ALL POSTS IN [Spring Fling]

Every dream wedding needs a dream honeymoon to follow. After the Big Day has come and gone, where will you start your happily-ever-after? Every couple’s idea of a perfect honeymoon is different — some dream of lounging on a private stretch of sand, some dream of exploring a foreign city hand-in-hand. From a secluded island getaway to a romantic city escape, here are some unforgettable honeymoon spots.

Your Own Private Paradise in the Maldives

Start your happily-ever-after basking in the beauty of this romantic archipelago with crystal-clear water and pristine white beaches. You’ll find that many of the tiny islands have been converted into luxury resorts with private overwater bungalows. For a honeymoon that includes equal parts paradise and pampering, stay at Komandoo Maldives Island Resort.  In this adults-only resort, you’ll be in a world of your own with the ocean on your doorstep. For perhaps the most romantic meal of your life, enjoy a candlelit dinner on the beach with just your and your new hubbie or wife. Watch the sunset while you dine on a meal chef-tailored just for you.

Say Aloha to Romance in Hawaii

Hawaii has always been a popular honeymoon destination … and for good reason. It may still be in the US, but with its beautiful beaches, active volcanoes and lush rainforests, it seems a world away. And with 8 major islands, there’s something for every type of couple — from the beach bums to the adventurers.  For the couples who want to enjoy secluded beaches and adventure activities, Oahu’s Turtle Bay Resort offers it all.  The only resort on Oahu’s famed North Shore, Turtle Bay offers a secluded location far from Waikiki’s crowds with breathtaking ocean views and 5 miles of pristine beaches. There’s no shortage of outdoor adventures on this 880-acre paradise: Go horseback riding, snorkeling, standup paddle boarding or hiking. Plus, the North Shore is one of the best surf spots in the world — so perhaps you can learn to hang 10 as a couple on the islands where surfing was invented.

Old World Charm Meets Modern Luxury in Portugal

Portugal has recently topped the list as a popular honeymoon destination.  Brimming with Old World charm and traditions, Portugal is the perfect European escape for newlyweds who crave culture.  You can’t spend your entire honeymoon sightseeing — most couples want to relax after the wedding is over. For a mix of modern luxury and historic charm, honeymoon at the The Yeatman hotel, a luxurious wine-spa hotel located on the banks of the River Douro in Porto. After a day of port wine tasting (this is where port comes from, after all) and taking in the classic architecture of one of the oldest European cities, you can relax in hotel’s infinity pool, in-suite Jacuzzi or on your private terrace.  With a glass of world-class port wine, of course.

For more inspiration for planning your dream honeymoon, check out our picks for the Top Honeymoon Hotspots and 2013’s Most Romantic Honeymoon Destinations.

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Photo Courtesy of Le Méridien Bora Bora

So maybe your last relationship went the way of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’ … divorce. (Finally.) That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a little spring fling of your own. In fact, you definitely deserve a spring fling — maybe to one of the world’s sexiest beaches. Or how about a getaway inspired by a family of expert jetsetters? Well, we’ve got you covered.

Drinking in the Dominican Republic
Last summer, the Kardashian clan took a memorable trip to the Dominican Republic — who can forget Kourtney’s hormonal mood swings or Kris’s Jet Ski joyride? Relive the happier moments of this luxurious vacation at Casa de Campo, the Kardashian clan’s resort of choice, with their gourmet meals, horseback riding on the beach and water sports at Minitas Beach … all minus the forced family bonding (and TV crews).

Playing Tourist in London
The Kardashian sisters let loose in London during a press tour last year, with Kim telling the press she’d love to have tea with Duchess Kate. That definitely didn’t happen, but Kim reportedly reached out to Kate with a note wishing her luck in her pregnancy. Again, no response. But there’s no shame in being a little obsessed with the Royal Family or in hitting up the touristy spots while in London. Take a ride on the London Eye, tour Windsor Castle or have high tea with your girlfriends (not including Kate). Maybe even do a little celeb spotting at one of these hotels known for accommodating the rich and famous.

Shopping in Paris
Kanye’s been shacking up in Paris to work on a new album, and the rumor is that Kim wants to give birth in the City of Lights. So during a recent visit, the couple did what they do best: they shopped. And what better place to go shopping than in the fashion capital of the world? Make the most of your splurge with these Paris shopping secrets. Nothing cures heartbreak like a little retail therapy.

Partying in Miami
Kourtney and Khloe are no strangers to Miami; they even had a whole series named for their adventures in this sultry city. While Kourtney stuck around the house with her baby, Khloe hit the social scene, particularly LIV at Fontainebleu, a complex of dance floors known for its high-energy nightlife, and The Plunge, a poolside bar on the roof of the Gansevoort Hotel. But you might need a Cuban coffee (Khloe’s obsessed!) to make it through the night – find one at El Pub in Little Havana or Cacique’s Corner in downtown Miami.

Bungalows in Bora Bora
Last April, Kris and Bruce brought the whole family to Bora Bora for their vow renewal. But a trip to celebrate a divorce or a breakup can be just as fun, if not more so, especially with a stay in an overwater bungalow. Imagine being surrounded by turquoise water on all sides with glass floors offering prime views of the diverse sea life. You should have no problem forgetting your ex on a trip like this.

Before you jet off on your Spring Fling, you’ll need to book a sexy hotel. We’ve got you covered, whether you’re planning to spend most of your trip at the spa, the bar … or in bed.

Sexy Hotels

1. Slip under the crisp, white sheets of your 4-poster bed at Jamaica’s Round Hill Hotel, where the rooms were designed by Ralph Lauren. Like what you see? This is just one of the many Sexy Hotel Beds we’ve come across.

 

2. Cozy up with a good read at New York’s book-themed Library Hotel, one of America’s Most Romantic Hotels.

 

3. Looking for a great hotel for a one-night stand? Your in-room private “love tub” at the Dominican Republic’s Tortuga Bay Hotel will put you in the right mood.

 

4. The spa at the LA’s Terranea Resort is a whopping 50,000 square feet and has 25 treatment rooms as well as its own pool and outdoor hot tubs, making it one of Oyster.com’s picks for the Sexiest Hotel Spas.

 

5. The 1970s-inspired lounge at the Dream in South Beach, Miami, is complete with a rooftop infinity pool and sexy seating arrangements, making it one of our picks for the Sexiest Hotel Bars.

 

6. The Ventana Inn and Spa in Big Sur, CA, makes our list of hotels with the Hottest Amenities. Take advantage of their free yoga classes, discovery walks and afternoon wine and cheese. Plus, one of their pools is clothing optional. Now that’s sexy!

With spring in the air, are you feeling a little romantic? Here’s an idea: Think of someone you’d like to get to know a little better and plan an outdoor spring fling – this week you’ll have plenty of options for exploring a national park near you, and at no cost for admission.

Today through Friday, April 26, admission is free to all 401 national parks from coast to coast in celebration of National Park Week. With so many parks to choose from, and with at least 1 national park in every state, chances are good you’re 100 miles or fewer from an outdoor wonderland.

Your spring fling will have (almost) limitless possibilities: America’s national parks comprise 84 million acres of land; along with 43,000 miles of shoreline, 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures, 12,000 campsites, 100 million museum items and countless natural wonders such as Utah’s Delicate Arch (pictured). The tough part will be deciding which national park to see first.

Start by checking out this directory to Find a Park.

Also be sure to check out the National Park Service’s Download Center – yes, you will be prompted to enter your name and email address … but it will be worth it. In return, you’ll get ideas for crafting a national park adventure uniquely your own, courtesy of downloadable guides to 25 unforgettable national hikes; 35 national park adventures for kids of all ages and more.

Plus, check out this Event Calendar – it will keep you informed of national park events taking place throughout the week, from Junior Ranger days to bicycle tours of national battlefields. Just imagine, you and someone special taking a bike tour along a wide open green field — the setting for a memorable spring fling, right?

And with Earth Day today, combine your love of the outdoors with protecting America’s natural and historical legacy. Consider a donation to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks — donations go to support projects such as park ranger-led nature walks and preservation of history-rich acreage and monuments at places like national Civil War battlefields.

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Test your knowledge — take our US National Parks Quiz.

Enjoy a family outing at one of these Top 5 National Park Family Programs.

Spring Fling Poll

All month we’ve been bringing you sexy, carefree getaways to ease your spring fever. Now that you know where to travel in April and May, will you …

Indulge in an adults-only weekend?
Start with getting side-by-side massages and sipping wine at one of Florida’s sexiest spas, the Ritz-Carlton Spa in Key Biscayne.

Book a room with a seriously gorgeous view?
The Hotel Duquesne in Paris’ 7th Arrondissement is within easy walking distance of Left Bank tourist sites and boasts rooms that look out onto the Eiffel Tower.

Pull up a barstool at one of our 21 best beach bars?
Traveling with the kids? In Wellfleet, MA, they can enjoy The Beachcomber’s famous fried clams or something off the “Young Minnows” menu, while you sip a cocktail and partake in the raw bar at this Cape Cod oceanside restaurant.

Though many visitors flock to Sydney during the winter (to enjoy the Australian city’s summer), spring is a great time to head Down Under, as autumn kicks off Sydney’s cultural season. And the cultural scene in Sydney should not be overlooked. One of the city’s most recognizable landmarks is the Sydney Opera House House, and both the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Gallery of New South Wales feature impressive collections. The Koala Park and Taronga Zoo are also popular among tourists, where they can spot kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas. And of course, Sydney has over 60 beaches, and the weather is still warm enough in early autumn for a dip in the water, and at the very least, a stroll along the sand.

For culture buffs, the Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour overlooks the water, and is less than a 10-minute walk from the Opera House. The nearby Sir Stamford is another upscale option, but as a boutique hotel, it has a more intimate vibe. Perks include beautiful common spaces, filled with fireplaces, chandeliers, and antiques, spacious rooms, and an upscale restaurant and tea service. Budget-conscious travelers may consider Hotel Altamont in Darlinhurst. With a pretty rooftop garden, a location within walking distance of numerous attractions, and freebies such as breakfast and Wi-Fi, it offers a solid value.

- Oyster.com Staff

Where do the sexiest people live? Who better to ask than Travel Channel’s very own globe-trotting travel writers and bloggers? We sought out these world travelers for their picks of the destinations with the sexiest people … sexy because of their sense of style, love of life, dancing moves or incredibly fit bods. The responses had a definitive trend: Seems as if many of the most bodacious beings hail from Latin America.

We knew Brazil would be a likely contender. Travel writer and host Ernest White II, aka Fly Brother, who called Sao Paulo, Brazil, home for over 6 years,  praises this “multihued hottie factory.” “Without a doubt,” says White, “the sexiest people in the world can be found in that renowned epicenter of bulbous backsides, Brazil. The über-toned beach bodies and striking coal-to-cream complexion scheme speak to Brazil’s virtually endless coastline and its centuries-old history of intermixing and immigration.”

Of course, Italy wasn’t a surprise pick, either. This people in this Mediterranean haven practically exude “sexy” in nearly everything that they do,  says travel writer Valerie Conners, who’s enjoyed several stretches of living, working and traveling across Italy. “Whether they’re — against all odds — making red-linen pants look seductive, casually sipping an espresso while perusing La Repubblica newspaper or being freakishly dexterous by simultaneously chattering on a cell phone, smoking a cigarette and eating a gelato while wearing a micro-mini skirt and careening through Rome’s streets on a Vespa (yup, it’s happened) — I gotta hand it to them, Italianos are dead sexy,” she says.

Scandinavia is known for its awe-inspiring natural beauty, and that includes its people. Travel writer Terry Ward, who divides her time between Florida and Nassau, Bahamas, swoons over Swedes: “Slim, tall and impeccably dressed, the people of Stockholm are more diverse than the blond-haired, blue-eyed stereotype would lead you to believe … and while Swedes aren’t exactly the outgoing-with-strangers types, they do love to practice their English with native speakers — use it to your advantage to make friends.”

Who else made the list? See the rest of our Sexiest People picks here.

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Courtesy of Don Williamson Photography

Spring has sprung and flowers are in bloom. And it’s the perfect time to visit one of Travel Channel’s favorite botanical gardens. Spend a day strolling through the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, FL — an 83-acre garden that’s home to rare tropical flora and almost 3,000 butterflies. Dispel the notion that Arizona has a lifeless and colorless landscape; visit the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix to see a unique collection of cacti and colorful wildflowers.

If tiptoeing through the tulips isn’t your thing, we suggest a trip to the beach for a little rest and relaxation. Pack up the car and go on a fun trip to some of our recommended beach destinations, including Myrtle Beach, Delray Beach and South Padre Island. There’s something for everyone. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t include West Coast beaches. Let our online travel guide Marianela Pereyra take you on a tour of some her favorite California beaches. So smell the flowers, soak up the sun and make the most of your spring with these picks!

The small collection of mostly arid islands that make up the US Virgin Islands has long been a seafarers stomping ground — from the pirates of yore to today’s more abundant cruise ship hordes and the occasional yachtsman. And as they have for the past 400 years, people come to the islands mainly to drink, relax on the beach, and bargain shop — often, in just that order. Traveling to the islands, considered “insular areas” or “unincorporated territories” of the United States, is in many ways analogous to traveling within the US — citizens don’t need a passport, the US dollar is the official currency, and English is the official language. But a trip to the Virgin Islands still feels like a getaway with its laid-back atmosphere and sunny weather.

The islands’ hotels are largely concentrated on the 3 main islands – St. Thomas, St. John, and, to a lesser extent, St. Croix. Since the islands are so small, anywhere you stay will be within about a 30-minute drive from anywhere else on the island. Hotels range from the low-key, no-frills, family-owned spots, to all-inclusive mega-resorts, to more peaceful, luxe spots such as Frenchman’s Reef on St. Thomas. This Marriott resort underwent a major renovation in 2011 and boasts 4 pools, a beautiful spa and several on-site restaurants (although we’d recommend skipping them for local spots). On neighboring St. John, the Westin is nice beachside option for families, with tennis courts, a kids club, and numerous water sports.

- Oyster.com Staff

Spring Fling Playlist

The soundtrack of your vacation can be just as memorable as the scenery, whether you’re listening on the road with the windows down, passing time in the airport security line, or on the beach with one earbud in so you can still hear the waves crashing on the shore. The point is, a good playlist can start a party or remind you of an epic one.

Sit back, relax and listen to Travel Channel’s inaugural playlist, handpicked for your enjoyment by our staff. Much like our editors, these 14 tracks are an eclectic mix — full of infectious beats, relaxing melodies and good vibes perfect for any spring fling.

1. It’s a Beautiful Day –- U2
2. Feeling Good — Michael Bublé
3. April in Paris –- Ella Fitzgerald
4. King and Lionheart — Of Monsters and Men
5. All of Me — Tanlines
6. Santeria — Sublime
7. Box of Rain — Grateful Dead
8. Take a Little Ride — Jason Aldean
9. Sink or Swim — Tyrone Wells
10. With a Little Help From my Friends — Joe Cocker
11. I Love It — Icona Pop
12. Pocketful of Rainbows — Elvis Presley
13. And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind — Neil Diamond
14. Who Knows Who Cares — Local Natives

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