Great Girls' Trips for Every Type of Friends Group
There are many types of vacations—romantic getaways with your partner, chaotic family trips, or peaceful solo adventures—but the best trips are with your besties. Time to take that vacation out of the group chat, reunite the girls, and celebrate your friendship with a weekend getaway. From snowy mountain hideouts to all-day beach days soaking in the sun, Room Service has got you covered with a list of great girls' trips. Keep reading to explore the best girls’ getaways around the world.
For live event lovers and party starters: Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is rowdy in the best way and a hot spot for anyone and everyone celebrating their upcoming nuptials. It was recently ranked one of the best cities for a bachelorette trip. Watch a concert, visit a honky tonk, see the Country Music Hall of Fame, take Instagram-worthy photos with the city's many painted murals, and indulge in some good Southern barbecue.
- Where to stay: Bode Nashville. This hotel is specifically built for large groups. Bode Nashville is a chic boutique hotel that knows how to accommodate parties of up to 14 people with zero stress. With everything from foosball tables, cornhole, large lounging areas, hanging swings, a bar perfect for a mid-day aperitivo, a chef’s kitchen in each Bode suite, and a grab-and-go market with all the snacks you can think of. That list just skims the surface of all the offerings. The space is designed to encourage group gatherings so you can host a BBQ or curl up by the fireplaces. Prices fluctuate drastically but you can get a room for as low as $193/night (up to $1,619/night!). Book here.
For foodies: Vancouver, British Columbia
Foodies from all over the world flock to Vancouver to experience their infamous night market, sample all the yummy dim sum, and even grab a cup of joe from Tim Hortons. If your group is the type to always split multiple appetizers and save room for dessert, consider going to Vancouver BC to satisfy all your cravings.
- Where to stay: The Wedgewood Hotel & Spa. Luckily, in Vancouver, you can get a luxury stay for a steal of a deal. The Wedgewood Hotel & Spa has decor that must be marveled at and is located amidst the gardens and waterfalls of Robson square, right in the heart of Vancouver. They even had bike rentals so you can tour all the foodie spots across the city. If that’s not your thing, don’t worry, the hotel has a 100/100 walking score and 284 restaurants within 0.3 miles, so you’re right in the center of the action. Nightly rates start around $213. Book now.
For a relaxing city stay: Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is an excellent choice for a girls trip – it’s very walkable with no need for renting a car, has plenty of amazing restaurants, and has a relaxing city vibe. It’s like the goldilocks of group city trips. We recommend staying right in the heart of Charleston at The Quarters on King.
- Where to stay: The Quarters on King - charming, rich with history, and easy-going with just enough Southern hospitality and class. This stay is perfect for a big group as it feels less like a hotel and more like a home. Their suites offer up a great deal of privacy and come with fully equipped kitchens and living rooms so you and your friends have proper gathering spaces for much-needed quality time. Nightly rates start around $314. Book now.
For a spa weekend: Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs is the perfect location to unwind and relax. The sweeping views of the San Jacinto Mountains are sure to put your mind at ease and help you achieve total relaxation.
- Where to stay: Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs. Usually when you heard “Margaritaville” you think party central but the Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs is the ultimate spa getaway for your and your closest pals. It has the largest resort spa in all of Palm Springs. Their spacious rooms offer up enough space and seating areas for you and your besties to get ready together or perhaps watch a movie. The exquisite and well-lit bathrooms are an added bonus. The spa honors Balinese, Thai, and Indonesian rituals and has 18 therapy rooms. The wide variety of offerings includes everything from hair coloring, makeup services, body scrubs, massages, steam rooms, and much more. Nightly rates start around $187. Book now.
- If you get bored of the spa, chill out at one of their two pools or go golfing nearby. Then, head back to your room for a movie night or a drink at their on-site bar or tiki-hut-inspired cabanas.
For outdoor adventurers: a National Park stay
For a chance to truly unwind and get some quality bonding time with your friends, take your trip to the Great Outdoors. Whether you’re into glamping or prefer to stargaze from the comforts of a traditional tent, you can enjoy the natural beauty while unplugging and unwinding from life’s daily stresses.
- Where to stay: Room Service recommends Zion or Yosemite—two beautiful and popular parks. However, there's plenty of other budget-friendly options or you can pick one closer to your home base. If camping in a traditional tent isn't quite your vibe, you can also check out these great hotels near the parks. Also, check out our Room Service's helpful guide for planning your National Park trip.
For a weekend in the mountains: Ontario, Canada
Sipping on hot cocoa and sitting by the fire — there’s nothing better than watching the snow pile up from the comfort of the great indoors. Ontario, Canada is an idyllic retreat for a girls’ weekend.
- Where to stay: Book a secluded cabin in the woods from Airbnb. This lakefront a-frame cottage has nightly rates starting around $209. This one even comes with an outdoor fireplace. When you split the nightly rate between your best group of gals, it ends up being cheaper than you think and with few things left to do besides enjoy the snow and each other’s company, it’s a great, budget-friendly trip.
For an international trip on a budget: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Regardless of which coast you’re flying from, Costa Rica is a great middle ground. Plus, Costa Rica is budget-friendly with many places accepting US dollars. You can score amazing flight deals to Costa Rica as well.
- Where to stay: Point Break Santa Teresa is like a hostel, but more private. You can share a quadruple room with your best friends and save a pretty penny without losing any of the privacy of a more traditional hotel stay. Their rooms come with AC, complimentary toiletries, a safety box, and private furnished terraces. This way you get all the on-site amenities without breaking the bank and you get to stay in the same room as your friends instead of questionable hostel companions.Nightly rates start around $76. Book now.
For a little something for everyone: San Diego, California
With plenty of relaxing beaches, a lively nightlife in the Gaslamp quarter, and exceptional restaurants in Little Italy, San Diego is one of the best girls’ trip destinations. It’s a well-rounded city that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for all the personalities in your group.
- Where to stay: A remodeled beach house. Nightly rates for this house on the water start around $694—and when you split the cost between your group, it ends up being much cheaper than most hotels in the area. This one is spacious enough for your group to not have to crowd around in one bathroom mirror and it’s right on the water so you can start your mornings peacefully before hitting the nightlife when the sun goes down.
Where to See the Most Beautiful Spring Blooms
With spring officially underway, landscapes across America have begun to burst into color with incredible blooms. Some of the most lovely scenery in the country becomes infinitely more magical as seasonal plants and flowers come to life. If you're looking to take advantage of this unique time of year, head to one of these locations below. With desert valleys, mountain meadows, prairie fields, and more, there's something for everyone, everywhere. Desert "Superblooms" in Death Valley - California Wildflower bloom in Death Valley National Park - courtesy of nps.gov Death Valley is famous for its spectacular, spring wildflower displays, but those are the exception, not the rule. Only under perfect conditions does the desert fill with a sea of gold, purple, pink or white flowers. These tend to average once a decade, with the most recent superbloom years being 2016, 2005, and 1998. Most of the showy desert wildflowers are annuals, also referred to as ephemerals because they are short-lived. Oddly enough, this limited lifespan ensures survival here. Rather than struggle to stay alive during the desert’s most extreme conditions, annual wildflowers lie dormant as seeds. When enough rain finally does fall, the seeds quickly sprout, grow, bloom and go back to seed again before the dryness and heat returns. By blooming enmasse during good years, wildflowers can attract large numbers of pollinators such as butterflies, moths, bees and hummingbirds that might not otherwise visit Death Valley. If you're not sure when to plan a trip, the National Park Service and several websites exist to track the Death Valley blooms each season. While there is not predicted to be a superbloom in Death Valley in 2023 due to a lack of fall and winter rains, visitors can still spot decent spring flora most years. Rarely is there a year totally absent of flora. However, elsewhere in California there may be superblooms to visit this year. California even has a tracking page for bloom predictions. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is expected to have small pockets of wildflower blooms throughout the park this year. Sand verbena, desert lily, dune evening primrose, and desert sunflowers are blooming with enthusiasm at Coyote Canyon/DiGiorgio Road, Henderson Canyon Road, and June Wash. Chino Hills State Park also has a great wildflower viewing experience along Bane Road and the Bane Ridge Trail with flora including canterbury and school bells, arroyo lupine, and California poppy. Ennis Bluebonnet Trails - Texas Ennis bluebonnets - courtesy of Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival Ennis, Texas was designated by the 1997 State Legislature as the home of the Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail and was designated the Official Bluebonnet City of Texas. From April 1-30, Ennis showcases over 40 miles of mapped driving Bluebonnet Trails sponsored by the Ennis Garden Club. These trails are the oldest such trails known in the state, and tens of thousands of visitors make the short trek to Ennis to view this wonderful wildflower show. The Ennis Garden Club will drive the trails to check the bloom status each week starting in April. The Club then reports to the Ennis Welcome Center about the latest status of the bluebonnets so that visitors can be well informed where the best flowers are on the trails at the time of their visit. Each year, the bluebonnets will appear on different trails as these are natural to the area. In Ennis, the bluebonnets typically peak around the 3rd week of April. This can vary year to year due to weather conditions and terrain, so please check their website or call before visiting. The Ennis Welcome Center will be open 7 days a week in April (closed Easter Sunday). Downtown Ennis also hosts an annual Bluebonnet Festival in the middle of April. The event features kids activities, live music, arts and crafts vendors, food, and, of course, wildflower walks. Biltmore Blooms - North Carolina A bird's eye view of the gardens and conservatory at the Biltmore - courtesy of biltmore.com Spring at the historic Biltmore estate in North Carolina is one of the property's most glorious seasons. Experience a spring break mountain escape with all the charm of a European retreat. Immerse yourself in thousands of colorful tulips as Biltmore Blooms transforms our gardens and grounds. The estate's horticultural experts continually work to preserve Frederick Law Olmsted’s original vision for the gardens and grounds, including the Rose Garden that features more than 250 varieties. As a century-old model for forest conservation (and, more recently, for sustainability, thanks to nine acres of solar panels), Biltmore continues to honor George Vanderbilt’s legacy of environmental protection. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival - Washington The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington state was officially inaugurated in 1984 by the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce. Chamber directors Jerry Diggerness and Joan Houchen saw that people were coming by the thousands to view the tulips and, through a retreat, decided to add events and festivities to enhance the visitors’ trip to the Skagit Valley. In 1994 the Tulip Festival broke off from the Chamber of Commerce and became an entity of its own, eventually opening a separate office and store. The festival is one of the destination events for the Pacific Northwest, held through the entire month of April, celebrating millions of tulips bursting into bloom. As with all things governed by Mother Nature, the tulips bloom according to their own schedule sometime during the festival. The tulips allow us to share our corner of the world and showcase Skagit Valley agriculture. Crested Butte Wildflower Festival - Colorado Crested Butte, Colorado - courtesy of Crested Butte Wildflower Festival A little later in the year, during July, the "Wildflower Capital of Colorado" hosts a Wildflower Festival. The event is an annual 10-day festival offering over 200 workshops in wildflower expertise each July, be it painting, pollination, photography, culinary arts, or leading hikes into the wild beyond in the heart of Crested Butte. The festival is held by a local organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the beauty of the montane and alpine wildflower environments in and around the Gunnison Valley. Holland's Tulip Time - Michigan Holland's only tulip farm is ablaze with acres of tulips from late April to mid-May. Veldheer farms began in 1950 when Vern Veldheer planted a couple hundred tulip bulbs as a hobby. Now, Veldheer's plants around 5 million tulip bulbs each year! In addition to tulips, there are several other imported flowers and perennials for you to enjoy and even purchase for your own garden. Several varieties of lilies bloom throughout the spring and summer, and you can enjoy the beautiful perennial gardens through mid-October. Veldheers is a must visit for garden and floral enthusiasts. Over 8 days in May, the town also hosts the Tulip Time festival. It features events and activities that take place in different locations, most within a 4-mile radius of Downtown Holland. Tulips can be seen for no charge in public parks and along downtown streets. However, for just a $15 ticket you can access an incredible, unique display of 65,000 tulips create by world renowned Dutch horticulturist, Ibo Gülsen. The outdoor exhibit allows visitors to be in the midst of the blooms at eye-level for an exciting display and photo-perfect experience. Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Smokies - Tennessee & North Carolina Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, Great Smoky Mountains National Park - courtesy of Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage After a quick drive through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you'll quickly see why it's dubbed "Wildflower National Park," in the spring and summer. For an expert-led tour, arrange your trek during the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage (SWFP) in April, which takes you the park's most beautiful displays with a naturalist. The SWFP is an annual nonprofit event features professionally-guided walks, exhibits, and other learning opportunities to explore the region's rich natural and cultural resources. Pilgrims from more than 40 states and several countries make the pilgrimage each year to learn more about fungi, ferns, wildflowers, trees and shrubs, medicinal plants, insects (terrestrial and aquatic), salamanders and snakes, birds, mammals (bats to bears), journaling, art and photography, and park history. Kauai's McBryde Garden - Hawaii Located on the South Shore of the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, McBryde Garden is nestled in the picturesque and historic Lawa’i Valley. The garden is a veritable botanical ark of tropical flora and home to the largest ex situ collection of native Hawaiian flora in existence. Our extensive collections of palms, flowering trees, rubiaceae, heliconias, orchids, and many others have been wild-collected by botanists and biologists from throughout tropical regions around the world and transported to McBryde Garden to research, cultivate and thrive. Tours of McBryde Garden and the adjacent Allerton Garden are available by appointment only. Visitors are transported into the garden via a short, narrated shuttle ride along the stunning coastline of the South Shore. Be on the lookout for whales, dolphins and other marine life as you make your way into the garden over a historic railroad trestle road and into the magnificent valley. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve - California Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve - courtesy of timeout.com Each spring, the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve comes alive with the seasonal surprises of the Mojave Desert Grassland habitat. The duration and intensity of colors and scents vary from year to year. The wildflower season generally lasts from as early as mid-February through May, with a variety of wildflowers creating a mosaic of color that changes daily.Eight miles of trails through the gentle rolling hills, including a paved section for wheelchair access, make the park a wonderful place to hike and explore any season. Get away from the city and relax in the quietude of the countryside, with the birds singing and hawks gliding silently overhead. Benches located along the trails make good places to sit quietly and watch for wildlife, such as meadow larks, lizards, and gopher snakes. If you're lucky, you may spot a coyote or bobcat. Numerous burrows around the trails may shelter mice, gophers, kangaroo rats, beetles, scorpions, or others. Delta Magnolias and Wetland Blooms - Mississippi Known for is dependability, resiliency and of course, beauty, Mississippi is aptly named the Magnolia State for sharing qualities with the flowering tree within its history and people, and these characteristics are especially present in the Delta region. Experiencing this beloved flower in the spring, whether it’s through Quapaw Canoe Company’s Mississippi River excursions or along the Blues Highway, is an ideal time to visit given its peak in bloom and Mississippi’s gorgeous climate during the spring months. As one of the most well-preserved wetlands in the United States, the coastal region of Mississippi is untouched oasis, offering a variety of aquatic plant life (and of course, beautiful Gulf views). The American Lotus, native to Mississippi and a symbol of enlightenment, blooms in the marshes along the coast, bringing new life each spring and a vibrant yellow-white color to the area. North Cascades National Park - Washington North Cascades wildflowers - courtesy of travel-experience-live.com Wildflowers can be found everywhere in the North Cascades in Washington state. They occur across the entire range of habitat types from wet hillside seeps and moist, shady forest floors to dry east-side slopes and exposed alpine ridges. The great differences in elevation, exposure, and precipitation that exist in the North Cascades promote a range of flowering times. Some plants are flowering by late February and early March in the low elevation forests, and as late as August and early September in the alpine zone. While most of the flowers are insect or wind pollinated, those blooming during the relatively warmer days of April and May, such as salmonberry, Indian plum, and red-flowering currant will be visited by hummingbirds returning to breed. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch - California For over sixty years, Mother Nature has transformed the rolling hills of North San Diego County into one of the most spectacular and coordinated displays of natural color and beauty anywhere in the world. The 55-acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that make up The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch in Carlsbad, California, are in bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year – from early March through early May – literally bringing the famous fields back to life. This annual burst of color, which has become part of the area’s local heritage, also is one of nature’s official ways of announcing the arrival of spring here in Southern California.
Inspiring Places to Celebrate Women's History Month
March is Women's History Month, and if you're looking for a great way to celebrate, plan a trip to one of these places full of incredible history and museums, monuments, and educational experiences. Across the country, these inspiring sites highlight women's involvement in abolitionism, the suffrage movement and fight for political equality, labor rights and strides made in the workforce, and other incredible accomplishments. Learn about Harriet Tubman in Maryland Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center - courtesy of nps.gov Harriet Tubman was perhaps the most famous American abolitionist, guiding nearly 70 slaves up the East Coast to freedom in the north through the Underground Railroad. One of two park locations dedicated to this amazing woman, Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Maryland is a tribute to her daring and important work to rescue enslaved African Americans. Escaped slave Harriet Tubman made 13 trips back to Maryland before the Civil War to help free over 70 slaves on the “Underground Railroad.” Follow her path on Maryland’s Eastern Shore for 125 miles and 36 sites, including station houses, secret meeting places, and spots where daring rescues and escapes occurred. The Byway also includes the visitor center at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Church Creek, which houses exhibits about Tubman’s rescue missions and later activities as a spy during the Civil War. About an hour east of Washington, D.C., the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center is dedicated to preserving her memory and continuing her work of fighting for the rights of women, minorities, and the disabled. Revisit the women's suffrage movement in New York The M'Clintock House in Seneca Falls, New York - courtesy of nps.gov On July 16, 1848, Mary Ann M'Clintock hosted a planning session for the First Women's Rights Convention. At this session she, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and perhaps several others drafted a document they called the Declaration of Sentiments. It was ratified on the second day of the First Woman's Rights Convention and signed by 100 men and women. Modeled on Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, this document proclaimed that "all men and women are created equal." The Women’s Rights National Historical Park tells the story of the first Women’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls, New York in July 1848. It includes to homes of early women's rights activists, such as the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House, the M'Clintock House, and the Richard Hunt House, and includes an up-close look at artifacts and stories of the women’s suffrage movement. Conveniently located just a short drive from Seneca Falls is the town of Auburn, where tourists can learn more about Harriet Tubman’s work for both civil rights and women’s suffrage after the war at her former home, now a national historic site. After emancipating herself and members of her family, she moved them from Ontario, Canada to Fleming and here in Auburn, New York in 1859. Central New York was a center for progressive thought, abolition, and women’s suffrage where Tubman continued to fight for human rights and dignity until she died in 1913. About an hour away from Seneca Falls and Auburn is Rochester, New York. A National Historic Landmark, the Susan B. Anthony house at 17 Madison Street was the headquarters of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and Anthony was even arrested in the house’s front parlor for voting illegally in 1872. Anthony was also an abolitionist and an advocate for equal education and pay for women. In 1906, she died in the house, 14 years before the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920. See Amelia Earhart's Birthplace in Atchison, Kansas Amelia Earhart's childhood home and birthplace - courtesy of travelks.com Before Amelia Earhart took to the skies, she grounded herself in her family home in Atchison, Kansas. Called the Otis House, after her grandfather, Judge Alfred G. Otis, Amelia was born in the southwest bedroom and raised there until she was 12. Earhart would grow up to be the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Even though she lived in many different cities, she considered Atchison her hometown. The Amelia Earhart Birthplace, which is on the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, stands to be one of the few remaining tangible associations with this aviation legend. Visitors who tour her home not only get a glimpse into life in the early 20th century, but they also learn about the Ninety-Nines, an organization of 99 female pilots who elected Amelia Earhart as their first president. In addition to touring Earhart’s birthplace and childhood home, don’t miss the opportunity to meet Muriel, the last surviving 1935 Lockheed Model 10 Electra airplane, located in the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum. It’s identical to the one flown by Earhart on her fateful quest to fly around the world — a quest on which she lost her life. Visitors are invited to try their own navigation skills and pilot Amelia’s historic 1932 flight across the Atlantic Ocean via virtual reality. The experience mirrors obstacles Amelia overcame to become the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic. Visitors will be provided a virtual reality headset that will place them inside the cockpit of Amelia’s “Little Red Bus”, a Lockheed Vega 5B. Discover Rosie the Riveter's legacy in Richmond, California Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historic Park visitor education center - courtesy of nps.gov When World War II began, millions of American men left their jobs and joined the military. The shrinking workforce and growing war industry led to more diverse hiring practices and huge social changes. Initially white women were recruited, followed by minority men, and finally minority women. Doing their jobs well and supporting the war effort, women earned a new respect and "cracked open" the door to equal rights. This would have a profound impact on the Women's Movement and change American culture forever. During World War II, six million women entered the workforce. "Rosie the Riveter" and her "We Can Do It" motto came to symbolize all women Home Front workers and is remembered at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park. Visit historic sites and museums across Washington, DC The Hall of Portraits in the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument - courtesy of nps.gov The nation's capital is home to several sites and places honoring the legacy of women in America. Be sure to stop at some (or all!) of these places below in you find yourself in town: Mary McLeod Bethune was a renowned educator, organizer, national political leader, president of the National Association of Colored Women and founder of the National Council of Negro Women. Bethune’s house became the first headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women where Bethune and the council spearheaded strategies and developed programs that would advance the interests of African American women and the black community in D.C. Today, this location is preserved as the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site.Constructed in 1800 on Capitol Hill, the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument stands as a testament to the community of women who dedicated their lives to winning women’s rights. The National Woman’s Party used the building as their headquarters for nearly 90 years. Named after Alva Belmont (National Woman’s Party President from 1920-1933) and Alice Paul (one of the most prominent members of 20th-century women's rights movement), the monument tells the story of those who advocated for the Equal Rights Amendment and equality for women.As an extension of Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial is a statue of three uniformed women tending to a wounded soldier. The memorial was erected in 1993 to honor the contribution of women in the Vietnam War, many of whom were nurses.Just a few blocks northeast of the White House, easily recognized by the large sculptures displayed on the median of New York Avenue, the National Museum of Women in the Arts is the only museum in the world that exclusively celebrates female artists. Visit to see the only Frida Kahlo paintings on display in Washington, D.C., along with a wide range of paintings, photographs, sculptures, and other works of art by female artists.The table where the Declaration of Sentiments was signed is now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.A statue of Eleanor Roosevelt stands at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Avoid Crowds at These Outdoor Attractions in Colorado
Planning a trip out west for the summer? Colorado's Rocky Mountains and scenic natural areas are a popular choice for travelers. If you're looking to avoid big crowds, plan to make a trip to Grand Junction, Colorado—an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Recently named to The New York Times’ list of “52 Places To Go in 2023” and located just a few hours west of Denver, visitors find themselves surrounded by more than 1 million acres of public lands providing access to rivers, canyons, mesas and mountains. And, with so much space to roam, Grand Junction offers a welcome respite from summer crowds. From road cycling and mountain bike trails galore, to epic watersports and action-packed ATV experiences, this vibrant Colorado town packs a big punch and provides the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable adventure. Here a few hidden gems near the Colorado town. The Colorado National Monument The perfect place for canyoneering, rock climbing, and hiking is Colorado's "unofficial national park." The Colorado National Monument is a breathtaking must-see while visiting the area and a lesser-known gem in the park system. At 7,000 feet, the Monument offers incredible hiking trails and inspires photographers with panoramic views of towering red rock spires. Visitors can drive or bike across the National Monument’s Rim Rock Drive to enjoy 20,000 acres of vibrant red sandstone canyons and mesas rising above the Colorado River. Start the day with exciting terrain and breathtaking views of Colorado National Monument through a new guided climbing trip from Grand Junction Adventures. Climbers will have the option to experience the western desert sandstone rock slabs or red sandstone towers with the safety and navigational skills of a certified guide. Rattlesnake Canyon Rattlesnake Canyon - courtesy of visitgrandjunction.com Outside of Grand Junction, there is a collection of 35 natural arches tucked away in Rattlesnake Canyon. These soaring spans, protected in the 123,400-acre McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, form the second largest concentration of arches in the world. The Rattlesnake Canyon Arches are one of Colorado’s most spectacular wonders, but also one of its best-kept secrets. Adrenaline Driven Adventures is now offering Jeep and RZR Tours that take guests to the arches making them more accessible than ever before. Grand Junction Adventures is also offering new guided day trips to view the arches that include a 13-mile off road drive as well as a guided hike and lunch. The Colorado Riverfront Trail The Riverfront Trail - courtesy of visitgrandjunction.com Easily accessible from Downtown Grand Junction, the Colorado Riverfront Trail is a 30-mile flat, mostly paved trail that connects Palisade in the east to Fruita in the west with Grand Junction, which makes it incredibly easy to bike ride to all of the towns. There are over 200 species of birds that visit the Audubon Section of the Colorado Riverfront Trail including bald eagles, blue heron, osprey, several varieties of hawks and ducks. Order gourmet deli sandwiches and yummy snacks to-go from The Hog & The Hen, or Kulina Lani Organic Sourdough Bakery and enjoy a scenic picnic along the trail.The confluence of two of the largest rivers - the Colorado and the Gunnison - makes Grand Junction a paradise for those seeking water-based activities. With multiple parks along the rivers and adjacent lakes like the James M. Robb-Colorado River State Park and Highline Lake State Park, jet boating, wakeboarding, paddle boarding, windsurfing, and more are all available to visitors. Paddleboarding, kayaking, tubing and wading are available along the Colorado River at the newly opened Riverfront at Las Colonias Park. The 130 acre park is the latest development in the “string of pearls,” connecting points of the Colorado River with parks in the Grand Junction area along the Colorado Riverfront Trail.Getting out on the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers is easy with many put-in areas, as well as guides to take guests on rafting, canoeing or kayaking trips. Float along the Colorado River in Ruby-Horsethief Canyon or take on class III rapids in Westwater Canyon with the help of Rimrock Adventures. Grand Junction Adventures offers guided standup paddleboarding down the Gunnison River. Jet Boat Colorado offers tours on the Colorado River in custom New Zealand-style jet boats. Grand Junction's Mountain Bike Trails Mountain biking on the Lunch Loop Trail - courtesy of flickr.com Grand Junction is a mountain biker’s paradise. The Lunch Loops trails are a straight shot from downtown Grand Junction and the perfect spot to sneak in a lunchtime ride. Located on the side of the Grand Mesa, Powderhorn Mountain Resort is more than just a ski resort. In the summer months, Powderhorn opens its lifts to those looking for a downhill two-wheel thrill. The nearby Kokopelli’s Loop Trails Area is a playground for mountain bikers offering spectacular points to look down on the Colorado River set against red rock walls. For expert riders, there is the Palisade Plunge, one of the longest downhill-only mountain bike trails in the country. Boneshaker Adventures offers mountain bike camps. Their experienced and passionate coaches can help those new to the sport build a solid foundation, or help experienced riders step up their skills to the next level. Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Reserve Paint horse and foal - courtesy of visitgrandjunction.com The Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Reserve encompasses more than 30,000 acres of rugged canyons and plateaus, and is home to roughly 100 wild mustangs. It is one of only three ranges in the U.S. set aside specifically to protect wild and free roaming horses. Wild horses have lived for more than a century in the rugged maze of canyons, buttes, sage-dotted meadows and pinyon-juniper forests atop the Little Book Cliffs. Ask Marty Felix about any of the wild horses and she probably can tell you the horse's name, it's lineage and where on the range it can be found at various times of the year. Known as "The Wild Horse Lady" because of her long history working with the area's horses, Felix first set eyes on a band of wild horses in the Book Cliffs on March 18, 1973. "I was hooked just like that," she says. She's been at it since then. Felix visits the range at least once a week as a volunteer for the federal agencies that manage the land and monitor the herd. She and other members of Friends of the Mustangs photograph the horses, help count horses and foals and assist in fertility-control so the herd doesn't outgrow the available forage. Visitors are treated to marvelous silence, solitude, wide-open vistas and even a few geologic oddities. But of course the main attraction is the range's 124 horses, which Felix says tend to run in small bands of four or five. Summer days can be hot, and visitors to the remote area at any time of year should take plenty of water, food, clothing and supplies in case of unexpected storms or a vehicle breakdown. Felix discourages travel when rain is in the forecast. Late spring and early summer are the perfect times to visit the wild horses. During this time of year, many mares descend to lower elevations near the trailhead with their young foals to graze. The best viewing times are early morning and evening, according to Felix. "To see the horses, you have to look with your binoculars in the far, open fields," she says. "You might only get to see them from a distance. They're not going to be standing by the road."Felix suggests Indian Park as the best place for viewing horses. It's accessible from the Winter Flats and Dry Fork roads, which begin near De Beque about 30 miles east of Grand Junction on Interstate 70. Another good access point is Coal Canyon Road, which begins at the Cameo exit from I-70 about 15 miles east of Grand Junction. (Note that Coal Canyon Road is closed from Dec. 1 to May 30 to protect foaling areas.) All routes require high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles.
5 Fun Things to Do This Spring
Whether you're looking for a weekend getaway, a spring break destination, or just a reason to enjoy the warmer weather, there are plenty of great spring destinations across the country to visit. From traditional beach vacations to unique experiences in music and culture, below are five fun things to do and places to visit.Soak up the sun in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Surfworks in Myrtle Beach - courtesy of surfworks.com With 60 miles of breathtaking beaches and 14 unique coastal communities, there’s always something new and exciting to explore in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina—a popular beach trip destination. This year, several new attractions, developments, and restaurants are coming to this oceanside town. After being destroyed during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the town of Surfside Beach is reconstructing their iconic pier, making it stronger and safer than ever before. The new pier will feature a restaurant and vendor space and is slated to reopen in spring of 2023. Myrtle Beach will also soon be home to South Carolina's first man-made surf park, called Surfworks. The park's surfing lagoon will generate up to 1,000 waves per hour, with waves between 2-6 feet tall. The development will also include an amphitheater to accommodate up to 15,000 people, a surf school, a restaurant and a brewery. Plus, a new family entertainment complex is coming to Myrtle Beach’s Coastal Grand Mall in 2023. The 52,500-square-foot Stars and Strikes Getaway-n-Play will offer an immersive, augmented reality bowling experience, as well as an arcade, a multi-story laser tag arena, axe throwing and more. This spring, the South Carolina beach town has a slew of newly opened restaurants to enjoy. First-time restaurant owners, Steve and Grace Harrington, moved to South Carolina looking for the best place to open their authentic Filipino restaurant, Kainan Filipino Eatery. The Conway restaurant serves up traditional Filipino breakfast items, appetizers, noodle dishes and desserts. Myrtle Beach resident Tina Littleton opened the Seawitch Cafe in October 2022 in The Market Common. The quaint cafe offers a variety of delicious breakfast staples, such as omelets, avocado toast, donuts and other pastries. With 40 years of New York-style deli experience, Don Jackson opened Don’s Deli with his son in fall of 2022. The Conway restaurant serves up New York-style sandwiches and a full line of desserts with customers raving about the deli’s delicious bites. A sister restaurant to the beloved Bubba’s Fish Shack, Bubba’s Fish Camp offers a beach-inspired menu with fried and grilled seafood along with meats smoked in-house. It’s also conveniently located right across from Broadway at the Beach. South Carolina Restaurateur of the Year in 2011 and South Carolina Chef Ambassador in 2018, Heidi Vukov, is opening a new ice cream and coffee shop this spring 2023. The shop titled,Coffee & Cream Cabana at Heidi’s Corner, will offer sixteen seasonal flavors of ice cream, homemade waffle cones, cookie ice cream sandwiches and ice cream cakes, as well as specialty coffees, light fare foods and treats. Stop and smell the flowers in Columbus, Ohio Franklin Park Conservatory - courtesy of fpconservatory.org Take in a variety of botanical beauty throughout Columbus this spring, including along the Scioto Mile riverfront downtown, named one of the 21 Best Urban Parks and Trails for City-Dwellers by Men’s Journal and the perfect place for biking, jogging or walking. Visitors don’t have to travel to Washington, D.C. or Japan to take in cherry trees. Columbus is home to more than 5,000 of the iconic trees, with a high concentration in Franklin Park and Berliner Park. Franklin Park’s lower and upper ponds are lined with 80 cherry trees, making it a great location for a spring picnic. See the trees during their peak bloom in early April during the 2023 Greater Columbus Cherry Blossom Festival. The second-annual event takes place April 1st-9th throughout Columbus with the final celebration happening April 8th at Franklin Park and featuring food trucks, entertainment, exhibits and cultural displays. Nearby, get up close and personal with hundreds of butterflies while also enjoying bright tropical blooms at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ Blooms & Butterflies now through May 29. Enjoy a spring getaway without breaking the bank by taking advantage of Experience Columbus packages and discounts. If visitors book a two-night stay through experiencecolumbus.com/hotels, they can choose from either two complimentary tickets to the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, two tickets to the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens or a free Lyft credit. Another way to save 20% at the city’s top attractions is by taking advantage of the Columbus Attractions Pass. Go fishing in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina Fishing in North Carolina - courtesy of Brookings Anglers If you want to take advantage of the warming weather, head to the North Carolina mountains for a great outdoor adventure. In the Jackson County area, tourists will also find great new dining options, hotels, and attractions. "This is an exciting year for Jackson County, NC," said Nick Breedlove, JCTDA’s Executive Director. “From the introduction of a luxurious lodging property in Sylva to a new eatery from some of our best local restaurateurs, the region is buzzing with anticipation. Now, visitors can discover our destination in a whole new light with fresh experiences that will leave a lasting impression." Outland Great Smoky Mountains, a new luxury private retreat from Outland Hospitality Group, opened recently in Sylva. Tucked along a high mountain ridge just minutes from walkable downtown, the 22 acre property features two separate lodging options: The Chalet, a seven bedroom vacation rental ideal for families and groups, and Spa Suites, better suited for romantic retreats. Guests at either will enjoy mountainous views and access to several trails, a Clubroom with a cozy fireplace lounge, streamside relaxation room, outdoor games such as bocce and cornhole and more. See photos here. Head to Brookings Anglers, a longstanding company in the destination providing fishing gear and expertly guided trips along the WNC Fly Fishing Trail®, in Cashiers, NC. While the mountains are best experienced outdoors, the area also has an interesting indoor attraction. The quirky Museum of the Housecat tourist attraction just south of Sylva is anticipated to reopen this spring. Founded and owned by Harold “Catman” Sims, a retired biology professor, the museum showcases several works from fine art to multimedia productions that all display the house cat in some way, including a rare, mummified cat from ancient Egypt. Try maple-flavored delicacies in the Adirondacks, New York Whitney's Maple Spring Farm - courtesy of adirondackharvest.com Vermont may be the largest producer of maple syrup in the nation, but New York is home to the largest resource of tapped maple trees in the country, where most of the maple syrup production takes place within the Adirondacks. Sugar maple trees are tapped from February through early April to harvest syrup, and the familiar sight of metal buckets, or “sap buckets”, can be seen in maple groves and areas across the region. As a result, there are hundreds of types of syrups, foods, beverages, candies, cocktails and experiences that showcase local Adirondacks maple. And once you are in the Adirondacks can learn all about the difference between maple sugar candy, maple sugar blocks, granulated maple sugar, maple butter and maple extract. There are hundreds of types of syrups, foods, beverages (including maple bourbon imperial stout and maple mules), candies, cocktails and experiences that showcase local Adirondacks maple. Tour local sugarhouses, sample syrups and join tapping demonstrations during New York State’s Maple Weekends (March 18-19 and March 25-26). The Maple Wayfinder Trail from the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism in Lake Placid highlights producers around the region and where to find sugary treats. The Adirondack Harvest website lists local producers and distributors, along with maple-themed events throughout the region. Visitors can purchase locally produced maple syrup and products at roadside stands, at retail locations throughout the Adirondacks and at the production facilities themselves as many have retail shops adjacent to their collection and evaporation sites. Big Slide Brewery’s maple bourbon imperial stout is hyper-local, aged in a barrel previously used for locally produced maple syrup. Many Adirondack-region restaurants have “maple glazed” items on the menu: salmon, pork, chicken, vegetables and more. Chef Mike Rush at Campfire Grill in Saranac Lake is renowned for obtaining kegs of maple syrup for use throughout the year. While dining out, keep an eye out for barbecue sauces, as many restaurants incorporate maple syrup into their homemade sauce. Maple isn’t just for tasting. The Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid offers the Adirondack Maple Sugar Body Scrub, a maple-based spa treatment that exfoliates and rejuvenates the skin. Another great place to stay is High Peaks Resort, which is holding a Spring Sale including a $25 dining credit at Dancing Bears Restaurant, perfect for some maple pancakes! Attend a music festival in Natchez, Mississippi Natchez, Mississippi, known for its southern charm, fascinating history and significant architecture, is preparing for warmer weather, blooming flowers and an exciting lineup of spring events, including exclusive historic home tours, music festivals and more. Not only are there unforgettable events in store this spring, but Natchez also offers affordable and cozy bed and breakfast options such as Devereaux Shields House and Choctaw Hall, and a taste of real southern cuisine at local favorites including, The Castle Restaurant, The Camp and The Little Easy. Every March, thousands gather at the Natchez Bluff to celebrate the area’s rich Native American heritage at the Natchez Powwow. The annual event includes traditional Native American dancing, singing and fun. This year's event takes place on March 25th and 26th. Throughout of the entire month of May, the town celebrates the Festival of Music, a series of live musical performances featuring special shows from musicians spanning various genres, including blues, rock & roll, theater and much more throughout the fall and spring seasons. Also in May, the Mudbug Music Festival takes place and features incredible live music from country music superstars, fresh crawfish and a wide variety of food vendors complemented with cold beer, drinks and cocktails along the Natchez Bluff.
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