News flash: Being near the beach is good for you (says science!). But, according to a report, some beach towns might actually be better for your health than others. Gallup-Sharecare polled more than 337,000 people across the country on their life satisfaction—from physical well-being to the amount of time they spend worrying—and it seems saltwater therapy might actually pay off (plus a margarita every now and then—that helps, too!). Of the top 25 cities with the highest well-being, 10 of them are on the coast. See which beach towns made the cut:
10. Crestview – Fort Walton Beach Destin, Florida
This slice of paradise on the Florida panhandle might have come in at 25 in the overall rankings, but in measures of financial stability and social wellness (meaning there’s lots of love in your life…aww) the area performed exceptionally well.
9. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida
Cruising along down the Gulf coast, this quiet and blissful community is rife with sugar-white sand beaches, unspoiled wildlife refuges, and people who report being totally satisfied with basically every aspect of their life.
8. San Diego-Carlsbad, California
Warm beaches, palm trees, fish tacos—what’s not to love if you live in this hip SoCal community? The region rounded out the top 20 in the overall well-being rankings, scoring the highest in measures of physical well-being.
7. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii
The idea of living on an island itself brings happy thoughts to mind, so it’s no wonder the capital city of our tropical island state made the list. Hawaiians scored exceptionally well in self-reported feelings of life purpose—“liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals.” On the other hand, residents surprisingly reported lower levels of social satisfaction; so, who’s up for moving to Oahu and making friends?
6. Portland South Portland, Maine
Maine’s trendiest city is known for its funky vibes and serious craft brew scene, which we can only imagine contributes to the high sociability reported by its residents. In addition to having high levels of social well-being, Portlanders reported having a great sense of pride in their community.
5. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California
There isn’t much not to love about this jewel of a city on California’s central coast. The charming downtown, the mesmerizing landscape, and the laid-back culture undoubtedly all contribute to residents’ well-being. The community ranked highest in measures of physical well-being, which translates to having generally good health and enough energy to get things done daily.
4. North Port – Sarasta-Bradenton, Florida
In case you’re not yet convinced that the Florida Gulf coast is basically Disneyland for happy grown-ups, here’s another Sunshine State community with exceptionally high levels of health and well-being. The area south of Tampa is the first beach region to crack into the top 10, landing at #7 in overall rankings of well-being, and #3 in measures specifically focused on financial well-being.
3. Santa Cruz-Watsonwille, California
This laid-back West Coast town has gorgeous year-round weather, dramatic beauty, and a surf-centric lifestyle, so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that the community ranked especially high in physical well-being. (Who wouldn’t want to be outdoors all the time?) Santa Cruz residents also reported especially high levels of life purpose and a deep sense of community.
2. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
New England charm, a storied history, an All-American summer baseball league, and some of the prettiest beaches around are all draws for the hordes of tourists that flock to this Cape Cod city each summer. If life seems fabulous here, that’s because it is: Residents reported higher levels of community pride than any other place in the country, and measures of social and financial well-being are also top-notch.
1. Naples – Immokaee – Marco Island, Florida
There’s a reason this adorable Gulf coast community consistently ranks high in measures of pretty much everything. According to the survey, residents here have the lowest levels of worry, depression, and stress, and the highest of life enjoyment. Naples locals also rank highest for making time for regular vacations or trips with family and friends. Sounds like a dream!
Though we always know it’s coming, the end of the calendar year never ceases to be a dizzying whirlwind of business obligations, social engagements, and stress-inducing holiday travel. But busy as December promises to be, there’s good reason to burn a few vacation days in November, when you’re still looking for great things to do in fall, the weather hasn’t yet taken a turn for the worse, and the shoulder season in most desirable destinations is in full swing. Here are eight best places to visit in November.
The Iberian Peninsula
Places like Lisbon, Portugal, and Andalucía, Spain, are often overrun with tourists during the summer months thanks to their temperate climate and easy accessibility to the sea. But November is an ideal time to visit the southern reaches of the Iberian Peninsula: the scene is more laid back, the weather is generally pleasant (hovering around 70 degrees during the day), and the area’s UNESCO World Heritage sites (Sintra, La Alhambra) shimmer like jewels in the autumn sun. If you’re staying in Spain, the Costa del Sol towns of Málaga and Marbella offer plenty of alternatives to the beach, from world-class museums to championship golf courses.
Whether you’re an adventure seeker or an urban wanderer, November is a prime time to visit Argentina. In Buenos Aires, spring brings with it a profusion of jacaranda blossoms along the tree-lined boulevards, as well as an uptick in the city’s social engagements, from polo matches to ballet performances, but hotel rates remain reasonable. Meanwhile, the grapes peak during November’s harvest season in Mendoza, and the weather is perfect for exploring the breathtaking natural wonders and quaint villages of Argentina’s Lake Region, in the heart of Patagonia.
3. The Caribbean
December is the start of the high season at Caribbean resorts: snowbirds fly south for the winter, and the holidays mean vacation time for parents with school-age children. If you’re looking for a quiet beach holiday, plan for November. Although it’s the tail end of hurricane season (opt in for travel insurance) the weather is picture-perfect and hotels and airfare are available at discounted rates. And unlike other off-peak destinations, most island activities remain open and plentiful throughout the low season.
There’s never a bad time to visit the Holy City, but if you’re looking to beat the heat head there in November, when temperatures remain in the high 60s and low 70s—ideal for walks to the Battery and bike rides to view Charleston’s antebellum mansions and row houses. The city’s celebrated food scene also comes alive in the autumn, when the harvest makes some of the region’s best ingredients available. Sample them at iconic restaurants like Husk and FIG, or inventive newcomers like The Grocery and Xiao Bao Biscuit.
5. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is famous for its dismal weather—rain and humidity are the biggest complaints—but go in November, when typhoon season has passed and blue skies are a regular occurrence, and you’ll wonder what all the fuss is about. Camp out on a golden stretch of sand on nearby Lamma Island, hike the wilds of Lantau Island (the sunrise from Lantau Peak is legendary), or wend your way through the street-food stalls in Wan Chai—activities that seem all but impossible at other times of the year.
The Rocky Mountain State is typically regarded as a wonderland for winter enthusiasts, but Colorado shows a softer side in November, when ski runs are fringed with colorful foliage and double as hiking and biking trails before the big snows come. Fly-fishing is another autumn favorite, but if retail therapy is more your thing, the cooler days make shopping the Victorian streets of Telluride or the tony boutiques of Aspen a pleasant afternoon idyll. Of course, ski season is just getting underway in places like Vail and Beaver Creek, but seek and you may just find an early bird special.
7. New Zealand
The adventure sports capital of the world becomes even more of an adrenaline-junkie’s playground in November, when the warm spring season lets you have your pick of all the country has to offer, from white-water rafting and glacier hikes to horseback riding and swimming in primordial lakes and untouched bays. Head to North Island if soaking in hot springs and sunbathing on pristine beaches is more your speed.
From whale watching off the coast of Oahu to sunbathing in Maui, November is one of the best times to visit the Hawaiian islands. And shoulder season on the Big Island means more affordable hotel rates before tourists descend in full force for the winter holidays. And though there’s an uptick in rainfall, there is still plenty of temperate, sunny weather for snorkeling, ziplining, or hiking.
Are those sky-high rents, $10 beers, overhyped restaurants, and so-packed-you-can’t-move museums of America’s great cities starting to bring you down? It might be time to consider a trip (or even a move) to one of these eight overlooked gems, where you’ll find equally excellent food scenes, historic sites, and world-class art.
Know someone headed to Colorado? They’re probably bound for Denver—CO’s urban playground of art, culture, and food—or any one of its premiere ski towns (Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Telluride, Steamboat Springs). But just north of the capital is a nature-lover’s paradise. Boulder’s location at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains means world-class hiking and skiing are literally at your doorstep. (Don’t miss the trails through the Flatirons in Chautauqua Park, known for their iconic sandstone slab rock formations.)
The area’s local farms are to thank for the top-notch food scene: hit up Emmerson Restaurant, a Pearl Street newcomer, for fresh pastas and cocktails from a former LA Weekly “Best Bartender.” If you happen to be in town in the warmer months, check out Boulder’s summer music series. At day’s end, retreat to Basecamp Hotel, a stylishly affordable boutique that capitalizes on its mountain town ethos: hanging canvas tapestries take the place of headboards and Coleman coolers stand in for mini-bars in the 50 rooms, and there’s an indoor rock-climbing wall as well as an outdoor deck and fire pit for roasting s’mores.
2. Portland, ME
A charming waterfront, 19th-century brick architecture, cobbled streets, a surplus of seafood—Portland, Maine is every bit the New England stereotype, but with a true cosmopolitan edge. Stroll around the Old Port, past lauded restaurants like Eventide Oyster Co. (famous for its traditional clam bakes, brown-butter lobster rolls, and Maine oysters on the half shell) as well as less-expected gems like the vegetarian-focused Silly’s and Miyake, whose menu is influenced by washoku—the Japanese dietary practice that emphasizes vegetables and fish—and comes from a twice-James-Beard-nominated chef. For the best of both old and new, check into the Danforth Inn, a 1823 Federal mansion that contains quirky objets d’art and a Shanghai-inspired bar.
3. Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis has quietly but confidently stepped up its style game with design-forward hotels and pioneering global restaurants. In the North Loop, a logging warehouse has been transformed into the Hewing Hotel, which takes “lodge-luxe” to a new level with its original pine timber beams, vibrant local art and photography, and rooftop Social Club. From here, it’s only a six-minute walk to The Bachelor Farmer, a cozy-chic Scandinavian restaurant that’s earned accolades for its Nordic-influenced toasts and the city’s first-ever rooftop garden. For great made-in-Minneapolis souvenirs, swing by The Foundry Home Goods shop for handcrafted wares like wool blankets and porcelain dish sets.
4. Asheville, NC
Taking a drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway tops our road trip bucket list, but it’s worth extending your journey with a detour to Asheville. There’s a lot to love about this North Carolina gem. The culinary scene–an intoxicating mix of serious Southern recipes and playful global influences—is one of the best in the south. The drinking scene isn’t far behind: its 18+ craft breweries have earned Asheville the nickname “The Napa Valley of Beer.” And the live music, from impromptu street performances to the Bluegrass Festival and legendary music halls like The Orange Peel, is in a class all its own. Our perfect day in town might involve lunch at buzzy Spanish tapas joint Curate; dinner at The Admiral, a popular gastropub that churns out plates like glazed sweetbreads and shaved country ham; and a show at The Mothlight, which hosts both big-name bands and local up-and-comers.
5. St. Louis, MO
Chicago gets the lion’s share of Midwest love, but this second-tier city to the south deserves a closer look. This year marks the completion of an ambitious five-year, $380 million revitalization of St. Louis’s famed Eero Saarinen-designed Gateway Arch and surrounding parklands, which now includes a subterranean museum and a land bridge that creates a much-needed link between the grounds and the city itself (which was formerly separated by a highway). Not to be outdone, the 105-acre Laumeier Sculpture Park in Sunset Hills was one of the country’s first of its kind and makes for a perfect springtime picnic and stroll. No visit is complete without a tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery (now a National Historic Landmark) before a hearty American dinner at Olive + Oak, whose chef Jesse Mendica was a James Beard semifinalist last year. Afterwards, rest your head at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis, whose highlights include dead-on arch views and a rooftop pool.
6. San Antonio, TX
Were it not for the sheer size of Texas (which lays claim to not one but three top-tier cities including Dallas, Houston, and Austin), San Antonio might have landed itself a top spot on first-time visitors’ to-do lists. The notion isn’t so far-fetched when you consider the city’s trifecta of history, culture, and food. After checking off the Alamo, head to the UNESCO-listed San Antonio Missions, which protects four other 18th-century Spanish Colonial mission churches built along the San Antonio River. For stellar barbecue, shops, and people-watching, The Pearl District is a pedestrian-friendly pocket home to the River Walk, a waterway lined with old-world taverns and riverfront restaurants that’s become known as “The American Venice.” Lately, the city has even added stylish hotels to the mix. Our favorite: Hotel Emma, a historic 1800s brewhouse turned boutique with a notable restaurant and taproom called Southerleigh.
7. Baltimore, MD
This all-American seaport has been likened to a more affordable D.C. Sure, some industrial areas are still rough around the edges (You’ve seen The Wire, right?) but you’ll hardly notice what with all that’s going on in regards to culture and food. Its past life as an immigration portal means Baltimore has built a community that prizes diversity and creativity, best seen at prized institutions like the Baltimore Museum of Art, Walters Art Museum, and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. Not to mention the micro-breweries, farm-to-table restaurants, and trendy cocktail dens that have taken hold of the dining scene in just the last few years. After stopping by James Beard Award-winning Spike Gjerde’s Woodberry Kitchen for dishes that spotlight Chesapeake-sourced ingredients, check into the new Sagamore Pendry Baltimore hotel, whose pool overlooks the harbor.
8. Buffalo, NY
Some 70 years after the Great Depression delivered a mighty blow to this once wealthy industrial boomtown, Buffalo is finally on the upswing. Forward-thinking creatives are beginning to repurpose the gritty grain silos and Frank Lloyd Wright architecture that once defined the city landscape, while the arrival of younger residents seeking out Buffalo’s still-affordable housing options has reenergized the city’s social scene. You won’t go wrong at corner taverns like Arty’s Grill and Gene McCarthy’s, which keep the fun going until 4 a.m., or getting a taste of what Buffalo does best (yes, we’re talking wings!). Don’t miss the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, a bastion for 20th-century American art, or Hotel Henry, a stylish 88-room sleep built inside an abandoned 1870s asylum designed by lauded American architect Henry Hobson Richardson.
“If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel’”
Israel, a small country of outstanding beauty, is so many different things:
It is a bridge between Africa, Asia & Europe, It has pulsating urban life, breathtaking nature, an abundance of plant & animal species, Thousands of years of fascinating history, a rainbow of cultures and traditions.
Israel offers an energizing experience with a vibrant cultural scene, and is proud to be an innovative leader in science & High-Tech.
Sounds too much? you’ll believe it when you see it.
Ahhh… vacation, the time for you to kick up your feet, pick up a drink, and take off your top (to tan in your bikini, pervs). But while we’re relaxing and imbibing in drink after frozen drink, we tend to forget about our waistlines. The excuse I most often use is a simple, but clear “who cares? I’m on vacation!” which can be translated to, “Yes, I will have that third margarita and don’t you judge me.” But just past that incredible excuse lays my conscience and that old thing called, the truth. And the truth always knows that the extra 1,000 calories you’re taking in a day won’t magically disappear just because you’re on vacation.
Two of my greatest passions are fitness and travel. They’re an amalgam that most don’t mix, but I’m here to tell you that you CAN stay in shape and enjoy your vacation even more by adding in some activity and exercise. Try to shoot for accomplishing 50 percent of what you would normally do. Fifty percent is better than nothing!
Here Are 10 Ways to Stay in Shape on Vacation:
1. Go For a Run to Explore a New City: Take out a map…or don’t! One of my favorite ways to explore a new city is by going out for a run. You end up seeing parts of a city you normally wouldn’t. Pop in some good music or take in the sounds of the city. Before you go out, always remember to check the safe areas of town.
2. Plan an Athletic Activity: Overwhelmed by a big city and not enough time? Plan an athletic activity to take in the sights. Look for a bike tour or walk tour of your destination. Some cities even have free tours!
3. Pack Snacks / Plan ahead: It’s easy to fall off of your eating plan when the only things available are croissants and bagels. While you can’t plan ahead for every meal, you can bring some snacks to help you in times of need. Some of my personal favorites are apples, bananas, almonds, walnuts, Jay Robb protein bars and Jay Robb protein shakes. And when faced with the tough choice of what cocktail to choose, try to choose a low-sugar drink. For my guide to alcohol and exercise, click here.
4. Pack Equipment: If you bring it with you in your suitcase, there is a good chance you’ll use it! Pack some resistance bands with you. They’re lightweight and don’t take up much room. You can use them on the plane, in the airport, or in your hotel room. I once had a 12-hour layover in the Barcelona airport. My friend and I used the time to workout… in our jeans… in the airport. No excuses, my friends!
5. Workout DVD: DVD’s are a great way to stay on a workout plan while you’re traveling. You only need a 6×6 space and a DVD player. You can get your workout in right at your hotel so you don’t have to worry about finding a place to workout.
6. Use Your Hotel Room: Hotel rooms offer space and sometimes some equipment! Try doing dips on the bathtub, decline push-ups with your feet on the bed, or squats while holding an iron (preferably, not plugged in!).
7. Walk to Dinner: …or anywhere else for that matter! It’s easy to hop in a cab, but if you walk to your destination, you’ll be kind to your body and your wallet!
8. Hit the Water: If you’re visiting a location by the water, get on in! Look into swimming, wakeboarding, waterskiing, sailing or anything that gets you moving! You’ll be having so much fun playing your sport that you won’t notice all of those calories you just burned. Awesome!
9. Spark Some Competition: Traveling with a friend or lover? Turn fitness into a game! The person that runs farther or faster, does the most waterskiing runs, or stays on their mountain bike the longest wins! And the loser? They get to buy dinner / drinks that night!
10. Find a CrossFit Gym: For those of you that love intensity and don’t want to go a week without a WOD (it’s ok, you can raise your hand. Mine’s raised!), then look no further than the local CrossFit gym. CrossFitters around the world love meeting other CrossFitters… because after all, CrossFit is a cult, right? By dropping into a class while you’re on vacation, you’ll meet the locals and get a good workout in! Maybe they’ll teach you where to get some Paleo friendly meals or where the best local pub is (It is vacation!) You’ll get a great workout in and make some new friends!
I’m not just a fan of travel and of fitness, I’m an advocate for it. Travel is about going outside your comfort zones, meeting new people, learning things about yourself, experiencing new adventures, and truly living. So on your next journey, create your own endorphin high, meet the locals, and enjoy coming home with tons of memories and a whittled waistline