5 Things to Do in the Rio Grande Valley

The Rio Grande Valley in Texas is for the birds, literally. It is home to the World Birding Center, which is a network of nine different birding sites. But there is so much more to this area of South Texas and we’ll give you just five reasons why people flock here come winter. 

1.  The Nature: With winter weather temps averaging daytime highs between 70 and 80 degrees, it makes sense to be outdoors as much as possible. Some outdoor highlights include The Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, which has more than 1500 species of animals in mostly open-air exhibits, or the National Butterfly Center in Mission, which is set on 31-acres and is great for a butterfly experience among the lush plants of the Valley. 

2.  The History: Plenty of museums in the area detail the rich history of the Valley. Check out the Museum of South Texas in Edinburg, with exhibits and collections that detail the history of the land from the prehistoric age to the cattle ranches, or the Heritage Museum in Brownsville. Also in Brownsville is the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park, which was the site of the first conflict of the Mexican-American War. Harlingen has the Iowa Jima Monument and Memorial Museum honoring the WWII battle.  

South Padre Island
South Padre Island

3. SPI: If you’re not familiar with SPI, then you will definitely want to check out what South Padre Island, aka SPI, has to offer when you’re visiting South Texas. Hit the beautiful beaches and dip your toes in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Or see how injured sea turtles are rehabbed at Sea Turtle, Inc. Enjoy amazing seafood, or take a sunset dinner cruise. For more ideas on how to enjoy South Padre Island, visit sopadre.com.

4. Outdoor Fun: Take a hike on one of the four hiking trails located in the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, all of which are considered easy treks. This 2008-acre wildlife park is great for glimpsing birds as well as butterflies and other wildlife. Head to South Padre for water sport fun including parasailing, scuba-diving, and fishing. Plenty of top-rated bike trails can be found in the Rio Grande Valley, too. The Bicentennial Hike and Bike Trail in McAllen is one option and the bike trails in Resaca de la Palma in Brownsville are also great option (these trails are part of the World Birding Center).

5. The World Birding Center: We just couldn’t highlight the great things to see and do in the Rio Grande Valley without mentioning the jewel in the crown here, which is of course, the World Birding Center. Within the nine unique birding sites there’s plenty to see and do here. There is a five-story tower for viewing, plenty of walking trails, a 3300-plus foot boardwalk, bird blinds and of course plenty of birds to view including peregrine falcons, hawks, orioles, and warblers. Visit theworldbirdingcenter.com for all the details.

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Best Glamping Resolutions for 2022

New Year, New You – including the one that either loves to glamp or is planning to try out this ultra-lux, trendy version of camping. We’ve got a few ideas for 2022 glamping resolutions:

  • Try a different glamping style: If you typically go for a tiny house, try a yurt or a cozy cabin. Glamping with Petite Retreats gives you plenty of choices to switch up your glamping accommodations in the new year. Tiny houses offer you a four-wall experience with cool lofts, indoor kitchens and bath facilities, and surprisingly spacious living areas. A yurt is an option if you want to do a hybrid glamping experience. While a yurt is still canvas-construction, our yurts have kitchenettes, bathroom facilities and big-screen TVs. Cabins and cottages are cozy options and if you’re looking for something completely different, try a teepee or covered wagon accommodation. Check out all the glamping options at petiteretreats.com.
  • Try a different location: If you always go to the mountains, try the beach instead. If you go always go off-grid, try a more “citified” location next time. Also, if you always glamp the east coast, then go west, or south, or north! Petite Retreats has locations around the country in some of the most popular destinations. Go city and stay near Seattle, Boston, or Portland. Glamp near the beaches of Florida in the Keys or in Orlando. Lake life is an option at Lake George, New York, and several locations in Texas and Wisconsin. Desert options include Sedona and Palm Springs while charming and quaint is taken care of with locations in Leavenworth, Washington, and Bar Harbor, Maine.

  • Be Present: Enjoy every minute of your glamping experience from sunrise to sunset. Greet the day with a sunrise experience at Maine’s Acadia National Park or bid farewell to a day well-glamped with a beautiful sunset at Santa Barbara’s Stearns Wharf. Practice forest bathing, known to lower blood pressure and boost energy – consider glamping accommodations in New Hampshire, Oregon, and California for plenty of woodsy de-stressing.
Fiesta Key Resort
Fiesta Key Resort
  • Be Active: Glamping has the same outdoor activity options as camping, but when you’re done with a day spent outdoors, the comforts of glamping are definitely a plus. Take advantage of our glamping accommodations that are near plenty of outdoor activity options. Explore hikes in our national parks and forests at locations in Washington, Maine, California. Whitewater raft in Yosemite while staying at Yosemite Lakes in nearby Groveland or paddle the waters of Lake George in upstate New York. Fishing options in the lake, rivers, and oceans nearby our glamping locations can include Texas’ Lake Texoma, the waters of Wisconsin’s Door County or Oregon’s Mt. Hood area and deep-sea adventures in the Florida Keys. There’s also horseback riding at Rancho Oso and Marina Dunes in California and other fun options biking and climbing as well as seasonal fun like winter snow adventures and fall leaf-peeping.

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Top U.S. Tours to Take

When it comes to seeing what any location you visit has to offer, certainly the local Visitor’s Guide and suggestions from friends and family who have visited the area can work for creating a great itinerary. But why not let someone else do the heavy lifting and sign up for a tour experience with a local provider. There are all kinds of tours ranging from history and architectural to sampling local foods and bevvies or getting your scare on with a spooky ghost tour. Consider the tours we’ve listed here next time you’re in the area! 

There are plenty of Jeep tours around the U.S. that give visitors an off-road experience like no other. Planning a tiny house stay at Verde Valley in Sedona or a cabin rental at Las Vegas and consider booking a trip with pinkadventuretours.com and let the cool Pink Jeeps be your guide. An open-air red Jeep and Joshua Tree National Park combine for a one-of-a-kind experience if you’re visiting Palm Springs and want to see the rugged desert landscape surrounding the area. Visit red-jeep.com for tour info. Planning a trip to Bend, Oregon? Try a yurt or cabin rental at Bend-Sunriver and then check out Bend Jeep® Tours for a great way to see Deschutes National Forest.

Foodie tours are a great way to get to know the history and culture of a city and there are several that stand out. Book a tiny house or cabin stay at Natchez Trace and take in Nashville’s culinary experience. Bites and Sites is a walking tour that combines attractions and food on a walking tour while Nashville Food Adventures are driving tours that offer food and drink experiences. Both are offered through nashvillefoodtours.com. According to Tripadvisor, the food and cultural walking tour of Seattle’s Pike Place Market is one of the most booked food tours in the U.S. Rent a yurt at nearby Tall Chief and head into Seattle to experience this 100-year-plus historic market that is considered “the soul of Seattle.” Visit savorseattletours.com for tour details.

Arrowhead RV Campground
Arrowhead RV Campground

Did you ever ride a duck? What about touring the waters of your vacation destination on a duck? We’re not talking about the waterfowl here but instead the unique amphibious tour bus. If you want to experience the original duck tour rent a cabin at Arrowhead in the Wisconsin Dells where the duck tours originated in 1946 using the decommissioned amphibious trucks introduced in WWII. Since the original duck tour was quite popular with visitors, others began to pop up around the U.S. and similar duck tours can now be found in Boston (book a cottage Gateway to Cape Cod); South Beach and Miami (stay with us at the Miami Everglades RV Resort); and Seattle (Tall Chief is a great location to stay for a Seattle duck adventure).

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5 Things to Do in…Phoenix

Phoenix is a definitely a “go-to” when it comes to winter getaways thanks to the abundance of blues skies and its temperate winter climate (daytime temps average around 68-76 degrees). That kind of weather makes it fun to hike, bike, and enjoy the sites in and around Arizona’s capital city. Book a stay at one of the cottages at any of our age-qualified resorts in Mesa and get ready to take on all the area has to offer.

  1. If you want to get in the holiday spirit, check out the events of Merry Main Street in downtown Mesa. There’s an ice-skating rink, a four-story tree decorated with twinkling lights, musical performances, Jack Frost’s Food Truck Forest and a holiday market, perfect for grabbing those last-minute gifts. The ice rink is open daily while other events run Friday and Saturday evenings through January 2, 2022. For more details and a time schedule, visit merrymainst.com.

2. The story behind Arizona’s Mystery Castle is full of joy and sadness – upon hearing he had tuberculosis, the castle’s architect and builder, Boyd Gulley, left his family in Seattle and moved to Arizona. However, the memories of the sandcastles he built with his daughter on the Seattle shores stayed with him as did his daughter’s wish to have him build her a castle one day that wouldn’t wash away when the tide came in. Gulley did just that using found items, including salvaged auto parts and discarded telephone poles, to build an 18-room, three story castle. Sadly, he died before he could move his family into the castle, but his daughter and wife did move in after his death. Tours of the castle are offered daily Thursday through Sunday from October to May. For information, visit mymysterycastle.com.

"taliesin west" by eschipul is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
“taliesin west” by eschipul is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

3. Another famous home in the area is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, the architect’s winter home and studio, which is listed on the U.S. Register of National Historic Places. According to franklloydwright.org, Taliesin West resulted from Wright’s experiment with camping in the Arizona desert in 1937. Obviously, it was a success as Wright then began to build his “desert utopia” and wintered there until his death in 1959 at age 91. Located in Scottdale, Taliesin West is now open to the public for daily tours. As an added bonus to this beautiful desert experience, visitors to the site between December 3 and May 31, 2022 can enjoy Chihuly in the Desert, an art installation featuring the amazing works of American glass artist Dale Chihuly. 

4. To learn about the indigenous people who lived in this area of Arizona visit the 1500-year-old archaeological site that is the Pueblo Grande Museum. The largest preserved archaeological site in the area, visitors can walk along a 2/3-mile, accessible trail among the prehistoric dwellings inhabited by the Hohokam people. The site also has three galleries that house artifacts from the Hohokam culture.

5. This and That: A perfect Phoenix agenda could include hikes along Tom Thumb’s Trail or Pinnacle Peak, both top-rated AZ hikes; the RoRo Street Art Tour, which is a guided walk around Phoenix’s to discover the city’s street art scene (tours are available through both viator.com and azingtours.com); a taste of authentic Navajo Fry Bread (check out The Fry Bread House or Maria’s Frybread, both in Phoenix or Angelina’s Fry Bread in nearby Glendale); and a visit to the 140-acre Desert Botanical Garden, which is a great way to take in the amazing landscape of the Sonoran Desert.

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Here’s the difference between glamping and camping

It’s only been a few short years since the word glamping was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Back in March 2018, the dictionary listed the word with the accompanying definition “outdoor camping with amenities and comforts (such as beds, electricity, and access to indoor plumbing) not usually used when camping.” And, according to other linguistic lore, the word itself was first used sometime around 2005. But, some people have been glamping for years while others are wondering what this “glamping” is all about. Consider the following your quick guide to all things glamping: 

Why should you glamp instead of camp? If you are a seasoned camper, giving glamping a go may be just the thing needed to change things up. Another reason to glamp is not everyone enjoys tent camping and rising to greet the day after a rough night on the hard ground. Some people are looking for the perfect mix of outdoor adventure with some of the comforts of home.

For the most part, glamping involves a bit more of sleeping structure than the average tent or even those super high-end tents that sleep the whole gang and are “guaranteed” to keep you warm and cozy despite the outdoor weather. To glamp, you might consider overnighting in a yurt, a tiny home, a cabin, or cottage. 

There’s also the luxury of the indoor facilities that often accompany a glamping trip. No flashlight-required treks to the facilities at 3 a.m. or cold food because the campfire won’t light or the camp stove is on the fritz. Glamping rentals typically have indoor bathroom accommodations as well as well-appointed kitchens. Another plus to a glamping accommodation is that many of them have private fire rings, decks, and outdoor areas designated specifically for enjoying the art of socializing. 

What are good glamping accessories? Most glampers feel the need to up the ante when it comes to accessorizing and some of the most popular glamp gear includes tablecloths, area rugs, comfy camp chairs, and outdoor string lights and solar lanterns to create the perfect glamping ambience. Food and drink options also take a step up and glamping accessories in this category might include a charcuterie board, an espresso maker or French coffee press, as well as Dutch ovens and other “cuisine” cookware for camp. As for outdoor fun, glamping could include an outdoor projector and screen!

When it comes to glamping activities versus camping activities, they are pretty much the same. Most glamping accommodations are in areas that give the glamper the full opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. Hike, bike, fish, swim, canoe, or kayak – here’s where glamping and camping meet. Take in beauty of nearby national parks, raft the rapids, paddle serene waters, horseback ride or zip through the trees. We have glamping locations near all these great outdoor adventures. 

Sunshine Key Tiny House Village
Sunshine Key Tiny House Village

Where to glamp? Try our tiny house options in Leavenworth, Washington, Oregon’s Mt. Hood area, near Nashville, Tennessee, or Sedona, Arizona, or the Florida Keys. A spring, summer or fall glamping trip to New Hampshire’s Tuxbury Tiny House Village is a plan-ahead trip. Glamping in a yurt can be an option any time of year at several locations in California, Oregon, and Washington State as well as spring through fall yurt accommodations in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. What about glamping in a teepee? Or a covered wagon? Both are unique accommodations that can be found when glamping with Petite Retreats. Check out our website to see where we have glamping opportunities – whether it’s your first glamping adventure or you’ve been a glamper long before it was an official dictionary entry!

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Last Minute Trips for Your 2021 Bucket List

It’s been awhile, but think back to early January 2021. What resolutions did you make then? What about that 2021 Bucket List? Is everything crossed off? If not, we’ve got a few ideas on how to clear the slate to get ready for your 2022 list. 

  1. See a National Landmark: In a list of the Top 10 National Landmarks compiled by flightcentre.com, two are nearby to our locations that enjoy year-round visitors. Those include Hoover Dam (less than 35 miles from cozy cabins at our Las Vegas location); and the iconic Space Needle in Seattle (less than 30 miles from the yurts and cabins at Tall Chief RV & Camping Resort). Another must-see landmark is the historic Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas, which is less than an hour from the cabins at Medina Lake.

2. Drive an Iconic Highway: A drive on the 100-mile-plus engineering marvel known as Florida’s Overseas Highway will take you from the southern tip of Florida down to the Florida Keys with the beautiful waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico all around you. Choose to stay two hours north of the road’s starting point in a cabin at our Miami Everglades Resort or stay at one of our Keys locations, Sunshine Key or Fiesta Key. Enjoy a glamping experience in a cottage or glamping tent at California’s Marina Dunes and enjoy an equally glamorous experience along the 17-Mile Drive that includes charming towns, woodlands, and ocean views along the Monterey Peninsula. 

3. Learn a new skill: ‘Tis the season to don a pair of snowshoes and tackle this winter sport. Consider a stay in a snow covered cabin at Tahoe Valley in California’s Lake Tahoe area and learn how to traverse and glissade with the best of them. Stalk the striper and try your hand at catching hybrid striper bass in the winter waters of Texas’ Lake Conroe. Book a stay in a cabin at Lake Conroe RV & Camping Resort in Willis and see what you can catch. How about hopping on a “fat bike” and tooling around the snowy trails available near Leavenworth, Washington. Book a tiny house at Leavenworth Tiny House Village to go along with your fat bike experience!

Family Trip at Thousand Trails Lake Conroe Campground
Family Trip at Lake Conroe Camping & RV Resort

4. Girls’ Trip, Guys’ Trip, Family Trip, Couples’ Trip: Whichever one remains on your list unchecked, Petite Retreats has locations that can satisfy any of them (or all if you’ve got the time). Perfect family trip locations can include Orlando and all the theme park fun (book a stay in a colorful cottage at Tropical Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida) or Yosemite National Park in winter with all its activities (try a yurt at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort in Groveland, California); California’s wine country and a girl’s trip are a perfect match and a cabin or cottage accommodation at Russian River is the perfect wine country girl’s getaway home base. Nashville is great for girls, guys, and family fun depending on the activities you choose – there are bars and honky tonks, historic sites, museums, and outdoor adventure to be found here – and any of the rental cabins at nearby Natchez Trace work for all of these groups. Guys trip options could include the casinos and nightlife of Las Vegas (stay in a cabin or cottage at our Las Vegas location) or deep-sea fishing charters in the Florida Keys (Sunshine Key Tiny House Village is a great option as they run charters from the resort). Looking for romance? Check out the tiny house and cabin accommodations at Verde Valley in Arizona’s scenic and transformative Red Rocks country or a cozy cabin at Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort in Santa Barbara and explore this charming California oceanside town with its wineries, architectural tours, and romantic sunsets. 

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5 Things to Do in Florida’s Peace River

In Wauchula, Florida, you will find Peace River, the perfect Petite Retreat choice when it comes to enjoying the beauty of nature while kicking back and relaxing. And yet, this delightful destination also offers the option to explore some of Florida’s big and little towns via some scenic drives. Rent a cottage here or one of our new cabins and make the best of both worlds on your next sunny Florida getaway.

Here are five ways to go both city and country in one spectacular trip:

  1. The River: The Peace River, which runs adjacent to the resort, offers all kinds of adventures from canoeing and kayaking to fossil hunting. Consider one of the many options offered through Peace River Charters (peacerivercharters.com) that can include an airboat ride, a swamp buggy trip, and even a horseback ride along the banks of the river. As for the fossils, you never know what you’ll uncover. Fossil hunters here have found everything from mastodon bones (think a shorter, stockier version of a mammoth) to shark teeth (most common). Paddle the river, look for the gravelly areas, and see what you what treasures you can find.
  2. Solomon’s Castle: This oddity is a 12,000 square foot castle built entirely from discarded metal newspaper printing plates. Featured on HGTV’s Most Extreme Homes in America, Solomon’s Castle was built by sculptor Howard Solomon, who was also known as the DaVinci of Debris for his ability to make treasure out of discarded items. In addition to the castle, Mr. Solomon’s workshop and galleries are also open to the public (solomonscastle.com).
  3. City Fun: In just about an hour, you can be in the Tampa/St. Pete metro area and enjoy shopping, theater, restaurants, museums, and sporting events. St. Pete’s Dali Museum boasts the largest collection of Salvador Dali’s works outside of Spain. Tampa’s Busch Gardens is fun for all ages or walk on the wild side and visit the Tampa Zoo at Lowry Park and feed an Indian Rhinoceros.
  4. Circus-Time: If you’ve always wanted to join the circus, a visit to both the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and Ca’ d’Zan may be as close as you get. Ca’ d’Zan was the winter home of John Ringling, one of the seven brothers of Ringling Brothers circus fame. Located in Sarasota, the design of the home, which was built in 1925, was inspired by the palaces of Venice. The lush grounds of the estate contain several gardens and a reflecting pool. The museum contains collections of Old Masters, sculpture, and antiquities as well as circus memorabilia.
  5. Murals and More: The town of Lake Placid is about 40 minutes south of Wauchula and is home to 47 larger-than-life outdoor murals that can be viewed on a self-guided tour or a group bus tour (muralsoflakeplacid.com). The quaint town also has more than 27 clown cut-outs, a nod to the American Clown Museum & School located here. Lake Placid is also known as the Caladium Capital of the World as 95 percent of the world’s caladiums are grown here so of course, it makes sense the Caladium Festival is held here each July (caladiumfestival.org.) There’s even a local winery – Henscratch Farms Vineyard and Winery offers tours and tastings (henscratchfarms.com). So much to see and do in this tiny town – it’s no wonder Reader’s Digest named Lake Placid “America’s Most Interesting Town” in 2013.
Cabin at Peace River Camping Resort
Cabin at Peace River RV & Camping Resort

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Sense-ible Glamping

Of course, glamping is good for the soul as it provides the opportunity to disconnect from everything and reconnect with nature. It’s good for the body too as it lowers stress levels and provides plenty of opportunity for exercise in the great outdoors. Glamping is also good for the senses – and we found some locations that will delight all five of them. Next time you’re planning a trip, keep these sense-sational spots in mind.

Touch: Sand – gritty, soft or silky. Tree bark – rough, smooth, notched. Snow – cold and wet. There are so many tactile experiences to be had while glamping. See how the beach feels beneath your feet when you stay Oregon’s beach town location of Pacific City or the cold snow falling on your face when you stay in a tiny house at Leavenworth Tiny House Village in winter. How about a healing touch? The vortexes of Sedona are said to provide just that. Book a cabin or tiny house stay at Verde Valley and see if you experience this unique touch of healing energy.

Sight:  What can be more picturesque than field upon field of blooming tulips? Check out the Skagit Valley come spring and stay at La Conner. Or, catch the spectacular views from Yosemite National Park any time of year. Plan to stay in a yurt or cabin at Yosemite Lakes and see just how beautiful every inch of this treasure is. The Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys made the list of the “50 Most Beautiful Places in the U.S. You Can’t Afford to Miss” (according to attractionsofamerica.com), so book a colorful cottage stay at Fiesta Key RV Resort and Marina and find out why after a short drive along the Overseas Highway.

Sound: Rolling waves hitting the sand; wildlife sounds in the night, the clip clop of horseshoes, the rustle of the trees – can you hear these sounds? Most definitely if you glamp with us at California’s Rancho Oso where guided horseback rides are available. Or, rent a tiny house at the Sunshine Key Tiny House Village and let the sounds of the ocean relax you – it’ll be right outside your window. So many of our locations are nestled in the woods or in the quiet wilderness. What about the sounds of camp-side laughter? Wherever you’re glamping, gather your crew at dusk and recap the day, tell jokes, and play games to evoke this always-pleasing sound.

Bend-Sunriver Yurt
Bend-Sunriver Yurt

Smell: How about the smell of a pine forest – check into a yurt at Bend-Sunriver and check out Deschutes National Forest, which is home to thousands of fragrant Ponderosa pines. The smell of Seattle’s Pike Place Market is a mix of exotic spices, flowers, coffee beans, and more mixing to make it memorable for sure. Add in another yurt experience with a stay at Tall Chief and see how many scents you can identify at one of Seattle’s most visited attractions. What about the plethora of smells emanating from a botanic garden? Plan to stay in a cabin at Bay Landing and head into Dallas to experience the scent-sations of the blooms found at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanic Garden.

Cabin at Miami Everglades
Cabin at Miami Everglades

Taste: How do you taste glamping? Well, for our purposes, you glamp near a unique foodie experience. For example, sample succulent Maine lobster when you stay at our Bar Harbor resorts or try an iconic Door County, Wisconsin, fish boil when you stay in a cozy cabin at Tranquil Timbers in nearby Sturgeon Bay. Enjoy the fruits of the sea when staying at our Pacific Northwest locations and taste seasonal Chinook salmon, Dungeness crab, or Oregon Pink Shrimp or oysters. A stay at Natchez Trace means Nashville’s culinary treats, which include hot chicken (named for the healthy dose of cayenne pepper used), buttery, flaky biscuits, and the oh-so-gooey and sweet Goo Goo clusters. Miami is all about classic Cuban cuisine which can be experienced through a food tour. Check out miamiculinarytours.com when you stay with us in a cabin at Miami Everglades.

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Visit an Art Museum Day

Pointillism? Dadaism? Modern? Portraiture? What’s your favorite style of art? Maybe one style speaks to you or maybe you find something in all works of art that can be found in museums around the country. Perhaps that’s the purpose behind November’s Go to An Art Museum Day – you discover and explore the many genres created to delight the eye, among other senses. And while November 9 is the date of this celebration, we think any day is a good day to visit an art museum.

Sacramento: The Crocker Art Museum, in California’s capital city, is home to a collection of California art dating from the Goldrush to present day. Exhibits also include one of the largest international ceramics collections in the U.S. The museum has the distinction of being the oldest art museum in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River. The museum’s collections are on display both in the original Crocker Mansion and Art Gallery, which dates to 1872 and is both a California Historical Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as in the Teem Family Pavilion which was completed in 2010.

Both Snowflower and Lake of the Springs are a little over an hour from Sacramento. Choose from cabins, yurts, and cottages based on your destination. 

Santa Barbara: The California city of Santa Barbara itself can be considered a work of art from the beautiful Spanish-revival architecture to the breathtaking sunsets, but this ocean-side getaway is also home to two wonderful art museums. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art (sbma.net) is home to a collection of art that spans more than 4000 years while the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (mcasantabarbara.org) exhibits some of the best in contemporary works and offers free admission.

Book a cabin, covered wagon, or western themed cabin at Rancho Oso to be near the SB art museum scene.

Miami: Florida’s vibrant city of Miami is another location that can itself be considered a work of art thanks to its Art Deco architecture and the colorful palette of these historic buildings. However, Miami is also home to plenty of art museums, each offering something different. The Bass, housed in the city’s former library, focuses on contemporary art as does the Rubell Museum, whose collection includes works by Keith Haring and Jeff Koons. The Museum of Graffiti specializes in street art and exhibits include an interactive field trip featuring outdoor murals around the museum’s location. Exhibits and collections at the Wolfsonian-FIU focus on functional art and design and include furniture, graphic design, and advertising pieces. 

To explore Miami’s art museums, book a cabin stay at nearby Miami Everglades.

Nashville: Speaking of Art Deco, Nashville, Tennessee’s Frist Art Museum is currently featuring the exhibit “American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918-1939” that includes approximately 140 objects from the Art Deco era. The exhibit runs through January 2, 2022. The Frist is also home to the Martin ArtQuest, an interactive, hands-on art experience. If poster art is your thing, don’t miss Hatch Show Print, which offers tours and how-to demonstrations highlighting the famous show and event posters created by Hatch for more than 140 years (hatchshowprint.com).

Lodge at Natchez Trace Campground
Lodge at Natchez Trace Campground

Choose a Petite Retreat accommodation such as a tiny house or cabin at Natchez Trace for your Nashville art tour.

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5 Things to Do in Sedona, Arizona

There’s nothing like a good trip that mixes fantastic scenery, fresh air, desert hikes, great weather, and plenty of fun both indoor and out. To get started on this great trip that guarantees fun for all involved, reserve your tiny house stay at Verde Valley and the rest will fall into place. Select from Tiny House Finn or Tiny House Rose, equally adorable in their accommodations that sleep three and include all the amenities you could ask for when exploring Sedona and Cottonwood. Need a little more space? Check out the cozy cabins at Verde Valley and consider booking one for your home base while exploring the area.

1. Scenic Byways: While the hiking is fantastic here, another option for taking in the views is a quick road trip along the scenic byways. The Red Rock Scenic Byway is one route to take that can include stops to explore two famous vortexes, Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock, and a visit to the Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, a picturesque spot with galleries, eateries, and shops. Another driving opportunity could be the Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive, a winding, twisty way to see the countryside that can include stops for picnics, quick hikes, and the opportunity to check out Native American jewelry and crafts at the displays along the route.

Sedona Jeep Tour
Sedona Jeep Tour

2. Jeep Tour: Again, another opportunity to motor through the area, but this time the vehicle is a pretty cool pink Jeep, designed to handle the rugged terrain and equipped with a guide who knows it all when it comes to the area. Check out the tour options at pinkadventuretours.com and decide which one works best for your travel crew. Another option is the Jeep tours offered by A Day in the West (adayinthewest.com) – this time the Jeep is a sunny yellow, but the adventure is equally good. Both tour companies are consistently rated 4.5 stars.

Verde Valley Wine Trail
Verde Valley Wine Trail

3. Verde Valley Wine Trail: The only passport required here is the one that you can download from vvwinetrail.com and take along to receive a stamp from each winery you visit along the trail. Check out the site to see which wineries and tasting rooms are open and head off to an adventure where the only whining allowed is “how far to the next fantastic winery!” Specialty tours like Date Night with Wine & Dinner or the Rock Star Wine Tour are available from winetoursofsedona.com if you don’t want to tackle the tour on your own. Aside from the great tiny house or glamping adventure when you stay at Verde Valley, visitors should note that the resort is located just five minutes from Alcantara Vineyards, where the tasting room is open daily (with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) and tours are complimentary.

4. Learn the History: There are plenty of sites in the area where you learn about the Native American tribes that inhabited the land as well as the history of the area. National monuments nearby include both the Tuzigoot and Wupatki National Monuments, each of which have trails to walk while exploring. Montezuma Castle National Monument is another option where visitors can see the well-preserved dwellings of the Sinagua people. The Sedona Heritage Museum, with its exhibits dedicated to pioneers and cowboys, as well other exhibits, is another great place for a history lesson. A visit to nearby Jerome is good for a lesson about the copper mining history of the area. The Mine Museum has artifacts dating to the time when Jerome was a thriving mining town. The town today is full of artisan shops, galleries, and restaurants.

5. Feel the Spirit: Sedona is a very spiritual place thanks to the vortexes. Two great places to feel the healing and spiritual powers of the valley are the Chapel of the Holy Cross and Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park. The Chapel of the Holy Cross is stunning to see as the structure protrudes from the red rocks. The vortex located here is said to provide a sense of gratitude. The Chapel can be reached via a hike on the Chapel Trail. Sitting at the base of Thunder Mountain, the Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park is a must-see. The 14-acre location contains the 36-foot Amitabha Stupa, named for the Buddha of Limitless Light, another stupa dedicated to White Tara, the female Buddha who embodies long life and compassion, and a Native American Medicine Wheel.

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