5 Spectacular Destinations That Inspire Creativity

By Samantha Brown, Host of “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love”
AAA Travel Team

When you’re looking to get your creativity flowing, there’s nothing quite like parking yourself in a beautiful setting. It’s no coincidence that Ernest Hemingway wrote his best stuff in Key West, or Georgia O’Keeffe's greatest works were inspired by her life at Ghost Ranch. Your surroundings matter. Everyone needs something a little different when tapping into one's creative side. Calm, quiet solitude works for some; a supportive group setting works well for others. If you’re looking to connect with your inner artist, here are a few places to go that will surely inspire.

Asheville, North Carolina
Love to work with your hands? Asheville is for you! Build an entire weekend (hey, or a week!) around getting in touch with your creativity. Find inspiration in the River Arts District, a pocket of old, abandoned factories that has been resurrected into a vibrant neighborhood. It’s home to artist studios and galleries (many open to the public). Make your own creations at one of Asheville’s many artist workshops. Trust me, Google any artistic medium with the word “Asheville,” and you'll find someone teaching it. A couple to reserve include glassblowing at Chaotic Joy Glassworks and a ceramics class at Odyssey Ceramic Arts.

Crestone, Colorado
Are you confident with your creative skills, but are seeking a quiet, inspiring place to actually create? Head to Crestone! This southern Colorado community is known as one of the most spiritual places on Earth. Though only 150 people call it home, the area is full of temples, ashrams, monasteries, retreat centers and sacred landmarks. Add in the majestic mountains and a plethora of wildlife, and you’re sure to find something inspiring about this place. There’s a teeny downtown with a grocery store, brewery and some art galleries, and not much more. Since it’s so secluded, hotel options are minimal, which is kind of great because it means you can rent one of the area’s unique homes. This county doesn’t have much for building codes, so you’ll find anything from tiny homes to domed houses, yurts and more. If you crave a quiet place to write, sketch or simply find inspiration in nature, consider this mountain gem.

Taos, New Mexico
If you’ve ever spent any time in Taos, you’re undoubtedly aware that the local arts scene runs deep. It’s world-class, but attitude-free, which is the perfect setting for those of us looking to dip our toe into the creative world... but are a little scared to do it. Tap into your creative side with a class at Taos Art School. Take a class in traditional Hopi pottery, wild horse photography, traditional Cherokee basketry, pastel painting and more.

Skyros Greece
Ancient art and architecture, fabulous blue waters, beautiful beaches and quaint villages make Greece the ideal place for a creative vacation. You can literally find any type of art-centric vacation available in Greece, but there’s something about the Skyros holidays that seem especially great for a generalist. Hosted on the remote Greek isle of the same name, you can start to write your novel, take a comedy-improvisation workshop, learn to sing, paint, photograph and more. They say the benefits of a Skyros
holiday “last long after the suntan has faded,” and I can’t help but believe that’s true. There’s nothing quite like getting out of your head and into your physical body to give you a total refresh.

Tuscany, Italy
Maybe it’s the scenery, maybe it’s the food and wine, maybe it’s the history, but there’s something magical about Tuscany. This region will inspire you to cook, paint, write or simply daydream. Capture the feeling with a lens at one of the Cortona Center of Photography’s workshop. These seven- or 10-day programs are perfect for photographers of all levels, from beginner to professional. You’ll explore the surrounding countryside, the nearby hill towns and visit some of Italy’s most notable sights to see. Seasoned instructors work with students one on one, setting practical and achievable goals based on the individual student’s level.

When you think of Italian art, painting certainly comes to mind! Why not embrace your inner Michelangelo and enroll in a painting workshop? Founded by English portrait artist Tana Maxted, Art Escape Italy offers painting retreats—anything from portraiture to landscape, figure drawing and more.