A Guide To Your Next US Vacation: East Or West Coast?

A Guide To Your Next US Vacation: East Or West Coast?

Whether you're a city gal, an outdoorsy man, a beach bum, or a midwestern lover of cold, the United States has any travel destination you can dream up.

Traveling is one of the world's finest things to conquer. May it be leisure-related, work-related, family-related, school-related, or just any other reason you can muster up to take a vacay, it's always nice to step foot into new grounds and explore what they have to offer.

Whether you're a city gal, an outdoorsy man, a beach bum, or a midwestern lover of cold, the United States has any travel destination you can dream up.

So, if you're looking for somewhere to travel for a weekend getaway, or a week-long beach vacation, there are a number of options you have from coast to coast of the United States.

1. California

Beach, in-land, and multiple different aspects of city life, California is sure one to give you what you want. Listed below are a few of the many, many cities to travel to that I absolutely adored when I visited.

San Diego

Full of a downtown city life and home of many different surrounding beaches, if you're looking for a place to travel with family or friends, San Diego surely is one of the best. San Diego is full of many different shops, delicious places to dine, home of SeaWorld San Diego Theme Park, and is only a small drive from downtown to get to the beautiful island of Coronado. Neighboring San Diego is the beautiful city of La Jolla where you can find cute shops and boutiques, a beautiful beach, a wonderful place to snorkel, and great restaurants to grab a bite to eat.

Los Angeles

If you're looking for a city vacation, Los Angeles has it for you. Home of the beautiful Beverly Hills, Downtown LA, and Hollywood, Los Angeles has many different activities to add to your itineraries. Feeling a Beverley Hills celebrity home tour? Feel free to pick one up in Downtown Hollywood. Feeling a day in a museum? Go ahead and check out the Grammy Museum downtown. Ready to shop and maybe--probably not, but maybe--spot a celebrity? Rodeo Drive has all of that for you. The only downside about LA is that the traffic is nuts, so be prepared to leave ahead of schedule.

Laguna Beach

Home of the infamous TV show "The Hills," Laguna is full of many different shops, rooftop dine-ins, and the beautiful coast of the Pacific Ocean. On radar, Laguna seems to have been meant for a drop-in, drop-out kind of town, seeing that the two times I've been there I had only stayed for the mere daylight and headed elsewhere as night struck. Laguna is very upbeat, but the best part of it is its beauty. So if you ever find yourself cruising up Pacific Coast Highway, pit stop in Laguna for delicious food, a place to shop, or just a beach to relax on.

Santa Monica and Malibu

The outskirts of LA bring you on your way to both Santa Monica and Malibu. Both famous beach cities, they both bring you an aspect of the beach that the other does not. Santa Monica is home to the infamous Santa Monica Pier, where you can grab a greasy bite to eat or catch a ride on its many different carnival rides, the best, of course, being the Ferris Wheel. If you're feeling up to a walk, Third Street Promenade gives you many different options to dine and shop. Malibu is home to the University in which "Zoey 101" was filmed, Pepperdine, and the home of many different celebrities around the world. Both a place to dine and relax on the beach, Malibu has it all for you.

2. Florida

Found on the polar opposite of California, Florida is home to many different beauties, whether it's the Atlantic Ocean, the Everglades, Disney World, the Gulf, or the Keys. Listed below are a few cities that I once visited and loved because of the way they were so calm and collected.

Key West

The true, absolute beauty of the United States. The Southern Most Point of the U.S. has a great amount to offer, whether it's one of its many, many beautiful beaches, its downtown shops, or its delicious seafood. Key West has all it can offer for a great, relaxing vacation, and I'd recommend it to anyone who's looking for a nice place to getaway.


Looking for a place to relax on the Gulf? Naples has that for you. One of the most relaxed, laid-back places I've visited, Naples has anything you can dream of. Dining, shopping, walks on the pier, you name it.

3. Arizona

Ready to relax but not quite to the point of relaxation on the ocean? Looking for a getaway from your home that feels like home? Arizona has that for you. Home to the Grand Canyon and the major campus of ASU, Arizona gives many different options for you. Listed below are a few cities that caught my eye.


Want a getaway but don't have that beach bod yet or aren't feeling the beach drive? Phoenix is very laid-back, has many places to shop, dine, take walks, swim, and really anything. If you want a getaway from home that feels just like home, Phoenix is the place for you.


A small, dinky town on the crossroads from Phoenix to San Diego, Yuma is only a couple miles out from the border of Arizona and California. Yuma's very old school, but a great place to stop to grab a bite to eat or to walk around downtown. Not only is there a downtown, but a river walk, theater, and many different museums. If you ever find yourself road tripping through the west coast, take a stop in Yuma. It won't disappoint.

4. Texas

One of the biggest states in the U.S., Texas has a lot to offer. Beach front, inland, and some cowboys here and there, if you're looking for a warm vacay any time of the year, Texas will give it to ya. Listed below are some major cities and what they have to offer in the dry, sunny state.


Filled with a number of things to do, Dallas has the famous JFK museum, a beautiful downtown, and many different places to shop and grab a bite to eat. Not only that, but it is home to the Texas State Fair running through the months of September and October.


The home of Chip and Joanna from "Fixer Upper," Waco is a town with a very homey feel. Waco holds "Magnolia Market," the home and goods store of Chip and Joanna Gaines. Waco is also home to Baylor University. If you ever find yourself driving from Dallas to Austin, take a pit stop in Waco. It's sure to not disappoint.

San Antonio and Austin

About an hour drive between the two, San Antonio is famous for its beautiful river walk, yummy restaurants, and fun shops that sit home to the Riverwalk. For something fun to do in San Antonio, drive around through its historic downtown or take a river taxi tour through the Riverwalk. As for Austin, take a trip downtown to grab a bite to eat or shop around. Austin is also home to the Circuit of the America's, a race-car track that has held many different Grand Prix's over the years. Both cities hold a lot of potentials, and I'd recommend them to anyone who's looking to take a trip down south.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Graf

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If You Give A Girl A Little Brother

You've given her the world.

I remember back to my childhood, standing at the top of the steps yelling down to my parents "Why did you decide to have another child?" I remember riding in the backseat yelling "Mom, was I not good enough for you?" as my brother threw snow at me .

I remember crying when my mom made us share our first cell phone. I remember playing in a pool at a waterpark, and my dad couldn't play with me because my brother couldn't swim and needed my dad to be with him. I played by myself, thinking "They must have not wanted a girl when they only pay attention to him."

But now, at almost 22, I realized that the best gift God has ever given me was my little brother.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a pain in her ass.

Oh, he'll be annoying. He'll get in the shower just because you said you were going to. He'll start talking every time you do. He'll pull stupid pranks, he'll make you listen to bogus music, he'll make you watch stupid tv shows, he'll smell up the bathroom (and probably smell himself.) and boy, I promise there will be day's you will resent him. But he's just training for living with your husband one day.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a role.

As a big sister, I had somebody copying all my moves. If I did something, so did he. If I didn't eat something, neither did he. If I didn't like somebody neither did he. He was like a little shadow that did everything I did, so I was always motivated to make good choices and make him proud of me.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a rough side.

I wouldn't have done half the things I did if it wasn't for him. Play basketball in the drive way, spend hours on our bikes, spend the summer days in the pool, or down at the park. I wouldn't have learned that it's okay to get in the dirt and have some fun. I wouldn't have played half the made up, imaginary games we played every day. I wouldn't have played with Hot Wheels, or Lincoln Logs, or Leggo's. I would have played with Barbies by myself all day long, and what's the fun in that?

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her the best friend she'll ever have.

In the end, when our parent's both pass away, I won't be alone, because I will have my little brother. When the world gets tough, and everyone turns away from me, he will always be there. No matter where he end's up in life, I know he will drop everything and come running when I'm in need.

For Christmas this year, I bought my brother his first tattoo. We got matching tattoo's on our sides. Our lives our different now, because we're grown up and live on opposite sides of the state. But no matter where we go in life, if we look up, we will be looking at the same sun and moon. We are made up of the same matter, 'made' by the same people, and love each other more than I think we'd like to admit.

Alex is my true other-half.

Give a girl a little brother, and you made her whole.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Engel

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What It's Like Being A West Coaster Attending College On The East Coast

From California to New Jersey, here are changes I've encountered and how I've handled them.


Aside from better pizza and bagels, I've encountered a lot of changes since I've moved to New Jersey. I'm from the coastal side of Los Angeles where rain doesn't exist and you could wear either shorts and a tank top almost everyday of the year and be comfortable.

There's an abundance of coffee shops and little boutiques that occupy some of the coastal front. We don't go "down the shore," we don't have to pay to get on the beach, and we don't have debates on whether it's called pork roll or Taylor Ham. It was nice knowing that the weather ranges from 65 to 75 about eighty percent of the year. But, at the same time, I like having a variety of seasons.

Apparently leaves falling from trees is an annual thing. Southern California has a small number of deciduous trees, so I experienced a real fall last year. I picked a pumpkin from the vine instead of from a tub at the grocery store and got farm fresh donuts from an actual farm with fields and animals.

I was able to witness a first snow and how pretty the trees look when they're covered. I made a snowman in the back of campus and had a snowball fight with some friends.

I also experienced a terrible snowstorm where my umbrella turned inside out and smacked me in the face and then hit the person behind me. I then tried to go after my umbrella and slipped on some ice which the person also saw...so after that I died of embarrassment in my dorm for the rest of the weekend. There were a lot of ups and downs.

Everything in suburban New Jersey is spread out, so it's been a struggle not having access to a car. Back home in California, a CVS, Target, Office Depot, and even a Spencer's (if you're in that weird shopping mood,) was right around the corner. The other night I tried looking up the nearest Mexican restaurant and it was 15 miles away. The Uber was expensive so I canceled it and decided my basic white girl order of plain chicken tacos with a side of guac wasn't worth the trip.

I've tried remembering major cities in Jersey so that when I meet someone and they talk about where they are from I can say, "Oh, I know where that is!" I try asking about their town, how school was, or their family. The only question I've been asked when telling someone I'm from LA is, "do you know any celebrities?"

I don't really mind the question, I've actually come up with some pretty good fake stories on the spot. I just can't believe people think that the famous actors of Beverly Hills just randomly walk the streets. But just for the record, one time I met Wee-Man from "Jack-Ass" at his chronic taco shop. And yes, I got plain chicken tacos.

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