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 Monterey, California

There’s no dispute that Monterey and the surrounding area contain some of the most picturesque landscape you’ll find in not only California, but also the U.S. Located in Central California on a peninsula, the area offers a lot to see and do, both inside and outdoors. To begin your Monterey adventure, book a stay at Marina Dunes. Located adjacent to the Marina Dunes Preserve with its stunning dunes, Marina Dunes accommodations include your choice of three rental cottages with queen-sized sleeping options, a separate bathroom and fully equipped kitchen or one of the ultra-unique glamping tents.

  1. Visit Big Sur: It’s a little under an hour’s drive from the resort to Big Sur, but we guarantee the ride will be epic in terms of scenery. There’s so much along the way, you’ll be tempted to stop but we think these places are worthy of their own visit, so let’s just get to Big Sur. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Parks offers amazing overlooks and great hiking while Pfeiffer Beach is home to the unique purple sand. Lunch at Nepenthe promises more great views while Bixby Bridge provides perfect photo ops. It was rated the #1 Instagram Worthy Destination in 2019!

  2. Carmel-by-the-Sea: This town is pure charm – and lots of it! There are art galleries, restaurants, shops, scenic views, and the beach. Consider a Carmel food tour or a self-guided historic walking tour which starts at the First Murphy House, which is also the Welcome Center where you can learn more about the walk and the sites you’ll see. There are wine tastings and plenty of special events including the upcoming 27th Annual Carmel Art Festival set for May 13-15 and the 28th Winemaker’s Celebration, scheduled for May 7. 

Sea Otters at Monterey Bay Aquarium
  1. Marine Things: Of course, as a coastal city, there is plenty of focus on all things water here including whale watching excursions and a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The aquarium’s exhibits include the underwater Kelp Forest, playful sea otters and ocean-view decks to watch for humpback whales. Speaking of whale watching, check out the Monterey Bay Whale Watch group that offers a variety of excursions to view whales, orcas, and dolphins. For details visit gowhales.com. You can also go tide pooling at McAbee Beach or kayak the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (rentals available at adventuresbythesea.com).

  2. Drive Time: There are several scenic drives (although what wouldn’t be scenic here) and they include the 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. Photo op stops on the 17-Mile Drive include the iconic Lone Cypress, Ghost Trees at Pescadero Point, and Cypress Point Lookout. Another kind of driving is done here too as the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links are here – while it is a public course, tee-time reservations are typically done at least 18 months in advance and a round can be quite pricey, like $575 pricey!  But, you can stop in at the Visitor Center which has several exhibits and enjoy a drink and a snack on the Visitor Center’s patio.

  3. Soak up the beautiful weather with a walk or bike ride along the 18-mile Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. Its’ a great way to see the coastal countryside as well as visit some of the attractions along the way like Fisherman’s Wharf, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Cannery Row. Plus, at the end of the day, you won’t need to sneak in a workout since that breezy bike ride doubled as your exercise for the day!
Marina Dunes Cottage
Marina Dunes RV Resort Cottage

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Top 5 Galentine’s Getaways

If you’re a fan of TV’s Parks & Recreation, you know that we have the character Leslie Knope to thank for making Galentine’s Day a thing. Celebrated on February 13, the day is designated for “ladies recognizing ladies.” Show your gal pals all the love you feel for them this year and enjoy a Galentine’s Getaway to these top spots.

Nashville, Tennessee: Book a glamping stay at Natchez Trace Tiny House Village and get ready to experience Nashville and the surrounding neighborhoods with some of your best gal pals! Head into Nashville to experience the one-of-a-kind honky tonks that line the city’s world famous “Lower Broadway.” More musical fun can be found at the Ryman Auditorium whether you’re taking in a concert or just a guided tour of this historic music venue. What’s a girl’s trip without a few Instagram shots so make sure you check out the murals around town that provide the perfect backdrop for these photo opps (visitmusiccity.com/trip-ideas/nashville-murals). Nashville’s neighborhoods provide another option for interesting things to do – check out The Gulch, SoBro and Capital View for all kinds of fun. Need more space than a tiny house affords? Natchez Trace also features a gorgeous lodge which sleeps up to 15 and a number of cozy cabins!

Miami Everglades RV Resort Cabin
Miami Everglades RV Resort Cabin

Miami, Florida: There’s more than the beaches to enjoy when the gals gather for Galentine’s Day in Miami. Of course, if you’re looking for prime beach time, the best beaches in Miami include Lummus Park (said to have postcard worthy views), the iconic South Beach (SoBe to the locals), and Crandon Park, when you’re really there for the beach. Then there’s Coconut Grove (mark your February calendars for the 19-21 which is the annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival) – an historic Miami neighborhood with dining, shopping, and the occasional live peacock strutting your way. Located in Coconut Grove, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark that offers 34 rooms on view at the estate as well as 10 acres of formal gardens, is another must-see when taking in Miami.

Mt. Hood Tiny House Village - Scarlett Tiny House
Scarlett Tiny House at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village

Portland, Oregon: Portland is for Pittock Mansion, Powell’s City of Books, and plenty of Instagram worthy pics. It’s also a great destination for pals – as in gal pals this Galentine’s Day. The aforementioned Pittock Mansion is a French Renaissance-style chateau built in 1914 as the home of publisher Henry Pittock. Visitors can choose from guided or self-guided tours of the mansion, the Gate Lodge, and the grounds (pittockmansion.org).  A Portland landmark, Powell’s City of Books is billed as the world’s largest new and used bookstore. Plenty of choices for that book group discussion can be found here! As for the photo opps – check out the marquee at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall for a very large “Portland” backdrop, the Old Town Portland sign (another historic landmark), and underneath the St. John’s Bridge at Cathedral Park. A great place to stay is in an adorable tiny house at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village, which is about 45 minutes from the city.  

Santa Barbara, California: Pick from cabins, cottages, or the unique tipi or western cabins at Santa Barbara’s Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort to get your sunny Cali Galentine’s Getaway off to a great start. Without even leaving the resort, the fun begins with horseback rides and a look-see at the resort’s Western Village complete with stables, Conestoga wagons and a welcoming stone lodge. Off-site excursions can include a trip into the Danish-style city of Solvang where you can enjoy a trolley ride around town, visit the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, and try some tasty Danish baked goods. Another option is Montecito where must-sees include Butterfly Beach and Casa del Herrero, a 1925 Spanish Colonial Revival estate open for tours. Keep your eyes open when you’re out and about in Montecito as a few well-knowns call Montecito home including Oprah and Harry and Meghan. There are also opportunities for wine tours in Santa Barbara, a visit to the Santa Barbara Zoo, and plenty of shopping, dining, and sunsets to be experienced.

Cabin at Medina Lake RV Campground
Cabin at Medina Lake RV Campground

San Antonio, Texas: A girl’s trip to San Antonio is a perfect trip if you’re looking to combine history, culture, great food, and some fun on the river. Book a cozy cabin at Medina Lake and you’re less than an hour’s drive to San Antonio. For history, there’s the Alamo – there is no admission fee, and you can choose to take a self-guided or guided tour at this historic location where you can learn about the Texas Revolution. The famed River Walk offers all kinds of fun including eating, shopping, and getting your steps in on this 15-mile scenic walk along the San Antonio River. There’s also nightlife options and river cruises here. Viator offers a San Antonio Food Tour as well as a Ghost Walking tour (viator.com).

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5 Things to Do in… Lake George/Upstate New York

In case you might have missed it, there is a whole lot more to New York than New York City. For one thing, head north from The Big Apple and you trade concrete and steel for lots and lots of greenery. There are mountains, lakes and springs, beautiful valleys, and pastoral farmlands. There are charming towns, college towns and towns full of history as New York State was one of the thirteen original colonies. Prior to the arrival of the colonists, the area was inhabited by several Native American tribes.

A visit to Upstate New York in the fall means plenty of opportunities for leaf peeping, apple picking and enjoying the great outdoors. Here are a few ideas if you’re planning a trip to the area.

  1. Adirondack Balloon Festival: Celebrating its 48th year, the Adirondack Balloon Festival is not only New York State’s largest hot air balloon festival but is also considered one of the oldest events of its type to take place on the East Coast. This year’s event, while smaller than previous years due to COVID-19 safety aspects, promises to be just as thrilling as ever. The event runs from September 24 through September 26 and each of the days will have spectacular balloon launches. Best of all, this event is free! For more information, visit glensfalls.com/event/adirondack-balloon-festival-61317/.
  1. Take a Trip to Woodstock: The charming mountain town of Woodstock isn’t nearly as crowded with visitors as it was back in August of 1969 when it was the site of a music festival billed as “3 Days of Peace and Music” (and actually the festival was held on a farm outside of the town), and it is still worth checking out. There’s Overlook Mountain with its 4.6-mile moderate hiking trail. There are the museums and galleries along Tinker Street, which pay homage to Woodstock’s original history as an artist’s colony. Plus, Tinker Street also has plenty of shops and eateries. And there’s also the Mower’s Saturday/Sunday Flea Market and the Sunday Farmer’s Market, which both run through October.
  1. Learn Horse Racing History: A visit to historic Saratoga Springs demands a visit to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. The town grew in popularity in the mid-1800s as wealthy Americans made it their summer place thanks to the wealth of mineral springs in the area. The Saratoga Race Course opened in 1863 and still offers a race schedule that runs from July through Labor Day. In addition to the Hall of Fame, which includes jockeys, horses and trainers, the National Museum of Racing has exhibits, artifacts and artwork that detail the history of horse racing.
  1. More Festivals and Fall Fun: In addition to the Balloon Festival, the area also hosts the Lake George Jazz Festival (September 17-19) and the Lake George Oktoberfest and Fall Festival (October 8-10). If you want to get a jump on Halloween scares, check out some of the more “spirited” places in the area including Fort Ticonderoga, where the sound of mysterious footsteps has been noted. Or check out Fort William Henry where phantom bells ringing, marching footsteps and flickering lights have frightened a few, and The Sagamore, where “permanent” guests can be seen floating around.
  1. Apples and Pumpkins: Another favorite fall activity, the area offers several places where you can pick your own apples and find the great pumpkin. Hicks Orchard is one of the oldest u-pick orchards in New York (hicksorchard.com) while Elmms Family Farm (ellmsfarms.com) is a great place for a fall outing with a pumpkin patch and a crazy corn maze.

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5 Things to Do in… Seattle

Just like the fictional Emerald City discovered by Dorothy Gale when she was blown there by a Kansas tornado, America’s Emerald City is full of wonderous things to see and do. We’re talking about Seattle, Washington, and while you may not find the Wizard, you will find some memorable, one-of-a-kind things. If you’re planning to head to Seattle, book a stay in a nearby cozy cabin or yurt at Chehalis, La Conner, Mt. Vernon, and Tall Chief.

  1. Observe the Absurd: Seattle has plenty of museums, gardens, and parklands, the iconic Space Needle and shopping and eateries, but consider a trip on the wild side and observe these absurd Emerald City attractions. The Fremont Troll, which can be found under the Aurora Bridge, is an 18-foot-high sculpture of a troll made of concrete and wire. Pike Place Market is not only home to the odd tradition of flinging fish, but is also home to the Giant Shoe Museum, which houses a collection of giant shoes, including one worn by Robert Wadlow, considered the tallest man in the world standing at 8’ 11”.
Aurora Bridge in Seattle, WA
  1. Exhibits, Exhibits: Now that museums and other public venues have begun to reopen, see what’s new in Seattle. The Museum of Pop Culture debuted Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume on June 5. The exhibit includes more than 70 original pieces from a sorcerer’s cape to ballgowns to tiaras and one famous glass slipper. The Seattle Art Museum will host “Monet at Etretat” through October 17, which displays works created by Monet when he retreated to the seaside town of Etretat. There are 10 works by Monet as well as 12 works by his contemporaries of the era. An exhibit that “brings to life the genius of Leonardo DaVinci” will be on display at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry through January 2022. A great lesson for all ages as the display is interactive and has life-sized replicas and animated presentations of some of DaVinci’s greatest works.
  1. Outdoor Adventures: There’s hiking, beachcombing, paddling, and more in and around the Seattle area. How about whale watching? Alki Beach is a good spot (note: winter, spring, and fall are the best times to glimpse a whale) and is also known for its great scenic views and the occasional seal pups. Alki Beach is also home to Alki Point Lighthouse which offers tours on Sundays during summer. Hiking at Discovery Park, a 534-acre city park or at Mt. Si, which is considered great for casual hikers, are two options for an outdoor trek. Rent a kayak from the Agua Verde Paddle Club, or opt to take a tour with them, and discover Seattle’s unique houseboat community.
Alki Point Lighthouse in Seattle, WA
  1. Seattle Spirits: Seattle offers several spirits to experience, including those of the paranormal kind. Check out viator.com for several brewery tour options that take you through two of Seattle’s neighborhoods known for brewing including Ballard and Georgetown. Follow the Woodinville Wine Trail that explores four distinct districts in the Sammamish River Valley. There are more than 130 wineries in the area. As for the other-worldly spirits, Seattle offers several ghost tours including the Haunted History Ghost Tours of Seattle, which is owned and operated by experts in the paranormal and occult. Boo!
  1. Chihuly Garden and Glass: Simply put, do not miss this! Featuring the works of famed American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, visitors can view eight galleries of his work as well as marvel at the stunning Glasshouse with its centerpiece – a 100-foot-long suspended glass sculpture that resembles a serpent or an alien. Then there’s the garden with its lush plantings interspersed with more of Chihuly’s amazing pieces.

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5 Things to Do In… the Wisconsin Dells

If you ask people what the Wisconsin Dells are known for most will answer, the waterparks! Yes, there are plenty of waterparks in The Dells, both indoor and out, but there is a whole lot more to this idyllic Wisconsin area beyond gallons of water and twisty turning slippery slides. If you’re heading to the area, here are a few ideas:

  1. Experience a bit of Americana and dine at a true Wisconsin Supper Club. If the Dells is the unofficial world capital of water parks, then the state of Wisconsin is definitely the unofficial capital of the supper club with more than 200 in the state. In fact, the Wisconsin Supper Clubs of days gone by have become so trendy there are several books about them and even a Supper Club map detailing the locations. One of the best is in nearby Lake Delton, just a few miles from Downtown Dells. Ishnala Supper Club is a must-do when in the area. From the views of Mirror Lake surrounded by the towering pines to the fabulous menu items and Ishnala’s signature Old Fashioned cocktail, Ishnala is a Wisconsin Supper Club experience at its best.
  1. The New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm has 14,000 lavender plants with over 25 varieties that are in bloom from June until mid-July. But beyond the lavender, they have 8 acres of wildflowers, a cherry orchard, lavender treats like lavender ice cream and cherry lavender jam, a farm store, self-guided tours, and farm to table wagon rides. Visit newlifelavender.com for more information on visiting the farm.
  1. A Day Trip to Spring Green could be on the agenda if you’re into architecture (Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin is here as well as the unique House on the Rock) or theater (American Players Theatre is here offering outdoor productions throughout the summer season) or nature (The Spring Green Preserve, aka Wisconsin’s Desert, is great for birding, hiking, and great photography opportunities).
  1. DIY Food and Wine Tours can be served up by taking advantage of the many wineries in the area. Winery options can include Balanced Rock Winery, billed as a boutique winery (balancedrockwinery.com) or Fawn Creek Winery (fawncreekwinery.com) that offers reds, whites, and seasonal fruit-flavored wines, plus live music events. Try Wisconsin Ice Wine (while supplies last), made from frozen grapes, at Wollersheim Winery, which is also a distillery and a bistro. Or do a cocktail and spirit tasting of the distillery’s products which include brandy and bourbon. Visit wollersheim.com for more information. Another must-taste in The Dells is the fudge. Stroll Downtown Dells and you’ll find at least three shops selling this delicious treat. Which will you like best – Swiss Maid or Wisconsin Dairyland Fund or Dells Fudge Company? Try them all!
  1. Check out Circus World in Baraboo where you can see over 250 vintage Circus Wagons, plus learn all about the history of the American circus. Circus World sits on the grounds of the winter quarters used by Ringling Brothers Circus from 1884 to 1918. There is so much to see here and it’s not just for kids! There is a daily schedule of events and details can be found at circusworldbaraboo.org. And, when you’re talking about the circus you can’t forget the clowns. Baraboo is also home to the International Clown Hall of Fame. For visitor information, go to clownmusuem.com.
Cottage at Yukon Trails in Lyndon Station, WI.

Book a cozy cabin at Arrowhead or Yukon Trails for your Wisconsin Dells vacation!

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Fields of Flowers

Is there anything more summery than a sunflower? From the canvases full of these flowers painted by Van Gogh to the real-life sunflower fields across the U.S., a glimpse of these sunny flowers is bound to make you smile!

Tiny House Clara at Tuxbury Pond Tiny House Village in South Hampton, NH.

Coppal House Farm in Lee, New Hampshire, will host the 2021 Sunflower Festival from July 31 through August 8. Book a tiny house at Tuxbury Pond Tiny House Village and make plans to see these sunnies in bloom. The festival will not only have the fields open but will also have a daily farm stand, food vendors, and live music.

Thompson’s Strawberry Farm in Bristol, Wisconsin, does have a pick your own strawberry option (mid-June to early July), but it also has fields and fields of sunflowers where you can pick your own, too! The sunflower picking season runs from July through October. Drive on over from your cozy cabin at Plymouth Rock (about 90 miles), pick a bunch and head back to camp! 

Cozy cabin at Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, WI.

Won’t the sunflowers you harvest at Oregon’s Lee Farms Sunflower Festival look great in your tiny house accommodation at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village? The festival begins August 6 and runs through the month. Learn about the sunflower, enjoy a hayride through the sunflower maze, listen to some live music and frolic among the fields of 30 varieties of sunflowers. For more information, visit oregonsunflowerfestival.com.

Book a cabin at Spring Gulch in New Holland, Pennsylvania, and make plans to attend Maple Lawn Farms Sunflower Festival 2021. Less than 45 miles from your cabin, you’ll find roughly eight football fields’ worth of blooming sunflowers. Variety is the spice of the sunflower festival here because in addition to the classic sunflower, the farm also has 40 different types of sunflowers planted. There’s the Red Sea section where the blooms are a beautiful velvety red. There’s the Land of the Giants where the sunflowers tower over the visitor walkways. Plus, there’s food, music, and a bajillion great photo ops! Visit sunflowerfestivalpa.com for all the details.

Some of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous paintings were those of the sunflowers he painted in the south of France. An interesting way to immerse yourself in these fields of flowers is to visit the unique Immersive Van Gogh, a digital experience of Van Gogh’s most famous works, including those sunflowers, at various locations across the U.S. The experience is currently at several locations including Dallas (through October 3, 2021); Orlando (opens October 7, 2021); San Francisco (through September 6, 2021) and Nashville (opens November 4, 2021.) Visit petiteretreats.com to reserve a unique accommodation near these cities. 

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Turtle Time

Have you ever considered some of the things you can learn from a turtle? Like slow and steady wins the race, or you can only move forward by sticking your neck out? Plus, they are quite the study when it comes to patience and perseverance. Fun fact – a female loggerhead turtle will swim thousands of miles to nest her eggs on the very same beach she herself was hatched as a baby! Now that’s perseverance. World Sea Turtle Day is June 16 and we believe there’s no better way to celebrate than to highlight our partnership with the Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) and to share a few ways you can help these shelled friends of ours. 

What we learn from sea turtles is so important as they tell us the health of our oceans and in turn, our oceans tell us the health of our planet.

Speaking of loggerhead turtles, Thousand Trails campgrounds and Encore RV Resorts recently announced their partnership with Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC).

Through its four core pillars of rehabilitation, research, education, and conservation, LMC serves as a conservation hub with international reach. As a worldwide agent of ocean conservation, LMC has developed and implemented comprehensive solutions to man-made threats impacting sea turtles. Designed to reduce common injuries seen in sea turtle patients, LMC’s conservation efforts focus on providing individuals and industry partners with actionable solutions.

Last year, the Center celebrated several accomplishments including: 

  • Reaching 20 countries with its mission
  • Releasing 48 treated sea turtles back into the wild
  • Documenting and protecting more than 16,500 sea turtle nests 
  • Removing 99,967 pieces of marine debris during underwater and coastal cleanups
  • Releasing 802 sea turtle hatchlings back into the wild

Thousand Trails campgrounds and Encore RV Resorts will collaborate with LMC to encourage environmentalism and sea turtle research, including on-premise conservation solutions and awareness campaigns to share marine education programs at every touchpoint. 

What a perfect month to visit the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, which is located in Juno Beach, Florida, since June is World Oceans Month. Loggerhead turtles are found in our world’s seas, specifically the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. To find details about the best time to visit LMC and what you can expect when you arrive, go to marinelife.org.

Long Beach in Seaview, WA

To see Loggerhead turtles in their natural habitat, there are several beaches in the U.S. where you just might have the opportunity (no promises though). The John D. MacArthur Beach State Park in North Palm Beach, Florida, has ranger-guided tours (make a cottage reservation at Sunshine Travel); North Carolina’s Topsail Beach is another prime nesting spot and visitors here can also see the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in nearby Surf City (plan a stay at White Oak Shores or Whispering Pines if you’re renting an RV). On the Pacific side, Long Beach is a spot to see the turtles and also visit the Aquarium of the Pacific, which successfully rehabilitated a sea turtle in 2015 and released him back into the ocean. Plan to stay in a cabin or yurt at Long Beach or reserve one of the unique accommodations at Rancho Oso and take a leisurely drive to Long Beach.

Cottage at Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara, CA

How can you help? Aside from any donations or volunteering your time, the points below are ways that glampers can help with the conservation efforts:

  • Properly recycling monofilament lines at fishing sites to prevent derelict marine debris. It could easily drift elsewhere and entangle or strangulate marine life as well as nearby wildlife. 
  • Being cognizant of single-use plastics at restaurants or while glamping. Plastics eventually break down into nano plastics and trickle into the food and water we consume. 
  • Supporting local beaches during sea turtle nesting season. Best practices involve turning off artificial lights at night, knocking over sandcastles and filling in holes, collecting beach chairs, and so on.

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5 Things to Do in… Northern California

California is big – in fact, it ranks number 3 in terms of square miles, measuring 163,695 square miles, falling between Texas and Montana in terms of size. And yet for as big as the Golden State is, most people tend to refer to it in terms of either Northern California or Southern California (although the residents trying make Central California a thing may disagree). Northern California is considered pretty much anything north of San Francisco. Yosemite National Park is in Northern California as is the Napa/Sonoma Wine Country and several national forest lands that are home to California’s famed giant sequoias. Northern California is also home to four great campgrounds with each offering its own bit of Northern California charm and fun rental accommodations. So, we’ll round up the campgrounds, highlight the best there is to see near each and throw in a fifth highlight for additional fun in the North!

Cabin at Ponderosa in Lotus, CA
  1. Ponderosa is in Lotus, California, on the South Fork of the American River, which means plenty of water sports including kayaking and rafting right onsite. An interesting day trip would be to visit the historic town of Folsom, which is about 20 miles away. If Folsom sounds familiar, it is the same Folsom made famous by Johnny Cash’s song “Folsom Prison Blues” written about the Folsom State Prison. Visitors can check out the Folsom Prison Museum which has exhibits and artifacts about the 100-year-old-plus facility. There is also the Johnny Cash Trail, which is a Class I bike and pedestrian trail. The town is also home to the Folsom History Museum, the Railroad History Museum and plenty of shops and restaurants. Ponderosa offers a number of cabin options, perfect for a glamping vacation.
Cabin at Tahoe Valley in South Lake Tahoe, CA
  1. Tahoe Valley is in beautiful South Lake Tahoe, which is a mix of towering pine trees, sandy beaches, and of course beautiful Lake Tahoe. Things to do include the Heavenly Ski Resort, with its non-snow summer fun that includes a gondola ride and a mountain coaster, several casinos, and the South Lake Tahoe Beer Trail. Emerald Bay State Park is great for hiking, scenic views of Eagle Falls and to see Vikingsholm Castle, a California landmark that is considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture outside of the Nordic countries. Enjoy a cozy cabin surrounded by towering pine trees and nature and you’re set for a Tahoe adventure.
  1. Lake Minden has its own 41-acre lake, perfect for fishing for catfish and largemouth bass. This is a great home base camp if you want to check out California’s capital city of Sacramento. Sacramento highlights include the State Capitol building with its beautiful gardens, the Capitol Museum, and the California Automobile Museum which has over 150 vintage autos on display dating from 1885 to 2011. Don’t miss the Crocker Art Museum which is the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi and has collections that include California art and other American works dating from the Gold Rush to current times. Check out a cabin or cottage rental while at Lake Minden.
  1. Lake of the Springs is in Oregon House, California, and sits at the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. The 120-acre private lake is the jewel of the campground and is great for fishing, boating, and swimming. The area offers several wineries, the Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, and lots of outdoor fun. A great photo op would be at the historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge in South Yuba River State Park, which also has great hiking and private swimming spots! Lake of the Springs offers cabin rentals and adorable yurts!
  1. Lodi, California, is a charming town that could serve our Northern California glampers very well as a day trip adventure. There are 85 wineries in the area, plenty of bike trails, and hiking, as well as rafting and kayaking opportunities. Visitors to the town of Lodi are welcomed by the Lodi Mission Arch, which was built in 1907 and topped with a gold-leafed covered bear – which is the state’s official animal. Once you pass through the gate, the Lodi adventure begins. Check out the Lodi Murals, a serial of murals painted around town to commemorate Lodi’s centennial. Or, visit the World of Wonders Science Museum where science provides the entertainment. There are also galleries, shops, plenty of dining options, plus wines, and ciders and craft brews to sample! Add Lodi to your Northern California glamping trip for the ultimate adventure.
Yosemite National Park

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5 Things to Do in… San Diego

The climate alone is reason enough to plan a getaway to San Diego. There’s plenty of sunshine and 80-degree days to be found here. There’s also the draw of the ocean and the miles of beaches as well as the history, the theme parks, a world-class zoo, and much more. We came up with five ways to experience this sunny southern California favorite:

Sunset on La Jolla Beach, CA.
  1. Act Like a Local: Some say the best way to get to know a city is to do what the locals do. So, we checked in with a San Diegan and here’s what they suggest: Start the day with a walk/hike along Sunset Cliffs. Next, head over to Wonderland for mimosas and brunch and some great ocean views. After that, check out the pier at Ocean Beach, which is one of the longest piers on the West coast and has great sea lion sightings. Spend the afternoon strolling Newport Avenue with its cool shops – including surf shops and antiques. Enjoy an afternoon nosh at South Beach for local beers and great fish tacos. End the day with dinner at the OB Noodle House for great Asian fare.
Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego.
  1. Act Like a Kid: What’s more fun than a bunch of Legos (unless, of course, they’re on the floor and you’re barefoot)? Head to Carlsbad and visit LEGOLAND California which is a theme park, a water park, and an aquarium all rolled into one guaranteed fun time. The aquarium portion of LEGOLAND has 350 different species featuring over 6000 sea creatures. The water park has all kinds of wet fun from wave pools to waterslides. And, of course, the theme park has thrill rides, shows, and a Lego retail store. As for Legos, all attractions include a Lego miniland made from millions of genuine Legos. Watch where you step!
  1. Act Like an Athlete: With 70 miles of coastline, water sports are the thing to do in San Diego. Wakeboarding, kitesurfing, kayaking, surfing, and bodysurfing are just a few of the water challenges to be attempted when visiting San Diego. The San Diego Surf School (sandiegosurfingschool.com) offers private, semi-private, and group lessons as well as surf camps and surf retreats for adults. If you’re gonna attempt hanging ten, consider that San Diego has some of the warmest waters and several of the best surfing breaks on the California coast.
  1. Act Like a Foodie: A few years back, Thrillist.com said San Diego was a hotspot for fresh-sourced ingredients and world-class street food and a few years later, San Diego remains a foodie favorite. A good place to start to explore the food scene here is through one of the several food tours offered. Bite San Diego (bitesandiego.com) offers six different neighborhood tours that serve up a side of each neighborhood’s history, as well! Or try the Tequila, Tacos and Tombstones Tour offered through viator.com that takes you through a food and walking tour of the city’s historic Old Town.
Getaway cabin at Pio Pico in Jamul, CA.
  1. Act Like a Glamper: We’ve got two great locations where you can get your glamping fix in while exploring all that San Diego has to offer. Pio Pico in nearby Jamul has great cottage and cabin options for your consideration. The resort has bike trails, pickleball courts, nature and hiking trails, a pool, hot tub, and a game room. Each rental cottage sleeps six, has heat and A/C, full-sized refrigerators, electric coffeemakers and microwaves and full-sized bathrooms/showers. Cabins at Pio Pico sleep 4-6, have full-sized bathrooms/showers and kitchens with microwaves and refrigerators. Oakzanita Springs is another option for glamping during a San Diego getaway. Each of the two cottage rentals sleeps 6 while the two cabin rentals sleep 4. All have full-size bathrooms/showers and a variety of kitchen amenities. The resort has bike trails, nature and hiking trails, a swimming pool, hot tub, and bocci and horseshoes.
Cozy cabin at Oakzanita Springs in Descanso, CA.

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