Memorial Day Racing RV Vacation

The Charlotte Motor Speedway is home to some of the best auto racing in the Carolinas. Located outside Charlotte, North Carolina the racetrack was built in 1959 and has been hosting NASCAR races since 1960. The racetrack is 1.5 miles long. A revolutionary lighting system installed in 1992 allowed Charlotte Motor Speedway to become the first modern speedway to host night racing.

NASCAR Tailgating Party

NASCAR Tailgating Party

There is much more to do besides watch the race. The speedway has a Fan Zone which is a 10-acre area just outside the main entrance. Racing fans can play interactive games and purchase NASCAR merchandise. Kids will enjoy the bounce houses, petting zoo, and face painting located in the Play Zone.

The Coca-Cola 600 race is part of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Tickets are on sale now for the May 27th event. This year the Eli Young Band will be the pre-race concert and is included when you purchase race tickets.

Many people who attend the race make a week of it and camp while they are there. Check out the speedway’s camping rules here. 

There are different campgrounds to suit your family’s needs: 

Turn 4 Family Campground:

This is a popular, family-friendly campground. It is perfect for families of all sizes and is especially suitable for children. Quiet time is observed daily. The campground is located near the Turn 4 grandstands and is a standard, no-hookup facility. However, there are modern restrooms/showers located nearby.

Tim Flock Campground:

This is a centrally located, standard no-hookup campground. It is located near a convenience store and gas station. Campsites are on a first-come-first-serve basis.  Extra tow vehicle passes can be purchased.

Morehead Farms Camp:

This standard, no-hookup campground is located on the backside of the speedway. It is a short 15-minute walk to the track and trams also run before and after the race. If you like a more secluded campsite, this will suit you.

Rock City Campground:

Located less than a mile from the front stretch, this is the best campground for partying with family and friends. It is a standard, no-hookup campground. A tram runs from Rock City to the speedway before and after the race.

Infield Camping:

If you would like to be in the middle of the action, then this is the place for you. There are premium RV sites that offer electric only. You can view the race on the huge HDTV in the infield. These campsites are ideal for entertaining clients or visiting with family and friends.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway’s philosophy is to make a fan’s visit the experience of a lifetime, whether it be watching the race, playing in the Fan Zone, looking through NASCAR memorabilia, viewing the race on the world’s largest HDTV, or camping right in the middle of all the action.

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An RV Vacation in Search of the World’s Longest Yard Sale

The old saying “someone’s trash is someone’s treasure” certainly holds true for the World’s Longest Yard Sale, also known as The 127 Corridor Sale. Everybody loves to find a bargain. Imagine a five-state, 690-mile yard sale stretching along highway 127 from Gadsden, Alabama to Addison, Michigan. Individual families, groups of people and communities set up tables and booths to participate in the yard sale. Vendors lease fields and open spaces along the corridor to sell their wares.

Yard Sale offerings

Yard Sale offerings

The event officially begins the first Thursday in August and ends the following Sunday. This year’s dates are- August 2 – 5. The massive yard sale was the brainchild of Mike Walker, a local Fentress County, Tennessee official. He envisioned the yard sale as a way to get people off the major interstates and onto America’s backroads. The first yard sale took place in 1987 along highway 127 in Fentress County, Tennessee. The Fentress County Chamber of Commerce currently serves as the yard sale’s headquarters.

It would be impossible to travel the entire stretch of highway 127 in the four days, much less visit each vendor or sale. You could make this an annual trip, visiting a different section of the corridor each August. Some of the major cities along the route are:

  • Gadsden, AL
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Jamestown, TN
  • Frankfort, KY
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Addison, MI

An excellent starting point would be where it all began – in the state of Tennessee. The Edgetrekker is a website that helps plan and organize your trip along the 127 Corridor Sale.

Reserve a campsite as a home base in Crossville, which is about midway on the TN section. From there you can travel north or south checking out yard sale bargains during the weekend. You can explore local attractions the days before and after the big sale.

The local Tennessee scenery is worth the trip even if you don’t buy a thing.

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Flower Power for a Bloomin’ RV Vacation

If you love blooming things and the great outdoors, head to Brookgreen Gardens. Visitors from around the world have walked the paths of this famous botanical garden. Many return year after year. If your vacation plans include a trip to one of the beaches along the South Carolina coastline, then plan a trip to this beautiful paradise.

Brookgreen Gardens-  Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Brookgreen Gardens, SC

Brookgreen Gardens, SC

Brookgreen Gardens is comprised of  9,127 acres located along the South Carolina coastline. In the 1700s, the present botanical gardens were home to four rice plantations. The coastal climate provides the ideal growing environment for a wide variety of plants and trees. The garden is divided into themed sections allowing you to explore uniquely landscaped areas throughout the garden.

Stroll down Live Oak Allee lined with 250-year-old majestic live oak trees. Close your eyes and let yourself be transported back in time. Imagine these very trees lining the drive leading up to a stately plantation. History comes alive at Brookgreen.

The Butterfly Garden is divided into five distinct gardens:

During the spring and summer, butterflies flit and flutter around the blooming plants that attract them.

  • The Huntington Sculpture Garden is home to many beautiful and intriguing sculptures that complement the foliage in the garden.
  • The Dorothy P. Peace Garden Room for Children will delight the younger crowd, as well as adults.
  • The Kitchen Garden is home to a variety of herbs and vegetables that are as beautiful as they are tasty.
  • The Brenda W. Rosen Carolina Terrace Garden has an array of perennials, roses, shrubs and mature trees.
  • The Palmetto Garden was completed in 1950. South Carolina’s state tree, the Sabal palmetto, is used extensively throughout this garden.

The Fountain of the Muses Garden boasts a sculptured fountain that is a whimsical delight.

 What’s in bloom?

Check out the seasonal blooms list to find out when your favorite flowers are in bloom. The garden’s hours are from 9:30 to 5:00 with extended hours until 7:00 during the month of April. Admission runs from $10 – $18 per person

Sculptures

Brookgreen Gardens are not only home to living plants, but to the figurative sculptures that reside among them. There are over 2,000 pieces of art displayed in the garden.

What’s not to love?…flowers and art in a beautiful setting that is steeped in history!

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Zootastic Spring Break

Spring is the ideal time to load up the RV and get ready to experience a ‘Yaycation’ at San Diego Zoo in San Diego, California. The zoo is hosting a Yaycation sponsored by National University. The event runs from March 24 to April 8, 2018. This famous landmark has been rated the #1 zoo in America. Flowers will be blooming and you are sure to experience some exciting animal antics.

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

Animals

Before visiting the zoo, do a little homework about the animals you will encounter. All of the animals in the zoo are pictured alphabetically for easy viewing. From the majestic African Penguin to the Zany Zebra and a plethora in between, you are sure to find an animal to delight you. Crazy about monkeys? Click on the picture of the monkey in the list and the link will take you to a fact sheet about that animal. You are also able to sort through the animal list by categories, such as animal type, conservation status, or region.

Plants

If you thought the zoo was just about animals you may be surprised to learn that plants are an important part of zoo life. Plants play an import role in creating a healthy habitat for the animals housed in the zoo and are also used to teach visitors about biodiversity and habitat preservation. Approximately two million plants can be found at the Safari Park, as well as the zoo grounds. Gardens are maintained by zoo horticulturists and garden volunteers. The San Diego Zoo’s plant collection is considered as a ‘rescue’ center for rare and endangered plants. The zoo offers a special ‘plant day’ the third Friday of every month. The mild California climate provides a suitable habitat for a wide variety of plant species.

Live Cams

If you can’t make it to San Diego Zoo this spring you can still check out the live feed videos of zoo animals. Apes, condors, elephants, koalas, pandas, penguins, polar bears, and tigers all currently have live cams. Of course, it would be so much more fun to experience these animals in person on your trip to the zoo.

Camping

The county of San Diego Parks and Recreation offers numerous campgrounds. You are sure to find one that suits your family.

There is so much to experience and learn about through the educational programs in the San Diego Zoo that you will want to make several trips to the zoo while you are camping in the area. A visit to the beautiful San Diego Zoo is a great way to begin the spring season.  El Monte RV makes it easy with an rv rental location right in San Diego!

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Spring Break in the Caverns

Does your family love the great outdoors? Are you fascinated by natural landforms and unusual plants? Carlsbad Caverns might be the destination for you. Spring is a great time to visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Summer brings temperatures in the mid-90’s, but the temperature in spring averages from 72 to 79 degrees. If you are wanting to escape the cold weather, pack up the RV and head to Carlsbad, New Mexico. When you arrive you will be awed by the natural beauty of the landscape, both above ground and beneath the surface. The 119 underground caves are located in the Chihuahuan Desert and will be sure to impress young and old alike.

Things to explore:

  • Speleothems –   Check out the online activity that your kids can do before arriving at the park. It’s  a great way to get a head start on their educational experience in the caves. They will learn about speleothems or ‘cave decorations’, such as stalactites and  stalagmites by playing a matching game. 
  • The Desert –  Amazingly the ocean once covered this area that is now a desert and you will discover remnants such as sea ledges. Check out the beautiful and unusual       plants that are native to the Chihuahuan Desert. You might think that the desert            is just a dry, hot no-man’s land. In reality, many animals and plants live and thrive          in this desert environment.
  • Hiking –  Pack your hiking shoes and gear and get ready to enjoy the breathtaking desert landscape.  Hiking is very popular in the park. Check out this link by the Hiking Project for a list of numerous hiking trails. Trails are ranked from easy to difficult.

Camping:

Carlsbad Caverns National Park does not offer overnight RV parking or campgrounds.

White’s City located 7 miles from the visitor center offers camping. The city of Carlsbad, 20 miles northeast of the park offers even more options for camping. Carlsbad RV Park is one of the many full service campgrounds and is located a short drive from the park. Bring along your furry friends since this campground is pet friendly.

Wherever you decide to stay when you visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park, call ahead to make reservations since this area has become very popular with tourists.

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RV Vacations to the Great Smoky Mountains

If sandy beaches are not your idea of the perfect vacation, then you may be more inclined to spend your time in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. The Smokies are located in the southern end of the Appalachian Mountain Range. The Cherokee called them “shaconage” which means “place of the blue smoke”. A beautiful blue, hazy mist always seems to shroud the valleys and peaks of the Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee are located within 10 miles of one another in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. Visitors fondly call this tourist mecca “Myrtle Beach of the Mountains”. You will find many of the same types of entertainment here as you would along the coastal area of South Carolina.

Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoky Mountains National Park

Camping & Hiking

Camping is a blast in the Great Smoky Mountains and you will be sure to find something to engage every member of the family, young and old alike. There are numerous hiking trails which range in difficulty. Check out the Gatlinburg Welcome Center to plan your mountain adventure. When you are not out exploring hiking trails and the majestic mountain views you can shop, explore, and taste the local southern cuisine – you can even sample the area’s famous moonshine!

Theme Parks, Festivals and More

Dollywood Theme Park has something for the entire family. You will find rides, restaurants, shows, and demonstrations throughout the park. Spring is the perfect time to visit Dollywood. There are three festivals scheduled for spring 2018.

  • Festival of Nations – March 16 – April 9 If you are interested in exploring other world cultures without leaving the U.S. then you will not want to miss the Festival of Nations. You can experience live performances by an Irish bluegrass group, German stilt dancers, Caribbean steel pan orchestra, and a Mbube vocal group. These are just some of the highlights of this festival.
  • Spring Mix Music Festival – April 11 – 29 You can hear live performances by well-known artists from a wide musical genre – country to Christian to Southern rock. T.G. Sheppard, Crystal Gayle, Amy Grant, Chonda Pierce, Marshall Tucker Band, and Atlanta Rhythm Section are a few of the artists who will be showcased.
  • Barbeque and Bluegrass – May 25 – June 10 Bluegrass bands and barbeque…experience a true southern tradition at Dollywood. You will not be sorry you did.

Local Mountain Arts & Crafts

If exploring local shops is more your speed then you will want to be sure to check out the area in Gatlinburg known as Gatlinburg’s Historic Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community Trail.  The Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail was established in 1937 and is the largest group of independent artisans in North America. This is an easy walking route that is an 8 mile loop of local artisans who demonstrate their crafts, answer questions, and sell their handmade goods. You will find artisans whittling, painting, sewing, weaving, carving, creating pottery, and stained glass, among other types of handmade crafts. You may discover a unique collectible to take home to remind you of your visit to the Great Smoky Mountains.

Spring is the best time to plan a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. There is something for everyone in the whole family: amusement parks, shopping, arts and crafts, hiking trails and much more.

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The Grand Strand

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is famous for its sub-tropical weather and sandy beaches. The “Grand Strand” as it is fondly called, welcomes an estimated 14 million visitors annually. Many families consider this sandy strip of heaven to be the best vacation spot on the east coast. Winter and early spring is a great time to visit Myrtle Beach. You will avoid the major tourist season during the busy summer months. The average winter temperatures are pleasant with highs of 50℉ and lows of 40℉.

Need a break from winter’s chilly grasp? Then pack up the RV and head toward the east coast to warm your toes in the sand. Here are some of the many attractions you will not want to miss:

Shopping:

The Gay Dolphin Gift Cove is a landmark on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. Adults will remember visiting this eclectic gift shop when they were children. Founded in 1946, this multi-level, glass front building has not changed much over the years. If you are looking for a souvenir of your trip or just want to browse the unbelievable amount of “goodies” then you are in luck. The Gay Dolphin is open year round.

Sightseeing:

The Myrtle Beach Sky Wheel is one of the largest ferris wheels in America reaching a towering height of 187 feet. You will be seated in a climate-controlled, enclosed gondola that holds up to 6 adults. This exciting and dramatic arial trip is a great way to view the beach and attractions along the sandy shoreline. It is especially popular around sunset and you are sure to be rewarded with a magical, twinkling view of Myrtle Beach as it gears up for the night life.

Food:

If you are planning on trying one of the local restaurants during your stay, then the Sea Captain’s House is a must. This restaurant is far from the typical “beach” restaurants found on every corner.  Housed in a 1930’s cottage, the atmosphere is more like dining in a friend’s home than a popular, local restaurant. While you wait for a table you can sit in a cozy den and have a drink in front of the fireplace. Each section of the restaurant is a “room” in the house, but the favorite of guests is the glass enclosed porch that parallels the ocean. The Sea Captain’s House has been a landmark in Myrtle Beach for more than 50 years, so they must be doing something right!

Strolling: 

The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk was completed in May 2010. It consists of 1.2 miles of boardwalk that meanders from the 14th Avenue North Pier to the southernmost point at the 2nd Avenue Pier. The boardwalk itself is divided into 3 sections. The northernmost part is more for walking

Myrtle Beach, SC

Myrtle Beach, SC

and viewing the ocean while the middle section has more of an amusement park atmosphere with oceanfront dining and businesses. The southernmost section has a large oceanfront park. The entire family will enjoy walking down the boardwalk and discovering endless treasures. The ocean views are breathtaking.

Native South Carolinians are proud of their little piece of paradise. Wouldn’t you like to visit and find out why?

Top Myrtle Beach Campgrounds

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The “Hangry” Monster

We’ve all been there. You’re driving down the road in your RV and all of a sudden you are “hangry” (angry because you’re so hungry). Never mind that you just ate a few hours earlier. To make matters worse you’re miles from the nearest fast food restaurant or quick mart.

These hunger attacks always seem to happen when – A. you don’t have time to stop or B. you’re in the middle of nowhere. Then there is the wad of cash you need in order to purchase the fast food, snacks, candy, chips, and drinks – on the road. Here are some tips to help you tame the Hangry Monster before you head out on your next RV adventure.

Planning Ahead is Key:    Take advantage of the convenience of your RV!

Drinks-

  • Purchase a special cup with a built in straw and spill proof lid for each member in the family. This will also prevent spills in the RV.
  • Let each member of the family pick out their own unique cup design. Make sure none of the cups are identical. This will save a lot of headaches on the road trip when you have a rogue cup that several family members try to claim as their own.
  • Take a poll of everyone’s favorite drinks and buy enough to last until you reach your destination. It is always less expensive to buy these in bulk before you leave on your trip. On the road you can pour your favorite drink and enjoy the passing scenery.
  • Get a sturdy, roomy cooler for your drink storage.
  • Stay hydrated with non-sugary drinks. Pack plenty of bottled water. Freeze some bottles to use in the cooler to chill your drinks. Then you will also have plenty of cold water to drink.

Snacks- 

  • Salty, sweet and crunchy cravings will be satisfied with delicious trail mix. You can make your own and add or delete ingredients to suit your taste buds.
  • Mix up a big batch of trail mix. Package in individual plastic baggies or keep the trail mix in a large plastic tub. Use plastic cups to dip out mix and also as a serving cup. This will keep the RV neat and tidy and make clean up a snap.
  • If you don’t have time to make trail mix or other snack mixes, buy individual bags of prepackaged pretzels, peanuts and chips. This way you will have everyone’s favorites on hand.

Clean up –

  • Use a small, sturdy plastic trash can with a locking lid for collecting trash. That way if it gets knocked over during the trip it won’t make a mess.
  • Pack large kitchen trash bags to collect trash and don’t forget to pack extra bags.
  • Recycle plastic, glass, and aluminum in a separate bag.

Trail Mix:

Mix well in the ratios you choose. Store in an airtight container.

  • Nuts – almonds, peanuts, pecans
  • Raisins or dried cranberries
  • Chocolate chips or candy covered chocolate pieces
  • Cereal squares (rice, wheat, corn)
  • Dried apricot, banana, or coconut pieces

    Easy meals on the road.

    Easy meals on the road.

Having a kitchen in your RV makes meals and snacks a really convenient and inexpensive way to eat while travelling.  With a refrigerator, stove and microwave all on-board, eating is easy and enjoyable!

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NEW Year – A NEW Braunfels RV Vacation

New Braunfels is a historical city near San Antonio, Texas, which has German roots dating back to the 1800s.  It is a smaller city nestled in Texas Hill Country with a population of just over 70,000. There are many things to do and see in New Braunfels and it is a sure bet that you will find something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Camping resorts are plentiful and many are close by. Check out one you would like to try and head to the Lone Star State. While you are visiting this historic city there are many fun and educational places to visit.

Here are a few you can check out while you are camping in New Braunfels, Texas.

Mckenna Children’s Museum

  • suitable for kids of all ages (even grown ones)
  • hands on museum that fosters creativity for little minds
  • explore the various educational exhibits through technology, history, art, health and science
  • plan to spend several hours exploring and learning along with your child
  • for safety reasons, adults must have a child with them to enter the museum
  • open Monday – Saturday 10 – 5   closed Sunday
  • admission is $7.50 for ages 1+

Sophienburg Museum and Archives

  • explore the “REAL” history of New Braunfels
  • permanent exhibits that recount the life and culture of the original German immigrants who founded New Braunfels
  • special exhibits are held for extended periods – currently there is a special exhibit about World War I which runs through January 2019
  • museum shop where you can purchase literature pertinent to the history of Texas and New Braunfels
  • open Tuesday – Saturday 10 – 4 closed Sunday & Monday
  • admission is adults $8 children  (13-18) $7    (6-12) $4    (under 6) $2

New Braunfels Railroad Museum 

  • a must see for railroad enthusiasts or anyone interested in trains
  • museum is housed in a converted rail depot
  • run by a non-profit organization
  • dedicated to the preservation of railroad artifacts and education
  • houses a variety of artifacts and photographs from the golden age of railroading
  • most visitors spent 1 – 2 hours here
  • check website for seasonal hours of operation
  • no admission charge
Natural Bridge Caverns

Natural Bridge Caverns

Natural Bridge Caverns

  • privately owned caverns
  • discovered by four college students in 1960
  • largest known cavern in the state of Texas
  • contains a 60 foot naturally formed limestone slab bridge
  • features several unique geological formations
  • average year round temperature is 70 degrees F
  • several different tours are offered
  • check website for tour pricing and admission
  • open 9 – 4 daily

So, pack up the RV and head to Texas Hill Country. You won’t be sorry you did!

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Beads, Bayou and Beignets

Let’s visit the Big Easy, better known as NEW Orleans…

The beginning of the new year is a great time to hop in the RV and head to New Orleans. Mardi Gras is a huge tourist draw for many first time or repeat visitors to this Louisiana city surrounded by a swampy bayou on the Mississippi River, near the Gulf of Mexico.

This year Mardi Gras is on Tuesday, February 13th. Every year Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday”, falls on a different date depending on the observance of Ash Wednesday, which begins the religious season of Lent. However, Mardi Gras is most famous for its costume parties, parades, rich foods and famous “beads” which give it more of a carnival atmosphere.

Mardi Gras mask

Mardi Gras mask

There are 70+ parades scheduled this year. So… you should be able to see a few or many, depending on your time and interests. There are even family parades that are much more low key so everyone in the family, young and old alike, can experience Mardi Gras.

MARDI GRAS parades begin in January, so if you want to avoid the most crowded time and still see some spectacular floats check out the earlier scheduled parades. The peak Mardi Gras time is the weekend prior to Fat Tuesday. This is when you will see the most elaborate floats built by different krewes. A krewe is a social organization whose main purpose is to plan, design and build a float for a Mardi Gras parade.

One cannot attend Mardi Gras without indulging in the delicious cuisine from different cultures. How about trying some sinful beignets (pastry introduced by French immigrants), gumbo (a spicy Creole stew), Po’Boy (sandwich invented to feed striking streetcar workers in 1929) or just some good old red beans and rice.

There are numerous campgrounds near the city, but plan ahead to be sure of availability during this busy tourist event.  Visit our page on Louisiana RV Campgrounds for ideas on places to camp.

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