Boquillas, Mexico:  A Unique and Unforgettable Experience 2023

Boquillas, Mexico: A Unique and Unforgettable Experience 2023

Boquillas, Mexico: A Unique and Unforgettable Experience

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!



While Boquillas, Mexico may not be the ultimate dream destination, it adds a touch of magic to any visit to Big Bend National Park. This quaint village, reminiscent of a roadside attraction, offers a truly unique experience that shouldn’t be missed.

As seasoned experts in national park travel, we invite you to embark on a journey that combines the awe-inspiring landscapes of Big Bend National Park with the cultural immersion found in this tiny town of Boquillas, Mexico.

Get ready for an adventure that goes beyond the boundaries of the park.  Let wanderlust and curiosity lead the way.  Grab your passport and let’s visit Boquillas, Mexico.

Where Exactly Is Boquillas, MX


Boquillas de Carmen is located in the northeastern state of Coahuila, Mexico. To get a better perspective, Boquillas is just on the other side of the Rio Grande River in West Texas. Accessing the Boquillas de Carmen border crossing is done through Big Bend National Park.

The surrounding lands of the Maderas del Carmen Biosphere Reserve protect the area from being exploited and preserve natural beauty. The desert landscapes and towering Sierra del Carmen mountains keep Boquillas remote, far from the bustling Mexico cities.



The Boquillas del Carmen Border Crossing

Boquillas del carmen point of entry.

Out of all of the border crossings we’ve experienced, Boquillas was the most unique and the most fun.

From Terlingua Ghost Town, the drive is about an hour through Big Bend National Park toward the Rio Grande Village Visitor Center. Once you reach the parking lot for Boquillas proceed to the entry building.

US citizens are required to present their valid passports in order to cross over into Mexico. International travelers should verify the documents needed before arriving.

The park ranger will give you a quick overview of visiting Boquillas.

Crossing the Rio Grande

Muddy trail to a river bed.

After clearing customs proceed down the dirt path to the river.  Keep in mind after a hard rain, this area becomes super muddy, so take caution.  We were very fortunate that the weather had been dry for a week, but the sinking footprints in the mud showed how difficult the path could easily become after a storm.  

Within a few minutes walk, the path clears and the “international ferry” is just ahead.  As you will see, “international ferry” is a loose term for a row boat with an expert rower.  

Boarding The International Ferry to Boquillas


Rowboat docked on the rio grande, international ferry.

Now comes the fun part, crossing the Rio Grande.  

For $5, the captain of the rowboat will safely navigate you across the Rio Grande to Boquillas de Carmen, MX.  Although the river is not very wide or deep,  the water can move quickly especially after it rains.  

At times, when the Rio Grande is at more shallow levels, visitors are permitted to walk across the river.  Do not attempt walking across when the river is high.  

When the ferry is docked on the Mexico side of the river, there are a couple of options for your next leg of the journey to Boquillas.


Transportation to Boquillas

The donkey and horse stables at boquillas.

Once you arrive on the Mexican shore, the town of Boquillas is about a mile up the dirt road. To make it easier for visitors, local vendors will assist you with transportation. For a nominal fee, $10-$20 per person, you can ride a donkey, a horse, or in a pick-up truck.

We needed the exercise so we opted to walk. It was a fairly easy and scenic walk to town, giving us time to take pictures while enjoying the near-perfect weather.

Entering the Town of Boquillas

Street view of the boquilla, mx.

As a visitor to Boquillas, you are required to check in at the Mexican Immigration Office. The office is in a gated lot at the edge of town. The agent will collect the $3 per person entrance fee to Boquillas and the Maderas del Carmen biosphere reserve area.

Once you’ve checked in and paid your fees, you are free to explore the town.


Exploring Boquillas

Where to Eat and Day Drink

The town of Boquillas is super small. With less than 250 residents, the dining options are few.

Boquillas Restaurant

Front view of boquillas restaurant.

Family-owned and operated with patio seating on the front porch, the hospitality is outstanding. Robb opted for the authentic birria tacos while I had pollo enchiladas. We both indulged in several shots of sotol, a locally distilled agave spirit.

Jose Falcon Restaurant

View of river and mountains on deck of jose falcon restaurant.

Family-owned and operated, with inside and outside seating available. We enjoyed some homemade guacamole, chips, locally distilled sotol, and mezcal with the worm present while taking in the gorgeous views of the Rio Grande. This restaurant is a little more upscale with an attached events venue.

Park Bar

Park bar in boquillas, mx.

If day drinking is more your style, pop into Park Bar. From the outside, this establishment looks super sketchy. Inside, we were met with hospitality and gratitude. Although the beverage offerings are limited to cerveza, tequila, mezcal, sotol, and Coca-Cola, the conversations with the locals are fun.

Seriously speaking, who goes to a Mexican bar and orders a Martini anyway?



Sotol is an alcoholic beverage distilled from the desert shrub, Dasylirion wheeleri, commonly called sotol or desert spoon.  While similar to its distant cousins’ tequila and mezcal, sotol is more closely related to the asparagus family.  

For many years, sotol was banned from production.  Like moonshine and bacanora, sotol was primarily distilled in backrooms and homes.  Sotol’s popularity is increasing with the impending doom of reported agave shortages.  

For those that enjoy tequila and mezcal, you will probably love Sotol, especially if you go to Boquillas.

Shop Until You Drop

Vendor store front in boquillas.

While you won’t find a Walmart in Boquillas, you will find hand sewn clothing, souvenirs and even some fun T-shirts. Children gather around to sell you candies, bracelets and just about anything they can.

The vendors and artisans are local families who depend on our tourism dollars. It really is ok to buy items you want. Just remember to bring cash in small bills. The Boquillas artists and vendors accept US dollars, there is no need to exchange for pesos.

Do not attempt to bring back any rocks, artifacts or other contraband. You may be fined, or even face imprisonment.


Lodging in Boquillas, Mexico


Sometimes fun days in Mexico lead even more fun at night, right? Boquillas is probably not that type of town, especially after dark. On the chance that you are late and US Port of Entry closes, what will you do?

I’ve scoured the corners of the internet to find a hotel or bed & breakfast or even a room for rent in Boquillas, only to come up empty handed. If you are late coming back, you are pretty much on your own. Ask a local.

Likewise, for backcountry camping and overnight stays, you may have to apply for a Mexican VISA permit. Direct all inquiries to US Customs website before traveling to Mexico.



Camping:  Consider camping in Big Bend National Park. Reservations can be made through the NPS website.

Terlingua Ghost Town:  Terlingua is about 10 minutes outside of the Maverick Junction Park entrance.  Here you have plenty of lodging options.  Consider these for your Big Bend vacation rentals:

🌅Mirror Domes @ Space Cowboys

🌅Terlingua Ranch

Returning to the United States

The Boquillas Port of Entry has specific hours of operation.  This means, that if the rangers have left for the day, then YOU CANNOT ENTER BACK INTO THE UNITED STATES.  Familiarize yourself with the hours of operation before you embark on your day trip across the Rio Grande.

Leaving the town, you can stop at the stables to pick up a horse or donkey.  The pick-up truck transportation is at the edge of town at the exit.  Of course, you can easily walk the path to the river.  The boat will be waiting to take you across.  

Once on the US side, proceed to the Port of Entry.  The ranger will signal you to step inside, remove your hat and sunglasses.  The immigration process is easy and done by video call to the US Customs in El Paso.  The Immigration Officer will ask you a few questions, examine your passport electronically, and upon approval welcome you back to the United States.


Big Bend National Park Highlights


Because Boquillas is such a small town, you only need a few hours.  Starting your day early can give you a few other worthwhile and close-by sites to explore in Big Bend.

 Boquillas Canyon


View along the river in boquillas canyon.

Boquillas Canyon  1.5 mile Roundtrip Hike, 150ft elevation gain.  Most people would consider this an easy hike.  The most difficult part was the path from the parking lot to the top of the hill.  On the other side of the hill, the path leads down into the canyon along the river.  The trail is relatively flat for the remainder of the hike and the views are outstanding.  

We hiked early in the morning and came across some fresh paw prints, which of course freaked me out.  Thankfully, we did not meet any wildlife on our hike, only the “singing Mexican” along the river bank.  For a tip, he will gladly serenade you with a favorite tune.


Hot Springs Historic District

Hot springs historic district.

Take a trip back in time and visit the Hot Springs Historic District.  The  Village Bath Houses are in great shape.  The area was once a vacation resort for those willing and able to make the trek out to this desert oasis.  As you explore, it is easy to understand why.  


As a bonus, you can find some petroglyphs etched in the cliff trail.


Boquillas Hot Springs or Lankford Hot Springs

Newly exposed path to boquillas hot springs.

As time and accessibility permit, take a short hike to the Natural Hot Springs.  Depending on the river flow and preceding rainfall, the hot springs may not be accessible. 


If conditions are favorable, treat yourself to a leisurely soak alongside the Rio Grande.  Soaking in warm mineral waters is a great way to relax and rejuvenate your body after a long day of sightseeing.  



Guided Float Tour 

Embark on a guided journey along the Rio Grande, floating in a canoe, kayak, or raft. Seasoned guides will provide enlightening lessons on the region’s history and geology, accompanied by delightful folklore tales for added enjoyment.

Click here to check availability and pricing

Frequently Asked Questions

T-shirts with

Do I need a passport?  While your passport may not be required to leave the United States and enter Boquillas, Mexico, it will DEFINITELY be required to RE-ENTER the United States.  Yes, you need a passport.


Is Boquillas dangerous?  Traveling to any foreign country requires some preventative measures.  Boquillas is extremely remote without much traffic from anywhere, making it one of the safest towns in Mexico.  Most of the visitors are those that have come to Big Bend to enjoy the beauty and splendor of nature.  

There are times that drug runners and the undocumented may be seen crossing the River into the US.  At no time should you approach them.  When you are able to do so, contact Border Patrol or a park ranger.  They have specific protocols and procedures to assist.  

The hot dry climate is perfect for rattlesnakes and a host of other snake species.  Watch your step, some of these snakes are more than dangerous, they are deadly.


Heat and weather advisory:  Always stay updated on weather advisories.  Flash floods and torrential downpours can cause hazardous river conditions.  Likewise, extreme heat is common and deadly as temperatures can climb into triple digits.  Stay hydrated and take caution. 


Is Boquillas worth visiting?  Only you can decide that question.  For us, it was a highlight of our Big Bend Adventure.  After hiking Boquillas Canyon, we were able to spend a few hours in Boquillas Mexico, before checking out the Lankford Hot Spring and Hot Spring Village.  


Had we not gone across to Boquillas, we would have been disappointed.  However, if your time is super tight, or you are not physically able to walk or ride a donkey, then you should rethink spending your afternoon in Boquillas.  

What are the Port of Entry hours of operation:

Winter Schedule
(November 2 – April 30)

5 days a week: Wednesdays through Sundays
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Summer Schedule
(May 1 – November 1)
4 days a week: Friday through Monday
9:00 am – 4:00 pm


Boquillas Mexico Wrap Up

While exploring Big Bend National Park,  visiting the small town of Boquillas Mexico is a fun and unique experience.  Although this tiny border town may not be a dream destination, you will return with a great campfire conversation recapping your Rio Grande Crossing.  

Travel Safe and Adventure Often!


Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads

 The stromads in boquillas ,mx.Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

Crafted Cocktails and Cozy Vibes: Choosing a Speakeasy for Date Night

Crafted Cocktails and Cozy Vibes: Choosing a Speakeasy for Date Night

Crafted Cocktails and Cozy Vibes: Choosing a Speakeasy for Date Night

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

Red neon light cocktails.

A speakeasy for date night is a little secret we’ve discovered.

As seasoned travelers, my partner and I often find ourselves craving an escape from the fast pace of life on the road.  Within our nomadic lifestyle, we must create pockets of pockets of time where we can just hang out together for an intimate night and quiet conversation.

Speakeasies offer precisely that—a refuge from the chaos. In a world saturated with loud lounge bars, sports venues, and karaoke spots, these hidden gems provide a haven where we can truly connect. There’s a certain magic in discovering a secret entrance, stepping inside, and being transported to a bygone era.

So let’s take a look inside to see what makes choosing a speakeasy for date night a memorable experience.

Unveiling the Allure: Why Speakeasies Are Perfect for Date Nights

What is it that makes speakeasies for date night so captivating? Let’s explore the irresistible allure behind these hidden gems and why they are the ideal choice for a romantic outing.

Nostalgic Charm

Prohibition type speakeasy.

Speakeasies often embrace a nostalgic charm, transporting you and your date back to a bygone era. This historical aspect can create a sense of novelty and make the date night more memorable.

During Prohibition, speakeasies flourished as covert establishments for consuming alcohol. Concealed in backrooms, basements, and behind hidden walls, they provided excellent hiding spots. Gaining entry often required secret handshakes and passwords.

Once Prohibition ended, so did the speakeasy scene. That is until 2000, the modern-day speakeasy emerged. Still, 23 years later, speakeasies are super popular, secretive, and ideal for a romantic evening. 


Red wine in a soft lighted speakeasy at christmas.

Speakeasies often have a cozy and romantic atmosphere with dim lighting, vintage decor, and soft music. The ambiance creates an intimate setting that invites quiet conversation and connection. 

Many speakeasies limit table seating to 4 people, with small cocktail tables, encouraging couples to sit close and speak easy.


Private dining table in a speakeasy.

Speakeasies typically offer more privacy than other establishments. They often have secluded seating areas or hidden corners, perfect for couples who want to sneak a kiss.  

The staff is professional and discreet, offering drink service at your request.  A simple nod or other quiet gesture will signal to the waitstaff that you are ready to order.   Although they are close by and attentive, they are never intrusive.  

To keep the privacy of its guests and the secrets of the speakeasy, many establishments prohibit electronic devices such as cell phones, cameras, and video equipment.  While it is nice to have a picture for remembrance,   the non-stop flashes and selfies do deter from the overall experience.

Remember, you chose a speakeasy for date night, to connect.  It’s ok to turn off your phones for 90 minutes and concentrate on each other.


Speakeasies generally have a quieter environment compared to regular bars or restaurants, allowing for easier conversation and deeper connection between partners. The absence of loud music and excessive noise enhances the date night experience.

Some speakeasies help facilitate conversation by placing “conversation cards” on the table.  It’s fun to pick a random topic and share your thoughts.  Questions may be thought-provoking such as “If you could go back in time and change one decision, what would it be and why?”.  Or, funny questions like “If we were contestants on a game show, what challenge would we excel at and what would be our hilarious downfall?”

Even after 20 years, couples like us sometimes need a little boost to get the conversation flowing.


Exclusive speakeasy for date night.

The secretive nature of a speakeasy adds an element of excitement and adventure to the date. The hidden entrance, limited seating, and reservation requirements make it feel exclusive and special.

Not everyone knows about the secret speakeasies.  Sometimes the entrance is past the crowded bar and up the stairs. Other times, the exclusive club is behind the jewelry case in a pawn shop. 

Knowing the secret sets you apart from the crowd.

Craft Cocktails

Mixologist pouring fire into a cocktail.

Speakeasies are known for their expertly crafted cocktails made with high-quality ingredients and attention to detail.  Whether you prefer a Smoked Old Fashioned or a frothy pink Clover Club, your mixologist will create a perfect concoction for you.

Many speakeasies specialize in Prohibition-type cocktails rather than the shot and beer you would get at the main bar.  Trying something new with your date is part of the fun.

Unique Experience 

1920s flapper dress.

Photo Credit: Larry Lang

Going to a speakeasy adds a touch of uniqueness to a date night. It shows that you’ve put thought into planning a distinctive experience.  

While some speakeasies have impromptu tableside entertainment, others have full-on stage productions with burlesque entertainers or a jazz quartet.  

Dressing the part in a flapper dress and 3 piece suit goes a long way on a date night in a speakeasy.  Not only will your date feel special, but the staff will also welcome your efforts.

After all, they want you to enjoy your date as much as you.  Date night should be memorable, so have fun!


Finding a Speakeasy for Date Night

Hidden entrance to alley light speakeasy.

Speakeasy bars are not always easy to find.  Sure, you can Google “speakeasy near me”, to get the address, but finding it may be a different story.  It is not unusual for a speakeasy to change locations, similar to a pop-up bar.  

Your hotel concierge and local bartender know the best places to go.  Ask them what they know about local speakeasies.  You might luck out and get the secret password to gain entrance.  

Exploring back alleys, looking for hidden entrances, and knocking on walls are all part of the fun.  The mystery and suspense with the thrill of “finding it” makes for lasting memories.  

Speakeasies for a Memorable Date Night

Big cities like Austin, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia have numerous speakeasies.  However, don’t discount small towns with a certain vibe.  You never know what is hidden in plain sight, unless you ask.

These speakeasy locations might surprise you.  These are some of our favorites.  We encourage you to explore them, but let’s keep it our little secret! 

The Bookcase and Barber 

601 E 2nd Ave B, Durango, CO 81301

You need a password to access this secret speakeasy behind the bookcase in this working barbershop.

The Bookcase and Barber is a perfect speakeasy for date night.  This working barber shop has far more than a few vintage books on its shelves.  

With the right password and reservations, the hostess will lead you behind the bookshelf into a quiet, shadowy speakeasy.  The vintage decor and expert barkeepers will transport you back to the days of Prohibition.  

With a nicely curated spirits menu and imaginative cocktails, you will find The Bookcase and Barber perfect for a romantic evening while visiting Durango.  

Hummingbird To Mars

W 16th St, Wilmington, DE 19806 (above Catherine Rooney’s)

Hummingbird to mars is a modern-day speakeasy with vintage decor and an upscale vibe.

Located above the popular Catherine Rooney’s in Trolley Square is the super secret Hummingbird to Mars Speakeasy,  Look for the hidden entrance at the rear of the building, adorned with a vibrant gold hummingbird. Ring the bell and have your password ready. 

The host will lead up the stairs into a beautifully decorated hidden speakeasy, perfect for date night.  Unlike most speakeasies, Hummingbird To Mars serves dinner and small plates.    The food is amazing and the service is impeccable. Weekends offer live entertainment.  

While visiting Wilmington, Hummingbird to Mars is a perfect location to start your evening with a cocktail or end with a nightcap.  Your date will be impressed! 

Lost Saint:

 333 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Lost saint speakeasy a quiet basement bar for date night.

Lost Saint is a speakeasy hidden in the basement of Tavern and Grocery. As you descend the worn, creaking wooden staircase, you will feel as if you are walking into the Civil War Era of the 1800’s.

The flickering candlelight adds an air of mystery and intrigue.  You can almost hear the whispers of those who passed through here long ago.

The natural brick walls and wood finish add ambiance to the eclectic decor.  Travel back in time as you imagine plotting a strategy against the enemy forces. The bartenders are excellent storytellers as well as seasoned mixologists.  

Lost Saint is a fascinating speakeasy for date night.


23rd St, Baltimore, MD 21211

Choosing a speakeasy for date night at baltimore's wc harlan.

Photo Credit: Masche’/Pasterniak

W.C. Harlan is one of Baltimore’s best-kept secrets.  Unless you are from this neighborhood, you probably won’t find it.

What looks like a corner-row house is actually a very intimate secret speakeasy, perfect for date night.  However, don’t try to come in the front door, instead, look for the side entrance.  No password is needed. 

Whether you take a cozy table for two or a seat at the bar, the staff is friendly and observant.  They will see that you are well taken care of and your conversation is uninterrupted.  We love W.C. Harlan it is an intimate speakeasy, perfect for happy hour, late-night cordials, and most definitely a date night.

The Nookie Room

Better Than Sex, 926 Simonton St., Key West, FL

The nookie room is an intimate speakeasy serving decadent desserts.

When it comes to a speakeasy for date night, Better Than Sex says it all. If decadent deserts and sensual cocktails doesn’t speak romance, the private tables and sexy decor does.  Although the entire restaurant is perfect for an intimate evening out, a table in the Nookie Room is just that much more special.  

Take your time, sit close together, and share some dessert, it is fabulous.  Better Than Sex is a delicious speakeasy for date night.  

The Ranstead Room

2013 Ranstead St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

An alley view of the ranstead room speakeasy for date night.

Everything about The Ranstead Room screams “perfect speakeasy for date night”, if you can find it.  Located on a side street, this small brick-front building has no sign or designation except a back to back R’s on the door.  

Once inside, the hostess will escort you to a table or one of the few coveted seats at the bar. The red leather booths offer a peaceful setting for intimate conversation, while the provocative artwork adds intrigue.  To keep the exclusive secret vibe, patrons are not permitted to take pictures.  

Out of all the speakeasies we have been to over the years, The Ranstead Room is by far my favorite. Whether it was the tantalizing drinks or the captivating company, I can’t resist the allure of this enchanting hideaway.  


Not sure where to start on your speakeasy quest?  Join a fun speakeasy and food tour.  Your guides will take you 5 different bars and 1 secret speakeasy.  Skip the line and be treated like a VIP.

Book Now:

Philadelphia Bars Small Group Tour

The Laundry Room

525 E Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Commonwealth lv 1

Photo Credit: Gwen Powers

While Las Vegas has plenty of speakeasies to choose from for date night, The Laundry Room is still very exclusive.  This secret speakeasy is located inside The Commonwealth and is a great choice for a Vegas date night.  

Let the main bar know you have arrived and wait for the hostess to escort you “behind the wall” into The Laundry Room.  

As you step back in time, your hostess will inform you of the house rules, which include no electronic devices or loud voices.  Guests are encouraged to sit close and whisper while enjoying a cocktail.

The mixologists are geniuses as they prepare a tasty concoction based on your palate or chose something from the menu.    

Seating is limited and reservations are required. 


Skip the line and enter the world of secret speakeasies.  Join your guide and bring your imagination.  Visit two of the hottest and most unique speakeasies in Las Vegas.  Transportation, libations, and gratuities are included

Book Now:

  Las Vegas Hidden Speakeasy Tour

The Ruin Bar

2930 Bristol St a111, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 

When seeking a speakeasy for a memorable date night in Costa Mesa, look no further than The Ruin Bar.

The eclectic almost quirky decor creates an ambiance that enhances conversations and sparks intrigue. Whether you choose to cozy up in the vintage gondola car or opt for a garden table, stepping into The Ruin Bar transports you to a captivating world of its own.

Nestled amidst a vibrant array of restaurants and specialty shops, it is a perfect stopover on your date night.  Prepare to be enchanted by The Ruin Bar, a genuine hidden gem, awaiting all who embrace the unusual and peculiar.

The Alley Cat Lounge

207 W Broughton Ln, Savannah, GA 31401

Secret entrance to the alley cat lounge.

When visiting Savannah, the Alley Cat Lounge is our pick for date night.  Finding this speakeasy is a little challenging as it is midway down a side street alley.  However, entrance is well-marked and the lounge is in the basement.

For some reason, this underground hideaway has a Beatnik vibe.  Although there were no poetry readings or bongos, I felt as if I were transported back to the 1960s.  The low lights and classy cocktails make The Alley Cat Lounge a perfect speakeasy for date night. 

Here Nor There

 612 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701

Speakeasies like here nor there have hidden entrances and secret stairwells.

Here Nor There has become our go-to date night speakeasy in Austin, thanks to its exclusive vibe and seductive ambiance. The intimate seating, private booths, and imaginative cocktails create the ideal setting for a truly romantic evening. 

Discovering Here Nor There adds to the allure, as gaining entrance requires a bit of effort. To secure a reservation, you must become a member by downloading their app and submitting a request. Their attentive hosts will then schedule your appointment, adding an element of anticipation and exclusivity to the experience. 

On date night, find the metal gate, and enter the secret passcode.  Take the steps down into a secret world beneath the street.   Like flickering fireflies, the overhead twinkle lights illuminate the space. 

Can there be a more romantic setting for date night? 


Austin is known for its nightlife and secret bars.  Let a local tour guide show you around.  Explore the underground world of speakeasies, 6th Street, and Congress Street.

Book Now:  Austin Pub Walk

Choosing a Speakeasy for Date Night:  Final Thoughts

When it comes to date night, connecting as a couple is important. Speakeasies create a magical romantic atmosphere that is perfect for first dates and anniversaries. The gentle glow of candles or soft lighting and cozy seating create a perfect setting for intimate conversations. 

If you haven’t been to a speakeasy yet, give it a try!  A little mystery and adventure are sure to spark romance.   So go ahead and discover the hidden gems of speakeasies for a special date night.

Cheers, to love, connection, and unforgettable experiences!

Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads

The stromads at a speakeasy for date night.

Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

Unlocking The Mystery:  What Is A Speakeasy Bar?

Unlocking The Mystery: What Is A Speakeasy Bar?

Unlocking the Mystery: What is a Speakeasy Bar?

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

What is a speakeasy bar?  A speakeasy bar is a cozy, exclusive lounge usually found within a larger venue or otherwise hidden in plain sight.  They cater to select groups who are in the know about their existence.

More than likely, you have been to a restaurant or bar that had a hidden door.  Perhaps you watched as trendy couples disappeared into a dimly lit hallway.  How about the line of people behind velvet ropes outside of what looked like an operational barbershop?

Most likely, these customers know about a hidden room or speakeasy bar. 

We will help you uncover the secrets of the speakeasy bar so that you can find a speakeasy and enjoy an exclusive unforgettable experience.

But first, let’s travel back in history to get a foundation.

What Is A Speakeasy Bar: The History

We want beer signs carried by prohibition protesters.

Despite the Prohibition Laws, Americans continued to drink, party, and make money from the bootleg alcohol industry. Similar to present-day entrepreneurs, creative individuals found ways to solve the challenge facing a society that wanted to consume alcoholic beverages.

Developing secret places to sell alcohol and inviting those who wanted to drink to these establishments gave rise to the speakeasy.

Most times, owners hid their clubs in the backrooms of an existing store, or even in the basement of a house. Speakeasies were often filled with music, cigarette smoke, and the upper echelon of society. Since they were illegal, the only advertisement for these locations was word of mouth, and typically, you needed a password to gain entrance. 

Where did the name Speakeasy originate? 

A speakeasy was also called blind tiger, blind pig, or jazz club.  While some speakeasy bars would have entertainment like lounge singers, big bands, and dancing, others were a little more sketchy.  Owners would offer a free drink and close-up look at an exotic animal like a “blind tiger” for a small price.  

So not to call attention and risk being raided, patrons would whisper when discussing these backroom bars.  In other words, you would “speak easy” so others would not hear.

Famous Speakeasy Passwords

Being illegal, word of mouth was the way to find out the speakeasy locations.  Once you knew where to go, most of the time, you needed a password, a secret handshake, or a special key to gain entrance.

One famous speakeasy password used was “Have you got a rabbit?  In order to gain entrance, the visitor had to produce a rabbit’s foot. 

In keeping the tradition, Mata Hari’ in Savannah provides a special key to their regulars.  Without the key, a visitor will have to ask around town to get the secret password.  Lucky for us a relative had the key and we were in.  

What is a speakeasy bar?

A doorman may ask you “Where can I get a sandwich” and the patron will reply “ I heard the deli down the street is good”.  Responding with the wrong answer might leave you outside the party.  

Passwords are part of the fun when visiting speakeasy bars.  On our visit to Bookcase and Barber in Durango, we had to knock and tell the hostess “We were there to see a man about a horse”.  

You need a password to access this secret speakeasy behind the bookcase in this working barbershop.

Likewise in order to gain entrance to Austin’s Red Headed Step Child, we had to find the 4-digit code, (that changes frequently). 

Sometimes a speakeasy password was the answer to the question: What’s the good word?  The answer is “the bird is the word”.  Phrases like “Joe sent me” or “open sesame” were also popular.

In the modern-day speakeasy, passwords are still used frequently as well as advanced reservations.  Don’t even think about visiting the Laundry Room in Las Vegas without calling first. 


Example of a speakeasy hidden in plain sight, mas por favor.

Today, speakeasies are legal, but they still have that secretive vibe, with hidden entrances and unique cocktails. So, what is a modern-day speakeasy bar? It’s a little bit of history, a little bit of mystery, and a lot of fun!

Fast forward to the early 2000s when the modern-day speakeasy emerged.  These new underground, hidden lounges became “in scene”.  Mixologists donned suspenders and bow ties and began crafting some of the old-time favorites such as The Bees Knees, Gin Rickey, and Highballs.

If you appreciate a perfectly crafted cocktail, then you know that it’s not just a drink – it’s an experience. The modern-day speakeasy bartender is a skilled mixologist who has studied their craft and can create a concoction that delights the senses and transports you to another world. Yes, it may cost a bit more, but the attention to detail and the quality of the ingredients make it worth every penny.

Your taste buds – and your senses – will thank you for it.”

 The Speakeasy Vibe

Eclectic vibe of a speakeasy.

For the inquisitive crowd, speakeasies are a perfect option for a unique experience. 

Secret rooms, eclectic decor, and quiet talk make the speakeasy bar appealing to the mature and savvy crowd.  Rather than the club scene and sports bars, this crowd enjoys quaint venues, craft cocktails, and a little mystery. 

Being dimly lit with cozy seating, creates a certain ambiance. Speakeasy bars are both sexy and swanky which makes them a perfect venue for an intimate date night out. 

Speakeasies are not a great place to shuffle into with bigger groups unless, of course, you make prior arrangements.  Because these secret bars are smaller, they make a very inviting setting for date nights, anniversaries, and a little one-on-one time.  The atmosphere invites us to dress up a little, (leave the athletic wear and t-shirts home), sit close, and talk quietly. 

Many prohibit pictures and videos within the establishment to protect the mystery and magic.  

 Where Can I Find A Speakeasy Bar?

Speakeasy bars are found all over the world, in most major cities.  Even a small city like Wilmington, DE has its long-time favorite Hummingbird To Mars.  

Hummingbird to mars is a modern-day speakeasy with vintage decor and an upscale vibe.

Word of mouth is always your best bet in finding a speakeasy bar.  When visiting from out of town, your hotel concierge or local bartender can clue you in with the details.  Speakeasy bars are secret and sometimes hidden in plain sight.  For the most part, they do not have neon signs advertising them.  


Bar crawls and speakeasy tours are fun to do with a group!  Why wait in line for the doorman to let you inside?  Try a guided tour, skip the lines, and learn about the shady dealings in the days gone by.  Book a Speakeasy Tour today!  These are a few that could be a lot of fun!

Book a Speakeasy Tour Now

Part of the mystery and allure is the hidden entrances.   The Host at Mathers Social Gathering in Orlando will escort you up the secret elevator, however once in the library, you will have to find the secret door.  And then…we’ll it’s a mystery. 

Bookshelves hide the entrance to mathers social gathering.

Some speakeasy bars even change location every so often and never publish their address.  We had a heck of a time finding the famous Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company in Philadelphia.  With some investigation, we found the door, behind the dumpster as promised!

Finding the door to a speakeasy may take you down a back alley behind the dumpster.

Sometimes a speakeasy is even hidden inside an establishment.  We loved the intimate quiet Nookie Room located beyond the kitchen in Key West’s Better Than Sex Restaurant.  With only enough seating for 8 – 10 couples, date night never tasted so good!

The nookie room is an intimate speakeasy serving decadent desserts.

Conclusion:  What Is A Speakeasy?

If you are looking for something different than your average sports or karaoke bar, visit a speakeasy. Whether it is date night or drinks with a friend, shared conversation and craft cocktails in a swanky sexy establishment will give you an unforgettable experience.  


The Stromads

Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The stromads, maureen and robb, wearing 1920's garb.

Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

Festival Of Trees 2023: A Magical Holiday Experience

Festival Of Trees 2023: A Magical Holiday Experience

Festival of Trees 2023: A Magical Holiday Experience

Are you looking for things to do in Baltimore over Thanksgiving Weekend?  Festival of Trees 2023, is a magical holiday experience for everyone!  From the moment you walk through the entrance, your holiday senses spark.  The twinkle lights and festive decorations greet you with cheer.  It is time to indulge your holiday spirit.

As professionals in the fair and festival industry, we have had the honor of participating in this event for twelve years.  Let us give you our unique perspective of what to expect when you attend the Kennedy Krieger Festival of Trees.

Kennedy Krieger Festival of Trees 2023: 

When: November 24-26, 2023

Where: The Cow Palace, Maryland State Fairgrounds

              2200 York Rd, Timonium, MD

Festival of Trees: The Experience

With over 158,000 square feet of everything Christmas, The Cow Palace at the Maryland State Fairgrounds is transformed into a magical holiday experience.  Festival of Trees brings together an array of music, family entertainment, holiday shopping, and festival treats under one huge roof.  

As you wander through the beautifully decorated Christmas trees or beeline to Santa Land to meet the Big Guy himself, you will be mesmerized by the Holiday Spirit!  This is the one-holiday event in the Baltimore area not to be missed.  

There is something truly special about the Festival of Trees.  It combines the holiday spirit, community involvement, and family fun into an incredible and necessary fundraiser for The Kennedy Krieger Institute.  With the financial help of this event provides, Kennedy Krieger is able to continue its life-changing research and treatment for those affected by spinal and brain trauma.

Christmas Trees: 

Of course!   Hundreds of beautifully decorated trees and amazing wreaths are everywhere.  From professionally decorated 7ft trees to table toppers trimmed by local civic organizations, there is something to catch your eye.  With imagination and a flair for accents, the evergreens are transformed into amazing and beautiful works of art. 

As a major fundraiser for The Kennedy Krieger Hospital, these exquisite trees are available for purchase.  If you see something you like, don’t wait!  Buy it!  These trees will go fast!  They will even help you package it and arrange for pick up.

Hon tree festival of trees.


Baltimore’s very own musical talent, (Grammy Nominated) Milkshake, starts the festivities with a Live Concert!   Kids and adults love the contemporary rock renditions of traditional Christmas music.  This whimsical creative rock band for kids brings The Festival of Trees alive!

Throughout the entire weekend, stage performers include local ballet companies, dance troops, school orchestras, storytellers, and who knows what else may be new this year.  There is plenty of seating, so you and the whole family can sit back and be entertained!

Santa Land: 

Festival organizers often say, “If Santa had a theme park, it would look like this!”, and we couldn’t agree more.  

Santa Land is a magical space, full of wonderful surprises.  This fun area changes yearly, with different attractions for the kids and young at heart.  From a full-size indoor Carousel to Radio-Controlled Car Racing and pony rides, you can easily spend hours playing in Santa Land.  Don’t miss the huge model train layout.

Festival of Trees has something for everyone in this area.  Interactive attractions like decorating a giant cookie, playing carnival games, or simply strolling through the Christmas trees will keep you entertained for hours.  

Radio controlled racing festival of trees

Photo Credit: Drew Cope


Of course, the main attraction to any Christmas celebration is Santa Land.   The Big Guy himself is here, listening to Christmas lists, wishes and checking them twice.  Stop by, for that special picture and let Santa know what you want under your tree.

Santa festival of trees

Photo Credit: Cheeky Eye Candy Studios



Festival of Trees offers a variety of festival fun foods.  From kid-friendly chicken tenders and fries to health-conscious salads, the menu is both appetizing and affordable.  As you walk about you will also be surprised to find many other sweet delectable delights. 

As a bonus, the food court area has ample seating.  So take a load off your feet, grab a bite and relax.  There is still plenty more to see and do!


Many of us are looking for just the right gift to give our friends and family.  Festival of Trees vendors have some of the most creative and unique offerings you will find anywhere.  

Be sure to check out the hand-painted Christmas ornaments, leather shop, bakery treats for pets, and more in the Shopping Village.  Remember, the trees and wreaths are also available for purchase.

Perhaps a vacation for two is more what you are looking to buy.  The Silent Auction is filled with gift baskets, experiences, and artwork.  Proceeds benefit the Kennedy Krieger Institute. 

Sensory Rooms:

The organizers understand that sometimes there is a need for a quiet place to regroup.  A specially designed area for those needing a break from the crowds is provided.  Accessible restrooms are close by as well. 

Much, Much, More: 

There is still so much more to see and do at the Festival of Trees.  The organizers keep the entertainment fresh each year and continue to bring the very best holiday celebration to the Baltimore area on Thanksgiving weekend.  The Festival of Trees is a magical experience.

Is this your first time attending the Festival of Trees? 

These StroTips may help you navigate the show.  

🎄 Pre-Purchase tickets online.  

🎄 Arrive within your 30-minute reservation time.  The show floor is crowded, especially on opening day.  Friday and Saturday afternoons the crowds generally thin out later in the day.

🎄 Layer your clothing.  Thanksgiving weekend is typically cold in Baltimore.  However, The Festival of Trees is inside and it does warm up inside.  

🎄 Bring a shopping bag.  Whether you are purchasing some gifts to take home or simply holding your family’s coats, a reusable shopping bag is a perfect solution to keeping your items contained.

🎄 Make sure your phone and camera are charged before coming to the show.  There is nothing worse than missing that perfect photo opportunity.  Charging stations are not publicly available in the expo center.  

🎄 Designate a meeting place and time for family members to gather before leaving.  The Cow Palace is a huge event area with thousands of people milling around throughout the day.  It may be difficult to find someone wandering through the Christmas trees.

🎄 Parents, this is a good opportunity to discuss personal safety measures.  Giving your children a clear plan on what to do if they get separated in the crowd is beneficial to all.  The coordinators, security staff, and volunteers have protocols in place to reunite you quickly.  Point out the uniformed guards and adult staff to your children throughout the areas.

🎄 Have fun!  The start of the holiday season is here!  Take pictures, make memories and enjoy your day at the Festival of Trees.

About Kennedy Krieger Institute

The Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Mission:

“To transform the lives of children, adolescents, and adults with diseases, disorders, and injuries impacting the nervous system.  We do this through groundbreaking research, integrated therapies, and innovative education, all led by expert, compassionate staff members, faculty members, and trainees.”  

The first Festival of Trees opened in 1990 and since then has raised more than 25 Million Dollars for the Kennedy Krieger Institute.  This event is special to all that participate.  From the hundreds of community volunteers and dedicated staff to those that make the Festival a family tradition, everyone has a place at the Festival of Trees. 

Spend Thanksgiving Weekend in Baltimore

Join the fun during Thanksgiving weekend in Baltimore.  There is plenty more to do in the area.  Just take a look at this list!  Shop, play, eat and enjoy your time!

  • Baltimore Aquarium
  • Inner Harbor
  • Wine and Chocolate Tour
  • The Selfie Museum
  • Foodie Tour of Fells Pointe


Whether you stop in for a few hours or spend the weekend, The Festival of Trees is sure to jumpstart your holiday season.  Not only is this magical event fun for the entire family, but it also raises awareness and much-needed funding for the many that suffer from brain and nervous system disabilities.   

Research, treatment, and recovery for those in need are possible through generous donations to The Kennedy Krieger Festival of Trees.

Thank you for supporting kennedy krieger institute festival of trees

Photo Credit: Drew Cope

Join the fun and Happy Holidays!

Not going to be in the Baltimore area?  Check out a Festival of Trees in your area that supports local charities.

Festival of Trees: Philadelphia, PA

Festival of Trees: Wilmington, DE

Festival of Trees: Pinehurst, NC

Festival of Trees and Lights: Des Moines, IA 

Festival of Trees: Orlando, FL

Festival of Trees: Gillette, WY