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Lauren Monitz is a travel/food writer and social media influencer specializing in offbeat adventures you didn't even know were on your bucket list. From becoming a certified viking in Iceland to blackwater rafting in New Zealand, she always seeks out the most insane adventures wherever she goes. On a mission to see all 50 states and at least 50 countries before 50, she has bylines across the web from MSN and the Huffington Post to Eater and USA Today, has done Snapchats for the Food Network, and Instagram takeovers for Forbes.
She has collaborated with 75+ brands in over 20 states and founded the Influencer Institute to teach others how to grow their following and turn their online brand into business opportunities while educating brands on best practices for working with influencers.
From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame to national parks aplenty, enjoy music, the arts, and foodie finds in these surprising sleeper cities that are great for a weekend getaway or road trip. Downtown is home to a free art museum, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and arguably the prettiest grocery store ever Like Cleveland, Milwaukee is about as coastal as the Midwest gets, with beautiful Lake Michigan beaches lining the city (spoiler: it still feels like an ocean because you can’t see the other side). You may know Columbus for its college football dynasty, but the city wants you to know it for its cultural phenoms such as LEGOLAND, Short North Arts District, German Village, and the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, the only place in America which honors all veterans.
Just over an hour outside of Boston, Cape Cod is a quick and easy beach trip or road trip for East Coasters. There are plenty of great hotels on Cape Cod, but to get the full experience, you may want to check out the inns, B&Bs, or houses on the beach as there’s nothing better than the New England seaside aesthetic. The primetime to visit Cape Cod is between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as that’s when the weather is the most optimal for a beach day. Outside of that area, you have Mayflower Beach, Veterans Park Beach, and Sandy Neck Beach for a day of splashing around.
Filled with thriving craft breweries and beautiful natural landscapes just an hour north of Denver, Fort Collins is an amazing option for a short weekend away to experience another amazing Colorado town or a quick stopover if you’re on your way north to Wyoming. You can work up a sweat hiking the Cache La Poudre River Canyon, cool off with locally crafted beer from New Belgium, and spend a relaxing night at the artsy Elizabeth Hotel. The Gardens on Spring Creek was already an amazing place to visit with its many beautiful, thriving gardens. New Belgium Brewing Company, Odell Brewing Company, Zwei Brewing Co., and Maxline Brewing are all some of the best bars in Fort Collins, and they’re all definitely worth a visit.
Whenever you’re looking for a quick trip out of the Windy City, here are the best road trips from Chicago. If you’re looking for a short day trip from Chicago, Lake Geneva is one of the best beach towns in the Midwest without fighting the throngs of people at North Avenue or along the Gold Coast, where you can spread out and breathe. Explore the new Union Station and see the city from the Wheel, experience the brand-new virtual reality ride at the St. Louis Aquarium, tour the insane architectural wonder that is City Museum, stop and smell the roses at the Missouri Botanical Garden, explore the 1,300 acres of St. Louis’ Forest Park, and admire the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. To make your visit to St. Louis one of the best road trips from Chicago, you can add a few stops on your way like Peoria and Springfield, which are part of the iconic Route 66.
‘tis the season to explore the great indoors... am I right?? Truth be told, a museum needs to be pretty great to hold my attention (ADD nation) but Dalí is one of my favorite artists and the building his collection is housed in is as interesting as the works itself. Do you have a favorite cultural institution you could visit again and again?
Have you been to Hudson Yards yet? More than an architectural marvel, it’s an entirely new neighborhood jigsawed into Manhattan. Isn’t it amazing that a city as timeless as NYC continues to reinvent and reinvigorate their skyline so that there is always something new to see?👌🏻Pro Tip: The Vessel is free to climb to the top as long as you book a ticket in advance. You can reserve time slots in 10-minute increments on their website otherwise it’s $10 for walk ups.
How’s dry January going for you? Do you believe in doing a New Year’s cleanse / reset? Thankfully, with 0 calories, 0 sweeteners/sugar and 0 sodium @drinkpresent is a guilt-free indulgence and a great recovery drink. I have a new blog on my favorite CBD products for jet lag and travelers -- check it out and use promo code MonitzPresent for free shipping through March. #drinkpresent #beherebeyou
I showed you the nighttime view of this place, but here it is in the daytime. Hamilton Island, you’re a stunner 24/7 😍 and while I’m relieved the Australia fires are finally getting the media coverage they deserve, the entire country isn’t closed like they’d have you believe. 👉🏻 Don’t let it deter you from visiting this magical place but be safe and smart about it. Your tourist dollars are just as important as donations for rebuilding small towns and communities. If you want to go down under, educate yourself on the situation and use your best judgement to mitigate risk.