Maine

With the arrival of warm(er) weather, the Great Outdoors have officially begun beckoning and we here at Oyster can’t wait to pack up some supplies and make for the trail head. The United States offers some of the most varied and stunningly gorgeous terrains in the world that make the perfect backdrop for a back-to-nature hike, whether you’re looking for a one-day jaunt or hoping to make a vacation out of the entire experience. No matter your ideal trail or fitness level, we’ve got you covered coast-to-coast with the best trails for an awesome hiking adventure. We’ve even included one spot you’ll have to cross the Pacific to get to! Break out the rucksack and dig up your hiking boots, because here are nine of the best hikes in the United States… as well as the best hotels nearby for each.

1. Kalalau Trail, Kauai, HI 

kauai

Gorgeous trails snake along Kauai’s stunning coast, and the Kalalua Trail is one of the most stunning, with beautiful sweeping vistas from atop the cliffs. Visitors can choose to hike a portion of the trail for a day excursion, or make an extended trip out of it: The entire trail is about 22 miles and can take three to five days to traverse. It’s often regarded as one of the finest — and most varied — coastal trails in the world, with challenging, muddy slopes and steamy tropical temperatures. Hikers can explore Kalalua Valley, home to enchanting waterfalls and lush foliage, or choose to rest up on the beach.

Stay: Hanalei Colony Resort

No TVs or phones here; instead, you get rare oceanfront views and easy access to hiking along the (practically adjacent) Na Pali Coast. The pool is small, housekeeping only comes every third day, and there’s little on offer  at the free breakfast aside from bagels. But the 48 two-bedroom condos with full kitchens are worth the downsized features. Read More »

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Okay, as hotel experts we love traveling; we really, really love it. But even for us, saying goodbye to our side of the bed, our cups in the kitchen, our own personal brand of snack food stashed in the fridge, and all those other things that make our abode “homey” can be bittersweet. Thankfully, many hotels are stepping up their game when it comes to providing guests with their creature comforts of choice. From in-room kitchens to roaring fireplaces, these hotels come equipped with tons of great amenities to make you feel like you never walked out your front door — and with these amenities come all the fun perks inherent of a vacation. So fear not the unknown, these homey hotels are awaiting your stay with open arms and familiar treats.

1. Villa D’ Citta, Chicago 

villa d citta

The six-room Villa D’ Citta is a cozy, romantic bed-and-breakfast located in the residential neighborhood of Lincoln Park. Its homey features are all charming: an outdoor whirlpool and sun deck, a brick courtyard with a barbecue, and a large communal kitchen. The bright, luxurious rooms have big flat-screen TVs and hardwood floors, and some come complete with fireplaces.

Homiest Feature: The communal kitchen comes fully stocked with all of the snacks you can imagine, and the outdoor patio features a barbecue grill perfect for warm summer nights.  Read More »

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Staying in a New England inn in the snowy wintertime is about as cozy as a vacation gets. If you’re conjuring up images of horse-drawn sleigh rides, historic mansions, elegant antiques, thick oriental rugs, and roaring fireplaces for those chilly nights – well, you’re right on the money. These inns all have charm to spare.

Amee Farm, Vermont

Amee Farm, VermontWith its warm, urban-chic vibe, Amee Farm isn’t a typical B&B. Rooms look straight out of an interior design magazine, with a near-perfect combination of rustic, warm, quaint, and stylish touches. Wide-planked hardwood floors, comfortable beds with white, soft linens, and interesting antiques are found in all the rooms. Bathrooms have granite showers with rain showerheads and updated fixtures (though not all rooms have private bathrooms). There are no TVs in rooms — only in the common area — but Wi-Fi is free and available throughout. It’s about a 20-minute drive to the slopes at Killington Ski Resort. Read More »

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Fall is prime time for visiting a New England B&B. And lovers of bed and breakfasts know that the breakfast is just as crucial as the bed. It’s half of the experience, after all! Some breakfasts are far, far superior to others, so we’ve selected five of our favorite spreads. Get ready to chow down on your next weekend escape.

Union Street Inn, Nantucket

Union Street Inn, Nantucket

Union Street Inn, Nantucket

This charming, elegant B&B advertises itself as the only inn on the island to offer a full, hot breakfast (available thanks to its commercial kitchen). Every morning guests can choose between a smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese, plate of fruits and artisan breads, or the daily hot entree. There are also homemade baked goods offered each afternoon. Read More »

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Staying in a New England inn during foliage season is the quintessential fall vacation. If you’re conjuring up images of historic mansions, elegant antiques, thick oriental rugs, and cozy fireplaces for those crisp fall nights – well, you’re right on the money. These nine inns all have charm to spare.

Amee Farm, Vermont

Amee Farm, Vermont Amee Farm, Vermont

With its warm, urban-chic vibe, Amee Farm isn’t a typical B&B. Rooms look straight out of an interior design magazine, with a near-perfect combination of rustic, warm, quaint, and stylish touches. Wide-planked hardwood floors, comfortable beds with white, soft linens, and interesting antiques are found in all the rooms. Bathrooms have granite showers with rain showerheads and updated fixtures (though not all rooms have private bathrooms). There are no TVs in rooms — only in the common area — but Wi-Fi is free and available throughout. One perk here is an inviting wrap-around porch with Adirondack chairs for admiring the scenery. Read More »

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There’s nothing like a roaring blaze to make nippy nights more pleasant, and a bonfire is a cozy — and fun — addition to any fall vacation. We’ve found five charming hotels in the U.S. making the most of this toasty tradition.

Hidden Pond, Maine

Hidden Pond, Maine

Hidden Pond, Maine

Hidden Pond’s outdoor bar and grill sits on a “sand bar,” with chairs circled around fire pits. This upscale boutique hotel in the Maine forests has 36 bungalows and two-bedroom cottages, a tranquil environment, and top-notch farm-to-table cuisine. Read More »

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The Inn on the Blue Horizon is one of our favorite B&Bs in the Caribbean.

We love the quaint, homey vibe that comes with bed-and-breakfasts. And when they’re located beachside, where mega-resorts are more often the norm, they feel even more like hidden gems. Plan your next getaway — or just dream about it — by clicking through our slideshow of the best B&Bs on the beach. Many dot New England’s coast, but some, like this first one, are further flung — and just as fabulous.

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For many of us, long days at the office, stress, and errands can get in the way of a healthy lifestyle. So we often look at our vacations not as a chance for a calorie binge (well, not always), but as a chance to hit the reset button and get back to our exercise and fitness regimens. And those who do manage to stay fit year-round may not want to part with their healthy lifestyle choices when they go away for a week or two. After all, there’s a lot to be said for the mind-body connection, so we found 13 stunning holistic retreats that can help you take your relaxation and well-being to new heights on your next getaway.

Aqua Wellness Resort, Nicaragua

Aqua Wellness Resort, Nicaragua

Aqua Wellness Resort, Nicaragua

Aqua Wellness Resort is a rustic-luxe, wellness-focused retreat set into a hillside overlooking Redondo Bay on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. The resort has eco-friendly design, lush vegetation (expect to spot wildlife such as howler monkeys and iguanas), healthy cuisine (almost every dish comes with a hearty side of vegetables), and an excellent ocean-view yoga platform where group classes are held. Plus, the spa uses local materials, treatments, and techniques. Rooms are adorned with lots of natural wood; some units include plunge pools and stunning ocean views. The white-sand beach is secluded and beautiful, and guests can get in an extra workout climbing up the hill from the beach to reception.
Read More »

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Getting Outdoors In The East

by Devon on June 11, 2013

York Harbor on Maine's coast is a wonderful place to explore

America’s Eastern region is a diverse area filled with just about every type of terrain an active traveler could want: Mountains, marshes, lakes, cliffs, forests, and so much more. We took a trip down the coast, and then headed inland, to some top spots in the East for getting active — from the tip of Maine, to the Florida Keys. Take a look at what we found along the way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Getting fit doesn’t have to be on your to-do list after you travel. While many hotels offer state-of-the-art cardio and strength training equipment, we know that treadmills can get downright boring after a while. So we’ve found the hotels that have one-of-a-kind fitness amenities that will add a little spice to your workouts while you travel and below we’ll tell you where to find them.

The Fitness Feature: Kayaking and Canoeing

Kayaks at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes

The Hotel: The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes

Plenty of beach and lakeside hotels offer kayak and canoe rentals, but few offer as many options for your paddling session. For those who prefer a trained professional to accompany them, guided tours at this Ritz include two-hour eco-tours along Shingle Creek ($60 for adults; $30 for children) and excursions on Grande Lake where paddlers can watch the sun rise and set ($20/hour for adults; $10/hour for children).

Other hotels with similar offerings: Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

The upscale Terranea Resort offers myriad activities, including two-hour ocean kayaking tours along the Catalina Channel, where paddlers can spot bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, leopard sharks, and bat rays ($89 per person). Or guests can opt for “kayorkle” — a two-hour excursion where guests snorkel and kayak, also for $89 per person.

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