Happy Birthday, Florida!

The Sunshine State celebrates 177 years of statehood this March 3rd, so come celebrate the state that provides miles of coastline and sandy beaches, the subtropical wilderness known as the Everglades, and of course an abundance of sunshine.

With so many great places to stay with us in Florida, you can celebrate the whole state. Sunny getaways abound all around the state from cottages at Bulow, Sherwood Forest, Sunshine Holiday Daytona, Pioneer Village, and Fiesta Key; cabins at Miami Everglades and Peace River; and adorable tiny homes at the Sunshine Key Tiny House Village (to see all the great Florida locations visit petiteretreats.com and book now). Spend time on the Gulf Coast, drive over to the Atlantic coast, discover Central Florida, and explore the Keys – whatever you choose, celebrate the Sunshine State this March.

Florida Festivals: Thanks to the great weather, there’s always something being feted, and March has plenty of events! There’s the Strawberry Festival in Plant City (March 3-13); Daytona Bike Week (March 4-13); the Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival (March 12-13); the Marathon Seafood Festival (March 12-13); and Carnaval Miami, which celebrates all things Miami, and runs from February 26 through March 13.

St. Augustine, FL Skyline
St. Augustine, FL Skyline

History Lessons: Why not visit Florida’s (and the nation’s) oldest city, St. Augustine, to learn the history of Florida and life way back in the 1500s? Castillo de San Marcos, Fort Mose Historic State Park, and perhaps the Pirate & Treasure Museum are a good place to start. The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum in Clewiston provides visitors insight into the history and culture of the Seminole, who are an integral part of Florida’s history. Other options for history trips can include the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West or the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee.

Funky Florida: Get a little off the beaten path of the typical tourist and celebrate Florida’s wild side. Up-close-and-personal experiences can include swimming with the manatees in Crystal River, learning all about sea sponges at Sponge-o-rama in Tarpon Springs or an iconic airboat ride through the Everglades. Spook Hill in Lake Wales supposedly defies gravity and is haunted while Robert the Doll, who can be found at Key West’s Fort East Martello Museum, is guaranteed to give you the willies. Funky underwater experiences can include Neptune Memorial Reef in Key Biscayne, the underwater statue of Christ, known as Christ of the Abyss, which can be found in the waters off Key Largo, or the one-of-a-kind swimming mermaids in Weeki Watchee Springs State Park.

Top Attractions: Florida’s long-standing highlights include Walt Disney World, the Kennedy Space Center, Busch Gardens Tampa, and the beautiful beaches. Top-rated beaches include South Beach, Cocoa Beach, St. Pete’s Beach and Fort Myers Beach.

Cottage at Peace River Camping Resort

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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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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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On an Island in the Sun

On an Island in the Sun
On an Island in the Sun

There’s a popular song that talks playing and having fun on an island in the sun. We think it’s all about the Florida Keys which actually offers several islands of choice to play and have some fun!

First, a bit of history and some fun facts about this series of islands that extend from the southern tip of Florida down into the deep blue ocean. The Keys are part of an archipelago and there are hundreds and hundreds of islands but a little over 40 of them are actually inhabited. Because there are so many and they stretch over such a long distance, they are divided into groups, the Upper Keys, the Middle Keys, and the Lower Keys. The most famous is Key West thanks to Ernest Hemingway who made his home here from 1931 to 1939. The largest is Key Largo. The populous Keys are connected via the Overseas Highway which links the Keys through a series of 42 bridges.  

Temperatures range from hottest in July at an average of 86 degrees and coolest in January at an average temperature of 70 degrees. On average, there are 256 days of sunshine in the Keys which is plenty of time to have some fun in the sun.

In all, if you start at Key Largo and drive south to Key West, it’s a total of 97 miles and roughly a two-hour drive. But take your time and stay awhile, there’s a lot to see and do in the Keys this winter.

The Humphrey Bogart Film Festival happens on Key Largo, of course, and is scheduled this year for October 17-21. It’s a good year to attend this event as it is the 70th anniversary of Bogart’s famous film, Key Largo. Key West will also host the Key West Film Festival from November 14-18.

Celebrate fall island-style at Marathon Key’s Third Annual Fall Harvest at Crane Point Museum that promises a day of family fun with hay rides, trail mazes, lives music and all things autumn on October 28.

Art lovers make note of the Big Pine & The Lowers Keys Island Art Festival on November 24 which features locally produced arts and crafts, plus live music and food.

Other popular Keys activities include snorkeling, deep sea fishing, visiting the key deer at Deer Key, Dry Tortugas National Park, the historic bridge at Bahia Honda State Park and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.  

Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park

From a sheer relaxation perspective, there are the beaches. Some notable and regular best beach list-makers include Sandspur Beach and Calusa Beach on Big Pine Key, Higgs Beach in Key West and the beach at Long Key State Park on Long Key.

Chart your course for a Keys vacation and use the conveniently located Fiesta Key RV Resort & Marina or Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina as your place to stay. The cottages offered at both of these resorts add to the perfect island getaway. Imagine…your own private cottage just steps from the beach!

Fiesta Key RV Resort & Marina
Fiesta Key RV Resort & Marina

Fiesta Key RV Resort & Marina  sits on 28 acres where you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and a fabulous Tiki Bar and Cantina. Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina has a marina, fishing opportunities and is just a mile away from Bahia Honda State Park with its historic bridge and great beaches.

Make your reservations to retreat to the Keys, today!