away on a small ship to our next island. Sounds like paradise . . .
The Greek Isles are a collection of over 6000 islands and islets, the largest of which is Crete. Visitors can go island hopping and experience the history, food, and beaches of several islands. Among the most popular are Crete, Mykonos, and Santorini. I love Mykonos especially, it has amazing beaches, nightlife, food and shopping!
We asked CanCan from Mom Most Traveled about her Dream Destination. CanCan is an educator and a mother of two, and her blog has great tips for mothers traveling with kids! Follow her on Twitter at @MomMostTraveled
Where is your dream destination and accommodations?
I would like to go to Kerala, India because of the beautiful landscape and delicious regional cuisine. If I had the chance to go, i would bring my two young sons! I saw a neat tree house hotel they would love to stay in with me!
Vythiri Resort Tree Top Guest Cottage
Vythiri Resort Guest Cottage Porch View
Kerala is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, and National Geographic named it one of the “Ten Paradises of the World,” and “50 Places of a Lifetime.” Kerala is known for its tropical greenery, beaches and Ayurvedic treatments. It is also home to some amazing tree top resorts, which are typically built between two trees 85 feet off the ground.
1. Santorini, Greece
This amazing destination was created from a volcanic caldera, whose rim now hosts luxury hotels. From this elevated point you can view spectacular sunsets and views of the Aegean Sea. If you head down the cliff you will find shopping, amazing beaches, delicious food, and local wineries. Don’t forget to explore the Akrotini, a prehistoric settlement preserved under volcanic lava.
Where to Stay: Mystique Santorini
Mystique is perched on the rim of the caldera and has an incredible infinity pool, luxurious cave-like rooms carved into the cliff, and relaxing neutral tones.
Palais Amani, Fez, Morocco
2. Fez, Morocco
Fez is Morocco’s second largest city and is bustling with bazaars and shopping opportunities. In the town center you will even find snake charmers and fortune tellers! Go to Old Medina of Marrakech for rugs, leather goods, and other travel souvenirs.
Where to Stay: Palais Amani
Palais Amani underwent a 3 1/2 year restoration that brought its existing features back to life and added work from local artisans. The spa offers massages in a room overlooking the hotel’s garden, and the rooftop bar has great views of the city below. Each room has embroidered linens, luxurious bathrobes, and complimentary embroidered slippers.
Cap-Est Lagoon Resort & Spa
This unique island can be considered the Paris of the Caribbean. It’s upscale and has over 150 restaurants. The locals close shop at noon for lunch and always eat out, which has led to the development of so many restaurants. Their cuisine is a delicious blend of French and Creole dishes. There is also a good nightlife, shopping, and sightseeing.
Where to Stay: Cap-Est Lagoon Resort & Spa
This resort has contemporary villas with Franco-Caribbean design. The soft, minimalist decor and lagoon views create a super relaxing and tropical vibe!
Villa San Michele, Florence
Italian food, wine, Renaissance art & architecture, just enough sightseeing, and Italian fashion – need I say more?
Where to stay: Villa San Michele
This facade of this amazing hotel was designed by Michelangelo. If that isn’t cool enough, it’s also located on top of the hill of Fiesole so it has views of Florence and the Chianti countryside. The hotel amenities have great views, too. The heated pool and the open air restaurant, Loggia, look out over the city.
Shangri-la Hotel Paris
A pretty obvious choice, but a great one nonetheless! Amazing food, sightseeing, entertainment, shopping, and opulent hotels sound like a pretty great way to spend a honeymoon.
Where to Stay: Shangri-La Hotel Paris
The building that is now the Shangri-La Hotel Paris was once Prince Roland Bonaparte’s home (Napoleon’s nephew). It was recently resorted to its former glamour and offers some of the largest rooms and suites among luxury Paris hotels. Most rooms have Eiffel Tower, Seine River, or the Louvre views.
Gansevoort Turks and Caicos
6. Turks and Caicos
This is one of the most underdeveloped islands in the Caribbean, and the tourism industry mostly caters to an upscale clientele. They have some of the most beautiful beaches and several luxury resorts to choose from.
Where to Stay: Gansevoort Turks and Caicos
Experience modern urban luxury in a tropical setting. The 7000 square foot infinity edge pool is one of the hotel’s best features, and they also have the famous Bagatelle Bistrot.
Missoni Hotel Edinburgh
7. Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh is a beautiful destination, offering rolling Scottish hills, castles, vibrant theater scene, hiking, and sightseeing.
Where to Stay: Missoni Hotel Edinburgh
This hotel is exactly what you would expect from the Italian fashion house. The hotel was designed with distinctive use of color, pattern, and textiles.
8. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is an amazing place with tropical beaches, forests, cliffs, museums, historical towns and temples. The resorts promote spiritual health and well being, and there is a general aura of tranquility. Definitely a place to get away from it all!
Where to Stay: Viceroy Bali
The Viceroy consists of 25 villas on a secluded ridge of the Pentau river, just minutes from Ubud, one of Southeast Asia’s most charming villages. The villas are super luxurious and offer everything you could need, including espresso machines and private pools.
St. Regis Resort Princeville
9. Kauai, Hawaii
Kauai has everything a couple who loves the outdoors could need – tropical beaches, hiking on the Na Pali coast, and kayaking on the Wailua River.
Where to Stay: St. Regis Resort Princeville
Relax in the infinity pool overlooking Hanalei Bay, lay out at the private Pu’u Po’a Beach, or golf at their 2 courses.
Anantara, Kihavah, Maldives
Experience white sand beaches, remote location, privacy, and delicious tropical food. The islands are located along the trading route of the Indian Ocean, resulting in an interesting mix of cultures.
Where to Stay: Anantara, Kihavah, Maldives
These overwater villas offer the ultimate tropical getaway surrounded by white sand, coconut palms, and reef waters full of marine life. The famous underwater restaurant is a once in a lifetime experience!
Are you taking your mom on a luxury vacation for Mother’s Day? These restaurants in popular vacation destinations feature decadent brunches that are sure to make Mother’s Day special for you and your mom!
San Francisco, CA
Foreign Cinema Brunch
Where to stay: The Ritz Carlton San Francisco Residence Club
Urban luxury at Union Square, with direct access to the best shopping in the city!
Where to Brunch: Foreign Cinema
This theatrical restaurant offers delicious dishes such as homemade pop tarts with real fruit inside, balsamic fried eggs, and Dungeness crab croque monsieur. And of course since it’s in San Francisco, they have a ton of fresh seafood, including an oyster bar, mussels, prawns, and lobster. There are 3 dining rooms to choose from, the main space with the kitchen and bar, a lively courtyard where old movies are played at night, and a quieter art gallery space. A secret (delicious) item not on the menu: beignets.
Los Angeles, CA
Four Seasons Los Angeles Brunch
Where to Stay: The Peninsula
Classic Beverly Hills luxury in a great location.
Where to Brunch: Four Seasons Hotel (Beverly Hills)
The Four Seasons BH brunch is known for three things: serving a variety of delicious food, being expensive, and celebrity sightings. The service is impeccable and they offer a several food and beverage stations, including breakfast food, Bloody Marys, sushi/Asian food, cheese, and desserts. The Four Seasons is doing a special Mother’s Day Brunch, reservations highly recommended.
Essex New York City Brunch
Where to Stay: Waldorf Astoria
New York elegance and an amazing location on Park Avenue.
Where to Brunch: Essex
Head to the Lower East Side to Essex, where you will find a delicious brunch for only $20 that includes 3 Bloody Marys, screwdrivers, or mimosas! This chic white, lofty space is the perfect place for a Mother’s Day Brunch. Enjoy classic brunch items, like the manchego mac & cheese, lobster benedict, Mexican Matzo Brei (scrambled eggs, tortilla crisps, monterey jack cheese, avocado, black beans and pico de gallo) and The Deep South (chicken fried steak, biscuits, eggs, and sausage gravy).
Stella Boston Brunch
Where to Stay: Ames Hotel
One of Boston’s newer hotels, featuring chic and modern luxury.
Where to Brunch: Stella
Stella offers simple Italian food and a cute atmosphere. The entire place is white and includes a great outdoor patio. Enjoy traditional breakfast foods, like bagel and lox, frittatas, parfaits, and eggs benedict.
Biltmore Miami Sunday Champagne Brunch
Where to Stay: Biltmore
An iconic Miami hotel that has accommodated countless celebrities and public figures with superior service and elegance.
Where to Brunch: Biltmore’s Fontana
The Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Biltmore is a legendary affair that combines European flair with Latin flavor and Miami’s own unique style. There is live entertainment and a lavish buffet, including caviar, shellfish, smoked salmon, carved meats, fresh omelets, pastas, sushi, and a wall of spectacular desserts.
Fred's at Barneys New York Scottsdale
Where to Stay: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Modern luxury inspired by its stunning desert surroundings.
Where to Brunch: Fred’s at Barneys New York
Mom is sure to love Fred’s, which features a bright, open space with views of Old Town. Brunch is elegant and relaxing, featuring a Bourbon Street Brunch, bagels made from scratch, and live New Orleans jazz. The flavored iced tea and specialty cocktails are also delicious! A huge bonus of brunching at Fred’s is that it’s located in Barneys New York! After eating and sipping on mimosas, go to Barney’s for some Mother’s Day shopping.
Elate Chicago Brunch
Where to Stay: Elysian Hotel
Where to Brunch: Elate
This rustic, modern, and casually sophisticated restaurant is adjacent to Hotel Felix, Chicago’s first LEED certified hotel. Brunch dishes at Elate include breakfast pizza, braised pork and egg tostada, and creme brulee pancakes. The special Mother’s Day prix fixe meal begins with a buffet of muffins, fruit, pastries and cheese. Guests can choose from 3 entrees, and finish with dessert. Don’t forget the bottomless mimosa for $20!
The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman
The acclaimed Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman is a sprawling resort that covers the entire width of the island, about 145 acres. It is by far the best resort on the Cayman Islands! When you finally arrive, you’ll be served delicious lemonade in a tropical tiki hut. Then they will whisk you away to your guest room…
I recommend staying in one of the newly refurbished guest rooms, which now feature chic and modern design. These rooms are closer to the pool and offer stunning ocean views. The Ritz has thoughtfully scattered the ocean with fun toys, rafts, and even floating bars! I wish I was floating on a raft on the Caribbean with a cocktail in my hand right now…
This European style resort is meticulously manicured and designed with marble, stone, and luxurious woods everywhere. The resort is split into two buildings, connected by a climate controlled catwalk that overlooks West Bay Street.
As an island resort, there are a variety of fun water activities to choose from, like snorkeling, sailing,and water rafting. You can explore the island and check out the Cayman Turtle Farm, where you’ll get to touch and swim with green sea turtles.
Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman Silver Rain Spa
Taking in a treatment at the Silver Rain Spa, a La Prairie Spa, is a great way to relax. The Silver Rain Spa incorporates pure and rare ingredients and offers massages, body and facial treatments, hydrotherapies, and La Prairie anti-aging formulas.
The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman’s premier restaurant, Blue by Eric Ripert, celebrates epicurean artistry in the grand tradition of Le Bernadin. The menu features seafood locally caught by Cayman fishermen. The wine cellar offers over 650 selections from all around the world.
Periwinkle is an elegantly casual restaurant that features a terrace and lagoon views. The menu offers simply prepared seafood, homemade pasta, pizza, and Mediterranean style cuisine. 7 Prime Cuts and Sunsets is a steakhouse and seafood & raw bar. 7 Prime also features a Cuban Cigar assortment and Sunday Prime Rib Dinner.
The golf course at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman was designed by Greg Norman. This 9 hole course features 8 holes on the water and a final island green. Caddie concierge service and golf instruction is available.
The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman implements an Ambassadors of the Environment program, which offers eco tours for kids, youth, adults and families.
Conclusion: Great for honeymoons, girls getaways, and family vacations! Beware of children.