Travel isn’t just about a destination — it’s about how you feel during your stay and after you leave. Here are 5 incredibly transformative stays that are very experiential and immersive throughout the United States. Whether you are into nature, wellness or great food, these engaging experiences will open up your world to a new way of thinking while making you feel renewed.
1) Experience The Wild West (Tucson, Arizona)
Connect with nature and your inner cowboy or cowgirl at Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. The country’s largest working dude ranch occupies prime territory with 60,000 acres between the Rincon Mountains and Saguaro National Park. The sparse but serene mountainous desert setting will transport you to the Wild West, and the Santa Fe-style resort capitalizes on this nostalgia. There are no TVs in the rooms so guests are encouraged to take advantage of all the ranch has to offer, like horseback rides, hikes, mountain biking tours, fishing and more. To relax from a busy day outdoors, visit the spa, shop for local handicrafts or unwind with a “Prickly Pear Margarita” at their Doghouse Saloon. The Ranch also offers Cowboy Cookouts where you can enjoy campfire s’mores, live music and line dancing under a spectacular night sky.
Horseback Riding. Photo courtesy of Tanque Verde Ranch.
2) Stay In An Earth Lodge (New Town, North Dakota)
Thanks to Native America Travel, you don’t need to leave the USA to experience a completely different culture. For example, at the Ford Berthold Indian Reservation near New Town, North Dakota you can experience the ancient traditions of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara peoples. These three affiliated tribes of the Upper Missouri River Valley perfected the construction of earth lodges over centuries of living on the harsh Northern Plains. You can stay in these sacred structures at the reconstructed Earthlodge Village on the edge of the breathtaking Lake Sakakawea. In addition to spending the night, you can take a trail ride, hear stories of the tribes from cultural interpreters, and attend pow wows and other events throughout the year.
Earth Lodge after rain. Photo courtesy of Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Tourism.
3) Become Part Of History At America’s Oldest Seaside Resort (Cape May, New Jersey)
Participate in one of America’s greatest traditions with a summer by the shore in Cape May at Congress Hall, the USA‘s oldest seaside resort. In the early 1800s, the idea that anyone would want to swim in the sea was preposterous, but Congress Hall helped change that.
Congress Hall Exterior. Photo courtesy of Cape Resorts.
Over its 200 years of existence, it’s survived fires, storms, economic crises, wars, massive renovations and a changing clientele — with some famous visitors including Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Pierce, Chester Arthur and James Buchanan. The property invites guests to become part of the hotel’s legacy by collecting items to bury in a time capsule. Celebrations in 2016 will peak on Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day with lobster and clam bakes, a flag raising, concerts, lawn games, fireworks and other festivities; however, any time you visit you’ll feel history come alive with surroundings that honor the hotel’s past and weekly history tours.
4) Live Like A Local (Cape Cod, Massachusetts)
If you want your trip to Cape Cod to delve deeper than enjoying the beaches and browsing popular shops, consider the Platinum Pebble Boutique Inn. This Inn prides itself on helping guests “live like a local” with their adventure packages. Experience the “real Cape” with an oyster farm tour, learn how to shuck oysters and pair them with wines, or go clamming and crabbing. You can join a captain for a seal watching experience, and if you’re lucky, maybe spot a great white shark. Active adventurers can learn a little bit about the area’s history as they go kayaking, surfing, or stand-up paddle boarding with a local guide through some of the Cape’s best back waterways and breaks.
Nighttime at Platinum Pebbles Boutique Inn. Photo courtesy of Platinum Pebbles.
5) Spoil Your Car & Yourself (Bowling Green, Kentucky)
If you’re a car lover who wants to spoil the wheels that got you to your destination, try Spongie Acres Bed & Breakfast in Bowling Green, Kentucky. This auto-focused bed and breakfast is also nicknamed “the toy house” due to its massive 9,750 square foot commercial garage, housing your car alongside Corvettes and hot rods. Members of car clubs visit regularly because they know their cars will be safe from bad weather and prying eyes. The lighting is also ideal for minor repairs and final polishing before the show.
Spongie Acres in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Photo courtesy of Bowling Green Area CVB.
Bowling Green attracts car lovers from near and far. It is home of the National Corvette Museum and the GM Corvette Assembly Plant, where every Corvette in the world is produced. It’s also located right near Beech Bend Raceway, where you can enjoy stock car racing, run racing, NRHA drag racing and national automotive events throughout the year.
There are many amazing hotels around the United States for those wanting an experiential stay. Which is your favorite? Please share in the comments below.
Contributed by Katie Foote