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Groups Find Riverside Recreation in Winona, Minnesota


Scenic and historic Winona, Minnesota, is a great destination for group tours. Brimming with history, music, art, and outdoor recreation, this charming city has a wide array of activities to ensure an exciting travel experience for all visitors. Contact Visit Winona to start planning your tour today. 


Not sure where to start on your Winona travel experience? The Winona County Historical Society and Visit Winona can coordinate step-on guides for bus tours to get an overview of the city. Based on your group’s interests, you can see Winona’s top attractions, view the river valley from atop the bluffs, tour museums, and more. 

Groups can also explore Winona’s Windom Park Historic District with the help of local guides. This architecture and history tour sheds light on Winona in the late 1800’s, when the city allegedly had the most millionaires per capita in the United States. Tour highlights include a stop by the statue of the legendary figure We-no-nah, the namesake of the city. 

Boats and Bluegrass Festival
Boats and Bluegrass Festival
Credit: Visit Winona


Winona is an artistic city with plenty of creative activities and events. In addition to its own plentiful art galleries and local performance venues, Winona plays host to popular live music events, including Minnesota Beethoven Festival, the Boats and Bluegrass Festival, the Mid West Music Festival. 

From June through the end of July, groups can take in performances at The Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF). Each year, the talented company performs multiple works by the Bard, in what Talkin’ Broadway calls “an essential part of summer in Minnesota.” In addition to attending the play, the audience can participate in behind-the-scenes tours, workshops, and panel discussions with the cast and crew. 

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum’s (MMAM) education programs and art exhibitions explore mankind’s relationship with water. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, the museum’s six galleries contain contemporary exhibitions and historic artworks. Schedule a guided tour focused on three specific galleries, then wander the MMAM’s 3.5 acres of gardens with over 60,000 native plants. 


Winona is in the gorgeous bluff region, a unique geographic area that offers myriad hiking and biking trails. Sugar Loaf Bluff might be Winona’s most famous landmark, offering excellent views of the surrounding area. The hike up to this nearly 85-foot bluff is only 20 minutes long, making it easy to incorporate into a busy day of exploring. 

The National Eagle Center has two floors of exhibits on regional history of the Dakota peoples and other residents, the environment of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge, and the history of eagles in the U.S. Book a tour with a live eagle ambassador and follow local experts to observe nest sites, Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, and other wildlife. Group discounts are available.

Get out on the water with the Winona Tour Boat. This narrated boat tour covers the history of Winona and its relationship to the mighty Mississippi River as it floats by the commercial port, barge systems, and famous boat house community. Not only will your group get a unique perspective on the city’s history, but it’s a great opportunity to spot eagles, turtles, deer, and more of Winona’s native wildlife.

Lead Image:
Winona’s river valley from atop the bluffs
Credit: Visit Winona

Frankfort Tourist Commission


True lovers of Kentucky know that the literal and figurative heart of this gracious southern state is the capital city of Frankfort, perfectly positioned on the shores of the Kentucky River between Louisville and Lexington. Frankfort embodies the essence of everything that makes Kentucky special from her natural charm and beauty to her brains to her world-renowned bourbon, all in one distinctly small but spirited package.

You could say that Frankfort is Kentucky Distilled.

Frankfort Tourist Commission

Contact: Robin Antenucci
300 Saint Clair St
Suite 102
Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: (502) 875-8687
Fax: (502) 227-2604
Email: rantenucci@visitfrankfort.com
Web: visitfrankfort.com


Three Acts, Four Courses


Watch a show, enjoy a meal—the combination is simple, effective, and indulgent. Here, we’re highlighting Midwest dinner theaters with performance seasons that span genres, from Broadway to kids’ plays.

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres in Minnesota rose out of cornfields more than 50 years ago and is the country’s largest professional dinner-theater complex, according to its website. Famously, it gave Oscar-nominated actor Amy Adams her start. Boasting an on-site restaurant in Excelsior, Minnesota, Old Log Theatre puts on musicals and kids’ shows as the state’s oldest professional theater, open since 1940. Along with regular programming, the Seasons Dinner Theatre, north of the Twin Cities, presents a new Christmas show each year, penned by the theater company’s husband-wife owners.

Minnesota’s neighbor, Wisconsin, has several unique dinner theater experiences that offer a special, local touch. In Fort Atkinson, The Fireside Dinner Theatre has an acclaimed Friday fish fry in addition to seven-show seasons of classic musicals. Farther south in Iowa, Browns Century Theater came to be after the Brown family bought a former bank in Le Mars. (The dinner theater also chronicles goings-on in a YouTube show, “Hometown With the Browns.”)

A performance of 'Carrying The Banner,' Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Chanhassen, Minnesota.
A performance of ‘Carrying The Banner,’ Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Chanhassen, Minnesota.
Credit: Chanhassen Dinner Theatre/Rich Ryan

Heading to Chicago on your next group tour? There are plenty of opportunities for dinner and a show along the way. At Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse in Rock Island, Illinois, the servers perform, too, in a historic 1921 venue, only three and a half hours west of Chicago. Also three hours west of Chicago is Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater, which pairs a spooky supper-club vibe with comedic musical performances in Galena. In Chicago itself, a building once owned by mobster Frank Nitti is now home to Nitti’s Supper Club, which hosts musical gangster shows with dancing and audience participation.

Indiana boasts several historic dinner theater companies. At Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, “beef” refers to roast beef carved before shows. After opening in the ’70s, this Indianapolis theater is the only remaining outpost of a chain, covering Broadway shows, children’s plays, and more. Derby Dinner Playhouse draws audiences from Indiana and Kentucky, putting on musicals and light comedies. Open since 1974, it’s one of the oldest and biggest continually operating professional dinner theaters in the nation, according to the website. Arena Dinner Theatre puts on seven shows per year in an old, renovated theater with an on-site kitchen in Fort Wayne, Indiana. For a decade before that, it built its reputation as a traveling theater company.

In Ohio, La Comedia Dinner Theatre has paired dinner—including a “famous” sweet potato soufflé—with Broadway offerings, between Dayton and Cincinnati, since 1975. Groups can expect innovative multicourse meals at Noble Art Entertainment, which shows original work in three performances a year, ranging from literary to slapstick. Wacky themed musical numbers debut at the Ohio Theatre Lima, in Lima, Ohio, with open-mic nights and Wednesday dinners.

Story by Katherine Lawless & Erik Tormoen

Main Image: ‘Sister Act’ at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Chanhassen, Minnesota. Credit: Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust
209 S. LaSalle St, Ste 118
Chicago, IL 60604
Phone: 312-994-4020
Fax: 708-848-1248
Email: ctrevino@flwright.org
Web: flwright.org

Itinerary: Annapolis, Maryland



Explore the ecology, history, and art inspired by the Chesapeake Bay at the Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park. Just outside the museum, watch the boats glide along the waters or take a private tour of this famous bay on the famous skipjack, the Wilma Lee.


If your group is feeling inspired by their trip to the maritime museum, take to the waters with an afternoon boat cruise. Watermark, a company shepherding sightseers around the Annapolis area since the 1970s, allows groups to enjoy the bay breeze as they listen to a 40-minute narrated story of the city and cruise past historic Annapolis and the banks of the U.S. Naval Academy. 


Learn about Chesapeake Bay’s impressive biodiversity through the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s free outdoor hiking tour. A docent leads groups across marsh boardwalks and along forest paths, sharing knowledge about groundbreaking research, climate change, and the unique relationship between land and sea. 


There’s plenty to do on land in Annapolis, too. Depending on your travel dates, groups can join in on the spirit of camaraderie and watch the U.S. Naval Academy football team play at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium or check out Annapolis’ newest team, the Annapolis Blues Football Club. It’s sure to be one of the highlights of your visit! 

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Credit: Annapolis & Arundel County


Speaking of the U.S. Naval Academy, no trip to Annapolis is complete without a walking tour of the campus, which can be arranged through the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center. Venture into The U.S. Naval Academy Museum to see a beautiful display of artifacts, then make way to the Naval Academy Chapel to marvel at the towering dome and colorful stained-glass windows. Underneath the chapel, groups can pay their respects at the final resting place of John Paul Jones, aka the “Father of the American Navy.” Plus, check out the gift shop and museum while you’re there. 


Visit Annapolis & Arundel County

Main Image: Annapolis Harbor. Credit: Visit Annapolis & Arundel County/Bob Peterson

Find New Adventures in Classic Group Tour Destinations


Places become popular for a reason. Maybe they are easy to get to, have lots to do, or offer plenty of choices for a diverse group of travelers. Maybe even all three. Even if it has been a while since you’ve visited some of the locales mentioned on the following pages, no worries—this quick guide will show you how to explore your favorite familiar cities in a brand-new way. From underrated venues to refreshed city centers, groups still find plenty to discover in these classic spots.


Looking for America’s top live music show destination? Then look no further than Branson, Missouri, which has more than 100 live shows each day, including comedy, dinner shows, and nationally recognized musicals and theater productions. While it’s a hugely popular locale in the summer months, it has also been gaining a reputation as a warm-weather destination in the fall, when the foliage is on full display, and in November and December, when the entire town gets into the holiday spirit. And for group tour operators who might have been away for a while, you’ll be pleased to see new all-inclusive, world-class resorts surrounding the city and on the banks of Table Rock Lake.

Presleys’ Country Jubilee,
Credit: Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

The “Colonial Capital” of Virginia might be known for its restoration activities and re-creation of 18th-century America at Colonial Williamsburg, but it has become so much more. One of America’s first planned cities, it continues to innovate and improve even today. The world’s largest living history museum is now full of participatory experiences group tour attendees will love.

Headed to Georgia? “Savannah is now on every person’s bucket list,” says Anjuli King, director of group tour and entertainment at Visit Savannah. “If you haven’t been here in a while, it’s good to know the city has grown quite a bit over the past few years, especially with the launch of a new entertainment district called the Plant Riverside District, which has a grand array of restaurants, retail shops, natural art collections, boutique hotels, and chic rooftop bars. We also have the brandnew Enmarket Arena, home to entertainment, sports, and concerts.”

Skyline of the Historic District,
Credit: Visit Savannah

Meanwhile, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited national parks. While the mountainous backdrop never changes, the cities in the area are always evolving to offer new experiences for travelers. “Pigeon Forge is a year-round destination that celebrates four distinct seasons and has so many entertainment, dining, and shopping options,” says Mike Gwinn, senior sales manager of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “Each year, we promise and deliver on new shows, attractions, and restaurants to explore.” And in nearby Sevierville, “Our historic downtown has really come into its own,” adds Amanda Marr, director of marketing and communications for the Chamber of Commerce. “A recently completed streetscape program has enhanced the area’s historic nature and attracted new shopping, dining, and nightlife options.


If there’s truly one destination that is sure to please all customers, it has to be New York City. Those who haven’t been to the city in a while will want to include a visit to Hudson Yards, the brand-new built-up neighborhood with a 1-million-square-foot, 100-store retail center; restaurants; cultural performance venue The Shed; a 5-acre smart park; and Vessel, the iconic metal beehive. It’s also home to Edge, which is the city’s highest observation deck.

The Shops Restaurants at Hudson Yards,
Courtesy of Related Oxford

The second-largest city on the East Coast, Philadelphia offers groups a welcoming big-city environment while being an easy-tonavigate city of neighborhoods, says Gregg Caren, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. “In the past few years, we’ve welcomed many new attractions, hotels, and museums, including the dual Marriott-branded W Philadelphia and Element Philadelphia Downtown hotels, and the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center, located in the historic Old City neighborhood,” he says.


The Grand Canyon in Arizona is a must-see stop for many group tours, and these days visitors can choose adventure options like helicopters
and white-water rafting, or more leisurely choices like traveling the Bright Angel Trail by mule or riding the Grand Canyon Railway between Arizona, Williams, and the South Rim. It’s a 64-mile trip that offers stunning canyon views from the comfort of a railway car.

If your tour attendees haven’t visited Denver, Colorado, in a few years, prepare to be surprised. One of the biggest restorations in the city’s history, the iconic 16th Street Mall will debut next year. Your group will find wider sidewalks, a new amenity zone, and Free Mall Ride shuttle
service. The renovation will also replace and expand the existing tree canopy, creating a refreshing green space in the center of the city.

Downtown Denver,
Credit: Unsplash/Logan Bonjean

Taking a tour of California’s stunning national parks? “The Southern Yosemite region is a treasure trove for group tour operators,” says Brooke Smith, director of sales and marketing for Visit Yosemite. “It’s the perfect destination for travelers looking for natural beauty and adventure. From the towering sequoias of Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park to the sparkling waters of Bass Lake, there is something for everyone in this stunning part of California.” But there’s still a taste of urban life in nearby Oakhurst, which has a growing variety of restaurants, shops, and hotels.

South Dakota is another popular place for group tours visiting the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore. “Rapid City has diverse area attractions that are able to easily accommodate groups of varying sizes,” says Shelby Solano, destination manager of Visit Rapid City. “While we’re the gateway to national parks, monuments, and attractions in the American West and the Black Hills, we’re also the largest city in western South Dakota, with big-city amenities and a thriving culinary scene. New offerings include a narrated trolley tour, newly renovated lodging, and several restaurants that have opened in Rapid City in the last few years.”

Mount Rushmore, Credit: Dennis Guten/Unsplash


With abundant natural beauty, dramatic skylines, exciting professional sports teams, award-winning theater, renowned restaurants, and a booming craft beer scene, Minneapolis and St. Paul are favorites for group tour operators all year long. Plus, there are lots of new spaces and places all over the metro, says Casey Kluver, global tourism sales manager for Meet Minneapolis. “And we have many new food halls, including nationally recognized Malcolm Yards Market, and our latest, Eat Street Crossing,” Kluver says.

On the eastern side of the Midwest, immerse your group in Amish culture. “There’s no doubt about it—visitors to Indiana’s Cool North love everything Amish,” at least according to Indiana’s Cool North website, which adds, “The scrumptious food, intricate hand-stitched quilts, finely crafted furniture, horse-drawn buggies, and quiet farmsteads are truly captivating.” One highlight is The Barns at Nappanee, with sightseeing, shopping, dining, and evening theater performances.

Amish Meal in Elkhart County, Credit: Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Written by Julie Kendrick

Main Image: Big Bus Tour in Philadelphia, Credit: K Huff for Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

Discover the West’s Roadside Attractions

Cadillac Ranch, Credit: Amarillo Convention & Visitors Bureau

For group tours traversing the West, roadside attractions are a creative way to help travelers break up the monotony of a long drive. Providing opportunities to segment a longer travel day between major hubs creates additional experiences for the group, ultimately increasing the value of the trip. Whether traveling along storied roads like Route 66 or major arteries like Interstate 10, travelers will find a variety of roadside attractions and quirky landmarks on the journey. These iconic sites capture the imagination of travelers and offer a unique story to add to travelers’ diaries.

America’s Main Street

Route 66, the Main Street of America, connects the heartland of the U.S. to the Pacific. Its popularity soared after World War II, thanks to books, songs, and movies, and it is once more on the rise as travelers explore sites and roadside attractions across the country.

Cadillac Ranch is a popular art installation along Route 66 that features a row of half-buried Cadillacs. The cars have been covered with layers of spray paint, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own spray paint to contribute to the ever-changing artwork. Aside from the great photos, it makes for an interactive and creative stop between Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Cadillac Ranch,
Credit: Amarillo Convention & Visitors Bureau

Natural wonders dot the landscape, too. The Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona is an explorer’s wonderland. The landscape includes unique rock formations, fossils, and Native American heritage sites that can be explored via scenic drives and hiking trails. Located just shy of a two-hour drive from Flagstaff, this national park is a great way to break up a long bus ride.

Roy’s Motel and Cafe in Amboy, California, is one of the final stops on America’s Mother Road. Neon sign enthusiasts will recognize this as one of the most famous signs on Route 66. The sign illuminates at sundown, and groups can arrange to turn on the light as they turn up the fun. A nearby cafe invites travelers to find a seat at the 1950s-era counter and enjoy a custom soda float as they browse binders of photos and other keepsakes.

Icons of I-10

The Thing in Dragoon, Arizona, offers a mix of curiosities that transforms a typical pit stop into a fun stop for tourists. Billboards build the anticipation for this special stop between Tucson and El Paso. Here, all the most famous conspiracies are explained. The Bermuda Triangle? Aliens. The extinction of the dinosaurs? Aliens. The imaginative gallery will certainly spark conversations on the motorcoach.

The Thing Gallery,
Credit: Myles Erwin (Bowlin Marketing)

Enormous dinosaur sculptures are visible from I-10 and make for a fun and unique photo opportunity just west of Palm Springs, California. The Cabazon Dinosaurs have a special place in pop culture—they’ve been featured in cult classics like “The Wizard” and “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.” The towering structures are often painted to fit the theme of the holidays. An open-air museum and large picnic area make this a must-visit stop for groups.

The Taste of Travel

Food is an integral part of any road trip, and the open road delivers an unforgettable culinary experience. From the classic “greasy spoon” diners serving mouthwatering burgers and shakes to roadside stands offering local delicacies, the highway offers a full buffet of options between the hub cities. Don’t forget to try a slice of pie at the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas, claiming the title of “Halfway to Everywhere,” or Miz Zip’s diner in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Written by Michael McLaughlin

Main Image: Cadillac Ranch, Credit: Amarillo Convention & Visitors Bureau

Itinerary: Tampa Bay, Florida


Dive into Tampa Bay, Florida’s rich history, diverse culture, and thriving sports community on your next group tour.


Start your Tampa Bay journey with a Ybor City Historic Walking Tour. This locally owned company offers guided tours that illuminate the city’s history of cigar manufacturing, organized crime, and haunted hot spots. Groups can also independently explore Soulwalk, an arts and heritage trail that dives into the rich history of Tampa Bay’s Black communities and highlights the diverse creative community that thrives there today. Depending on your group’s interests and schedule, mix and match stops at nearly 100 public art installations, historic landmarks, museums, cemeteries, and more intriguing sites. Soulwalk can be explored by foot, bike, or motorcoach.

Ybor City and TECO Street Car,
Credit: Visit Tampa Bay


Does your group include football fans? If so, be sure to schedule a tour of Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On weekdays, this 75-minute walking tour gives groups “backstage access” to a stadium club, a luxury suite, the visiting team’s locker room, and many more exclusive areas. Groups of 30 or more should call ahead to arrange a tour.


One of the most unique group tour experiences in Tampa Bay is a visit to El Reloj, the last operational cigar factory in the city. Originally built in 1910, El Reloj was once considered the largest and finest cigar factory in the world, and today, this historic business is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Ybor City National Historic Landmark District. Groups can peruse three levels of history at the J.C. Newman Museum, take a guided factory tour, and attend a hand-rolling class led by El Reloj’s master rollers.

JC Newman Cigar Factory and Museum,
Credit: Visit Tampa Bay

Main Image: Henry B. Plant Museum; Credit: Visit Tampa Bay

Experience Mennonite Culture in Waterloo Region

covered bridge
Photo courtesy of Explore Waterloo Region

Waterloo Region in southwest Ontario provides the perfect balance between new and old, rural and urban, nature and technology, classic and contemporary, and tranquility and adventure. Waterloo Region’s cities and townships offer groups a unique blend of sightseeing, culture, outdoor beauty and a relaxed urban atmosphere. With easy access to Niagara Falls and Toronto, this region is an excellent addition to Ontario group tours. Here are just a few of the top attractions to explore Mennonite culture across the Waterloo Region.

St. Jacobs Farmers Market
St. Jacobs Farmers Market
Photo courtesy of Explore Waterloo Region

St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market  

Known as Canada’s largest year-round farmers market and flea market, here groups can find hundreds of local vendors inside three main buildings and in an outdoor area. Some items are brought to market by the truckload; others arrive by horse and buggy from local Old Order Mennonite farms. Shop fresh fruits and vegetables, quality meats and cheeses, locally produced maple syrup, honey, preserves, baking, authentic cuisine from many cultures, imported produce, various gluten-free and organic options, local crafts, housewares, wearables and more.

Elmira Wagon Rides
Elmira Wagon Rides
Photo courtesy of Explore Waterloo Region

Elmira Wagon Rides

Set out on the tranquil country roads for a journey that will carry you from city to country in minutes. The Elmira Wagon Rides, pulled by a recently restored 1953 model John Deere tractor, leave from the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:15 p.m. throughout the market days. The tour guides are happy to answer questions and will give information on the Old Order Mennonite community and their unique way of life. Other wagon rides include an Elmira Sugar Bush tour. All tours are available year-round.

Waterloo Central Railway
Waterloo Central Railway
Photo courtesy of Explore Waterloo Region

Waterloo Central Railway

Waterloo Central Railway offers many unique, regularly scheduled, themed train experiences throughout the year, as well as rail and station venue charter options for special events. Travel through north Waterloo, St. Jacobs, Elmira and back for a scenic countryside trip.

St. Jacobs Village
St. Jacobs Village
Photo courtesy of Explore Waterloo Region

Village of St. Jacobs

Established in 1852 and located just outside of Waterloo, Ontario, along the Conestoga River, the Village of St. Jacobs is filled with authentic sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and one-of-a-kind shopping. There is truly something unique for all ages and interests!

Mennonite Story
Photo courtesy of Explore Waterloo Region

The Mennonite Story 

This informative exhibit of photos, artifacts, and displays describes the history, culture, and religion of Mennonites. Exhibits are translated in several different languages—Mandarin, French, Arabic, Dutch, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish—and are open year-round. Tour the museum or arrange for step-on-guide services for groups traveling by motorcoach.

Lead image:
Photo courtesy of Explore Waterloo Region

Spotlight: Debra Asberry, founder of Women Traveling Together

Debra Asberry,
Credit: Normand Huberdeau

Debra Asberry has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Back in 1997, she was running a communications company and even producing a monthly magazine. At the same time, she also was struggling to find someone to join her in whitewater rafting on the Colorado River. The trip would be a big commitment of time and resources, and she, along with all her girlfriends, had packed schedules that made it difficult to travel together. After a serendipitous conversation with a colleague, Asberry realized she wasn’t alone in her struggle to find a travel companion, and thus, the idea for Women Traveling Together (WTT) was born.

Today, WTT is a membership-based organization with the goal of connecting female travelers before, during, and long after their group tour experience. Tours are led by knowledgeable female guides who not only take care of the logistics of planning but also encourage bonding among travelers as they explore the world together domestically and internationally. Over the past 26 years, Asberry has grown WTT from a one-woman operation to a thriving group tour company that connects women through their shared love of travel.

Q. Tell us more about why you decided to start Women Traveling Together.

A. I was focused on what I really wanted to do next in my business career, and I had put together a list of five things. First of all, I wanted to include travel. No. 2 was that I wanted to be able to live anywhere in the world, so it needed to be an internet-based company. I wanted it to be women-focused, I wanted to be able to make a living, and probably most importantly, I wanted whatever I did to have a real positive impact on the life of my clients.

Q. What makes WTT most unique in the travel industry?

A. It is absolutely the solo factor. I mean, you can certainly find other women’s travel companies, but what you want to find is a laser focus on the solo traveler, on you as an individual, and us as an organization giving you your travel freedom.

Q. Why do you think this women-focused and solo traveler-focused model is working so well?

A. Adult women in our demographic—let’s say from mid-to-late 40s and mid-to-late 70s—are women who have raised their children, and they’re at a point in their life where they are trying to determine the answer to the question, “What is my value?” So many women placed their value on having and raising children, [and] once that disappears from their life, the question surfaces again. A lot of women will answer that question by examining who they are without the labels of mother or wife.

The other aspect that you look at is the marital statuses; you have married, single, widowed, or divorced [women] in our population. People who travel with us are almost exactly 25% each. So, you have the married women who want to have different travel experiences than their husband—or their husband doesn’t travel at all—and then you have the other three categories, which do not have a built-in travel partner and [are for women who] still want to travel but they don’t want to go alone.

Q. How are the needs of a solo female traveler in 1997 different than they are in 2023?

A. In 1997, many women had not risen in the workforce as far as middle and upper management.… The original members of Women Traveling Together were women who were in traditional working roles, like librarians, schoolteachers, secretaries—that type of thing. There was also a higher percentage of marriage than what we see now, so your money to spend on yourself wasn’t as much as it is today. Every year that has gone by, women have become more financially independent, regardless of their marital status. In the beginning, we had women who were working, but they were contributing to the household income. Or even if they weren’t married, they just didn’t have as much disposable income or didn’t feel comfortable spending that kind of money on travel.

Today, I think the perception about travel is that it’s something we don’t put off until we’re 70. We want to do it while we’re still young and healthy, and we see travel almost as something we’ve earned. It’s something we’re going to take advantage of with the
money we’ve made.

Q. What do you think motivates WTT’s returning travelers?

A. It’s the combination of being able to have their travel freedom—because they can just pick where they want to go, and they don’t have to figure out anything else—and giving women the opportunity to create meaningful friendships at this point in their lives. I can tell you story after story about women who have met on these tours and continue to travel together outside of Women Traveling Together, and then we see them signing up as roommates on their next tour. I think that’s what brings them back. It’s not just the travel experience—it’s also who they’re traveling with.

Q. Is there anything else you want to share with the Group Tour audience?

A. It has been my observation that the number of women who are choosing to travel solo on group tours is rising exponentially year after year, and not just on women-only tours but also on group tours in general. I would ask that my fellow group tour operators remember that that is such a huge leap of faith for that woman. I would ask them to consider looking at their procedures and their policies, and see how they can be more welcoming to those women who are traveling with them.

Main Image: Bryce Canyon; Credit: Women Traveling Together

Providence, Rhode Island: New England’s “Creative Capital”


Let your group’s creativity flow in Providence, Rhode Island, aka the “Creative Capital.” The city’s art-emblazoned buildings, theaters, and museums, as well as its year-round art events, inspire creative expression for all who visit.

As part of its commitment to artistic endeavors, Rhode Island became the first state to make selling art tax-free, and there are many museums and organizations—such as nonprofit AS220 with impressive tools, technology, and more for creatives—that actively support established and upcoming artists in Providence. Whether visitors are aspiring artists or simply enjoy supporting creatives, they can watch a live performance, participate in a workshop, walk through galleries, and grab a drink and a bite to eat on the AS220 campus.

Mural in Providence, Rhode Island,
Credit: Go Providence

Providence is also home to the renowned Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). This private school of liberal arts and design focuses on studio-based learning and has a robust continuing education curriculum. Guests can visit for special events or view the on-campus exhibitions featuring student work. The RISD Museum, which houses over 100,000 works of art in mediums such as paint, sculptures, furniture, and costumes, offers themed tours that focus on specific topics like popular works, history, a particular exhibit, or topics of interest to the group.

But the “Creative Capital” is more than museums, and for groups looking to experience art in its various mediums, Providence is a cornucopia of creativity. Visitors can walk around the city and view fine architecture on the East Side of Providence and public art produced through the Avenue Concept public art program. Over 200 public art experiences, which visitors can see on a self-guided walking tour, are located throughout the city. Groups can also participate in the city’s signature art events throughout the year, including the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in October, the amazing fire installations of WaterFire Providence from May through November, and the outdoor PVDFest in June.

Credit: Go Providence

Swing by one of the numerous theaters to catch a performance. Providence Performing Arts Center is located in the heart of the city’s arts and entertainment district and offers Broadway and contemporary shows. Trinity Repertory Co., a Tony Award-winning theater known for its diverse programming, performs classic works and new plays as well. With inspiration around every corner of the “Creative Capital,” groups are sure to take home far more than just a souvenir from their trip to Providence.

Written by Danielle Devota

Main image: The RISD Museum; Credit: Go Providence