Florida in December | Marco Island

Marco Island, Florida - Ali in Bloom

If you follow me on Instagram or  saw my post Things to do in Naples, Fl | Exploring Naples, you know that I spent some time in Florida in the month of December to visit family and have a relaxing getaway with my mom after the end of the semester. During our trip, we spent most of our time in Naples, but for some reason (I would say just out of habit), we always go to Marco Island for our beach days. Oh, what to say about Marco Island? Marco Island leaves me at a loss for words.  Like they always say, I think there is something so theraputic about the beach. You’re soaking up all the vitamin D you could need, you have an amazing view, soft sand in between your toes, you’re unplugged from the rest of the world and you’re just relaxing, listening to the crashing of the waves and the squawking on the seagulls.   Marco Island  is especially quiet and peaceful. There aren’t any  wild beach parties; there isn’t blaring music – just people trying to soak up the sun, take a sailing trip, jet ski around the bend to find some dolphins and play a little beach volleyball. It is the exact kind of beach I like to hang out on.   If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend checking out Marco Island. I don’t think you’ll be dissapointed if you’re looking for a little R&R.

Marco Island, Florida - Ali in BloomMarco Island, Florida - Ali in Bloom Marco Island, Florida - Ali in Bloom

On the beach I love to go on walks. I can lay out in the sun just like any other girl, but after too long, I get restless and like to move around. On Marco Island, the walk along the beach is so fun. You get to look at all of the beach-front hotels, see if the fishermen caught anything along the shore and look for shells and coral.

Marco Island, Florida - Ali in Bloom

Knowing we would spend all day on the beach, my mom and I packed snacks: strawberries, deli meat, banana chips and almonds. When I pulled them out to eat, the seagulls came swarming in. It was honestly so scary! But I have to say, they sure look pretty from afar.

Marco Island, Florida - Ali in Bloom

I can’t say it enough, but I seriously love Florida. I want to know: Have you ever been to Marco Island? What are your favorite things to do on the beach? 

Make sure that you don’t miss part 1 of my vacation recap: Things to do in Naples, Fl | Exploring Naples!

Things to do in Naples, Fl | Exploring Naples

From shopping, golfing, dining, exploring and beaching, there are so many things to do in Naples, Fl. Discover the best attractions in Naples, Fl.

Every year my mom and I try to get down to Florida for a short trip together. We have family in Florida, so we always seem to see the same areas and go to the same places, but this year we explored new areas that we have never really spent much time in… Even some places we’d never been before. I’m not sure what Naples, Florida is actually known for, but when I think of Naples, I think retirement and golf courses. Sure, Naples does have some impressive looking golf courses, but it is also packed with a huge assortment of restaurants, shops and entertainment. 

Door County, WI: A Weekend on Pioneer Lane

This past weekend my mom and I escaped for the weekend to Door County, WI. It was my first time visiting the quaint county on the Wisconsin peninsula, and it was the perfect place to get away and relax. I stayed at Lodgings at Pioneer Lane in Ephraim and had a very pleasant experience there. I would highly recommend it to friends/family – as well as go back myself. Our room fit my and my mom’s style perfectly. It was called The Sea Chest, and with a view of the water from the living room, the nautical theme seemed fitting. I could have lived in that suite forever!

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Ephraim is three short miles from Fish Creek, and we spent the majority of our time dining and shopping in the neighboring town. Fish Creek has so many unique and fun features around town that made me giddy (I’m such a small-town-charm kind of girl!). Right outside of the Blue Horse Beach Café was this little free library, and I wanted so badly to borrow a book but knew I wouldn’t have time to read and return one, so I just had to admire it and snap a picture instead! Maybe next time…

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Although the weather acted up every now and then during our weekend, Friday was the perfect weather to spend biking through the Peninsula State Park. We spent hours riding through the park and gladly so. The trail runs along the edges of the water and through all of the trees, gives you great views of the bay. We had to stop and pull over a few times to snap pictures and enjoy the view. It was the first time I’d ever stepped foot on a beach full of shells with tennis shoes on, and it definitely was a funny feeling.


We rode our bikes up to the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse in the park, but you can also drive or walk to it. After seeing so many lighthouses on our trip, I bought a lighthouse charm bracelet. On the packaging it wrote, “We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own – Ben Sweetland”. It reminded me that not only are lighthouses beautiful pieces of architecture, but they are also a strong symbol of guidance, stability, and hope.

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There is an enormous amount of places to explore in Door County. You could spend your entire trip just trying to eat at all of the local restaurants, and you would never finish. Try to enjoy the shops, the parks, the water, and the entertainment all in one and you might as well stay for months. Door County, we’ll be back!

Horse back riding and sight seeing in Galena IL

First of all, happy Memorial Day to everyone! This Friday I was able to enjoy my first real weekend of summer vacation and decided to head to Galena IL with Ty. Galena has been named Best Weekend Getaway by West Suburban Living and one of America’s Coolest Small Towns by Budget Travel, among many others.

galena, il

I’ve been coming to Galena ever since I was little, but it never gets boring. For being a small town, Galena is full of attractions. The main street is lined with candy shops, boutiques, and local restaurants. On a warm summer weekend, the street is packed with pedestrians going in and out of the store fronts.

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The first thing Ty and I did when we got there was go on a trail ride at The Shenandoah Riding Center. It was Ty’s first time riding a horse, so he picked the little guy on the right. It turns out, he loved our ride! The trail ride takes you through both the open rolling hills and wooded areas of the land. With the ripples of the creek water and birds chirping, it was such a relaxing way to spend the morning.

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After lunch at Little Tokyo for sushi, we stopped by the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory on the hunt for a caramel apple, which I had gotten on our last visit there. We found this big, fluffy guy and just had to take a picture. We both took one, but it turns out Ty is more photogenic than me!

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I’m a basic caramel and peanut kind of girl, but the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has caramel apple flavors I’ve never seen anywhere else on top of chocolate covered strawberries, fudge, barks, dipped marshmallows, etc. Ty always gets the cashew bears and loves them! We were able to walk down to the river that runs parallel to Main Street to enjoy the weather and our sweet treats.

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On our way out of town, we stopped by Ulysses S. Grant‘s house. Ty and I were both pretty impressed with the size of his house… And it turns out he had a pretty great view of the downtown area from his front yard.

tyler scenic galena

How was your weekend? Have you ever been to Galena before? I’d love to hear about new places to check out for our next trip back!