Plans for the Upcoming Year

I am lucky enough to have a family that brings me on amazing trips almost every year and I cannot thank them enough for it. This year, the fam is venturing to Marco Island, Florida. I haven’t been to Florida since I went to Disney as a kid, so it’ll kind of be an entirely new experience for me. My parents have been thinking about moving down there after they retire so the trip is really half vacation/ half location hunting.

My mom is the planner of the group, so she rented a beautiful house along the canal to stay in for the week. It includes an enclosed pool, fishing access, and a bedroom for each of us. My family is funny when it comes to vacations because we all have different preferences. I am happy with going to the beach and relaxing for a week. My brother likes the country and open roads, so a road trip is his cup of tea. My dad can never stop moving, so any kind of place with a lot to do and see is perfect for him. My mom is the mediator, so she tries her hardest to make everyone happy. Last year we went to North Carolina (as previously mentioned) and that trip was more for my brother and dad. This year is more for me, because we’ll be by the beach and have a pool and will be able to hang out as a family.

This trip was planned awhile ago, but I just found out that I will probably be going on another one in the winter. My sister lives in California with her husband and she just broke the news that she is pregnant! I’ve never been to California and every time I asked to visit my dad said we will go when we have a reason to go. Well, a new nephew for me (and a grandson for him) is a perfect reason! So we will probably be going to visit sometime between September and December to see the new addition to the family. Sounds pretty awesome to me because not only do I get to travel more, I get to do it for an amazing reason. I can’t wait!!!!

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Perks of Traveling with Friends

I give props to those people who can travel across foreign countries without any companions, but I think I’ll stick to exploring by my friends’ sides.

I think being with the people you love in a place you may have never been before is an amazing experience that many people do not have. Or if you have been there before, there is something magical about showing your friends your favorite place away from home.

Friendships grow (usually) while experiencing something as wonderful as travel. Many relationships are stationary, as in they exist in the same place for possibly their entire existence. But when you are given the privilege of seeing new things and experiencing new places with those people, you see a new side of your friends and can fully know them.

Another, more common, reason of why traveling with friends is better than not is because seeing famous buildings, statues, parks, art, etc. is more fun with people you know and love. Being able to witness Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the Duomo were all so much more memorable because I was with my closest friends. Now we can look back on what we experienced together and the pictures we took and remember those times. I’ll never forget the first time I went to Europe not only because I was able to see the amazing architecture that I’ve learned about for years, but mainly because I was able to see those things with my best friends.

Day Trip Ideas

If you are unable to get away for an entire vacation, there are plenty of day trip ideas all around you. They don’t have to be fancy, expensive, or far, what matters is what you make of it. For example, a few ideas I’ve had (for those of you in the Jersey area) include going to NYC, the beach, an amusement park, a sports game, a concert, a museum, or even a zoo.

Like I mentioned in my last post, going to the city could be an amazing adventure. You don’t even have to have a plan when you venture to the city. Considering it is the “city that never sleeps,” there are always shops, restaurants, and activities open at all hours of the day. You are bound to find something to do. It is also super easy to get around because of the taxi, subway, train, and bus services.

Going on a day trip to the beach, amusement park, concert, etc. can also be an amazing time if you get a good group of friends to go and you all have a relaxing day of fun. There are so many places to choose from and you can easily find something driving distance. For instance, there are beaches up and down the Jersey Shore. There are places such as Six Flags, Hershey Park, and Dorney Park throughout NJ (just to name a few). You can find any sports game under the sun, depending on the time of year, and concert venues to go along with that. The possibilities are endless when it comes to day trips because people all have different interests and are bound to find something they enjoy.

Overall, do a little research and you will absolutely find something you are interested in. There are so many places around you that you may not even know existed. Don’t be afraid of going to a place you haven’t heard of. Sometimes those are the best places to venture to because they are diamonds in the ruff. Moral of the story, just go try it out!

 

New York State of Mind

For those of us who live close to the Big Apple, going to NYC is a perfect day trip idea. For those people who may not live so close to the city, you can make an entire vacation around it. New York City has quite the reputation, being known as the city of dreams, the city that never sleeps, and simply the best city in the world. In my opinion, it holds up to that pressure. There are endless possibilities and places to go, including entertainment, art, restaurants, and activities. If you are interested in theater, Broadway is the place for you. Food addict? Check out the streets filled with options ranging from street food to fancy restaurants with waits even Taylor Swift herself couldn’t maneuver around.

For those people going to the city, I would like to share a few possibilities available. Firstly, always remember that it is O.K. to be a tourist once in a while. Go to the Empire State Building. Go to the Statue of Liberty (which is technically in New Jersey). But with that said, also try to check out some underground places. New York City has a ridiculous amount of small cafes, museums, and other activities that may not be known to many people because they are simply not looking for them. That’s why it’s always a good idea to do some research first. You’ll be surprised by the amount of interesting places to go that you would’ve never known were there.

I’m lucky because my (half) sister lived in Manhattan for the majority of my life and then moved to Brooklyn for a year before moving to California a few months ago. Due to this, I was able to go to the city every once in a while to hang outand see the local spots that my parents would have otherwise missed. I’ve been to amazing Chinese, Mexican, and coastal restaurants that many people probably walk right passed without noticing. Now that she moved to a new state completely, I will probably take up the responsibility of finding these places once I move to the city.

If you’re someone like me who lives close to the city and is looking for a few ideas that you could do, be sure to check out tickets for Broadway (or off-Broadway) plays. I recently saw Aladdin on Broadway and was amazed at the talented cast, the extraordinary sets, and the unbelievable musical performances. I’m a sucker for Disney so I may be a bit biased, but ever since I saw that play I have been looking for more and more opportunities to see more. I went to the city in the first place with my school because they had a discounted bus trip available. I planned to go with a bunch of my friends and took the opportunity to walk around the city and see as much as I could. (Check out the photo attached of the friends I went with) The reason I bring this up is because simple opportunities that may go unnoticed could be the greatest possibilities. So keep an eye out for those flyers or emails that you just pass by or automatically click past because you think it is unimportant. They could lead to your best memories.

Don’t Underestimate the Jersey Shore, Cont.

Another beach worth journeying to for a day trip? Point Pleasant.

If you’re looking for a family environment, this beach is the place for you. Some of my fondest memories include going on day trips with my family to Point Pleasant, even though I am pretty much the only one who enjoys going to the beach in general. My brother and dad would get settled in our spot and get comfortable but then would not be able to sit still for more than a half hour.

Point Pleasant is more than just a nice beach. It also has a boardwalk for people of all ages. The boardwalk is full of games, restaurants, and stores which allows for people to spend an entire day there and even want to stay longer. One of my favorite memories from Point Pleasant was going to the aquarium with my sisters from Monmouth. We spend a few hours listening to the workers and learning about the various animals and aquatic life. I remember loving the entire experience (except for the sharks) and wanting to stay even longer! We didn’t even go during the summer, which I think is telling because you could have a great time at a beach without even going on the beach itself.

Overall, I would consider Point Pleasant another “place to be.” It’s perfect for family days, but anyone can go for a good time. It’s one of the cleaner beaches and one of the more fun. There are so many activities to do and things to see that it can keep you busy all day. I highly recommend visiting the aquarium and then walking up and down the boardwalk to see for yourself all it has to offer. I promise you will not be disappointed as there is something for everyone. This place is perfect for a day trip, you will enjoy it thoroughly!

Don’t Underestimate the Jersey Shore

Pier Village. Doesn’t it just sound beautiful?

I discovered the beauty of this beach and boardwalk in Long Branch two years ago when I began to attend Monmouth University. It quickly became the place to be as my friends and I went there day and night to walk around and visit the shops and restaurants. Once I joined my sorority, I realized just how popular the Pier Village area really is. Playa Bowls quickly became a huge part of my life, as well as the Corner Cafe and Molly and Zoey. These small businesses make Pier Village what it is and they attract the college students who live around there to come and enjoy their products. It is almost as if us college kids feel like we discovered these places and therefore take a lot of pride in going.

The places in Pier Village are not the only things that make it what it is. The beach itself is amazing and it attracts a huge crowd during the summer months. The one annoying part about this area is the parking. It is near impossible to get a parking spot in Pier Village itself on a weekend during the prime months. The place is so crowded which is great for business but awful for the people who want to enjoy the beach but cannot because they can’t find a spot.

If you decide to go to Pier Village during the week, you will have a much easier time finding parking. That is the only time I will go nowadays because I learned my lesson the first time. Parking is one thing that the town of Long Branch needs to address in order to get more business, but other than that, the beach and area is so worth it. The beauty is amazing and you would never guess you were in the stereotypical Jersey Shore. Overall, I highly recommend going to this beach and discovering for yourself the high quality that it offers.