San Juan Islands

Some people can handle the sleeping bag and zippered tent, but not all. So what to do if you love the great outdoors but want to rough it without, well, really roughing it? The answer: glamping, or glam camping. Not all glamping is created equal, and there’s a range, from a simple tented cabin in the woods to a luxury safari tent. We’ve selected five of our favorite glamping spots where you can get up close with nature — but you know, not too close.

andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Delta Camp, Botswana

&Beyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

&Beyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

This luxurious safari lodge in Botswana delivers everything you’d expect from the excellent &Beyond chain: amazing tents with plush beds, phenomenal service, tasty food, and safari excursions with first-rate guides. It’s located in the Okavango Delta region, but on land, so you won’t need to take a boat to and from the camp. Its peaceful location, beautiful delta views, lovely communal pool, and rustic-luxe design inspired by traditional African hut construction (complete with rich woods and thatched roofs) help make it a truly special place. But its 17,300-acre wildlife concession is smaller than you’ll find at the nearby Xaranna, and the tents lack Xaranna’s soaking tubs and private plunge pools. Read More »

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Summer is the time to get outdoors and get active. And even though it can get your blood pumpin’, there is nothing more relaxing than some quality time with Mother Nature, whether you’re hiking, fishing, or whitewater rafting — or simply kicking back and taking in the views after a day filled with activity. Our seven favorite spots in the U.S. for an outdoorsy getaway this summer were chosen for their combination of natural beauty and breadth of outdoor activities. To make planning easier, we’ve also recommended a cabin, lodge, or ranch in each place that brings you closer to the outdoors with great views or settings.

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is most famous for its stunning red rocks, which are particularly beautiful in the glow of sunrise and sunset, and have formed the backdrop for many a western film. The temperatures here are cooler than other Arizona destinations, thanks to the higher elevation, and Ponderosa Pines surround the city. It’s a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, with excellent biking, horseback riding, and a particular focus on hiking. Some of the most popular hiking spots include Cathedral Rock, Bear Mountain, Bell Rock, and Courthouse Rock.

Where to Stay: L’Auberge de Sedona, with 87 luxurious and woodsy cottages spread across 11 acres
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The Outlook Inn is one of the most romantic spots on the San Juan Islands.

Couples have a lot of reasons to be attracted to the Evergreen State. From sleek Seattle boutiques to secluded inns on the San Juan Islands, there’s a little something for every romantic in this corner of the Pacific Northwest. Outdoorsy couples will love hiking in the romantic Snoqualmie Valley, in the shadow of one of Washington’s many waterfalls, while city-slickers will fall in love with Seattle’s funky food scene and vibrant nightlife. So if you’re planning a romantic getaway with that special someone to Washington State, be sure to consider these hotels ready for romance.

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The Marriott Wailea Resort is a romantic honeymoon locale on Maui.

Honeymoons must be two things: romantic and memorable. Any old trip to the beach is just not going to suffice for a couple’s post-nuptial getaway. But thankfully, there are plenty of unique and luxurious properties out there for newlyweds. Remote jungle hideaways, cozy mountain lodges, luxe European grand dames, and gorgeous beachfront properties are waiting with a bottle of champagne at the ready to toast your “I dos.” These romantic hotels around the world are perfect honeymoon locales; go ahead and swoon over them in this slideshow.

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It may not be the Caribbean, but with this view, who on the San Juan Islands could complain about it?

An “island getaway” doesn’t necessarily translate into washing up on the shores of the Caribbean. Plenty of other islands in the U.S. boast the same laid-back, secluded feel that you can find in Barbados or Jamaica, but often come at a fraction of those sky-high all-inclusive rates; you’ll at least save some cash on airfare! For perhaps unconventional, but nonetheless awesome, island stays, check out our top picks for value, sun, and fun!

 

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Some destinations always come to mind when people think of beach getaways: Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, Miami’s South Beach, and the crowded sands in Cancun. Some spots, however, are often overlooked and it makes them that much better. Fewer people, untouched nature, you name it; underrated beach destinations are hidden gems that can be just what you’re looking for. Check out our list of nine underrated beach destinations — and make a trip before the secret is out!

Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

Vieques Island is surrounded by gorgeous, clear waters.

This unique little island offers travelers pure, undeveloped land, mainly thanks to the US Navy’s former use of a good portion of the island. The Navy left in 2003, however, and the land it once occupied is now a national wildlife refuge. Tourists to Puerto Rico often don’t leave the mainland as it takes an extra puddle-jumper to get to Vieques and there are few tourist attractions. Instead, attractions are nature-oriented: The island’s stunning, untouched white-sand beaches and famous bioluminescent bay are the highlights, but it also features walking trails, 300-year-old trees, and some of the top snorkeling spots in the country.

Where to Stay: The quaint Inn on the Blue Horizon is a smaller, more affordable option compared to the nearby W Vieques. The inn features phenomenal ocean views, pretty Mediterranean-style architecture, and wild horses roaming the grounds.

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The Ocean Crystal Wedding Chapel at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort

When it comes to destination weddings, the options can seem endless (and exhausting). Couples can choose to wed beachside or poolside, in the woods or atop a mountain. But sometimes sticking to tradition can be just the ticket, even if you are in an exotic locale. That’s why many hotels around the globe offers gorgeous chapels for nuptials. We picked some of our favorites for saying “I do,” so get the wedding marches ready: It’s time to walk down the aisles of our favorite hotel chapels.

 

 

 

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The breathtaking views from the Outlook Inn will provide a gorgeous backdrop for wedding photos.

Aptly named, the Outlook Inn has stunning views of the San Juan Islands‘ Eastsound from almost point of the property. And a serene atmosphere is practically guaranteed as this hotel — the only full-service option on the sound —  meaning quiet days strolling the local shops, galleries, and restaurants nearby. But dining on-site is nothing short of excellent at the New Leaf Cafe, which features fresh, local cuisine and also hosts a popular happy hour that wedding guests may enjoy in the days leading up to the ceremony. Couples should note that the rooms can vary greatly, but booking a suite ensures a private bathroom with a large tub, and cozy amenities such as a fireplace and a flat-screen TV. The views, on the other hand, will be gorgeous no matter which room you book.

Because the inn has such a romantic ambiance, serves up scrumptious food, and has a wedding chapel on-site, it has become a popular spot for Washingtonian wedding parties. In true inn fashion, service is always personalized. Whether you’d like to book the intimate Victorian Room, which seats up to 60 guests, or have the Outlook Inn take care of preparations and catering at the larger Oddfellows Hall located nearby, their wedding team is ready to please. You can also opt to get married in the inn’s rustic chapel or, if the weather’s nice, outdoors amidst the surrounding natural beauty for a relaxed, scenic ceremony. Click here to see more wedding inspired photos of the Outlook Inn » Read More »

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The Best Road Trips is a weekly summer series highlighting our favorite getaways from major cities all over the United States.

Seattle may be known as the home of grunge rock, Starbucks coffee, and grey skies, but that doesn’t mean its residents are grim. In fact, the city has one of the lowest crime rates in the entire country; and has both beautiful scenery and a bangin’ nightlife scene. But should locals (or visitors!) need a day off the java or a weekend without rain, there are plenty of nearby places to check out. The best part — each of these three trips takes less than three hours to drive, meaning if you only have one day to spend outside of Seattle, you can do it up right. So pack your bags, slather on some SPF (hey, you can burnt when there are clouds!) and hop in the whip — we’ve got some miles to cover.

Road Trip #1: Seattle to San Juan Islands, WA

  • Total Driving Time: 2 hours, 46 minutes
  • Distance Covered: 104 miles
  • Take This Trip If: You’re looking for an island escape that doesn’t require a transcontinental flight.
San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands offer Seattlites a quick break from city life.

The Outlook Inn

The Outlook Inn offers amazing views from its perch on Orca Island.

Bird Rock Hotel

The Bird Rock Hotel is within walking distance of the ferry landing.

The San Juan Islands (a collection of around 800; 600 of the isles are unnamed) are a popular summer getaway for Washingtonians, and have a relaxed, back-to-nature vibe; expect farmlands, evergreen forests, nature trails, whale-watching, and mom-and-pop shops. Popular activities include hiking, wildlife spotting (whale-watching in particular is common, and the Shark Reef trail on Lopez Island leads to a harbor seal hangout), sailing, and kayaking. For those days when it does rain, the islands have several wineries, farms, and museums. Although properties are more intimate than luxurious, the Outlook Inn is a romantic boutique that boasts killer views of Eastsound from almost anywhere you can stand. Service is incredibly personalized, and perks like free Wi-Fi and fresh food from an on-site cafe make this hotel a choice pick. Those with slimmer budgets should check out the Bird Rock Hotel, a charming, 15-room no-frills B&B. The hotel’s central location, though, is definitely the highlight — just a block from the ferry landing, and within walking distance to plenty of shopping and dining in downtown Friday Harbor.

  • Top Driving Tip: In peak season (summer), the ferries fill up fast — so you’ll need to arrive early in order to ensure you get on board, as the lines can take hours to get through. You can find the latest ferry schedule here.

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Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe, California

It’s true that the ocean is awesome — but reaching it can be a trek for many travelers. And even for those who live close to the beach, there comes a point in the summer when you get sick of sand getting stuck between your toes. That’s why we’ve compiled some of our favorite spots for freshwater fun; these beautiful lakes and rivers are an active traveler’s dream, offering activities such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing, nearby hiking, and more. Check out our trip options suited to a range of tastes — whether you prefer picnicking on Tahoe’s shores or cave tubing along the Macal River in Belize.

 

 

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