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Unique Things to Do in Honolulu You Won’t Want to Miss!

The capital of Hawaii is a mecca for tourists looking to enjoy sun, sand, and outdoor activities. Known for its famous coastal neighbourhood of Waikiki, Honolulu is a popular city on the island of Oahu, with a sprawling cityscape, great food, and stunning beaches. One key to enjoying the perfect blend of attractions and activities in Honolulu is finding the right accommodations. With so many hotels in Honolulu, you’ll want to pick one that gives you great access to the city but also allows opportunities to venture outside of the city.

After you’ve picked where to stay, it’s simply a matter of getting out and exploring. You may think you’re destined to visit Honolulu’s amazing attractions like Waikiki, Hanauma Bay, and Manoa Falls with hordes of other people, but a trip to the city gives you the chance to see and do so much. Here’s a list of five unique things to do in Honolulu if you truly want to get off the beaten path and away from the crowds.

Kukaoo Heiau Ruins: Exploring Ancient History

With its incredibly rich history, Hawaii is no stranger to ruins or artifacts. What makes the relatively unvisited Kukaoo (Kukui) Heiau ruins so unique is that they’re in the middle of an urban area and on the same property the historic Charles Montague Cooke Jr. House. You won’t find the ruins to be large or expansive, but they highlight the historical importance of Manoa Valley and the local people. The Manoa Heritage Center and the Kukaoo Heiau ruins make for a great stop to learn more about ancient life in Honolulu and see some pretty great views.

Corsair Plane Wreck Dive Site: More Than Just Surfing

honolulu hawaiiImage via Flickr by katsuhiro7110

Though Hawaii is synonymous with surfing, you can also see a lot below the surface of the water that surrounds the islands. At the Corsair Plane Wreck Dive Site, you’ll find a Vought F4 aircraft that sank after it experienced engine failure in 1948. The wreck itself is in perfect dive condition, due to the abundance of eel, octopus and puffer fish. Though the area around the wreckage is fairly flat and unencumbered, the site is for more advanced divers who can manage the currents. You’ll probably want to take some time practicing at other dive sites around the island first.

Kapiolani Community College Farmer’s Market: A Taste of the Island

Restaurants are always a gateway into local cuisine and culture, but you’ll miss a whole culinary world if you stick to the popular places to eat. The Kapiolani Community College (KCC) Farmers Market in Honolulu is a unique foodie destination with locally grown produce and flowers, along with meats and baked goods. It offers a taste of local life in Honolulu and a glimpse of the island’s cuisine.

San Souci Beach: Relaxation Away From the Crowds

Waikiki Beach is one of Honolulu’s most famous beaches, but it’s actually comprised of several sections that together create a long stretch of sand. You’re bound to find crowds in the more popular sections, but when you head to the eastern end, you’ll find a much quieter area. San Souci Beach is relatively peaceful and a good distance away from the tourist activity. The relatively calm waters allow for a variety of water sports and activities and make this the perfect spot to enjoy a unique beach experience in Honolulu.

Makiki Valley Loop Trail: Hiking With Scenic Views

There are many hiking trails around the city, but the Makiki Valley Loop Trail promises a unique experience, as it’s more popular among locals than it is with tourists. The loop itself is made up of three trails with varying levels of difficulty. The surrounding nature and views along the way will more than make up for the more tricky parts, though you’ll need solid hiking shoes, as the area is known to be wet more often than not.

 

Visiting Honolulu doesn’t have to mean that you’ll be stuck in the crowds. Whether your focus is on food, culture, nature, history, or a little of everything, you’ll find many things to do away from the top attractions and throngs of tourists. On land or in water, above or below the surface, all you need to find a different experience in Honolulu is to step outside your hotel room and have a sense of adventure!

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Wellness & Renewal Vacation Ideas For Nature Lovers

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

When you hear the words “wellness” and “renewal,” you might think of relaxing activities like hot tubbing and meditating, you might picture getting away from your usual environment or you might even imagine sweating out your stresses with extreme sports like mountain biking — it all depends on what’s missing from your regular routine.

As you’re planning your next getaway, don’t settle for the closest or the most convenient place to stay. Really consider what you need to do to refresh and rejuvenate.

If, upon reflection, you decide you’re the kind of person who wants beautiful scenery, fresh air, healthy activities, wildlife sightings or even just a little adventure in your vacation, this list is for you.

Ideas For A Wellness Vacation To Get Close To Nature

Relaxation Trips

Mandala Spa And Resort Villas, Boracay Philippines

Relaxing trip ideas are never a bad place to start. But don’t just think of where you could sit on your butt for a few days — you don’t have to travel to do that.

Instead, consider activities that actively encourage relaxation, internal healing, a Zen state of mind and a stronger connection with nature. For instance, resorts like the Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite, California offer a wide range of pro-renewal activities:

  • Spa treatments
  • Yoga classes
  • Nature hikes
  • Wine tasting
  • Beautiful natural scenery

Or, if you want to feed your creative side, you could always seek out a more artistic type of resort, such as the Miraval Arizona Resort and Spa, which not only allows you to paint, draw and photograph, but also encourages a strong connection with your natural surroundings.

Sweat-Inducing Trips

If your office job has you going stir-crazy, maybe your ideal vacation involves getting your heart rate up a little bit. Fortunately, you’ve got plenty of options.

Whether you choose to plan out your own activities or go through a fully accommodating resort, the U.S. has plenty of natural attractions for you to use as your playground. The Red Mountain Resort in St. George, Utah, for instance, will jumpstart your active lifestyle with all kinds of options:

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Rock climbing
  • Horseback riding
  • Golf

Or heck, if you truly want to go all-out on this next getaway, maybe it’s time to try something a little less mainstream. For instance, you could go on a local or international dance retreat — learn new steps, work up a sweat and have a lot of fun along the way.

Family-Friendly Trips

macrae hiking jiufen taiwanIf you want an activity level somewhere between yoga and mountain biking, maybe you and your loved ones should try a family-friendly retreat.

For instance, it may be worth your while to explore active, outdoor locations and stay at a resort with log cabins you can sleep in like the Hickory Hills Family Camping Resort. This resort, located in Bath, New York, offers activities that are both lively and fun for vacationers of all ages:

  • Laser tag and other sports
  • Playgrounds
  • Heated pools and ponds
  • Paths and hiking trails
  • A park for the dogs

As an added bonus at places like Hickory Hills, the adults can often sneak off and have their own romantic outing while the kids play at the dog park or sports center.

Wildlife Tours

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you may occasionally lose sight of your connection with nature. Visiting the zoo with your niece is one thing, but maybe this next getaway is the perfect time to really reconnect with your world and revel in nature’s beauty.

Depending on how far you’re willing to travel, you could see

  • Redwoods in California
  • Dolphins in Australia
  • Orangutans in Borneo
  • The Ngorogoro Crater in Tanzania

And of course you could see so much more. The world has a lot to offer, whether you’re more interested in plants, natural phenomena like the Northern Lights or international wildlife. So, take the time to plan for whatever it is you want to experience most.

Water-Themed Trips

butterfly fish koh tao scuba diving

One of the great things about water activities is that they can be as soothing or as extreme as you want. If you just want to lounge by the beach or pool, have at it. It is a vacation after all. If you want to challenge your body and try out a new sport, why not sign up for something like windsurfing lessons or a paddleboard outing?

If you start Googling water-themed resorts, you’ll find a vast array of options. Here are just a few common treats offered at such locations:

  • Snorkeling and/or SCUBA diving
  • Swimming with aquatic wildlife
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Beach volleyball

Of course, there are many more activities offered at watery destinations, like surfing lessons at the SwellWomen Surf and Yoga Retreat in Hawaii and paddleboard yoga at the Hilton Head Health Retreat in South Carolina.

Whatever you do on your sunny trip, don’t forget to hydrate! Nothing complements that post-workout margarita better than a big old gallon of water.

Make Your Vacation Count

Taking a few days off of work is, in itself, a much-needed treat now and then. But don’t stop there. Take some time to decide what you really want to get out of your next vacation. You deserve more than a little break — you deserve to feel healthy, rejuvenated and connected with the natural world.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


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Romantic Valentine’s Day Ideas For Couples At Home

Valentine’s Day is the one day a year dedicated purely to love and romance. It is, first and foremost, a couple’s holiday celebrated excitedly by new couples and often begrudgingly by veteran couples. For those who find themselves single when the 14th of February comes around, it can be a day that is despised and dreaded. For us, it is pretty much a day like any other. Though we do acknowledge its significance in society, we don’t go out of our way to elaborately celebrate it, although we wouldn’t pass up a romantic trip as a couple if one arose! We like to think we celebrate our love for each other in small ways throughout the year.

Having said that, we also don’t want to be that grumpy couple that loudly criticizes the commercial-nature of holidays and refuses to have anything to do with celebrating Valentine’s day and so we usually spend the evening at home, together, and find ways to inject some romance into that time. If we can find unique romantic Valentine’s Day plans then you can be sure we’ll be doing that!

Stay-At-Home Romantic Valentine’s Day Plans

Here are some of our unique Valentine’s Day ideas for couples who want to stay at home, skip the lines and reservations, avoid the paired-off crowds and higher price tags, and spend a night solely in the company of each other.

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Choose to do one, two or all of the below suggestions but whatever you choose, always make sure to make it about what both of you want!

Camping… Indoors!

We’ve mentioned this idea briefly before when we listed some of our New Year’s Eve date night ideas for couples as an alternative to camping outdoors. While it does make a great plan B, camping indoors is also a fantastic plan A for those who want to have a little fun while still at home and because of that, it makes a perfect Valentine’s Day date idea.

It’s simple too. Pop up a tent in the living room or anywhere you have enough space, include pillows and sleeping bags (or just one for an even more intimate Valentine’s evening) and an indoor campground is created! The key is to really get the camping atmosphere going. Turn down the lights, turn off phones and other electronics, use flashlights and radios and find ways to enjoy each other’s company without all the amenities you’d typically have.

There is one household item that does serve a purpose to enhance the experience, rather than diminish it – the oven. Since a campfire is probably not likely, and since not everyone has a wood fireplace, using the oven to make camping treats like s’mores is handy. Simply place graham crackers on a baking sheet, top each one with a square of chocolate followed by a marshmallow and place in the oven (at 350 degrees F) until the marshmallows turn golden. Take out the tray and place a second graham cracker on top of each one, pushing down to crush the marshmallow and chocolate together. It may not have the taste of campfire but it does taste good!

If you’re feeling adventurous, feeding each other will prove to be a fun and sticky activity!

Take A Vacation… In Your Living Room

Perhaps camping isn’t your thing – indoors or outdoors – but that doesn’t mean you can’t take another type of trip in your very own living room. Is there a destination you both love? Someplace you’ve been and want to go again or maybe a destination you have always wanted to go? Just because you aren’t physically travelling there for Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t travel there in spirit.

Find movies that take place in that country or city and have a marathon. If France is your goal, try Moulin Rouge, Midnight in Paris, French Kiss, The DaVinci Code. Looking to be transported somewhere tropical? Go with Pirates of the Caribbean, Once Upon A Time In Mexico and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Or maybe you’d rather spend some time in the Big Apple with 25th Hour, Coming To America and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A trip around the world is easy too, depending on which movies you choose.

Once you’ve got your movie playlist decided and you know your destination of choice, the next step is the atmosphere. Decide on a dinner (take-out or homemade) that fits with the theme. Find wine, beer or non-alcoholic beverages that fit too. Have music playing while you eat that sets the tone as well. Add any little touches to the room that will bring you closer to feeling like you’ve stepped out of your home and into a completely different city or country.

Imagine a night in Italy. Spaghetti and meat sauce, a Chianti open to breathe on the table, some quiet opera playing in the background as you enjoy the meal before snuggling up on the couch to watch Midnight in Paris with some zeppole and cannoli.

You’ve just spent a romantic Valentine’s Day in Italy without ever stepping foot out of your house.

Fine Dining… At Homeromantic table setting

Maybe you want to lose yourself in another destination or maybe you just want to lose yourself in each other. Whether you decide to go with a theme or are just aiming for romance, preparing for some fine dining is a great way to have a romantic Valentine’s Day at home.

We’ve written about the fact that cooking as a couple is one of our favourite date night activities, but turning it into a romantic evening with an added element of fine dining takes it to another level that is perfect for a Valentine’s Day celebration. Whether you cook the meal yourself, order in or take-out there are tons of ways to make the dinner special.

For one thing, ditch the couch and use a real table. Opt for a real tablecloth and cloth napkins, put out some flowers and light some candles. If there’s a special restaurant the two of you always go to when you’re looking to celebrate something special or amp up the romantic vibes, channel that atmosphere and bring it right into your own home. Lower the lights, turn on some soft background music and set the table. It’s all about setting the mood and embracing the elements of a meal that make it a romantic fine dining experience.

Once you’ve created the fine dining setting, make sure you both dress the part. Just because you don’t go out, wait in Valentine’s Day lineups and pay Valentine’s Day prices, doesn’t mean you can’t make the same effort for a quiet evening at home.

If you’ve cooked the meal together, you’ve had a chance to chat and work together and the evening has already begun. If not, crack open those takeout containers and start preparing your plates – it’s time for a romantic meal together!

Get Competitive… And Have Some Fun!

Looking for something a little more laidback? Maybe you’d rather have some Valentine’s Day fun either instead of, or after, some more formal celebrations (like some fine dining at home)? Having some fun with each other while playing board or card games can be a great way to spend the evening and remove yourselves from the stress of the day, the distractions of technology and television and the outside world in general.

You can get as competitive and as serious as you want or just keep it light but either way, tallying scores and predetermining prizes can increase the fun – especially if you make the prize something the loser has to do for the winner! Prizes like a home cooked dinner, cleaning the dishes, or something more risque will add a great competitive edge to the evening.

Pull out some of your favourite games or a deck of cards and enjoy eachother’s company. Trivia games are also great for having fun, learning something new and racking up those points!

Go Back To The Beginning…Focus On Intimacy

strawberries and wine glasses

Regardless of how you spend your evening a focus on intimacy is, at the end of the day, what most people think of when they think about Valentine’s Day. And there’s no better place to focus on the intimacy in a relationship than right at home.

With the privacy your own home affords you, you can rekindle the passion between, build intimacy and make the other person your primary focus. Light some candles, share a bubble bath with some quiet conversation and spend some time rekindling the passion – in bed, on the couch, wherever really.

Make the night about your relationship and the two of you and getting back to the beginning when it was about stolen kisses, a soft touch as the other person walked by and moments spent just being together.

Make Valentine’s Day At Home Special

It doesn’t take a lot to make a Valentine’s Day special with the one you love. It’s not so much about where you go or what you do that speaks to the romance and love a couple shares. And what makes staying at home for this romantic holiday isn’t the money or time saved. Instead, the day is about simply spending time together and truly being present and there’s no place better to make that happen than at home where you can pretend, at least for one night, that no one and nothing else exists except the one you love.

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How To Eat Your Way Through The South

By Taylor Schear of  SOFLOFOODFINDS

If you’re anything like me, then you revolve your trips around food! With so little time and so many great choices, there is so much pressure to choose the absolute best restaurant. Well, I have got you covered.

Best Restaurants In The South

Below you will find a list of the top restaurants throughout America’s southern states.

Miami, FloridaThe Salty Donut Miami FloridaThe Salty Donut

The Salty Donut is in the Wynwood area of Miami. Wynwood is known not only for the famous street art, but also the food. Salty Donut opened their permanent storefront this past month. Before this, they were primarily doing pop up locations on the weekend. But after great success the demand became so heavy that they established regular hours Tuesday-Sunday. This is for good reason; the donuts are fantastic. They carry the “usual suspects” along with some interesting combinations. My personal favorite is their apple cider bourbon spiked donut hole. What is even better, is the cold brew cider that pairs perfectly with the donuts!

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink miami floridaMichael’s Genuine Food & Drink

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is one of the most buzz-worthy restaurants in Miami right now! It is centrally located in the Design District. The restaurants popularity is due to the amazing menu developed by head chef and owner, Michael Schwartz. The food is all based on seasonal fresh ingredients. Pictured above is the figs with burrata. It is very simple, but I think that is what makes it great. Every single ingredient is the star of the show without overpowering one another. Make sure to save room for dessert. All the pastries, ice cream, and chocolates are made fresh from scratch, in house every day.

Athens, GeorgiaLast Resort Grill Athens GeorgiaLast Resort Grill

Last Resort Grill serves contemporary Southwestern style food in a very modern environment. The restaurant started as a music club in the 60’s, but now serves as a great gathering to eat with the community. The restaurant believes in supporting local farmers and companies by primarily using ingredients sourced in Athens. The dish above is the Pilancillo & Black Pepper Crusted Hanger. It is a tender local sourced hanger steak served with salsa verde, chili parmesan dusted corn, and charred tomato butter potatoes.

Big City Bread

If you are looking for a more traditional southern meal, then Big City Bread is the place for you. All the food (including the breads and pastries) are made fresh every day. It is the perfect place to grab a scone and coffee during the morning rush or sit down and enjoy some grits on a Sunday morning. The chef and owner is a graduate of the prestigious Johnson & Wales and has worked at restaurants all through the South.

Nashville, TennesseeEdleys BBQ Nashville TennesseeEdley’s BBQ

Edley’s BBQ must be one of my top three favorite restaurants of all time. It is a very casual vibe; everyone orders at the counter and sits down at one of the wooden tables to wait for their food. Don’t let the adequate furnishings fool you! The food is so flavorful and packed with smokiness. Make sure to come hungry, the portions are huge. There are multiple locations throughout Nashville, so you are never too far from an Edley’s!

Biscuit Love

Biscuit Love has my love! Again, this is the type of restaurant where you walk up to order your food and then go sit down. They do this to prevent the wait for food from getting too long since it can get quite packed on the weekends! You can probably tell from the name that they are famous for their biscuits. The restaurant is new (opened in 2015), but originally started as a food truck. The owners are graduates from Johnson & Wales, but have always had a love for brunch. You can immediately tell this when you walk in the restaurant.

Sprinkles Cupcakes Nashville TennesseeSprinkles Cupcakes

So as many of you know, Sprinkles Cupcakes is a national chain. However, it was my first time trying it when I visited Nashville. The coolest part is that they have a cupcake ATM. Yes, you heard me right… A CUPCAKE ATM. In goes your money, out comes any cupcake your heart may desire. The cupcakes are delicious, but so are their cookies. My favorite was the traditional chocolate chip. It was soft with just the right amount of chocolate folded throughout.

 


Taylor Shear ProfileABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hey guys… it’s Taylor Schear! Thanks for reading! I always love being able to share my passion for food and adventure with others! If you have enjoyed joining me on my food quest throughout the South, then make sure to continue to follow me! I am @soflofoodfinds on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. For more food travel guides then check out soflofoodfinds.com!


 

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