Named by Travel & Leisure magazine as one of the 50 best places to travel in 2023, the Jersey Shore should definitely be on your summer getaway list. Of course, people have been summering at the Jersey Shore since the late 19th century, so it’s always been a popular place to enjoy the beach, the waters of the Atlantic, and nearby attractions. Book a cabin or cottage at Pine Haven and see what the Jersey Shore has in store for your glamping adventure this summer.
1. South Cape May Meadows: Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or not, a trip to South Cape May Meadows is worth the views. The flat, walkable trails through dunes, wetlands, and meadows in this globally renowned birding spot are good for some exercise with an added plus of seeing native and migratory birds.
2. Lighthouse Visits: Of course Atlantic City has the amazing and historic boardwalk, but it is also home to New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse and one of the oldest in the country. Standing 171 feet tall, Absecon Lighthouse is over 150 years old and if you’re up for some cardio, you can climb all 228 steps to the top! Recently renovated, the Lighthouse has a museum, gift shop, and a replica of the Lightkeeper’s dwelling.
3. Nostalgia Trip: If you’re looking for a bit of nostalgia during your trip to the Jersey Shore, consider a visit to the iconic Atlantic City Boardwalk with its shops and arcade, plus that fabulous saltwater taffy. Or, take a ride to Margate to check out Lucy the Elephant, the National Historic Landmark, that stands six stories high! Fear of German invasion from the waters of the Atlantic was very real in 1942, so lookout towers were built along the shorelines in the area. One is still standing in Cape May and is a great history lesson as well as a sight to behold.
4. Boardwalks and Beaches: New Jersey has 130 miles of Atlantic coastline and more than 60 designated beaches with each offering something different. As for boardwalks, there are plenty. There is the afore-mentioned Atlantic City Boardwalk, but others to check out include the one in Wildwood which has a 156-foot Ferris Wheel at Morey’s Pier, a Doo Wop Museum and a Neon Sign Garden; or the historic Cape May boardwalk, which is actually known as a “promenade” and is great for walking, roller skating or biking as it is paved. For beaches, check out the offerings in Atlantic City, Avalon, and Cape May.
5. Northeastern Charm: Speaking of Cape May, make sure to spend some time in this charming seaside resort town. The Emlen Physick Estate is an historic 18-room Victorian mansion that is open for tours. Visitors to Cape May can plan to take a special trolley tour to see the “Painted Ladies,” which are the colorfully painted Victorian homes throughout the town. There also options for food tours and wine tours or just a day at the beach with the chance of spotting dolphins or whales in this quaint Jersey Shore location. To plan your visit, go to capemay.com.
It’s cherry time! If the cherry trees aren’t blossoming, then they are just about ready for picking! If you are planning to make some cherry delights this summer and are looking for the freshest of the fresh, check out these cherry orchards near some of our great glamping locations.
Mt. Hood, Oregon: Rent a tiny home at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village or a larger cabin for extra space and enjoy an Oregon cherry orchard (note that Oregon cherry harvest times runs approximately July 1-August 7). Draper Girls’ Country Farm, open since 1962, is an option for U-pick beginning in July. They also have a country store and cidery onsite which is open daily (Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.) For information, visit drapergirlsfarm.com. Packer Orchards and Farm Place (packerorchards.com) has all kinds of U-pick goodies available come summer and promises cherries for eating in June and pie cherries in July. They also have a bakery and farm store, plus events like Baby Animal Days. For an organic option, check out Hood River U-Pick Organic. Check the website in June (hoodriverupick.com) for details but know that cherry varieties including Bing and Rainier (for eating) and Montgomery (for pie baking) will be available. There’s also a fun petting zoo, alpacas roaming, and picnic tables with splendid views of Mount Hood while picnicking!
Door County, Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Peninsula where the fun never ends is great for cherries, too. The blossoms are in full force through May and the sight is amazing as Door County has 2500 acres of cherry orchards. So, this must be the place for cherry picking. Book a cabin at Tranquil Timbers and explore the Door’s cherry orchards. Again, July and August are picking time while the month of May promises the beautiful blossoms. Lautenbach Orchard Country Winery & Market has tart cherries for picking and sweet cherries (and all kinds of cherry goodies like cherry salsa and chocolate covered cherries) available in the indoor market. In addition to the cherries, Lautenbach offers wine and cider tastings and live music. For details, go to orchardcountry.com.
Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Pennsylvania: Kissell Hill Fruit Farm (kissellhillfruitfarm.com) has been around for about 100 years and is planning on a pick-your-own cherry season from mid-June to early July this year. On Saturdays, from late April to mid-November, the farm serves up a BBQ Chicken Dinner, beginning at 10 a.m., that is considered some of the best in the area. Weaver’s Orchard is another u-pick option and it’s not only cherries. While cherry picking runs from late June to early July for sweet and early July for tart, there are also strawberries (late May to late June), apricots in mid-July, red raspberries (early June through July), and apples come August (through October). There’s also a farm market, garden center, tours, and special events. Visit weaversorchard.com for details. Glamping options for these orchards include cabins at either Robin Hill or Spring Gulch.
In the days of reduce, reuse, and recycle, the concept of repurposing just about anything you can is definitely a priority. If you glamp, you must love the outdoors so the idea of lessening your carbon footprint is probably something you look to do as often as you can. When tiny homes came on the scene as glamping options, they made perfect sense to an outdoor lover who also embraced the minimalist lifestyle. The tiny home lifestyle takes advantage of every possible square inch of space in these unique glamping accommodations – from horizontal to vertical, everything had a purpose. Plus, the settings were pretty great, too!
Enter the tiny house container village as the newest trend (and one that makes perfect eco-sense) in glamping accommodations. Shipping containers are rugged and durable and are finding a new purpose after “retirement” as the latest in accommodations for the outdoor and sustainability enthusiast. Shipping containers are often single use, meaning once they arrive, it’s not economical to ship them across the ocean for a second voyage. These shipping containers are looking for a second life, and being repurposed as a tiny house is a great way to bring them to life…again. And just like our tiny homes, they’re perfectly appointed with all the amenities you can ask for including kitchens, bathrooms, cozy sleeping spaces, and living areas. They are now an option when you choose to glamp at Wisconsin’s Yukon Trails.
Welcome our very first container clan, the Tiny House Container Village at Yukon Trails. Introducing Barrett, Brooks, Sienna, Wren, and Sylvan. All have kitchens and full bathrooms and all but Barrett, sleep 4 while Barrett comfortably sleeps 2. Rentals begin May 23 so come check out our newest, coolest, containers at the open house event on May 20, 2023.
The wooded wonderland that is Yukon Trails is near all the fun of the Wisconsin Dells, the award-wining Driftless Glen Distillery in Baraboo, and Mirror Lake State Park, which is great for hiking, fishing, and biking. Yukon Trails itself features a fish fry every Friday, and a jam packed activity schedule all season long.
Meet our newest accommodations below!
Meet Sienna: A bit of a night owl, Sienna comes alive as the sun begins to set. She has a bright personality and a warm demeanor, making everyone she comes across feel seen and heard. She has a penchant for color and design, and incorporates this into both her wardrobe and her home, as well as her friends’ through giving them little gifts and decorative items for their own spaces. Her favorite time of day is dusk, and in the summertime, she makes it a habit to watch the sun set, and the fireflies come out to light up the sky. To Sienna, dusk marks the end of the work day and the beginning of her time to live life on her own terms. As soon as the sun is set and the stars are out, you can often find her putting a record on her old record player, flipping through design books and websites, and rearranging furniture in her home. This cozy charmer sleeps 4. Book your stay in Sienna.
Meet Brooks: From kayaking, canoeing, and swimming, to the adventurous rafting and wakeboarding, a day out on the water is a day well spent for Brooks. His love affair with water sports began as soon as he started taking swim lessons and shortly thereafter began begging to go to the pool and water parks every day, even in the rain. He kicks off each day with a swim to wake himself up and start the day off on the right foot. Brooks is a goal setter and is likely training for his next big race, and his ambitions have taken him far in life. He is a determined leader who knows how to motivate his team and bring people from all walks of life together. Brooks’ demeanor has a quiet confidence, making him both trustworthy and easy to be around. When he’s not out on the water, he’s likely playing intramural sports with his friends, or planning his next trip to coincide with a race. Brooks sleeps 4. Book your stay in Brooks.
Meet Barrett: Fiercely protective of his friends and family, Barrett is strong, thoughtful, and courageous. He enjoys hiking and going off the beaten path both in life and in his travels. Though he can be hardheaded in some aspects of life, those closest to Barrett know he makes decisions with his heart and is a real softie when it comes to his family (including his dog). Barrett is extremely intelligent and introspective, which has treated him well in life, specifically when he takes the road less traveled. He believes there is always something to learn, and his natural curiosity has served him well in his travels, explorations, and relationships. Barrett welcomes challenges in his life and views them as an opportunity to grow. His courage knows no bounds and many turn to him when they need inspiration or a reminder of their own strength. The tiniest of the containers, Barrett sleeps 2. Book your stay in Barrett.
Meet Wren: Wren is a true songbird, always singing her favorite song or making one up as she goes about her day. Her friends and family often let her know she’s humming out loud before she’s even realized she’s doing it. Aside from singing, Wren has a love for flowers and the outdoors. She is constantly trying to figure out ways to bring the outdoors in. Taking full advantage of the natural light in her home, Wren fills shelves and nooks with her favorite plants, nurturing them and helping them thrive, and always keeps a centerpiece of fresh flowers on her kitchen table. Her maternal instincts are second to none and she forever knows just the right thing to say, whether someone needs a judgement-free listening ear or a touch of tough love. She is a busy body and chooses movement over stillness, flitting from one responsibility to the next, filling her calendar with friend catch ups, volunteering opportunities, or gardening. Wren can accommodate 4 guests. Book your stay in Wren.
Meet Sylvan: Sylvan is stoic and loyal. He is someone who can be called on in a moment’s notice and not just arrive, but truly show up in every sense of the word. He is patient and grounded, which serves him well and has allowed him to make his hobby of woodworking and carpentry into a full-time job. Sylvan prides himself on staying connected with nature, through regular hikes and familiarizing himself with the various species of wood he’s working with. He strives to give a second life to the trees and turns them into pieces and fixtures that will live on for centuries to come. Sylvan is steadfast in his passion for the great outdoors and aims to respect nature through the food he eats and the lifestyle he lives. His goal in life is to limit his footprint while he forges his own path, and to breathe in as much fresh air as he can each day. This tiny house vacation rental sleeps 4. Book your stay in Sylvan.
There are all kinds of lists when it comes to the most beautiful places in America. Some are based simply on the natural scenery (think the Texas Hill Country during the bluebonnets bloom time or the colorful fall foliage along the Kancamagus Highway come autumn) while others focus on the charm a specific place exudes like the Bavarian-styled Leavenworth, Washington, or the iconic New England villages dotting the Berkshires in Massachusetts. Whatever the reason, it cannot be disputed that America is indeed America the Beautiful. We’ve listed a few to check out when glamping with Petite Retreats.
Lake Tahoe (California): Lake Tahoe made busytourist.com’s list which cites the sheer beauty of this freshwater lake as the reason. The waters of this 22-mile long lake are crystal clear and because of the roughly 1,600-foot depth, the colors of the water range from green-blue to dark navy blue. Surrounded by the snow-capped Sierras, the lake is a sight to behold. Book a cozy cabin or cottage at Tahoe Valley and explore the area. Emerald Bay is said to be the most beautiful spot within this beautiful location.
Thor’s Well (Oregon): Can a sinkhole be beautiful? Oregon’s Thor’s Well certainly proves the possibility. This 20-foot deep sinkhole that is believed to be a collapsed sea cave is a sight to be seen. Not only are the ocean views amazing, but come high tide, waves cause a violent spray to come out of the top. Stay in your choice of a cottage or cabin at nearby Thousand Trails Whalers Rest and take a drive south down the coast to see this natural phenomenon.
Skagit Valley Tulips (Washington): Come spring, the Skagit Valley in Washington State comes alive with color as more than 300 acres of tulips are in bloom. There is an annual Tulip Festival that runs from April to early May (tulipfestival.org). Book a glamping cabin at Thousand Trails La Conner to take in this beautiful blooming location.
Acadia National Park (Maine): The rocky shores, the granite peaks, soaring trees, several ponds, and wildlife combine to make this New England national park one of the most beautiful places in the country. Stay in a glamping cabin at Mt. Desert Narrows or Narrows Too in our Bar Harbor location and enjoy the scenic Acadia National Park.
Hamilton Pool Preserve (Texas): An historic watering hole in Texas makes the list thanks to the emerald green waters of Hamilton Pool Preserve which is fed by a 50-foot waterfall and nested at the basin of a limestone grotto. Definitely worth a visit – so plan to check it out and reserve a cabin at Thousand Trails Medina Lake which is about 40 miles away.
Did you know that hugging a tree is good for you and brings about feelings of wellbeing and calm? Studies have shown that hugging a tree actually increases levels of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for many feelings including empathy and it also helps with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Just five minutes of a good tree hug is all that’s needed!
Aside from the health benefits, hugging, and just generally enjoying, trees in the month we celebrate not only Earth Day, but also Arbor Day, is good idea. Trees are an important part of Earth Day (celebrated on April 22) because they aid in climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air as well as releasing oxygen into the air. To ensure we continue to have plenty of trees, Arbor Day efforts encourage the planting of trees by individuals and groups on the day, which falls this year on April 28. So, get camping, get planting, and get hugging our beautiful trees.
Did you know that a Joshua tree is not actually a tree, but a succulent? No matter, the trees in California’s Joshua Tree National Park would love for you to come and hug them. In addition to the aforementioned benefits of hugging a tree, Joshua Tree National Park is said to have healing vibes, so this tree-hugging expedition is a two-fer when it comes to doing the body good. Rent a colorful glamping cottage at Thousand Trails Palm Springs to be near Joshua Tree National Park.
While you might not be able to wrap your arms completely around the towering trees found on the Big Trees Loop (a flat, easy trail) in Yosemite National Park, you can certainly appreciate their beauty while taking in the benefits of being close to these ancient trees. Try a stay in one of the yurts at nearby Thousand Trails Yosemite Lakes and reap the benefits from a hike among the trees in this beautiful California national park.
Back in 2014, a group of tree huggers got together to ensure Portland, Oregon’s place in the Guinness Book of World Records when 936 people simultaneously hugged trees in one minute. The tree hugging took place in the city’s Washington Park. Book a tiny house stay at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village and take a drive along scenic Highway 35 to hug your own tree in Washington Park, which is also home to a beautiful Japanese Garden and a forestry museum.
Congaree National Park in South Carolina is a great place for tree appreciation as it is home to some of the biggest trees east of the Mississippi River. Take the Boardwalk Loop Trail and see if you can hug a few along the way. FYI, there is a loblolly pine tree that requires at least four people to hug the circumference! Reserve a cabin at Thousand Trails Carolina Landing and glamp with us while visiting Congaree.
Book a cozy glamping cabin at Encore Miami Everglades and visit the Miami Beach Botanical Garden to roam three acres of beautiful gardens that include mangrove trees.
Glamp with us at Thousand Trails Lake Conroe and head to Sam Houston National Forest to hike among the trees. The 128-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail winds through the forest and is a great way to enjoy the woodlands here.
If you plan on spending time in Virginia, don’t miss the area known as the Middle Peninsula – which is located on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay. The landmass that makes up the Middle Peninsula sits between two rivers – the Rappahannock and the York. So, with two rivers and a large bay you can expect that water adventures are big here. But there is also so much more to this charming, historic, and picturesque area of Virginia. Glamping options here include a variety of cabins, several of which are pet-friendly, at Thousand Trails Chesapeake Bay in Gloucester or the charming cottages at Bethpage Camp-Resort in Urbanna.
On the Water: We’ll start with water adventures and there are a variety of ways to enjoy the rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. If you want to canoe or kayak, consider the Gloucester Blueways, which is a system of five water trails throughout Gloucester County. Paddling these water trails is a terrific way to see the wildlife in the area which includes terrapin turtles and tundra swans (at Maundy Creek), white-tailed deer and great blue herons at Ware House Landing, or the possibility of a bald eagle sighting while paddling John’s Point. For details on the Gloucester Blueways visit virginiawatertrails.org.
History Tours: Rosewell Ruins are the remains of the vast estate owned by the Page family dating back to 1725. In 1916, a fire all but destroyed everything, however the shell of the home remains and was donated to the Gloucester Historical Society in 1979. Visitors can see the remains of the structure as well as see exhibits and artifacts in the Visitors Center (rosewell.org). Gloucester County has several museums and historic sites which can be seen on self-guided walking or driving tours. For maps and details, visit gloucesterva.info/1405/historic-walking-drive-tours.
To the North and South: If it’s called the Middle Peninsula, then what’s above and below, you may wonder? To the north of the Middle Peninsula is the Northern Neck and to the south is what is known as the Virginia Peninsula (actually all three of the peninsulas are referred to as “necks” in Virginia). If you want to visit the Northern Neck here’s what’s what: there are several wineries, the George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Stratford Hall (a National Historic Landmark and the home of the only two brothers to sign the Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry and Francis Lightfoot Lee), the Reedville Fisherman’s Museum, and Westmoreland State Park, which is great for fossil finding. The Virginia Peninsula is home to what is known as the Historic Triangle which contains historic Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, and Yorktown Battlefield. Busch Gardens Williamsburg and the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse are also here.
Oysters, anyone? A trip to this part of Virginia pretty much requires a brief education on all things oyster. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Oyster Seed Holdings (oshoyster.com) offers tours and tastings every other Friday at their facility on Gwynn’s Island. Check out virginiaoystertrail.com for more oyster-related events and fun including oyster tasting tours and oyster charters. And definitely make a reservation to return to Bethpage to glamp in November to enjoy the Urbanna Oyster Festival. The 66th annual event will be held November 3-4, 2023, and promises plenty of fun with an oyster-shucking contest, the Oyster Festival Parade, plus oyster cuisine of all kinds including roasted oysters, Oyster Rockefeller, and fried, stewed, and raw oysters.
Hit the Beach: A little over an hour’s drive from the Middle Peninsula is Virginia Beach, which is located on the Virginia Peninsula. Beyond the 30+ miles of shoreline, Virginia Beach attractions can include the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center; Mount Trashmore, which is actually a repurposed landfill that resulted in the nation’s first landfill park; and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. Beachside you can stroll the 3-mile boardwalk and have a bite to eat or enjoy a cocktail. Don’t miss the opportunity to grab a selfie with the 26-foot tall statue of King Neptune.
The nice thing about a spring break getaway is that the option to enjoy hot or cold weather sports still exists. Skiing is a very real possibility as is snorkeling and surfing. Wanna try a sporty spring break this year? Consider these options.
Surfing: While surfing is possible in Florida year-round, the surf season in the Sunshine State is considered to be from late November through March. If you’re glamping in Florida for Spring Break 2023 and surfing is on the agenda, consider a stay at Encore Miami-Everglades to be near South Beach for great surfing or Encore Bulow to be near surfing opportunities at Flagler Beach. On the Pacific Coast, glamp at Thousand Trails Pio Pico for San Diego surfing fun or Thousand Trails Soledad Canyon for good March surfing at Zuma Beach in Malibu.
Hiking: March is a great season to enjoy hikes in California’s Joshua Tree National Park and Sedona, Arizona’s Red Rock Country, with glamping stays at Thousand Trails Palm Springs and Thousand Trails Verde Valley, respectively. Both areas enjoy a more moderate temperature this time of year so it’s not too hot to trek around and explore. Of course, springtime in Yosemite National Park promises wildflowers, waterfalls, and plenty of great hiking – check out Mist Trail or the Bridalveil Fall Trail. You can do a different day hike every day if you book a yurt or cabin stay at Thousand Trails Yosemite Lakes which is five minutes from the Park’s entrance!
Whether you go for the glitz and glamour vibe of Hollywood, the laid-back beach scene, or the varied attractions of LA, a visit to this southern California destination is a good choice if you want a mix of everything. Instead of highlighting 5 things to do, we’ll highlight five ways to visit to get that perfect mix. First stop, a glamping accommodation at Thousand Trails Soledad Canyon, which is less than 60 miles from LA proper and full of beautiful views. Choose a glamping cabin or cottage at this great resort set in the high desert and get set for an LA Adventure, par excellence.
Hollywood: Highlights include the Hollywood Walk of Fame which encompasses 15 city blocks and displays over 2700 stars honoring some of the greatest of all time, including newcomers Michael B. Jordan and Courteney Cox. Start your self-guided walking tour at Grauman’s Chinese Theater and check out the celebrity handprints and footprints in front of the theater. The Hollywood Theater, located in the historic Max Factor Building has the most extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world! From costumes to cars to props and personal artifacts, it’s all here. For movie-themed fun, visit Universal Studios Hollywood and take a tour to get a glimpse of what it’s like behind the scenes. And, of course, the not-to-miss is the newly opened Academy Museum of Motion Pictures dedicated to the history, science, and cultural impact of the film industry.
LA Highlights: LA proper has a tremendous amount of offerings when it comes to attractions – from museums to the famed Griffith Observatory to the Angels Flight® Railway. Open seven days a week, the Original Farmers Market has been selling fresh produce since 1934 but that’s not all visitors can find here. There are all kinds of food offerings from baked goods to meat, seafood, and poultry. How about a walk on the prehistoric side? Visit the La Brea Tar Pits, a sticky, tarry urban paleontological site that has fossilized bones of Ice Age animals preserved in the tar as well as prehistoric plants. Right next door is the LA County Museum of Art, worth a visit even if you just stop by to see the outdoor public art installation, Urban Light. Want to ride a funicular? Check out the Angels Flight® Railway – a 118-year-old funicular, or cable railway, that treats passengers to a ride up, or down, one of the city’s steepest streets. For some of the best views of the city and the famed Hollywood sign, visit Griffith Park Observatory which has, in addition to the planetarium, daily shows and exhibits.
Beach Life: There are several “beach” towns to be found here which makes perfect sense since the Pacific Ocean is the backdrop to fun in the sun. Consider visiting as many as you can including Malibu, Venice, Santa Monica, and Laguna Beach; each offer their own vibe. From a Malibu perspective, there are several beaches to enjoy: Zuma Beach which is great for walking in the surf; North Beach at Leo Carrillo State Park is dog-friendly and if you walk the beach toward the park’s South Beach you can see some interesting caves and tide pools; for stargazing of the Hollywood kind and checking out the cool beach homes, visit either Broach Beach or Malibu Colony Beach; and for surfing or just watching the surfers, head to Malibu Surfrider Beach. Venice Beach has a boardwalk where artists sell their works as well as shops and eateries to enjoy while Santa Monica Beach has three miles of beach plus the iconic Santa Monica Pier with shops and restaurants, plus a Ferris wheel and roller coaster!
Outdoor Life: Thanks to the sunny California weather, there’s a lot of fun stuff to do outdoors. You can stand-up paddleboard with the sea lions at Marina Del Rey; bike along Venice Beach; hike with scenic views (consider the Charlie Turner Trail in Griffith Park or Runyon Canyon, which is popular with the stars who love to hike); enjoy a private boat tour or rent your own canoe or kayak for a leisurely water ride along the canals of Venice; or stroll through the many public gardens which include Descanso Gardens featuring more than 600 varieties of camelias or the Storrier Stearns Japanese Gardens which features a Japanese tea house set among the traditional Japanese gardens.
The Wild Side: Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the final resting place of stars from all ages, including Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone of The Ramones and Rudolph Valentino, America’s first movie heartthrob and mobster Bugsy Siegel. Guided tours are available for $25. Fans of storybook architecture will enjoy a ride past the Spadina House in Beverly Hills or the cluster of “Snow White Cottages” in Los Feliz to view these very unique homes. There’s also the giant Chicken Boy statue on Figueroa Street and the giant donut atop Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood for some great Instagram shots. For something different, take in one of the shows at The Bob Baker Marionette Theater, which is one of the longest running puppetry theaters in the U.S. All the marionettes are hand crafted and there are a variety of shows on the schedule.
If you’re a fan of college basketball then you know terms like Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight apply to bracket rounds when it comes to March Madness – the all-encompassing single-elimination tournament that brings the college basketball season to an end. But have you heard of the Elite 11?
The Elite 11 are 11 scenic trails found across the United States. The 1968 National Trails System Act designated these 11 trails for “the conservation and enjoyment of the nationally significant, historic, natural, or cultural qualities. The Elite 11 include the New England National Scenic Trail, the Natchez Trace Trail, the Potomac Heritage Trail, the Arizona Trail, the Ice Age Trail, the Florida Trail, the Pacific Northwest Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the North Country Trail. Let’s check out the ones that are close to our fabulous glamping accommodations.
Natchez Trace: The trail runs for over 60 miles from Tennessee down through Mississippi and runs parallel to the Natchez Trace Parkway. If you book a stay at Natchez Trace Tiny House Village, you are close to the northern-most portion of the trail, known as the Highland Rim Section. This portion of the trail stretches for 20 miles, is dog friendly, and can be done via hiking or biking. The War of 1812 Memorial can be found at Milepost 426.3 and honors those who marched on the Natchez Trace during the war, which was an important route for moving soldiers to defend the area.
Ice Age Trail: Located entirely in the state of Wisconsin, the 1000-mile footpath is the result of a retreating glacier from over 10,000 years ago. There are several access points to the trail located near our Wisconsin glamping accommodations. Stay in an ultra-cool yurt at Tranquil Timbers and hike the portion of the trail in Sturgeon Bay that takes you through Potawatomi State Park. Rent a cottage or cabin at Lakeland in Milton and you can access the Milton Segment of the trail which runs 4.3 miles through historic Milton or the Storrs Lake Segment which runs 1.8 miles through wetlands. If you’re glamping in a cabin or cottage at Arrowhead, near the Wisconsin Dells, the Devil’s Lake State Park portion of the Ice Age trails is less than 15 miles from camp.
Pacific Crest Trail: This is the mother of all trails running 2,653 miles from Washington State to the U.S.-Mexico Border. Certainly adventurous hikers have taken on the task of hiking the whole trail, but luckily it can also be done in sections. Suggestions for day trips in each state can be found at the Pacific Crest Trail Association website, pcta.org. Highlights of the trail include Desolation Wilderness in El Dorado National Forest (stay at Tahoe Valley); Jefferson Park in Central Oregon (about 80 miles from Thousand Trails Bend-Sunriver); and Goat Rock’s Wilderness (about an hour from Thousand Trails Chehalis).
Florida Trail: Divided into geographic regions, the Florida Trail runs about 1500 miles from north to south in the Sunshine State, starting north near Pensacola on the Panhandle, and heading down south to the Miami area. Access to the trail while glamping with Petite Retreats, can include a stay at a colorful cottage at Encore Tropical Palms in Kissimmee or lodge, bunkhouse, or cabin glamping rentals at Encore Miami-Everglades. There are plenty more access points and plenty more places to glamp with us in Florida, so check out floridatrail.org and petiteretreats.com to see what suits your Florida Trail agenda.
Think about this – as of February 1, summer is still roughly 140 days away. Spring break is closer but it seems like everyone is traveling at the same during spring break getaways so fighting crowds could be a downside there. Ok…so what do you do? Enjoy the weekend getaway, as often as you like! These quick trip options may just be the travel fix you need after a long work week and before you can take a long extended getaway that, as we figure, is still about 20-plus weeks away!
Leave the city behind and head to the beach with a quick getaway from Portland to Thousand Trails Pacific City RV & Camping Resort. Glamp in a relaxing yurt accommodation here and plan to commune with the nature found in this great Oregon Coast setting. Wanna whale watch? Mark your calendar for the week of March 24 which is when Whale Watching Week 2023 begins along the coast. Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge is a great spot for birding, wildlife watching and hiking as several trails here are open year-round. Take a drive to the Tillamook Cheese Factory and enjoy ice cream or that big wheel of cheese you’ve been dreaming of! Or, just walk the beach and watch the waves crash against the rocks! Pretty neat weekend getaway for sure.
The Natchez Trace Tiny House Village is about a five-hour drive from major cities like Cincinnati and Indianapolis. That’s not a bad little road trip to find the relaxation of these southern charming glamping accommodations and the southern hospitality found in all the nearby attractions. With Natchez Trace as your home base, you can do big city fun in Nashville or enjoy small town charmers like Leiper’s Fork and Franklin. Nashville highlights include the Country Music Hall of Fame, the classic Ryman Auditorium and the great honky-tonks and eateries found in the city’s Broadway Historic District. Leiper’s Fork has don’t-miss barbeque and biscuits at Fox & Locke and an eclectic assortment of shops, plus the Leiper’s Fork Distillery, featuring Tennessee spirits. Franklin offers a Saturday Farmer’s Market, the Franklin on Foot walking tour, which is a great way to the town’s historical sites and plenty of shopping and eating options.
If you’re lucky enough to call any of the major cities in the Sunshine State home, you are at least blessed with plenty of regular sunshine. But all sun and no play, can make for some dull weekends, so we suggest a getaway to a colorful cottage at Encore Tropical Palms Resort in Kissimmee (conveniently located only a mini-road trip away from points like Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa/St. Pete and Sarasota.) Because the weather cooperates most days, outdoor fun is definitely doable here. Paddle Shingle Creek in a kayak, swim with the manatees on a guided tour of the Crystal River, or bike the many trails in the area. Shingle Creek in fact has a great trail for pedestrians and cyclists – the Shingle Creek Regional Trail. If kitsch is on the menu – consider visiting Gatorland or Eli’s Orange World, both of which are worthy of some great shots to share on all things social media! Of course, there are the major theme parks if you want to feel like a kid again and upcoming local festivals include EPCOT’s International Flower and Garden Festival (begins March 1) and the Orlando Wine Festival is set for March 24-26.