Monthly Archives

March 2020

life,lifestyle,north carolina,travel

Wrightsville Beach Travel Guide

This Wrightsville Beach guide is a long time coming!  When I say a long time, I mean this was the first beach I ever went to with my family when I was a baby  and continued to vacation for 30 years :).  Being born and raised in North Carolina you come to love Wrightsville beach and Wilmington NC area because it is the closest beach right off highway 40 when you head to the coast.  Not only is it super convenient, it also has always been the most developed North Carolina Beach town with some of the best restaurants and shops to me. This post is also going to be hard for me to write because there are SO MANY good places to go, visit, and eat.  For that simple reason, I am going to do two blog posts.  This first one I am going to highlight options to stay and things to do with the kids.  The next one will showcase where to eat around town, so stay tuned for that too!!  So without further ado, below is some info on WB!

How to get there:

You can fly into ILM airport and easily be at the beach in 20 minutes depending if summer/traffic etc.  If you are driving, you head straight down 40 East till you arrive in Wilmington.  North Carolina is not complicated to figure out 🙂  The best weather in NC typically runs from April-October.  The hottest time of the year is typically July-August, with highs touching the 90s.


(pictured here is the Holiday Inn Resort at Wrightsville Beach)

Where to stay:

  • We always book all our rentals through this Wilmington and Beaches site! From hotels, B&B’s to vacation rentals, they have several options!
  • If you want to stay on the beach, any area over the bridges is an easy walk to the ocean.
  • If you want to stay near restaurants/bars, choose the streets right off of Lumina, or anywhere behind the beach bars (located by Jerry Allens, or Tower 7)
  • The Southend of Wrightsville is more quiet and secluded in my opinion.
  • The North end (shell island) has more larger house rentals/full time residents and two hotels on that end.
  • If you have a boat, look at renting docks by the north end/”lollipop area”
  • We recently stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort at Wrightsville Beach.  I loved this hotel because they have so many amenities on site for kids:  Playground, indoor/outdoor pool, hot tub, onsite kids camp/playroom, and an arcade room open 24/7.  The rooms also have a balcony over looking the pool & ocean!
  • We have also stayed at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, which is on the south-end of the island.  They recently renovated the hotel & the entire outside area is gorgeous.

What to do:

  • Rent a Boat/Car from Bluewater Transport Charters:  One of my favorite things to do in the summer is go out on a boat to some of the neighborhood islands.  The closest one is Mason’s inlet, which has small tide pools for kids to play in.  On the islands you can bring your own coolers, dogs, and tents year round & spend an entire day out there!  You can rent a boat for the day, do a sunrise tour, and even arrange luxury car transfers if a special occasion.
  • Visit the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History:  Located at 303 W. Salisbury, find this museum in the middle of the Historic Square of houses all built in the early 1900s.  The homes that make up the Historic Square are some of the last survivors of the Great Fire, which roared through
    the island in 1934 including the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History.  The Wrightsville Beach Park is right behind the Museum, so take the kids right after the blow off some energy! Wrightsville Beach Park has a new all-inclusive playground geared towards children with disabilities as well as two outdoor basketball courts, four tennis courts, three sand volleyball pits, one softball field and anopen area for soccer/flag football.
  • Explore the Shops on Wrightsville beach: My favorite local beach shops are Sweetwater Surf Shop & Hallelu!
  • Explore Airlie Gardens: “Encompasses 67 acres of beautiful Gilded Age gardens and lakes. Admire the azaleas,gaze at the camellias, stand in the shade of the 450-year-old Airlie Oak, experience nature’s most delicate and ephemeral creatures – butterflies – in the region’s first
    permanent butterfly house.”  Airlie Gardens has special events year round, including the famous “Garden Party” which is hosted Azalea festival weekend on that Friday.  They also do “Enchanted Airlie” during the holidays where you can pay for a car full to drive and see all the lights!
  • Book a Cave room with Native Salt Caves & Wellness: This was a really cool experience to take the kids to detoxify your body!  From the site, since they can explain their process better:  “Providing Himalayan salt caves for halotherapy, Native Salt Cave and Wellness offers the choice of two caves: one for a massage treatment room or children’s cave, and the other for adults to sit and relax enjoying the benefits of breathing the salt-infused air surrounded by Himalayan Salt. The salt used in the halogenerators, found in both caves, is pharmaceutical-grade 99.99% sodium chloride, the same that is used in medical saline solutions. The main Salt Cave holds tweleve. Inhaling dry salt air for a period of time has been a traditional wellness practice. Signature events: Classes, or group sessions, held in the main cave combining massage, light and sound techniques to enhance the salt cave experience.”
  • Visit the Famous Wrightsville Beach Mailbox:  Before you leave, head to the North end on the beach, known as on shell island, Beach Access 1, and walk to the beach to put a note in the mailbox!

We loved working with Wilmington and Beaches to showcase an area that means so much to us!  Stay tuned for my next guide on “Where to eat in Wrightsville Beach” coming soon!

travel

Dominican Republic with Cheap Caribbean Guide

(This guide was also featured on Forbes: 43 Cheapest places to travel in 2020 here)

Last week we were able to experience the Dominican for the first time!  We stayed in Punta Cana and we were pleasantly surprised how beautiful the island was.  I know everyone, including us, have heard the awful things the media has said about this area and trust me we were a little hesitant to jump on board to visit there.  After researching nonstop and seeing that the CheapCaribbean’s resorts made a safety pledge on the island, known as the “PC Promise”, we felt comfortable going.  From their site, you can also view all participating resorts here as well: 

What is the Punta Cana Promise?

While you plan your next vacation in Punta Cana, one of the top beach destinations in the Dominican Republic, we want you to know that you’ll be safe and secure while traveling. As part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that True Beach Lovers continue to receive the highest levels of service they have come to know and expect from us, CheapCaribbean is proud to support the Punta Cana Promise.

The Punta Cana Promise reaffirms the commitment of Punta Cana hotels to a set of security standards in one of the safest spots in the Caribbean. You’ll find comfort in knowing that:

  • Properties are self-contained and provide 24-hour security and medical assistance
  • Food and beverage offerings come only from reputable, trusted vendor partners and are all carefully checked and inspected before being served at any property, in accordance with global food safety management standards
  • Employees all undergo rigorous background checks, screening, and training
  • High staff-to-guest ratios ensure that every guest receives the attention, service, and security they expect and deserve
  • Properties not only meet but also exceed tourism and hospitality regulations and guidelines
  • Hotel-affiliated vacation activities and excursions are provided exclusively by reputable partners who are all licensed and insured
  • Properties are each united in the oversight and delivery of the Punta Cana Promise
  • Hotels will provide safety information and phone numbers to all guests upon check-in


(Our resort, Now Larimar Punta Cana, thank you to Renaud from Flytographer for capturing these amazing images while we were in town.  If you are looking for a photographer when traveling, check out flytographer available around the world (you can use code Becca50 to get $50 off the next time you book a shoot through the end of 2020!)

We had such an amazing family vacation, below is everything you need to know about our stay!

How to get there:

We flew into Punta Cana Airport and got on an Amstar transfer pre-arranged.  The airport is a pretty decent size, it did take a good 20/30 minutes once we landed to get through customs.  Pro Tip:  When leaving Punta Cana, the airport has a sky lounge available for a small fee or 50% off american express card holders.  It has an inifinity pool, unlimited drinks and snacks, showers, towels, and wifi!  There aren’t many other options in the airport for dining.

Where we stayed:

  • Now Larimar Punta Cana:  Located about 15 minutes from the airport.  This was an all inclusive resort and we were blown away with the level of service we received.  Every worker on the resort seemed to truly care about their job, their country, and their culture.  There were several pools around the property, the drinks were great, and all of the dining options were decent for an all inclusive resort.  We stayed in a Deluxe tropical view room, if your going without the kids, definitely request a room with a walk out pool.  If you do bring the kids, they have an amazing Explorer Kids club and outdoor playground area that mine spent majority of the days playing.
  • How to Book:  Head here to CheapCaribbean site and you can use code BECCA75 – $75 off; one time use, (5 Night minimum stay, minimum double occupancy, package only, for travel January 17 – December 31, 2020; expires March 10th 2020)


Dining at Now Larimar:

  • Breakfast options: Carnival Cafe- this is a buffet option, quick and good selections. We came here for breakfast every morning, sometimes lunch and dinner if we needed it to be fast with kids! Castaways is an option for breakfast or lunch if you want to be outside by beach!
  • Lunch Options: Barefoot Grill- hut located on the beach, you walk up and can take the food out to the pool or the beach!  Easiest option if hanging outside all day because the restaurants require you to have shirts and shoes on!
  • Dinner: Bluewater Grill & Steakhouse, Cappers Italian, Mercure (french), Spice (Asian- our favorite, choose the hibachi side), Tamrindo (mexican), Windows-buffet.
  • Extras:  Coffee shop:  Coco Cafe, near lobby! Fresh Coconuts on Mondays on the beach!


Excursions: (can also be booked through CC pretravel via amstar, onsite activities can be booked at the resort)

  • Soana Island:  We did this for a full day adventure.  A Van picks you up outside of the resort around 8am, drive you 1-2 hours to the boat dock.  The boat ride takes another full 2 hours, with tons of dancing, snorkeling stops, and a sandbar stop until finally reaching the destination of the private Soana Island.  You have lunch on the island.  Recommend packing your own cooler if you have kids for snacks and drinks the entire day!
  • Golfing
  • Non-motorized equipment on property


Things to Pack:

  • Water wings, life jackets for kids if you need them!
  • Floats/goggles/sand castle toys unless you want to purchase on site
  • SPF
  • The weather was in the low 80s and not too cold at night.  I packed several maxi dresses that transitioned well.

Thank you to the CheapCaribbean team for coordinating this entire trip for us!  Don’t forget to head to their site to book YOUR next vacay and get $75 off with code BECCA75 till 3/10!  We can’t wait to head to another tropical destination soon!  #partner #ad #truebeachlover #cheapcaribbean

lifestyle

Shopbop Spring Sale- Swim

The Shopbop Spring sale just went live for the public and lasts until this Saturday!  Since bathing suit season is right around the corner and you know that is all my family basically lives in when we travel, I wanted to share my top pics and styles you have seen me wear constantly!  Shop all the swimwear on sale here and see below for favorite brands!

Here is the breakdown on the sale:
Starts: Monday 3/2 7:18AM Eastern Time (New York) Zone.
Ends: Saturday 3/9 4:00AM Eastern Time (New York) Zone.

Up to 25% off full-price styles with code SPRING
15% off orders of $200+
20% off orders of $500+
25% off orders of $800+

Happy shopping <3


Brand Spotlight: Shop all the PQ SwimSuits!  Pictured here is the Zoe One Piece.
Brand Spotlight:  Tiara Hawaii Cover up Pictured.


Brand Spotlight: L*Space swim & Coverups! (several colors): Shop all the L*Space looks here!


Sale item: Shop All the L*space suits here! Similar style L*space Gemma Bikini topL*Space Gemma Bikini bottom


Brand Spotlight: All the Vitamin A swimwear in various colors here!


Sale Item: All the L*Space styles here in various colors!


Brand Spotlight:  Shop all the L*Space styles.  Rebel Bikini top & Portia Stripe Bottoms pictured here!


Brand Spotlight: Shop All the Montce Styles here!


Brand Spotlight: Shop all the Melissa Odabash styles here!


Brand Spotlight: Shop all the Tori Praver Swim here!


Brand Spotlight:  Faithful the Brand: Shop all my favorite swim & dresses from them here!
Beach Bag Accessories: Shop them here!

Hope this helps you ease into your summer planning 🙂