How many times have you said, “Next year we’ll camp in Florida?” Two hundred miles northwest of Miami and less than two hours’ drive southwest of Orlando, Sarasota is the perfect place to get your feet wet in Florida family RV camping. And the kids will love you for it! Here are three ways to thrill the kids when you make Sarasota your family’s RV camping destination.

Run Away to the Circus!

John and Mabel Ringling, the couple who helped introduce America to the circus, once lived in a fabulous mansion on Sarasota Bay. Now a part of “The Ringling”, a public attraction that includes a circus museum, the Ringling mansion, a world-class art museum and a dizzying collection of all things circus, this stop is a must for families camping in Sarasota.

Wander the grounds and experience this beloved destination as you learn about John Ringling’s fascinating life and the circus whose winter home was once Sarasota.

Hit the Beach!

Florida’s Gulf Coast is nowhere more spectacular than on Sarasota Bay, where six islands (“keys”) sit in the sparkling water, waiting to enchant your family. The white sand beaches on the keys off Sarasota offer RV camping families endless days of fun. Build sand castles, splash in the surf and search for shells with the little ones, while older kids tour the shoreline on stand up paddle boards. No matter what your family loves to do at the beach, you’ll find a place to do it along Sarasota Bay.

Sarasota Beach Hot Tips: Turtle Beach, run by Sarasota County, has a full-service RV campground and the chance to see the sea turtles that give this beach its name. You’ll also want to visit celebrated Siesta Key Beach to find out why it’s one of the most popular in America.

Go on a Gator Safari!

Reserve a campsite at Myakka River State Park and open the door to outdoor adventures the whole family will enjoy. From searching for alligators from the safety of an enclosed airboat tour to a walk among the treetops on the park’s Canopy Walkway, this state park offers enough excitement for an entire camping vacation.

Families who love to explore from the water will find dozens of special places to canoe or kayak along the shores of two lakes and the river within the park’s boundaries. Set up camp at the park and then plan to hike, paddle and tour your way through the wonders of nature.

Ready to discover Sarasota and Florida’s spectacular Gulf Coast on your next family camping vacation? All it takes is a Florida RV rental and a sense of adventure. With so many ways to thrill the kids in Sarasota, get ready to hear them say, “This was the best vacation ever!”

Seventy thousand people in the Black Rock Desert of Northwestern Nevada—that’s one way to describe the annual celebration of art and community known as Burning Man. You could also say this gathering that culminates every Labor Day Weekend is a festival of self-expression and self-reliance. The many facets of Burning Man are there to explore for anyone with a ticket and a vehicle pass, and RV and tent camping are the usual ways to attend.

If you’ve never investigated the Burning Man phenomenon, having a few basic facts can help start your journey.

  • When: August 30 to September 7, 2015
  • Where: One hundred twenty miles northeast of Reno, NV on the ‘playa’ in the Black Rock Desert.
  • Where to Buy Tickets: Tickets have been on sale since February, but never fear. You can still find tickets on the Secure Ticket Exchange Program from folks who purchased tickets and can’t attend. Another way to secure a late ticket is to register for the OMG ticket sale that will take place August 5, 2015. You’ll start by creating a Burner Profile. One thousand tickets are sold on August 5 on a first come, first served basis. Each Burner can purchase two tickets and one vehicle pass as available.
  • How Much Does it Cost? Tickets are $390 each (good for the entire week) and each vehicle requires a $50 pass. Tip: To save vehicle pass costs and travel expense, share the costs of renting an RV with another couple or a group of friends.

What should you expect at Burning Man? That’s a big question! You can expect to not see any type of advertising or commercial enterprises. You will see people gathered in camping groups, sharing facilities, food and tasks. Visually stunning, Burning Man is filled with tens of thousands of costumed participants, epic outdoor art forms and bicycles, bicycles, bicycles (the best mode of transportation.) From the ‘big burns’ where spectacular art installations go up in flames to the comradery and communal strength of the ‘City’, there’s something remarkable about being there.

What will be unforgettable for most campers at Burning Man will be the construction of ‘Black Rock City’ in the middle of the desert, complete with streets and medical facilities. That same temporary city is completely removed from the playa (including outdoor art) when Burning Man is over, following the festival’s core value of ‘Leave No Trace.’

If this sound like the place for you to be this Labor Day Weekend, take steps now:

  1. Set up a Burner Profile so you’ll be in line for OMG tickets
  2. Check out the STEP ticket exchange, too
  3. Rent your RV now if you don’t own one, or pack up your tent gear
  4. Start packing for life in Black Rock City—costumes, hot weather clothes and supplies, bicycles. Here’s a list of Black Rock City essentials.
  5. Launch your 2015 journey to Burning Man!

Attending Burning Man is unlike any camping experience you’ll ever have. It’s sharing a week in the desert with thousands of free thinking, art and nature loving temporary citizens of Black Rock City, creating art and community.

Are you RV or tent camping at Burning Man 2015? There’s still time to make it happen!

Camping on Michigan’s U.P.—the state’s Upper Peninsula—is something every RV traveler should add to their ‘must-go’ camping list. Here’s why: the region’s rocky shorelines, lush forests and picturesque campgrounds promise the kind of trip you’ll think about for years.

There are so many special places on the U.P. that it’s hard to narrow down to just three. We’ll introduce our favorite Upper Peninsula picks, and then encourage each RV camper to find their own treasured spots on the U.P. (please share with our readers, too!)

Straits State Park – St Ignace, Michigan            

The Straits of Mackinac, a five mile waterway that allows ship traffic between Lakes Huron and Michigan, is also the boundary between the U.P. and the lower ‘thumb’ of Michigan. The spectacular Mackinac Bridge spans the Straits and thrills RV campers who take the drive from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace on I-75.

Straits State Park offers unforgettable views of Mackinac Bridge, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan and easy access to the Mackinac Island ferries. The nearly four-thousand-mile-long North Country Trail has a section through this park, inviting hikers to explore the shorelines, granite cliffs and pine forests of the Upper Peninsula.

Indian Lake State Park – Manistique, Michigan

Skirt the shores of Lake Michigan west along US-2 from St Ignace to Indian Lake State Park near Manistique. A wide, shallow lake famed for its fishing holes, this favorite U.P. spot also features swimming beaches, lakeshore campsites and the vast beauty of Hiawatha National Forest on its boundaries.

The area surrounding Indian Lake is filled with historic towns, lighthouses and trails. You might also enjoy a stroll along the Lake Michigan boardwalk in Manistique.

Black River Harbor Recreation Area – Ottawa National Forest—Bessemer, Michigan

If waterfalls, hemlock forests and the scenic shores of Lake Superior call you to come camping, this is the place for you. A Western U.P. favorite, Black River Harbor is at the northern end of the fourteen-mile long National Black River Scenic Byway. Along the byway from Bessemer to Black River Harbor, you’ll follow the river past its five photo-worthy waterfalls.

Once you reach the Harbor, there’s a rustic campground with views of the water, or you can camp farther into the National Forest. Take the time to explore the beaches, a unique suspension bridge over the river and the trails that make up a section of the North Country Trail. One more tip for anglers—a number of Lake Superior sport fishing charters operate from Black Harbor, so why not book an outing before you come?

There’s so much more to see on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula! Here’s a link to even more information on Michigan campgrounds and attractions.

RV camping to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offers an almost endless variety of things to see, things to do and friendly campgrounds on the shore or in the forest. An RV rental makes it all affordable, so why not head to the U.P. this camping season?

Chincoteague Island, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, can be your starting point for an unforgettable RV camping vacation. The timeless beauty of Chincoteague draws visitors all summer long to hike or bike to a wildlife refuge, kayak in Chincoteague Bay or watch for dolphins from a picturesque lighthouse. Unspoiled by over-development, it’s as close to nature as you’ll find on the Eastern Seaboard.

Coming to Chincoteague by RV is the perfect choice for several reasons. Thanks to the variety of campgrounds in the area, it’s possible to maximize your family’s vacation activities. Chincoteague campgrounds are close to area attractions and most also offer access to clamming, crabbing, boat rentals, scenic land and water tours and other outdoor recreation favorites.

Here’s one more bonus: knowing you’ll be coming home to sleep in RV comfort and can cook when you choose in a well-equipped RV kitchen makes vacationing that much more relaxing.

Now that you know you’re making the right choice traveling by RV, here are even more reasons to take an RV camping trip to Chincoteague Island.

Assateague Island National Seashore

An extraordinary place divided between Maryland and Virginia (and a stone’s throw from Chincoteague), Assateague Island is home to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, where wild ponies play among the dunes.     Chincoteague_National_Wildlife_Refuge

On the last Saturday of July, those ponies swim the narrow channel between the two islands in preparation for the Pony Auction held annually to reduce the herd to limits allowed on the island. Tip: If your family is planning to attend this amazing event, plan to park at the school on Chincoteague and take the shuttle to avoid the congestion.

Kayaking, hiking, wildlife viewing and saltwater fishing are other favorite activities for visitors to Assateague. Take the time to visit Assateague Lighthouse, a quick drive or bike ride from Chincoteague. Built in 1833, the light’s attractive red and white tower promises wonderful vacation photos and a chance to climb the steps to the top for even better views.

There are Assateague Island RV campgrounds on the Maryland side, if you enjoy ‘boondocking’ with no hookups and cold water showers. It’s best to plan on camping here during the week in the summertime, as weekend sites are booked months in advance.

Find time to come to Virginia’s Eastern Shore this summer. Whether you come to ride a horse along the beach, learn the history of Assateague and Chincoteague on a boat tour, paddle your way through the area’s many water trails or photograph the sun setting over the dunes, your time on these islands will be magical.

And did we mention the area is famous for its summertime festivals? Be sure to ask your campground host what’s coming up so you won’t miss any of the fun.

We’d love to help you with a Virginia or Maryland RV rental, as well as more information about area activities. Use this link to make your reservations at your favorite Virginia campground and start planning your own Chincoteague Island RV camping vacation.

Photo attribution: By Leonard J. DeFrancisci (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

How to Plan the Perfect RV Camping Family Reunion

Does your family need new ideas for making your family reunions fun for all ages? Why not plan a reunion in the great outdoors, complete with RV comfort and convenience? We’ve pulled together the perfect plan for bringing your family …

 

Active Family RV Camping Idea – Delaware Water Gap NRA

http://blog.elmonterv.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/delaware_water_gap_pa-300x144.jpg

Stuck for summer RV camping ideas? Why not combine your family’s love of hiking, paddling and, of course, exceptional RV camping, with a trip to Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area? If you’ve never been to ‘the Gap’, it’s located …

 

Cedar City, Utah—RV Camping in the Center of Fun

http://blog.elmonterv.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/zion_natl_park_angels-landing-300x225.jpg

Ready for a place to park your RV with abundant outdoor adventure close at hand? Cedar City, Utah, about halfway between Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, is ground zero for outdoor recreation. Why so much back-to-nature fun near Cedar …

 

Motorhome Safari to Ohio’s Award Winning Zoos

http://blog.elmonterv.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Columbus_Zoo_n_Aquarium-300x187.jpg

Did you know that three of the top-ranked zoos in America are waiting for your family in Ohio? We’ve mapped an epic five hundred mile motorhome safari to discover the zoos in Toledo, Cincinnati and Columbus. To add even more …

 

Four Relaxing Spots to Visit near Glen Ellyn, Illinois

http://blog.elmonterv.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/glen_ellyn_il_camping-300x199.jpg

Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a quick forty minutes west of Chicago, is centrally located for getting back to nature. By all means, enjoy the attractions of Chicagoland, but if you like your RV camping in more natural settings, here are four …

 

RV Camping Flea Market Adventures – Colorado Style

As promised, we’re continuing our series on RV camping while visiting the country’s best flea markets. Today’s post is for motorhome campers traveling to Colorado. Colorado is prime bargain shopping territory, with more than three dozen flea markets across the …