Posts tagged with "Mini-Golf"

O'Connell's Lake via Emily Delarm for use by 360 Magazine

June is National Camping Month

Written by Emily DeLarm

June is National Camping Month, and what better way to celebrate than getting out and camping! In the past year, camping has gained popularity with more people trying it now than ever before because it’s a great way to get outside while social distancing. So why not take the whole family camping this year!

Today’s campgrounds cater to every type of camper, with a range of accommodations to make even the most resolute non-camper comfortable. Combine that with an immersion in nature and a surprising array of amenities, and we think you’ll agree it’s time the whole family went camping. Here’s why:

1.) Being in nature is good for your health

Many have long felt a sense of well-being when out in nature, and research has shown that there is a positive physical response to doing so. Several recent studies have shown that having access to nature reduces stress and enhances a feeling of well-being.

Another study found that people who experience a feeling of awe for the natural beauty of their surroundings have lower levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), an inflammatory biomarker which can result in a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and depression.

2.) Skipping the hotel makes it unique

Today’s camping experience doesn’t have to mean pitching a tent in the middle of nowhere or in a state park where the nearest bathroom is a half-mile hike away. There are campground accommodations to suit every type of camper – from those who enjoy “roughing it” in a tent, to those who bring their RV-home-on-wheels, to those who prefer cabins with electricity, full bathrooms, and all the comforts of home.

For those seeking a true “glamping” experience, try a stay in a tiny house vacation rental that is sure to please the whole family – all the comforts of home in a miniature package that is sure to delight every child (and the little kid in every adult). A few to try:

Leavenworth Tiny House Village is located about two hours south of Seattle in the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth, WA. While you’ll feel a world away, you don’t need a passport to be transported to small-town Bavaria in your tiny house while you enjoy access to 300 acres of beautiful forests and meadows. The five tiny houses, each with their own unique Bavarian theme and decor, are “glamping” style vacation rentals, with all kinds of amenities to enjoy at the campground. Get to know Hanna, Belle, Otto, Adeline, and Rudolf starting at $129/night.

Tuxbury Tiny House Village is located about an hour north of Boston just outside the picturesque town of Amesbury, MA. The village offers vacationers a unique respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life while experiencing a one-of-a-kind vacation. The tiny houses in the village are full of character and personality and range from 180 to 275 square feet. Relax along the tranquil shores of Tuxbury Pond, lounge by the pool, or enjoy a variety of popular local attractions, including apple orchards, farms, and eclectic restaurants. Choose from Emerson, Henry, Clara, Riley, and Murphy, each starting at $135/night.

3.) It’s a great excuse to leave the devices behind

While more campgrounds are modernizing with the installation of amenities such as Wi-Fi, you can still find plenty of destinations where cell service is less reliable. Before you consider that a shortcoming, think about the number of times a cell phone has interrupted a conversation between members of your family, and how nice it would be to hit the pause button on such intrusions.

In fact, studies have shown that just having a cell phone out during a conversation has a negative impact on your sense of connection to the other person, feelings of closeness between you, and the quality of the conversation you experience.

Try vacationing out of reach of a cell tower, and you just might find a real connection and improved reception, with no phone at all.

4.) Be a kid again

In today’s world, adults are burdened and distracted with the responsibilities of being an adult. But even worse, kids seem to be busy trying to be adults. A camp vacation encourages the whole family to set “the real world” aside for a time and focus on having fun with each other. With an assortment of planned events and activities for the whole family, you can let go of the scheduling and planning that are the hallmark of a typical vacation and enjoy what’s happening right on site.

One fantastic destination is O’Connell’s Yogi Bear Jellystone Park in Amboy, Illinois. A dizzying array of activity opportunities include three heated swimming pools, spas, kiddie pools, a beach for swimming, double-flume waterslide, paddle boat rentals, mini-golf, four playgrounds, hiking trails, fishing, hayrides, and a fully stocked indoor activity center with daily planned activities.

5.) Enjoy an immersive destination (without costumed characters)

The best part about summer camp as a kid was all the fantastic fun things to do. Everywhere you turned there was an activity being led or a game being played. Campgrounds offer the same appeal. Many offer your standard fares such as lake access, swimming pool, basketball court, sand volleyball, and activities like the ever-favorite tie-dye. Some of our favorites take it a step farther and transport you to another realm:

Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara, CA offers guests the opportunity to camp on a historic working ranch, complete with horseback riding, lasso lessons, and over 300 acres of scenic mountainside hiking trails to explore. Get as authentic as you wish, with a stay in a cabin, covered wagon, or even a teepee. At Gettysburg Farm in Dover, PA, guests can camp on a working farm, enjoy hayrides, farm animal feedings, vegetable picking, and visits to the farm animals, including horses, llamas, pigs, cows, and adorable pygmy goats.

6.) It’s easy to plan

For an easy, convenient way to plan your trip, visit CampUSA.com or download the CampUSA app. There you can quickly search more than 1,200 of the top campgrounds nationwide, including Kampgrounds of America, Encore RV Resorts, Thousand Trails locations and so many more.

The site and app offer the ability to search by map, by state or search for campsites nearby. Then filter your search to find the perfect spot for you when you sort by camping type (cabins and other rentals, RV or tent) and the amenities you’re looking for, like pet-friendly, waterfront sites, swimming pool, Wi-Fi, and more (even mini-golf!) Once you have your prospects narrowed, the site provides detailed information about each campground and a super easy booking interface, including the option to enter your credit card information by scanning with your camera phone (on the app). It doesn’t get easier than that!

7.) Nature can grease the wheels of bonding

Some vacations can leave us more stressed and less rested than before we left. To truly rejuvenate the whole family, try immersing yourselves in nature. Several studies have reported the positive effects that viewing beautiful imagery of nature has on people’s emotions and behavior.

In one example, when participants in this study were asked to interact with nature every day for a month reported feeling healthier and happier after the study. In another study, after spending just a minute looking up into a scenic expanse of eucalyptus trees, participants reported feeling less entitled and self-important than those who spent the time looking up at a tall building.

Imagine how much easier it would be to bond and connect with your family when each of you is experiencing a boost in gratitude and a dip in self-importance. If simply watching nature can have such a positive impact on our feelings, think of the impact that experiencing nature can have on the whole family.

Need yet another reason? How’s this: Camping just might be one of the least expensive – and most rewarding – vacations you’ll ever take.

See you by the campfire!

Kayaking illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

What’s Trending in Tennessee

What’s New, Trending and Blooming this Spring in Tennessee

  • Memphis – Memphis Zoo’s all-new Kangazoo Experience lets you get face-to-face with kangaroos roaming free in the walk-through exhibit. Visitor favorites also include giraffe-feeding, the panda exhibit and Sting Ray Cove.
  • Jackson – Discover what makes Jackson a unique place for music lovers of all backgrounds whether you’re looking for new eclectic sounds, blues and gospel, country music or more with live performances of Jackson’s Hidden Tracks.
  • Nashville – Enjoy premiere shopping, world-class dining, live music and views of downtown at Fifth + Broadway. This 300,000 square foot multi-level mecca is a must-see and home to the National Museum of African American Musicand Assembly Food Hall featuring two dozen restaurants on multiple levels.
  • Columbia – The Mulehouse is a 55,000 square feet new music and event venue located a few blocks from the downtown square, established by country radio personality and broadcaster, Blair Garner.
  • Manchester – A brand new concert series features live, in-person performances in a socially-distanced setting at the Bonnaroo Farm. Concerts on the Farm includes performances by Billy Strings, Jon Pardy, Jameson Rodgers, The Avett Brothers and more.
  • Chattanooga – Grab your thinking caps, maps and don’t forget your mask. Take adventure to the next level. Learn more about Chattanooga’s top attractions and neighborhoods during the Spring Break Safari Scavenger Hunt.
  • Knoxville – Three levels of magical crystal barrooms wait to be discovered in downtown Knoxville. Bernadette’sbarrooms include the Knox County Quartz House, the Amethyst Lounge, and a stunning rooftop of Crystal Gardens.
  • Gatlinburg – Anakeesta will be in full bloom with the launch of Blooms and Tunes featuring colorful nature-themed art installations, live music and a new spring-themed menu at four restaurants in the park.
  • Townsend – The Smoky Mountain Bigfoot Festival Noon-10 p.m. May 22 includes live music, vendors, food trucks, bigfoot competitions, oral histories, 1-mile fun run and more at the Townsend Visitor’s Center.
  • Johnson City – Grab a scavenger hunt clue card online or from a downtown business to search for 15 bronze animal sculptures as part of Wildabout Walkabout Scavenger Hunt from the public library and King Commons Park to Main and Market Streets.

New Restaurants, Breweries and Distilleries

  • Memphis – Renowned chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman are at it again, this time with their Little Bettie pizza joint inside Wiseacre’s newly opened downtown taproom.
  • Clarksville – The Thirsty Goat is a newer gathering place outside of the city that features a beer garden, artisan coffee shop and oven-fired pizzas.
  • Murfreesboro – Biscuit-based meals made baked fresh daily are at the forefront of Maple Street Biscuit Co. Jams and jellies are also made in-store. Featured on Food Network, The Squawking Goat dish is an all-natural fried chicken breast, fried goat cheese medallion and house-made pepper jelly atop a flaky biscuit.
  • Columbia – Wolf and Scout Coffee Car is located in the Columbia Arts Building serving varieties of coffees and their signature drink, the Wolfhunter.
  • Carthage – Cajun wings, honey BBQ wings, onion rings, fries and delicious sides are on tap at Something 2 Wing About.
  • Farragut – 35 North, located in the heart of Farragut, features the area’s best food trucks, local brews, wine and spirits and features two patios, an outdoor fireplace and a place for gathering.
  • LaFollette – Twin Flame features amazing hot dogs, burgers, wings, catfish, specialty drinks and much more with carry-out and dining room seating available.
  • Wartburg – The MoCo Brewing Project is Morgan County’s latest brewery and coffee shop with signature beers named and influenced by local landmarks. The owners brew beer, coffee and offer flavored coffee and hot chocolate.
  • Sevierville – Tennessee Shine Co.uses family recipes and small-batch distilling, features a tasting bar and Moonshine Tour.
  • Johnson City – Watauga Brewing Company is a three story brewery, restaurant and rooftop bar. Restaurant On 2 combines upscale New American cuisine with Appalachian and southern roots. The chef uses local, seasonal foods in her menu. 

New Attractions and Exhibits

  • Memphis –Visitors can enjoy movie nights and world-renowned musicians in an all-new outdoor setting at The Grove at GPAC.
  • Memphis – Graceland celebrates the 50 anniversary King of Rock ‘n’ Roll meeting then President Richard Nixon with a special pop-up exhibit and artifacts with Dear Mr. President: Elvis and Mr. Nixon.
  • Nashville – Once Upon a Spring at Gaylord Opryland includes a live story time show, art activities, cookie decorating, scavenger hunt, boat rides and other fun programming.
  • Knoxville – Zoo Knoxville’s The ARC (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Campus), open spring 2021, will showcase the zoo’s pioneering conservation work with these species and feature revolutionary STEM education resources.
  • Johnson City – Paradise Acresis a family farm park with an 18-hole mini-golf course, outdoor laser tag, barn-side drive-in theater and U-Pick produce.

New Hotels & Places to Stay

  • Memphis – Walk the line between southern hospitality, offbeat and elevated cuisine to get a genuine taste of Midtown’s unconventional personality, storied art district and Overton Square at The Memphian, set to open April 2021.
  • Memphis – Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis is within walking distance of the city’s famed entertainment district, nestled in a vibrant neighborhood known for lauded music venues, historic landmarks, southern comfort and Memphis-style barbecue.
  • Nashville – W Hotel Nashville is set to take the stage in the heart of the Gulch. Opening spring 2021 with 346 rooms, the new hotel will welcome visitors with curated local tunes, garden-to-glass cocktails and welcoming communal spaces.
  • Pigeon Forge – Pigeon Forge RV Resort along the Little Pigeon River includes 149 RV sites, camping, riverside fishing, illuminated river walk. On-property offerings include on-site concierge services, a pool, and hot tub, playground, picnic pavilion, a dog park, golf cart rentals, a retail store, conference room, gym, and laundry facilities.

New Stores

  • Columbia – Columbia features several new stores including Cope (in the Columbia Arts Building with a variety of trendy plants), family-owned jewelry store Tillis Jewelry on the downtown square and Southern Clutter Boutique with a variety of clothing, accessories, home goods and crafts.
  • Farragut – Euphoric Cheese features cut-to-order cheeses from all around the world, a wide variety of charcuterie items, specialty groceries and a selection of local brews. Items such as chocolate-covered figs, blue cheese stuffed olives, creamed honey and rosemary crackers will make your grazing board memorable.
  • Kingston – That Local Cheeseboard Co.features handcrafted charcuterie boards & boxes, grazing tables, customizable boxes, corporate catering, and gifts and items for special occasions.

Hot/Trending Places for Spring

  • Hornbeak – Vacation while you dine at Blue Bank Fishhouse & Grill at Blue Bank Resort with delicious weekend specials, local craft beer, live music, fire pits, butterfly garden & front row seating to a beautiful sunset on Reelfoot Lake.
  • Alamo – Drive through the 5.5 miles of safari roads in your own car, interact and feed animals at Tennessee Safari Park. After the journey, experience the walk-through zoo, enjoy refreshments at the concessions, the playground area, and the petting zoo.
  • Clarksville – Downtown at Sundown Concerts at Downtown Commons includes free live music the first and third Friday nights May through October. The large urban outdoor park allows space to socially distance with your chairs or blanket.
  • Linden – Experience serenity on the water. Commodore River Adventures offers an uncrowded, individual or small-group, artisan kayaking experience.
  • Nashville – Celebrate spring, warmer weather and longer days with more than 150,000 blooming bulbs and fun seasonal activities during Cheekwood in Bloom.
  • Nashville – Board the General Jackson Showboat, one of Gaylord Opryland’s most popular attractions, for cruises featuring first-class live entertainment, delicious meals and gorgeous views of Nashville.
  • LaFollette – Chapman Hill Winery is a quaint winery with an elegant tasting room nestled in the hills of East Tennessee on the edge of Norris Lake. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for the Vineyard Vibrations live music series.
  • Farragut – Enjoy a stroll through town, a heritage trail, cemetery and educational sites to learn history of the area, pioneer settlements and more through artifacts, photos and stories during the Farragut History Walk.
  • Harriman – Lakeshore Park offers recreation fun for the family and is home to the Gupton Wetlands area, where at least 114 species of birds can be found. Bring bikes, kayaks, fishing poles and enjoy scenery and trails.
  • Lancing – Lilly Hopyard Brewery is tucked away in the woods near the Obed Wild and Scenic River. Warm up around the campfire, watch the game, play corn hole, listen to live music and enjoy the Sauced Frog eatery.
  • Winchester – Stroll with family and friends during Food Truck Fridays at the downtown Farmers Market Pavilion on the Boulevard. Downtown merchants will stay open late on the first Friday of every month.
  • Johnson City – At the 40-acre Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park, riders can experience the thrill of off-road riding from the gnarly, rocky downhill of the Black Diamond to smooth dirt paths on the green trails.
  • Pigeon Forge – Explore larger-than-life plant sculptures adorned in half-a-million colorful flower blooms, dance under an Umbrella Sky and indulge in garden-fresh flavors from chefs during Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival.

Spring Festivals & Events

  • Gatlinburg (March 18-20) – Explore the new Gatlinburg St. Patrick’s Day Celebration complete with traditional Irish music, food, fireworks, and more. The city will be decorated with Shamrock green and feature fireworks show at 10 p.m. Friday at the Space Needle.
  • Bell Buckle (March 20) – The historic town adapts Daffodil Days to include a tree seedling give away, spring bulbs vendors on the square, spring items in stores, and a book signing by beloved former Tennessee Poet Laureate Maggi Vaugn.
  • Chattanooga (March 20-21) – Come see the High Falls flow green during Shamrock City at Rock City featuring Irish food, specialty beer from Chattanooga Brewing Co., bagpipers, pop-up Irish dance performers, and virtual scavenger hunt.
  • Linden (March 26-27) – The Blooming Arts Festival mixes fine arts, local craftsmanship, performances and fantastic local eats. Masks and social distancing recommended. Sanitization stations will be up on Main Street.
  • Pigeon Forge (March 26-28) – Cowboy cooks circle the wagons for the one-of-a-kind outdoor Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff that features chuck wagons–the original food trucks. Attendees can sample the offerings at lunch.
  • Murfreesboro (March 29-April 2) – Looking for a fun and safe way to kick off spring? Stop by the Discovery Center for Mess Fest. Get creative and messy with free outdoor activities such as making oobleck, elephant toothpaste and more.
  • Spring Hill (April 2) – Grammy Award Winner Casting Crowns performs a socially distancing family-friendly drive-in concert 7 p.m. at RippavillaTickets benefit the Well Outreach Food Pantry.
  • Crossville (April 2-June 24) – Cumberland County Playhouse kicks off its 2021 spring season with productions like Clue on Stage, The Savannah Sipping Society, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now and Duck Hunter Shoots Angel.
  • Savannah (April 3) – The 9th Annual Generals Breakfast kicks off at 9 a.m. at Cherry Mansion with an outdoor breakfast, storytelling program and a Q&A by the homeowners. Tickets are $15. Masks and social distancing are encouraged.
  • Murfreesboro (April 23) – Travis Tritt with special guest Frank Foster takes the stage at 7 p.m. at Hop Springs Beer Park. There’s live music every weekend at the family & dog-friendly park with food and a huge selection of craft beers on tap.
  • Harriman (May 1) – The May Day Craft and Antique Fair will have vendors that display handmade crafts, vintage items and antiques, food vendors, live entertainment and classic car show.
  • Granville (May 1) – The Cornbread & Moonshine Festival features whiskey tastings, cornbread tasting, food, music, and craftsmen. Admission is $5. The new Whiskey Decanter Museum also opens with over 3,000 whiskey decanters.
  • Cookeville (May 1) – Cookeville Storyfest 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the big tent in Dogwood Park includes headliners Andy Offutt Irwin and Minton Sparks, and an amateur storytelling competition.
  • Tellico Plains (May 1) – The Tellico Trout Festival 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. downtown gathers fishermen, river sports enthusiasts and families for fun, education, food, entertainment and outfitter services.
  • Gatlinburg (May 1-3) – Guests can begin a creative journey in crafts, woodworking, basket weaving, jewelry making and more during Hands on Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. Register in advance before workshops sell out.
  • Pigeon Forge (May 5-8) – Textile art and techniques to stitch quilts are on display at Pigeon Forge’s A Mountain Quiltfest. Guests can register for instructional classes. The free quilt exhibit and vendor hall are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the LeConte Center.
  • Sweetwater (May 7-8) – Head to Historic Downtown Sweetwater for the Blooms, Bluegrass and BBQ Festival with live music, barbecue competition, vendors, picker’s corner, kids’ zone and fun activities.
  • Smithville (May 8) – Center Hill Lake Fest 4-10 p.m. at The Burlap Room Beer Garden and Dispensary features plenty of space to socially-distance while enjoying food from local food trucks, craft beer and local vendors. Please wear a mask in vendor and restroom lines. Tickets for the kid and pet-friendly event start at $20.
  • Rugby (May 8) – Raise a cup to Queen Victoria during the Queen’s Tea at Historic Rugby. The festive tea will include sandwiches, scones and dessert. Tickets are $22.
  • Wartburg (May 15) – The Tennessee Mountain Laurel Festival is filled with music, food, exhibits, creative arts, crafts, a car show and 24 designated scenic trails 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. around courthouse square.
  • Harriman (May 22-23, May 29-31) – Join a weekend of fun with costume contests, pirate Olympics, treasure hunts, get a picture with a mermaid or scallywag or shop the merchant village for unique treasures at the 5th Annual Tennessee Pirate Fest.
  • Bell Buckle (May 29) – Load up the car and go on an adventure in Historic Bell Buckle geocaching for prizes 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. during the Bell Buckle Car Cache and Pig Bash. Registration information can be found here.
  • Donelson (May-October) – Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, shop from local vendors, listen to live music and stroll through the historic grounds of Two Rivers Mansion Fridays 4-7 p.m. during the outdoor Hip Donelson Farmers Market.

For a complete list of what’s happening in Tennessee, visit the calendar on the website.