Are you stressed? Do you need a break from working all the time? I know I need a break to get away and clear my head. As a very fortunate 23 year old, I have been to 28 states. I grew up traveling with my Dad when I had breaks from school. Now that I'm grown, I try to travel as much as I possibly can. Some might say I have the travel bug.
Today, I am going to be telling you about the top five places that I would go to relax. My knowledge may be limited because I haven't been to every state, but I would like to share my own experiences. Your definition of relaxing might also be different than mine. I cannot sit on a beach for a week straight, even if I am trying to relax, I like to get out and explore a little bit still.
5. Orange Beach, Alabama
Granted my experience in Alabama got cut short because I was sick, but it was still a nice place to relax. I also went in the off season so it was pretty quiet. My recommendation would be to get a hotel room facing the water in case it rains or you get sick, you can still see and hear the waves.
There isn't much to do around the hotels here. There are a few arcades, putt-putt, and restaurants. This would be a good place to sit on the beach with a book and unwind. The city of Mobile is about an hour drive away from the beach. They've got Naval ships, museums, and forts to explore if you wanted to go into town for a day.
4. Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is a beautiful city. I'm a little biased because I love everything about the south, but Savannah is definitely up there as one of my favorites. One of my favorite parts of the city is the old brick walkway down by the river. We walked down from The Pirate's House, a haunted restaurant, down an old narrow, stone stairway, at sunset. The road is lined with shops and restaurants and I love it's old timey feel. Tybee Island is near Savannah and I highly recommend it as well. You can find secluded areas that aren't as crowded but still have nice piers. I only spend a few days in Savannah but I would like to go back and see what else it has to offer.
3. Ocean City, Maryland
I have been to Ocean City quite a few times throughout the last few years and I'm still finding new places and things to do. The boardwalk is amazing. There's a ton of stores, arcades, bike rentals, sand sculptures, kites flying, and even a roller coaster, ferris wheel, and slingshot ride. My recommendation here would be to find a hotel that is farther up the beach so that you can walk along the beach to get to the boardwalk. I love feeling the sand and water beneath my feet. You don't have to go far to have a good time.
Ocean City is home to a lot of events throughout the year. Unless you like what they're hosting, I would recommend making sure that you don't go on one of those weeks. I went out there for a car show, H2Oi, at the end of September once, and it was a big mess. Granted, I love all the cars and the people I went with, but there were a lot of drunk people getting into trouble with cops that weekend. They even call in extra cops that weekend to try to control the madness.
Either way though, I love Ocean City and recommend it to everyone.
2. Lakeside, Ohio
I have some of my most favorite memories at Lakeside. My family would go up there for a week every summer while I was in middle and high school. There is so much for your family to do here. It is a dry, gated community, therefore you do have to have a gate pass for yourself and your car. Also, this community is so small that you do not drive your car around, you either bike or walk everywhere. There are tennis courts, volleyball courts, basketball courts, putt-putt, parks with playgrounds, shuffleboard, the dock for swimming, a small beach and kiddie pool, a live theater that hosts bands and art shows, a movie theater, small shops to peruse, and the best donut and ice cream shops in Ohio. I very well could be biased, but I love this place. My cousins and I have met strangers here that became amazing friends, my dad and I rent kayaks or a sailboat and go out on the water for a day, and the houses you rent feel so much like homes away from home, you're immediately comfortable. There's never a bad sunrise or sunset when you're at Lakeside. I am not one to get up at 5am, but I will when I'm at Lakeside, just to enjoy a calm, beautiful sunrise and a fresh donut.
1. Charleston, South Carolina
If you thought I was passionate about Lakeside, you should hear me talk about Charleston. Every single time someone mentions Charleston, my hand goes over my heart and I sigh. Charleston is by far my favorite place in the country. There's something about the south that really makes time feel like it slows down (in a good way).
The first trip I ever took down there was with my mom and we only spent a few days there in the middle of June. We mainly walked around and took in all the history. The summer heat and humidity down there is killer but as long as you take breaks and drink a lot of water, it's worth it. The second trip I made down there was with my dad in the middle of September. The temperatures were a lot cooler. My dad and I did more the more touristy attractions but it was still amazing. I am not one to go back to the same place over and over again, I like seeing different places, but I will gladly go to Charleston every chance I get.
There's so much to do down there. You can take a horse drawn carriage ride around the city to learn history, you can walk along the bay to see all the old architecture, there's a ton of plantations around there to explore, there's hidden walkways with bars and restaurants, a city market full of souvenirs and art, beaches are nearby, and Patriot's Point is home to the USS Yorktown and a Vietnam Experience. The south has amazing food and a ton of history. I could go on and on with things to do in Charleston but I really suggest that you go and find out for yourself. Everyone that I have heard that's been to Charleston, it's their favorite place as well. Bright colors, gorgeous scenery, and a "slow" sense of time, you won't regret it.
I hope you enjoyed my five favorite U.S. destinations to relax. My opinion might change as I explore more but I honestly don't think that Lakeside and Charleston will ever lower on my list. I highly recommend you visit these places and let me know what you think. I love to talk to other travelers about their experiences!