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Arts & Culture

What to Know Before Traveling to Kyoto

With good planning and common sense, you can make your trip to Kyoto the most memorable adventure yet.

The one-time capital of Japan, Kyoto keeps many of their old traditions alive to this day. It’s a modern city that still holds so many temples and shrines festive and in great conditions.

Kyoto isn’t exactly a go-to destination for people who want to ride roller coasters or go surfing. But it’s an excellent spot for anyone hungry for Japanese culture and history.

Although there’s much to see, you can’t book a vacation in Kyoto unprepared. You run the risk of missing out on unique opportunities and experiences. Use this as your guide to having the most amazing vacation possible.

Planning Is Everything When Visiting Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto is rich in culture, history, and landmarks. It’s not one of the biggest cities in the world, but it still has so much for you to see.

When booking a vacation in Kyoto, the best advice anyone can give you is to plan ahead. Take some time and do some research. Better yet, try to find a local guide to point you in all the right directions. 

The selection of temples, shrines, eateries is massive. It’s easy to miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity without good planning.

Bring the Right Clothes

Kyoto’s seasonal weather is something you should prepare for before leaving. Summers get very hot while winters have freezing temperatures. Note that for three months, Kyoto isn’t just very hot but also very humid.

Make sure you pack enough layers if you plan on traveling to Kyoto after October. And bring enough light shirts with you when visiting in the summer. 

Always check the weather forecasts for advanced warning. Don’t forget your comfiest pair of shoes either. You’ll do a lot of walking and sightseeing after all.

The Transportation System Isn’t Tourist-Friendly

Even the locals think that the transportation system is too complicated. 

You’ll see lots of busses and so many lines that intersect. The trains can help you get to places faster, but they don’t always stop near popular hotspots. You can’t always walk to your destination, either.

In an effort to save time, consider buying a one day pass for the metro or busses.

Managing Crowds and Expenses

There’s a bigger issue than wondering where to stay in Kyoto. Sometimes it’s best to think harder about when you should go.

Thousands of tourists plan on visiting Kyoto every year. This means that you’ll find cheaper accommodations in the offseason and more vacancies.

It’s also a good idea to avoid the months of April to May if you don’t want to deal with masses of tourists. Interestingly enough, even the locals seem more welcoming in the offseason, which can lead to a more immersive experience for you.

How to Find the Best Value Meal

Many tourists travel on a tight budget. But that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the full experience of the local cuisine.

When traveling to Kyoto, take some time to research local eateries near your hotel. You should also know that every Kyoto restaurant offers multi-course meals at lunch and dinner.

If you want the best value, try to make your lunch the most important meal of the day. Many restaurants offer sampler menus. It can save you quite a few yen for other activities.

Set Money Aside for Tours and Attractions

There are many conflicting numbers regarding how many temples and shrines are in Kyoto. But you can bet that it’s not the City of Temples for no reason. But some say that there are at least 1,600 temples in the area, in addition to a couple of hundred shrines.

While most of these sites are free to enter, some charge admissions. And there are a couple of other attractions that charge for tours.

Enjoy most of the free activities that you can plan for. But set some money aside for paid tours, too, to avoid missing out on unique opportunities.

How to Exchange Your Money

If you want to buy or pay for something, you need to have some Japanese yen on you. So, it’s important that you exchange your money once you get there.

The best places to exchange currency are always banks and post offices. Yet, they’re not the most pleasant because of the wait.

An alternative is a kinken shop. These places also exchange unused event tickets.

If you want to withdraw your yen from an ATM, you can do that, too. Beware the conversion fees, though. Most ATMs will ask you if you wish to proceed with the conversion but always check the NO box to avoid the terrible rates of foreign banks.

How Much Should You Stay in Kyoto for a Full Experience?

In just three days, you can see most of the must-see Kyoto attractions. Unfortunately, that also means sticking to a strict and packed itinerary.

The best way to experience Kyoto is to go for a longer stay. Try to book a five-day or seven-day trip to take in more of what the city has to offer.

An extended visit will give you some flexibility and allow you to enjoy the sights even more. It will also give you time to explore the parks, gardens, and sample more of the local cuisine.

Besides, many of the top attractions aren’t in the city. Some of the most notable attractions involve taking a half-day trip beyond the city limits.

Enjoy Your Stay

Traveling to Kyoto demands good planning. Sure, it’s still exciting to discover things on your own, even if you are to get lost.

But it’s also a big area with lots to offer in and around the city. Take some time and think things through before you leave. Make sure that you get the best weather and enough time to do all the things you would enjoy.

If you do it right, Kyoto won’t burn a hole in your pocket by any means. And it also won’t hurt to study some Japanese etiquette before you go. Some locals may not be too fond of strangers that don’t know how to talk or behave around them.

Arts & Culture

Fun Things to Do in Destin: Beaches, Activities, Foodie Fun & More

Destin Florida Coastline

Forget spring break crowds, Destin is your year-round dose of Florida sunshine and good times.

We’re talking sugar-white sand beaches that squeak between your toes (seriously, it’s weird but cool), water so turquoise it’ll make your phone jealous (ditch the filter!), and enough activities to keep you busy from sunrise to sunset (or until last call at a beachfront tiki bar, no judgment).

Beach Bummin’ Like a Boss:

Destin boasts a stunning coastline with options for every beach bum. Here are a few to get you started:

1. Henderson Beach State Park

This calm paradise with its gentle waves is perfect for building sandcastle empires that rival medieval fortresses, soaking up the sun with a good book, or taking a romantic stroll along the shore hand-in-hand with your special someone.

Read More: ‌We’re Going to Miami – What to Know Before Visiting Florida’s Beach City

2. Crystal Sands Beach

This hidden gem boasts a vibrant coral reef teeming with colorful fish that look like they swam straight out of an aquarium. Grab your snorkel and get ready to be amazed by the underwater world. Imagine spotting a majestic sea turtle gliding past or a vibrant school of neon fish darting between the corals.

Read More: The 5 Top Theme Parks in Orlando (That Are Great for the Whole Family)

3. Jetty East Beach

Known for its consistent swells, this beach is a favorite among surfers of all levels. Just remember, dude etiquette applies (learn the surfer lingo and respect their space) and maybe check with a lifeguard first for safety tips before catching your first wave.

Beyond the Beach

Destin isn’t just a beach lovers’ paradise; it’s an adventurer’s playground!:

3. Get Your Motor Runnin’

Blast off on a jet ski adventure, feeling the wind whip through your hair as you race across the turquoise waters. Explore hidden coves and sandbars inaccessible by land, or feel the thrill of spotting playful dolphins leaping alongside you.

For a more relaxed pace, feel the gentle breeze on a pontoon cruise, soaking up the stunning scenery and keeping an eye out for marine life like majestic manta rays or curious sea turtles.

4. Dive Deep

Trade the beach towel for scuba gear and explore the wonders of the underwater world! Discover shipwrecks teeming with marine life, remnants of a bygone era encrusted with colorful coral and home to an array of fascinating fish.

Come face-to-face with a playful octopus camouflaged in the rocks, or witness a mesmerizing ballet of graceful stingrays gliding through the water. Capture brag-worthy vacation pics that’ll make your friends jealous (don’t worry, we won’t tell them about the underwater camera).

5. Fore!

Calling all golf enthusiasts! Destin boasts championship courses with epic views that will take your breath away. Imagine perfecting your swing on meticulously manicured greens with the emerald green of the course contrasting against the sparkling turquoise ocean.

Keep an eye out for a sneaky gator or two basking in the sun (don’t worry, they mostly keep to themselves!).

6. HarborWalk Village: It’s a Party!

This vibrant harborside village offers a kaleidoscope of experiences. Explore a variety of shops, from quirky beach boutiques to renowned art galleries, to find the perfect souvenir or a unique treasure. Indulge in delicious cuisine at waterfront restaurants, from fresh-caught seafood dishes to international flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.

Catch some live music spilling out from open-air cafes, setting the perfect ambiance for a romantic evening or a fun night out with friends. Maybe you’ll even have a dolphin encounter (seriously!), with these playful creatures known to frequent the harbor. Don’t miss a ride on the skywheel for breathtaking panoramic views of the harbor, the coastline, and the town twinkling below. It’s like a party on the harbor, minus the hangover (hopefully).

7. Big Kahuna’s Water Park

Beat the Florida heat and have a blast on epic slides that will send your heart racing, splash around in wave pools that mimic the ocean’s rhythm, or just relax on a lazy river float, letting your worries drift away. Big Kahuna’s Water Park is perfect for a day of family fun, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Race your friends down a thrilling water slide, scream together on a heart-stopping drop, or simply enjoy a relaxing afternoon soaking up the sun and the laughter of loved ones.

Foodie Paradise (Because Beach Days Make You Hungry):

Destin is a seafood lover’s dream come true. We’re talking fresh-off-the-boat catches that practically jump onto your plate. But there’s more to this delicious story:

8. Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House

Craving the taste of the ocean? Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House, located right on the beautiful Destin Harbor. Imagine this: Savor the freshest seafood catches, practically just-off-the-boat, while the gentle sea breeze carries the scent of salt air and the sound of waves lapping against the shore fills the background. 

Their menu is a celebration of the Gulf Coast’s bounty, from melt-in-your-mouth oysters to mouthwatering seafood specialties cooked to perfection. Plus, their waterfront location offers stunning views that make every meal an unforgettable experience.

9. AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar

A Destin institution, AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar has been a go-to for fresh catches and waterfront vibes since 1984. Located right on the Destin Harbor docks, AJ’s offers diners a chance to combine delicious seafood with stunning views. They’re famous for their oysters, shucked fresh from the Gulf Coast and served up chilled alongside a cold beverage. 

But their menu goes beyond just bivalves. From firecracker shrimp to award-winning seafood gumbo, AJ’s caters to a variety of palates. Live music adds to the lively atmosphere, making it a great spot to unwind and enjoy a taste of Destin.

10. The Village of Baytowne Wharf

This charming spot on the harbor is a haven for foodies. From casual cafes serving up fresh salads and juicy burgers to fancy restaurants with international flavors like sizzling fajitas or melt-in-your-mouth sushi, The Village of Baytowne Wharf has something for every taste bud.

Consider it your one-stop shop for culinary satisfaction. Imagine strolling cobblestone streets, the aroma of different cuisines wafting through the air, as you decide where to embark on your next delicious adventure. Whether you’re craving a taste of Italy, Mexico, or simply some classic American comfort food, The Village has you covered.

Bonus Round: Chill Vibes & Local Finds:

Destin isn’t all about high-octane adventures; it also offers a chance to unwind and discover the hidden gems of the area:

11. History Buff?

Take a fascinating journey into Destin’s rich past at the Destin History & Fishing Museum. Explore exhibits showcasing the town’s maritime heritage, from the days of early explorers to the bustling fishing industry that thrives today.

Learn about the fascinating role Destin played in World War II (pirates not included, but maybe mermaids – legends do persist after all!).

12. Explore Crab Island

Ever dreamed of chilling on a sandbar in the middle of a crystal-clear bay? Crab Island is your ticket to this slice of paradise. This shallow spot isn’t actually an island, but more like a giant sandbar hangout. 

Rent a pontoon boat with your crew, fire up the tunes, and cruise over for an afternoon unlike any other.

Read More: What to Do in Daytona Beach with Kids

13. Shop ’til You Drop

Hit up Destin Commons, an open-air mall paradise. Explore a variety of shops, from national brands to locally-owned boutiques, to find the perfect souvenir or a unique treasure that screams “I totally went to Destin and all I got was this awesome souvenir”. 

After all, retail therapy is a legitimate vacation activity, right? In between shops, grab a bite to eat at a trendy cafe or cool off with a refreshing drink. Destin Commons offers something for everyone, making it the perfect spot to spend a relaxing afternoon.

Read More: The 10 Most Exciting Activities in Orlando, US

Destin, Florida, isn’t just another beach town; it’s a vibrant tapestry woven with sugary-white sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise water, and endless possibilities for fun. Whether you’re a beach bum who dreams of building sandcastle empires and soaking up the sun, a thrill-seeker craving adventure on the water or exploring hidden underwater worlds, or a die-hard foodie with a passion for fresh seafood and international flavors, Destin has something to make your vacation unforgettable.

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Trip Ideas

50+ Orlando Activities for Adults (Girls Trip Guide!)

Orlando

Orlando: the name conjures images of Mickey Mouse, roller coasters, and family vacations. But what if you told me Orlando offers an amazing getaway for a girls’ trip too? It’s true! Beyond the theme parks (which can still be a ton of fun for adults!), Orlando boasts a vibrant nightlife, luxurious spas, world-class dining, and unique adventures.

So, grab your besties, pack your dancing shoes, and get ready to explore the unexpected side of Orlando! This guide has over 50 ideas to make your girls’ trip unforgettable.

Thrill Seekers and Foodies

Theme Park Adventures (with a twist!): While Orlando is famous for theme parks, skip the lines for rides aimed at little ones. Instead, focus on the thrilling coasters and epic water rides at Universal Orlando or Busch Gardens. For a unique Disney experience, consider an adult-oriented tour like the EPCOT® Behind the Scenes Tour.

Read More: MADRIDThe 9 Essential Madrid Sights for Art and History Lovers

Wine & Dine: Indulge in Orlando’s upscale culinary scene. Savor delicious steaks at The Boathouse or enjoy a farm-to-table experience at Maxine’s on Shine. Don’t forget to explore Orlando’s International Drive for a world of flavors!

Relax and Recharge

Spa Day Bliss: Unwind and rejuvenate at one of Orlando’s luxurious spas. Treat yourselves to massages, facials, and other pampering treatments. For a truly unique experience, visit The Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa or try the My Beer Spa, where you can soak in a tub infused with hops and craft beer!

Read More: The 12 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Denver, Colorado

Poolside Paradise: Many resorts offer day passes to their stunning pools. Lounge by the pool with a cocktail in hand, soak up the Florida sunshine and catch up with your girlfriends.

Culture and Creativity

Explore Winter Park: This charming town is a must-visit for art lovers. Stroll through the streets lined with galleries, boutiques, and antique shops. Catch a live performance at the Winter Park Playhouse or enjoy a gourmet picnic in Central Park.

Mural Mania: Orlando has a thriving street art scene. Rent bikes and explore the unique murals scattered around the city. Capture some Instagram-worthy snaps with your squad!

Nightlife and Entertainment

Hit the Dance Floor: Orlando offers a vibrant nightlife scene. Dance the night away at a club like EVE Orlando or grab a cocktail and enjoy live music at a rooftop bar.

Catch a Show: From Broadway productions to comedy clubs, Orlando has something for everyone. Grab tickets to a show and enjoy a night of laughter and entertainment with your girlfriends.

Unique Experiences

Hot Air Balloon Ride: Soar above the clouds and experience breathtaking views of Orlando in a hot air balloon.

Read More: The 9 Reasons You Should Visit Daytona Beach

Airboat Tour: Embark on an exciting airboat tour through the Florida Everglades and spot alligators and other wildlife in their natural habitat.

Read More: Brussels Isn’t Just About Sprouts – 12 Gorgeous Sights in Belgium’s Capital

Beyond the List

This list just scratches the surface of what Orlando has to offer for adults. Consider taking a cooking class, attending a sporting event, or visiting one of Orlando’s many museums. The key is to personalize your trip and create memories that will last a lifetime!

Bonus Tip: For budget-friendly activities, check out Orlando’s many free events, like concerts in the park or farmers markets.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, grab your girlfriends, and get ready to discover the magic of Orlando for adults!

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South Carolina

15 Epic Things To Do In Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach

Forget everything you think you know about Myrtle Beach. Sure, it’s got the classic miles of sun-drenched shores (perfect for perfecting your tan lines), but this South Carolina gem offers way more than just catching rays.

We’re talking epic adventures that’ll have you ditching the “been there, done that” attitude faster than a sandcastle in a hurricane. So, crank up the beach tunes, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready to experience Myrtle Beach like never before!

Beach Boss Status

Claim your spot on the 60 miles of pristine coastline. Soak up the sun like a lizard on a rock, build sandcastles that would make Michelangelo jealous, or conquer those waves with a surfboard (lessons available, don’t worry!).

Read More: Why You Must Visit Myrtle Beach Next

Paddle Party

Feeling more Captain Jack Sparrow than Captain Sunburn? Grab a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard and explore the calm waters. It’s like your own private ocean adventure, minus the whole pirate ship and buried treasure thing (although, hey, keep your eyes peeled!).

Read More: Dining in Myrtle Beach? Don’t Miss These Restaurants

Surfing Sensation

Channel your inner Kelly Slater and catch a wave! Myrtle Beach offers lessons for newbies and seasoned surfers alike. Imagine the epic stories you’ll tell your friends back home (and the jealousy-inducing Instagram pics).

SkyWheel Soaring

Take your beach bummin’ to new heights with a ride on the iconic Myrtle Beach SkyWheel. Witness the entire coastline from 192 feet above sea level – seriously, the views are BANANAS!

Ripley’s Aquarium

Dive into an underwater wonderland at Ripley’s Aquarium. Come face-to-face with playful penguins, majestic sharks, and everything in between. Just don’t tap on the glass – that’s, like, aquarium etiquette 101.

Broadway at the Beach

Get ready for a dazzling mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment all in one spot! Catch a live show, experience the thrill of a roller coaster, or simply stroll around and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.

Myrtle Beach State Park

Need a break from the beach crowds? Myrtle Beach State Park is your answer. Hike along scenic trails, spot some incredible birds (birdwatching is the new cool, don’t @ me), or have a picnic under the shade of towering trees. Nature therapy, people!

Huntington Beach State Park

Calling all beach bums who appreciate a little extra somethin’ somethin’. Huntington Beach offers pristine shores, nature trails, and the chance to witness a miracle of nature – baby sea turtles hatching during nesting season (May-October). Talk about cute!

Kayaking Through Cypress Swamps

Ever paddled through a swamp that looks like it came straight out of a Jurassic Park movie? This is your chance! Explore the intricate waterways of the Cypress swamps, discover a hidden world teeming with wildlife, and pretend you’re Indiana Jones on the hunt for treasure (minus the snakes, hopefully).

Brookgreen Gardens

Get your art and history fix at Brookgreen Gardens. Imagine sculptures so beautiful they’d make Michelangelo weep (okay, maybe not weep, but definitely be impressed). Seriously, this place is a feast for the eyes.

Hopsewee Plantation

Take a trip back in time at Hopsewee Plantation, a historic rice plantation that offers tours and insights into the area’s rich past. It’s a chance to learn something new while exploring a super cool historic site.

Murrells Inlet MarshWalk

Experience the charm of Murrells Inlet at the MarshWalk. Enjoy fresh seafood so good it’ll make you slap your mama (but hopefully not literally), stroll along the boardwalk, and soak in the stunning coastal views. It’s the perfect way to end a day of adventure.

Hollywood Wax Museum

Ever wanted to rub shoulders with your favorite celebs? Well, almost rub shoulders? The Hollywood Wax Museum lets you do just that!

Create hilarious (and Insta-worthy) photos with your favorite stars.

Get Hooked on Fishing

Hit the water on a fishing charter and see what you can reel in! The Atlantic Ocean is teeming with a variety of fish, making it an angler’s paradise.

Read More: The 10 Most Popular Activities in Myrtle Beach, US

Mini Golf Mania

With more mini golf courses than you can shake a putter at, Myrtle Beach is the undisputed Mini Golf Capital of the World!

Putt your way through pirate adventures, underwater landscapes, and even glow-in-the-dark courses.

Read More: Here’s What to Do on Your Trip to Charleston, US

So there you have it, 15 epic ways to make your Myrtle Beach trip unforgettable! From heart-pounding thrills to historical explorations, this vibrant beach town has something to offer everyone. Now get out there and explore!

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