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Destination Ohio : Places To See, Things To Do And Romantic Weekend Getaways

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When it comes to choosing the best travel destination, Ohio is the perfect choice. Ohio offers many fun things to do in the most wonderful and beautiful places. This state has everything to offer from music, art, theaters and museums to parks, great food, lodges, quick gateways and castles. And when it comes to beautiful nature and mesmerizing sceneries, Ohio has a bit of everything.

From rocky mountains, deep caves, breathtaking waterfalls to man-made brilliant structures, Ohio displays the utmost beauty of nature in a truly magnificent manner. Ohio does not excel only in natural beauty, but also in most fun outdoor activities as it has a lot of fun-filled outdoor and indoor water parks, sports stadiums, castles and zoo.

For the visitors, it has comfortable, cosy and luxurious gateways spots and lodges. Whether you have a family trip or planning a romantic vacation, Ohio can guarantee you fun or privacy, both with luxury and comfort.

 

Top Ohio Destinations

Places to see and visit in Ohio

Ohio is the beautiful state in the Midwestern region of United States. If you want to see the top Ohio destinations on your visit, then you must plan to go it’s top three citie: Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

These cities have a lot of places to see and visit, like historical museums, art museums, theaters, botanical gardens, amusement parks and restaurants. Some top Ohio destinations include the Hocking Hills State Park, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Merry-Go-Round Museum, the Toledo Museum of Art and Cedar Point.

The state offers the most comfortable and luxurious lodges and gateways like the Hide Away Country Inn, Belamere Suites and Murphin Ridge Inn. So Ohio has an answer to all your vacation needs.

Day trips in Ohio

You can plan the most fun and amazing day trips in Ohio. If you want to get rid of the daily routine and just have fun, then you must visit Cedar Point in Sandusky and King’s Island in Mason. The country’s largest collection of roller coaster rides will surely amuse your inner child.

Ohio is home to insanely fun water parks, like Zoombezi Bay and Great Wolf Lodge. It has beautiful botanical gardens and zoos, which offer many recreational events throughout the year. For science lovers, COSI is the best museum to visit, for an ultimate science journey.

Ohio vacation spots

Ohio is packed with relaxing and fun filled vacation spots. This state is full of wonders, fun, history, beauty, music, museums, parks, resorts, hotels, castles, cafes, inns, bars, and the list goes on. So it’s quite impossible to pen down all of them.

Here is a short list of these amazing things to visit: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (for the lovers of music), Toledo Museum of Art (For the lovers of art and design), Hocking Hill State Park (Adventure and fun at it’s finest), Lake View Cemetery (Lovely place for Art lovers, intricate structures), Ohio Theater, Ohio Stadium and The Loft Theater.

What is there to do in Ohio

There is pretty much a lot to do in Ohio: party, music, theater, food, fun, art, you name it, it’s there. There is everything for every kind of person, no matter your age or mood. Such as Hocking Hills is a must visit place for adventurers, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is like a pilgrimage for the music lover that conducts live performances and mad events all around the calendar. Nonetheless, the parks, museums, zoos, and the beautiful countryside won’t ever let you get bored.

Columbus Ohio Attractions

Columbus, the largest city of Ohio has excelled in beauty, nature and art. Top rated Columbus Ohio attractions include, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden, the Ohio statehouse, the Topiary Park which represents the true amalgamation of art with nature and the very diverse museum COSI (Centre of Science and Industry). All these places attracts tourists as well as locals and are best places to visit on weekends.

Things to do in Canton Ohio

There are a lot of fun filled things to do in Canton, Ohio. Canton is a mid-sized city, located in the north-eastern part of Ohio. the highlights of this city include the National First Ladies Library and Research Center and the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Research Center and the Library are two separate buildings, situated a block away from one another and the whole thing get’s it’s name from the fact that it was once the childhood home of the First Lady, Ida Saxton McKinley, wife of the 25th President of the United States, William McKinley, who was also born in Canton.

Near the Football Hall of Fame, the Stadium Park also has attractions for all. The softball complex provides a well equipped playground for younger children, so visiting it on a family trip will be a delight for the whole family.

Things to do in Southern Ohio

There are a number of things to do in Southern Ohio. For indoor and outdoor adventures you can visit the Blue Rock State Park, the Buckeye Furnace, the Hocking Hills State Park and the Muskingum River Parkway. For a beautiful, soothing, and relaxing stay, Southern Ohio has first class lodgings, like the Bellevue Retreat, Colonel Taylor Inn, Hocking Hill Getaway.

Southern Ohio has many fun events to for visitors and locals alike, such as the Winter Hike at Hocking Hills in January, the Easter Bunny Train in March, the Blue Rock Station Earth Day in April and many more throughout the year.

Cincinnati, Ohio attractions

If you are looking for the best attractions of Cincinnati Ohio, then the Cincinnati Art Museum, National Underground Railroad Freedom Centre, Contemporary Art Centre, Kings Island, Purple People Bridge and Hyde Park Square will top the list. Cincinnati is a perfect combination of nature with art and modernism.

Cool places in Ohio

There are number of jaw dropping cool places in Ohio and it can fulfill the appetite of everyone, from foodies, history buffs, shopaholics to sports fans and art enthusiasts.

The Fountain Square in Cincinnati, Ohio is the real outdoor gathering place for residents and visitors while another cool place here in Ohio is the Topiary Garden in Columbus, which is a treat for the eyes and the Music Hall of Cincinnati is the real cool go to destination for music and art lovers.

Castles in Ohio

Ohio is packed with castles of great historic value. These castles are not only the symbol of great history but also are beautiful and luxurious places to visit with your loved ones.

The most famous of them are Chateau Laroche (also called the Loveland castle), Ravenwood Castle, Piatt Castle and Squire’s Castle.

Chateau Laroche is the replica of a 110 year old castle with the same name, found in France. These castles are surrounded by beautiful gardens, dungeons and have plenty of swords to display.

Ohio Resorts

There are many resorts in Ohio. Most of them are located along the lake side or near parks. Lake Eire in the north and the Ohio River in the south facilitate the Ohio resorts with beauty, pampering amenities and a great deal of outdoor activities. There are many comfortable and cosy resorts in Ohio, like the Belamere Suites, Sawmill Creek Resort, Walden Inn or Bertam Inn.

Places to See in Ohio

If you are looking for great and fun places to see in Ohio then here is the list of top Ohio attractions. The top places to see in Ohio include the Hocking Hills Park, Cedar Point Amusement Park, Toledo Museum of Art, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

 

Fun Things To Do In Ohio

Fun places to go in Ohio

Ohio has everything, from heritage to modern age, music, art, food, shopping malls, museums, parks, theaters and everything else. There are many fun places to go to in Ohio. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has topped the list almost every time and became a place of pilgrimage for music lovers. So if you’re one of them, this place is probably your first call in Ohio.

There is a beautiful summer amusement park for both children and adults in Sandusky, named Cedar Point. It has some insanely amazing roller coaster rides and huge tidal wave water ride.

For the outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers, Hocking Hills Park is the best destination in Ohio to go to. There are hiking trails, camping facilities and cottages available. The best thing about this park is that it offers regular events all around the year, such as bird watching, winter hiking and other cool things to visit.

Fun things to do in Dayton, Ohio

Dayton, the sixth largest city in Ohio, is the perfect place for the lovers of nature, exotic food and world class music. Regardless of your age or interests Dayton can provide you with loads of entertainment and many fun things to do.

For the theater lovers, the Victoria Theater is one of the must visit places. The magnificent theater is a 1154 seats venue, which truly depicts class and comfort at the same place.

For nature lovers, Dayton has a long list of beautiful and serene parks. The most visited and top ranked are the Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, RiverScape Metropark and Island Metropark.

In addition to this, Dayton has amazing museums, such as America’s Parked museum and the  National Museum of the U.S Air Force.

Fun things to do in Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland is the most popular city in Ohio. Cleveland has all, heritage, giant skyscrapers, serene parks, music concerts, theaters, museums, you name it.

There are loads of fun things to do in Cleveland, the most famous of all and the must visit museum is the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”. The hall itself has the most beautiful architecture and it holds amazing concerts and huge public events.

Cleveland also has the answer to all your recreational needs. It has the most beautiful parks and play areas for kids and for adults alike. Such as the Edgewater Park (has a beautiful water lake on the edge), Impett Park and Harmody Park.

Cleveland is also a destination for those who know how to party and looking for fun. It’s a modern city and welcomes everybody.

For food lovers, Cleveland is full of sweet and sour surprises. If you are a big burger fan, here you can find Slyman’s Deli and Lola’s Bistro and Wine Bar, which have the best food and drinks.

Fun things to do in Columbus

Columbus is capital and the largest city of Ohio state. The city was named after Christopher Columbus and it became state capital in 1816. Columbus offers many fun things to do for it’s visitors and also for it’s residents.

To spend the best time with your family in Columbus, you must visit COSI. It’s the top science museum of U.S and a must visit place with your family. The most interesting thing about this museum is it’s rotation of special events and exhibits, so there will be something new every time you visit the place. The museum encompasses everything from wonders of space to the beauty in the deep blue ocean, and everything in between.

For the foodies, the Northstar Cafe, originally founded in 2004, has become a sensation for anyone looking for delicious breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, coffee or for someone hungry for a soothing place to relax and flip a couple of magazine pages. Another place to calm your appetite with delicious food is the Harvest Pizzeria. This place has the best artisan pizza, carefully prepared with the best ingredients on wood fire. So it’s a must taste for any pizza lover out there.

If you want to watch the best live theater in Columbus, then book a seat at the Showbox Live and you’ll never forget the mesmerizing experience.

 

Ohio Weekend Gateways

Things to do in Ohio this weekend

There is much to do in Ohio on weekends. If you are looking for fun places to go to in Ohio this weekend then you can go to Ravenwood Castle, Kalahari Resorts, COSI Science museum, Cedar Point, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or Hocking Hills Park. Ohio is full of fun and amusement at one end, on the other end it has many museums and educational spots for children to go to.

Things to do in Cincinnati this weekend

There are a lot of things to do in Cincinnati on a weekend. For a modern Art and Design lover, Cincinnati has the best museum to visit, the 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati. It has wonders from the world of Art in every nook and corner and there is a beautiful hotel to stay at and an all day spa for you to relax in.

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is the fun place to visit with your family on a weekend. The zoo is packed with a diverse variety of animals and it offers different events throughout the year. It’s the best place to take your kids to as they have so much to learn while having fun. The well cared animals and a big collection of flowers and plants are spectacular and a treat to watch.

And for sports enthusiasts Cincinnati has the Great American Ball Park where you can attend sporting events every weekend – and throughout the week as well. The screening, seating and food all are great, so for a sports fan this is a top destination for the weekend.

For a calm and serene walk or a relaxing day out of urban hustle, the Washington Park in Cincinnati is the place to visit. The park is filled with old fashioned bandstands and many tall, beautiful, lush green trees. The park is alongside the Cincinnati Music Hall, so you might as well visit them both.

Things to do in Cleveland this weekend

Life in Cleveland never stops, there are plenty of things to do in Cleveland during the weekend. The Gateway Bar and Grill offers a delicious menu, with their special drink, the “Orange Crush”. It’s a perfect venue for pre or post events, get togethers and for hanging out with friends or family. There is also a special Game-Day Menu available on game days (duh) and special events.

If you want to spend  a romantic weekend with someone special, then the Inn at the Honey Run in Cleveland is the perfect choice. Honeycombs and charismatic cottages are best suited for couples. The honeycombs provide the best country side view with elegant interior design and architecture. Privacy, beautiful views and wooden fire place are the signature qualities of this Cleveland weekend getaway.

Weekend getaways near Ohio

There are a number of great options near Ohio for weekend Getaways. The best place to visit on weekend with your family in Ohio, is The Bertram Inn at Glenmoor. The luxurious Inn has 71 guest rooms and suites, in addition to a 13-room luxury villa, with a proper kitchenette and a rooftop terrace. The terrace is perfect to arrange engagement parties, or family reunions. Plus it has a Golf course, Kid’s club, outdoor swimming pool, and extravagant dining options.

Rawenwood Castle is the another perfect weekend getaway in Ohio, where the guests are accommodated in castle rooms, suites and cottages. This place is most affordable and a fun place to be with your family for a weekend. There are themed games and rides available for the whole family.

Another nice place to spend your weekend is the Kalahari Resorts. This resort has the largest indoor water park of America, which is a fun place to be in the cold winter season. It also has an outdoor water park, full service spas, playground for kids, a golf course and restaurants.

Situated on the shore of Lake Eire, the Sawmill Creek Resort is yet another perfect family weekend getaway. This place has an 18 holes golf course, sandy beach, indoor and outdoor pools, and the best thing about it is that it’s really close to the Cedar Point Amusement Park.

 

Romantic getaways in Ohio for two

For a romantic outdoor visit, Ohio has to offer quite a few options. The Hideaway Country Inn is the romantic weekend destination for couples. This luxurious and romantic inn has an appealing Eagle’s Nest suite with a jacuzzi tub and remote controlled gas fire place. Its spa offers a diverse range of services to help you unwind during your weekend getaway.

In Aurora, the modern and beautiful Walden Inn offers great deals for Spa and Golf seekers. The inn has special romantic deals for couples suites, featuring fireplace and an extra large jacuzzi tub. The Walden Spa has custom designed spa suites, with massage tubs, a personal steam room and Swiss shower.

Another great option for a romantic weekend gateway is Landoll’s Mohican Castle. It is located at one an half hour distance from Columbus, in Mohican country. This beautiful place is castle themed with fifteen unique suites and two guests cottages. Its three main suites, Kihm, Therring and Miller are great choice to spend a romantic weekend. The suites are decorated in aristocratic style, period tapestries, old world estate furniture and all have large jacuzzi tubs and hardwood floors.

Romantic things to do in Ohio

Ohio is one of the most beautiful places on earth, so if you are in Ohio there are many romantic things to do. Glenaurel is the ultimate romantic destination for a couple. Natural beauty blended with luscious architecture creates a perfect place to plan a romantic proposal or to celebrate a wedding anniversary. The place offers soothing spas and a cosy environment for a couple to relax and unwind. It’s just 45 minutes away from Columbus and it’s packed with many fun things to do. There are many other beautiful and romantic places in Ohio, such as Hocking Hills, the Creekside Park, Mirror lake, HideAway Country Inn and the list goes on.

Weekend getaways in Ohio for couples

If you are looking to spend a romantic time this weekend, here is a quick list of weekend getaways in Ohio for couples: the Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls, the HideAway Country Inn, the Belamere Suites and the Murphin Ridge Inn. Having a beautiful countryside, Ohio never stops relishing the time for romantic couples. Inns and spas provide excellent services and plenty of privacy for it’s customers to truly enjoy their time during the weekend.

Romantic things to do in Columbus, Ohio

There are a lot of romantic things to do in Columbus Ohio. The Mirror Lake in the Ohio State University campus, offers the beautiful and romantic view at night. Regardless it’s location, this view is a piece of natural beauty and has tranquillity in it for most part of the year. A smaller, less known fountain is present on one end of the lake, surrounded by stone benches. This gives a beautiful serene and romantic setting and is the perfect place for you to enjoy with your loved one.

Full of natural beauty, waterfalls, green plants, trees and a more than serene environment, the Creekside Park in Gahanna is the perfect romantic destination if you’re the outdoors type. The beauty the nature will soothe you inside and out, it will put you in a tender and loving mood so you can enjoy your time with your loved one, in the most romantic way.

Destination Ohio

The list of Ohio’s top destinations and attractions is so large and diverse that everyone can find some place of interest. Ohio captures you in it’s charisma and mesmerizing beauty. Beautiful natural views, cosy spas, relaxing lodges, fun filled water parks, interesting museums, delicious food, aristocratic castles and rocky mountains captivate your imagination. If you want to enjoy your time to the fullest, either with your family or with someone special, Ohio welcomes you with arms wide open.

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Grand Secrets: experience more of the Grand Canyon

With nearly 5 million visitors each year, there is no question that the Grand Canyon is a popular tourist destination.  But besides taking a few pictures and looking down into the canyon, what is there to do?

On your way

Most people drive to the Grand Canyon via 180 North, however, for a more scenic and lesser known route, consider taking 89 North to the East Entrance. Though it is a bit further of a drive, the view overlooking the Little Colorado River Gorge is well worth it.

Avoiding the rush

As one of the most popular natural tourist destinations in the US, it is hard to avoid the thousands of other visitors.  But there are a few tricks to avoid the masses.

If you have the option, choose the time of year you visit carefully.  For those of you with children this may not be a luxury you have as you need to align your vacations with your children’s school holidays.  But for the other visitors, the slowest time of the year is in January and February.  You may have to wait out a storm but the following peace will be a more than sufficient reward.  Though not as empty, October is wonderful time to visit due to its array of colors and comfortable weather.

The Grand Canyon’s busy season is from around the end of May to the beginning of September (school holiday, naturally).  But even if you choose to visit during this time there are a few things you can do to get your space.

Many people congregate at the key areas such as the Village.  Anywhere people park their cars will also stay congested.  But if you are willing to walk about a mile away from such areas you will get the space to truly appreciate the beauty of the canyon.

When you’re camping as well, there are some areas that are simply less known and therefore, less populated.  For example, Desert View is a poorly known area and even on the busiest of days rarely fills up.

One step further

While the view from the top is magnificent, visitors miss out on the all the small and delicate detail that the canyon holds.  By taking one of the many trails down into the canyon, visitors have a chance to explore the beauty of raw nature.

The amount of time you have and your fitness level will dictate which trail you choose.  If you have a large amount of time and are up for an adventure, the Bright Angel Trail is a steep 12.2 mile hike down to Plateau Point and back.

Supposing you have less time but still want a bit of challenge, consider the Grandview Trail.  At only 2.5 miles round trip, it offers a bit more of true hike.  The beauty, however, more than makes up for it if you are prepared.

A few shorter and calmer hikes that are great for families include the Kaibab Trail and the Skeleton Point at just 3 miles and 6 miles respectively.

Restaurants

If you are looking for fine dining while in the park, you will most likely be disappointed.  While the food is decent it is nothing to write home about.  As with most parks, it knows that its visitors are a trapped audience.  The food prices reflect this.  Be ready to pay a bit more than you anticipated.  A few of the restaurants do have a wonderful atmosphere, however.  And of course the view is to die for.

The nearby towns, as well, have a bit more variety to offer should you be unable to find something to suit you inside the park.

Riding down in style?

Many have heard of the famous mule trips down into the canyon but the reactions to them differ.  As with most activities, some people enjoy it more than others.  No matter who you ask they do agree that it is smelly and a bit rough but for some it is still worth it.  There are a lot of rules to agree to when riding the mules but some visitors have said it is a wonderful experience and they do not regret it for a minute.

Learning the layers

While geology is not everyone’s cup of team, the Grand Canyon geology and natural history tours come highly recommended.  As the canyon is one of the natural highlights of the US, it is very rewarding to learn about what makes it what it is. There is a wonderful museum at Yavapai Point that provides a good overview of the natural history of the park.

There are various hikes that you can sign up for as well.  The rangers who work at the Grand Canyon are well-experienced, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic.  If, however, you don’t make the guided tour perhaps you can buy one of the field guides.  Reading these as you walk gives you quite a bit of knowledge and adds depth to your hike.

The end of the day

As with any breathtaking scenery, the sunsets at the Grand Canyon are extremely popular.  The beauty of the colors radiating across the sky is enough to make anyone stop and stare, and many do.  The viewpoints fill up very quickly.  In order to avoid the crowd opt for a bus ride to another viewpoint and continue from there to one within walking distance.  You’ll find that this area is much more peaceful and suited to appreciating the natural beauty.  Do not let the sun disappearing trick you into thinking the show is over.  Many visitors leave as soon as it is does and miss the gentle shift as night falls over the canyon, bringing out the mystical feel that it holds.

Okinawa and the Beaches of the Southwest Islands of Japan

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If you are keen to visit Japan on your travels, look a little further afield than the highly populated mainland…Just off the beaten track lies the Okinawa Prefecture, a unique collection of small rural islands, offering welcome respite from the fast paced living and westernization of mainland Japan.

The Southwest Islands have a culture all of their own, and no shortage of elements to explore…Each little island is different from the next, with unique ecosystems, culinary delights, arts and cultural heritage. This semi-tropical region is a treasure-trove of pearlescent beaches, idyllic coastal hideaways and inland fields rich with sugarcane.

How to get there

If you find yourself in one of the mainland cities of Japan, chances are you will be able to catch a flight to Naha (Okinawa’s prefectural capital), it’s on the East China Sea coast in the Southern part of Okinawa-hontō (the prefecture’s biggest island) and it’s the perfect place to kick off your exploration of  the island chain. Don’t be fooled by this dense and westernized city, from here it’s just a daytrip to the rural islands and all those uninhabited pieces of paradise.

Otherwise fly to Kagoshima (on Kyūshū), from there you can catch a flight to the other islands and many of the small ones as well.

Either way, fly Japan Airlines of All Nippon Airways…If you’re watching your budget JAL and ANA offer very reasonable visitor’s rates for flights within Japan, as long as you purchase your tickets from outside the country.

If you’ve got time on your hands take the slow option of a ferry between Tokyo, Osaka/Kōbe and Kagoshima to Okinawa-hontō and then onto the islands.

 

Yoron-tō (与論島)

okinawa yoron-toNaha and Kagoshima both offer daily flights to Chabana, the main town on the tiny island of Yoron-tō (in the Kagoshima prefecture), from here you can rent a car and explore this incredible island at your own pace…

It’s an island completely set apart from the modern world, having maintained a solid cultural identity against all odds.

For those with an appetite for anthropology visit the Southern Cross Centre and familiarize yourself with the unique natural and cultural history of the island; not to be missed is the fascinating Yoron Minzoku-mura, an open-air museum of traditionally built structures housing equipment employed by the indigenous peoples as they fish, process sugar cane and go about their everyday lives.

For those beach-lovers who are searching for a break from the rat race, you couldn’t ask for more than Yurigahama: take a round trip by ferry (¥2000) to this pristine sandbar 1.5km off the South-eastern coast of Yoron-tō and only appearing when the tide is low,  Yurigahama is one of the region’s star-sand beaches. These fossilized grains of star-shaped sand are truly one of the best kept secrets of the natural world and in such a transitory setting; this won’t be a visit you will easily forget.

 

Gahi-jima (嘉比島) & Agenashiku-jima (安慶名敷島)

okinawa gahi jima
photo by Ippei & Janine Naoi

Visit these unique and tiny uninhabited islets on a day trip from Naha.  Up to three fast ferries a day are run by Zamami Sonei (¥3140, 50 minutes) and one regular ferry (¥2120, 120 minutes) runs to and from Tomari Port in Naha. The Tourist Information Centre at the Zamami port can help arrange boat trips at ¥1500 per person round-trip.

This pair of islands off of Zamami-jima form part of the Kerama island group and (being uninhabited) they offer no facilities and precious little shade. However, you don’t need to let this prevent you from fulfilling all your desert island dreams: pack a hat and sunscreen or an umbrella, as well as a picnic of local treats from Naha, such as Onigiri or Rice Balls and a bottle of refreshing Iced Green Tea.

 

Kume-jima (久米島)

okinawa kume jima

Those of you with a mind for adventure sports like diving and snorkeling should spend a few days west of Naha on Kume-jima, where you can chose either to camp or take the western route of staying the resort-style hotels, to dive and snorkel its’ magnificent bejeweled reefs and host of sparkling semi-tropical beaches.

It is easily accessible by daily flights from Naha and two daily Kume Line ferries (at ¥6450 for a round-trip of 3.5 to 4 hours) but being 90km from Naha it hosts fewer visitors than the nearer Keramas.

Kume is an explorer’s delight, rich with fascinating caves, rock formations and shorelines, as well as some inspiring and isolated beaches;  like the famed, offshore sandbar of tiny Hatenohama: accessible on day trips from certain tour operators (Hatenohama Kankō Service offers 3 hour tours for ¥4500 per person).

Geology enthusiasts wont want to miss out on a visit to the unique little islet Ōjima, connected to Kume-jima’s East coast by a causeway. Here, only at low-tide they are sure to be  intrigued by the Tatami Ishi, strange geometric rock formations which resemble the Tatami or straw mats, woven by the indigenous peoples.

 

Irabu-jima (伊良部島) & Shimoji-jima (下地島)

Daily flights from Tokyo and Naha will take you to the fourth largest of these Okinawa Islands: Miyako-jima.

Traffic can become quite a problem here in the high seasons, so a good idea is to cross the recently built bridges to the dreamy adjoining islands of Irabu-jima and Shimoji-jima; where, even during busy months, the pace of life is so relaxed that time just seems to stand still.

okinawa irabu

Shimoji-jima is known for the ‘touch and go” antics of local commercial airline pilots, who waste no time stopping but touch down, taxi and take off again in one swift maneuver.

Home of the magnificent emerald hued Toriike (two deep, inland, saltwater pools which connect to the ocean by underground passages): the natural beauty of this island is unsurpassed.

Visit shimmering Nakanoshima in the early morning or late afternoon when the traffic is low, this popular slice of paradise is nestled in an idyllic island cove and boasts a vibrant coral reef just offshore; perfect for snorkeling and swimming as the waters are clear and blue and the visibility, extremely high.

okinawa shimoji

When you’re finally finished exploring the reefs and beaches and you’re ready for a citrus cocktail and a bite to eat: take a 10 minute drive from Nakanoshima to Toguchi-no-hama on Irabu-jima’s west coast and visit up-market Soraniwa (soraniwa.org), for a gorgeous shīkuwāsā and a delicious gourmet lunch served alfresco and to truly get a feel for the off-grid beauty that is lovely Irabu-jima; pre-plan and book an overnight stay at lovely Soraniwa, with it’s immaculate and modern décor and it’s heavenly rooftop pool.

Best beaches in the Philippines

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We’ve all seen postcards and travel guides from trendy Southeast Asian coastal destinations like Southern Thailand and Bali, but holidaymakers are only now beginning to catch on to a new beach hotspot, the Philippines…

Assuming that you are one of those travelers who chases the summer in search of sun and sand:  imagine a country with over 7000  islands from which to chose (each with it’s own tantalizing coastal sights, coves and beaches),  you would be somewhat spoiled for choice…so here’s a little help to get you going.

 

Cebu Beach

cebu beach philippines

The Visayas’ largest city of Cebu is readily accessibly by a straight international flight from Singapore or Hong Kong. Family beachgoers can make the short journey from the airport to Mactan Island with its’wealth of top-notch resorts from which to choose; you can take a boat ride from Mactan to explore the myriad white beaches of the beautiful islands of the Bohol Strait…

If you’re a thrill seeking traveler with ample time on your hands: a three hour car trip gets you to the island’s North-most point and from here it’s a 10 minute pump boat scoot to leisurely Malapuscua Island, which boasts the magnificent white Bounty Beach, a haven for divers, who can  take a chance and scuba with tresher sharks. Another diving hotspot lies just Southwest of here: exciting Moalboal offers the unique experience of swimming with huge schools of sardines…

 

Siargao Beach

siargao beach

Water-sports enthusiasts and leisure seekers alike would profit from an all-day journey around this bustling island with a score of pristine beaches to rival any in the South Pacific.

Surfers flock to busy Cloud Nine and test the waters of what is said to be the top surf spot in all of the Philippines, and when you tire of the crowds you can move on to Burgos near Siargao’s Northeastern tip, a paradise of lapping waves, sapphire waters, sparkling sand and coconut palms. Other idyllic beaches in the area include Coron (Palawan) and Camiguin- off Mindanao; Baler (Luzon and Panglao Island (Bohol).

With a wealth of small uninhabited islets and pristine shorelines nearby, there’s no way that a map and a boat ride won’t find you that piece of untouched paradise you’re looking for.

 

Boracay White Beach

boracay beach philippines

Having found it’s way onto most of the worlds top-beaches lists, the startling 5km stretch that is Boracay’s White Beach, as well as being a popular destination for kite surfers, has fast become one of the world’s ultimate party-beach destinations, it’s not quite as pumping as the region’s famed Ko Samui and Kuta party-beaches; so you should find it much easier to escape the revelers and the crowds when necessary and it’s ideal for those who deserve the best of both worlds.

 

Southern Negros

If you’re pressed for time and are traveling on a budget, catch a flight to the regional capital of Negros Oriental: Dumaguete. From here you can sink your feet into the sand of more than a few of the regions world-class white beaches and you can do it all in one short trip.

Backpackers and dive enthusiasts can escape to dreamy Siquijor Island and Tambobo Bay, with its’ isolated stretches of pearlescent beach; accommodation is excellent value for money and backpackers can feel welcome here…

Before you leave make a 4 hour bus journey to Sipalay’s secluded Sugar Beach, it’s worth the trouble to truly feel as if you’re standing at the edge of all the world…

 

El Nido Beach

el nido beach philippines

This tranquil northern Palawan town of El Nido floats amidst the jewel like islands of the Bacuit Archipelago; the region is known for its many striking, even otherworldly limestone formations, which will delight avid rock climbers and amateur photographers alike.

You can visit the unforgettable 7 Commandos Beach, just southwest of El Nido, on the mainland and accessible by boat or by sea kayak. The latter is definitely the more scenic option, especially since you can stop and snorkel on the way and sea kayaks are available from either El Nido or Corong Corong Beach, 5 km south…

Island-hopping day-trips from El Nido are the perfect way to explore the archipelago’s myriad heavenly beaches, but plan carefully as these islets can get a little overcrowded and cost a pretty penny to get to.

Explorers needn’t break the bank though and will find a score of other diversions at their disposal, a well timed tricycle ride of twenty minutes will have you at the fabulous and trendy Beach Shack at Las Cabanas Beach (A.K.A. Marimegmeg Beach) just in time for happy-hour: sample exotic local cocktails and rest your bare feet in the sand, while taking photographs of the most exquisite sunsets in the area.

45 Minutes north by motorcycle lies gorgeous Nacpan beach: a veritable paradise with its’ 3km strip of uninterrupted sand; it’s a treat and a haven for swimmers, seafood and smoothies from little beach-side huts will keep you sated and the undeveloped nature of the place with its’ rustic island accommodations will make you feel as if you are living in a real life postcard.

 

Pagudpud

At the Northern tip of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon lies the remote town of Pagudpud, its’ not very easily accessible but rather reserves itself for those travelers with a real taste for adventure… The coastal highway leading up to it will have you dizzy with its’ twists and turns but no matter as there are countless dramatic outlooks at which to take a breather and this coastline is home to picturesque headlands and endless beaches: not the least beautiful of which is magnificent Blue Lagoon with its’ blinding white stretches of sand and unrivaled blue waterscapes.