Nature and Travel

Credit: Norman Scott/startraksphoto.com; Tony DiMaio/startraksphoto.com; Sara De Boer/startraksphoto.com; Norman Scott/startraksphoto.com

Credit: Norman Scott/startraksphoto.com; Tony DiMaio/startraksphoto.com; Sara De Boer/startraksphoto.com; Norman Scott/startraksphoto.com

Sure, there have been some celebrity breakups that have devastated us — but there’s not just bad news coming from Tinsel Town. In fact, some of our favorite celebs have recently gotten engaged. Declaring their undying love — and their belief that “this time it’ll work” — stars including Drew Barrymore, Britney Spears, Halle Berry and Kristen Bell have all vowed to say “I do.” And we couldn’t be more thrilled — we want to celebrate with them! So we figured if we did the legwork of finding the perfect spot to play host to each of the celebs’ bachelorette parties, then they’d have to send us an invite, right? Even if we don’t snag a coveted offer from one of the ladies, at least we’ll have some inspiration for planning our own fetes.

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Guide at the Selinda Canoe Trail -- Botswana

Guide at the Selinda Canoe Trail -- Botswana

The Selinda Canoe Trail is a four-day, three-night trip that takes place along the Selinda Spillway in Botswana, offered from May to October. Camp is set up each night in secluded spots along the water — far from modern conveniences such as electricity and flushing toilets, but as luxe as camping can get, with great meals and an attentive staff that does all of the setting up and packing up for you. Plus, our guide Cliffy was top-notch; he does an excellent job leading this “safari-on-water.” The trip’s highlights happen during the day, when you’ll be able to spot incredible animals including elephants, hippos, and giraffes. But winding down under the stars, cocktail in hand, with the sound of Africa all around you, is pretty hard to beat as well. To schedule a trip, e-mail Cliffy at clintonphillips@live.comCheck out more amazing photos of what a day on the trail is like after the jump or read our full review here >>    

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We already shared the scoop on vacations that could maybe, kinda kill you, but we have a brand-new batch of spots that practically scream danger. And while not typical of a “relaxing vacay,” these retreats are sure to get your adrenaline pumping. Catch up on your thrills by visiting one of these terrifying (but beautiful!) destinations.

Dive Off a Cliff

CliffDivingCaves

Cliff Diving at the Caves Hotel, Jamaica

  • Where to Do It: The Caves, Jamaica
  • Why It’s Killer: Set along Negril’s western-edge, The Caves’ multitude of natural rock formations are perfect for cliff diving — at three or thirty feet. Arguably Jamaica’s most romantic escape (for adults only), the Caves’ 11 unique, private cottages and suites are tucked along lush garden paths and dramatic seaside cliffs (there’s no beach). So sit back, relax, and let loose!

Seek out more incredible thrills after the jump!

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Photo by Sandra Lee Schubert/FCC


Every March, Washington D.C.’s historical Tidal Basin area is filled with blooming cherry trees
— and hoards of tourists coming to take pictures of the breathtaking flowers. Today, in fact, marks the kick-off of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs only through April 27 — so you only have a small window to catch the flowers in all their glory. According to the Festival, the average bloom’s peak date is April 4 — a week and a half away, so get on booking one of these super-luxe spots or their cost-friendly alternatives ASAP. Browse our fave options after the jump!

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Life's a beach.

 

When we leave home, we always have a hard time parting with our pup (or cat, or bird, whatever). A week can feel like a really long time without with man’s best friend — which is precisely why hotels around the country are bolstering their pet-friendly programs to make furry family feel special during vacation, too. Check out five prime vacation spots for you and Fido to bark about after the jump!

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Couples getaways can be great. But, unfortunately, they can feel more like a job if you’re bringing a needy girlfriend along. No judgement here; we get that you love your girlfriend, but a few hours of peace and quiet will allow you to fully soak up the benefits of a vacation. This is where we, as Oyster.com hotel experts, come in to help. While we don’t have direct experience with handling a needy girlfriend, we may have been that girl once or twice. (Is wanting your boyfriend to be hyper-attentive soo much to ask?? But we digress…) So who better than us to give you the low-down on the most distractable hotels and amenities? We may be committing a major breach of girl code, but here goes. Check out our top 5 hotels for distracting a needy girlfriend — and enjoy your 5-minutes peace!

 Hotel: Atlantis Paradise Island Resort; Bahamas

Girlfriend Type: Shopaholic

Salvatore Ferragamo at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort; Bahamas

Salvatore Ferragamo at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort; Bahamas

Why It’ll Distract Her: If your needy girlfriend is shopping-inclined, then you’re guaranteed some alone time at the Atlantis. With more features than any other hotel in the Caribbean, the resort has over 100 shops; everything from Atlantis logo stores, stuffed with t-shirts, bags, and hats, to high-end designer shops like Salvatore Ferragamo and Bvlgari. Hey, we didn’t say this would be cheap.

Alone Time It Earns You: We’d say at least three hours. If you lend her your credit card for the afternoon, that grants you two more (and probably some debt to boot). Use your alone time to win that money back at the elaborate casino. Or check out the dolphin show; it’s pretty awesome.

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Foto Friday: The Great Outdoors

by Zach on November 25, 2011

Ah, winter: that special time of year when short days and freezing cold weather combine forces to keep most people locked up indoors. But with early onset cabin fever approaching, you might want to consider rediscovering the great outdoors with one of our newest locations: Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It’s home to the vast, untouched natural beauty of Yellowstone Park and some of the most challenging skiing in the country. Expect breathtaking views, fantastic dining, fun nightlife and the occasional moose sighting. For outdoorsmen and city slickers alike, the experience is unparalleled.

 

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Malibu Wines, California

Malibu Wines, California

Tucked into the Santa Monica mountains in Malibu (with the ocean breezes) there are many vineyards, making this area a mini-Napa. Located on the infamous Mulholland Highway just near Kanan Dume, Malibu Wines is a fantastic place to spend the afternoon or evening.

Bring a picnic and sit at one of the many tables; this oasis in Los Angeles is unlike anything you would expect from the city.  It has the feel of an adult camp with gorgeous trees, acres of greenery, horeshoes, and wine — lots of wine.  They sell vintages from local wineries, and you can choose from an abundance of red wines, or many white varietals from as low as $16 a bottle.  Or perhaps you’d like a tasting flight: For $12, you get four tastings.  Malibu wineries make wonderful, full-bodied wines, which you can taste before purchasing.  There is no cost for admission, just a minimum of one bottle purchase for each group of two to four people. Read More »

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Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

On a clear, sunny, day, nothing beats the Southern California coast. Los Angeles has miles and miles of beach, and each beach community has its own distinct personality. But Laguna Beach, an hour south of L.A., is like nowhere else, anywhere, and epitomizes the So Cal vibe.

Laguna hasn’t changed much since the ’70s.  It’s filled with boutiques, cafes, surf shops and art galleries, but you won’t see a building taller than a couple stories, anywhere. There’s nothing cookie-cutter here. Park near Main Street and see downtown Laguna shops and galleries on foot. For a taste of the MTV show, walk the beach to Thalia and stand at the lookout area, or sit on one of the benches and enjoy the view, and then visit the infamous Thalia Surf Shop where all the local kids hang out. Read More »

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Lake Shrine Temple and Retreat, Los Angeles

The serene Self-Realization Fellowship in Pacific Palisades, dedicated by the famous Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda, is a beautiful 10-acre property landscaped with trees and flowers from around the world. You can’t see the property from Sunset Boulevard, as it’s hidden by thick foliage, but it’s worth seeking out — it’s a great spot for tourists to experience a different side of LA. Visitors can take one of the daily tours to learn about the site’s rich history; meditate in one of the shrines; or visit the portion of Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes at the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial, which sits on a gorgeous lake with swans, ducks and koi fish.

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