A Hotel Designed to Make You 'Gasp,' Boat Rides in the Everglades, and an Inn Deep Inside a Canyon: 15 of America's Favorite Local Vacation Experiences These local BnBs and travel experience companies are guaranteed to make your vacation memorable.
Entrepreneur asked Yelp to dig into its data, to reveal which ones America loved the most. Together we created America's Favorite Mom & Pop Shops, a list of 150 local, independently owned and operated businesses across 10 categories — including, yes, hotels, B&Bs, and travel.
To see every category, as well as the methodology behind the list, click here. Below are the 15 companies included in the hotel, B&Bs, and travel category.
Note: Some businesses may have multiple locations. Only one location is listed for each.
1. The Vine House Bed & Breakfast
Located in the middle of wine country, this family-operated bed and breakfast is a real hit among travelers. It is within one mile of seven different award-winning wineries, making for great accommodations for anyone looking to experience the best wineries in a relaxing space.
The rooms are accommodated with king size beds, fireplaces and gourmet breakfasts. Vineyard view patios are also an option. The property backs up to a 10-acre vineyard.
Cheryl R. writes on Yelp, "It is spectacularly gorgeous. The rooms are so spacious and the amenities are top notch. You do not get a bad room at this place!"
2. The Chadwick Bed & Breakfast
This home was built in 1891 and converted into a bed and breakfast over 40 years ago. The Portland, Maine area has so much to do that travelers can use the property as a retreat at the end of a long day or use the property itself as a vacation getaway. The classic architecture, the food served, and the surroundings on the premises are a vacation in and of itself.
Breakfast seems to be a resounding hit among reviewers of this property. Kim B. notes on Yelp that when it comes to the servings, "Not a detail was forgotten." In fact, nearly every review on Yelp notes how fantastic the breakfast is.
3. Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Tours
Taking you into the heart of the Navajo nation, this touring company will get you out to the legendary Secret Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Overlook. Plus, there's an option for Horseshoe Bend rafting for those that are up to it.
These are some of the most scenic overlooks in the entire United States, and group tours are kept below 15 people to make them more personal. Christopher Y. notes on Yelp, "If you want plenty of time to explore, learn about Navajo culture from a local and truly experience the sights you want to see, this is the tour to do!"
4. Spoke and Vine Motel
This motel is the creation of a husband-and-wife team with backgrounds in hospitality and property management. They have renovated an old roadside motel building to create an entirely new, hip experience for patrons. They've recently opened a motel bar as well, featuring great cocktails and local drinks.
Travelers rate this spot in the Grand Valley very highly, noting that it is within walking distance of wine, beer, mead and everything else this area of Colorado has to offer. In particular, reviewers love the beds and the fact that coffee and breakfast are brought to each room every morning.
5. The Motor Lodge
Located just blocks from Courthouse Square and Whiskey Row, this boutique hotel is earning rave reviews as a must-stay in the Prescott-area. With the feel of an old roadside motel, there are just 13 rooms at the establishment. Each room is unique.
Rooms have shared and private patios, which earn high marks from travelers. Reviewers note that they like the establishment's funky and retro vibes, as well as its proximity to historic downtown Prescott. Lyndsey E. writes on Yelp, "Staying at this motor court felt like a step back in time with modern amenities."
6. FivePine Lodge & Conference Center
Earning AAA's 4 Diamond rating, this classic-style lodge stands out above the rest in the area. Each cabin (there are also rooms in the main lodge) is accommodated with a king-sized bed, a waterfall soaking tub, fireplace, private balcony/patio and a complimentary hosted wine reception. The gourmet breakfast also earns high marks.
Additionally, reviewers love the gourmet coffee and tea service, as well as the on-site athletic club, spa, moviehouse and fine dining. There's access to bicycles for exploring the surrounding area, as well as access to hiking trails.
7. Everglades River of Grass Adventures
Everglades River of Grass Adventures has been earning top-tier reviews since 2012. Visitors love the small, custom airboats they use to explore the Everglades and surrounding area — where alligator-spotting in pretty much guaranteed.
These tours will take you deep into the Everglades, giving you glimpses of unique wildlife and plants in the process. Reviewers note the awe of enjoying this area of the country's unique great outdoors, as well as the tour guides' friendly lessons.
Jilly B. on Yelp says that her family "had the best time learning about the native species and the unique ecosystem" and called it " the best hands-on nature study we have ever done."
8. Ray's Bucktown B&B
Located just outside of downtown Chicago, Ray's Bucktown B&B offers the chance to experience the Windy City's legendary Wicker Park/Bucktown area. It's also just a few blocks from Logan Square.
The building offers 11 unique rooms, as well as a sauna. The location is modeled after small European hotels. You'll be hard-pressed to find a review that doesn't mention the establishment's cooked-to-order breakfast that is served every morning. There is unique decor throughout, reflecting the owner's global travels, as well as some nods to the local history of Chicago.
9. The Roxbury
An extremely unique location near the Catskills, The Roxbury is an experience in and of itself. Called "one of the most amazing hotels in the entire country" by HGTV, and featuring themed rooms and suites, the establishment aims to wow their customers the minute they open the door to their room.
The Roxbury's website says that "if you do not at least smile (and hopefully sometimes gasp) when you open the door to your room, then we have not done our job." Judging by the feedback from customers, they are succeeding. The terms "enchanted" and "magical" are commonplace in traveler reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor.
10. Blue Swallow Motel
Located on historic Route 66, this establishment wants to give its guests an experience of what it was like to travel on the road back in the 1940s and 1950s. You experience history here in a building that was originally built in 1939. It features vintage furniture and decor in the restored rooms, as well as neon signs outside and garages attached to each room.
The Blue Swallow earns high marks from travelers who have stayed during their Route 66 adventures. Erin C. on Yelp notes, "The rooms are adorable and retro furnished. The neon lights and evening vibe cannot be beat.
11. Savannah Taste Experience
Take a trip through historic Savannah via a three-hour walking and tasting tour. During this experience, customers will see the cultural landmarks, architecture and historic sites of the city while also indulging in some of the best food that is part of the local tradition.
Reviewers like that the tour groups are kept to a manageable size — 12 people or less — which makes it easy to hear the tour guide and partake in all the activities. They also like how well-versed the tour guides are in the history of the city, and say they learn lots of information in an engaging and entertaining way.
12. Desert Pearl Inn
Near the Virgin River and Zion National Park, the Desert Pearl Inn is a great location for a retreat or romantic getaway. It's built inside a deep canyon, meaning you can enjoy stargazing at night and great outdoor activities during the day.
Guests view red rock formations along the river outside of their room. And what about the room itself? You will be surrounded by stone walkways and stucco, with framing done via Douglas fir and redwoods that were taken from a 100-year-old railroad trestle that used to cross the Great Salt Lake.
Reviewers love the balconies, clean amenities and the ability to walk to your destinations.
13. Rachael's Dowry Bed & Breakfast
This highly rated bed and breakfast is in Baltimore's Ridgely's Delight neighborhood, and is walking distance from the inner harbor. It is surrounded by homes built in the 18th and 19th centuries, allowing visitors to experience history in an immersive way.
The home was originally built by a brick baron, and George and Martha Washington were once hosted here in 1798. Reviewers love how quiet the neighborhood is, along with the home's beautiful gardens, parlor room and library (with complimentary tea), and the two-course gourmet breakfast.
14. Bobby's Bike Hike - Chicago
Bobby's Bike Hike was created out of a love of travel — and family. It was founded by Jeremy Lewno, who grew up in Arkansas and spent his twenties traveling Europe. Then he moved to Chicago in 2002 and created Bobby's, which he named after his late father, who operated a tour bus and taught his son a love of travel.
Today, Bobby's remains a great way to see the city up close and enjoy the 18 mile lakefront while being environmentally and culturally conscious. In addition to bicycle tours, the company also offers walking and food tours. Or you can just rent a bike from them and be on your way to take in everything on your own.
Lake Geneva, WI
Want to get away from the kids, and enjoy a quiet retreat with your partner? That's very specifically what SevenOaks is for. It's a couples-only bed and breakfast, where couples can recharge just minutes from the shore of Lake Geneva in southeastern Wisconsin.
Guests who stay here are presented with their own private cottage. Reviewers love the relaxation and privacy that this ensures, as well as the personalized touches upon arrival such as the chalkboard outside with the guest's name on it. Reviewers also note how much they appreciate the clean amenities, complimentary wine, crackers, and daily breakfast that is brought to each cottage.