The Outer Banks of North Carolina
The Barrier Islands off of North Carolina known as the Outer Banks is one of my favorite destinations. Sun, sand, surf, locally owned restaurants and hotels, lighthouses - the Outer Banks just contains what I need for a fun vacation. We usually travel here in the off-season and I've come to appreciate these winter visits with less visitors, and this year, snow at the beach. I know it's not for everyone, but it's for me. I always look forward to the Outer Banks.
Pensacola Beach, Florida
I've wanted to explore more of the Florida Panhandle for awhile now and when I found out that Allegiant Airlines had inexpensive flights to that area, Mr. UR and I decided to make it happen. We spent a weekend in Pensacola Beach on the Emerald Coast and they're not exaggerating when they say the sand is as "white as sugar". We had dinner on the water and also drove along Gulf Islands National Seashore. A weekend was just enough to whet my appetite for the area and I definitely need to go back.
|The Sugar White Sands of Pensacola Beach, Florida|
A California Mystery Trip
When my oldest daughter graduated from college we made her trip back home into a "Mystery Trip" - we visited a new place each day and she didn't find out where we were going until the night before. So when she graduated with her Masters in May, Mr. UR said we should do it again. I decided to plan this trip to a place that was new to her and that I knew she would enjoy - Los Angeles and the surrounding area. We visited family in San Diego, spent a day at Disneyland, went wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley, took a train to Santa Barbara, took a day trip to Palm Springs and explored Hollywood. It was the perfect area for a Mystery Trip as there was so much to see and do that we couldn't fit it all in. (Always a recurring theme to travel)
|On the Friends set at Warner Brothers Studios|
Colorado and Nebraska
We've traveled to Colorado every year since my son moved there five years ago. We always find new things to see and do in this incredibly beautiful state. This year we decided to go over the border into Nebraska to go boating on Lake McConaughy for the 4th of July weekend. We based ourselves in the town of Ogalalla and rented a boat on Lake Mac for the holiday.
|Lake McConaughy in Nebraska|
We headed back to Denver for some more exploring and I visited the restored Union Station for the first time, tasted my first Little Man Ice Cream ( it truly lives up to the hype) and did a mini brewery tour of RiNo. We also walked the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder and soaked our cares away in the delightfully chill Iron Mountain Springs in Glenwood Springs.
|Iron Mountain Hot springs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado|
A European Road Trip
We flew into Geneva, Switzerland to start our Grand European Road Trip in the fall. We drove through the French Alps, fell in love with Lake Garda in Italy, realized the dream of visiting Venice, drove up through the Dolomites in Italy and into Austria and then based ourselves in Munich to visit Oktoberfest. We moved on to a wine tasting in Liechenstein,visited Neuschwanstein Castle and then ended by spending two days in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. It was the trip of a lifetime and it made all my European dreams come true. Of course, until the next European Road Trip, right?
|Lake Garda, Italy|
The Low Country of South Carolina
I visited Beaufort, Bluffton and Savannah for a long weekend of fun and the beautiful scenery of the Low Country. We happened upon the Bluffton Oyster Festival, visited Hunting Island State Park for the first time ( the most visited state park in South Carolina), took a trolley tour of Savannah and visited the haunting Old Sheldon Church Ruins. I need to make an effort to go here more.
|Old Sheldon Church Ruins outside of Beaufort, South Carolina|
Over the last few years, my sister, mom and I have tried to take a fall weekend trip to explore somewhere new, yet close by. This year we picked the North Georgia mountains where we visited the towns of Helen, Dahlonega and Blue Ridge. We did some leaf peeping, shopping, hard cider and wine tasting and ate some delicious food. I enjoyed it so much that I've scheduled another trip here with Mr. UR in 2019.
|Mountain view from Amicalola Falls State Park|
When I mentioned to friends that I was visiting my youngest daughter in Australia, and more than any other trip I've taken, the almost unanimous reply was "Oh, I've always wanted to go there! It's number one on my bucket list!" And it definitely lives up to it's reputation as a fantastic place to visit.
|The view from Mrs. Maquaries Chair in the Sydney Botanic Gardens|
We flew into Sydney, where my daughter lives, and proceeded to visit Mr. UR's absolute dream destination, The Great Barrier Reef. We stayed in Airlie Beach and went to the Outer Reef and beached it in the Whitsunday Islands. Upon returning to Sydney, we walked the Sydney Harbor Bridge, visited the Opera House, hiked at Royal National Park, had High Tea in the QVB, enjoyed a day at Bondi Beach and ate supper at Watsons Bay, did a winery tour in the Hunter Valley for Mr. UR's birthday, took a tour of the Rocks and had dinner there.
|Just outside of Royal National Park|
And that's not all. My daughter and I flew to Tasmania - simply one of the most stunning places I've ever visited - where we stayed in Launceston and visited the northern part of the island - a winery and Bridestowe Lavender Farm - and then headed to "don't miss it" Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary. We drove to the beautiful Freycinet National Park, had dinner with a friend in Hobart, explored Salamanca Place there and then did MONA. Phew. And there was so much more to see and do. I don't always feel the need to go back to a place but I would definitely do Tasmania again.
|A Tasmanian Devil at Trowunna Animal Sanctuary|
It was an incredible year of travel. I visited so many places that I never thought I would go. Memories for a lifetime. Thank you for stopping by here each week to travel along with me. I appreciate all your support. I can't wait to see what 2019 has in store.
How about you? Where did you travel to in 2018?
Linking up with: Wednesday Around the World at Photographing New Zealand and The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond!