The Carolinas are a fantastic destination to enjoy a historic hotel. Well known for their Southern hospitality and charm, historic hotels here exude luxury, and are fine examples of culture, architecture and art. They are always fabulously located near their city's main attractions, and in fact, some even qualify as the main attraction themselves.

Depending on the season and the time of year, you can often even finding a cheap hotel deal. The following are the most standout historic hotels in the Carolinas.

Inn on Biltmore Estate, Asheville

Hotels in Asheville offer travelers the chance to stay just off the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, and if looking for an accommodation experience which combines luxury with a historic hotel, the Inn on Biltmore Estate is where you want to stay.

This 4 star upscale hotel sits on the historic estate and puts you within a 15 minute drive of the area's main attraction; Biltmore House. This is the largest privately owned home in America; a 250 room French Renaissance château built by George Vanderbilt in 1895. Guests of the hotel can enjoy an outdoor pool with views of the Mountains, enjoy a bite to eat in the Library Lounge, and enjoy the same level of personalized service the Vanderbilts would extend to their friends.

The Dunhill Hotel, Charlotte

The Dunhill hotel is a fantastic choice of accommodation in Charlotte; a boutique hotel with sophisticated accommodations steeped in history and surrounded by modern significance.

Guests are conveniently located close to museums, art galleries, nightlife, shopping and the CBD. The hotel opened in 1929 and is among the few National Trust Historic Hotels of America in North Carolina. It has been fully restored and is now a landmark in Charlotte's cultural district and arts community.

Marriott's Heritage Club, Hilton Head

In the historic district of Hilton Head Island, Marriott's Heritage Club is close to Baynard Plantation Ruins, Harbour Town Lighthouse and Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge.

This property has an outdoor pool, a fitness center and spa tub, as well as complimentary internet access in public areas. Spacious two-bedroom villas are fully self-contained, and rooms open out onto beautiful patios. This accommodation is a perfect base for those looking to spend a relaxing vacation in Hilton Head.

Kings Courtyard Inn, Charleston

An enchanting blend of history and southern hospitality, culture and cuisine, architecture and art, Kings Courtyard Inn in Charleston embodies all the qualities of a truly remarkable historic hotel.

Decorated with original hardwood floors, antique furniture, oriental rugs, four-poster canopy bed, a fire and modern technology, guests enjoy modern creature comforts balanced with the quaint coziness of a historic inn.

Hampton Inn by Hilton Columbia Downtown Historic District

In the center of downtown Columbia, Hampton Inn by Hilton is a traditional hotel in a fabulous location, a mere 15-minute stroll from Bicentennial Park, and 1 miles drive from the University of South Carolina.

Classic rooms offer free WiFi and flat-screen TVs as well as desks and coffee makers. Suite upgrades offer extra living space, as well as pull-out sofas, microwaves and whirlpool tubs.

  This article was posted on Mapping Megan by Megan.

South Carolina's long summers, unique Southern flavors, and geographic beauty make it a picture-perfect travel destination. To get the most out of your trip, get out your checklist and make sure you have all your unforgettables. As you pack, keep these five travel essentials at the fore of your mind.

Weather-Appropriate Clothing

South Carolina is in a subtropical zone so its summers are hot and humid. Winters are mild at about 60 degrees average but temperatures can certainly drop to the 30s in the early mornings and nights. Factor in the storm season, which runs from summer to fall, and sporadic rain throughout the year.

You’ll need light, breathable, cotton clothes for the humid months as well as sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats. Carry layers for the winter season so you can adjust to changing temperatures. Bring rain gear such as a collapsible travel umbrella and a thin poncho you can fold up and tuck out of sight in the corner of your handbag.

Your Best Beachwear

Most of the things you'll need will really depend on your itinerary and how you plan to spend your time. If you have your sights set on the beach, pack a bathing suit. A destination like Isle of Palms, a barrier island in the Charleston area, has miles and miles of raw shore for great strolls and phenomenal sunsets. Don’t forget your cover-up and several beach towels, plus your hat, shades, and healthy sun protection for your skin. Pack a stylish tote that can hold everything you’ll need for your beach outing.

No-Nonsense Fitness Gear

Sometimes getting away is the perfect time to assess your fitness level and amp up your goals for physical health, so pack your fitness gear. A resort town like Hilton Head Island gives you a lot to tackle at once. It has 12 miles of beach, yoga studios, gyms, world-class tennis facilities, and over 60 miles of biking trails. Pack sneakers with great foot support, comfortable athletic clothes, a visor, sports shades, and extra cash for renting any equipment you might need.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island

Must-Haves for Outdoor Expeditions

South Carolina's seductive landscapes and coastal proximity offer great opportunities for adventure-lovers. Whether you're sailing in ocean waters among bottlenose dolphins, horse-back riding across golden fields, or canoeing among old bald cypresses in the Congaree National Park in Columbia, there are plenty of options that will get you closer to Mother Nature. Among the items you might need are: binoculars, waterproof footwear, a backpack, sketchbooks and journals, camera film and memory cards, insect repellant, hats, and long-sleeve shirts and pants for bug protection.

Essentials for Walking Tours

The South's urban vibrance combined with its significant heritage offers up unique experiences, from extravagant shopping tours to the stunning architecture that defines Charleston, and phenomenal learning experiences like those you'll find at the Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant. You’ll probably do a lot of walking, so you’ll need dependable walking shoes, a daypack, and a good plan for water and refreshments.

Most importantly, plan your itinerary for your entire trip. The more prepared you are when you get there, the more you can focus on creating amazing memories to bring back home.

This article is part of Hipmunk’s Destination Unknown travel series.

  This post was published on Heart & Soul by Kemba Banton.
AUTHOR: Kemba Banton is a writer, artist, and mother, passionate about life, social change, and personal empowerment. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. She’s teamed up with Heart & Soul and Hipmunk to bring intriguing tidbits about travel destinations across the world.

Oregon and Washington are two of the most beautiful states in America. The extensive rainfall of the Pacific Northwest provides the flora and fauna with ideal conditions to thrive, making the landscape and wildlife of the region some of the best in the USA. The varied terrain and geography offers something for all types of nature enthusiasts, from plentiful coastlines to breathtaking mountains, with everything in between. Consider these destinations for your next trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Salem, Oregon

The beauty of Salem is that even though it is the capital of Oregon, it doesn't feel that way. It has the subdued appearance and vibe of a quiet little town nestled among the trees. During the warm summer months the city comes alive with weekly farmers markets and other social events. While the city might not be as hip as Portland, there are still plenty of amazing sights and activities both in and around town. Definitely visit one of many vineyards scattered outside of town, and be sure to catch the Oregon State Fair if you are visiting at the end of August or early September.

Old railway bridge in Salem, Oregon
Old railway bridge in Salem. Photo by Max Rae via Flickr.

Bend, Oregon

The mountain town of Bend, Oregon is arguably the most beautiful part of the state. Multiple rivers snake through town and snow-capped mountain peaks dot the horizon. Several nearby lakes lay just a short drive outside of town and are great for a day-trip or camping trip. The pristine beauty of Bend makes it a favorite among both amateur and professional photographers.

Mirror Pond in Bend, Oregon
Mirror Pond in Bend. Photo by Gordon via Flickr.

Spokane, Washington

Spokane is another one of these American cities that has undergone a revitalization this last decade or two and become a hotbed of live music, craft beer and hip events. Add to that the natural beauty of the surrounding area and all the amazing outdoor activities year-round and it's evident why Spokane is so well-loved by adventure travelers. It is an incredible winter wonderland for those craving snow but also a fantastic summer destination as well.

Historic Howard Street truss bridge over the Spokane River Middle Channel in Spokane, Washington
Howard Street Middle Channel Bridge in Spokane. Photo by cmh2315fl via Flickr.

SeaTac, Washington

Planning to fly to Seattle or Tacoma, Washington? Then you'll be landing at the small city of SeaTac, home of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. While tourism is not too big here, business is, especially given the city's strategic location between an airport and a seaport. As such there is no shortage of hotels, with most stretching along Pacific Highway 5 or located within a minute or two of it. If looking for a luxury stay, it doesn't get much better than Cedarbrook Lodge. Or if budget is the name of the game, there are several options below $50/night from the discount chains.

Blue skies over the SeaTac/Airport station in Washington
Blue skies over the SeaTac/Airport station. Photo by atomictaco via Flickr.

Kent, Washington

Next door to SeaTac is the city of Kent, also part of the Seattle Metropolitan Area but a world of difference. The small city has nearly 75 parks, some of them over 100 acres in size. Much like its neighbor city, Kent is also home of some prominent businesses including REI and Boeing. However the peaceful surroundings and how easy it is to enjoy the countryside beyond make this an ideal choice for anyone seeking relaxation.

Green crops-a-growin' in Kent, Washington
Green crops-a-growin' in Kent. Photo by nicenecktie via Flickr.

  Featured photo by Sheila Sund via Flickr

Summer is coming, and the beaches are calling. Whether it be on the east coast, the west coast, or the Gulf, get ready to feel the sand between your toes. These five destinations are family friendly but also offer plenty of activities that will appeal to adults of all ages--but especially those still young at heart. Get ready for a fun summer!

Gulf Shores, Alabama

When it comes to overlooked family destinations, Gulf Shores should be at the top of everyone's vacation list, with 32 miles of pristine white sands. It's the home of both the Gulf State Park and the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, as well as more than half a dozen different golf courses--even a mini golf center for the kids. There's Waterville USA and the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, not to mention a seemingly never-ending number of water-based activities in the warm Gulf waters. What are you waiting for? Get packing and come on!

Marina del Rey, California

The beachside Los Angeles suburb of Marina del Rey is small but beautiful. The area gets its name from the marina, which is actually the world's largest small boat marina in the world. Marina del Rey is home to over 5,000 boats and yachts, Burton Chace Park, Mother's Beach, and Fisherman's Village, which has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows over the years, including one of my favorites, Arrested Development. Other must-visit attractions include the famous Venice Beach and refreshing Yvonne B. Burke Park.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Known for its many miles of boating canals and iconic riverwalk promenade, Fort Lauderdale has long been a popular year-round destination. Besides all the obvious aquatic activities, there is a sprawling city to explore full of museums, parks, shopping districts, casinos, live music venues, delicious restaurants, and sports arenas. The area is also home to hotels of all budgets, including the immaculate Lago Mar Resort Hotel & Club for discerning travelers, as well as several more affordable chain options.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

For those looking for a romantic luxury getaway, look no further than Hilton Head Island. This upscale island paradise is full of beautiful beaches, meandering rivers and streams, relaxing parks, lavish resorts, 24 sprawling golf courses, and over 350 tennis courts. While these are all perfect for couples, those traveling with children might consider checking out Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort. Located on an island within a river, this is arguably Hilton Head's most impressive resort.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Everyone in America knows the name Myrtle Beach, but the city is popular with international tourists as well. Beyond the 60 miles of soft beaches lies an exciting and fun-filled city to explore. For adventurous travelers, there are adrenaline-packed activities like NASCAR races at the Myrtle Beach Speedway, ziplining, and even skydiving. Water lovers will find that their days are full of parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking, and scuba diving. Are arts and culture more your thing? Myrtle Beach is home to a wide array of museums, historical tours, live music venues, and, of course, the Duplin Winery.

Kailua-Kona is the jewel of West Hawaii. This breathtaking tropical paradise is on the leeward side of the island and as such receives much less wind and rain. As a result, it's a great place for scuba diving or practicing your surfing skills before tackling the tougher waves on the eastern shore. But where to stay in Kailua-Kona? That depends on what you plan on doing while you're there.

Location is Everything

Want to be right in the center of Kailua-Kona and have everything you need mere footsteps away? Look no further than Uncle Billy's Kona Bay Hotel. Situated right in the center of the bay, Uncle Billy's offers both rooms with a view and ground-floor suites with direct access to Hale Halawai Park. The massive Kona Inn Shopping Village is located right across the street and can satisfy almost all your shopping needs. Beyond that, Uncle Billy's is surrounded by water-based sights and activities, ample restaurant and bar options, tons of shopping, and, of course, the best cultural events.

Stay Cliffside

The cliffs of Kona Bay, Big Island, Hawaii
The cliffs of Kona Bay. Photo by Robert Linsdell via Flickr

Perched on the cliff edges 1 mile south of Kona Town lies Aston Royal Sea Cliff, one of the most beautiful properties in the area. With spacious suites that include a full kitchen with all the appliances and utensils, as well as a washer and dryer, this is the perfect choice for guests planning a longer stay, families, or other large groups. Two pools on site enable you to enjoy a salt-free swim while basking in the tropical sun and enjoying the magnificent view.

Bigger & Better

Bigger isn't always better, but in the case of Royal Kona Resort, nothing could be more accurate. This massive resort has been one of the area's premiere accommodation options since 1968 and now consists of three huge oceanfront buildings with nearly 450 rooms, sprawling grounds, multiple pools (including a kids' pool), tennis courts, and a fitness center. Located just a short 10-minute walk from the town center, Royal Kona Resort is close to the action but not too close.

Save a Few Dollars

Don't plan on spending much time in the hotel room? Then don't waste any more money than necessary when paying for lodging. Kona Seaside Hotel is one of the cheapest hotels in the Kailua-Kona area, and you won't have to sacrifice on service or cleanliness just to stay to budget. The hotel has a large pool and even owns the Splashers Grill next door, which means you can have delicious dishes and thirst-quenching drinks delivered poolside.

  Featured photo by Robert Linsdell via Flickr.

Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) recently rolled out a Boeing 787 airplane painted from tip to tail with the likeness of Star Wars’ R2-D2. The airplane will carry its first lucky passengers beginning Oct. 18 with a flight between Tokyo and Vancouver, Canada. The project is part of a five-year promotional deal between ANA and the Walt Disney Company.

This is hardly the first time an airline has made headlines for dolling up its planes. These designs are typically part of publicity partnerships or are created to promote special events or anniversaries. Check out some of the wackiest paint jobs in airline history, below.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 5.58.54 PM
Photo: Flickr user Mark Harkin

Hobbit Plane, Air New Zealand

First on the list is the world’s largest plane decal, which reportedly took more than 400 hours to complete before it was released into the air in 2012. The Lord of the Rings-themed plane didn’t stop at the paint job. Inside, a hobbit-themed safety video featured characters from Middle Earth, while the cabin crew adorned themselves with pointy ears for the plane’s first flight.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 5.59.00 PM
Photo: Flickr user Aero Icarus

San Francisco Plane, Swiss International Airlines

In 2010, Swiss International instated daily flights between Zurich and San Francisco. To celebrate the new route, the airline decorated a plane with just about every San Francisco stereotype around, from peace signs to flower power.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 5.59.25 PM
Photo: Wikimedia Commons via Flickr user Cubbie_n_vegas

Salmon, Alaska Airlines

Get it? A Boeing 737 becomes a Boeing salmon-thirty-salmon in this 2005 fish-themed paint job. The inspiration for the artwork is a bit unclear: Some sources claim it was designed to celebrate Alaska’s seafood industry, while others believe it stemmed from a 1987 incident in which an Alaska Airlines plane was hit by a fish while taking off in Juneau (The fish was purportedly dropped by an eagle).

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 5.59.31 PM

Aboriginal Design, Qantas

A collaboration between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists, the design for this Boeing 737-800 was inspired by Uluru, aka Ayers Rock. The Australian World Heritage site is famous for its rich colors, which appear to change as the sun’s angle shifts throughout the day.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 5.59.37 PM
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Wizarding World Plane, Virgin Atlantic Airways

What a magical idea. In partnership with Virgin Holidays, Virgin Atlantic branded one of its 747 jets with the logo for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The paint job functioned as publicity for the Universal Orlando resort.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 5.58.39 PM
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Panda Jet, All Nippon Airways

To celebrate 20 years of flying between Japan and China, ANA unveiled its panda-themed jet in 2007. It reportedly took 350 people a total of 80 hours to plaster the image of the world’s cutest bear onto the jet.

Whether you’re flying to Tokyo, Vancouver, or anywhere in between, may the force (and sweet paint jobs) always be with you.

  This article was published on Hipmunk's Tailwind blog by The Hipmunk on January 18th.

Airplane cabins aren’t always known for being roomy, comfy, or luxurious, but the newest crop of first class suites are stunning travelers with their size and opulence. New Yorkers who get by in tiny 100 square foot apartments and Londoners who would pay $145,000 for a shoe box next to Harrod’s may consider moving in when they see how gorgeous and extravagantly large the new cabins seem by comparison. Here’s a roundup of the best and biggest first class cabins that money (or airline miles) can buy.

First class flight on Etihad Airways
Photo: Wikimedia Commons via Travelarz

Etihad Airways: The Residence

In December 2014, Etihad Airways introduced The Residence on its Airbus A380 planes. The three room suite is a whopping 125 square feet and can be occupied by up to two people traveling together. It includes a living room, a private bathroom, and a bedroom with a bed large enough to share. Etihad hasn’t skimped on the amenities either: It comes with a 32-inch television, a cabinet for chilled drinks, and Christian Lacroix pajamas. The leather on the seats is made by Poltrona Frau, which also makes leather seats for Ferrari and Maserati.

The suite also comes with exceptional service. It includes a luxury chauffeur for transportation to and from the airport, and a Savoy Academy-trained personal butler to meet you and the airport and anticipate your every need. The Residence is available on A380 planes between London and Abu Dhabi, and soon to New York and Sydney, Australia as well. A ticket in The Residence can cost about $20,000 one way. If you’ve always wondered what it would be like to travel like an oil magnate or a Russian oligarch, this is the way to go.

First class flight on a 747
Photo: Wikimedia Commons via Altair78

Singapore Airlines: Suite Class

The Singapore Airlines Suites may only feature one room rather than three, but it’s certainly not much of a step down. Running about $18,000 each way, the Suites were introduced in 2007 and are available only on the Airbus A380. Flights are offered from Singapore to 14 destinations, including New York, London, and Hong Kong, so there’s plenty of opportunity to experience the best of Singapore Airlines.

The cabins are the work of luxury yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste, and feature a 35-inch wide bed and a 78-inch long bed with cabin doors that can be shut completely. When your partner is in the adjacent cabin, the wall removes so that a double bed can be folded down for some in-flight pillow talk. Each Suite also features a 23-inch LCD screen, Bose headphones, a Ferragamo amenity kit, and Givenchy sleepwear. To complete the perfect in-flight experience, the Book the Cook service allows passengers to order their meals before the flight and choose between Michelin-starred chefs Georges Blanc and Carlo Cracco, among others.

Emirates Airways Business Class lounge
Photo: Wikimedia Commons via Altair78

Emirates Airlines: First Class Suites

At around $13,000 one way, the Emirates First Class suites are a bargain compared to the options above, and their most famous feature will seem like a dream come true: an in-flight shower. In a huge improvement on showering over a toilet in your London apartment, each Suites passenger gets 30 minutes in the spa suite with five minutes of hot water conveniently monitored by a light timer. There are two shower spas for the 14 privates suites on each Airbus A380 flight, and the bathrooms also features heated floors and designer towels and toiletries. Imagine being able to freshen up at the end of a long flight, enjoy a shave or a steam, and arrive at your final destination feeling impossibly calm and collected. Now that’s luxurious.

Of course, the cabins in First Class Suites are lovely as well. The seats, which are tablet-operated, fold down to 79-inch beds, and there’s an on-board bar where passengers can mingle with business class passengers over a drink. The cabins also have remote-controlled sliding doors and 23 inch LCD screens for entertainment. Emirates offers chauffeur service to and from the airports in over 70 cities, and flights on the A380 available to over 35 destinations. Maybe it’s time to let go of your lease and take to the skies for luxury and comfort next year.

  This article was posted on Hipmunk's Tailwind blog by The Hipmunk on Jnuary 18th.

In terms of thinking of a vacation, North Carolina isn't at the top of everyone's list, but perhaps it should be. Take a look at some of the state's best destinations:

Raleigh

Although it's not the biggest city in North Carolina, Raleigh is one of the state's most hip, up-and-coming destinations (take that, Charlotte!). The city is a veritable melting pot of artists, chefs, entrepreneurs, and hip locals. Nightlife, including live music and the craft beer scene, is steadily improving. Also, the city is absolutely gorgeous, flawlessly wrapping its historic North Carolinian charm in a sleek, modern that still retains its uniquely artistic, relaxing vibe. Don't believe me? Here are 10 amazing photos that will make you want to visit Raleigh right now.

Durham

For travelers looking for the diverse excitement of a metropolis like Raleigh but with a much more subdued countryside escape, look no further than Durham. The city is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and historic charm but at the same time is experiencing a rejuvenation of sorts thanks to surge in festivals, art exhibits, and enough unique eateries and craft breweries to keep even longtime residents busy experiencing new places. More in the mood for golf? The Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club is the city's première hotel and golf course. Featuring exquisite architecture, sprawling grounds, world-class golf and nothing but the finest amenities, this is the place to stay.

Wilmington

When it comes to finding the best beaches in North Carolina, Wilmington takes the gold. The city is part of a small peninsula nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River, so rest assured there is no shortage of water-based activities here. Wilmington even includes several beautiful beach islands that act as a natural barrier to the ocean. Surfing, fishing, boat and jet-ski rentals ... the city caters to water sport enthusiasts. However, there is also much to do on dry land, including golfing, hiking/biking, museums, and art galleries, even a surprisingly wide selection of nightlife and live music options.

Greensboro

Like many destinations in North Carolina, Greensboro is great at combining natural beauty with historic charm and plenty of ex align="justify"citing activities to keep visitors entertained, whether they are in town for a weekend or a week. The city is also home to a large selection of budget-friendly hotels, making it easy to save some extra money for all the fun things to do/see/eat around town. The Wingate by Wyndham offers an amazing level of comfort and service for only around $100 a night. Of course, there are also plenty of other options that are even more affordable.

Asheville

In the time-honored tradition of saving the best for last, let's conclude this list with Asheville. From craft beer to live music, the city has everything that makes Raleigh great but wrapped up in a smaller, more hip package. And if by some strange chance you do happen to get restless in the city, there are many amazing outdoor destinations just outside the city limits. If you only have time to visit one city in North Carolina, make sure it's Asheville — you won't be disappointed!

Summer? Autumn? Winter? Doesn't matter when you are headed to Florida, the weather is always great. However, why head all that way just to find yourself in another big city? The following five small towns pack a big punch when it comes to top-notch resorts and breathtaking beaches.

Saint Augustine

While Saint Augustine most definitely is not the first city that comes to mind when you think about Florida, it should be. This modest city of less than 15,000 people was founded in 1565, making Saint Augustine the oldest city in the United States. People visit not only for the beaches but also for the stunning Spanish colonial architecture. Travelers who value style and comfort above all else will want to make the Bayfront Westcott House B&B their home away from home.

Clearwater Beach

Located just 25 miles from Tampa is Clearwater Beach, a popular year-round destination for anyone who needs a quick escape from the city stress, or who is in urgent need of the closest beach from the Tampa airport. The town has several times been named one of the top ten beach destinations in Florida, and for good reason. The pristine white sand beaches and bright blue cloudless days are the stuff you usually only find in movies. Beyond just water-based activities, the town also boasts several amusement parks, museums, and other family-friendly destinations.

Panama City

For anyone planning to visit northwestern Florida, Panama City can be found just west of Tallahassee and has year-round perfect weather. Rather than simply having one Gulf coastline, Panama City is actually nestled slightly inland and surrounded on three sides by a large collection of rivers and bays. As one might guess, this makes the city a favorite of visitors because of the easy access to water. Trivia fact: When the Panama Canal was first constructed, the closest American port was in a town called Harrison, so the town changed its name to Panama City.

Sanibel

Sanibel Island is an elongated island that acts as a barrier island to Cape Coral and Fort Myers. The island is beloved not only for its massive wildlife refuges (the largest being a whopping 5,200 acres!) but also its shell-covered beaches. Combine that with its easy access via bridge to the metropolitan area, and it's no surprise that the island is perfect for families on vacation. There is also no shortage of resorts catering to both couples and families. One of the most highly reviewed is the Sanibel Island Inn, thanks to its immaculate beaches and landscaping, not to mention its amazing amenities.

West Palm Beach

The biggest, and arguably the best, destination saved for last on this list is West Palm Beach. With a population of around 100,000, the city boasts enough diverse sights, activities, restaurants, and shopping for travelers of all types and ages. Some of the favorite attractions that you must visit at least once include the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservatory and, of course, McCarthy's Wildlife Sanctuary.

  Featured image via Martial Arts Nomad

Finding accommodations in New York City can be daunting for a tourist. As a New Yorker, I believe that location is most important, especially for first-timers and families. Don’t pay for transportation when you can situate yourself with a place to stay where it’s convenient to get to most top tourist sites.

Some of the best Hotel offerings are in the Boutique Category. Often you will get Five-Star Service and accommodations for a price much less than you would from the more renowned names in the industry. Below are some top picks:

The Iroquois Hotel

As one of the Top Small Luxury Hotels of the World, this gem of a hotel, located near the Heart of Times Square, lives up to its billing. Upscale service and amenities include Frette Sheets, turndown service with some Le Belge Chocolates, Molton Brown Bathroom Products, and complimentary coffee/tea and an afternoon beverage in the lobby. Theatres, Top Restaurants, Shopping right outside your front door. Starting at $116/night. WiFi and Fitness Center.

The Shelburne

Those who are looking to travel as a family, this hotel is a top choice. Located near Grand Central Station, The Empire State Building and Macy’s. The rooms are a nice mix of 60’s retro and modern design. Suites have a kitchenette, and the hotel offers “kid-friendly” amenities, such as board games and a shop for children’s sundries. For adults, there is a wonderful rooftop bar to enjoy a post-sightseeing or pre-dinner drink. Suites start at $132/night. WiFi and Fitness Center.

Club Quarters Midtown

Few are better located than this lovely boutique hotel. Just right off World Famous Fifth Avenue, staying here brings the guest within walking distance of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and some of the best shopping in the world. The rooms are well appointed, affixed with luxurious leather and wooden features. There are unlimited chilled bottle water and complimentary in-room coffee. Starting at $149/night. WiFi and Fitness Center.

The Benjamin New York

This hotel prides itself on client experience. Upon walking in, one can’t help but admire the beautiful photography hung throughout. The service is impeccable and the rooms luxuriously appointed with lush beds and high thread count sheets. The aesthetic is muted, with relaxing neutral colors.There is a fine restaurant connected named, The National Bar and Dining Room, created by renowned chef, Geoffrey Zakarian. A great getaway, especially for a romantic one. Within walking distance to all major sights, which include the Museum of Modern Art and Central Park. Rooms start at $179/night. WiFi and Fitness Center.

Ink48 New York

With a high energy lobby and a popular rooftop bar, this is the fashionable choice. This very stylized hotel is located in, the now popular, Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood. Views of the Hudson River from most rooms. Set within the center of the Theatre District, this hotel is a treat for a culture seeking traveler. Starting at $199/night. WiFi and Fitness Center.

  This post was sponsored by Hipmunk and originally appeared on Dish Our Town's The Best Boutique Hotels in Asheville on February 25th.

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