the minnow road trip, travel guide

we're gearing up for the ultimate cross country minnow road trip. starting in our east coast charleston, sc hub and ending at our new minnow store (and our hometown) newport beach, ca. 

we called on boutique luxury travel agency, arbiter travel, to dream up the perfect escape. we love founder lauren's knack for designing bespoke experiences with concierge-style planning with a focus on family travel. plus she is a mama to the cutest 1.5 year old boy who has already logged some enviable travel (in minnow, of course!). 

we'll be sharing our journey with you all week on instagram with a new destination each day. of course we'll be packing our favorite resort '21 suits for the #thegreatminnowroadtrip !

 we're starting our #minnowroadtrip in charleston, sc (aka founder morgan smith's current home city). pretend that you live here too by checking into zero george , an intimate boutique hotel set in five renovated homes + carriage houses from the 1800's, in the historic (and quieter) ansonborough neighborhood. or, if a hotel pool is a must, then you'll want to call belmond charleston place home. their stunning rooftop pool has a retractable glass roof, so your littles can play no matter the weather. 

while you're there...

 

don't forget to pack your minnow!

 

 

through the carolinas to tennessee you go, for your first day heading west! you'll arrive in the great smoky mountains in the afternoon, and within minutes you'll never want to leave blackberry mountain. this relais & chateaux property has the most incredible, farm-fresh food, an amazing spa, and enough activities and excursions to keep even the busiest of littles entertained. 

while you're there...

  • - it wouldn't be a road trip without some camping (but make it luxe). camp under the stars one night, complete with a guided hike to a prepared campsite, and a chef-prepared meal in the wild. 
  • - spend some time on hesse creek fly fishing and taking in the scenery.
  • - explore the great smoky mountains with a nature hike, on mountain bikes, or even rock climbing. 
  • - send the little ones to live their best lives at camp blackberry, which combines outdoor adventures and creative fun. they also have movie and camping nights. (private camp sessions can be arranged as well.)
  • - spend a day on the mountain lake via canoe, kayak, stand-up paddle board, or wake boat. 
  • - visit sister property blackberry farm for a special dinner in the barn or "afield," as they call their special outdoor dining experiences. 

 

don't forget to pack your minnow!

 

hit the road bright and early for one of your longer drive days (if you want to break up the trip, consider stopping in nashville, memphis, hot springs, or dallas, all of which are en route). once you arrive in austin, you'll want to check right in to the newly opened commodore perry estate, an oasis set on 10 private acres - giving you the best of both worlds with city and resort life. it will be hard to leave - the design here is perfection, the exterior is a pastel dream, and the pool gives major slim aarons vibes. 


while you're there...

 

don't forget your minnow suits!

get ready for a longer drive today. stock the car with snacks and sandwiches from dia's market, and get ready to see a lot more of texas through the car windows. it'll be nightfall when you arrive to santa fe, nm, and you'll be very happy to jump into the luxurious beds at four seasons resort rancho encantado santa fe. (might be worth some in-room massages for mama and dad after the littles go to bed after a full day in the car too.)


while you're there...

 

don't forget your minnow suits!

you're a road warrior now, so today's drive will seem like a walk in the [national] park. spend a leisurely morning in town with breakfast at café pasqual's, and arrive to dunton, co. by the afternoon. dunton hot springs is a 19th century ghost town (it was meticulously restored out of the ruins of an 1880s mining town) turned luxury property. it's located about an hour from telluride, for context - though you really won't want to leave. 
while you're there...
  • - relax in the many different hot springs on property. 
  • - as all meals are included, you won't need to leave to find delicious local food. the dunton chefs use local and regional ingredients for farm-to-table dishes, and create new menus each day. guests eat at one long table in the saloon for a family-style experience. 
  • - go on a family trail ride or hike through the mountains
  • - in the winter, don't miss the dogsledding, sleigh rides, iceskating and snowshoeing. 
  • - take advantage of the screening room that can be set up in the dance hall for family movie night. 
  • - get in on the fun with a scavenger hunt or lawn games. 

 

don't forget to pack your minnow suits!

it's sad to leave such a magical place, but don't worry, your penultimate stop is actually under the same ownership as dunton, so you're keeping it in the family. on the way out, stop by sister-property sutcliffe vineyards (who knew you could wine taste in colorado?) for a quick taste. a few hours later and you'll arrive at amangiri (or their new camp sarika). this jaw-dropping property will make the whole drive worth it, we promise. 

while you're there...
  • - spend as much time as possible in the stunning infinity pool overlooking the vast desert. 
  • - take a day trip to spend a day on a boat on lake powell
  • - all meals are included, but if you get bored of the dining room you can have your dinner set up at a native american chinle site, on the sunset trail, or en suite. 
  • - send the kids off to dig for dinosaurs - literally, with the onsite paleontologist. 
  • - do a morning hike through the slot canyons, monument valley, and/or horseshoe bend (or hire a helicopter to see from above). 
  • - roast marshmallows and have s'mores under the stars - we won't know if you'll ever see this many stars at night. 

 

don't forget to pack your minnow suits!

just a few hours from amangiri and you'll reach otherworldly zion national park. check into a family ten at under canvas zion. it's glamping at it's finest - you'll feel off the grid (no electricity - each tent comes with LED lanterns and battery packs) but still civilized (comfortable beds, WiFi, running water, private bathrooms). 

while you're there...

  • - wake up early and hike the narrows - be sure to rent water shoes, a walking stick, and waterproof bag (bring a picnic lunch too!). and if you have a very little one, definitely get a hiking backpack to carry them in. 
  • - since parking can be tricky, rent e-bikes and use those to the different hiking trails, like east mesa trail to observation point
  • - hike the watchman trail at sunrise - the lighting on the rocks is spectacular. 
  • - do the emerald pool trail loop to spot a beautiful waterfall and dip in the various pools. 
  • - if your kids aren't up for all those hikes, do a jeep tour and go off-roading around the park. 
  • - saddle up for a horseback ride through the canyon trails. 
  • - end the night stargazing with s'mores right outside your tent. 

 

don't forget to pack your minnow suits!

 

it's the homestretch, one last drive til our final destination. make a pitstop for lunch at in-n-out burger (it's not a road trip without it!), and stop for a photo-opp at seven magic mountains art installation just outside of las vegas. all this driving will all be worth it when you reach the iconic pacific coast highway

your first stop in california? the minnow store in lido marina village, of course! after shopping, walk over for a glass of rosé and some farm-fresh food at malibu farm. then it's back in the car for a quick 20 minute drive down the coast to the montage laguna beach, your home for the last leg of the trip. treat yourself to a cocktail while the kids roast s'mores around the fire pit - you made it cross - country! 

don't forget to pack your minnow suits for the beach!

*ask about the arbiter perks at all of these hotels when booking through arbiter travel co. 

 

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