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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.
Before you get to Little Rock, stop in Hot Springs for a little R&R at the original spa town and America’s first resort. Once in the capital, pay homage to the Clintons as the town is essentially a memorial to their time in office, including snapping that iconic photo op at the replica White House in the Presidential Library. Ride the free trolley around town for a whimsical street car tour, follow the U.S. Civil Rights Trail for an important history lesson, and take advantage of all the great parks and outdoor spaces in the Natural State. Another easy Texas beach road trip down the Gulf of Mexico
Things to do in Estes Park Year-Round Things to do in Estes Park vary wildly by season, but Rocky Mountain National Park provides a wealth of attractions regardless of climate. , Dream Lake is accessible year-round, although in winter, you will need spikes or snowshoes, which can be rented from Estes Park Mountain Shop. Spring and summer is definitely high season in Rocky Mountain National Park, which means you’ll likely need to utilize the free park and ride shuttles as lots tend to fill up quickly. The winter equivalent of a 4×4, snowmobile rentals and tours are the way to traverse the backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park and fly through the snowpack.
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Beyond seeing the herd and visiting the petting zoo, the entire area looks like a Wild West backdrop with saloons, steakhouses, and rhinestone leather cowgirl outfitters for all your hats, boots, and spur needs to set the scene. Pro Tip: Walk all the way around the building so you don’t miss anything and make it a scavenger hunt to find your favorite aspiration saying and selfie spot. Pro Tip: For other good eats while in town, don’t miss the beautiful patio and incredible Tex Mex at Joe T. Garcia’s and indulge in Texas-sized chops from Cattlemen’s Steak House. Pro Tip: Pack some outfit changes (most of these walls are pretty busy so solid colors work best) and accessories like cowboy hats, balloons, umbrellas, and flowers to make your photos pop.
Texans like to let loose, and bars like Little Woodrow’s have swings and firepits on the patio plus drinks like Topo Chico Coolers. Indulge in everything from sushi rolls shaped like dragons and caterpillars at Tokyo in Beaumont to freak shakes and dessert porn at places like Unicorn Dessert Bar in Houston and La Real Michoacana in Beaumont. Home to the fourth-largest museum district in the country, Houston has tons of art and history, but there are also more unique cultural institutions like the American Cowboy Museum and a museum dedicated entirely to funeral services Channel your inner cowboy at River Ranch Texas Horse Park, where you can go for trail rides and learn all about the rich equestrian history in Texas.
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.