Take Part in Hawaii's Regenerative Tourism Movement
In the Hawaiian culture, caring for the ʻāina (land) is not just a responsibility for all who live on it, but is expected of guests to our islands. It is an act that connects to life itself, as the 'āina and people are connected. As visitors plan their travel to the Islands, participating in opportunities to mālama (care for, protect and preserve) Hawaiʻi while traveling and visiting Hawai'i will provide a profound connection to our natural world, culture and communities.
Try a Hands-on Experience
Volunteer organizations and travel partners statewide are offering a range of experiences for visitors to engage in mindful travel. Visitors can respect our island home by giving back and enjoying experiences that will stay with them for a lifetime.
- Stewardship at the Summit is helping remove invasive plants from Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park's tropical rainforests. Loppers and gloves are provided. Work to the sweet melodies of native honeycreepers. The hike is around 1 mile, a moderate round trip, leaving from the Kīlauea Visitor Center. This unique volunteer opportunity usually takes place twice a month.
- Keep Puakō Beautiful reminds all that marine debris affects all. In Hawaiʻi, we share our ocean with more than 7,000 species of marine life. Of these species, almost 25 percent are found nowhere else in the world. Coral reefs are the rainforests of the ocean. They are living animals that eat, grow, reproduce, and provide food and shelter for fish and other marine life.
- 'Āina Hoʻōla Initiative helps to restore the wetland habitat for endemic waterbirds that are endangered or threatened art Lokowaka, Kiʻonakapahu, and ʻAkahi fishponds in Hilo. Weekly community workdays involve removing invasive non-native plants and replacing the area with native ones.
- Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative hosts volunteer opportunities throughout the year on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. The Waikoloa Dry Forest Preserve encompasses 275 acres of lowland dry forest and protects some of the last remaining native trees in the region. With an average annual rainfall of only 12 inches, Waikoloa is one of the driest places in Hawaiʻi.
- Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is looking for interested individuals to join their volunteer team. They offer hands-on learning opportunities, meaningful outdoor experiences, and a unique wetland environment teeming with birds, insects, and plants. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service mission is to work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
- Kaʻehu is a nonprofit organization with the goal to restore the land and perpetuate traditional Hawaiian culture using a community-based, inclusive, family-oriented approach to environmental stewardship and sustainable agriculture. That relationship between people and place grows stronger every time you mālama (give back). When you give back to the land, the ocean, the wildlife, the forest, the fishpond, the community, you're part of a virtuous circle that enriches everything and everyone. Including your experience as a visitor.
Celebrate Native Birds on the Big Island
Hawaiʻi Island Festival of Birds (on October 21 this year) is a celebration of native birds presented by the Hawaiʻi Wildlife Center and Conservation Council for Hawaiʻi. The 2023 Festival will be a full-day event focused on community, culture, and conservation efforts to save Hawaiʻiʻs native birds and include a hōʻike, expert guest speakers, and a bird fair. Proceeds benefit native bird hospital care and conservation efforts.
- Other upcoming events include the 61st Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (August 5-13), Queen Liliʻuokalani Long Distance Canoe Race (August 31 – September 4), Women's VinFast IRONMAN World Championship (October 14), and Kona Coffee Cultural Festival (Hawaiʻi's Oldest Food Festival, November 3-12).
Take a Farm Tour on Maui
Maui has a wide variety of farm tours that offer visitors an opportunity to not only support local but see where their meals are sourced.
- On the Westside: Maui Ku'ia Estate Chocolate Farm, Dragon Fruit Farm
- In the Upcountry: O'o Farms, Kula Country Farm, Surfing Goat Dairy, Malolo Protea Farm, Aliʻi Kula Lavender Farm, Maui Tea Farm
- On the Eastside: Ono Organic Farm, Hāna Tropicals
Buy Local, Support Local
Buying local and buying from local businesses is a sustainable and responsible way of traveling by supporting communities, local industries, agritourism, and cultural artisans. Support local and Hawaiian businesses which are dedicated to creating economic diversification, high-quality jobs, givebacks, investment, and a regenerative culture of entrepreneurship.
- There's no better way to experience the amazing diversity of Hawaii products than to visit one of the many farmers' markets that take place. You'll not only find fresh produce and fruits and prepared foods, but crafts, fresh flowers, and more.
- Take a day trip to Lānaʻi City, Lānaʻi Cat Sanctuary on the island of Maui.
- Kapa Curious is an innovative Hawai'i-based company that incorporates traditional teachings with modern techniques to create unique and original pieces that educate their customers in the Hawaiian culture.
- Sunny Savage offers guided plant hikes to responsibly harvest invasive edibles.
- Besides taking a farm tour, Coconut Information provides cooking classes that teach visitors how to make delicious meals with the incredible coconut.
Local plans and initiatives are also in place on the islands to protect the natural habitat, many of which can influence the way visitors coordinate travel plans.
- Advance Reservation Systems – As part of a statewide effort to promote regenerative tourism, counties, and state agencies in Hawaiʻi are actively managing hotspot attractions by implementing advance reservation systems. These systems are instrumental in managing visitor capacity, protecting Hawai'i's natural environment and cultural sites, improving experiences and allowing us to better steward the Hawaiian Islands. Visitors should understand the importance of making advance reservations so they can better enjoy and mālama (care for, protect and preserve) Hawai'i.
- Maui “Rises Above Plastics on Vacation” – Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau (MVCB) is a partner with this Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter campaign to provide alternatives to single-use plastic water bottles as a filtered form of water for those vacationing on Maui. MVCB is supporting by providing co-branded reusable water bottles. MVCB is also recognizing existing partners and is inviting vacation rental units and condominium complexes to join in on the program.
- Maui's Mineral-only Sunscreen Initiative – Travelers are encouraged to purchase the mineral-only sunscreen on-island at local retailers instead of bringing their own sunscreen. This ensures that mineral-only sunscreens are used. Visitors can also enjoy free mineral-only sunscreen from dispensers at 19 popular beaches throughout Maui and one beach on Lānaʻi.
June is the perfect time to get outdoors, and for many dads, classic summer activities like boating, fishing, hiking, and camping are a favorite. Celebrate this Father's Day with an epic summer trip to the mountains, lake, or river. With lodging options from cabins and glamping, to RVs and backwoods tent campsites—there's something to suit the comfort level of everyone in the family. Family Fun in the Rocky Mountains For families and groups looking for the ultimate Colorado adventures this summer, YMCA of the Rockies announced programming highlights at both of its locations at Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado. The popular mountain vacation destinations, both recently named as Good Housekeeping’s 2023 Family Travel award winners, are located at gateways to the state’s treasured Rocky Mountain National Park, offering stunning alpine views, affordable cabin and lodge room accommodations, and a nostalgic, unplugged vacation experience with camp-like activities for all ages. “Whether it’s capture the flag and kick-ball games on the open fields, daily educational sessions with our trained staff on topics like wildlife ecology and stargazing, or campfire singalongs, we create summer experiences for our guests to unplug and connect with nature, and each other, in a meaningful way,” said Kellen Toulouse, Marketing Director, YMCA of the Rockies. This summer, guests will enjoy activities such as pickleball, archery lessons, creating keepsake projects in the craft centers, playing miniature golf, roller skating, swimming, rock climbing with skilled instructors, family-friendly hikes to waterfalls, and of course the summer tubing hill at Snow Mountain Ranch. For the adventurous, there are also fly-fishing lessons, mountain biking trails, whitewater rafting and guided hikes through the national park. Accommodations range from affordable hotel-style lodge rooms with common areas perfect for groups traveling together, and pet-friendly multi-bedroom private cabins featuring wrap-around porches, full kitchens, and a variety of sleeping options including bunk beds. Snow Mountain Ranch also features yurts and campsites in the summer months. Most lodge rooms and cabins do not have televisions, providing a truly unplugged experience for everyone involved. Favorite activities include: The Enger Family Nature Trail - A new pet-friendly hiking and walking loop that winds along Glacier Creek located on the property’s 860 acres bordering Rocky Mountain National Park.Master Naturalist Classes - For the first time, these popular classes will be offered during the summer months, featuring multi-day workshops focused on birding, geology, plants, wildflowers, and the history of Rocky Mountain National Park.Hanging with Huskies - Meet some of the members of the Snow Mountain Ranch dogsled team and play with them in the dog park – free for overnight guests and day pass holders.Glamping in the Colorado Rockies - Yurt Village is a popular option for camping-light with each yurt sleeping up to six people.Kids Camp - Day Camps will be available at both Estes Park and Snow Mountain Ranch for children ages 3 -17 Monday through Friday from early June through mid-August. Guests may register for one day, a few days or weeks at a time. Rates start at $47/day at Estes Park Center and $140/week at Snow Mountain Ranch. Go Fishing in Tennessee Tellico Lake by Susanne Alexander - Unsplash Thousands of acres of lakes and streams make Loudon County a favorite for serious anglers, casual fishermen and recreational boaters. The waters of the Tennessee River feed lakes, streams and coves that create a haven for those who love to be on the water. Fort Loudoun Lake is known among anglers for its quality largemouth and smallmouth bass and is also a top location for crappie, catfish and bluegill. Tellico Lake is a 15,500-acre reservoir with cooler waters that make it a top spot for rainbow and brown trout in addition to walleye and bass. Located on the Tennessee River, Watts Bar Lake is popular for boating, swimming and fishing. A scenic overlook near the dam gives visitors a panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding landscape. Before heading out on your trip, though, stock up on the essentials at one of these great BBQ spots—be sure to ask about the by-the-pound options. Smokin' F BBQ & Barn (1821 Lynn Road, Philadelphia, Tennessee 37846; 979-436-3482) brings new options for food and fun. The lunch menu is available from the Smokin’ F Food Truck during the week. The Barn is open Fridays and Saturdays and serves up live music and a barn dance atmosphere with the meal.Sons of Smoke (304 Cedar Street, Loudon, Tennessee 37774; 865-657-3332) has specialties like the fried pork tenderloin sandwich, smoked meatloaf and pork stuffed baked potato, as well as all the standard fare.Taste-O-Texas (1562 Highway 72 N, Loudon, Tennessee 37774; 865-657-9684) proudly serves their version of authentic Central Texas style barbecue. The specialties include beef brisket and smoked sausage, cooked over a wood fire. For those who want sauce, their Sassy and Smokin’ versions offer variety. There is plenty of public access at numerous public boat ramps and marinas in the area. For those who just want to enjoy a fun day on the water, boat rentals are available, too. Tennessee National Marina (8301 Tennessee National Drive, Loudon, Tennessee 37774; 865-657-3617) has pontoon boats for rent as well as kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. Fort Loudon Marina (5200 City Park Drive Lenoir City, Tennessee 37772; 865-986-5536) has pontoon rentals, also. To make the most of a visit to this outdoor paradise, many choose to stay in one of the beautiful campgrounds in the region: Yarberry Campground (4825 Yarberry Road, Lenoir City, Tennessee 37771; 865-986-3993) is located on the shores ofFort Loudoun Lake and has beautiful views. Its large sites accommodate the largest of RVs but tents are also welcome. The property includes a boat ramp and a day use area with a sandy beach, picnic tables and grills. A variety of watercraft are available for rental, from pontoons to paddleboards.Soaring Eagle Campground (3152 Buttermilk Road W., Lenoir City, Tennessee 37771;865-376-9017) is situated with sites on the Clinch River and Watts Bar Lake. It has both large RV sites and secluded primitive tent sites. There is a bathhouse and general store onsite, as well as a dock and boat ramp, picnic area and swimming pool. Kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and canoes are available for rent.Tellico Lake has Lotterdale Cove (17177 East Coast Tellico Parkway, Greenback, Tennessee 37742; 865-856-3832), with 90 RV sites and three tent sites, has amenities that include boat docks and easy access boat ramp, beach with designated swimming area and an on-site convenience store. Pitch a Tent, Pack Up the RV, or Go Glamping Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park by Aaron Burden - Unsplash Spacious Skies Campgrounds, owner and operator of 15 campgrounds from Maine to Georgia, is kicking the fun up a notch this year by introducing common themed weekends. Weekends throughout the year will cover topics such as “Mother’s Day,” “Father’s Day,” “Farm Life,” “Outer Space,” “Hollywood” and more. Prospective guests should check the specific campground pages on the Spacious Skies website for opening and closing dates to confirm the weekends each campground will be available to participate. “Regardless of which campground our guests are visiting, the theme will be the same fun with a little local flair,” said Kate Thompson, director of communications of Spacious Skies Campgrounds. “I think we had almost as much fun coming up with the ideas as the people will have participating in these weekends. Not only will our teams have fun planned for our campers, we hope our guests embrace each theme by decorating their RV or their sites as well, so the whole campground feels festive.” The various campsites, located up and down the eastern region of the US, offer up several different camping options depending on what your family's interest is: RV, glamping, yurts, tent rentals, cabins, and primitive campsites. Set within the mountainous Appalachian region of central Maine, dotted with lakes both small and massive, Spacious Skies Balsam Woods gives you and your family and friends the best that nature has to offer—the serenity of the wilderness, and the adrenaline-pumping excitement adventurers seek. See your campsite as home base for a variety of nearby adventures in the Moosehead Lake/Mt. Katahdin region, hike or bike to any number of lakes and waterfalls in the region, or simply take in the peace and quiet of the grounds, no road noise to be heard, and gaze dreamily up at the stars above by the warmth of your campfire.Spacious Skies Adirondack Peaks is the perfect spot for family fun or peaceful quality time, tucked away in the piney setting of North Hudson, New York, yet conveniently located right off I-87. With countless activities and opportunities for adventure on the grounds, you won’t need to roam, but with desirable destinations like Lake George and Lake Placid less than an hour away, you may want to take advantage of this prime location.Spacious Skies Shenandoah Views sits up on an evergreen hill in the Shenandoah Valley with views that span for miles off the Blue Ridge Mountains. The famous Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park is a short drive away, as are the Luray Caverns for spelunking, the Shenandoah River for rafting and tubing, and a number of historic Civil War sites for your educational pleasure.
With seas of jostling crowds and sky-high costs (not to mention jellyfish and riptides), ocean retreats can be more frustrating than fun, which is why we've compiled a list of quintessential American lake towns. These are places where you can swim and sunbathe to your heart's content and fill up on BBQ, grilled trout, and freshly made apple pie as you watch the sun go down from your balcony. If you're anything like us, you may decide to turn one of these trips into a new summer tradition. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho - Lake Coeur d'Alene Lake Coeur d'Alene by Matthew Lancaster - Unsplash Framed by pine-forested hills, the deep blue Lake Coeur d'Alene is 25 miles long. At the northern end, weekenders from Seattle and California pack the town's brewpubs and art galleries, while its southern reaches are more secluded, with sheltered coves and inlets. The best ways to soak it all in is by kayak, canoe, or paddle board. Local rentals are available from several outfitters like Coeur d'Alene Adventures and Kayak Coeur d'Alene. For a longer excursion, white water rafting trips are available on nearby St. Joe River from ROW Adventures. Their guides will point out wildlife like eagles and osprey along the way (1-day excursions from $120 per person). Where to Refuel: There's almost always a line outside Hudson's Hamburgers, but its Huddy Burgers—garnished only with pickles, onion, and a closely guarded ketchup recipe—are well worth the wait. 207 E. Sherman Ave., 208/664-5444, burgers from $2.70. Where to Stay: Coeur de Lion Bed & Breakfast is a charming, antique-filled log cabin sitting on six acres. Its six rooms are each artfully decorated and perfect for a romantic getaway or peaceful weekend escape. Nightly rates from $82, breakfast included. Sackets Harbor, New York - Lake Ontario This under-the-radar gem along Lake Ontario in New York is not only rich in colonial-era history, but it's also pretty darn scenic, too. A battlefield from the War of 1812 has been converted into a lakefront park, while yacht clubs dotting the harbors to the south lend an almost Riviera-like feel. Spend the day at Robert G. Wehle State Park, a waterside retreat of pastures and hiking trails. Snakefoot Trail is the most popular, with stunning views from limestone cliffs that tower some 80 feet high. Where to Refuel: Tin Pan Galley's sunny outdoor patio makes a great place to kick off the morning, with Mediterranean omelets and French toast stuffed with cream cheese and topped with maple butter and fresh strawberries. 110 W. Main St., tinpangalley.com, breakfast entrees from $12. Where to Stay: The Harbor House Inn, overlooking Black River Bay, is a romantic boutique hotel within easy walking distance to the harbor and marina, shopping and dining on Main Street, galleries, and the historic battle field. Nightly rates from $189. Bigfork, Montana - Flathead Lake Flathead Lake by Josiah Gardner - Unsplash If mountain-ringed Flathead Lake captures Big Sky Country's raw beauty, the town of Bigfork makes for an artistic counterpoint. The Riverbend Concert Series runs each Sunday of the summer through mid-August, while the Bigfork Festival of the Arts welcomes food, jewelry, and crafts vendors to the town in August. There's also Wild Horse Island, a Tom Sawyer–like preserve of pastures and pioneer homesteads—reach it via charter boat (406-837-5617, wildhorseislandboattrips.com). Where to Refuel: Traditions at Bigfork Inn's chalet-style restaurant has an outdoor deck in the summer months and is beloved by locals and visitors alike. Chef Francois (a fourth-generation French chef) infuses a unique European style to local fare like elk and duck. Entrees from $28. Where to Stay: The Outlook Inn Bed and Breakfast is set right beside the lake. Each room features unparalleled lake and mountain views with either a deck or deck access. Home-cooked breakfasts featuring locally sourced foods, like apples and plums grown on the property and huckleberries picked from the mountains. Visitors also have access to community grills, which is particularly useful if you catch a fish during your stay. Nightly rates from $165. Saugatuck, Michigan - Lake Michigan Lake Michigan in Saugatuck by Cam Brennan - Unsplash Long a weekend getaway for Chicagoans, Saugatuck's independent shops, trendy restaurants, and LGBT presence are starting to gain the town national attention. But beaches are its trademark, with long sandy stretches that often feel more Miami than Midwest. Oval Beach is one of the most popular with picnic areas and sheltered dunes. Ride the Saugatuck Chain Ferry from downtown to Oval; it's the only hand-cranked chain ferry on the Great Lakes. Where to Refuel: Pumpernickel's Eatery bakes its bread fresh on-site. Pair two loaves with your favorite lunch meat, have them wrap your sandwich picnic-style, and tote it with you to the beach. Where to Stay: Lake Shore Resort overlooks Lake Michigan from its bluff above the water. In celebration of local craftsmanship, each of the 30 rooms is decorated with paintings by hometown artist James Brandess. Rates include free continental breakfast, outdoor yoga, a large heated pool with lake view, as well as use of bikes, kayaks, and outdoor BBQ pits. Nightly rates from $265. Grand Lake, Colorado - Grand Lake Grand Lake in Colorado by Ellery Sterling - Unsplash Surrounded by the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado's largest natural lake couldn't be more picturesque. The town was founded in 1881 and affects a rustic, Wild West vibe, with saloons and a boardwalk along Grand Avenue. Embrace the theme by hitching a ride on horseback with Sombrero Ranches, whose ranch hands will lead you through alpine meadows, alongside clear mountain streams, and up steep hillsides (sombrero.com, one hour rides beginning at $90 per person). Where to Refuel: The chefs at Sagebrush BBQ & Grill were taking advantage of local riches—Rocky Mountain trout, elk, buffalo—long before it became trendy. 1101 Grand Ave., entrées from $10.99. Where to Stay: The Grand Lake Lodge dates back to 1920 and has a homey, welcoming vibe with a circular fireplace and hickory rocking chairs in the main lodge. Plus it's perched on a hillside overlooking the lake. Nightly rates from $150. Bemidji, Minnesota - Lake Bemidji Bemidji best captures the Norman Rockwell glow of a summer lake town, with clean beaches, quirky annual traditions, and a packed social calendar. Its Fourth of July and county fair are pure Americana, while the Dragon Boat Festival and its competitive racing crews channel a Minnesota-style Mardi Gras in late summer. Book an afternoon with a guide to fish for walleye, a flaky white fish that does nicely on the grill. Where to Refuel: Minnesota Nice Café is a sure bet for Midwestern favorites like potato pancakes with applesauce. Don't miss the freshly baked apple pies—they taste like they come straight from a county fair. 414 Beltrami Ave. NW, 218/444-6656. Where to Stay: Ruttger's Birchmont Lodge occupies the lake's quieter northwest shore, with 38 lakefront rooms and suites and 29 cabins on a 1,700-foot-long sand beach. 7598 Bemidji Rd. NE, 888/788-8437. Jackson Hole, Wyoming - Jackson Lake Jackson Hole, Wyoming by Cora Leach - Unsplash Framed by the Grand Tetons and situated just north of posh Jackson Hole, Jackson Lake is a pristine glacial stunner. Soak in the views from a four-wheel cruise down the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway on its eastern edge. For a more immersive take, Signal Mountain Lodge rentals provides several types of watercraft, from sea kayaks to fishing boats by the hour or day. Where to Refuel: For great breakfast, quick bites, and the best coffee in town, head to Jackson to eat at the Cowboy Coffee Co. After a day on the water, try The Spur Restaurant & Bar located in Teton Village to cap off your day with great beers and burgers. Where to Stay: It's nothing fancy, but Signal Mountain Lodge is the only waterfront resort on the shores of Jackson Lake. Each of its rustic log cabins has semi-private balconies and views of the Tetons. Inner Park Rd., Moran, WY, 307/543-2831. Newport, New Hampshire - Sunapee Lake Sunapee Lake is quintessential pastoral New England, with a handful of beaches made for swimming and a revolving lineup of outdoor concerts all summer. Its focal point is the lively marina scene at Sunapee Harbor; other highlights include the Fells Historic Estate & Gardens, an 84-acre estate with gardens dating back to the early 20th century. Where to Refuel: Head to the Wildwood Smokehouse for delicious barbecued meats, sausages, and chilis as well as local microbrews on tap (happy hour is daily from 4-6pm). For dessert, grab ice cream at the Sanctuary Dairy Farm. Where to Stay: Dexter's Inn's estate-like grounds are immaculate, with an outdoor pool, tennis court, and views of the lake. 285 Stagecoach Rd., 800/232-5571. Nightly rates from $110.
Resorts with Spectacular Gardens
At these hotels and resorts, visitors will feel like they're in paradise thanks to the inspired landscaping and meticulously maintained grounds. As an added bonus, many of these stays have more modest prices for a luxury resort experience. Plan a romantic getaway or tranquil weekend exploring exotic florals and the sublime beauty of nature. Strawberry Hill - Jamaica Lush jungle flora at Strawberry Hill Jamaica - courtesy of Strawberry Hill Jamaica Luxury Resort Time can stand still at Strawberry Hill Jamaica Luxury Resort, a magical mountain village that is set sublimely high in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. This charming luxury resort is made up of white, wood-framed cottages and villas of varying sizes, each surrounded by nature’s spectacular views, which makes it no wonder why Strawberry Hill was listed in the New York Times #1 bestselling book, 1,000 Places To See Before You Die. The property is home to a decadent restaurant and dramatic infinity pool, yet the most spectacular corner of the resort is the mountaintop gardens. Since the days of the native Taino or Arawak Indians humans have enjoyed the sublime natural location of Strawberry Hill. Today, a gentle development strategy has allowed the mountaintop gardens to bloom shamelessly and the lawns to display a sublime beauty ringed by the mist-wreathed peaks. Guests wander winding stone paths and marvel at the bounty of native avocado, mango, coffee, star apple, orange, lime, soursop, banana, and June plum and guava trees. Years of loving cultivation have expanded Strawberry Hill’s variety of flora and the grounds reflect its historical timeline. The main canopy lining the driveway is juniper (juniperus barbadea,) with specimens of cedar (cedrela odoratissima), eucalyptus and mango (mangifera indica.) Thus far, 350 endemic and exotic plant species have been catalogued at Strawberry Hill, making it a naturalist’s delight. These legendary gardens are in a continuous state of development and Strawberry Hill’s ongoing mission is to facilitate sustainable commercial production, while supporting tropical preservation. Nightly rates beginning around $219. Barnsley Resort - Adairsville, Georgia Barnsley Resort gardens in Georgia - courtesy of the Lou Hammond Group In the 1840’s English cotton baron Godfrey Barnsley purchased 8,000 acres in Bartow County, GA and built a magnificent estate for his beloved wife. After her passing, the grief-stricken Barnsley abandoned his vision for the estate and ultimately lost his fortune in the Civil War. Today, the ruins of the home still stand at Barnsley Resort, along with the spectacular gardens that were inspired by the work of Andrew Jackson Downing, a pioneering landscape designer and proponent of Italianate and gothic revival architecture. Both are available for guests to experience today during their stay at the award-winning Barnsley Resort. Nightly rates beginning around $300. La Posada de Santa Fe - Santa Fe, New Mexico Gardens at La Posada de Santa Fe - courtesy of La Posada de Santa Fe As one of the most renowned resorts in Santa Fe, the rich history of the Southwest meets modern amenities and upscale touches at La Posada de Santa Fe. Set on six beautifully landscaped acres just steps from the historic Plaza, and adorned with authentic adobe-style architecture, unique accommodations, tranquil spa escapes, culinary discoveries, La Posada de Santa Fe is the perfect place to unwind. Julia Staab, founder of the original historic estate, brought art to life on the grounds more than a century ago. Today, the hotel celebrates her by bringing history to life in true Julia style. The gardens at La Posada de Santa Fe, A Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa trace their history back to one of Julia Staab, and the garden she planted in the late 1800's. There are many walkways for guests to explore a variety of fruit trees, walnut trees, hickory trees, elm trees, aspen trees, and cherry blossom trees. Some of these historical trees are over 130 years old. Guests can view the beauty of natural grasses with a variety of roses, all shades of lilacs, butterfly bushes, and daffodils. The best time to see the most vibrant blooms is from May to September. Nightly rates beginning around $200. The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens - St. Augustine, Florida The Collector gardens in St. Augustine - courtesy of St. John's Cultural Council The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens is a one-acre garden oasis in the heart of historic downtown St. Augustine. The property spans nine historic houses that date back to the 18th century with 30 individually appointed rooms with unique historic features. Rooms share breezy verandas or porches with stunning views of the historic property and gardens. Located within walking distance from many of St. Augustine’s historic attractions, guests often retreat to The Collector after a day of exploring for some R&R in the garden, boasting beautiful seasonal blooms, brick-paved walkways, fire pits and sculptures. Nightly rates beginning around $249.
Nothing is more pleasant than the few first weeks of summer sunshine, when the season finally breaks through the hold of the previous months' transitional dreariness of spring rains and lingering cold snaps. However, by the middle of the summer, the most pleasantly sunny towns can become overbearingly hot, humid, and uncomfortable—even at night, even with a touch of ocean breeze, and even when the air conditioning is cranked up high. This time of year, though, is when extreme-high-altitude towns shine. Mountain roads are finally cleared of snow and ice, and bitter winds transform into refreshing summer breezes. The towns below all offer a great opportunity to experience the best kind of summer weather, where visitors can enjoy fresh mountain air, generally dry climates, and a pleasant warmth that peaks in the 70s (°F). Mammoth Lakes, California Average temperatures in July: 78° high / 48° Mammoth Lakes features rugged mountains, craters, hot springs, and alpine lakes—and with the center of town sitting at 7,880 feet elevation, the views are quite literally breathtaking. There are plenty of things to do during the summer. The area is a top destination for hikers, with trails of all lengths and difficulties, and there are ample opportunities for both mountain and road biking, lake activities like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, mountaineering, and rock climbing. Get incredible views of Rainbow Falls, a 100-foot plunge along the San Joaquin River, with a 3-mile round trip hike on the Rainbow Falls Trail or head to the waterfall on a pack trip from Red’s Meadow Resort and Pack Station. They also offer longer rides to other popular destinations in the area. If you like fly fishing, Hot Creek is home to more fish per square foot than anywhere else in California. Book a beginner or advanced guided trip with the Troutfitter Guide Service or the Sierra Drifters Guide Service. To learn more about the area's history, step back into time with a day trip to Bodie State Historic Park, home of a gold-mining ghost town that was once a booming city of 10,000 people in the late 1800s. For lodging, choose from mountain cabins and chalets, charming bed and breakfasts like The White Horse Inn in Old Mammoth, traditional hotels like The Mammoth Lodge, or rough it at a backwoods campsite. Local public transportation, including shuttles and trolley service, add an extra bit of convenience to visitors. Telluride, Colorado Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, Colorado by Chad Madden - Unsplash Average temperatures in July: 74° high / 47° Colorado has no shortage of high-altitude towns. Many of the Rocky Mountain ski resort towns are just as fun in the summer, when ice melts and trails are open for hiking and mountain biking. In addition to hiking trails, Telluride has some of the finest trout streams in the Rocky Mountains, and a variety of lakes, ponds and alpine creeks. For young families, fishing at The Kids’ Fishing Pond in Telluride Town Park is open to children under the age of 12 for either catch-and-release or catch-and-keep fishing. Stop by the information center in the park to pick up a free fishing rod before heading to the pond. Colorado is also at the forefront of one of the latest adrenaline rush experiences offering more Via Ferrata routes than any other state. “Via Ferrata” is Italian for iron path and offers a unique vantage point that feels a lot like rock climbing. A typical course is set up so that steel cables and ladders (or rungs) are fixed to a rock, and climbers are harnessed in with two tethers attached to the protected route. The Gold Mountain Via Ferrata is a brand new edition to high altitude adventures available within the small mining town of Ouray (about an hour's drive from Telluride). This new via ferrata course climbs roughly 1,000 feet of elevation, scaling the infamous "Gold Mountain", a historic and highly profitable mining claim and tops-out with a cable bridge and private vista overlooking the San Juan mountain range. For a great place to stay nearby, head to The Western, an iconic Old West property located in the historic district of Ouray that is being restored with select modern, luxe touches. Also in town, Sauvage Spectrum opened a wine lounge experience featuring small bites laced with wine education. Telluride is also home to several festivals celebrating everything from yoga to mushrooms. Kids will especially love to see all the hot air balloons in June during the Telluride Balloon Festival. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of both the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which takes place this June (unfortunately, the event is already sold out, so if you can't find resell tickets, plan ahead for next year) and the Telluride Film Festival happening in August. Laramie, Wyoming Murals in downtown Laramie, Wyoming by Michael/trails2hike - Unsplash Average temperatures in July: 79° high / 49°Laramie is best known as the home of the University of Wyoming, so while the rest of the state is incredibly sparse, the college attracts more restaurants, lodging options, and activities than many of the other mountain towns in the Cowboy State. It's also a much more manageable drive from the closest international airport in Denver (flights into smaller airports in Wyoming can be incredibly expensive). Check out a museum like UW's Geological Museum or Art Museum, Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, the American Heritage Center, or Laramie Plains Museum. Book a tour to see the nearby wild horse sanctuary at Deerwood Ranch and learn about these frontier animals that figure so prominently across the Western states. The ranch also hosts overnight visitors in their Deerwood Station Guest Cabin (rates starting at $250/night). Outdoor enthusiasts will also enjoy the hike to the top of nearby Medicine Bow Peak or a day spent exploring the unique rocky trails of Vedauwoo. Nearby destinations with similar weather and conditions include Red Feather Lakes on the border of Colorado, Saratoga (home of some incredible hot springs), and the tiny mountain town of Encampment. It's also not a long drive to Cheyenne, which hosts a rodeo and live music at Frontier Days each July. Leadville, Colorado Bridge outside of Leadville, Colorado by Harrison Fitts - Unsplash Average temperatures in July: 69° high / 38° At an elevation of 10,200 feet, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America. Colorado's two tallest mountains, Mount Elbert and Mount Massive, make for a spectacular skyline view. The town also has a rich history, stemming back to when gold was first discovered in the California Gulch in the 1800s (the town would prove to be home to several precious ores, including its namesake of lead). Visitors will find some of the most beautiful wilderness in the San Isabel National Forest. Like most Rocky Mountain towns, outdoor activities take center stage; there are an abundant amount of trails and four-wheel-drive roads, as well as several alpine lakes for excellent fishing and boating. The Arkansas River also provides the country’s best whitewater rafting. Let’s not forget to mention that Colorado’s two tallest mountains—Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive—grace Leadville’s skyline, making for spectacular 360° views. For a great place to stay and eat, head to Leadville’s historic Victorian-inspired Delaware Hotel, which just opened a new restaurant, Mineral 1886. Also nearby at just 45 minutes away from Leadville, lies the popular ski resort town of Breckenridge. Head here to stay at The Carlin, billed as a ‘restaurant with rooms’ featuring four luxury hotel suites on the top floor, an open kitchen restaurant on the main floor and a subterranean tavern. While in Breckenridge, connect and communicate with your intuitive self at Be Your Own Guru Wellness Center, offering yoga retreats, tarot card readings, reiki energy healing, foraging hikes, silent disco dance walks and more.