My solution was to find an add-on that made up for Explorer's deficiencies. Having tabs and a hotlist of folders to jump to were the main things I was looking for. QTTabBar does all this and lots more. Although it doesn't come with great documentation and is not very intuitive once you get used to this tool, you will not want to go back.
After installation I encourage making the following customization to help get used to QTTabBar with only one Explorer window:
Uncheck this box to open all external Explorer windows in a single QTTabBar instance:
That's it. Like I said this add-on takes a little bit to get used to, but the rewards are there. For the more advanced, keyboard shortcuts are available.
One last tip: To create a new group, simply right click on one of the open tabs and then select the "Create new Group..." option: