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Everybody needs a break sometime. That's basically our motto here at Maiz Extracts! So where do you go when you need a break?
Travelling is always a lot of fun. Going to a new place gives you a different perspective on life and the human experience, and hopefully you manage to relax a little along the way. Here are a few of our favorite vacation destinations. #TakeMeBack
Tropical beach vacation - classic.
Honolulu is located on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu and is the easiest of the islands to travel to. Coming from the state of Ohio, landing in Honolulu was almost a shock. The warmth and humidity was felt immediately because of the open-air design of the airport.
A popular place to stay is in Waikiki, south of the city. In Waikiki are a number of resorts where you can lounge, dine, or use as a home-base to explore the rest of the city and island.
If you want to learn to surf, do it in Waikiki. Maybe it was effective marketing, but the small but steady waves apparently make Waikiki one of the best places in the world for beginners. If you're more in the mood to watch some professional level surfing, head up to the Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore. Watching surfers attempt the giant waves was one of my favorite parts of the trip.
A few of my other favorite destinations on the island:
- Diamond Head - a popular hike with a great view of Honolulu
- Koko Head - a more challenging hike with a wider view of the island
- Hanauma Bay - a volcanic crater with great snorkeling for beginners
- Pearl Harbor - an important piece of world history to explore and an active US military base
If there is anything O'ahu is not lacking, it's beauty. I'm looking forward to my next trip there and will plan to island hop to see what else Hawaii has to offer.
Alaska is a big state and there's a lot to explore. We only spent a week there, during which we traveled and hiked as much as we could, but there is so much more to do. Alaska is the perfect destination if you like wildlife.
Anchorage is by far the largest city in Alaska and the one you'll most likely fly into. It can serve as a great basecamp for travelling to less populated areas, which would be every other part of the state.
There are mountains everywhere. You'll notice that amazing views play a big factor in my vacation ranking system - the places on this list are not ranked, but they are definitely my favorites. Mountains and ocean make for the greatest scenery to enjoy.
Alaska has a great mix of both land and sea to explore. We took a trip to Denali National Park and rode a bus about 60 miles into the park. You can exit at any time and hike. You can even camp, but come prepared! We never went anywhere without our bear spray, but luckily the only bears we encountered were through the windows of the bus. Driving into Denali I realized that, besides the other passengers, this was the most isolated place I had ever been to.
Later in the trip we traveled to Seward to take a boat tour. Seward is a fishing town and there were plenty of boat tour options available. If you are into fishing for sport, this was a great place to start. We took a glacier tour which lasted about 6 hours. Along the way we encountered a ton of wildlife: seals, sealions, bald eagles, otters, and a superpod of orcas!
Alaska is huge and we only had the chance to see a small glimpse. It would be fun to visit during another time of year, though I'm not sure I could deal with the long nights of winter.
San Juan Islands, Washington
Once again, we traveled to a place that offered the best of both mountains and sea. Washington state is a spot we had never been before but knew we would love, so we flew to Seattle and then made our way to San Juan Islands. To get there, you have to take an hour ferry ride, which doubles as a relatively cheap sight-seeing tour.
San Juan Island is the most populated of the islands in the area, but Orcas Island to the north is larger. On San Juan Island, we stayed in the port town of Friday Harbor. Our AirBnB was located right in the downtown, so we didn't need to drive anywhere to find a nice place to eat.
San Juan Island is considered to be one of the best places in the world to see whales from land. We were unsuccessful from land ourselves, but we did go on a whale watching trip and followed a pair of orca brothers as they attempted to hunt.
Friday Harbor and the rest of San Juan Island is a popular tourist destination, but not too crowded. If you want something a little more unique, the other islands in the area are more secluded if you can find a place to stay.
On San Juan Island there were plenty of cool things to see, like Lime Kiln Lighthouse, the Whale Museum, farms and vineyards, Roche Harbor in the north, and lots of good restaurants.
As much as we'd love to go back to any of these places, there are plenty more yet to explore! Maybe someday.