May
19

Last Minute Memorial Day Weekend Ideas

Mermaids, we have made it to the start of another summer! With Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start to summer next weekend, if you’re like us and can’t believe how fast this year is going, then you may have forgotten to make Memorial Day plans. But, we have your covered – – with surf bikinis AND some awesome last minute Memorial Day Weekend trip ideas! Check it out below:

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Andrea V- @vitiviti

 

Last Minute Memorial Day Weekend Ideas

Day Trip to Rockaway or Long Beach
Calling all New York City + surrounding area mermaids! Escape the concrete jungle, hop on the ferry, the subway or LIRR, and head to the beach. Two of our favorites are within an hour train ride from Manhattan. And the best part? You don’t even have to worry about finding a hotel or AirBnB – – Rockaway and Long Beach are perfect day trip destinations.

Check out our Surf Guides to Rockaway and Long Beach

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Sanibel Island, FL

Sanibel Island on the southwest coast of Florida to explore one of Florida’s most pristine beaches. Known for its wide variety of beautiful shells, Sanibel Island is a beachcomber’s paradise and nothing short of magical. According to the Sanibel tourist board, there are 250 different type of shells, 230 types of birds, 15 miles of beaches, and zero traffic lights!

Check out our Guide to Sanibel Island

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @mermanda_

 

 

Have Fun in the Mountains in Lake Tahoe
The Lake Tahoe Basin has the glistening gem of a lake at its heart; ideal for summer swims, reading on the beach, paddle boarding, and kayaking. The lake is approximately 72 miles around, by road, and makes for a beautiful, scenic drive; Emerald Bay is a highlight of the drive; a natural bay surrounded by steep mountainous terrain jutting from its edges. The Tahoe Rim Trail is an amazing long distance hike that circumferences the lake, in and out of state park land, wilderness, and forest.

Check out our guide to Lake Tahoe

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana- @openheartadventure

 

Road Trip(!) to the Outer Banks
Hop in the car, and head to the Outer Banks, a 200 mile long barrier island that sits off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean. With ocean on one side and the Pamlico Sound on the other, the sun rises and sets on the water. Be sure to pack all of your outdoor gear, as the Outer Banks offers something for every outdoor enthusiast, fishing, hang gliding, world class surfing, kite boarding, windsurfing, SUP boarding, jet skiing, boating, kayaking, biking, or just relaxing on the beach!

Check out our #GetOutThereGuide to the Outer Banks and our Surf Guide to OBX.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

 

Costa Rica
Itching to hop on a plane and travel outside of the USA for the long weekend? Costa Rica has many direct flights from all over the continental US, perfect for a quick getaway. Our tropical home base, Costa Rica is paradise for surfers and outdoor enthusiasts. Some of our favorite beaches to surf and explore included Tamarindo, Playa Avellanas, Playa Grande, and Playa Guiones.

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Lifestyle photo shoot for Kim (@_thesunnyside_) at The Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica. Kim is wearing a MI OLA surf bikini. Photographed by Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography.

Kim (@_thesunnyside_) photographed by MI OLA team rider Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea (@sambatothesea).

 

 

 

May
12

How To Cope With An Injury

It’s true. If you do any physical activity long enough, there’s a good chance you’ll get injured, either from overuse, over-zealousness or just bad luck. Accidents do happen, and some of our favorite activities have inherent risks of injury.  Usually, the injuries are minor, and after a few days off, you’re back in the game.  But sometimes, the injury is significant, requiring a long layoff or possibly retiring from that sport completely.  It can be hard to get on with things when something you love to do isn’t an option any longer… So how do you cope when you’re an injured mermaid? Check out brand ambassador Jen P. (@flentil) tips for coping with injury below!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

Dry Docked: Even Mermaids Get Injured Sometimes. How to Cope!

From Mermaid to Medusa

When you can’t get out there, Depression, Crankiness and all-around Crazy can result…but they don’t have to!!!

I have many sports and activities that I enjoy, but first and foremost, I’ve been a lifelong runner.  I didn’t just love it…I was good at it. Really good.  I was competitive right up until…I had major knee surgery this past March.  It was unexpected, and when the surgeon went in to fix me up, it was worse than they thought.  When I had my post-op visit with the surgeon, one of my first questions was “Can I run again? And when?”  I got a reluctant “Maybe” and a sobering discussion about the condition of the cartilage in my knee and my long-term prognosis for running and other high-impact activities.  It became rapidly apparent that if I did run again, it would very different from before.  No more hills. No more high mileage.  No more competitive training.  No more racing.

I used to be fast.  I was a good runner.  Even now, at age 47 (gulp! Am I really admitting my age in a public blog?) I could hold my own with runners half my age.  I loved the training.  I loved the racing.  I loved being outside.  I loved running with my running buds.

Just like that…gone. Over. No mas.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

Don’t Just Drift With the Current…Start Swimming. Take Control!

The Universe had sent me a forceful message that it was time to start a new Chapter.  I could write it myself or let it be written for me.

OK, so I may or may not have cried most of the way home from that appointment with my surgeon.  But once I got that out of the way, it was time to think about the fact that I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my days sitting on my duff feeling sorry for myself, thinking about how I used to be a runner. Who was I going to be now?  Well, pretty much the same person as before, DUH! And that wasn’t a person that sat around sulking, that’s for sure! Let’s GO!

It was time to figure out what I COULD do, and get on with it!  Because any person who loves physical activity, starts to get a wee bit dodgy when they are cooped up and sitting around for too long.  It isn’t healthy, mentally OR physically.   I wasn’t going to be doing myself any good, and I certainly wasn’t going to be any good for my husband and son, either.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

 

Don’t be a One-Trick Pony

Diversify Your Interests: Get Excited for the Next Big Thing!

Sometimes, it is easy to get all wrapped up in your fave activity to the exclusion of other sports and interests.  That was me for a long time.  I’m so thankful that I started paddling 4 years ago…it’s been a real gift since my injury.  It gives me that same long, steady, rhythmic outdoor experience that I loved with running and it’s an equally intense workout.  I’m so thankful that when I turned 40, I let my friend talk me into learning to surf, it’s given me a whole new way to have fun in the water.  When we were on spring break right after my surgery, I traded out my pre-dawn run for sunrise swims along Seven Mile Beach.  An hour of swimming goes by pretty fast when you are looking for sting rays and puffer fish!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

 

Move On and Get Moving!

We all know the saying: Whoever is having the most fun, wins!  Truth be told, I’m having a great time getting better at a few things that I didn’t make as much time for previously.  And that has been awesome!  Instead of a marathon or a few 5Ks on the schedule, I have a couple of SUP races to look forward to this year!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

The one sport that remains untested since my surgery is surfing…and the jury is still out on that one. I won’t know until summer. If it works out, I’ll be thrilled.  If not…I have my boogie board and fins ready to go!  And of course, my fave MI OLA bikinis!!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

I wish you all good health and fitness! But if an injury does happen to set you back, don’t let it stop you! GET OUT THERE!

Do you have any tips for coping with a long-term or permanent injury that you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments!

May
5

#GetOutThere Guide Turks and Caicos

If you’re seeking amazing tropical turquoise waters, relaxation and quiet, head to Turks and Caicos.  These islands are visually stunning and any beach dwellers dream. The islands do not draw the large crowds of other more developed Caribbean islands, but don’t let that fool you. This place is a jewel. We caught up with world traveller and MI OLA ambassador Ashley B. to get the inside info on these islands. Check out her #GetOutThere Guide to Turks and Caicos below.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

 

The Islands:
Providenciales is the most popular and populated of the Turks and Caicos islands.  While the other islands are equally beautiful, you need to take a ferry, private chartered boat, or inter island flight to travel between them.  Some of the islands are uninhabited. Nearby the island shores are “cays”.  These smaller bodies of land are accessible only by boat. The cays are white sand beaches only a few inches above the ocean reef. Some cays are private property, so be mindful of possible trespassing when arriving ashore.

Best Beaches:
Sapodilla Bay
Malcolm’s Beach
Pirates Cove-west harbor

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

What to Do:
Fishing: Most areas inside the reef are protected, so no fishing unless you’re outside the reef. There is ample fishing to be had, however a charter can be expensive. So if possible, bring your own gear and rent a boat for a morning or day. This will save you money and make the experience more personal.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Boating: When renting a boat for the day, be sure to get a navigation GPS system and a map. While Providenciales is fairly easy to navigate, the waters are more challenging. There are shallow reefs and rocks which can be a problem if you don’t know your way around the waters. Visit the other nearby “cays” and enjoy a secluded beach to yourself. You may also want to dock your boat in the Blue Haven marina or Turtle Cove marina for a bite to eat or a drink.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.


Snorkeling: Snorkeling in the shallow waters or coral gardens is beautiful. You can expect to see starfish, sea turtles, various types of fish, lobsters, sharks, and sting rays. Having your own gear is easiest as you will likely want to snorkel at most beaches and reef sites.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Diving: Best if you are certified before your trip. Beginner dives (resort dives) include pool simulation and the depth for diving is only 40ft. This is a very expensive experience. Anticipate $300 for resort dive and $150-$200 for a 2 tank dive if certified.
Other activities include kayaking, paddle boarding, walking/running on the mile long beaches
Where to Dine:
Bella Luna is an Italian restaurant with very cool ambiance and delicious food. Order a homemade pasta dish or any of their fish entrees.
Shark Bite is a casual island food eatery located on the marina in Turtle Cove. This is a great place for a cocktail or simple bite to eat. The conch fish and chips are best.
Da Conch Shack is located right on the beach. Put your feet in the sand as you sip on the rum punch and snack on the conch fritters.
Coco Bistro is an upscale restaurant serving delicious eclectic dishes that are unlike anything else on the island. This restaurant has a reputation as one of the best restaurants on the island. Make a reservation in advance!
Las Brisas is the best place by far on the island. The food and the view are unparalleled. Everything on the menu is amazing and cooked to perfection. This is a small restaurant located right on Chalk Sound. Be sure to make a reservation before sunset.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Getting Around:
A car is a necessity. We were able to rent one through our Airbnb. You don’t need anything fancy or a 4 wheel drive, just something to get you around the island. I wouldn’t recommend a scooter as the weather is variable and the roads are not always accessible via scooter. The best desolate and secluded beaches are only accessed by dirt roads and some rocky terrain. There is one main road on the island-leeward highway. Navigating around the island is very easy, but ask for a map if possible. Remember to drive on the opposite side of the road than the US!

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

 

Where to Stay:
Airbnb or VRBO is the best bet. The hotels and resorts in the Grace Bay area are nice but are overrated. The resorts cater to an “all inclusive” type vacation and this area of the island is not only popular, but also pricey. We stayed at the “Sweet Escape” in Turtle Cove. We were even able to rent their Jeep vehicle as well as their Triton boat for two days! This was a more affordable and convenient way to go for us.

 

What to Anticipate:
The islands use USD as the currency. This makes purchasing most items very easy. Credit cards are accepted in most places. Everything is imported,  and thus has a fairly expensive price tag. Don’t be surprised by the high price of grocery items. Anticipate $50 for a 24 pack of beer. It’s worth it to bring whatever items possible in your luggage as you will be shocked by the cost of the simple necessity items. A cooler and picnic is the more thrifty route compared to eating at the eateries on the island.

What to Bring:
Bug spray- mosquitos and no-see-ums are common on the island depending on the time of year
Sunscreen- non greasy is best due to humidity
Snorkel gear- cheaper than renting, although some Airbnb and VRBO rentals may provide this
Light clothing- evenings are warm so no need to bring heavy clothing
MI OLA bikini!
Getting there:
While getting there may be long and a little pricey, be sure to check flights connecting through other nearby cities. Providenciales is a smaller airport and the island itself is not as commonly traveled as the other nearby islands. Anticipate the airfare to be $600-$700 average roundtrip.
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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

April
28

#GetOutThere Guide: Grand Cayman

We have amazing brand ambassadors. They inspire us to #getoutthere every day and are always on the move, especially Jen P. (@flentil). From the Galapagos, Costa Rica, running marathons, sunrise SUP sessions, to the Grand Caymans, this mermaid certainly keeps us on our toes! Jen just got back from a recent trip to the Grand Caymans and here’s her guide. Check it out!

 

Caribbean Paradise: Grand Cayman

For the last 5 years, my family has made Grand Cayman an annual destination. Every year, we think we’re going to change it up and go somewhere new, but we love it too much!  The crystal clear, turquoise water, the sultry warm air and the amazing sea life keep bringing us back.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

What to Do:

Snorkeling

The main activities on Grand Cayman are water-based, naturally!  Vibrant reefs and the famous Cayman Wall offer incredible opportunities for diving and snorkeling. There are wonderful spots to check out pretty much everywhere.  Even right in downtown George Town, there is an amazing marine park, Devil’s Grotto and Eden Rock.  Enter from South Church Street – you can park right at Paradise Seaside Grill and the entrance to the water is just to one side of the restaurant.  And Paradise is a great place to enjoy a post snorkel or dive meal with pleasant, shaded outdoor seating right on the water.  You can also go one building up the road to the Eden Rock Diving Center for another entry point to the marine park – plus, they have rental snorkel and dive gear if you don’t have your own.

You can swim out from the beach pretty much all up and down Seven Mile Beach to enjoy fun snorkel adventures, but further north on Seven Mile Beach is Cemetery Beach, where there is a really nice snorkeling spot.  You do have to swim out about 100 yards to get there.  The beach is just behind – you guessed it – a local cemetery.  As you pass by the cemetery from the road to the beach, please be respectful!

Another well-known snorkel spot is Rum Point. Located on the East Side of the Island, it’s about a 45 minute drive from Seven Mile Beach.  It’s a great spot for young kids – the water is quite shallow. There is a pretty fun, short stretch of rocks with many little reef fish in about 5 feet or water that is accessible just to the right of the dock out past the swimming areas.  For the adults and bigger kids, there is more snorkeling further out with amazing corals and larger fish. Be mindful of currents and boats. And if the wind is out of the east, it will be choppy with poor visibility.

 

If you plan to visit Rum Point, GO EARLY.  Rum Point is a popular destination for both on-island visitors as well as cruise ship guests so by lunch time it can get really busy!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

Diving

Because Grand Cayman is essentially the very top of a huge underwater mountain, the famous Cayman Wall runs around the island, dropping off in some places to 3000ft!  Because the wall faces all directions, there will almost always be at least one area suitable for diving regardless of conditions.  Dive shops abound on the island, along with reputable tour operators.  Do your homework and find one that is right for you!

 

Sting Ray City

You can’t really talk about Grand Cayman without mentioning Sting Ray City – it’s the largest tourist draw for the entire island. Each year, millions of people trek out to the shallow sandbars in North Sound. Southern Stingrays are literally everywhere!  They have become quite used to people, so even though they are still wild (which means they do still have the barb at the base of their tail) they are comfortable swimming around you.  Generally, someone from your boat’s crew will hold one for you to say hello to if you wish, or, if you’re like me, you can kind of go to the edge of things, away from the everyone else, and just enjoy swimming alone with these beautiful, enormous creatures.  This spot can become a bit of a spectacle, so if you plan to check it out, I definitely recommend going first thing in the morning or at the very end of the day, when the majority of other tours are gone.  Check out the “Breakfast with the Rays” tour offered by Red Sail, or there are lots of private charter options that will get you out there when fewer people are present.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

Fishing

My son’s passion is fishing, so every year we try to include a fishing charter of some kind.  Good fishing is as close as a quarter mile offshore, where the ocean floor drops off sharply, plummeting thousands of feet to create a natural thoroughfare for the big migratory pelagic species prized by anglers.

One of the Cayman Islands’ biggest attractions for anglers is that big fish run close to the coastlines of Grand Cayman. Popular gamefish such as blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, dorado and barracuda are caught year-round. Water temperature varies annually only about 8 -10 degrees and the baitfish are here year-round – which means the bigger fish are too.

If you’re keen to fish, you can charter a boat for deep sea fishing, bottom reef fishing (sometimes more fun for young kids) and light tackle/fly fishing in the flats.  Pretty much every type of fishing option is present on Grand Cayman and there are countless outfits to show you the ropes!

You can fish from shore, and no license is required, as long as you practice catch and release…just be sure you are not in any protected marine park areas – and there are many of these, so check carefully before casting out.

Catch and release is strongly encouraged for all fishing in these waters – unless you know it will be your dinner, please release your catch!  Your guide will know seasons, limits and keeper sizes for the fish, or you can easily find this information online.

Sailing

There’s often a good breeze blowing around this island, so if you enjoy sailing, you can either rent a sailboat for yourself, or catch a ride to enjoy a trip to Stingray City, secret snorkel spots, or just to take in the sunset.

SUP

If you love SUP, this place is for you!  Beautiful clear water, there’s always something to see.  If you own a board, especially an inflatable, pack it up and bring it along.  Rentals are available on-island, but check into rates, because it can get expensive.  I strongly recommend getting out at daybreak or just before sunset, when the wind tends to be lightest and the sun won’t scorch you.  If you head out later, be sure to mind your sunscreen and pay attention to wind.  It can pick up quickly and I’ve seen a number of people, especially beginners, who needed help getting back to shore.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

George Town

George Town is the big city on the island, with many shops and restaurants if you feel like wandering around.  Keep an eye on the cruise ships that are docked because if there are several of them, downtown will be SUPER crowded until the mid-afternoon when their passengers head back to the ships for departure.  Other things located downtown include the Atlantis Submarine and they also have a glass bottom boat option.  These are cool ways to see all the underwater beauty if you are traveling with others who don’t snorkel or dive, or just if you need an adventure out of the sun in the middle of the day!

Queen Elizabeth II Royal Botanic Garden

Looking for an inland activity?  These botanic gardens are a great change of pace, especially on a cloudy day.  Enjoy the manicured paths, ponds and beautiful local flora. These gardens are one of the few places where you can see the now-endangered native blue iguana. The blue iguanas have been overrun by the non-native green iguanas, but they are keeping them safe within the boundaries of these gardens and you’ll see them in a few places as you walk around.

 

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

 

Getting around on Grand Cayman:

Depending on where you want to go, there are some easy shuttles you can take to get around, especially if you are going to some of the better known tourist destinations.  The island isn’t very big, only 22 miles long and 8 miles wide at its widest point.  Nothing is too far away, but the driving is a bit slow, so allow time.  Renting a car is a convenient way to get around and offers a lot of freedom to explore, but remember, they are a British Territory, so they drive on the left side of the road – be sure you are comfortable giving that a go!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

Where to Stay:

There are lots of choices to suit your budget and interests.  The most popular area is Seven Mile Beach because of its beautiful, white sandy beach and tranquil swimming.  The accommodations on Seven Mile Beach include hotels and condos.  House rentals can be found in other areas of the island, especially on the east side towards Rum Point.  There are numerous boutique hotels around the island as well.  Getting away from Seven Mile Beach will give you less hustle and bustle, but you may find that the beaches are rocky or not suitable for swimming so make sure you do your homework to make sure you find a place that suits your needs and interests.

What to Eat:

No surprise that you should order the fish any chance you get, it’s the freshest option.  And if you see lionfish on the menu, GET IT!  This species is highly invasive and causing all sorts of damage to the reefs.  By creating demand for this fish in restaurants, you are helping to control the local lionfish population.  Other local menu choices includes Caribbean jerk, escovitch and conch chowder.  In and around George Town there are loads of restaurant options.  We’ve enjoyed Paradise Grill (as I mentioned) as well as the Lobster Pot, which has a nice sunset view if you ask to sit outside and the kids always enjoy looking down at the tarpon swimming right around the docks.  You can get fantastic BBQ from Pepper’s Bar & Grill (they also do take-out and delivery).  Eats Cafe is a less expensive but super reliable place to grab a bite, it’s right on Seven Mile Beach across the road from the Westin.

If you head out of town towards the more residential areas such as Bodden Town, you may see some roadside jerk stands.  If you spot one and you’re hungry, definitely stop in!  The food is usually less expensive and REALLY good!

If you stay in a place that has a kitchen, there are several grocery stores in and around George Town…Kirk’s Market has a good selection.  If you see local avocados for sale, pick up a few, they are AWESOME!  A lot of food is imported, so you may have to pay more than you are used to for certain things.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

What to Bring:

It’s ALWAYS tropical – temperatures hover between 80s and 90s Fahrenheit, so you don’t need much!  Unless you are planning on a fancy dinner, you will be just fine with casual beachwear, tons of SPF, and an array of MI OLA bikinis…and DON’T forget your MI OLA rashie, because the rays are super strong!  My family tries to take a break from the sun daily between 11 and 2 or 3pm to ensure we don’t fry! If you have your own snorkel gear or SUP, of course, bring it along!  But it can all be rented if you want to travel light.

 

 

How to Get There:

If you live near a major city in the Central or Eastern parts of the US, there’s a decent chance you can fly direct and be on Grand Cayman in a matter of just a few hours.  Not gonna lie, the first time we went, my son was 5, so a direct flight had HUGE appeal. If you have kids, you get this!  But if finding the best airfare is your goal and you have more flexibility, definitely start looking well ahead of time and you’ll likely find some great deals.  The airport is small, so if you are visiting during peak season (Dec – April) you may run into really long lines getting through customs.  Totally worth it in the end, though!  Meanwhile, they are also upgrading the airport so perhaps this aspect of getting there will improve.

 

What are you waiting for???  Get out there and enjoy Grand Cayman!!

April
21

How Whitewater Rafting Changed My Life

We love to support awesome mermaids that push the limits and #getoutthere. Like MI OLA brand ambassador Andrea (@andybabe88) who spends her weekends paddling some serious whitewater in her home state of Idaho. We caught up with Andrea recently and chatted about her passion for paddling – – what resulted was a beautiful dedication to the sport she loves. Check it out below!

“No man ever steps in the same river twice for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

I frequently hear the same question again and again, “Why?”

Co-workers, family, old-friends and new non can’t seem to grasp my “why”.

Why do I spend every weekend, countless days and hours doing the same thing over and over? Why am I never in town? Why don’t I ever see my friends and family? Why do I put myself in harm’s way? Why do I paddle every chance I get?

I guess my response at this point is, “Why not?”

Why not utilize this life doing what I love and now?! Right now!  The future is something not guaranteed.  Spending these countless days and weekends adventuring and paddling as much as I do seems all but obvious.  Why not spend my time letting the river challenge me in new ways.  She is ever changing, can humble and bring elation all in the same trip. She’ll bring you closer to people than you have ever been.  So to answer their question of, “why”  – – the faces and places are my why.

Paddling has changed my life. 

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

 

For better or worse, I’ve learned more about myself in one summer on the river than in all my time spent at home. Who you are currently and who you want to be… you can find it out there.  The river lives and breathes, and will get deep into your veins.  She teaches many lessons, most of all you that you cannot control everything in life.  Love the hole you’re in. In order to make it to the takeout unscathed, the river requires teamwork, respect, love, courage, patience, and self-worth.  There’s a saying you hear a lot from true dirt bag’s –  “The river doesn’t care about you”.  This may be true but the river also offers you a beautiful thing – the time to care, care about the moment, the people, and the places.

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

A lot of activities bring people together, like the river.  The only difference I have seen is EVERY single person I have met on the river has been the most caring, loving, and genuine soul. I have met and made friends with some of the most remarkable people. I have gained lifelong friends I call FRAMILY, people who have absolutely made a difference in my life. I have had some of the best laughs, deepest conversations, wildest adventures and scariest moments of my life in the short time I have been paddling.  I love listening to people’s stories of adventure as well as am motivated by those stories.  I want to strive for more adventures, more days on the river.

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

My heart grows more and more with each run, every stoke,  every boat flip, every booty beer!.  All while screaming at the top of my lungs because we just conquered what you thought was going to be the impossible.

So again, you may ask me – WHY?

Because I love the life we have been given. The people in it, the relationships with rad humans.  The places and the stunning canyons. I have never felt so at peace and so in control of the moment, past and present than when I am on the river. So, next time instead of asking why maybe come and find out. Who knows maybe it will change your life like it has mine.

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

 

If you ever happen to be in Idaho and want to experience this all for yourself here are some great companies and guides to get in touch with.

PRC – Payette River Company
(208) 259-3702
Boise National Forest, 14 Memory Ln, Lowman, ID 83637
Guide – Jesse Delamotte  – Jesse will show you a great time and also help you stay cool on your trip down the river.

Cascade Raft & Kayak    
(208) 793-2221
7050 ID-55, Horseshoe Bend, ID 83629
Guide – Shane Ramasco (Head Guide for Cascade)

Bear Valley Rafting       
(208) 793-2272
Boise National Forest, 7864 ID-55, Banks, ID 83602
Kaylie Hoffman – Guide

Canyons River Company  
 (208) 634-4303  
160 Commerce St, McCall, ID 83638

Hells Canyon Raft
(208) 634-6366
1308 Roosevelt Ave, McCall, ID 83638

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

If you’re looking to get hooked up with some sweet gear, PFD, drysuit, helmet anything you can think of that is need to be on the river to have a fun and safe time check out these local outfitters in Idaho.

Cascade River Gear – Ask for Renee Zettle

Aire –Ask for Sarah Ostberg

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

 

April
14

Start Making Your Summer Plans! || Summer 2017 Outdoor Adventures

Are you ready for summer? Here at MI OLA, we can’t wait.  With the sun setting later, Summer means more time to #getoutthere! Summer will be here before you know it, which means it’s time to start planning your epic trips now – before the campgrounds and park passes sell out.  Read on  for inspiration… we know you’ll be adding these spots to your bucket list. Check out our top places to #getoutthere this summer!

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B. camping.

Hike, SUP, Kayak, and Whitewater Raft through Glacier National Park

Imagine jagged peaks reaching towards the Heavens, turquoise water inviting you to take an dip and hiking trails leading every way you could want to explore. If this sounds amazing, head to Glacier National Park. The park is quite literally changing before our eyes. The glaciers have been melting at an unprecedented rate so much so that they could be entirely gone by the next generation – – which means you need to go now! Check out Becca’s #GetOutThere Guide to Glacier National Park for more!

Taking an alpine dip in Grinnell Lake

Taking an alpine dip in Grinnell Lake. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Hike a 14er!

If you love hiking, get these spots on your calendar – White MountainLost Coast Trail, and the epic coastline of Kalalau Valley on Kauaʻi, Hawaii. White Mountain is a 14er (peak over 14,000 feet) –  the highest peak outside of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Lost Coast trail is one of California’s best kept secrets. Divided between two national parks, this hike is perfect for the adventure seeker wanting to sleep under the stars next to the ocean.  Kalalau Hike offers pristine views of the Na Pali Coast that are unlike any other coastal hike; the trail leads to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Kalalau Valley.  

And, if you’re a less advanced hiker, we have you covered. Hike Like a Girl offers some great advice on how to start out and work your way up to doing a 14er by doing shorter, less ambitious hikes.

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Lost Coast Trail. Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley B @ayeboulet

Roadtrip in Southern Utah through the Grand Staircase of the Southwest!

Picture yourself wading through a crystal clear emerald river with massive, red canyon walls on either side. Just a few days ago, you were camping out under the stars surrounded by nothing but desert and a few cacti scattered about. In another few days, you’ll mountain bike across some of the best slickrock in the world. Where are you?  Southern Utah is home to some of the best hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, rock climbing and canyoneering in the world. Check out our #GetOutThere Guide to Southern Utah to plan your own epic road trip.

Enjoying the view on Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.

Enjoying the view on Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Explore the waterfalls at Columbia River Gorge!

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area boasts 292,500 acres of beautiful landscapes, incredible hiking, and the infamous waterfalls. The Gorge is just a short drive out of Portland making it a perfect after-work jaunt or a weekend getaway. There are a plethora of waterfalls, so you can spend as little as one day exploring multiple waterfalls OR plan a longer trip exploring all the Gorge has to offer. Check out our #GetOutThere Guide to Columbia River Gorge and start dreaming.

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Weisendanger Falls. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Do you have other awesome summer travel plans?  We’d love to hear about them – – leave a comment below! Now go on and #GetOutThere!!