Travel Roundup - Favorite Vacation Spots of 2017
Updated: Nov 21, 2018
Happy New Year!
One of our resolutions for 2018 is to go on adventures and travel more. If you are like us, you have already started brainstorming and researching cities to visit this year! Last year we traveled to Austin, Daytona Beach, Orlando, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sonoma, Napa, and Miami. Whew!! Quite a few destinations!
To help you get away and explore new places, we compiled a comprehensive 1-Day Guide to our favorite vacation spots of 2017. From happy hours and nice dinners to activities and beaches, we got you covered. Trust us! We know how to have fun on any budget. Let us know which city you want to explore in the comments.
From eccentric street art to scenic biking trails, Austin has a lot to offer every tourist. You can check out the full Weekend Guide here. Oh! If you are hungry for some vegan food, Austin has the best. Find the hottest spots on the Vegan Food Guide: Austin, Texas.
1-Day Guide: Hiking, Pool Preserve and Brewery Tour
Morning Run: Austin has a lot of running and walking trails. Check out Top 5 Running Routes in Austin if you want a good workout!
Breakfast: Get a delicious vegetarian or non-vegetarian breakfast at Bouldin Creek Cafe. We love to order The Renedict: Eggs or tofu scramble, tomatoes, tofu bacon ‘fakon’ on a grilled ciabatta. Topped with spinach & house-made vegan hollandaise sauce ($12).
Activity 1: Drive to Hamilton Pool Preserve to see "a natural pool/waterfall that was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion thousands of years ago." Once you get to the preserve, you have to hike a quarter of a mile to get to the pool. Bring water and comfortable shoes ($15).
Activity 2: Drive back to the South Lamar area and explore Austin's street art. This is FREE fun. A detailed list of murals and their locations can be found here.
Activity 2: Take a Brewery Tour at Hops and Grain (FREE). After your tour, grab a beer in the Tap Room ($10)
Dinner: Splurge by eating a three-course meal at Lenoir - a local farm to table restaurant ($55). Vegetarian/Vegan options are available!
Total: $102 tax and gas/taxi rides not included
Daytona Beach/Orlando, FL
Surprisingly, Central Florida is one of the world's most fabulous travel destinations. If you only visit the area to see theme parks, then you are missing out. There are fun and exciting activities you can do to create a vacation you will remember. Check out the full Weekend Guide here.
1-Day Guide: – Daytona Beach and Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse
Breakfast: Interested in an old-school eatery serving up American & Greek classics? Head to Townhouse Restaurant for great food and fair prices. They have biscuits and gravy, omelets and more. Vegan options are available ($10)
Activity 1: Drive to Daytona Beach to soak up the sun and swim. Schedule a surfing/paddle board session at Vast Oceans Surf and Sup School. Vast Oceans is the #1 beach location in Daytona. If you book a session, ask for Ryan Ragan to teach you. He was an Olympic Surfer and the best teacher! ($90)
Activity 2: After your lesson drive 11 miles south on Peninsula Dr. to visit a quieter beach in Ponce Inlet. It is a local spot! You will see many surfers riding the waves.
Lunch: Head to Hidden Treasure and have lunch right on the beach in Ponce Inlet. Enjoy this tiki bar on the inlet for steaks, seafood & pasta. Vegan options are available ($15)
Activity 3: Next to Hidden Treasure, you’ll find The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse. This lighthouse is also a museum! The structure is 175 feet in height and is the tallest lighthouse in the state…one of the tallest in the United States! (Museum Admission $7)
Dinner: Enjoy Spanish inspired entrees at Café Tu Tu Tango in Orlando. We love this place because it has live entertainment and the artists paint as you eat. The white sangria is delicious. Vegan options are available ($15-20)
Total: $140- 145 tax and gas/taxi rides not included
Los Angeles, CA
Who does not love LA? We made it a yearly habit of traveling to Los Angeles, California. We did this mainly because my best friend from Vassar College lives in the city. Check out the full Weekend Guide here.
1-Day Guide: Color Wall Hunt and Venice Beach
Breakfast: Donut judge us for loving donuts! Blue Star Donuts is a minimalist cafe for grab-and-go brioche donuts in grown-up flavors such as blueberry-bourbon-basil. They are vegan too! ($5)
Activity 1: Color wall hunt. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love taking pictures in front of colorful walls and buildings. LA’s street art is very “instgrammable.” Get a list of the places we went to by checking this guide by Racked out! (FREE)
Lunch: Taking pictures can make you hungry. Stop by Vegan Glory for a delicious Thai meal. Vegans and non-vegans can dine here and be satisfied. We got the lunch special! Your entree of choice will come with steamed brown rice, spring roll, salad, and soup of the day. That is a ton of food! ($12)
Activity 2: Color wall hunt continued. *Note: Be sure to stop by Venice Beach. There are a lot of colorful street art in the area. (FREE)
Dinner: For upscale dining, head to Crossroads Kitchen. This restaurant is 100% plant-based with a full bar. The menu has a Mediterranean feel, and most guests do not even know that the restaurant is vegan! The food is that good. ($18).
Activity 3: Have enough energy for a nightcap? Stop by Congregation Ale House in Pasadena. This American pub not only has a nice rotating tap selection but is also decorated to represent a cathedral. ($10)
Total: $45 tax and gas/taxi rides not included
San Francisco, CA
Known for diversity, views, and culture, San Francisco is a great city to visit. You want to see these tips, top attractions, hidden gems and more. Check out the full Weekend Guide here.
1-Day Guide: Bay Cruise and Walking Tour
Breakfast: Enjoy a fresh vegan meal at Seed & Salt. We love the S+S Breakfast Sandwich. The sandwich is made out of a savory chickpea frittata with walnut chorizo, cashew “cheddar” cheese, caramelized onions, pimento mayo and sprouts all on a gluten-free chia baguette. ($10)
Activity 1: Want to see the most crooked street in the world?! Visits Lombard Street for view San Francisco’s most famous landmark. (FREE) Here are a few tips on how to get there according to SF Travel:
Bus: Take the 30, which runs from Union Square. Get off on Columbus near Lombard. Walk west (uphill) to get to Jones. This is the bottom of the hill where the curvy part of Lombard Street begins.
Cable car: The Hyde Street cable car will drop you off at the top of the curvy part of the street. Also, The Powell-Mason cable car line stops at Lombard and Columbus.
Car: Note that the curvy portion of Lombard Street only runs one way, towards the east. To drive, you’ll want to come to this street from Van Ness, turning east on Lombard.
Activity 2: If you visit the Bay area, then you must go on a Bay Cruise. This fully narrated, 60-minute cruise will take you to the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island (you will hear stories of life on “The Rock” from the inmates, guards, and families who lived and worked on the Island), SF water-front, the Presidio and more! ($29)
Lunch: Eat at Pat’s Café for some home cookin’. American inspired brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays. Vegan options are available but limited. ($8)
Activity 4: An excellent way to see the city is by walking. Head over to the Transamerica Pyramid for a free walking tour by Free Tours By Foot. You can a reserve a tour centered around the Gold Rush, Chinatown, Downtown, Little Italy and more! We took The Gold, Guns, and Fire: The San Francisco Gold Rush tour. It was incredible! (FREE, you pay what you want)
Activity 5: Color wall hunt round 2! Enjoy color wall hunting in SF after your tour. You can find a different guide here. (FREE)
Dinner: For sustainable and delicious vegetarian dishes head to Greens in Marina Bay. The panoramic views are unbelievable! We HIGHLY recommend this restaurant to everyone. The Green Corn Soup and Green Curry were to die. ($45)
Total Per Person: $95 plus tax and gas/taxi rides not included
I am a wine enthusiast. The more wine I drink, the more enthusiastic I become! We loved our experience with Napa Valley Wine County Tours so much we had to share it with all of you. Check out the full review here.
1-Day Guide: Sample Tour Itinerary
Party bus picks you up at two locations. The pick-up places are at 8:20 AM Union Square and 8:40 AM Pier 39
Drive To The Golden Gate Bridge
Quick Photo Op of Golden Gate Bridge at Vista Point
Complimentary Mimosas at Vista Point
Shuttle to Napa Valley
Jacuzzi Family Vineyards – Sonoma – tasting fee not included
“Yes, it is that Jacuzzi family, known for the invention of the Jacuzzi pump and spa. Jacuzzi Family Vineyards are farmed the “Green String” way; natural and sustainable. They do not use pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers or herbicides. They challenge the conventions into healthy farms. In cooperation with Cline Cellars, Jacuzzi is becoming one of the most recognized vineyards in the Carneros District with its Italian varietal wines and tasty olive oils – a must in Sonoma."
Larson Family Winery – Sonoma – tasting fee not included
“At Larson Family Winery, we blend our passion for wine-making with our hard-working, fun-loving country lifestyle, as seamlessly as we blend our wines. We are located in the heart of the Carneros region, on land that has been in our family for almost 120 years. We were once home to the largest Rodeo in Northern California and have lots of memorabilia in our barn turned tasting room. So bring the family, enjoy a picnic, play some bocce, visit our goats, and be sure to try our wines! Hurry down now, because “We drink what we can, and sell the rest!”
Madonna or Kieu Hoang – Napa Winery – tasting fee not included
(We went to Kieu Hoang) “Kieu Hoang’s journey to find KH good-healthy cells to improve quality of life Mr. Kieu Hoang is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist, originally from Vietnam. He is the CEO of RAAS, Inc (USA) and Vice Chairman of Shanghai RAAS Blood Products, China. Since 2010 Mr. Kieu Hoang has focused his research in areas of wellness that improve the quality of life. Through his studies on different foods and plants, he has come across numerous findings. Studying Red wine , in particular, caught his attention. In his research he found that good healthy cells did not just exist in human plasma but also in red wine; he found that a small grape has 5000 more genes than a human being. In his findings, Kieu Hoang Wines showed the highest level of High-Density Lipoprotein among more than 100 tested items."
Andretti Winery – Napa Winery – tasting fee not included
Nestled alongside a quiet country lane in the heart of the legendary Napa Valley, Andretti Winery exudes Old World Charm as it whisks wine lovers back in time to a slower pace of life. Modeled after a rambling Italian village, the winery conjures up the boyhood home of its namesake, Mario Andretti, the finest race car driver of all time.
Party bus drops you off. The drop off location is at 5:00 PM at Pier 39 and then Union Square.
Total Per Person: $119 per person, tax not included
We love The Magic City because it is a playground for adults. Art Deco beaches, Latin-inspired culture, and lush marine life are some qualities travelers love. Check out the full Weekend Guide here.
Day 1 – How to Explore Miami on $50 a Day
• Activity 1: We love murals. Enjoy color wall hunting in Miami. Before it becomes crowded, head to the Wynwood District and take some photos of the murals. Be sure to go early. Trust us..there will be tons of people walking around later. The art in this neighborhood is fantastic. You can find a guide here (FREE). • Breakfast: Head to Bunnie Cakes for some vegan cupcakes, cookies, cakes, and donuts. There are gluten-free options too. The storefront is decked out in cheerful, inviting colors and sayings. You want to visit! *Warning: They are overpriced. ($6). • Activity 2: To see more graffiti and street art, walk over to the Wynwood Walls.
According to the Wynwood Walls site, “The Wynwood Walls program has seen over 50 artists representing 16 countries and have covered over 80,000 square feet of walls. They have become a must-see international destination, with media coverage that has included the New York Times, BBC News, Vanity Fair, and Forbes, who mentioned them along with Wynwood on their list of America’s hippest neighborhoods.” You can visit this street art museum for free or experience its full effect by taking a tour. We did not do this, but if you have extra cash feel free to book a private walking tour here (FREE). • Lunch: Grab a bite to eat at DIRT. They make real, clean farm fresh food. They offer vegan, vegetarian, grass-fed, gluten-free and paleo dishes. We recommend the Clean Bowl or the Dirty Vegan Salad ($11).
See the full guide here.
Total Per Person: $48.50 plus tax and gas/taxi rides not included
Thanks for reading our Travel Roundup - My Favorite Vacation Spots of 2017! Which city is your favorite?
Until Next Time,
“Your life is happening now. Make it amazing!”