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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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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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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Oh, Hello, Ojai!

Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara County, CAIf someone was tasked with writing about the Top Ten things to do in Ojai, California, let’s hope they have a diligent (or understanding) editor….because you can’t stop at 10. This beautiful valley city, located about 90 miles north of LA and just 30 miles from Santa Barbara, is a bundle of charm, rolled up in a mix of culture and arts and displayed in a setting so scenic and serene, your Instagram posts will be nonstop!

So, we won’t stop at 10 or 15, but just show you some highlights to send you on your way to discover all there is to see and do in Ojai.

The first thing you will notice is the surrounding countryside. There are citrus groves, vineyards, and the Los Padres National Forest. Filled with wildflowers, wildlife, hiking and biking trails and beaches, Los Padres is a wonderland for wanderers. You can also choose to fish, horseback ride or enjoy a lazy picnic with nature as a side dish!

Enjoy a tour of an olive grove at the Ojai Olive Oil Company (www.ojaioliveoil.com) or sample some of the wines at the various wineries located in and around Ojai (visit www.ojaivisitors.com for a listing of wineries). If your visit to Ojai begins after June 1, definitely stop by Frog Creek Farm (www.frogcreekfarmojai.com) to enjoy the lavender and also mark your calendar for the Ojai Valley Lavender Festival, scheduled for Saturday, June 29, at Libbey Park.

In town, you want to make sure you visit the Ojai Certified Farmers Market for locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meats and seafood, honey, jams, soaps, and candles. The Market is open every Sunday, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For a list of fruits and veggies in season, visit www.ojaicertifiedfarmersmarket.com.

Also, you can’t miss Libbey Park, which is located in the center of the town and contains walking paths, a fountain, a bandstand, Libbey Bowl, a renowned concert venue, and of course tennis courts as it plays host annually to the oldest amateur tennis tournament in the US, “the Ojai,” in late April. The park will also host Art in the Park, an annual event since 1977, allowing local artists the opportunity to showcase and sell their work. This year’s event is scheduled for May 25.  Just one week later on June 1, the park hosts the 2019 Ojai Blues Fest, followed by the Ojai Musical Festival, a four-day event featuring classical music that will run June 6-9.

Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort, Santa Barbara, CA

There are also plenty of dining options from gourmet to farm-to-table and shopping possibilities include clothing boutiques, antiques, jewelry stores, and trinket shops, art galleries and of course Bart’s Books. Bart’s is the largest independently owned and operated indoor/outdoor bookstore in the US. The store’s collection of more than 1 million books overflows to freestanding bookcases outside the store, which are paid for by customers on the honor system! Inside, visitors will also find rare, first editions and specialty art books.

And, when your perfect day, or days, in Ojai are coming to a close, don’t miss the “pink” sunset where, thanks to a combination of the mountains, the valley, the sun’s location, etc., the sky takes on a pink glow at dusk that can only be described as indescribable!

Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort, Santa Barbara, CA

If you want to make your own To-Do in Ojai list, consider a stay at Rancho Oso, in Santa Barbara and book one our unique Petite Retreats. Check out www.PetiteRetreats.com to see what options are available to make your home base while exploring nearby Ojai.