Yosemite

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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For those who crave that electrifying rush of adrenaline, a week of lying on the sand is not an ideal vacation. Beachside rest and relaxation can do wonders for some, but others find their R&R with a solid jolt to the nervous system; cue the adventure-vacation combination! Whether you’re surfing waves, chasing storms, or heli-skiing mountaintops, these eleven destinations all hold the promise of a heart-pounding getaway. Ready? Set? GO!

1. Surfing Pipeline, Oahu

Sunset-Surfing-in-Waikiki-Oahu-Hawaii

Adventure seekers have been visiting the Hawaiian islands for centuries. The state’s rugged, lava-formed terrain offers challenging — and stunningly beautiful — hikes and climbs, and the volcanoes themselves present unique thrills. But, of course, the main pulse-racing draw is surfing the menacing waves and rip curls that crash against the islands’ shores. The biggest and baddest waves roll in off of a reef break on the North Shore of Oahu at Banzai Pipeline. Many surfers have made a name for themselves at this spot, which is also home to some of the most intense surfing competitions in the world, including Pipe Masters. Adrenaline seekers who know their way around a wave — and are serious swimmers — can’t miss a trip here.

Stay: Turtle Bay Resort

This 448-unit resort on the scenic, isolated North Shore — just minutes from Banzai Pipeline — features an unbeatable array of amenities. There are two 18-hole golf courses, a stable, helicopter rides, and five miles of shoreline.  Read More »

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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’s time to get your spook on. Halloween is just two short weeks away, and for many that means shaking out the costumes, buying some candy and cueing the Monster Mash marathon. But for the brave of heart, Oyster’s here to help you choose your spooky itinerary for Fright Night. No matter where you are across the globe, hauntings and mysteries abound that are sure to scare your socks off. From ghost towns to witches’ hideaways, we’ve found some of the best places to spook and be spooked — and where to rest your head (if you can) at the end of the day. But we’d suggest sleeping with one eye open…

Visit a Ghost Town

The American West is rife with these abandoned metropolises that once served as centers for mining and railroad operations. Walking among the now-desolate edifices that line the streets of these ghost towns is like taking a spooky step back in time, and as the nation’s largest unreconstructed ghost town, Bodie, California is the perfect spot to get your frightening fix. Founded in 1859 on the heels of the gold rush, the town’s 200 original structures once housed thousands of residents – families, robbers, miners, gunslingers, prostitutes – but now they stand eerily empty. Visitors come seeking ghostly encounters — or even just great photos, as the abandoned buildings look hauntingly beautiful at night.

The Hotel: Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite 

When the sun goes down, the monsters come out to play at Yosemite's Evergreen Lodge.

Located east of Yosemite National Park, Bodie is a fun and spooky visit for campers looking to combine history with mystery this Halloween. And the Evergreen Lodge, a 22-acre cabin resort nestled into the Stanislaus National Forest, is a great spot to call home at the end of the day (if you’re not camping on-site).

Other Haunts: Other ghost towns of the American West worth checking out include Jerome, Arizona (which is well-known for its spectral lore — watch out for the beautiful Sammie Dean!) and South Pass City, Wyoming.

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The West has some of the best scenic hiking in the entire country.

One of our favorite summer pastimes is hitting the dirt road and taking to the hills for a nice, long hike. And because of its clear skies, open pastures, and low humidity, there’s no better place in the U.S. to hit the trail than out West. Boasting countless National Parks and some of the most spectacular wildlife in the nation, the West is an adventurer’s paradise. Whether you’re in search of New Age stimulation or a adrenaline-filled adventure, grab your walking stick because we’ve found some of the best hiking spots the West has to offer.

 

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Credit: Duncan Walker/iStockPhoto.com

Come on, you know it: We all have a secret soft spot for those kitschy red, white and blue decorations folks tend to resurface during the summer — especially around July 4th. But while we give a wink to plastic flags, what we truly love is some rustic, genuine American décor; from pieces that look straight out of Betsy Ross’s Philadelphia home to more desert-inspired styles reminiscent of the Westward Expansion. And hotels across the country are happy to oblige to these decor styles year round. Since Independence day is on the horizon, enjoy our favorite spots for all the plaid, wood and warmth that typical American décor is so famous for.

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The Curry Village; Yosemite National Park, CA

The Curry Village; Yosemite National Park, CA

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Parts of the historic Curry Village in Yosemite have been closed for good due to falling rock risk.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Biebs was booted from the Langham Hotel London after throwing a wild party in his two-bedroom suite.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Dozens of guests were evacuated and several got trapped in the elevators after the Hilton New York’s basement exploded last Thursday.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Gansevoort Park Avenue is now offering Mophie Juice Pack chargers as part of the minibar menu.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Researchers from the University of Houston recently found fecal bacterium e. coli on 81 per cent of hotel room surfaces.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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Sunset Viewpoint at the Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite

Sunset Viewpoint at the Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite

Evergreen Lodge is a 22-acre cabin resort surrounded by Stanislaus National Forest, about one mile from Yosemite National Park’s western border. The 90 cabins come in different sizes — some perfect for newlyweds, others great for a large family — and are rustic, cozy, and comfortable with large private decks. Techies beware: There are no phones or TVs in the cabins. It’s a great spot for nature lovers, though, who want to be disconnected from the world for a bit and enjoy the serenity of the surrounding pine trees instead. Guests looking for something active to do will find it too — there’s some equipment for rent on-site, such as mountain bikes and snowshoes, plus fly fishing, bocce ball, rafting, horseback riding, an outdoor pool, and two recreational halls filled with games, books, and arts & crafts materials. Check out more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now»

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One of the perks of the upcoming long weekend (besides immortalizing the great Martin Luther King Jr, natch) would be that all of the 397 U.S. National Parks will offer free admission from Saturday through Monday. Sweet deal, right? We scoped out some of our favorite parks — and some amazing hotels to go along with them, of course.

NATIONAL PARK PICK: LINCOLN MEMORIAL; WASHINGTON, DC

Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

Lincoln Memorial; Washington, D.C.

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech — a speech which ultimately became the defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement — on the Memorial’s steps. There are dozens of activities planned for the weekend, including a children’s recitation of the speech, an event remembering the Korean War Veterans and even a family-oriented “quest,” designed for children to learn more about Dr. King — and to have some fun, of course!

Splurge Stay: The Hay-Adams

The Hay-Adams

The Hay-Adams; Washington, D.C.

This is quite possibly the most famous hotel in the capital, and deservedly so. The Obamas here in 2009, two weeks prior to the President’s inauguration, and long before that friends John Hay (Abraham Lincoln’s private secretary) and Henry Adams (the author and descendant of John Quincy) built their homes on the plot of land where the hotel now sits. The Hay-Adams draws powerbrokers from around the world with its impeccable service, a great bar and restaurant, and elegant rooms, some of which overlook Lafayette Park and the White House.

Steal Stay: River Inn

River Inn

River Inn; Washington, D.C.

The 125-room River Inn offers great value. Its 450-square-foot suites have full kitchens and pullout couches; add in free perks like Wi-Fi, bike rentals and Bally Total Fitness gym passes, and you’ve got yourself a sweet deal.

CHECK OUT MORE NATIONAL PARKS AND HOTELS WE HEART >>

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