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Sandy Allen

Sandy is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Virginia. Her specialties range from hotels, dining, beaches, and boating to theme parks, urban settings, mountain getaways, and fun attractions. She loves Nashville, Las Vegas, and Williamsburg, Virginia - but you're most likely to find her at the beach or on a boat somewhere. In addition to ViaTravelers, her work appears at AFAR, PierShare, Cozymeal, and more.

Sandy Allen's Recent Posts

From the Adirondacks to the Poconos and the Atlantic Ocean to the Chesapeake Bay, the mid-Atlantic offers a full spectrum of activities, attractions, and natural beauty. Families will find all the snow skiing, water skiing, hiking, biking, beaching, and relaxing they can handle (along with perfect family-friendly resorts to go along with the adventures). The …

Read More about Top 13 Mid-Atlantic Resorts for Families

Whether it’s Mother’s Day, a birthday, or just because, mother-daughter trips are a fun way to connect, bond, and make memories. This quality time can be spent hiking, bicycling, shopping, wine tasting, or simply relaxing on the beach. With these mother-daughter trip ideas, you’ll be in good hands to make everlasting memories together. How do …

Read More about Explore America Together with These 10 Mother-Daughter Trip Ideas

Whether it’s the beauty and adventure of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the thrills of theme parks and outdoor attractions, or the laid-back charm of mountain-side chalets and cozy cabins, Gatlinburg is a favorite of many travelers. This includes myself, but it’s also fun to get out there and visit other parts of the country. …

Read More about Top 10 Places Like Gatlinburg to Visit

A traditional third-grade class trip for students around the state (and the parents that chaperone them), the Historic Triangle of Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown is an excellent destination for families, couples, and solo travelers. Williamsburg has unique attractions, outdoor recreation, and fun activities for history buffs, nature enthusiasts, and thrill seekers. Even foodies will find …

Read More about A Local’s Guide to 15 Things to do in Williamsburg, Virginia

Island destinations are trendy among travelers of all ages. By “travelers,” I mean myself, but I’m sure others would agree. For example, approximately 28 million people visited the Caribbean islands in 2022 alone. You can’t deny statistics like that! And this doesn’t even include other islands in the world in the deep blue waters of …

Read More about 12 Unforgettable Island Vacations for Couples

Students from elementary to graduate school count down the days to spring break. This annual week is a time to let loose and shake off the stress of exams, papers, and the general hassles of school. Your best spring break destinations range from sandy beaches and national parks to historic sites, theme parks, and other …

Read More about 18 Trending Spring Break Destinations For 2024

If you’re planning a vacation to North Carolina‘s capital city, you’re probably anxious to figure out what to see, do, and eat. If you’re like me, the eating part is a top priority. Luckily, there are a variety of museums, parks, tours, sporting events, and other things to do in Raleigh – and yes, there …

Read More about 22 Essential Things to Do in Raleigh, North Carolina

Charleston and Savannah are two cities that truly highlight the beauty of the South. Both cities are always a terrific choice for a family vacation, honeymoon, destination wedding, or even a corporate retreat. Beaches, historic attractions, local seafood, outdoor recreation, fun tours, and unique activities are easy to come by anywhere near Charleston or Savannah. …

Read More about Charleston vs. Savannah: A Charming Southern Showdown

Founded in 1737, it’s a no-brainer that Richmond holds a mega amount of history within its cobblestone streets, wrought-iron architecture, and renovated tobacco warehouses. It might surprise you that Richmond is also a hotbed for the arts, stage performances, world-class festivals, and thrilling outdoor recreation. Add a thriving culinary and craft brewery scene to that …

Read More about Local’s Guide to 18 Unique Things to Do in Richmond, Virginia

Any time you have the chance to visit Nashville, I say go for it. This happening hub offers so much year-round variety for music (country and otherwise) lovers, foodies, arts, culture, and outdoor recreation fans. Throughout the year in Nashville, you can enjoy big-name concerts, music festivals, outdoor activities, food festivals, and some of the …

Read More about The Best Time to Visit Nashville: Make the Most of Music City

Are you planning a vacation to the South and looking for the best things to do in Savannah, Georgia? Savannah is amazing for a summer vacation, a winter getaway, or a spring honeymoon. Any time of year, travelers enjoy multiple parks and squares, Southern food, gorgeous mansions, and even movie sets. You’ll find it here …

Read More about 21 Best Things to Do in Savannah, Georgia

The best cabins in Gatlinburg offer comfort, convenience, and amazing Smoky Mountain views. It’s one of the best ways to feel like you’re in a Swiss Alps dwelling without leaving the U.S. or handing over a passport. Also, cabin rentals are just plain fun! You’ll find secluded mountainside cabin rentals, sometimes called chalets, romantic honeymoon …

Read More about 8 Best Cabins in Gatlinburg, Tennessee to Rent

From King Arthur and Camelot to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White, who hasn’t been inspired by storybook castles? Authors like Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, Andrew Lang, and Charles Perrault have lulled us to sleep with tales of towers, turrets, keeps, and drawbridges, along with the princesses, knights, and enchanted creatures who inhabit …

Read More about 9 Storybook Castles in North Carolina Hiding in Plain Sight

Are you planning a vacation to the Sunshine State and looking for things to do in Palm Coast? Whether it’s museums and cultural attractions, outdoor recreation, watersports, coastal sightseeing, or just cruising along A1A, you’ll find all that and more in northeast Florida’s Palm Coast. Situated between St. Augustine to the north, Daytona Beach to …

Read More about 20 Best Things To Do In Palm Coast, Florida

The best resorts in South Florida offer sun, fun, and loads of relaxation. Many even have all that and more. If you’re planning a family vacation, honeymoon, destination wedding, or solo adventure, you’ll find resorts with multiple pools, private beaches, on-site restaurants, kids’ activities, and luxury spas. Are you wondering where exactly South Florida is? …

Read More about 13 Best Resorts in South Florida for Every Type of Traveler

Charleston, South Carolina is just a magical place. Between the clip-clop of hooves on cobblestones, the scenery of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, the historic French Quarter and its wrought-iron architecture, and the pastel shades of Rainbow Row, it’s sure to capture your heart. Is there any better way to experience the sights of the …

Read More about 9 Best Carriage Tours in Charleston, South Carolina

Looking for fun things to do in Virginia Beach, Virginia? With about 35 miles of beachfront property – made up of the three distinctive sandy strips of Chesapeake Bay Beach, Virginia Beach, and Sandbridge Beach – the area known as Virginia Beach is one of the best beaches in Virginia. It offers fun for families, …

Read More about 27 Best Things to Do in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Whether you’re traveling to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for outdoor adventures, a romantic getaway, family-friendly entertainment, or relaxation and scenic vistas (or simply because you love Dolly Parton – it’s okay, we all love her), you’ll find resorts for all interests. There are even resorts with spas and indoor water park access if you need to accommodate …

Read More about 10 Best Resorts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

If you plan a vacation to Nassau in the Bahamas, you probably wonder if the area is safe. While statistics don’t lie, there is crime in Nassau, but the island and its people are warm and welcoming. You’ll find relaxation, adventure, a lively atmosphere, and an enjoyable array of activities for families, solo travelers, and …

Read More about Is Nassau Safe? What to Know When Visiting

From luxury hotels, budget options, and family-friendly hotels to mega resorts with casinos, spas, multiple restaurants, and live entertainment, you’ll find a never-ending assortment of accommodations in your search for where to stay in Las Vegas. It can get quite overwhelming when you think about it (especially if you’re traveling with a group of people …

Read More about Where to Stay in Las Vegas: 8 Best Areas and Neighborhoods

Are you planning a vacation and looking for the best things to do in Asheville for a group trip, romantic getaway, or family vacation? Hiking trails, mountain scenery, historical attractions, and an award-winning culinary scene are all within easy access to the town deemed “Land of the Sky” (acquired, we’re sure, by the blue sky …

Read More about 26 Best Things to Do in Asheville, North Carolina

The best restaurants in South Beach, Miami, range from fine dining and exclusive experiences to beachfront cafés, casual eateries, swanky resort lounges, and romantic waterfront restaurants. Framed by the art deco décor of Ocean Drive and the sparkling waters of Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, South Beach delivers a gourmet culinary scene backed with …

Read More about Savor South Beach: 16 Best Restaurants In South Beach, Miami

If you’re planning a weekend getaway or vacation to Nashville and working on the all-important (some might say most important) aspect of where to chow down, drink up, and otherwise stuff yourself silly, you’ve boot-scooted to the right place. One thing that draws travelers to Music City more than the music and the Grand Ole …

Read More about 20 Best Restaurants in Downtown Nashville (+ Bonuses!)

If you’re planning a trip to South Carolina and like to blend history and fun attractions with a touch of Southern hospitality and a lot of Lowcountry cuisine, Charleston is waving the welcome flag. The shopping, dining, seeing, and doing parts of the trip are all easy to plan, but where should you stay in …

Read More about 15 Best Hotels in Charleston, South Carolina

If you’re planning a vacation to the East Coast beach town of Ocean City, you’re probably already looking forward to fresh seafood, Old Bay seasoning, and the boardwalk fare of cotton candy, hot dogs, and saltwater taffy. The best restaurants in Ocean City can be found around the area from South to North Ocean City …

Read More about 23 Best Restaurants in Ocean City, Maryland

Are you searching for the best hotels in Las Vegas for a family vacation, bachelor or bachelorette party, romantic weekend, or spur-of-the-moment wedding? (There are lots of wedding chapels if that’s the case!) You’ve scrolled to the right place in cyberspace. We’re big fans of the Vegas Strip and its colorful and lively collection of …

Read More about 15 Best Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada

The best restaurants in Key West range from beach bars, tiki huts, and food trucks to fine dining, casual eateries, and waterfront gathering places. Most are in open-air settings with the tropical ambiance of ceiling fans, weathered wood, nautical décor, colorful art, and even thatched rooftops (gotta love those thatched rooftops in the tropics). Add …

Read More about 18 Best Restaurants in Key West

Are you planning a trip and searching for the best personal item bag? Whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally (or for business or leisure), the best personal item carry-on bag will keep your travel documents, phone, laptop, photography gear, accessories, and onboard snacks and entertainment organized, secure, and close at hand. Never forget those snacks.

Read More about 16 Best Personal Item Bags for Travelers

Are you craving new scenery and exciting landscapes? After all, an escape to Fiji, Morocco, or the Maldives sounds good now. Unfortunately, they all require that expensive little blue booklet called a US passport. Never fear; there are plenty of cool, unique, adventurous, and even exotic places to travel to without a passport. Whether you’ve …

Read More about 21 Best Places to Travel Without a Passport

If there’s one question that frequent and infrequent fliers ask, it’s: How early should you get to the airport? No one wants to get there and sit for five hours. But you also don’t want the stress of running through the airport, jumping over luggage, and narrowly avoiding other passengers just to get to your …

Read More about How Early Should I Arrive at the Airport?

For beachfront fun, outdoor recreation, arts and culture, and family-friendly attractions, you can’t beat the coastal vibe of Virginia Beach. With 28 miles of sandy beach fun and 38 miles of shoreline, Virginia Beach is the longest pleasure beach in the world. That’s according to the Guinness Book of World Records, so you know it …

Read More about Where to Stay in Virginia Beach: 7 Best Areas

Ocean City, Maryland, a seaside resort town since the 1800s, offers an ambiance of nostalgia mixed among its sandy shores, lively nightlife, natural settings, and family-friendly attractions. With its nickname of White Marlin Capital of the World (you can thank President Franklin Roosevelt for that), the sunny city is an excellent destination for watersports such …

Read More about Where to Stay in Ocean City: 6 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

Colorful, quirky, and stocked full of key lime everything, Key West is as close to the Caribbean as you can get without a passport if you live in the United States. If you’re planning a vacation to the Florida Keys, you’ll want to read below to see where to stay in Key West. Ponce de …

Read More about Where to Stay in Key West: 6 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

Wondering where to stay in Myrtle Beach for a family vacation, romantic getaway, business trip, or golfing excursion? The Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, offers 60 miles of coastline jam-packed with amazing restaurants, shopping, shows, and family-friendly attractions, making it a top destination for travelers of all interests.

Read More about Where to Stay in Myrtle Beach: 5 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

If you’re looking for places and things to do in Ocean City, you’ve landed in the right spot. With excellent eats, family-friendly attractions, lively nightlife, and the sandy beaches of Ocean City’s Atlantic Ocean, Ocean City welcomes families, couples, groups, and solo travelers. Whether you’re in the East Coast town for business or leisure, you’re …

Read More about 22 Fun & Best Things to Do in Ocean City, Maryland

If you’re looking for things to do in Fayetteville, you’ve landed on the right page of this big ‘ole World Wide Web book. With historic areas decked out in cobblestones and significant structures, museums exploring military and African American heritage, and parks showing off regional flora and fauna, Fayetteville is a well-rounded city to base …

Read More about 36 Best Things to do in Fayetteville, North Carolina

If you’re planning fun and exciting day trips from Charleston and need some inspiration, you’ve landed in the right place. Whether you’re staying in downtown Charlestown, in the historic district, across the Cooper River in Mount Pleasant, or somewhere along the Ashley River or the South Carolina coastline, there is a wide array of places …

Read More about 14 Best Day Trips from Charleston, South Carolina

Whether it’s Blues and Beale Street, music studios, history, civil rights, or Elvis and Graceland, planning for things to do in Memphis is a varied and eclectic task. Located along the mighty Mississippi River in southwest Tennessee at the Arkansas border, Memphis is famously known as the “home of the blues and the birthplace of …

Read More about 49 Best Things to Do in Memphis, Tennessee

If you’re planning a trip and looking for fun things to do in South Carolina, you’ve come to the right place. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Midlands and the beaches and marshes of the Coast, the Palmetto State has a diverse array of regions to explore. And they’re packed with attractions and things …

Read More about 38 Things to Do in South Carolina & Places to Visit

Are you planning a family vacation, girls’ getaway, or group outing and looking for things to do in Pigeon Forge? From fun attractions, museums, mini golf, and lively dinner shows to the outdoor adventure of roller coasters (both on the ground and up a mountain) and nature preserves. One of the most popular national parks …

Read More about 27 Best Things to Do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Are you searching for romantic, tropical, or just the best islands in the U.S. to visit? What, you say, islands in the U.S.? Yes, and you don’t even need a passport. But you’ll want to consider travel insurance like any other trip. VisitorsCoverage travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, with coverage for …

Read More about 24 Best Islands in the US to Visit

If you’re planning things to do in the Outer Banks for an upcoming beach vacation or a weekend getaway, you’ve surfed to the right place. We’ve got the lowdown on all the highest-rated and most favored activities and attractions for families, couples, and single travelers. The East Coast barrier islands known as the Outer Banks …

Read More about 51 Best Things to Do in Outer Banks, North Carolina

Few can compare to the charm and beauty of the world’s windswept, exotic, and otherwise mesmerizing islands when visiting new and exciting places. You don’t have to be a beach lover to enjoy an island destination. But you might become one after visiting some of these islands. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. From tropical …

Read More about 20 Best Islands to Visit Around the World

Looking for the best places to visit in Montana? Frequently known as Big Sky Country, the western state of Montana offers a diverse landscape of rugged mountains, desert plains, rivers, and hot springs. Yes, hot springs. Who knew? Whether you’re heading to northwestern Montana, southern Montana, or the Rocky Mountain region of western Montana, you’ll …

Read More about 35 Best Places to Visit in Montana & Things to Do

From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Midlands and the Lowcountry of the southeastern United States, South Carolina offers a wide selection of national and state parks. Hikers, photographers, campers, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts will want to add a few of them to their bucket lists. More than just a means to outdoor recreation, …

Read More about 15 Best State and National Parks in South Carolina

Along with being one of the most beautiful places in the world, the Caribbean island of Jamaica can add the distinction of being a top culinary destination. Foodies will find that the choices are as diverse as the landscape itself. Whether you’re exploring the Blue Mountains, sliding on slippery rocks at Dunn’s River Falls, or …

Read More about 18 Best Restaurants in Jamaica to Try

If you’re wondering where to stay in Charleston, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered all the best hotels, inns, rentals, and more for a fun and relaxing trip to Charleston. You’ll find that most of downtown Charleston offers luxury hotels in historic settings, but there are plenty of budget and mid-range hotels in …

Read More about Where to Stay in Charleston: 8 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

Wondering where to stay in Shinjuku, Tokyo, for an upcoming vacation or business trip? From modern skyscrapers and classical art to historic temples, kabuki theater, and the gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo is a bustling and exciting capital city whether you’re visiting or relocating. Located in east-central Japan, Tokyo’s huge city is Japan’s capital. …

Read More about Where to Stay in Shinjuku, Tokyo: Best Areas & Fun Neighborhoods

Are you planning a vacation and wondering where to stay in Winona, Minnesota? Should you book suites at a Winona hotel, find a campground, or rent a vacation cottage? The choices can be daunting. Luckily, we’ve done the groundwork and laid it all out for you. You can thank us later!

Read More about Where to Stay in Winona: 15 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

If you’re planning a coastal Central California vacation and wondering where to stay in Big Sur, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’ve planned a weekend getaway, a day trip, or a two-week road trip adventure, Big Sur hotels range from luxury resorts, cabin rentals, inns, and campsites along the Big Sur coastline. Displaying rugged scenery, …

Read More about Where to Stay in Big Sur: 18 Best Areas & Accommodations

Are you in search of Gunflint Trail resorts for a northeast Minnesota vacation? Maybe you’re taking a canoe trip, fishing for trophy walleye, or hiking to historic places on a northern Minnesota adventure? Whatever the case may be, you’ll want comfortable and convenient accommodations.

Read More about 22 Best Gunflint Trail Resorts for Lodging in Minnesota

From fishing, swimming, and kitesurfing to walking trails, bike paths, and cultural attractions, there are lots of things to do in Long Beach. This coastal city is a classic Southern California beach town with a modern vibe. Travelers come to Long Beach for family vacations, romantic getaways, and events such as the Grand Prix of …

Read More about 20 Best Things to Do in Long Beach, California

If you’re planning to visit the Magic City of Miami and are wondering how to get around, you may wonder, “Do you need a rental car in Miami?” Sure, you’ll want to soak up the sun at a beachfront hotel or sip frosty cocktails at the pool, but you might want to check out sporting …

Read More about Do You Need a Rental Car in Miami? Here’s What to Know

With jagged coastlines, soaring waterfalls, towering redwoods, and that glamorous persona, California has more exotic places than you might think. When you consider the word “exotic,” your mind probably travels to somewhere like Bali, the Maldives, or a curvaceous Mediterranean coastline. Mine sure does! The Golden State of California entered the nation in 1850 and …

Read More about 10 Most Exotic Places in California to Visit

Stow those fleece-lined boots, trekking shoes, and heavy harbingers of colder days (in other words, all those winter shoes). It’s time to bring out the comfy flip flops, cute beach sandals, and EVA foam soles of beach sandals. From fuss-free and open-toed slides to ornate, fashion-forward, and feature-packed varieties, you’ll want to choose the best …

Read More about 20 Best Travel Sandals for Beach Destinations

Are you looking for the best Tampa Bay area attractions for family vacations, romantic getaways, or group adventures? With a mix of urban aesthetics and coastal inspiration, there’s plenty to love about Tampa. Gorgeous Gulf Coast beaches, top-notch theme parks, unique natural attractions, and year-round sunshine make this Florida region one of the best locations …

Read More about 30 Best Attractions & Things to Do in Tampa

Are you planning a trip to coastal South Carolina and wondering about the best breweries in Charleston? Along with plenty of things to do and places to see, Charleston has a hopping craft beer, brewery, and distillery scene. Find your next favorite lager, ale, stout, pilsner, or IPA. Consider renting a car in Charleston to …

Read More about 10 Best Breweries in Charleston, South Carolina

Are you searching for the best romantic travel destinations for a destination wedding, honeymoon, anniversary, or landmark birthday celebration? Visiting romantic spots with your spouse or significant other is one of the best ways to spend quality time and make memories. From fairy tale castles and snow-capped mountains to crystal blue water, coral reefs, ancient …

Read More about 43 Best Romantic Destinations in the World