My Top 10 Travel Destinations

One question I get asked a lot is, “Of all the places you’ve traveled to, where is your favorite?!” I thought it would be really fun to make the list of my top travel destinations I’ve ever been to! I’m starting with Top 5 International, then you’ll find my Top 5 within the United States. I’ve done travel guides for all of these places, so feel free to click on the title if you want to explore each destination a little deeper. As always, feel free to ask me questions in the comment section and I’ll get back to you there!

Top 5 International Travel Destinations

#1 Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast without a doubt is my #1 travel destination! I have been twice and somehow find myself still wanting to go back every year. It is unlike any other place in the world – so far away, and yet somehow feels like home at the same time. From the tiny colored houses that line Positano’s sweeping hills, to the exquisite luxury hotels overlooking the coast in Ravello, to the intoxicating smell of lemons in Capri (from all the lemon trees!), it is truly the most breathtaking place I’ve ever been in the world. John Steinbeck once said, “Positano bite deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” And I have to agree – from the moment you first catch sight of the views from the Amalfi Coast, you’ll have to pinch yourself to make sure it’s real. Photos and even videos simply can’t do it justice. If you’re planning a trip, I would plan multiple stops – my favorites are Positano, Ravello and Capri. The best time of year to go (in my opinion!) is May or early June, because the temperatures are mild, the flowers are blooming and it’s not quite peak season, so you don’t have to worry about crowds.

#2 Greece

I had been dreaming of visiting Greece every since I was young. For years I could not get those whitewashed walls, blue domes and endless sea views out of my head! Chris and I were lucky enough to visit Greece on our honeymoon – and it was everything we thought it would be and more. We flew into Mykonos and stayed there for five days, then took a short ferry over to Santorini, where we stayed for another five days. We both agreed it was the perfect amount of time. I think if you’re going to travel all the way to Greece, then you really need to experience both islands. Mykonos is known as the “party island” – there are tons of beach clubs and bars, many staying open into the wee hours of the morning; while Santorini is where you go to relax. White little houses all stacked on a hill, with a smattering of blue domes and the glittering Aegean Sea in the background – Santorini is truly a breathtaking sight to behold.

#3 St. Lucia

I am itching to get back to St. Lucia – it’s my favorite island in the Caribbean! My mom and I visited three years ago and to this date, it is still our favorite trip together. St. Lucia is more mountainous than most Caribbean islands, with two mountains, the Pitons, forming the island’s most famous landmark. We stayed at Anse Chastanet resort and loved it – the resort has a fantastic view of the Pitons and a beautiful private beach, plus some of the best food I’ve ever tasted in the entire world. We snorkeled among the fish, took a helicopter over the island, dined in a treehouse and fell asleep to the sound of the ocean at night. If you’re looking for the perfect honeymoon spot, I would highly recommend Jade Mountain – each room has it’s own private infinity pool with a stunning view!

#4 Aruba

Aruba isn’t the nicest or most luxurious place I’ve ever been to, but my trip to Aruba last year with my mom was SO MUCH fun, and it was such an ​easy trip. We took a short direct flight to Aruba, and after a quick 15 minute drive from the airport to our hotel, we were there! We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel (which I reviewed here) and while the rooms were small and in need of some updates, the major draw was Flamingo Beach – the private island owned by the Renaissance Hotel. If you couldn’t tell by the name, Flamingo Beach is full of flamingos, and they walk around like they own the place! They walk in and around lounge chairs, and you can even feed them special food from the palm of your hand. If you stay at the Renaissance, you have free and unlimited access to Flamingo Beach every day – there’s even a free boat ride over the island. My mom and I both agreed it was one of the coolest experiences we’ve ever had. Besides getting to see the the flamginos, the convenience and ease of getting to Aruba really added value for us, plus we loved the food and how safe we felt the entire time.

#5 Banff, Canada

Banff, Canada is truly magical. Imagine the bluest water you’ve ever seen, juxtaposed against snowy mountains rising high into the sky. Both Banff and Lake Louise were incredibly stunning – you don’t need to be an outdoorsy type of person to enjoy a trip like this – and you don’t need a fancy camera to capture incredible photos here. Although the skiing is said to be amazing in Banff, I personally think the fall is the best time to go! Thinking about our trip to Banff makes me want to put on my coziest sweater and curl up by the fireplace.

….and Within the U.S.

#1 Charleston

Of course Charleston is at the top of this list! I’ve been visiting Charleston ever since I was a little girl, because it’s so close to Charlotte, where I grew up. Charleston will also be forever special to me because Chris and I got married there last June! Over the course of three centuries, Charleston – one of the oldest, most storied cities in America – has developed a rich culture that embodies the best of southern charm. My mom and I joke that Charleston is the Paris of the south 😉 Walk alongside the pastel colored mansions and palm trees on Rainbow Row, take a sunset cruise through Charleston’s harbor, go shopping on King Street, and savor the taste of shrimp and grits with a side of sweet tea. We love the Belmond Hotel or the Market Pavilion – over the years I’ve done multiple Travel Guides and posts from Charleston, you can find all of them here!​

#2 Hawaii

I had to include Hawaii on this list! This year we wanted to to go somewhere warm for Christmas, and Hawaii seemed like the natural choice: it had been on our bucket list forever, it’s always warm, and you don’t even need your passport! I did a ton of research to figure out which island we should stay on, and finally ended up with Oahu. It seemed like there was the most to do in Oahu, and you can explore pretty much the entire island by car since it’s only a couple hours drive from top to bottom. Our entire family loved Hawaii – half of the time we spent exploring, while the other half we spent lounging by the pool or on the beach. The Hawaiian culture is so fun, too – your hotel will probably hang a lei made of fresh flowers around your neck when you arrive, and you should definitely take some surfing lessons or learn how to hula while you’re there. We also loved visiting Lanikai Beach, the North Shore, and the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens.

#3 Palm Beach, Florida

Without a doubt, Palm Beach is one of the prettiest (and ritziest) cities in the United States. Although Palm Beach started as a winter resort for celebrities, its temperate climate (with an average annual temperature of 78 degrees) has made it an attractive destination year-round. Located right on the ocean, this charming beach town oozes extravagance – it’s filled with amazing restaurants, luxurious hotels and stores galore. You’ll find the coolest things – like orchids growing out of trees and potted hydrangeas in every corner and crevice! We stayed at the Brazilian Court Hotel and walked over to Worth Avenue every day for shopping and dining.

#4 Aspen, Colorado

Aspen will always hold a special piece of my heart. The best time to go to Aspen (I think!) is during the fall! The leaves in Aspen peak a little sooner than everywhere else in the country because of the high elevation. The Aspen trees product a brilliant yellow color during peak season, and it’s absolutely stunning! Although if you like to ski, the winter is a no-brainer too. I recommend Hotel Jerome for your stay (it’s sooo cozy), and definitely take a bus up to Maroon Bells, two of Colorado’s most famous mountains and one of the most photographed peaks in all of North America.

#5 California…. all of California!

I could 100% live in California… if it wasn’t so far away from my family! Everyone in California is sooo laid-back, the weather is an even 70 degrees pretty much year-round, and the sun seems to be ALWAYS shining. I also love the food – it’s so easy to eat healthy in California because there are healthy restaurants and juice shops everywhere! My favorite destinations in California are LA, San Francisco and Palm Springs.

Let me know YOUR favorite travel destination spot!! xoxo

Leave a Comment

33 Comments

  1. Ah I’ve been hoping you would do a post like this! St. Lucia is definitely on my Caribbean bucket list. For US destinations I love Myrtle Beach, Las Vegas and NYC- and of course visiting Charlotte since I don’t live there anymore. 🙂

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    2.19.19Reply
  2. Greece is my top destination too! We went for our honeymoon and loved every minute of it. We talked about going there every 5th anniversary and our 5 year is coming up. I’m hoping to go back!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

    2.19.19Reply
  3. What a nice travel list!! Those places sound dreamy, but I really want to visit the Amalfi Coast and a few of the Greece Islands. And I could not agree more with you about California, preferably Southern California- I freaking love it there and the weather is absolutely perfect!
    Xx Janine
    https://walkinmysneaks.blogspot.com/

    2.19.19Reply
  4. I’ve just added so many spots to my travel bucket list lol – haven’t been to ANY of your top 5 international places yet! Thanks for the post!

    2.19.19Reply
  5. Laura Leigh

    Really fun post! Enjoyed reading about your favorites – including some that have been on my travel wish list. You’ve definitely convinced me to make them happen!

    xo Laura Leigh
    Louella Reese

    2.19.19Reply
  6. Caroline

    Great post!! Where is the dress from that you are wearing in the first photo at the dinner table? Love it!

    2.19.19Reply
  7. Ashley

    I’ve always wanted to go to Charleston!! I have family that lives in Charlotte, but we never had the chance to go exploring. I’ve heard so many amazing things about it!

    I haven’t done much traveling, but Tahquamenon Falls is definitely my favorite place to vacation in Michigan! Even though it’s still in my homestate, it takes roughly 5 hours + to get there. The Upper Peninsula is basically another state compared to the Lower Peninsula!

    xoxo
    Ashley
    https://www.blessedinlilly.com

    2.19.19Reply
  8. Abbie

    Thank you for this!!!! Since you do travel so much, do you use an airline specific credit card or a credit card to build up points?

    2.19.19Reply
    • Hey Abbie, yes! I am an American Airlines member since North Carolina is a huge AA hub! I use it to rack up airline points 🙂

      2.19.19Reply
  9. Such a great list, thanks for consolidating everything! I’m going to Charleston for a weekend in May and will take a look at your guide 🙂

    Olga
    http://www.littlethingsolga.com

    2.19.19Reply
  10. They seem like awesome destinations and for this past year I’ve been thinking a lot about traveling. Me and a friend of mine are planning on going to Milan, have you ever been? How was it?

    2.19.19Reply
    • Yes I’ve been to Milan although I was only there for two days! We loved the Duomo and the shopping centers around the Duomo, although it was VERY crowded everywhere we went in Milan! Kind of reminded me of New York but a little prettier because of all the architecture 🙂

      2.19.19Reply
  11. One of my favorites is the Outer Banks in North Carolina! So laid back, beautiful, and so much to see and do! Loved reading all about your amazing travels!

    2.19.19Reply
  12. LOVE LOVE LOVE!! All of these places are on my bucket list for sure! I’ve only been to one so far, Charleston and it was amazing!!! Would love to go back.
    XO, Katie | http://www.meshkomoments.com/travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina/

    2.19.19Reply
  13. Dying to go to Greece!! And yes! I’ve lived in California my whole life, and I could never live anywhere else! Sadly, though, it has been in the 50’s for a while, haha

    Blondie in the City

    2.20.19Reply
  14. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out San Diego, too! I’m a traitor to my own city (LA) because I think it’s better in many ways… haha.

    Very inspired by your trips outside of the US – I hope to make it to Greece within the next few years.

    xx,
    Liz at onedaywander.com

    2.20.19Reply
  15. Kaitlin

    I’ve added these to my list!! Aruba and St Lucia look like amazing honeymoon places. Since you travel so often- have you found a key time window to book US flights (and international) for the best price on tickets?? I’m doing some traveling this summer and in a few years and I’ve wondered this. A friend told me it never matters- 4 weeks out versus 8 weeks out and I think they are wrong!! Lol

    2.20.19Reply
    • Hey Kaitlin, Someone once told me that Tuesday mornings were the best time to book! I’m not sure if that’s true, but I usually look at flights through Google Flights and then I’ll set an alert for a flight I want – it will notify you when the price drops!

      3.5.19Reply
  16. We lived in SoCal for 5 years and loved it – we felt like we were on vacation the whole time! Endless outdoor activities and even more quality places to get delicious, farm to table food (my favorite!). My favorite vacation of all time was to London and Scotland. The Highlands are otherworldly magical (linked to my post below!) and London is so exciting and beautiful! Loved your post for some more close-to-home vacation ideas! 💙

    https://miaatthemoment.com/2018/08/13/edinburgh-part-2/

    2.20.19Reply
  17. Gotta check all the international places out!

    http://www.thegirlswhobrunch.com

    2.21.19Reply
  18. Great post, Caitlin! I 100% agree with Greece! When I went to Santorini ten years ago (way before Instagram times), there weren’t any blue rooftops. They were white and the people were getting ready to paint them blue again so it was a huge bummer to miss it all. Nonetheless, the island was BEAUTIFUL! I’ve always wanted to visit each of those places you’ve mentioned so I’ll be saving your post!

    Considering you liked the Flamingo beach, I hope you go to the Giraffe Manor in Kenya one day!

    She Sweats Diamonds

    2.21.19Reply
  19. Christen

    I love this post and am completely inspired to visit Charleston… maybe I’ll use my taxes and take my kiddo on a trip!
    We live in California, I have to agree about how easy it is to eat healthy, but 70 year round? Lol! The snow this morning argues against that. The places you mentioned that can be true of though 😊
    I adore your posts and your website! As a wannabe southern girl (elementary school in Texas) I would love to learn more about southern traditions.
    Thank you so much for the beauty you put into the world!
    (Insta @cllatour if you’re curious about my little corner of California)

    2.21.19Reply
  20. Cristen

    I am headed to the amalfi coast (Praiano) and Santorini and Mykonos this summer and I cannot wait!! I checked out your Greece travel guides! I was wondering if you have any recommendations on how to get around on the analfi coast? I’ve heard there is a bus, but don’t know how feasible it is.

    2.21.19Reply
    • We had a driver take us from one location to the next! But you will probably be able to walk to everywhere when you’re at your hotel or wherever you’re staying! Once we got to Positano we were able to walk everywhere and then we got a driver to take us to the next city!

      3.5.19Reply
  21. Ahh adding all of these to my bucket list! Your photos are just GORGEOUS!!

    Lauren Lindmark
    https://dailydoseofcharm.com

    2.21.19Reply
  22. I am now itching to travel to ALL of these places! Banff, Canada has been on my list for SO long I just need to GO! I have always wanted to go to the Amalfi Coast too but planning a trip like that seems so daunting, haha!

    Love posts like this. Travel posts are just the best!

    xoxo,
    Juliana Grace | http://www.julianagraceblogspace.com

    2.21.19Reply
  23. Brittany

    I enjoyed see your list of top places to visit! I remember you had been to Iceland not too long ago, do you recommend going? My husband and I are thinking of planning a trip. Out of curiosity, where would you rank Iceland on your list of places to go?

    Have you ever thought of writing a post about credit cards and using points? I would love to learn more about if and/or how you use your points to make travel cheaper! 🙂

    2.22.19Reply
  24. Meghan

    Your pictures are always so dreamy! If you made Lightroom presets to sell, I would buy them in a heartbeat!

    2.25.19Reply
  25. So many dreamy places to visit!

    2.26.19Reply
  26. Molly

    Love your blog & instagram ! We have many of the same favorite travel places!! Hands down, Amalfi Coast, Positano!! ❤️

    3.3.19Reply
  27. Jenni Prater

    This was so helpful!
    My boyfriend and I were just thinking of places to go this summer, I definitely have some new ideas now thanks to you!! 🙂

    3.6.19Reply
  28. Clarissa

    Love this! Did you go to Tulum recently as well? My husband and I are thinking of going this year but now I see it didn’t even make your top 10. Thoughts on Tulum?

    3.6.19Reply
  29. LC

    Loved reading this!! Banff has been on my bucket list since I first saw it on your blog!! I’ve been to two of the islands on your list—St. Lucia and Aruba, and totally agree that they’re both amazing!! If you return to St. Lucia, you might consider at least a few days at The BodyHoliday, a resort totally focused on health and wellness, and you get a complimentary spa treatment each day of your stay! It’s on the side of the island opposite the airport, so we took the helicopter there, which was fun! As for Aruba, last year, we stayed at Bucuti & Tara, the #1 resort on the island, and we also recommend it for gorgeous ocean front rooms, yummy food and complete bliss & tranquility. P.S. before every Caribbean trip, I consult your blog for outfit ideas from YOUR last island getaway and always order a few pieces, so thank you for both the outfit & travel inspiration!!!

    3.6.19Reply