Whether you choose Canon or Nikon, iPhone or Android — no packing list is ever complete without a camera. Here, check out five great destinations that will fill your film (or digital device) with beautiful photos to treasure long after you’ve returned home.
Cityscape: Austin, Texas
Austin — weird or not — offers plenty to capture in a 3×5 photo. From live music on South Congress Avenue to the popular downtown attraction, Barton Springs Pool, Austin is far more than skyscrapers and steel. Only three miles from the water, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Hotel Ella is picturesque in its own right — with tall, white columns and an Antebellum aesthetic. To see more of Austin’s wacky side, make a stop at the South Austin Popular Culture Center on South Lamar Boulevard. The offbeat collection best illustrates the ’60s and ’70s rock art from the “Armadillo Art Squad,” a group that helped shape Austin’s distinctive culture today.
Natural Beauty: Hocking Hills, Ohio
For hemlock-lined hills and valleys, look no further than the natural beauty of Logan, Ohio. Located an easy 30-minute drive southeast from Columbus, Hocking Hills boasts some of the nation’s most pristine natural attractions, perfect for any photographer’s lens. Hocking Hills State Park includes more than 25 miles of hiking trails, waterfalls, caves and cliffs. In the summer, anticipate crowds during the peak of the day and, in the winter, expect to see frozen waterfalls. During last year’s polar vortex, Ash Cave’s cascading waterfall froze from top to bottom. Drive under an hour to reach the Four-Star The Blackwell in Columbus or, if you want to remain in nature, opt instead for a secluded cabin at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, located within a 10-minute drive of the park.
Quirky in Bourbon Country: Louisville
Louisville is the perfect destination for a photographer who wants to capture Southern sophistication while eating and drinking in style. Take the early morning tour of Churchill Downs to capture stills of racehorses in training, or schedule a tour of the Four Roses Distillery in nearby Lawrenceburg for great photos (and a few tasty glasses) of some of the state’s best bourbon. Famed movie director Baz Luhrmann considered Louisville worthy of his camera, too — Daisy and Robert Buchanan’s wedding scene in The Great Gatsby was filmed at The Seelbach Hilton hotel. Enjoy a meal (and a basil gimlet) one mile away at Garage Bar before taking your camera to the four-story antique emporium across the street — Joe Ley Antiques is brimming with art, armchairs and more odd accoutrements than one Pinterest account can handle.
Tropical Treasures: Palm Beach, Florida
From wetlands to ocean views, Palm Beach never ceases to amaze those who love the tropics. Create a picture-perfect itinerary with the concierge at Five-Star Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach with excursions to the International Polo Club Palm Beach, the Everglades or far off the Atlantic Coast for deep-sea fishing. If you’re truly a fan of wildlife, hundreds of species make their home at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands near Delray Beach, including more than 140 species of birds such as bald eagles, red-tailed hawks and anhinga.
Rural Charm: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
In the heart of Pennsylvania Amish Country, Lancaster County is full of rolling hills, grazing livestock and the slow pace of life that makes rural vacations so desirable. In addition to vineyard hopping, mountain zip-lining and noshing around the country’s oldest continuously operating farmers market, Central Market, visitors can tour nearby Amish farms by horse-and- buggy — all perfect fodder for your next Instagram post. Four-Star The Inn at Leola Village has cottages for guests on a romantic getaway, as well as unique suites in the Lancaster House, the property’s main building.
Photo Courtesy of Four Seasons