Smart camping fans know that November is the perfect time to start planning for early summer RV camping excursions. The Florida Folk Festival, held Memorial Day Weekend each year at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs, Florida, is one place you’ll want to plan to attend in 2015.

Why go? We thought you’d never ask!

Here are five exciting reasons to plan your RV camping trip to the 2015 Florida Folk Festival.

Reason #1: The Music!

The folks who put on this three day festival promise the best the Sunshine State has to offer in a wide range of musical traditions. Come listen, dance and sing along as these artists play in concerts, workshops and jam sessions. They provide the perfect backdrop for a festival that celebrates the cultures that keep Florida fascinating. With hundreds of performances over the weekend, you’re sure to hear just what you came for.

Reason #2: The Folk Culture Experience!

If your RV camping crew enjoys hands-on cultural experiences, this is definitely the place to go. In the finest folk culture tradition, the Florida Folk Festival offers an amazing array of food, craft and artistic workshops, demonstrations and exhibits that showcase the diverse peoples of Florida.

Unplug the kids from their screens and challenge them to learn how to make something with their own hands. Enjoy talented storytellers spinning tales that will entertain everyone in the family. Forget what you thought you knew about Florida and be surprised by the cultural influences that have played a part in the state’s history.

Plan to immerse yourselves in all the Festival has to offer and go home enriched by the experience!

Reason #3: Abundant RV Camping Nearby

One of our favorite reasons to attend this annual festival is the abundance of friendly RV campgrounds close by. Whether you plan to stay right there in White Springs or a little farther out, you’ll love the small town hospitality that’s offered. Here’s a well-written guide to camping close to the Florida Folk Festival (just click the Accommodations link for complete details.) Be sure to make your reservations early!

Reason #4: Plenty to Do Before You Head Home

First time visitors to Florida’s Suwannee River Valley will be thrilled to discover all the area has to offer. Crisscrossed with rivers and natural springs, the Valley offers some of the best tubing, paddling and scuba diving venues in Florida.

Spots like Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River, Ichetucknee Springs State Park in Fort White and Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park offer water-loving visitors the chance to explore the blue-green, spring-fed, pristine waters of north Florida.

Like your RV adventures a little less on the wild side? Be sure to visit the Valley’s many antiques stores, battlefields and historic sites in lovely spots like Lake City and High Springs. We’ve also heard rave reviews about the area’s bird and wildlife watching opportunities.

Reason #5: Affordable, Family Friendly Event

At $50 per adult weekend pass (purchase tickets in advance here) and free or reduced fees for the youngsters, the Florida Folk Festival is a real bargain! Combined with the benefits and affordability of RV travel, you won’t find a more budget-friendly way to spend Memorial Day Weekend in north Florida.  Florida Folk Festival

We’ve given you just five of the many reasons to plan an RV camping trip to next year’s Florida Folk Festival. You’ll find your own reasons to return once you’ve attended!

Don’t forget, you don’t have to own an RV to camp near the festival in motorhome luxury. We’re happy to help you reserve the perfect RV for your festival weekend in Florida. White Springs is just two and a half hours north of Orlando, so give us a call when you’re ready to reserve your RV.

Picture credits: The photo of Florida Folk Festival was found on Flickr Commons. It is licensed under the Explore/Creative Commons license.

Have you ever dreamed of saying, “we’ll be away for the holidays,” but haven’t managed to make that happen? RV travel offers real value for families hoping to hit the road for the holidays.

We’re always looking for ways to help our readers plan the perfect vacations, and this holiday season is no exception. Here are five memorable ways to enjoy the winter holidays even more, thanks to the convenience of RV camping.

Amelia Island Florida

Amelia Island Florida

Winter RV Camping Getaway #1 – Amelia Island, Florida

An RV trip to the northeast coast of Florida should always include a stop at Amelia Island. This gem shines with historical and architectural charm, thanks to spots like Fernandina Beach, where entire blocks are on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll also want to tour Fort Clinch, where the battle over ownership has been waged for more than four hundred years. Beautiful winter weather means highs in the sixties and lows in the upper forties; the perfect holiday RV getaway for snowbound families!

Winter RV Camping Getaway #2 – Boulder City, Nevada

There’s an RV camping haven just thirty miles south of Las Vegas that’s a fantastic family-oriented destination. Boulder City, Nevada is not only the gateway to Hoover Dam and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, it’s also a winter wonderland of wildlife viewing, outdoor recreation and historical sites. Take the kids to the city’s Hemenway Valley Park to watch the bighorn sheep graze around the playground equipment! By all means visit Lake Mead and Hoover Dam—they’re both unforgettable—and while you’re there, hike the 3.7 mile Railroad Tunnel Trail, carved through solid rock for the railroad to use to build the Dam.

Winter RV Camping Getaway #3 – Port St Lucie, Florida

Love to paddle a scenic river trail one vacation day and play on a white sand beach the next? Port St Lucie is the place for you to get away for the winter holidays. The Indian and St. Lucie Rivers that run through this scenic southeast Florida city offer hiking, paddling and fishing opportunities to die for. You’ll also be within easy reach of Florida’s Treasure Coast, where spectacular beaches await.

Winter RV Camping Getaway #4 – Newport Beach, California

Winter break is the best time of all to hit the beach, and Newport Beach, California is a beach lover’s paradise. Park the RV at one of the many scenic campgrounds in the area and then soak up the sun on beaches like Corona del Mar State Beach and Crystal Cove State Park. Don’t miss the winter grey whale watching excursions and book your campground reservation in time to see the city’s annual five-day Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.

Winter RV Camping Getaway #5 – Fountain Hills, Arizona

Want to camp where there’s scenic beauty all around, but big city attractions close by? Fountain Hills, Arizona, thirty quick minutes east of Scottsdale, is your perfect winter holiday location. Next door to McDowell Mountain Regional Park’s miles and miles of hiking and biking trails, this desert town will charm your family into coming back year after year. Hit the shops in Scottsdale, explore the attractions of Phoenix and then get out into the Sonoran Desert for hours of outdoor recreation. Have a golfer in the family? One more reason to stay in Fountain Hills! The Sonoran Desert Golf Trail will lead your golf enthusiast to some of the best public courses in the country.

Ready yet to plan this year’s winter holiday RV trip? We’re here to help! Let us book your RV rental and offer plenty of information on local attractions. This is the year to make your family’s best-ever holiday vacation memories.

 

Photo Credits: Amelia Island FL by Michael Kappel;

Smart families start planning their spring RV camping trips early to get the best reservations and discounts. There’s another reason to plan early for your next camping vacation with the kids—you’ll have time to create a fun ‘RV camping classroom’ to keep them entertained, educated and challenged as you travel.

Family Fun in an El Monte RV

Family Fun in an El Monte RV!

We’ve got lots of ideas for teaching young campers as you travel—and they won’t even mind the homework!

RV Camping Classroom Ideas

  • Catch the Camping Bug:  Bring along a magnifying glass (or load a magnifying app on your cell phone) and plastic containers with lids and go on an insect safari. Have youngsters look up ahead of time what kinds of bugs live where you’ll be camping. Give a small prize (gummy bugs?) for each kind they find, and ask them  to write about, draw or make up a story about the insects they catch. Tip: Accompany younger kids to avoid insect bites!
  • Create a Colorful Campground: When it’s time to take a break from swimming, hiking and other outdoor activities, set up watercolors and sturdy paper on the picnic table. Encourage young artists to interpret nature on paper, and take along fishing line and bag clips to make a campground art gallery.
  • Vacation Memories in a Box: Another artistic way to encourage campground learning is to bring a shoebox for each child, along with a collection of art supplies. Have each young artist create a diorama that represents their favorite memories of the trip—natural wonders, campground antics, animals in the wild—you may be surprised by what they want to remember! Pack their creations carefully to display back home.
  • Camping Finance Challenge: RV camping makes vacations affordable, but do the kids know what it costs to take your trips? Give each child a ledger (paper or app) where they can record expenses along the way (here’s a great sample ledger.) Give them a head start by taking them shopping for camping trip groceries and supplies. Point out where to see the cost of gas on a pump and how to figure tips at roadside cafes. Up the ante by giving each child a budget for their own camping expenses like souvenirs and snacks. Award the best budget hound for keeping accurate track of the most expenses.
  • Look to the Skies! One of the things we love most about camping in the great outdoors is the ability to see stars and constellations invisible in the city. Teach your kids about the heavens by taking along a telescope, using a helpful astronomy app like Pocket Universe or just laying on a blanket and looking up. There are lots of ways to expand this RV classroom exercise—draw, paint or sculpt what they see in the sky, write a story about space travel or challenge them to make up their own planets, complete with occupants!
  • Animal Arithmetic: Create a simple set of miniature playing cards on paper, with a photo or picture of common birds or animals on each and a numeric value assigned. Have the youngsters cut them out and put a set for each of them in envelopes. As you travel and camp, instruct them to watch for those birds and animals, look them up on their cards and track the numeric value on the outside of their envelopes. Decide how much you’ll let them score for spotting unusual species. On the last day of your RV camping vacation, have them add their totals and award a prize to the child with the highest score.
  • Camp Captain: Teach your children leadership skills on vacation by telling them ahead of time they’ll be in charge of one family activity.
  • Assign them a campground meal to plan and enlist others to help them cook.
  • Let them decide what hiking trail the family will take and then ask them to plan how long it should take and what they’ll need to take along (water, snacks, sunscreen, first aid kit, etc.).
  • If you’re camping near historical sites, have them choose one as a day trip and then prepare a preview for the family.

Any kind of activity families can do while camping can be turned into a fun and educational experience. Remember to allow young campers to do things to their own ability and don’t expect perfection—you’re on vacation, after all!

Let us know what types of RV camping classroom ideas you’ve tried while traveling with the kids. Share your epic successes (and your funny failures) below so other camping families can learn from your experience. And don’t forget to let us know if you need help planning an RV rental

Photo Credit:  An El Monte RV customer photo, permission granted.

Are you ready to explore one of Louisiana’s largest inland lakes by RV?  Then it’s time to turn your motorhome to southern Louisiana and Lake Palourde.  This scenic lake is part of an enormous collection of swamps, streams and interconnected waterways that make up the Atchafalaya Basin.

Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana

Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana

Here’s how to get there: Travel US90 about one-and-one-half hours southwest from New Orleans to Morgan City, LA.  That’s where you’ll find the best access for RV campers to Lake Palourde.  Let the city’s Lake End Park be your home base, with affordable, full-service campsites adjacent to the water.

This stunningly scenic park also boasts fishing piers, a boat launch, plenty of hiking and biking routes and a sand beach.  Be sure to make reservations before you come, so you’ll have your prime camping spot secured.

What You’ll Find While RV Camping at Lake Palourde: Here are some of the first impressions RV travelers to Lake Palourde have shared, “Spanish moss hanging low on cypress trees,” “nature at its best, right at your camper’s front door” and “fishing like nowhere else in America.”

Fishing in Louisiana

Fishing in Louisiana

So let’s talk about the fishing first—the anglers in your crew aren’t going to want to leave the water when they realize just how many crappie, catfish and bass make this lake and the area’s canals and bayous their home.  Be ready to eat some of the freshest seafood imaginable, as oysters, crayfish and crabs are also plentiful on the Atchafalaya.

There’s also something here for history buffs, nature lovers and outdoor sports enthusiasts at Lake Palourde.  Brownell Memorial Park and Carillon Tower, just a half-mile down the road from the RV campground, is a delightful place to hike the trails, watch for unusual bird species and photograph one of the world’s tallest carillon towers (if you’re lucky, you’ll get to hear the bells ring!)

Another way to savor the character of Louisiana’s inland lakes is to understand their important role in history.  Take the time to ask a local about the Civil War battle in which a much smaller Confederate force came on small boats and then on foot through the swamps to attack and conquer a large Union encampment at Fort Brashear.

But let’s not forget about the outdoor sports enthusiasts who come to the shores of Lake Palourde.  There are plenty of ways for them to spend their time, from biking along the bayous and through picturesque small towns to looking for eagles’ nests from the water along one of the Cajun Coast Paddling Trails.

A beautiful Blue Heron

A beautiful Blue Heron

Speaking of birding, sections of the America’s Wetland Birding Trail can be found throughout the Atchafalaya Basin, including at Lake Palourde.  Keep your eyes open for great blue herons, double-crested cormorants and a multitude of both common and rare birds that make Louisiana’s Cajun Coast their home.

One more suggestion for getting back to nature in America’s favorite freshwater swamp—take a swamp tour!  Local outfitters like Cajun Jack’s are happy to introduce you to the alligators, backwoods trappers and Cajun lore of the Basin.

Coming to southern Louisiana is taking a step into Cajun hospitality and untamed beauty everywhere you look.  Bring your bikes, your hiking shoes and your cameras and set up camp on the shores of Lake Palourde.  You’re going to have a hard time leaving!

We’d like to hear about your Atchafalaya adventures by RV, especially if you’ve visited Lake Palourde.  What keeps you going back?  Share your tips for fellow travelers in the comment section below.  And be sure to let us know if you need an RV rental for the trip!

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE! or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credits: Top, Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; middle, Fishing in Louisiana by finchlake2000, and bottom, Blue Heron by Andrea Westmoreland are are licensed under Flickr Commons

Five Day Trips to Take While RV Camping in Tucson

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Are you looking for new ways to enjoy the great outdoors while RV camping in Arizona?  Why not try Tucson, home to year-round campgrounds and some of the prettiest desert scenery around? To spark your imagination, we’ve collected helpful tips …

 

RV Adventure to Cumberland Island National Seashore

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Georgia’s Atlantic Coast can be your RV camping playground year-round.  One of the best places to experience the wild beauty and unspoiled nature of the area is with a visit to Cumberland Island National Seashore. As Georgia’s largest barrier island, …

 

Long Beach RV Camping Idea – A Week of Golf

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Admit it, you’re ready to hit the road for Autumn RV camping!  Well we’ve got just the idea if your plans are taking you to Long Beach, California.  Why not spend a week playing golf at this SoCal city’s excellent …

 

What to Pack When You’re RV Camping

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Are you planning for your first-ever RV camping trip and aren’t sure what to pack?  No worries! We’ve created an RV packing checklist to help ensure your motorhome camping premier is a success. Here’s how to get started: If you haven’t …

 

RV Football Tailgating – It’s Game On!

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The college and NFL football seasons are in full swing, so what’s your game plan for the best RV tailgating season ever? First things first; don’t own an RV?  No worries – we’ve got the plays mapped out for an …

 

Winter Beach Camping at Mustang Island

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What could be more perfect than sand, sea, and an average daytime temperature of 72 degrees?  Winter RV campers should definitely make plans to visit Mustang Island, off the coast of Texas in the Gulf.  Beach camping at its best awaits, …