Step Back in Time at These 3 Historic Cities

This year, the July 4th holiday marked 248 years of independence. But long before the Founding Fathers put together the Declaration of Independence, the United States was staking its claim as a pretty great new nation. Check out some of America’s oldest cities as you travel this July:

Glamping Cottage at Encore Bulow
Glamping Cottage at Encore Bulow

St. Augustine, Florida: Roughly 55 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Spanish explorers founded St. Augustine, which is considered the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European and African American origin in the US. That was 1565 and today St. Augustine is a trip back in time with its centuries-old buildings and European feel. Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the US, constructed in 1695. The Colonial Quarter, located on St. George Street gives a feel for what life in St. Augustine was like in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries while Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is a living history museum dedicated to telling the story of the settlers life as it was in the 1500s. A glamping cottage at Encore Bulow is the perfect place to stay when visiting this historic area.

Cabin at Gateway to Cape Cod
Cabin at Gateway to Cape Cod

Plymouth, Massachusetts: Book a glamping cottage at Thousand Trails Gateway to Cape Cod and explore Plymouth, Massachusetts, which was established in 1620 when the Mayflower docked on the shores here. There is plenty of Pilgrim and Native American History to be found here. The Plimouth Patuxet Museums is a living history museum that journeys back 400 years in time to tell the story of how America got its start. There is also a historic replica of the Mayflower, the Pilgrim Hall Museum and the Jabez Howland House, the home of the son of two Mayflower passengers. Brewster Gardens is a lovely 2.9-acre park with great views of the water and a walking path. Don’t miss the bronze statue, Pilgrim Maiden, which pays tribute to the brave English women who made the Mayflower voyage to America.

Albany, New York: While Albany, New York has the distinction of being the New York state capital, it is also one of the oldest cities in America, dating back to 1686. Explorer Henry Hudson laid claim to the area in 1609 and the city was named as the state capital in 1797. The New York State Museum, established in 1836, is the oldest and largest state museum in the country and houses exhibits that reflect New York’s cultural and natural history. The Schuyler Mansion, the 18th century home of Philip J. Schuyler, who served as a general in the Continental Army and was also father of Elizabeth Schuyler, wife of Alexander Hamilton, is open for guided tours daily (parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/schuylermansion/details.aspx). Another must-see in Albany is the New York State Capitol building, an architectural marvel built in the late 19th century. A great place for insight into the history of New York is the Albany Institute of History and Art (albanyinstitute.org) being one of the oldest museums in the country and operating since 1791. A vacation cottage or cabin at Lake George Escape Campground is a great place to stay when exploring Albany.

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4 Garden Getaways in Full Bloom

It’s spring, so garden blooms are getting underway and things are greening up around the country. If you’re looking for inspiration for your own garden-to-be, check out some of these great public gardens in the country.

Thousand Trails Rancho Oso Cabin
Thousand Trails Rancho Oso Cabin

Lotusland (Montecito, California): Stay at Thousand Trails Rancho Oso and take the trip into Montecito to visit the 37 acres of lush gardens that were part of Polish opera singer Madame Ganna Walska’s residence. Walska purchased the estate in 1941 and lovingly created and curated the gardens for the next 43 years. The different gardens showcased here are definitely unique and include the Bromeliad Gardens, the Aloe Garden, and the Cactus Garden. The best time to visit Lotusland (lotusland.org) is summer for the lotus flowers and April through June for the roses.

Cabin at Spring Gulch Camping Resort
Cabin at Spring Gulch Camping Resort

Longwood Gardens (Kennett Square, Pennsylvania): From formal gardens to open, forest meadows, Longwood Gardens would be the choice when planning a stay at Spring Gulch Resort Campground, our Pennsylvania Dutch Country location with great glamping choices that include lodge, chalet or cottage accommodations. Longwood Gardens was originally a Quaker farmstead and later the estate of industrialist Pierre S. du Pont. There are over 1000 acres of outdoor gardens here, plus centuries’ old trees, scenic vistas and the Italian Water Garden designed by du Pont himself. Crocus and tulip blooms welcome visitors in the spring while the Norway maple trees blaze brightly come fall. For information and special event details, visit longwoodgardens.org.

Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden (Key West, Florida): Book a Keys glamping at adventure Encore Fiesta Key or Encore Sunshine Key and head to Key West to take in this 15.2 acre native garden and forest complete with boardwalks and nature trails nestled in the sunny Florida Keys. What makes this native plant botanical garden unique is that it is the only frost-free, subtropical, natural conservation habitat with three fresh-water ponds in the continental United States. Plus, dogs are welcome here! In addition to the “champion trees” found here, the garden is all great for birding as well as butterflies and blooming flowers. There are two butterfly gardens plus a waterfall wall where you can see turtles in their natural habitat.

Cottage at Greys Point Camp in Topping, VA
Greys Point Camp in Topping, VA

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (Henrico, Virginia): This beautiful garden in Virginia is celebrating 40 years this year and to recognize that milestone a special program, “Flourish: 40 Years and Growing” will feature events all year long which include concerts and children’s and adult activities. Plan a glamping getaway at Grey’s Point Camp and you are less than 70 miles from the Gardens. Visitors will enjoy a dozen themed gardens plus an historic domed conservatory when exploring Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden that guarantees blooms all year!

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5 Things to Do in Orlando

Boasting more than 250 days of sunshine each year, a trip to Orlando is an option if you’re seeking the rays. It’s also a favorite spot for thrill-ride lovers, hikers, bikers, birdwatchers, festival-goers, foodies…and the list goes on. In a nutshell, Orlando has something for everyone. Here are five things to see, not including the fabulous glamping accommodations at Encore Tropical Palms or Clermont (reserve now!), if you’re Orlando-bound:

1. Take the International Drive: I-Drive, as it’s known in Orlando, is almost like an all-inclusive destination for everything from food to fun and more. There are outlet malls, plenty of restaurants (check out the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure or Taverna Opa for an authentic Greek experience); attractions such as the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe or Not; a chocolate museum (The Chocolate Museum and Cafe); gator shows (Gator Golf); plenty of golf options from mini-golf courses to Top Golf simulators and whole lot more on this one exciting strip. For all the fun on I-Drive, visit internationaldriveorlando.com.

2. Board the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit: Get a feel for what it was like to be aboard the Titanic (before the iceberg) in an opulent recreation of the ill-fated ship that has more than 300 artifacts, full scale room replicas from the ship, and costumed actors to give you the feeling it’s 1912 all over again. Guided tours are available as well as other options that include the Titanic Gala Dinner and the Titanic Teatime Experience. For information, go to titanicorlando.com.

Elite Cottage at Thousand Trails Orlando
Elite Cottage at Thousand Trails Orlando

3. Be a Spectator: Orlando is home to many sporting teams, and depending on the time of year, you can catch multiple games in a single trip. The Orlando Solar Bears are an NHL affiliate, and the hockey season here begins in October and extends to April; the NBA’s Orlando Magic play their home basketball games at the Amway Center and the regular season runs October to April, and Orlando City is the team for soccer and regular play begins in February. Orlando is also a great homebase to catch Major League Baseball’s spring training games, aka the Grapefruit League, played in several nearby locations including Tampa (NY Yankees) and Lakeland (Detroit Tigers).

4. Enjoy a Festival or Two: Any time of year here, you can find a festival celebrating heritage, music, food and more. Some biggies include Universal’s Mardi Gras (held in late winter each year); EPCOT’s International Food and Wine (July to November annually); and EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays (set for November 24 through December 30 this year). To find a festival to coincide with your visit, go to orlandoinsidervacations.com/annual-events-in-orlando-kissimmee.

Sunset at Lake Dora
Sunset at Lake Dora

5. Visit Mount Dora: Just about 40 minutes outside of the popular and populated Orlando, you will find the small-town charmer of Mount Dora. Visitors to this lakefront town (the lake being Lake Dora) will love the historic buildings, shops, green spaces, and authentic southern charm found here. Mount Dora fun fact – Presidents Coolidge and Eisenhower came here for a winter retreat. One fun way to see the historic buildings and the town is to take the one-hour, narrated historic tour aboard the Mount Dora Trolley. There are also opportunities for fishing (Lake Dora); antiquing (Renninger’s); shopping in the historic downtown and browsing modern art (Modernism Museum).

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The Best Weekend Getaways to Take This Year

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!

Pacific City RV & Camping Resort Yurt
Thousand Trails Pacific City RV & Camping Resort

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.

Natchez Trace Tiny House Village
Natchez Trace Tiny House Village

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.

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Go Glamping for These 2023 Events

If you want to make sure you have the best glamping spots reserved that are nearby to some of 2023’s big events, take note of these events below and get your rezzies in order with Petite Retreat accommodations.

Palm Springs International Film Festival: Scheduled for January 5-16, 2023, this event includes screenings of international films and documentaries, plus awards and celeb sightings in and around Palm Springs. Book a cottage stay at Palm Springs to be near festival events.

Cottage at Harbor Lake RV Resort
Cottage at Harbor Lake RV Resort

MLB Spring Training in Florida: Experience the 2023 Grapefruit League season and take in a few games as you glamp around the Sunshine State. Games start February 25 and run through March 28. Options can include cottage rentals at Sunshine Travel in Vero Beach to see the NY Mets play in nearby Port St. Lucie at Clover Park; Harbor Lakes to see the Tampa Bay Rays or Holiday Travel to see the Philadelphia Phillies in nearby Clearwater at BayCare Ballpark.

Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival: Scheduled for Saturday, April 15, this event has a Cherry Blossom Walk, a pup parade, live music, and a Sumo wrestling event. Sounds like a colorful, and interesting, way to welcome the beautiful cherry blossoms and the arrival of spring. Book a stay at Natchez Trace Tiny House Village!

Bar Harbor Music Festival and Bar Harbor Fine Arts Festival: Summer in New England is the quintessential getaway and Bar Harbor is a wonderful location to enjoy come summer. The Music Festival runs June 30 to July 28 and features all genres from classical to opera to jazz while the Fine Arts Festival, scheduled for August 2-4, showcases artist works from potters to painters. Book a stay at Mt. Desert Narrows or Narrows Too to be close to these events.

Mt. Hood Huckleberry Festival and Mt. Hood Salmon, Mushroom, and Big Foot Festival: Two great reasons to book a stay at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, Oregon, in late summer. The Huckleberry Festival, set for the third week of August, celebrates all things huckleberry while the Salmon, Mushroom, and Big Foot Festival welcomes back the salmon to the Oregon rivers as well as celebrate mushroom harvest time.

Leavenworth Oktoberfest: If you can’t make it to Munich, Leavenworth’s Oktoberfest, spread over three weekends (September 29-30; October 6-7; and October 13-14) may be the next best thing. In addition to beer and brats, there will be live entertainment, dancing, and plenty of fun. Book a stay at Leavenworth Tiny House Village and get ready to say “Prost!” more times than you can imagine.

Urbanna Oyster Festival: Urbanna, Virginia, is known as the “Oyster Capital of the East Coast” so of course they have a festival every year to celebrate the oyster. Two days of everything oyster, plus live music, and contests (yes, oyster shucking is one of them) are scheduled for November 3-4, 2023. To be near all the fun, reserve a glamping accommodation at Bethpage Camp-Resort, conveniently located in Urbanna!

Cottage at Bethpage Camp-Resort
Cottage at Bethpage Camp-Resort

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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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5 Things to do In…The Florida Panhandle

Florida’s Panhandle, that handle-type stretch of land in the far northwest portion of the state that runs roughly 200 miles, is home to some of the most beautiful white sand beaches, several of which are consistently named to the ranks of America’s best beaches by beach expert, Dr. Beach. If you plan on hitting some of these beaches or checking out the places we’ve named to our 5 Things to Do list, plan a stay at Live Oak Landing. Offering studio and one-bedroom resort cottages as well as RV sites, Live Oak Landing is just 30 minutes from scenic Highway 30A and all that silky sand. The resort sits adjacent to the Choctawhatchee River and has plenty of amenities including a pool, boat ramp, a floating dock, and opportunities for onsite fishing. Cottages are fully furnished with kitchens or kitchenettes (depending on cottage selection), linens and towels, outdoor picnic tables, and TVs. So, make your reservation, pack your sand toys and swimsuits, and get ready to explore the Panhandle.

  1. National Naval Aviation Museum: Of course, you can find this in Pensacola, which is home to Naval Air Station Pensacola, considered the Cradle of Naval Aviation. The Museum will provide thrills for everyone, whether you’re a Navy buff or an aviation buff. MaxFlight 360 Simulators allow visitors to experience air-to-air combat as well as stunt flying missions while the Naval Aviation Memorial Theater provides an unparalleled “am I really flying” kind of screen event. There are also virtual flight deck and cockpit training experiences to be enjoyed. Exhibits include several aircraft galleries as well as a one-quarter scale replica of the USS Nimitz. For information, visit navalaviationmuseum.org.
  2. Shell Island: Shell Island is truly an example of undeveloped space when it comes to things that mar our beautiful beaches. This 7-mile barrier island has no hotels, no restaurants, no buildings, not even a trash can it is said – just sand, water, and natural flora and fauna. It’s a great place to see bottlenose dolphins; in fact, a resident pod is there all year long so as long as the sun is shining, you just might see a dolphin whenever you visit. Snorkeling and shelling are two more activities that make Shell Island a great place to visit.
  3. The Destin History and Fishing Museum: It’s not all about the history of fishing here, there’s also a science exhibit that explains why the sands of Destin are white and several Native American history displays. But yes, there’s fishing history here shown through artifacts, fishing equipment and of course, mounted fish upon fish, all caught locally. Visit destinhistoryandfishingmuseum.org for more details.
Downtown Tallahassee, Florida
Downtown Tallahassee, Florida
  1. Day Trip to Tallahassee: Florida’s capital, Tallahassee is about 130 miles east of Live Oak Landing and is worth a day trip. The Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park bills itself as a “masterpiece of floral architecture” with gardens upon gardens, a reflection pool and plenty of walking trails as well as opportunities for canoeing and kayaking. Peak blooming season runs through April. Other Tallahassee highlights include Railroad Square Art Park, Goodwood Museum and Gardens, the Tallahassee Automobile Museum with its more than 150 vehicles on display, and the Lewis Spring House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  2. Sculpture with a twist: Who doesn’t love a sculpture park? Florida has a good one located in the Panhandle, except there’s a twist here – it’s underwater! Located about a mile off the sandy shores of Grayton Beach State Park, the Underwater Museum of Art was opened in 2018 with just 7 sculptures. There are now 19 sculptures residing some 50 feet below the surface that have become living reefs for fish and other sea life. To dive to see the sculptures up close you must be certified, but snorkelers can view the “museum” from above the installations. For details visit umafl.org.
Live Oak Landing Cottage Interior
Cottage at Live Oak Landing in Choctawhatchee Bay, FL

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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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Winter Plans?

Just as surely as the sun rises, you can guarantee winter comes knocking each year in late-December. And for some who are fortunate to live year-round in areas that don’t really experience winter, it’s just another date on the calendar. But for others, it’s time to head towards the sunshine. And, even if you are lucky enough to live where the sun always shines warmly, a change of scenery is always good to chase away the winter doldrums. Here are a few ideas for fun in the sun winter escapes.

Arizona: If Sedona is your home base, day trips to the Grand Canyon (about a 2-hour drive north), the Phoenix/Scottsdale area (about a 2-hour drive south) and the Petrified Forest National Park (about a 2-hour drive east) are all possibilities. Of course, the Grand Canyon is the Grand Canyon, but there are other things to do here. There is the 22-mile Desert View scenic drive, wildlife to glimpse, and the Grand Canyon Railway Adventure which is a scenic train ride to the Grand Canyon that originates in Sedona. If you’re a baseball fan, then you’ll be happy come winter when Major League Baseball’s Cactus League begins their games in stadiums in the Phoenix metro area. If you’re not a baseball fan, Scottsdale has plenty of hiking opportunities including Camelback and Pinnacle Peak. Plus, there’s shopping, arts and entertainment, and plenty of good eating to be had here. The Petrified Forest, named for the large amounts of petrified wood found here, is home to the Rainbow Forest Museum and the petroglyphs on Newspaper Rock and may also seem familiar to Clint Eastwood fans as parts of his famous film, “The Outlaw Josey Wales” were shot here. Verde Valley is the place to reserve your winter accommodation where you can choose to day trip or just enjoy the local scene.

California: Rarely, if ever, do California beaches post “Closed for the Season” signs. The ocean water may be colder than most prefer, but the warm California sun is pretty plentiful and of course, anything but mountain snow is rare. Yosemite National Park is less crowded but still just as breathtaking in the winter months, so consider a stay in an ultra-cool yurt at Yosemite Lakes. The Park’s Badger Pass Ski Area offers winter skiing opportunities. Cross off your bucket list item to “stay in a tipi or covered wagon” this winter with reservations for these unique accommodations at Rancho Oso and then explore winter in Santa Barbara. The Santa Barbara Zoo, a mission tour, a visit to the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, or a tour of the local wineries can all add up to winter fun.

Tropical Palms RV Resort
Tropical Palms RV Resort

Florida: Warm days and cool nights give the Florida-bound winter vacationer the best of both worlds. Days are sunny with temps averaging around 70 degrees while nights are sweater-weather worthy with average lows in the ‘50s. The only shovels required during a Florida getaway are those used to build sandcastles on the fabulous beaches around the state that include Daytona, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and St. Pete Beach. Consider a trip to the Keys and a stay at the Sunshine Key Tiny House Village or a colorful cottage right on the water at Fiesta Key. On the Atlantic side, visit historic Flagler Beach or enjoy the sights and sounds of Miami. Accommodations at Bulow Village RV Resort and Miami Everglades are great locations for these. Wanna do Disney? Book a stay at Tropical Palms, Lake Magic, or Orlando RV for all things Disney and beyond. Check out petiteretreats.com to find your ideal Florida location.

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Green City Getaways

With April having two dates that recognize the importance of taking care of our Earth (Earth Day and Arbor Day), it makes sense to plan a trip to visit a Green City this month (or in the future).

Cherry tree blossoms on the waterfront in Portland, OR.

According to treehugger.com, there are several things to take into consideration in determining how “green” a city is. Those include efficient public transportation, quality public space, plentiful parks, and the availability of bike lanes as well as composting and recycling programs. One other interesting item is whether a city offers “good green fun,” which means farmer’s markets, plenty of organic fare served up in the local eating and drinking establishments and music festivals and outdoor events that feature solar-powered stages and valet parking for bicycles. There are several more “green definers” and combined that’s a lot for a city to tackle, yet slowly but surely, more and more of our urban areas around the country are hitting the mark when it comes to being green. Additionally, there are many different groups providing different rankings for these cities, but some consistently make the grade across the board.

  1. San Diego, California: San Diego’s nickname is “America’s Finest City”, but it can also boast being one of America’s greenest cities. San Diego is home to Balboa Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country. Other green things about this southern California city include dozens of weekly farmer’s markets, a major “Farm to Fork” movement in the dining industry, a variety of public transportation including trolleys, shuttles, and pedi-cabs, and plenty of opportunities for green fun including kayaking, mountain biking, and surfing.

Book a cabin or cottage stay at Pio Pico or Oakzanita Springs for a San Diego Green Getaway.

Tiny House Savannah at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, OR.
  1. Portland, Oregon: With over 90,000 acres of green space and a top-notch biking/walking trail system, Portland is definitely eco-friendly. In fact, they have the highest rate of workers biking to the office than any other U.S. city. They were also one of the first cities to ban the use of plastic bags. For green space, visitors and residents alike need to look no further than the city’s Forest Park, a 5200-acre urban forest, featuring hiking and biking trails, waterfalls, and plenty of greenery!

Book a stay at the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village for a Portland Green Getaway.

Cozy cabin Yukon Trails in Lyndon Station, WI.
  1. Madison, Wisconsin: Did you know that the man behind Earth Day was from Wisconsin? Gaylord Nelson, who served as both governor and senator of the state was not only a politician, but also an avid environmentalist, calling upon the citizens of America to bring awareness to problems with the environment. So naturally, it makes sense that Madison would be a green city – it’s in the genes! Madison consistently ranks as a green city thanks to its abundance of green space – from plenty of city parks to acres of lakes and miles of biking and hiking trails. Madison is home to more bikes than cars and the city is very walkable. The city has more farmer’s markets than you can shake a cucumber at, and in fact, Saturday on the Square, an event that features more than 250 vendors, is a popular destination for visitors and Mad-Town residents like.

Book a cabin stay at Yukon Trails for a Madison Green Getaway.

Lake Eola Park in Orlando, FL.
  1. Orlando, Florida: While green space is not as abundant as in some of the other green cities, Orlando makes the green grade thanks to its continued efforts and eye to the future when it comes to being, and staying, green. With goals like a 40% city-wide tree canopy coverage by 2040, the One Person One Tree initiative to help expand the urban forest, and a host of programs to protect the ecosystems found here, Orlando is definitely putting a green foot forward. And to clarify, they have plenty of green space to the tune of more than 100 parks, plus plenty of lakes and wetlands.
Colorful cottage stay at Tropical Palms in Kissimmee, FL.

Book a colorful cottage stay at Tropical Palms for an Orlando Green Getaway.

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