Sunsets, museums, and hikes. I've realized that we've been writing a lot about some of our favorite things to see/do while traveling lately, so of course, I had to mention views.
Thousand Steps Beach, Santa Barbara
Before you ask, no. The stairs to this beach do not actually amount to one thousand (we counted). Nonetheless, the view of the beach from the top is breathtaking, and it only begins there. A pristine beach perfect for taking a walk or playing in the waves awaits below.
Miramar Beach, Santa Barbara
I just noticed this, but I'm pretty sure whoever designed Santa Barbara liked stairs. Just a guess. Anyways, Miramar Beach is one of my favorite beaches I've been to, and the view from the top of the steps is certainly one to beat. Like with Thousand Steps Beach, after basking in the beauty of the view, there's a whole world of salt, sand, and sun waiting for you. And as with the view, this beach is one to beat when it comes to boogie boarding and body surfing.
The Butterfly Preserve, Santa Barbara
This is one of my favorite places to go in Santa Barbara, for a number of reasons. The adventurous hike through the butterfly-filled woods; the endless fields spreading off into the horizon; the canopy of trees hovering over a secluded cliff overlooking the cerulean sea. What could be better? The view from the cliff doesn't hurt, either.
The Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver
Seem out of place? I would think so, too, but after having visited this incredible museum (here and here) I can vouch for the equally incredible view. The completely unexpected thing about this museum is that, hidden beneath all of the artwork is a totally different gem: the sprawling grass hills in the "backyard." Walking to the tip of the fields, though - that's the best part. When we did so, we were met with a spectacular view of the snowy peaks of Whistler and, before it, the magnificent ocean. View and a museum? Win win, if you ask me.
Beaver Lake, Stanley Park, Vancouver
On our second trip to Stanley Park in Vancouver, we wanted to try something new. Instead of walking the periphery of the Park, we were curious as to what the interior woods looked like. We certainly weren't disappointed.
We walked directly to the center of the Park, to Beaver Lake, a fairly unknown part of Stanley Park that deserves more credit. The view out across the lake is truly amazing - and both my brother and I can vouch for the exploration and excitement factor, as you can see in the image above (in which we were walking out across the lake on a fallen log).
Coit Tower, San Francisco
I've recently been talking about the walk to Coit Tower, and that got me thinking about the breathtaking views from the top. Naturally, I had to include this in my list of favorite views, because to be honest, the view from the top of Coit Tower is the best in all of San Francisco. With a view of Alcatraz Island to one side, and the Golden Gate Bridge to the other, there really is no end to the wonders Coit Tower presents.
Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC
Lincoln Memorial is spectacular enough in itself - just image the view from the Memorial to the very tip of the Mall. It's an amazing way to see Washington DC, its memorials and monuments in particular.
Brooklyn Bridge, New York City
If I haven't convinced you yet, this definitely should, because I think this is the third time this past week I've written about Brooklyn Bridge (here and here). But can you honestly blame me? The views from Brooklyn Bridge of both the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline are truly incredible, and with the beautiful walk across the Bridge paired with it, this is one to beat.
Mammoth Mountain, California
This alone was enough to make me love the snow. Everyday, when we returned home from a tough day of building snowmen, we had this awe-inspiring view to reflect on. You've heard enough about Mammoth Mountain, but have you ever seen it like this?
Kilauea Lighthouse, Kauai
The exciting thing about this particular "view" is that I'm writing about it from Kauai this very moment (squee!). I've been anticipating returning to Kilauea Lighthouse for a while now, and trust me, I have reason to. The Lighthouse is incredible enough in itself, but paired with the amazing views of the ocean, the island in front of it, and the wildlife to the cliffs on the right? A breathtaking view and exploratory day paired with it makes for a perfect family adventure.
Waipi'o Valley, Big Island
This one particular place is probably the most infamous on the Big Island. If you're planning a trip to the Big Island, you're bound to come across Waipi'o Valley. Trust me, all the hype isn't for nothing. The view from the top of Waipi'o Valley is truly spectacular, and the thrilling hike down into it makes for double the fun.
The Beach Tree Restaurant, Hualalai, Big Island
As you can tell from the abundance of pictures, our family really hates this restaurant (and, more generally, this resort). Really. Hate it.
No, seriously. The Four Seasons Hualalai is probably my favorite resort, and the magnificent views of the setting sun from the Beach Tree Restaurant certainly don't hurt. I think we probably eat hear about three times a week when we come to the Big Island, which is saying a lot. It's the perfect family restaurant, because the kids can play on the sand or climb the infamous Beach Tree (shown above), or even chase the man who comes to light all the torches while waiting for their food.
Hapuna Beach, Big Island
Hapuna Beach isn't rated one of the best beaches in the world for nothing. The view of the ocean from the beach is unbeatable, and the warm ocean water, perfect boogie-boarding waves, and pristine beach only adds to the beauty and fun.
Lapa Rios Ecolodge, Costa Rica
When we were discussing our favorite views earlier this week, the view from the restaurant and check-in pavilion at Lapa Rios Ecolodge was the first to come up. And for good reason, too. The entire rainforest seems to be spread out before you - its wildlife, too. Toucans, monkeys, parrots, and other animals alike all seem to gather before this pavilion. The ocean provides a perfect setting for this exciting environment, too.
A little bit about us...
We're a family of four (a daughter, a son, and their mother and father.... oh, and a six-month old Standard Poodle puppy). But we all share one thing in common: our love of travel and adventure!
Hotel of the Month
Solage Calistoga: the image of perfection. We stayed here recently on our trip to Napa Valley and couldn't have been more amazed at this stunning resort. The rooms, each one an individual cottage, were immaculate and private. The property itself contained multiple pools and other amenities, all of which were designed beautifully. One of our favorite parts had to be the Michelin-star restaurant, which served some of the best food we'd ever eaten. Solage Calistoga was the perfect fit for our family (and dog!), and we are eager to stay there again.