Out on the prairie in the heart of Acadiana sits the tiny old railroad town of Rayne. Originally called Pouppeville, the citizens decided to rename their town Rayne in honor of the engineer who laid the tracks. The little Cajun town has a population of about 8,000 as well as a big obsession with frogs.
Breaux Bridge is the crawfish capital of the world. Crowley is the rice capital of the world. Rayne is the frog capital of the world.
Rayne celebrates its amphibian history with an annual frog festival where queens pose with frogs, not princes. And frogs compete in races and jumping contests while their less fortunate amphibian cousins end up being served as fried frog legs.
Is your interest piqued? Well, lucky for you, the Rayne Frog Festival is happening soon. Ever seen a frog derby? Want to try frog legs? The Frog Festival is the place to check out all things froggy as well as loads of other fun activities.
With the 51st Annual Rayne Frog Festival happening May 10-14, 2023, I was thinking, why is Rayne the frog capital of the world? Obviously, having a bunch of frogs is one reason but that’s not the main reason Rayne earned the title.
It seems that everywhere you look in the Cajun city of Rayne, you see frogs. They’re on the sidewalks, in front of stores, the police station and fire house, and the courthouse. And about two dozen frog murals are painted on the sides of buildings.
The festival started in 1973, but the town’s official title as the frog capital of the world started in the late 1800s.
Rayne’s frog industry beginnings
In the 1880s, Donat Pucheu, a Frenchman chef and adventurer made his way to Louisiana and spent some time in Rayne. He noticed how plentiful the local bullfrog population was so he started capturing them and selling them to New Orleans restaurants.
In France, frog legs have been consumed since at least the 12th century and records show that the Chinese have been eating them since the first century. They were very popular with Catholic French monks who considered them fish and could, therefore, eat them on meatless Fridays.
At the cusp of the 20th century, frog legs were a new and exciting delicacy in the US. Rayne’s frogs were so delectable, so juicy and muscular, that word spread quickly.
The dish made its way around the world but the city officially received its title from New York. A restaurant in the Big Apple named Sardi’s called the delicacy as Frog Legs from Rayne, Louisiana. Frog Capital of the World. The name has since stuck.
French businessman Jacques Weil and his brother Edmond were in Rayne snacking on the amphibian’s hind legs. They enjoyed them so much that they decided to start a business selling frog legs. They were shipping the locally harvested frogs to restaurants in France where they were considered a delicacy.
The Louisiana Frog Company
By the 1940s, the Rayne-based Louisiana Frog Company Plant was the largest exporter of live frogs for gastronomic purposes in the world. In 1937 alone, it shipped over half a million frogs. Some days, the company’s hunters and suppliers brought in 10,000 frogs. The largest ever weighed 3 pounds.
The Louisiana Frog Company was also known for its canned Frog a la sauce Piquante. The company included a branch that sold hand-caught (so as not to damage them) frogs for breeding purposes. These frogs are Rana Catesbiana commonly known as the American Bullfrog. But the giant variety found in the south are called Louisiana Jumbo Bullfrog.
Revitalizing the industry
In 1946, Rayne hosted its first frog derby where young women dressed frogs up as jockeys and raced them. But in the 1970s, the frog trade was in steep decline. To uphold its reputation as the frog capital, Rayne locals decided to expand the Frog Derby into the town’s first Frog Festival.
Hundreds of locals came out to the first Rayne Frog Festival in 1973 and they still show up today. (Some of them have come every single year, for 51 years.) And eventually, frog murals started popping up all over town so that Rayne can celebrate its froggy heritage year-round.
Today, the frog export companies are gone, but not the frogs. The flat countryside near the southwesten Louisiana city of Rayne is marked with low levees that confine foot-deep water in crawfish ponds. These ponds are the perfect breeding ground for large bullfrogs. And nighttime is the right time for catching frogs.
Small aluminum boats that crawl through the ponds on wheels during the day when they are used by crawfishermen to run their nets double as a frogging transportation at night. The frogs hang out along the edges of commercial crawfish ponds. Their white throads give them away in the spotlight. A good night of frogging can fill a small flatboat.
These Rayne bullfrogs have another claim to frog fame. Twenty years before NASA had frogs floating in a space shuttle experiment, two bullfrogs from Rayne made a giant leap into orbit in 1970. NASA strapped the frogs inside a tiny capsule and launched them into space on a one-way mission to test the effect of weightlessness on their inner ears which are similar to those of humans. Calling it Orbiting Frog Otolith, the test was a success and NASA said goodbye to the Cajun frogs.
2023 Rayne Frog Festival
Although Rayne doesn’t produce frog legs anymore, the city still honors its claim to fame. The Frog Festival is part county fair with local food vendors and rides and part French Acadian cultural exposition with three full days packed with live music and much of it Cajun. And of course, there are plenty of frog legs to eat!
Local high school artists compete to have their artwork become the festival poster, vendors sell crafts, the frog derby is still going strong, and there is always a frog cook-off, a frog-jumping contest, a dance contest, a grand parade, and Frog Festival pageants. It’s a highly unique, full-weekend festival that is definitely worth a quick deviation off the beaten path (or, ahem, off of I-10).
The 2023 Rayne Frog Festival is slated with a full schedule including music, delicious food, a signature festival drink, and souvenir cup commemorating 51 years of tradition, arts and crafts show, carnival rides, frog cook-off, frog-eating contest, folklore tent, frog racing and jumping, and a few surprises along the way.
I loved walking the streets and taking photos; the posted images are just a sampling of all the frogs to be found in Rayne. They made me smile and reminded me that life is too short to take too seriously. How can you take things too seriously when you are constantly surrounded by frogs? Kudos to the citizens of Rayne for keeping their sense of humor and bringing a lot of joy to the folks! It makes you want to jump for joy!
Jambalaya (On the Bayou)
Goodbye joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou My yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh my oh Son of a gun, well have good fun on the bayou
A whole new world of color opens up during springtime which makes it the perfect time to pack up the RV and explore somewhere new on a road trip or weekend getaway
Springtime can be a magical and refreshing time to travel. Maybe you’re coming out from winter hibernation for a quick road trip or you’re finally able to break in those new hiking boots you were gifted for Christmas. Personally, I look forward to blooms and greenery after nature wakes up from her winter slumber. Everything feels fresh, new, and exciting.
1. Attend a spring festival
When spring has sprung, the festivals are in full bloom! Festivals in spring are wonderful, inspiring experiences that help us celebrate the start of a new season. Which one of these takes your fancy?
International Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon, Georgia
Macon, Georgia, is the cherry blossom capital of the world? No, it’s not Japan or Washington, D.C. With 350,000 cherry trees blossoming each year at the end of March, Macon truly is the perfect place to see these beauties in bloom.
The second or third week of March is peak time to visit as the International Cherry Blossom Festival (March 17-26, 2023) happens. It’s known as the pinkest party of the year! Macon is full of history and is also surrounded by beautiful state parks for visitors who are looking to get outdoors.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, Woodburn, Oregon
Tulips are the main attraction in Woodburn, Oregon. The town is home to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Far which hosts a tulip festival from March to May. With 40 acres of tulips, over 200 acres of outdoor space, and activities, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is identified as one of the top spring attractions in the state of Oregon. The 38th Annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival runs March 17–April 30, 2023.
Springtime is also the best time to catch a ride on a hot air balloon to see the colorful blooms from above. Or stay on the ground and enjoy a sip of wine at any of the areas wineries while your pals fly high in the sky.
Rayne Frog Festival, Rayne, Louisiaa
Rayne is best known as the Frog Capital of the World. The Rayne Frog Festival was founded in 1973 and has grown by, um, leaps and bounds. At this annual fest, you can see the coronation of the Frog Festival Queens and the Mr. and Miss Tadpole contests.
The 51st Annual Rayne Frog Festival will be held on May 10-14, 2023 at the Frog Festival Pavilion. It’s slated with a full schedule including music, delicious food, a signature festival drink, and souvenir cup commemorating 51 years of tradition, arts and crafts show, carnival rides, frog cook-off, frog-eating contest, folklore tent, frog racing and jumping, and a few surprises along the way.
Festival of Houses and Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina
It’s no secret that Charleston is a hub for southern charm especially in the spring as dogwood trees and azaleas bloom all over the city. The weather is great during this time of year–hanging out around 60-70 degrees with low humidity―ideal weather for both carriage tours and walking tours of the main attractions of the city.
The premier event of its kind in the country, the 75th Annual Spring Festival of Houses and Gardens, March 15-April 16, 2023 offers guests rare access into some of Charleston’s finest private houses and gardens in the city’s renowned historic district during peak blooming season. The cornerstone of the spring Festival are the daily house and garden tours. The tours provide an opportunity for guests to go inside the private houses and gardens of some of America’s most beautiful residences, some dating to the 18th century.
Ostrich Festival, Chandler, Arizona
Grab your friends and family and get ready to shake your tail feather with our favorite feathered friends, the ostriches! The Ostrich Festival features live ostriches, national and local entertainment, stage shows, over 50 midway rides and games, classic festival food, interactive activities for all ages, meet and greets with your favorite mascots, ostrich-themed educational activities, exciting attractions, upscale arts and crafts and much more. The 33rd Annual Ostrich Festival will be held March 16-19, 2023 at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler, Arizona.
2. Plan a spring road trip
The weather is warming up and late winter rains have turned trees and grass green and encouraged wildflowers to bloom. It’s the right time to take a drive either to a favorite place or a new destination with unfamiliar landscapes and roads. Whether your preferred scenery is mountains, deserts, forests, plains, or coastal views, there’s a road trip for you. You can plan a journey around your interests if you enjoy historic sites, regional food, wineries, or nature, you can plan a journey around your interests.
Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina
You’ll love springtime in the Great Smoky Mountains as the gorgeous wildflowers are in bloom with over 1,500 types dazzling in mid to late March to June. You’ll find perfect picnic weather at this time of year and it’s an ideal time to explore the most visited national parks in the U.S. Enjoy the 800 square miles of untouched wilderness while you enjoy a scenic hike to a waterfall or beautiful overlook. Horseback riding, fishing, ranger-led programs, wildlife viewing, and biking are other popular activities in the park.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
One of my favorite things about visiting national parks is the transformation that occurs in the landscape around me as I enter a park. The distinctive flora and unique geological features create an atmosphere that makes me feel as if I’m entering another world. Joshua Tree National Park is one of those magical places. The sharp angles of the Joshua tree forests are the foreground of a wonderland of gigantic granite boulders and rock outcroppings. It’s an otherworldly landscape that takes you back thousands of years. You feel as if you might see a dinosaur step out from behind one of the jumbo rock piles at any moment.
Trail of the Ancients, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona
Experience the beautiful and diverse landscapes of the Colorado Plateau on the Trail of the Ancients, a scenic route that travels through Southeastern Utah, Southwestern Colorado, and Northeastern Arizona. It connects some of the nation’s richest archaeological, cultural, and historic sites in a remote region teeming with towering sandstone formations, deep canyons, and iconic red buttes.
The adventure can begin at any point on the trail but many choose to start at the famed Four Corners Monument and then travel in a counter-clockwise circle. Along the way, you’ll see the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park and the archaeological sites of the Hovenweep National Monument. You’ll white-knuckle it down the hairpin turns of the Moki Dugway and marvel at the sandstone monoliths and pinnacles of the Valley of the Gods.
Shenandoah National Park
Skyline Drive takes you 105 miles through the park along the crest of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. This route stretches through Shenandoah National Park where warm spring weather brings purple and yellow violets, masses of pink azaleas, and white dogwood flowers.
Skyline Drive features 75 overlooks including Spitler Knoll, Range View, and Hogback, all of which offer unobstructed views across the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Picacho Peak State Park, Arizona
Winter showers make February and March wildflowers in the desert parks and create yet another reason to explore this beautiful region. During years of average and above average precipitation, it seems every direction you look there is beautiful yellow, red, white, orange, blue, or purple flowers blanketing the landscape. Arizona had a good, rainy winter so far, so our hopes are up for a bright blanket of flowers soon!
The contrast of vibrant flowers against the backdrop of green is a sight to behold so get your camera, comfortable outdoor shoes, and plenty of water and enjoy the rich colors across the state.
Picacho Peak is arguably one of the best spots to see blooming wildflowers and cactus in Arizona with bushels of incredible golden blooms throughout the park. The desert wildflowers here offer a unique and beautiful contrast to the green and brown hues of this Sonoran Desert park.
3. Back to Nature
Time spent outdoors in nature can have many health benefits including reducing stress and increasing cardiovascular health.
Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
The most significant undeveloped barrier island in the world, Padre Island National Seashore offers more than 130,000 acres of dunes, grasslands, and beaches―a national park and a haven for all sorts of family-friendly activities. Immerse yourself in the fauna and flora that populate this marshland environment with a short stroll along the Grasslands Nature Trail. Away from the beach, this trail offers a glimpse of animals that live inland including coyotes, deer, kangaroo rats, ghost crabs, and many others.
Apart from the actual sands of Malaquite Beach, Padre Island’s Visitors Center holds a breathtaking observation deck for wildlife viewing. Along Malaquite Beach, visitors scavenge for small shells deposited by north currents at Little Shell Beach and comb through the sands of Big Shell Beach for larger shell discoveries. Whichever activity you partake in, it’s safe to say that Padre Island National Seashore is a beachside paradise for a gorgeous getaway.
Bernheim Arboretum and Forest, Kentucky
Are you looking to connect with nature? Bernheim is the place to do it. With 16,140 acres of land in Bullitt and Nelson Counties in Kentucky, there is an adventure waiting for everyone. Purchased by German immigrant Isaac W. Bernheim in 1929, the land was dedicated as a gift to the people of his new homeland.
Whether it’s hiking one of the many trails, fishing in Lake Nevin, enjoying public art, reading under a tree, or taking part in a scheduled program, Bernheim offers visitors unique opportunities to connect with nature. Over 40 miles of trails with varying degrees of ease and difficulty weave their way through the forest at Bernheim meaning no matter what level you are looking for, there’s a trail for you.
4. Take a culinary tour of America
Go in search of fresh flavors this spring on a culinary trip across America.
For foodies, warmer weather means one thing: a host of new food festivals to attend where you can eat and drink across the country. Here are seven food festivals to put on your travel list this spring.
SoCal Taco Fest, San Diego, California, April 29, 2023
Vidalia Onion Festival, Vidalia, Georgia, April 20-23, 2023
Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, May 5-7, 2023
Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, Des Moines, Iowa, February May 12-13, 2023
Nantucket Wine & Food Festival, Nantucket, Massachusetts, May 17-21, 2023
Cheese Curd Festival, Ellsworth, Wisconsin, June 23-24, 2023
5. Go hiking
In my mind, there are few things more rejuvenating than hiking or walking in nature. One of the biggest reasons I fell in love with the RV lifestyle is that beautiful nature is so accessible wherever you are. It seems like I am always just minutes away from a spectacular trailhead. Whether I am hiking in the mountains or traversing trails in the desert, nature is a refuge—it’s a change of pace from city life, from being stuck inside, from being sedentary.
Blue Mesa Loop, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
This mile-long trail takes you into a landscape brushed in blue where you will find cone-shaped hills banded in a variety of colors and intricately eroded into unique patterns. Descending from the mesa this alternately paved and gravel trail loop offers the unique experience of hiking among petrified wood as well as these badland hills.
Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, Gulf State Park, Alabama
Gulf State Park features 28 miles of paved trails or boardwalks including seven trails of the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail complex that inspire visitors to explore the nine distinct ecosystems within park boundaries.
Big Trees Trail, Sequoia National Park, California
Located next to the Giant Forest Museum, the Big Trees Trail is one of the best short and easy hikes you can do in Sequoia. This loop trail takes you completely around the meadow and provides impressive views of numerous massive sequoias as well as the beautiful meadow itself.
Park Avenue Trail, Arches National Park, Utah
The 4-mile out and back hike is easy and has minimal elevation gain. Walk down into the vast canyon, passing endless rows of mesmerizing conglomerates on your way to the memorable Courthouse Towers. Along the way, enjoy long-range views of the La Sal Mountains as you walk by iconic formations such as the Organ, Sheep Rock, and Three Gossips.
Getting out and traveling can sometimes be the best way to kick the winter blues especially if you live somewhere that gets very little sunshine. Enjoying the beauty of spring in any one of these destinations is sure to help you recharge and reset. Whether you want to get out and hit the trails or simply sit back and enjoy an afternoon of peace somewhere with warmer temperatures, you’re sure to find a great trip on this list.
Come with me into the woods. Where spring is advancing as it does no matter what, not being singular or particular, but one of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.
Food festivals are great places to fill your plates beyond the level you ever thought possible
To celebrate a festival means: to live out, for some special occasion and in an uncommon manner, the universal assent to the world as a whole.
Food festivals are about community, cultural heritage, and putting copious amounts of tasty things in our mouths. From a chile festival in the Chile Capital of the World to a crawfish festival in the Crawfish Capital of the World, these fests are as notable for their vibes and photographability as they are for their food.
Allow me to present America’s best food festivals to look forward to in 2023. Roll up your sleeves and prepare to dig in. If anyone calls for me, I will be dressed as a cheese curd at the Cheese Curd Festival in Wisconsin.
Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
The world-famous Crawfish Festival began in 1960 as a spin-off of the Breaux Bridge Centennial Celebration. The Louisiana Legislature had just named Breaux Bridge the Crawfish Capital of the World in 1959. The festival is now known around the country and even the world. Every May, thousands of hungry people flock to Breaux Bridge to be part of the festivities.
The Crawfish Festival has also become one of the largest gatherings of world-famous Cajun musicians. All weekend long you can hear the sound of authentic Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop music rising from the festival. Whether your musical taste is Cajun or Creole, you can witness over 30 bands perform over the three-day event if you think you have the stamina. It’s a perfect opportunity to see our musical tradition passed from generation to generation. Watch the Cajun dance contests, and if you’re brave, join in. There’s no better way to learn. There are even Cajun music workshops held in the heritage tent.
Cheese Curd Festival
Of course, Wisconsin would be the only place appropriate for a cheese curd festival. Here in America’s Dairyland, these small squeaky bits of unaged baby cheddar are a ubiquitous snack, as magical as snowflakes with no two alike. And at the cheese curd festival in Ellsworth—the Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin, mind you—there are 6,000 pounds of cheese curds in every batch: fried, dipped, melted on tacos, slathered on poutine, served sweet in a cinnamon dessert curd, or smothered in marinara sauce, pizza-style. Pair them with hard cider, take in a classic car show, or show off your skills at the cheese curd-eating contest. There’s nothing cheesy about it.
Hatch Chile Festival
Hatch, New Mexico
September 1-3 (51st annual)
The Hatch Chile Festival, held annually in the Chile Capital of the World over Labor Day weekend includes chile roasting, food and craft vendors, contests and fun for the kids, a carnival, and entertainment provided by local businesses along with volleyball, soccer, and softball tournaments.
World Chicken Festival
You may not think you need to see the world’s largest steel skillet but what if it was attached to a chicken festival? That’s what you’ll find in Laurel County, the birthplace of both Kentucky Fried Chicken and the World Chicken Festival—four days of egg-ceptional activities like a Colonel Sanders motorcycle ride, a Rooster tail mullet contest, and plenty of cook-offs. While you’re there, make sure to check out the Sanders Café & Museum in Corbin where the original roadside restaurant has been restored to its 1940s layout and also where the magical 11 herbs and spices making up KFC’s original recipe were perfected. You still won’t find out what they are, though.
American Royal World Series of Barbecue
Kansas City, Kansas
September 27–October 1
America is not lacking in meaty barbecue festivals. From the Barbecue Festival (October 28; 38th annual) in Lexington, North Carolina specializing in the vinegar-dipped Lexington-style to Nevada’s Rib Cookoff (Nugget Casino, Sparks) to the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest (November 4-5; 14th annual) in Lockhart (the Barbecue Capital of Texas) and Jack Daniel’s World Championship Barbecue Invitational (October 13-14) in Lynchburg, Tennessee, you can get your meats dry-rubbed, slathered, whole-hog, boozy, smoked, ketchup- or mustard-based, and really, any other way you can dream up in all corners of the country.
But for the biggest barbecue bash—in the world, they say—head to the Kansas Speedway for four days of the region’s signature thick, sweet, tomato-based sauce, and western-style entertainment including a rodeo, equine events, and a livestock show. There’s a barbecue hall of fame ceremony and both an invitational and open competition where over 500 teams compete for meat supremacy. If that’s overwhelming then just maybe stop by the Kids Que where contestants aged 11 to 15 compete with steaks and little ones aged 6 to 10 go head to head with burgers.
Urbanna Oyster Festival
November 3-4 (67th annual)
An evolution of Urbanna Days that began in 1957, the Urbanna Oyster Festival as we know it today hosts over 50,000 people in the square mile town over two days. Visitors flock from all over to celebrate the oyster!
In 1988 it was designated as the “official” oyster festival of the Commonwealth of Virginia and maintains that title today.
Come by BOAT or come by LAND! The charming Town of Urbanna closes its streets for this big celebration of everything OYSTER! It’s foodie heaven with over 50 food vendors and every kind of OYSTER! Raw, steamed, roasted, Rockefeller, fried, stewed, oysters in a pot pie and festival food fare like BBQ and crab bisque!
Arts and crafts, antique auto shows, children’s activities, and live bands are spread throughout the town. The town marina offers historical boats and exhibits on the conservation of the Chesapeake Bay, watermen, and the oyster industry.
National Peanut Festival
Alabama just goes nuts for nuts, it seems. Over in Mobile, you can hit up the Alabama Pecan Festival (November 4–6) to down pies and see the annual crowning of the Pecan Queen.
But if peanuts are more your speed, it’s about a three-hour journey to the National Peanut Festival which promises a week’s worth of legume-themed activities. Located in the southeast corner of Alabama, Dothan is known as the Peanut Capital of the World and is a prime location for growing peanuts. If you’re in Dothan you’re in the heart of peanut country, considering the majority of all the peanuts grown in the United States are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan.
Come for the nutty fare and carnival foods and stay for the chainsaw art, sea lion splash, racing pigs, circus entertainers, and live concerts. Dothan, too, hosts a Peanut Queen parade alongside a raucous demolition derby.
Port Barre Cracklin Festival
Port Barre, Louisiana
November 9–12 (37th annual)
It’s gratons galore at this festival, a fundraiser for the Port Barre Lions Club that also benefits all who love fried pork skins. And they definitely get into it: Not only is there a Cracklin Cookoff but a Cracklin Festival Queen will be crowned, complete with a court.
There’s also a parade, carnival rides, music, and food to let you know you’re in Cajun Country, in case the zydeco wasn’t enough. Besides your cracklins (of course), you’ve got your regular boudin, boudin balls and egg rolls, sweet dough pies, crawfish bisque and fettucini, jambalaya, shrimp po-boys, meats on sticks, and cowboy stew, a simple and hearty concoction stocked with enough meat to fill up a herd of cowboys. And cowgirls.
Indio International Tamale Festival
December 1-3 (30th annual)
The Indio International Tamale Festival taking place every December is the largest festival in the world dedicated solely to the steamed savory treat. Visitors will see over 300 tamale vendors as well as live entertainment, interactive art spaces, beer gardens, craft stalls and, of course, the largest ever tamale. There is also a competition for the best tasting tamale.
Other bites available at the event include tacos, nachos, carne asada fries, funnel cake, ice cream and kettle corn. The festival is also known for its carnival rides and—since last year—the World’s Biggest Bounce House for kids and adults alike.
Live every day as if it is a festival. Turn your life into a celebration.
Was it an alien encounter, a weather balloon, or a flying saucer? The event known as the Roswell Incident quickly swept through the nation in 1947. The “UFO Capital of the World” is known internationally by UFO enthusiasts and deniers alike!
Beware, Earthlings, soon you will be abducted and dropped into a land full of alien fun. If you love UFOs, Sci-Fi, and all things extraterrestrial, the Roswell UFO Festival this summer is the place to be. This is the only RV road trip that will take you to outer space!
The Roswell UFO Festival is a 3-day event happening on July 1-3, 2022. This fest will be filled with tons of music, photo ops, and activities (most of them free) for everyone. This destination Festival will include plenty of immersive experiences, live music, local food, out-of-this-world photo ops as well as other family-friendly events happening all over the city.
This is a great place to visit if you plan to go on a road trip with family or friends this July. If you plan to stay for the three days, make camping reservations early since the fest is quite popular.
The festival will have guest speakers, space-loving authors, live entertainment, a costume contest, a light parade, a reenactment tour, and even the cutest pet costume contest (Saturday, 10 am), and parade. Family-friendly activities will also be part of the schedule. You will be learning how to create your very own alien hat and other fun crafts.
From the adorable ET to the vast alien universe of Star Wars, American Culture loves all things alien. But the city of Roswell plays an essential part in our fascination with UFO appearances beyond movies.
Roswell has been at the heart of the UFO scene since July 1947 when the military announced it had found the remains of a crashed UFO in the desert nearby.
Seventy-five years ago, a rancher named W.W. Mack Brazel checked his sheep after a thunderstorm and found debris made of a strange metal scattered in many directions. He noticed a shallow trench cut into the desert floor. As the story goes, Mac Brazel drove his rusty pickup to the county seat of Roswell to inform authorities that something had crashed and scattered metallic debris across his ranch land.
Figuring it must have come from the nearby Army airfield, officers accompanied him back to the ranch and what they witnessed in the desert has, in the decades since, mushroomed to become the most widely publicized event in UFO lore.
Days after something shiny crashed in the New Mexico desert, the Roswell Army Air Field issued a press release that said the military had recovered the remains of a “flying disc.” Although quickly discounted as erroneous, the announcement laid the groundwork for one of the most enduring UFO stories of all time. There had been 16 reported unidentified flying object sightings reported that year during the several months preceding what would be known as the Roswell Incident.
So—what is the truth? Well, plan to attend the Roswell UFO Festival and judge for yourself. Roswell has become the epitome of everything alien and is even called the “UFO Capital of the World.” The city is home to a UFO Museum and a planetarium that you can visit during the festival.
According to Will Rogers, Roswell was the prettiest little town in the west. Money magazine has called it one of the 10 most peaceful places to retire. Hugh Bayless, in his book, The Best Towns in America, listed Roswell as one of the 50 most desirable communities in which to live.
The festival is a loved tradition in the city of Roswell, so you’ll see people of all ages and backgrounds enjoying the festivities. Many will be wearing costumes, hats, makeup, matching outfits with their pets, or creating their own UFO vehicles for the parades.
Both UFO enthusiasts and skeptics alike are welcome to join the fun.
Besides the activities, parades, movie screenings, panels, and contests, you will also be able to shop alien and UFO unique souvenirs and presents and even have some awesome thematic food and drinks.
During the UFO Festival you will love the entire festivity in Roswell. But what to do if you arrive a week before or stay a few days after the festival?
Be sure to visit the world-famous UFO Museum and Research Center, Bottomless Lakes State Park, Bitter Lake Wildlife Refuge, Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art (free admission), Roswell Museum and Art Center (free admission), Walker Aviation Museum (free admission), Spring River Zoo (free admission), all of which are located in Roswell.
Looking for more fun near Roswell? You can plan a day trip to Carlsbad Caverns National Park or enjoy gaming at the Casinos and Ruidoso Downs race track in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Visit Lincoln and see where Billy the Kid made his last escape. There are countless sightseeing places you can explore in a day.
If you are ready to experience tons of alien fun, let this UFO festival “abduct” you this summer. You won’t regret it.
Turn off the main road or cruise up the Rappahannock River from the Chesapeake Bay to the the charming and friendly historic Colonial port town of Urbanna
Framed by a protected cove on Urbanna Creek off Rappahannock
River, the charming, historic Colonial port town of Urbanna is a Tidewater
Virginia gem. With the open waters of Chesapeake Bay a few nautical miles away,
Urbanna has more boats than people, according to locals.
Urbanna’s marinas, boutique shops, restaurants, galleries,
and trove of 18th century historic buildings are all within an easy stroll
through town, making for an enchanting visit and stay.
In 1649, Ralph Wormeley patented 3,200 acres on Rosegill Creek and the Rappahannock River. Landowners like Wormeley established plantations on Virginia’s navigable rivers, which they used as private ports, shipping tobacco directly to market without the inconvenience and expense of going through an official port of entry.
The 1680 Acts of Assembly at Jamestown changed all that by ordering local officials to create 20, 50-acre port towns in Virginia for 10,000 pounds of tobacco each, through which all trade would take place. A small part of Ralph Wormeley’s Rosegill that would, in 1705, be named Burgh of Urbanna, “City of Anne”, was one of them. The town was named in honor of England’s Queen Anne.
Rosegill Plantation consists of an impressive range of 18th
century buildings: a washhouse, the dwelling house, the kitchen, and a storage
house. The buildings standing today stylistically dated 1730-1750, a
significant example of colonial plantation architecture. The extensive nature
of the original complex makes Rosegill one of the oldest and most historic
estates in America.
Seven buildings in town have been in continuous use since the colonial period. Four of them are on the National Register of Historic Places. All are located in Urbanna’s historic district.
The James Mills Scottish Factor Store (also known as the Old Tobacco Warehouse), which now serves as the town’s Museum and Visitors’ Center, is where planters exchanged tobacco for immediate cash and credit to purchase imported goods for sale. The building, itself, is a valuable piece of history, being the only Scottish Factor Store (circa 1765?) left standing in North America. The Mitchell Map, proudly displayed inside, is also a valuable rarity. This is the first edition, 3rd impression of the map called “The most important map in the U.S,” published and printed in 1755.
Next door is the Gressitt House, where Urbanna’s Harbormaster once lived. Across the street is Little Sandwich, believed to have been the port town’s Customs House.
Up the hill you’ll find Middlesex County’s original courthouse. It’s one of only 11 colonial courthouses still standing in Virginia today.
Other very special places can be found all around the Town.
Cottage Row, a collection of quaint two story cottages built for supervisors of
Urbanna Manufacturing Company are located on Taylor Avenue.
In the downtown area you will find Bristow’s Store, which
first open its doors in 1876. Right down the street is Marshall’s Drug Store
where you can sit at the old fashioned soda fountain, right out of the 1950s.
Not far from the drug store is Haywood’s Variety Store. Built in 1875,
merchants in this location have operated under the name Haywood’s Store since
As the international sailing vessels of the colonial tobacco
trade yielded to Chesapeake Bay schooners, then steamboats, then the pleasure
boats of today, one thing remained constant—Urbanna’s history and fortunes are
one with the Bay.
During the Urbanna Cup Regatta in spring, captains of all
ages and skills gather at the Town Marina to race wooden 8-foot Cocktail Class
When leaves change color and the air is crisp, it’s time for
the Urbanna Oyster Festival—Virginia’s official Oyster Festival. The event
draws over 75,000 visitors to town the first weekend in November (62nd
Annual; November 1-2, 2019).
The family fun features oyster-inspired art, the centerpiece
parade with beauty queens and their courts from around Virginia, the hotly contested
Oyster Shucking Contest, a juried art show, a holiday house tour, concerts in
the park, street parades, boat parades, fireworks, and a monthly farmer’s
Come see what drew Ralph Wormeley to the verdant plateau
overlooking Urbanna Creek in 1649, where the famed plantation Rosegill became
one of the great houses of Virginia. And where Urbanna would become one of the
great, picturesque towns of Virginia!
A late summer getaway will make September’s arrival a bit easier to accept
September is a phenomenally underrated month for travel.
People seem to disqualify it because they associate it with childhood anxiety
about summer ending and going back to school.
Sure, summer is over on paper, but September ushers in that
all-too-brief summer sweet spot where surge pricing has ended while sunshine,
festival season, and warm nights remain. In places all over the country,
September vacations mean cheaper prices, better weather, and much smaller
Here are the best of them, for your consideration.
And be sure to catch up on all our recommendations for the best places to visit in June, July, and August.
For starters, September means the return of the annual Kentucky
Bourbon Festival to Bardstown. Each of those six days is loaded with bourbon
tastings, mixology classes, art displays, car shows, and food vendors, which works out to like,
746 things to do in total.
The events are a mix of ticketed and free, and there is a
designated Family Fun Area with train rides to distract the children while you
enjoy your jazz and cigars.
Then, later in the month and less than an hour away, you
have Louisville’s Bourbon & Beyond, a bourbon, music, and food festival.
And despite the theme, it’s open to anyone aged 5 and up.
Just outside of Gaffney, west of where SR-11 crosses over
I-85, the route’s colorful and scenic sightseeing begins at the unique
“Peachoid.” Towering at 135 feet, the Peachoid is actually a water tower for
the town of Gaffney that’s been realistically painted to look like a giant
peach perched high in the sky. The color of the peach is remarkably like the
palette changes of oaks, hickories, maples, and more during their varied stages
of fall colors.
Continuing on SR-11, worthwhile stops before Jones Gap State
Park include Cowpens National Battlefield, a fascinating Revolutionary War
site, and Campbell’s Covered Bridge (the only remaining covered
bridge in the state.
This charming riverboat town showcases the first city in
Ohio and the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory. Since then,
Marietta has blossomed into a revitalized main street community known for great
food, eclectic shops, and historic hotels. The fun doesn’t end there. There is
outdoor adventure galore to be found. Two Rivers, a National Forest and a
variety of parks, refuges and wetlands surround the area.
In addition to self-guided tours of the town and trips on
the Valley Gem sternwheeler, you can take trolley tours and Hidden
Marietta ghost tours.
The marquee event is the free 44th annual Ohio River
Sternwheel Festival, which brings 30-plus paddleboats and 100,000
visitors to town September 6-8 (2019); activities include Sunday boat
Lying at the edge of the Sacramento River Delta, Lodi enjoys
a classic Mediterranean climate of warm days and cool evenings, ideal for
growing wine grapes. For decades, Lodi has been producing an astounding amount
of wine grapes for countless wineries throughout California.
Wander historic downtown Lodi with century-old brick
buildings, brick-cobbled streets lined with elm trees and turn-of-the-century
light poles. You’ll love this area and the way the city has maintained its
history and heritage. Many unique shops, restaurants, and more than a dozen
wine tasting boutiques and exciting restaurants.
In Louisiana, fall’s arrival is signaled by many things:
cheers of “Geaux Tigers” and “Who Dat,” large black pots of steaming gumbo and
a calendar jam-packed with fairs and festivals. There are many great fall
festivals dedicated to Louisiana’s delicious foods. In Natchitoches, the Meat
Pie Festival in mid-September takes place in the historic downtown next to Cane
Head over to the Lake Charles area for the Boudin
Wars in Sulphur, where local chefs and restaurants battle for the
title of best boudin. Sample a wide variety of the tasty Cajun sausage and vote
for the winner.
Grand Canyon National
Admire the grandeur and wonders of the Grand Canyon, a powerful and inspiring landscape that overpowers our senses through its immense size. You won’t find similar mixtures of color and erosional formations anywhere else.
The canyon is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and
about a mile deep, according to the National Park Service. Just about
everywhere you look the views are amazing and the sheer size of it can be
Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss
by going too fast—you miss the sense of where you’re going and why.