The best trips I've taken always involve some sort of adventure. Hiking, biking, snorkeling, helicopter tours - I've had the chance to do some pretty memorable activities over the years. So when I learned that South Bend, Indiana offered two adventures I had never tried before (and a few of my favorite pastimes), I was all in! Located only 30 minutes from southwest Michigan, South Bend is most well known as home to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. But who knew the city also offered so many other ways to get your adrenaline racing!
I teamed up with Visit South Bend to put together an adventure seeker's guide to the city. With only one night in the city we didn't waste any time packing in as much excitement and thrill as possible in just 24 hours. Read more to discover four adventures you'll want to add to your bucket list ASAP.
Disclaimer: I partnered with Visit South Bend for this trip. They hosted us for an overnight stay at Hilton Garden Inn and provided complimentary activities. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
One of my travel goals this past year has been to visit more major US cities. Surprisingly, Denver hadn't even crossed my mind until my husband said he wanted to visit the mountains. We had a flight credit from our trip to Hawaii earlier this year and when we found a deal we couldn't pass up we booked a weekend to the Mile High City. And wow I'm so glad we did! This city had so many great things to offer and checked so many things off our travel list - hiking, beer, and baseball! We had almost four full days in Denver and were committed to making the most of our time and squeezing in as much adventure as possible.
We found a great Air BnB located just 10 minutes outside the city which was a perfect home base. We also rented a car which I highly recommend if you plan to explore Rocky Mountain National Park or any of the smaller surrounding towns. If you're staying right downtown and don't plan to go far you can get away without one. Denver has a great public bus system as well as Bird scooters and ride share.
Located only an hour and a half from downtown Denver, we knew we had to make a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park on our recent weekend getaway to the Mile High City. As much as I travel, I had never been to a National Park before and was excited to check this one off my list. And boy have I been missing out all these years! Rocky Mountain National Park was absolutely breathtaking - I've never seen anything like it before. We only had an afternoon to enjoy the beauty of the park so we tried to pack in as much adventure as possible in a short amount of time. After a delicious breakfast at Denver Biscuit Company, we hit the road for Estes Park and arrived around 10:30 a.m.
Roads in the park are busiest from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. during the summer months which boasted over 4.6 million visitors in 2018. Plan to arrive early or late to avoid crowds. Parking can also be hard to come by in certain areas of the park, with popular trailheads filling up as early as 6:30 a.m. We opted to park at the Estes Visitor Center (which has a garage and many free all day spots) and hop on the free shuttle bus. Although the bus is free, you'll still need to purchase a one day park pass ($25) in order to board the bus. Once you've got your confirmation email, be sure to screenshot it as service/wifi is limited when you get in the park. We took the Hiker Shuttle at the Visitor's Center up to the Park and Ride lot. There was open parking in this lot so you can try and drive up to this lot as well. From here we boarded a second bus to Bear Lake for our first hike of the day.
Charleston has been on my travel bucket list for quite some time. Any city with this amount of historic charm, beach access, and total foodie goals can't be missed. That's why I was so excited when it was added to our list of girl's trip destinations. In fact, two of my college roomies call the Holy City home which made our decision even easier. Because they were "locals" this was also the first trip that I didn't have to do my own extensive research before hand. I had a few must-sees on my list, but for the most part we let them give us authentic Charleston experience and they had so much fun showing us around the city they are lucky enough to call home.
Read on to find out exactly how we spent a long Memorial Day weekend in this ultimate girl's trip guide.
Ohh Charleston..you truly are the definition of southern Charm! I recently traveled to this historic city to meet up with some of my girlfriends from college. We had an amazing weekend packed full of food, fun, and adventure. But we all agreed the activity we enjoyed the most was our pedal boat cruise through the Charleston Harbor with Saltwater Cycle. The only boat of its kind in the Holy City, Saltwater Cycle is so much more than a boat ride..it's an experience!
Similar to the pedal bike taverns that are famous on the streets of cities throughout the U.S., the 30 foot pontoon-style boat holds up to 16 passengers with 10 cycle seats, which power a large paddle-wheel at the back of the boat (don't worry there's a back up motor if needed). If you're not pedaling, the boat also features benched seating at the front of the boat where you can soak up the sun and there is plenty of room for walking around and of course dancing.
Disclaimer: My friends and I were hosted by Saltwater Cycle for our tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Finding great street art is one of my favorite things about traveling and a great way to discover more about the culture in a new destination. It's also a fun way to explore a city without having to spend a dime! And trust me Nashville has no shortage of murals. You're likely to find a new insta-worthy destination around every corner. In fact, depending on how long you're visiting, you'll likely need to choose a few must sees to ensure you make the most of your time.
There isn't just one location for street art and instead they're spread out throughout the entire city. This can make for a fun adventure if you have a car and lots of time. If not, I recommend visiting a few more popular areas such as 12 South or the Gulch which offer multiple murals within walking distance so you can get the most bang for your buck. There are also guided tours available which will take you around to different stops and share more background about the artists themselves. However, this doesn't give you a chance to explore some of the neighborhoods while you're visiting which I highly recommend.
Below I share some of my favorite stops on our recent weekend getaway as well as a few others which we didn't have a chance to see but will definitely be on my list for next time:
Nashville. Nashvegas. Music City USA. Whatever you call it - this city is guaranteed to provide you with a good time (it does help if you're a country music fan). When my sister and I were deciding where to head for our second annual sister trip we wanted something within driving distance of Michigan (it's only about 7 hours from my house) and a city we could easily conquer over a long weekend. So we landed on Nashville!
After deciding where you're going the next step is usually figuring out where you're going to stay once you get there. There are a lot of great hotels located in the heart of downtown Nashville but they can get quite pricey - especially during the summer months. And to be honest you don't really have to stay downtown to enjoy all that it has to offer. We Ubered to Broadway two nights of our trip and each ride was no more than $10 - and totally worth not having to deal with parking. With that in mind we ended up booking the cutest Airbnb in the perfect location with easy access to 12 South and the Gulch as well as downtown. (Get $40 off your Airbnb stay here)
Nashville is one of those cities that can easily be explored within a couple days which makes it great for a long weekend trip. It's also centrally located within the U.S. which makes it an ideal location to meet up with friends who may be scattered throughout the country. We ended up jumping in the car after work on Thursday evening and hit the road. My brother lives in Indianapolis so we were able to stop halfway and drive the rest of the way on Friday morning but you could easily make the drive in one day. I'm so excited to share exactly how we spent the next three days of our trip.
I travel with my husband a lot. In fact, he's my favorite travel buddy. We've hiked to hidden waterfalls in Hawaii, swam with stingrays in Grand Cayman, and rode horseback through the ocean in Turks and Caicos. We're already planning and dreaming about where we'll head to for our next big vacation. But I also love exploring without him - and I think he would say the same thing. And the best part? It makes our marriage stronger.
I'm a firm believer that absence makes the heart grow fonder and that's why ever since we graduated college we've made it a priority to go on a trip (or two) with our friends each year. In May I'm heading to Charleston with my college roomies for a weekend full of sipping wine, soaking up the sun in our bikinis, and laughing until we cry. And as I write this my hubby is in Atlanta on a beer drinking, golf marathon trip with his buddies. But guess what? I can't wait for him to come home. So today I'm sharing five reasons why I travel without my husband and why I think all couples should too!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
It's hard to believe that any half-mile stretch could be considered a "destination" but the 12 South neighborhood in Nashville will certainly prove you wrong! While a majority of this area is residential the main strip, which is completely walkable from one end to the other, is packed full of delicious restaurants, gorgeous murals, and some of the trendiest boutiques. This area has only become popular in the last five or so years but is honestly one of my favorite areas in all of Nashville. It's easy to see everything in one afternoon so I highly recommend including some time on your itinerary to grab lunch here and walk around for a few hours. We were lucky enough to book the cutest Airbnb only a few miles away so we stopped to explore here two different times on our trip.(Get $40 off your Airbnb stay here)
Parking in this area is a little harder to come by here than in the Gulch, but there is a public lot and if you go on an off time (which you definitely should) it's easy to find free street parking. Below are some of the must sees of the 12 South area:
Not only do I love telling you about the places I love to travel, I also love introducing you to products that help make those travels easier and more enjoyable. That's why I was so excited to partner with Chagrin Valley Soap on my recent trip to Nashville to try out their shampoo bars. They are a Midwest family-owned company, located in Cleveland, Ohio that got their start in the kitchen while trying to find a more natural solution for how many chemicals were present in their family's skin care products. Today, they offer a wide range of products including handmade soap, shampoo bars, lotion bars, and more. All of their bars are made with natural and organic ingredients and contain no artificial fragrance, color, preservatives, or detergents. They are also scented with natural essential oils and are very fragrant - I could smell them before I even opened the box that came in the mail!
So let's face it, there's no easy way to travel with shampoo and conditioner - or any liquid for that matter. Even with the convenient travel bottles you're still faced with the hassle of removing them from your luggage to go through TSA security. And I can't be the only one whose had the dreaded bottle open or explode all over everything?! Seriously my purple shampoo for color-treated hair once leaked all over my duffle bag on our anniversary trip to northern Michigan - talk about a mess!
Shampoo bars eliminate both of those problems and instead, everything you need is right there in one solid bar. The bars are also a more environmentally friendly option as there is no plastic bottle to throw away when you're done. How long the bars last will depend on how often you wash your hair, but on average, since they are so concentrated, shampoo bar can do the job of 4 to 5 bottles of your typical commercial shampoo.
I love creating detailed travel guides to ensure you get the most out of your time. On this blog I'll be sharing some of my past trips in hopes that it helps you plan your next adventure. Pack your suitcase you never know where I'll be heading next!
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