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Fairgrounds St. Pete, The Ringling Museum of Art, and Sea Love candle-making boutique

Fun Things to Do on a Rainy Day Across Opal Destinations

As beautiful as the weather is across Opal destinations, rain ultimately happens. That said, you don’t have to let the drops that descend put a damper on your vacation. We highlight top rainy-day activities to dive into.

Is the forecast reading dreary for your upcoming vacation? Don’t dread the drizzle. Embrace it with this rainy-day round-up covering all of our Opal destinations. In fact, some of these activities are so novel – from a waterfall rain safari in Bar Harbor, Maine, to a glass-enclosed bubble blooming with butterflies in Key West, Florida – they might even have you doing your own version of a rain dance.


Acadia Waterfall Safari Tour in a GEM [Bar Harbor, ME]

A little bit of rain shouldn’t stop you from visiting Acadia National Park. In fact, it’s what should get you out there as it’s one of the most unique times to take in the fifth most-visited national park in the country. Why? Because when it pours, hundreds of little tiny waterfalls sprout from the ledges and ravines bordering Park Loop Road, the 27-mile scenic artery that snakes down and up the eastern side of Mount Desert Island. And the best way to tour these liquid ribbons that line the road: an Acadia GEM, a lightweight electric vehicle that boasts a totally transparent plexiglass roof for unobstructed views. “You feel a bit like you’re in a fish bowl,” says Eben Salvatore, co-owner of the company that rents out a fleet of 45 GEM vehicles in the heart of Bar Harbor, just steps from West Street Hotel and Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina. “It’s like a waterfall safari and you’re on the hunt to spot the biggest and best.”

100-Year-Old Cinema in a Setting that Stuns [Rockland, ME]

It may seem blasphemous to head to a movie theater during vacation, but the Strand Theatre – located within a 10-minute drive from Samoset Resort in downtown Rockland – is not your typical megaplex. Registered as a historic landmark and the only one of three theaters built in downtown Rockland in that period to survive, this 1923 performing arts venue is a rare example of Egyptian Revival architecture, with an ornamental brick façade, terracotta tile and jade green plaster walls, gilded proscenium arch, and stamped tin ceiling. And not only is it a wonder to look at – especially on a dreary, rainy day – 2023 marked its 100-year anniversary, making a viewing of one of the independent and mainstream movies a must-do. Check the calendar to see what’s on deck next.

The Creative Craft of Candle-Making [Portsmouth, NH]

You’ll find a bevy of bars nestled in the nooks and crannies of Portsmouth’s brick buildings and shop-lined alleys. But you’ve never experienced a bar quite like the one that sits in the open-and-airy, coastal-inspired space of State Street’s Sea Love, just a stone’s throw from Wentworth by the Sea. In this pour-your-own candle bar and boutique, the cocktails are swapped for vessels, reed diffusers, and all the materials you need to make your own custom-scented creation. So how does it work? Patrons first peruse and sample the selection of 100 different fragrances lining the shelves – everything from grapefruit and agave to leather and tobacco leaf to lemon verbena and lavender. They then pick the top three scents and choice of vessel before bellying up to the U-shaped bar, where a candle-making expert guides guests through the process of blending the oils, mixing it with the liquid soy wax, and pouring. The perfect rainy-day entertainment, the experience takes about 30 to 45 minutes, while the candles take about two hours to cool (shop owners Lori and Scott Dennehy suggest grabbing dinner somewhere downtown in between). Want cocktails with your candle-making? The bar is BYOB, so feel free to bring the bubbly.

Hone Your Adirondack Climbing Skills Indoors [Lake Placid, NY]

The High Peaks – mountains that are higher than 4,000 feet in elevation – of Lake Placid serve up some of the best rock climbing in the Adirondacks, from big wilderness walls to backcountry crags. However, rain can make conditions slick and difficult, which is why when the showers sneak in, it’s better to work on your climbing competence indoors at The Mt. Van Hoevenberg Climbing Center, no more than 20 minutes south of Lake Placid Lodge. Set within the Olympic Sports Complex on one of Lake Placid’s famous 9er mountains, the region’s newest (opened in summer of 2022) and largest indoor climbing space is a verticalist’s playground. We’re talking 1,500 feet of climbing space, including a 30-foot top rope wall, a boulder wall, and a traverse wall. Not to mention, all the gear you’d need, including shoes, harnesses, belay devices, and hand chalk. New to the sport? Climbing programs cater to climbers of all skill levels.

10,000 Square Feet of Games that Run the Gamut [Lake George, NY]

The Sagamore Resort may be a historic property dating back to the 1880s with Victorian-era details still in place, including stately neoclassical columns, intricate wainscoting and decorative cornices, and carved grand fireplaces. But that doesn’t mean it translates to stuffy or museum-like. In fact, horsing around is encouraged at The Rec Center, a 10,000-square-foot indoor entertainment facility located within the heart of the resort. An ideal place to keep the family busy – especially when rain keeps you from the grounds, outdoor pool, or lake – this space is chockablock with to-dos: mini-golf, wiffle ball, basketball, all types of table games (foosball, ping pong, etc.), video games, board games, even a mini-movie theater. 


Where Tech Meets Art in a Neon-Clad Florida Wonderland [Clearwater/St. Pete, FL]

A couple enters the interactive rooms at Fairgrounds St. Pete.

Condé Nast Traveler named St. Pete one of the top small U.S. cities with “big-time art scenes” in 2022. And one of the newest players helping it to earn that moniker? Fairgrounds St. Pete, an immersive art and technology museum that opened in 2021. Housed in a warehouse at The Factory, a creative arts district just off the Pinellas Bike Trail (seven miles from Treasure Island Beach Resort, 20 miles from Belleview Inn, and 25 miles from Sandpearl Resort and Opal Sands Resort), the sprawling space features more than 20 different rooms filled with a kaleidoscope of weird, wonderful, and whacky creations from 70+ artists – all with connections to Florida. In fact, the storyline underscoring the whole experience is that you’re wandering through a mysterious Florida-based motel (called the “Mermaid Star Motel”), home to art-adorned spaces including a lobby, guest rooms, and a trippy pool deck that makes you feel like you are in Stranger Things’s fictional world of the “Upside-Down.” 

Other rooms detour from the motif but still serve as Instagram-worthy tributes to the Sunshine State. Take, for example, the Everglades Arena, a seating area that feels like you’re in the middle of a Florida thunderstorm (without the rain, of course), and the Strawberry Room, celebrating the state’s sweetest crop with hand-painted muralled walls and a giant strawberry cake installation that, yes, smells of strawberry (there are secret scent machines everywhere). The best part: touching the works is encouraged for an immersive art experience that is truly a feast for the senses.

Florida’s Arts & Culture Mecca [Sarasota, FL]

Museums and galleries are a natural to-do when a rainy day foils certain outdoor plans. So if you see the clouds rolling in during a stay at The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Zota Beach Resort, or Lido Beach Resort, you’re in the right place. That’s because what’s known as Florida’s “Culture Coast” – offering some of the most prestigious and oldest museums, live theaters, gardens, galleries, operas, and ballets – is located just a hop, skip, and jump away in Sarasota proper. That includes everything from the gems that reside on the Ringling College Museum Campus – the Sarasota Art Museum, The Ringling Museum of Art, and Ca’ d’Zan – and the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens to grand theaters (like the Van Wezel) and art colonies. The options are vast and diverse, so the hardest part will be settling on where to go first.

An All-Day Shopping Experience Under the Tin [Naples, FL]

The beauty of exploring the 30-plus independent boutiques of Tin City during a rainy day? They’re all linked together under one tin roof, meaning you stay nice and dry as you stroll from shop to shop. Based in an old oyster, clam, and fish-processing plant set on the Gordon River in Old Naples, this funky, maritime-themed mix of shops and eateries boasts an eclectic array of goods, from crafts and gifts to antiques and home goods to women’s and men’s fashion. There’s even a boutique winery that makes small-batch orange, grapefruit, and tangerine wines from 100 percent fresh, hand-selected citrus grown instate — about nine pounds of fruit per bottle. Stop by for one of their daily tastings – also starring wine slushies – for a drinkable dose of sunshine.


Call Up a Vintage Car with the Push of a Button [Jensen Beach, FL]

It isn’t just the 90 vintage cars that make the Elliott Museum in Stuart (no more than four miles south of Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa and The Lucie on the same peninsula) worth the stop on a rainy day, but the wide collection of Americana like bicycles, boats, baseball artifacts, art, and more. There’s even a Florida voting machine from the infamous 2000 Presidential election. But again, this is a place that culls car lovers in particular – largely because of the cutting-edge technology that transforms how you view them. Housed in a three-story glass-enclosed system, the preferred cars are “summoned” by museum-goers using a touchscreen. The vehicle is then plucked out of the racked organization system, brought down, and placed on a turntable, presenting a 360-degree look at the vehicle. Some guests have been known to sit there for hours, calling up car after car. And what a collection to comb through. Notable vehicles include a 1903 Cadillac Roadster, a 1909 Ford Model “T” Touring Car, and a 1930 Chevrolet Half-Ton Roadster pickup truck.

Sip Along the Ale Trail of The Palm Beaches [Jupiter, FL]

There’s nothing like a robust porter to comfort you on a drizzly day. After all, that’s why Tequesta Brewing Company (located just a couple miles north of Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa) named their creamy, roasted-to-perfection porter Pitter Patter – in honor of the gentle sound of raindrops. But this isn’t the only brewery to base a rainy-day excursion around: Palm Beach County serves up at least 19 taprooms, offering everything from ciders to saisons and porters to pilsners, along what’s now known as the Ale Trail of The Palm Beaches. Top brewery stops include the aforementioned Tequesta, Twisted Trunk Brewing, Skunkworts Brewery, and many more – so make sure you’ve got Uber fired up on your phone as you sip and sample your way through this burgeoning craft beer scene.

Get a Grand Spa Experience [Delray Beach, FL]

Rain is always a perfect excuse to indulge in a bit of pampering. And with nine Opal Spas scattered across our properties, from the spacious spa treatment suites of Sunset Key Cottages to Samoset Resort’s guest-exclusive patio space, there are plenty of opportunities to treat yourself. That said, there is one other spa option in the mix that is also worthy of a rainy-day visit: The newly designed, two-floor Tammy Fender Holistic Spa, located at Opal Grand Resort & Spa and just a hop, skip, and jump away from sibling Delray Beach-area properties Delray Sands Resort and The Atlantic Suites on The Ave. Owned and operated by renowned holistic wellness pioneer and South Florida native, Tammy Fender, the seaside spa sanctuary feels right at home at the resort with the same airy and inviting design. As for what’s on the menu, you’ll find everything from cutting-edge energetic balancing treatments to your more traditional body wraps and rubs. However, there’s one service that longtime clients of Fender swear by, and that’s her signature facial, which is truly a head-to-toe revival (not just your typical focus on the face). So much so, Town & Country says “to call the Tammy Fender Signature Treatment a facial is like calling the Garden of Eden a yard.” It’s that impressive.


Take Some Time for the Turtles [Marathon, FL]

Is there a sweeter way to spend a rainy day than visiting rescued sea turtles? Located about an hour south of Key Largo’s Reefhouse Resort & Marina on an island smack in the middle of the Keys, The Turtle Hospital is a bright sea-green building and a former motel that has been converted to serve as living quarters for staff, so they are available 24/7 for their aquatic patients. With 23 individual tanks, ranging in size from 150 to 800 gallons, the hospital houses a mix of permanent residents and patients, including Loggerheads, Green Turtles, Hawksbill, and Kemp’s Ridleys. The largest tank of all is actually the former pool, holding up to 100,000 gallons of saltwater for these gentle swimmers.

Go Inside a Butterfly Bubble [Key West, FL]

(Above) © SPARK, courtesy of Visit Florida

With flowering plants, trees, cascading waterfalls, and winged wildlife galore, you’ll certainly feel fooled into thinking you’re wandering through an outdoor tropical paradise at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. Yet, you’re definitely undercover – and shielded from any raindrops – in this 5,000-square-foot sanctuary, located at the southernmost end of Duval Street and within easy striking distance of Opal Key Resort & Marina, The Capitana Key West, Sunset Key Cottages, and The Laureate Key West. That’s because the habitat is entirely enclosed in a climate-controlled, soaring glass dome to protect the 20 different species of chirping birds and hundreds of fluttering butterflies from all over the world that reside here. During your self-guided stroll, be sure to stop by the gazebo area, the hangout for two resident flamingos – Scarlett and Rhett – who are more than happy to honk a welcome.

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