A Squared: Travel Tuesday: 10 US Vacation Destinations for your Winter Wanderlust

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Travel Tuesday: 10 US Vacation Destinations for your Winter Wanderlust

Our mild Chicago winter has gotten a bit more frigid over the last couple of weeks and it has me daydreaming of warmer locations. In the beginning of my pregnancy we tossed around the idea of taking a babymoon, but in the interest of funds (holy childcare costs!), time (hello, third trimester travel bans... those arrive quickly), and health (that pesky Zika virus) it just didn't happen. So, I'm staying put in Chicago while we await this little one's arrival thinking back on warm vacations past. I'm sharing a round up of some of my favorites with you today to help quench your winter wanderlust... And they're all stateside for any of you mommies-to-be that still have time to squeeze in a babymoon!

1. Las Vegas - The ultimate getaway for travelers who want a little bit of everything: good food, warm weather, tons of entertainment, and some of the best people watching in the United States.
Foodie Tip: Vegas is one of my favorite cities for dining! Don't miss the Italian food at Giada Vegas, southern food and cocktails at Yardbird, and my favorite buffet: The Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan.

2. Charleston - This city was one of my favorites to visit and one that's definitely on my list to hit again. I love the history, the charm, the friendly people, and the gorgeous architecture.
Foodie Tip: Get your fix of southern food in Charleston: Barbecue at Hometeam BBQ, locally sourced upscale fare at the famous Husk, and tons of other recommendations!

3. St. Simon's Island, GA - A lesser known vacation spot than most of the others on this list, but one that's near and dear to my family. We've been vacationing here for years and it's got everything you want: the beaches and southern charm of places like Hilton Head or Charleston, but in a much more low key setting.
Foodie Tip: Tramici is one of our favorite spots for Italian food and Southern Soul BBQ is well known on the island (and on Diners Drive Ins & Dives) for its awesome barbecue.

4. Miami Beach - While I haven't seen much of Miami Beach, I have spent a good deal of time at The Fontainebleau and would highly recommend visiting! The food is out of this world and the hotel, pool, and beaches are just gorgeous.
Foodie Tip: You're in good shape dining at pretty much any of the Fontainebleau restaurants -- Italian at chef Scott Conant's Scarpetta, Asian at Hakkasan, and contemporary American food at Michael Mina 74. And don't forget to check out the adorable sweets shop!

5. Los Angeles - LA is another great location for vacationers who like a little bit of everything: beaches, nightlife, great food, and sightseeing. The Getty Center is one of my favorite tourist attractions here, so be sure to set aside some time to see it!
Foodie Tip: Hit Feed Body + Soul for brunch if you're in Venice-- and grab a Blue Bottle Coffee down the street! And Border Grill is famous for its upscale Mexican cuisine.

6. Bonita Springs, FL - For a more low key Florida experience than Miami Beach, Bonita Springs (between Fort Myers and Naples) is a great vacation spot for beautiful beaches and tons of relaxation.
Foodie Tip: Head to Coconut Jack's for fruity cocktails and fresh seafood in a fun waterside atmosphere. For a fancier night out, try Angelina's Ristorante for Italian food and a stellar wine list or Roy's Hawaiian for a taste of the south Pacific.

7. Hilton Head & Bluffton, SC - For the best of beach resorts, Hilton Head is great spot for a getaway whether it's a girls' trip, a family vacation, or something a bit more romantic. Head to nearby Bluffton for a dose of southern charm, cute restaurants, and shopping.
Foodie Tip: Java Burrito Company is a local fast casual joint with delicious Mexican food. If you're in Bluffton, check out the Bluffton Room for old fashioned white tablecloth high end dining-- and don't miss the tableside Caesar salad!

8. Newport Beach, CA - Like my Miami experience, I haven't seen much of Newport Beach... but what I have seen was breathtaking! The Resort at Pelican Hill is by far one of the best and most unique hotel experiences I've ever had. This resort is gorgeous-- from the ocean views to the private casitas with fireplaces, it's the perfect romantic escape.
Foodie Tip: While Newport Beach is filled with great food, you don't have to leave Pelican Hill to find great food-- like the pasta at Andrea and the casual dining at Coliseum Pool & Grill.

9. Napa Valley - Okay, so Napa isn't exactly a "warm" destination, but the thought of 60 degrees and sipping wine in a light light jacket sounds a whole lot more appealing than subzero temps and snowboots. Napa is a food and wine lover's paradise and a Must Add for your US travel bucket list.
Foodie Tip: Where to begin?! Chef Michale Chiarello's Bottega is known for its amazing Italian-California fusion menu, the best fast food you've ever had at Gott's Roadside, and you can enjoy an amazing wine and food tasting experience at Robert Sinskey Vineyards too.

10. Charlottesville, VA - Like Napa, Charlottesville may not be the most tropical location but it is certainly warm by comparison! It is an adorable college town rich with American history surrounded by acres of rolling farmland with adorable wineries nestled in between.
Foodie Tip: Head off the beaten path for amazing biscuit sandwiches at Ace Biscuit and Barbecue or  a little outside the city limits to nearby Gordonsville for authentic barbecue at the BBQ Exchange.


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