Shermanstravel Blog


Pensacola Beach

Pensacola Beach/Visit Pensacola

Pensacola, Florida has long been known as a resort destination for beach lovers across the United States. Here, (truly!) white sand blankets the beautiful coastline — reminiscent of the Caribbean, but just a short drive from most southern cities as well as the Midwest. What many people may not know, though, is that Pensacola is rich in history and has a burgeoning food scene. Here’s how to spend a perfect beach weekend.

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Pacific Islander Festival in San Diego -

Pacific Islander Festival/

San Diego is part of the mainland, but in places, it can feel outright tropical thanks to the sailors and soldiers who brought a love of Polynesia back with them after World War II. While there’s no shortage of attractions in the kitschy, Americanized “tiki” style, there are plenty of places where you can delve into a more authentic sense of Hawaiian and Polynesian culture, too. Here’s a guide.

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Villa Bagatelle Hotel Miami Beach - suite

Villa Bagatelle

Winter stays in sleek and chic Miami Beach — where the weather is sublime while other parts of the country are freezing — will unsurprisingly cost you a small fortune. But if you can swing a trip during the fall shoulder season, there’s a significant dip in hotel prices that makes a comfortable escape more manageable. Case in point: Special rates as low as $119 per night at Villa Bagatelle, a new French-inspired boutique hotel open since the spring.

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A Pier in Fairhope, Alabama - an easy southern getaway

Pier in Fairhope, AL/Melanie Warner Spencer

Relaxation and bayside biking are the order of the day in the towns of Fairhope and Point Clear, Alabama. These verdant cities on the Bay are a scenic 30-minute drive from Mobile, AL — and a world away from the daily grind. Be warned: You’ll have a hard time leaving the Bay’s natural beauty, the area’s variety of local food and drink, and the easy Gulf Coast atmosphere.

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Estrella Suite Balcony

Estrella Suite/The Resort at Pedregal

Here’s a little secret: Construction often yields price breaks at hotels. That’s the case this month at the 5-star The Resort at Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which is situated on cliffs overlooking the Sea of Cortez. This resort, which is the #2-ranked hotel in Cabo San Lucas on TripAdvisor, is within walking distance of bars and restaurants in downtown Cabo and the Marina. Through September 30, the rate has been slashed by 65 percent. While construction isn’t affecting guests’ ability to use the resort, the threat of occasional noise prompted the hotel to publish this offer. Read more

Crop Over in Barbados (a lesser known Caribbean festival)

Crop Over festival/Barbados Tourism Marketing

You’ll always find positive vibes in the Caribbean, but the celebratory mood is nothing short of infectious during big hooplas like Carnival. If the crowds scare you, though, we have good news: There are a handful of lesser-known but just as amazing festivals across the islands. While most happen over summer, there’s one coming up in the not-so-distant future this fall.

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The Isle of Dauphine Golf Club

The Isle of Dauphine Golf Club/Melanie Warner Spencer

Birding, golf, reading on the beach, and lazy days are a recipe for relaxation. At Dauphin Island, Alabama, that’s exactly the kind of getaway that can be had through the fall season — no wonder that the quiet Gulf Coast town is a favorite getaway for nearby Mobile’s denizens. Here’s a laid-back guide to this still relatively undiscovered gem.

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Ibiza1 courtesy of Consell Insular d'Eivissa

Consell Insular d’Eivissa

The jetset island got its rep for a reason — this is the spot where the rich and famous flock once June rolls around. With a club scene that’s turned global, Ibiza attracts world renowned DJs and celebrities to its shores. But beyond the house music and electro there’s a whole other side to the Spanish island. The Old Town is teeming with tucked-away tapas bars; rock climbers scale the sides of 16th century fort-like towers; and untouched beaches draw snorkelers to their crystal clear water. Sure, you could spend your entire trip soaking up the party scene, but Ibiza also boasts incredible food and beachside resorts perfect for more low-key island retreats.

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Gothenburg Harbor, Sweden

Göran Assner for Harbor

Stockholm gets all the attention from travelers, thanks to its chic cafes and trendy restaurant scene. But those in the know are heading out west to Sweden’s second-largest city, Gothenburg, that’s equal parts university town and seaside retreat. Known as the Gateway to the West Coast, it’s the perfect starting point for sailing trips past thousands of islands and fishing villages along the coastline leading up to the Norwegian border. While Scandinavians make their way here during the summer holidays — renting homes along the coast — the city itself is a mecca of culture for travelers from all over. Most times of the year, you can spend a few days roaming in the city before heading to one of the nearby destinations. We set off exploring the city center by foot and tram to find out where the locals eat, play, and party — while still living on a budget.

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Bay St. Louis Beach

Melanie Warner Spencer/Bay St. Louis Beach

After two or three days in the picturesque seaside town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, don’t be surprised to find yourself sorting through condo and beach house listings. One of the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Katrina, this sleepy Gulf Coast treasure is back 10 years later better than ever. The colorful clapboard houses and Craftsman bungalows overlook the Bay, and there are shops, eateries, and nearby casinos. Here, your guide to a long weekend in the Bay — chock-full of laid-back, beach-y fun.

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Casa Velas, an affordable all-inclusive in Mexico (Puerto Vallarta)

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates/Casa Velas

The beauty and festive culture of Mexico attracts all kinds of travelers, but it’s the country’s endless supply of all-inclusives that makes it the ultimate bargain getaway. You can snap up all-inclusive vacations in every region of Mexico and at all price points. From basic rooms and buffets to luxury villas, Mexico covers all your one-stop travel options. Here are a few of our favorites:

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Dunes at Bean Point on Anna Maria Island, Florida

Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Burea/Bean Point Dunes

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, Florida has plenty of shoreline to go around. In fact, its world-renowned beaches span a whopping 663 miles. And it’s because of this fame that you must choose carefully, lest you end up somewhere where you can’t see the sand for the beach towels and lounge chairs. For rest and relaxation, choose these six quiet beaches that are no less spectacular — just less crowded.

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Huntington Beach, a great affordable Orange County spot

Visit Huntington Beach

Even if you aren’t planning to visit Disneyland, a trip to Orange County can be unbelievably expensive. But it doesn’t have to be — with a little planning, you can enjoy the beaches, attractions, and culture without spending a small fortune.

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Caesar Augustus

Hotel Caesar Augustus

Sometimes, all you want to do on vacation is to kick back and enjoy the view. We don’t blame you. For sweeping, panoramic views, vacation on the edge — literally. These five amazing cliffside hotels will take your breath away.

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Reefworld Pontoon, Great Barrier Reef

Laura Motta

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which stretches along the east coast of Queensland for more than 1,400 miles, is the biggest structure on earth built by non-human organisms. It can even be seen from space. Clearly, this incredible destination, which was just renewed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, tops travel bucket lists for a good reason. To visit the reef, you have many options. Here are three that offer unique and varied perspectives…

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