The power of the Pacific Ocean near Newport, Oregon is both awe-inspiring and restorative -- the perfect place for a solo trip. This hidden gem on the Oregon coast is an empowering getaway where I can hike, read, visit a winery, and enjoy the freshest, sustainable seafood available or take a horseback riding lesson. The horizon is endless, and that expansive vista makes me feel full of purpose and possibility. I often see whales and seal pups! An easy hike to the Lighthouse Trail at Yaquina Head connects me to nature and the perfect picture of the majestic lighthouse withstanding the wind. I like to stay at the boutique and literary-inspired Sylvia Beach Hotel or book a room with a fireplace and full ocean view at Elizabeth Oceanfront Suites.
Browsing the shelves of Canyon Way Bookstore makes me feel like time is standing still and sand has stopped flowing through the hourglass. Lunch at Local Ocean Dockside Grill and Fish Market is lively and fresh. If you're seeking a boost to your spirit, just a short drive away is the Flying Dutchman Boutique Winery or the Bright Horizons Therapeutic Riding Center which offers beginner and intermediate lessons. This particular stretch of the Oregon Coast provides endless opportunities for exploration, reflection, and action!
Author: Cerise Roth
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, TEXAS
My entire life, I have lived in Texas and didn't travel much even inside the great state. When I began traveling a few years ago, my husband and I met a Californian couple at Zion National Park. The guy asked me, "Have you ever been at Big Bend National Park in Texas?" I looked at him in confusion because, to be frank, I had no idea there was a National Park in Texas. When I returned home, I asked some of my friends if they have ever been to Big Bend, and to my surprise, a good number had never even heard of it. After some research, I decided I needed to see the park because I had already been to so many National Parks in other states and even other countries. It seemed like a crime to not experience the National Park in my own state. My husband and I finally committed to going this past January which proved to be the best time of year to go since the summers in Texas are extraordinarily hot.
Big Bend has stunning mountains in the Chisos Basin area, canyons divided by the famous Rio Grande River and many relaxing hot springs that will soothe your sore muscles after a long day of hiking. The park had a surprising number of activities including kayaking, hiking, backpacking, crossing the U.S. / Mexico border, and many more. It even has a restaurant with a stunning view. Big Bend was a fantastic National Park to visit. It holds a special place in my heart as one of the most magnificent places in Texas. Texas isn't known for mountains, canyons, and hiking. In fact, I usually have to drive to bordering states like Oklahoma and Arkansas just to experience the outdoors. I was excited to have finally found a stunning park inside the great state of Texas. That is why this park is my hidden gem. Read the full Itinerary.
Author: Michelle Stelly
The Wandering Queen
Every spring and fall I try to make the trip to Genoa, Nevada. This is tiny town eleven miles from South Lake Tahoe in the Carson Valley. I always stay at the 1862 David Walley’s Resort and Spa. Next to the resort for a daily fee are the hot springs mineral tubs to soak in, which I prefer to do in the morning. However, it is also a great way to relax before going to sleep as well. A paved one-and-a-half-mile trail meanders from the resort to the town of Genoa. There you will find four different places you can have a meal. The Genoa Country Store and Deli for sandwiches and ice cream, The Genoa Station Bar and Grill is a nice and friendly place with lunch and early dinner, The Cottonwood Cottage is a great family place to eat as it has bocce ball, giant Jenga and other games in the outdoor patio and private park for kids and adults to play in. My favorite place to eat there though is the Pink House Charcuterie. This is a great charcuterie that also serves a variety of other lunch and dinner items that is both cute, historic and tasty. You can just buy cheeses and meats to take away, or the staff will even put together a picnic lunch for you.
Most importantly, this town and the especially this valley are exceedingly beautiful. Lush green wetlands with geese, deer, bald eagles, bunnies and various other birds and wildlife. There are walking trails at the River Fork Ranch Preserve and other preserves nearby. Surrounding this natural beauty are the Sierra Nevada mountain Range, the various Nevada high plains mountains and Jobs Peak. Truly a hidden gem that gets overlooked by all the people that just go to Lake Tahoe.
Author: Sandra Kelly
Travel Agent Krys Kolumbus Travel
THE DELTA, CALIFORNIA
Maybe I'm biased since this is where I mostly grew up, but the Sacramento River Delta has quite a few hidden hot-spots for those looking for something unique. You have to drive there as there’s not really any form of public transportation to get there but the winding roads alongside the river can be well worth the drive for those who love scenic routes! Stop in Walnut Grove, an adorable town that will remind you of the Cowboy days and have the most delicious milkshake you’ve ever encountered at Mel’s Mocha. Then cross the bridge and head past Isleton towards Rio Vista. From there you will see the beautiful draw bridge where many ships still pass under, heading their way towards the bay or to Sacramento.
Rio Vista is a small town with a few restaurants. If you haven’t had Mexican food yet then get some! Otherwise there is also Chinese, Italian and a Classic American Diner style restaurant on HWY 12. There’s lots of roads winding you around the river and you will find plenty of cute towns, including a few small islands which you can get to by ferry boat! The Delta is truly a hidden gem and one worth exploring!
Author: Krystal Kelly
CEO Krys Kolumbus Travel
This quaint little town in the East Coast of Florida is a secret gem worth visiting. Not only does it offer a variety of adorable boutique shops to browse but there is a charm and vibe there that can’t be beat! With the Stuart Jet Center Airport (a small private airport where pilots train for their licenses) a hop and a skip away, book yourself a ride in one of the Cessna airplanes and experience the Floridian coast co-piloting a small aircraft! The view both in the day and at night is a real treat. I also am big into yoga and I found plenty of nice quiet spots to roll out my yoga mat and do some yoga / meditation with a sunset view!
Take yourself to the Sneaki Tikki for a drink and some live music after your window shopping in the downtown area. Then walk along the beautiful walking path along the ocean for a sundowner and dinner at Sailors Return. It’s a short walk from downtown along a stunning path. You cross underneath the railway bridge and it’s fun to hear them rumble past as you walk underneath the bridge! Of course, my mission in life was to spot a Manatee while in Florida but alas I was there in the wrong season and never did find any! During season, (or any season!) take yourself paddle boarding for a chance to see them in the wild!
Author: Krystal Kelly
CEO Krys Kolumbus Travel