National Historic Sites to Visit by RV—Birmingham Civil Rights and Freedom Riders Monuments

In a previous post, we mentioned that four new National Historic Sites had been recognized by the National Park Service this year. That earlier post offered RV campers the details for visiting Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Maryland. This week, we’ve got the details on two new historic sites that tell the story of the American Civil Rights Movement. An important lesson in history and excellent RV camping nearby—isn’t it time you took the trip?

Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument

Both RV travel stops in today’s post are in Alabama, at the heart of the American Civil Rights movement. Challenge your fellow campers to read ahead of time about the role Birmingham, Alabama played in the early days of the struggle for racial equality in America.

The new Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument isn’t yet fully developed, but there’s plenty to explore when you visit. These sites are currently designated within the Monument:

  • G. Gaston Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other early leaders in the Civil Rights Movement met to plan non-violent protests and other actions to end segregation.
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is located adjacent to the AG Gaston Motel. This museum and interpretive center can give you the background you’ll need to begin your tour to the other sites that make up the national monument.
  • 16th Street Baptist Church, the site of the horrific bombing in 1963 that killed four young girls and lit the spark for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Bethel Baptist Church, a short drive from the other sites, was bombed three times during the early years of the struggle for racial equality and served as the home of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.
  • Kelly Ingram Park, captured in history by photographers at the non-violent protests that were disrupted by violent police action.
  • 4th Avenue District, an historic neighborhood once the site of blacks-only restaurants and shops during the days of segregation. 

Freedom Riders National Monument

Two hours east of Birmingham on I-20 in Anniston, Alabama you’ll find another newly-designated National Historic Site. The Freedom Riders National Monument is dedicated to the integrated group who boarded a bus bound for the Deep South in 1961, intent on testing a court decision that had found segregated transportation unconstitutional.

In Anniston, AL, you’ll find the Greyhound Bus Station where the group was attacked by segregationists, as well as the site six miles down the highway where the bus was stopped and firebombed by a mob.

While visiting these two designated sites within the National Monument, take the time to follow the Anniston Civil Rights Trail, a walking tour that highlights the importance of this small Eastern Alabama town during the Civil Rights Movement.

Birmingham Area RV Camping

Where to camp in this historically rich area? Oak Mountain State Park, just south of Birmingham off I-65, offers Alabama RV travelers a wonderful place to recharge. With both 30-amp water and electric sites and primitive campsites, you can choose your setting while enjoying the numerous amenities this park features. Two recreational lakes with cable skiing and boat rentals, a golf course and miles of hiking and biking trails are just the beginning of the ways you’ll find to unwind while camping in the Birmingham area. If you’re up for a climb, the state park’s Peavine Falls is a photographer’s dream.

Make an RV trip to Alabama to find the roots of the American Civil Rights Movement, and to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of Birmingham area campgrounds. We can help with an RV rental, and we hope our posts inspire you to seek out the places that tell the story of our nation’s past.

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Historic Sites to Visit by RV—Harriet Tubman National Historical Park

Traveling by RV to visit National Historic Sites is a wonderful way to introduce your family to American history. By combining the joys of RV camping with visits to sites preserved by the National Park Service for their historic significance, your RV camping trips take on a whole new level of meaning.

Speaking of new, the National Park Service has designated four new National Historic Sites in 2017 that are well-worth an RV camping trip to visit. In this post, we’ll visit the first and most northern of those sites—the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn, NY.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

The Harriet Tubman NHP is a collection of structures that tell the story of the amazing escaped slave who led other slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Auburn, NY is located in the Finger Lakes Region, just south of the Canadian border. Traveling there by RV is easy, as Auburn is near the stretch of I-90 that runs between Buffalo and Albany.

What Will We See There?

In Auburn, you can visit the Harriet Tubman Residence where this extraordinary woman lived in her later life. Another important site within the National Historical Park is the Tubman Home for the Aged, established on land she donated, for the care of elderly and infirm people of color. Another historically significant site within the Harriet Tubman NHP is the Visitor Center, where you can learn more about this complex hero of both emancipation and the women’s suffrage movement.

Make a third stop at the Thompson Memorial AME Church within the grounds of the NHP to understand how a deep faith in God drove Tubman to incredible acts of bravery. A last stop RV travelers can make to complete their knowledge about Harriet Tubman is to her gravesite at Fort Hill Cemetery, outside the National Historical Park but nearby in the same town of Auburn, NY.

Bonus Tip for Families: Having trouble keeping kids interested on the road? Challenge ‘tweens and teens to dive deeper into Tubman’s story before you arrive at the NHP. They’ll soon learn she was the first woman to lead an armed raid during the Civil War. Come up with some kind of bonus for being able to tell the rest of the family about the remarkable night when seven-hundred slaves were set free.

Where Can We Camp?

Located on Lake Owasso, Auburn is centrally located for excellent RV camping possibilities. You could choose to stay close to the Finger Lakes by camping twenty minutes from Auburn at Twin Oaks Campground on Cayuga Lake. Another highly-recommended camping spot, Hejamada Campground & RV Park, is a fifteen minute drive away in Port Byron.

For RV travelers who love the beach, head north to the shores of Lake Ontario, about an hour away from Auburn, to find numerous private campgrounds as well as Fair Haven Beach State Park. In addition to two sandy beaches, RV campers there can enjoy hiking trails, boat rentals and a pleasantly-wooded campground with standard electric sites.

Traveling by RV to Auburn, NY can be your family’s best opportunity to understand the tenacious woman known as ‘Moses’ who lead slaves to freedom. The RV campgrounds in the area surrounding Harriet Tubman National Historical Park make the journey even more inviting, and an RV rental will help keep it affordable. Make this trip a part of your RV camping plans this year.

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Charleston RV Camping – an Autumn Adventure

Have you experienced the Southern charm of Charleston by RV? South Carolina’s coastal gem is a wonderful place to visit in autumn. Why not use these travel tips to start planning your own RV camping excursion to Charleston?

What to Do on Your Charleston, SC RV Trip

Once you’ve arrived in Charleston, the hard part will be narrowing down the attractions you’ll have time to visit. Allow us to help you with advance planning by making a few suggestions.

Charleston Harbor offers RV travelers of all ages enough attractions to fill a vacation.

Fort Sumter, South Carolina

Fort Sumter, South Carolina

Don’t miss a tour of Fort Sumter, scene of the Civil War’s beginning,
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church of Revolutionary War fame and the USS Yorktown, a WWII aircraft carrier docked at Patriot’s Point. Those are just three of the highlights of the city’s famed harbor tours.

Boone Hall Plantation, founded in 1681, is a magnificent example of Southern plantation life. Take the guided tour and stroll beneath the archway formed by two-hundred-seventy-year-old oaks. A ‘don’t miss’ for Southern history buffs.

Battery Park, a beautiful spot along Charleston Harbor, is rich with live oaks, war memorials and wide, graceful walkways. It also offers unforgettable views of the Harbor attractions.

Charleston City Market, housed in a fabulous Greek Revival Great Hall and connecting open air ‘sheds’, is considered the city’s cultural center. Hundreds of craftsmen, artisans and vendors offer their wares every day except Christmas, and weekend nights, as well. Eat, shop and otherwise immerse yourself in the best Charleston has to offer.

Sullivan’s Island, in Charleston Harbor, lures visitors to the area with its windswept beaches, a much-photographed lighthouse and a nice casual dining district sure to please anyone’s palate.

The Citadel, Charleston’s military college founded in 1842, is beloved local institution. Tour the school’s picturesque campus and don’t miss the stirring Friday afternoon parade. 

One more plus for motorhome travelers planning to stay in Charleston is the variety of convenient places to set up camp. From John’s Island to a scenic county park, you’re sure to love the location. Use this list to start your search for your perfect Charleston area RV campground.

With temperatures in the seventies well into November, there’s no better time to lose yourself in the Southern charm of Charleston. Enjoy the hospitality of a local RV campground and make time to stroll Battery Park and take a tour of harbor attractions. Indulge in the pleasures of the famed City Market and make a day of discovering Sullivan’s Island. And don’t miss the historical significance of the city’s many forts, the Citadel and beautiful Boone Hall and Gardens.

Let us know how we can help make your RV camping trip to Charleston, SC even better with an RV rental. We’d love to hear what you discover when you visit this coastal gem!

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Fort Sumter – An Autumn RV Camping Destination Charleston, South Carolina RV Camping

Charleston, SC hosts a wealth of historic attractions, and Charleston RV campers will definitely want to visit Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

Autumn RV camping fans, in particular, are going to enjoy temperate weather as they explore fascinating Fort Sumter National Monument. Temperatures in the seventies are typical for October and November, allowing comfortable motorhome camping in the heart of Southern history.

Fort Sumter, SC

Fort Sumter, SC

You may not know, if you haven’t visited the Charleston area by RV, that the full historic military experience actually includes several locations. You’ll first want to visit Fort Sumter National Monument itself, accessible by tour boats departing from South Carolina Aquarium on Charleston’s Liberty Square or Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, SC.

At the Fort, you’ll learn not only how this iconic fortress was built, but also the part it played first as a Union fortification and later as a symbol of Confederate might as the Civil War raged on.

And don’t miss the chance to visit Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island. There’s plenty of history to be found there, since this fort, rebuilt several times, played a role from America’s first Revolution through both World Wars.

Charleston RV campers who want the full Fort Sumter experience should also visit the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center in Charleston’s Liberty Square. It contains a treasure trove of information about why, how and when the Civil War and its battles were fought.

And as you’re soaking up all that Civil War history on your Charleston RV camping trip, take time to enjoy the beauty of South Carolina’s Atlantic Coast. A wonderful place to find both beauty and history in Charleston is Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. If you have the time to tour two plantations, be sure to visit Boone Hall Plantation, established in 1681.

The city of Charleston itself is a beautiful place to tour, on your own or on one of the many guided tours. You won’t know where to turn next, surrounded by eighteenth century homes, magnificent churches and public buildings and the historic City Market, open year-round.

We can’t leave without mentioning the abundance of Charleston RV campgrounds, convenient to Fort Sumter and the wonders of Charleston Harbor. Here are just a few to consider:

RV Campground at the County Park at James Island

Lake Aire RV Park – Hollywood, SC

Oak Plantation Campground – John’s Island

Mount Pleasant/Charleston KOA

Coastal South Carolina RV camping is an experience all our readers should enjoy at least once. Come to Charleston by RV this fall and find out why Fort Sumter National Monument and this Southern city’s historic treasures continue to draw visitors from around the globe.

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Roll Through the Litchfield Hills in an RV

The northeast corner of our country has been populated for so long and by so many people that it can feel a bit crowded.  Many parts of New England can feel claustrophobic for travelers that want wide-open spaces.  Luckily, the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut are the perfect location to roll through while on an RV vacation!  Start out in Linden, New Jersey to pick up your RV rental at El Monte RV.  Once you’ve picked out the perfect motorhome for your family, it’s time to hit the road!  You’ll get the chance to drive through the top of Manhattan Island, so take a good long look before you head out to the rural scenery of Litchfield Hills.  It’s a little piece of smaller-town America, not too far from all the noise and commotion of modern American cities.

Bull's Historic Covered Bridge

Historic Covered Bull’s Bridge

One of the best parts of traveling on the East Coast is reveling in the knowledge that you’re walking in the footsteps of dozens of interesting cultures, past and present.  At the Institute for American Indian Studies, you will learn about the early cultures that have lived in the Litchfield Hills over the past several thousand years.  Stroll through exhibits that show how American Indians lived or choose to participate in a dig with the Litchfield Hills Archaeology Club.  Whatever you decide to do, you’ll enjoy the experience of learning about the historical aspects of this part of the country!

Since you’re traveling by RV, your goal is to take it easy as you tour our great country.  A fantastic way to do so is by driving through some of the historic covered bridges spanning creeks and streams throughout the hills.  Some of the bridges were originally built as far back as the Revolutionary War!  As time has worn them down, the bridges have been rebuilt in the same style keeping the same look of the bridge as it was when it resupplied George Washington’s army.

After your own leisurely drive through the bridges, it’ll be time to catch a glimpse of a few fast-moving vehicles at Lime Rock Park.  This historic venue for races of all types have seen some of the greatest drivers in history pass through, including Mario Andretti and Paul Newman.  You may catch a race at the track, take racing school lessons, or simply walk around and enjoy the beautiful scenery where racing history has been made!

Another way to get out and exercise your legs is by heading over to a local road race!  June is approaching, so you’ll want to get out now and start jogging for a little pre-conditioning warm-up.  The Litchfield Hills Road Race will take you through the historic town of Litchfield and up and down several elevation changes.  Get ready, because it’s guaranteed to get your blood pumping!

After a race, you might want to sit back and listen to some great music (and have some great food while you’re at it.)  The Infinity Music Hall and Bistro is a 300-seat theater built in 1883.  It’s a fantastic venue that showcases a variety of music genres.  Catch a country music show or even an open-mic night.  Whether it’s a big ticket show or locals showing the world what they’ve got, you’re guaranteed to have a lot of fun and end your trip on a high note.

Pick up an El Monte RV motor home and roll through the Litchfield Hills!  The Northeast is calling!

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 Credit:  Bull’s Bridge by David Smith under Flickr creative common license.
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Time Travel: An Historical RV Adventure in Gettysburg, PA

Monument at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park

Monument at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park

Blue mountains float against a meadow sea, a split-rail fence marking the rolling hills. Hard to imagine that this peaceful site along the southern Pennsylvania border once witnessed the deadliest battle fought on American soil. But with Gettysburg’s grand collection of museums, monuments, and memorials, visitors easily come to understand the big history surrounding this small town. While the famous battle lasted three days, tourists could spend a week taking in all this destination offers (though you can see plenty in a weekend). So whether you’re looking for a full course on the Civil War story or seeking a summary of this chapter in our country’s history, point your camper towards the Keystone State (gain easy access to Gettysburg from interstates 81 and 83) for a fascinating trip into the past.

LEARN

Before entering the 6,000-acre Gettysburg National Military Park, get some background knowledge at The Gettysburg History Center, where a nifty light and sound show narrates the epic 1893 battle. A scale diorama of the landscape also helps illustrate the full picture of this moment in the war. (For more 3D displays, also make your way to the Lincoln Train Museum and the Soldiers National Museum.)

Gettysburg National Military Park Visitors Center and Museum

Gettysburg National Military Park Visitors Center and Museum

It’s best to budget a full day to tour the battlefield park, which encompasses McPherson Ridge, Little Round Top, a Civil War house, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, and more. Begin at the Museum and Visitor Center, where you can pick up a self-guided auto tour or purchase an audio tour to narrate your journey through the sites. For an up-close adventure, visitors can join a ranger-led walking tour or tackle the 40 miles of battlefield road by bike.

Each July brings the Annual Gettysburg Civil War Battle Reenactments, complete with live mortar fire demonstrations; an expansive living history village with family-friendly activities; and period costumes, shopping, and food. (With a quick calculation, you’ll realize that park is gearing up for its 150th anniversary celebration in 2013, which promises to be a grand commemoration, so plan accordingly.)

Continue your journey back in time in downtown Gettysburg, where you’ll discover two unique sites along Baltimore Street. Costumed docents at the Shriver House Museum guide patrons through one family’s experiences during the 1893 battle, with artifacts like live bullet cartridges and medical supplies to enhance their account. At the preserved Jennie Wade House and Museum, home to the battle’s one citizen casualty, authentic furnishings give visitors a look into city life during the war.

Not all of Gettysburg’s history is rooted in the Civil War, however. At the Eisenhower National Historic Site adjacent to the battlefield, take a self-guided tour of the 34th President’s house and farm, including the putting green, rose gardens, and skeet range. You can also screen a short video about Eisenhower’s life or a 30-minute program titled “Ike and the Men of D-Day.” And for a curious take on living history, stop into the Hall of Presidents and First Ladies, where a distinctive wax statue collection tells the tales of our country’s government leaders.

STAY

With so much to do, plan to stay in the area for at least two nights. Artillery Ridge offers drive-thru camping sites adjacent to Gettysburg National Military Park, along with a pool, paddleboats, and other recreational opportunities hookups, as well as full amenities. Round Top Campground and Gettysburg Battlefield Resort are also located at the southern end of the park. To stay nearer town, check into Drummer Boy Camping Resort (to the east on Hanover Rd.) or Gettysburg Campground (to the west on Fairfield Rd.)

If you prefer a more rustic setting, hit the roads outside Gettysburg. In about 30 minutes, you can reach York County’s Codorus State Park to the east or the mountainous Caledonia State Park to the west. Each offers plenty of sites and will immerse you in the lush landscapes for which the region is known.

EAT & DRINK

For casual and quick eats, stop into one of the town’s best diners (I recommend Ernie’s, Lincoln Diner, and The Avenue). For a taste of history, try the Victorian tavern at the historic Farnsworth House Inn or the candlelit colonial Dobbin House restaurant.

Gettysburg also sits directly below the Pennsylvania “Fruit Belt,” which is ripe with orchards and vineyards. Travel Route 30 west to find the seasonal Historic Round Barn and Farm Market, which sells a variety of apples, peaches, and nectarines, along with other gifts and goodies, inside a 1914 Shaker barrel barn.

Nearby, Adams County Winery produces award-winning vintages in the South Mountains. Here you can take in apple, peach, and pear orchards; walk through the vineyards and winery tucked inside a 19th-century Pennsylvania bank barn; and enjoy free samples. Just up the road at the Hauser Estate Winery, sit back and sip inside the glass-enclosed tasting room that overlooks orchards, forests, and farmland.

EXPLORE MORE

On your way out of town, consider cruising east into Lancaster County to explore Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Learn about the Amish way of life, make way for horse-drawn carriages, and shop for handmade quilts and wares.

If you prefer a faster pace and the conditions are cool, try Liberty Mountain Resort in Carroll Valley for powdery snow skiing, boarding, and tubing.

And for a larger picture of Civil War history, point your RV north to Harrisburg and visit the National Civil War Museum, which studies the events and emotions surrounding the battles of Bull Run, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Antietam, and Gettysburg.

Picture credits: The picture of the Monument at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park is from the Gettysburg National Military Park. It is in the public domain. The picture of the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitors Center and Museum is from the National Scenic Byways Program website. It is by Bill Dowling and courtesy of Gettysburg National Military Park. It is in the public domain.

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Travel the Ohio River Scenic Byway on an RV Vacation

Ohio River in the Fall

Ohio River in the Fall

Take off through the beautiful state of Ohio on the Ohio River Scenic Byway for an RV vacation to remember. You can travel the entire 943 miles through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, or you can start out just exploring Ohio. Rich in history and full of marvelous views, this drive will allow you to enjoy the rural landscapes and small towns in a unique trip across our lovely American land.

Begin your trip in North Bend, Indiana as you won’t want to miss seeing the Harrison Tomb with its beautiful design of marble and limestone. Views are spectacular here of the Ohio Valley. Move on to Cincinnati where you simply must stop at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House. This is a taste of history regarding the abolitionists, the Underground Railroad and much more. You will discover plenty to do in downtown throughout the summer with various cultural events occurring.

While in Cincinnati there are more extras as far as attractions go, like the Carew Tower and the Museum Center at Union Terminal. But you are going to want to move on to enjoy the remaining sights along the Ohio River Scenic Byway. Next stop will be Georgetown, Ohio, the spot where you can see Ulysses S. Grant’s boyhood home.

In Ripley, the Rankin House is a must-see for history buffs. Around 2,000 slaves were hidden as the Underground Railroad moved them to freedom. This National Historic Landmark is definitely worth a stop. Other places you may want to visit are Carolyn’s House of Mini Rooms Museum with tiny rooms based on various themes and the famous Ripley Museum.

Next stop – Portsmouth. Pick up some antiques while here because this town undoubtedly has some of the best. Browsing the shops is just as much fun as buying, but once you get started you won’t want to stop. Drive out and have a picnic at Alexandria Point where two rivers meet. Forest land is all around for outdoor recreation.

When you reach Gallipolis, visit Our House State Memorial for an education on the rich history of this region, and experience this French Art Colony by walking the streets and absorbing the ambience. After a relaxing time here, move on to Marietta. This city offers many interesting sights but top among them are the Mounds of Marietta, ancient Indian earthworks.

You are reaching the end of this phase of your Ohio River adventure, but take time to enjoy Steubenville and tour Historic Fort Steuben. There are many murals on the walls of this town’s buildings which may provide some memorable photos. Then in Wellsville, stop at the Wellsville River Museum and a short distance from town, see the Museum of Ceramics in East Liverpool. You have had quite a trip, but a fulfilling one. You can return again to enjoy the beauty of Ohio or you can continue your journey into and through other states. The choice is yours!

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A Spring Adventure to North Carolina Outer Banks

NASA Picture of the Outer Banks

NASA Picture of the Outer Banks

A wonderful adventure for those who love the ocean, history, cultural exhibits, and gardens – the list goes on. An RV vacation to the North Carolina Outer Banks provides it all. Relax to the sound of the Atlantic Ocean pounding the shore, the quiet nights and the calm sunny days. The northern beaches of the coast and the fascinating islands all give a visitor an experience that can be found in no other place. RV Camping is plentiful, too, on the Outer Banks, and you have a wide choice of campgrounds that will accommodate RV motorhomes.

The outdoors enthusiast will love checking out Cape Hatteras National Seashore. You can beachcomb for shells of incredible variety, birding is the best, and paddling the inlets is an opportunity to see all sorts of wildlife. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is a must-see while you are here. You can climb to the top if you are ready for an extremely strenuous climb, much like climbing the stairs in a twelve-story building. Within the boundaries of Cape Hatteras National Seashore you’ll find four campgrounds, all accommodating RV motorhomes.

Learning about wildlife is always a great thing, and you can find out so much about our natural world at the Outer Banks wildlife refuges. At Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge in Nags Head, you can wander the trails and see upland, wading and shore birds. Salt Flats Trail and North Pond Wildlife Trail are ideal to get into the natural environment and watch wildlife in their normal habitat. Would you like to see larger wildlife? At Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge you may spot some black bears, wolves and you will definitely see some alligators.

Jockey's Ridge State Park

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Jockey’s Ridge State Park is a wonderful destination for hiking on some self-guided trails. You can witness some of the tallest sand dunes in the U.S. here. A wonderful place to get away from it all! Try your hand at hang gliding here as well! Now is your chance! Kite fliers, here is the ideal place to practice your hobby!

The Nature Conservancy at Nags Head Woods Preserve is a maritime forest where you can hike on a trail that fits your level of ability. There are hikes that are easy and some that are strenuous. Choose the best one for you. This barrier island contains some unusual animal and plant life. Then be sure to stop at the Wright Brothers National Memorial to discover where Wilber and Orville Wright had their first successful flight. At the visitor center you can see some historic displays and other exhibits and educational movies.

The Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is one spot that visitors make it a point to see when traveling the North Carolina Outer Banks. At the north end of Roanoke Island, this park illuminates the early drama of the Lost Colony, and you will love to see all the many sights available here. The mystery of these lost colonists is still not solved, but perhaps you may get an idea as you tour this park.

Explore Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo if you love the Elizabethan period, or even if you don’t really know what that is. This 16th century garden commemorates the lost colonists. In fact, this is where those colonists lived before they disappeared forever. Enjoy the beautiful camellias, hydrangeas and other native plants.

Now for a unique time at Roanoke Island Festival Park. This is a family attraction which lies on the island and provides a view into what life was like for the early settlers. Be sure to see the Island Adventure Museum and the Elizabeth II sailing vessel which shows how those settlers traveled to this land. The ship is a representation of one of the seven ships that traveled from England to the New World in the late 1500s.

Another fascinating attraction is the George Washington Creek Boat Shop, a working boat shop where you can see for yourself how boat construction is accomplished. You must also stop by the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse and gaze out to sea as the early light keepers did so long ago.

An RV trip along the Outer Banks is certainly something to experience. It is an adventure those of all ages can enjoy. The sparkling Atlantic Ocean, the sandy beaches and crashing waves are only one small part of North Carolina’s coastal wonders. You will want to come back again to enjoy all the Outer Banks has to offer.

Picture credits: The picture of the Outer Banks is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is in the public domain. The picture of Jockey’s Ridge State Park is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is in the public domain.

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Find a Spring Retreat in the Cedar Key Area in Florida

Tidal Creek in the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge

Tidal Creek in the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge

Spring is upon so how about an interesting and fun Florida vacation in an RV. The western coast of Florida around Cedar Key has an abundance of sights and attractions that will entertain the whole family. Take, for instance, Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. This is a place where you can experience the off-shore islands like never before. Find boardwalks and observation towers which give you either up close views of nature or panoramic sweeps of horizon.

While you are here in beautiful Cedar Key, Florida, you’ll realize this locale is worthy of some time spent. Whether or not you are a seasoned fisherman, you will want to try your hand as some sports fishing. You can explore all the nooks and crannies by kayak if you like. There is no place like Cedar Key for boating either!

Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve is a must-see while in the area. Tour the swamps and hardwood forests. Smell the refreshing pine scents. Study nature and watch the wildlife traipse through the scrub. If hiking is your thing, there are miles of trails to enjoy here. Canoe the many creeks while watching for birds darting from tree to tree.

Are you a history buff? If so (and even if not) you will love the Cedar Key Historical Museum where you can view exhibits detailing Native Americans, John Muir and the Seminole Indians. Discover a rich history including the seafood industry of this Florida coast. Perhaps you will want to get outdoors after spending time inside. Get out on Cedar Key Railroad Trestle Nature Trail (PDF) next. Walk an easy trail through the aromatic forest, take photos of the animals lurking nearby and get out your plant identification book so you can see what varieties of plants live here.

Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge contains thirteen separate islands, each unique and lovely. You’ll get to view a long list of shorebirds and wading birds, as well as manatees, crabs and perhaps a bald eagle or two. Paddle in a kayak from Cedar Key to Atsena Otie Key to get the feel of the explorers who originally came to this region. Don’t miss the ruins of the Faber Mill and walk the trail to the old cemetery. Then make your way to Seahorse Key to see the lighthouse.

Last but not least, you will discover Waccassassa Bay State Preserve on your way to Yankeetown from Cedar Key. This preserve can only be accessed by boat, which makes it that much more exciting to visit. Fishermen will find both saltwater and freshwater fishing, photographers will find an unlimited opportunity at some great pictures and wildlife lovers will possibly view black bears, manatees and alligators.

What a great break this has been from the craziness of city life and all the troubles that often go along with it! The Cedar Key area is the perfect place to get away from it all and have some fun on an RV vacation.

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An RV Excursion along the Selma to Montgomery March Byway

Celebrate that historic time in our country’s past when voting rights demonstrations and the Selma to Montgomery March became news around the world. The Selma to Montgomery March Byway offers an RV excursion that is hard to beat in reliving a vital time in America’s history. You can follow the route of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he led the way on the Road to Freedom.

Beginning on the 7th of March 1965 in Selma, Alabama, the Selma to Montgomery March wound its way through Selma, marking the start of something big for America. As you follow this trail all the way to Montgomery, you will visit key spots along the way. The route is 54 miles long and, depending on how often you stop, can take from one hour to a full day. RV campgrounds can be found near Selma and in Montgomery. One great park is the Montgomery South RV Park with large pull-through spaces.

Brown Chapel in Selma, AL

Brown Chapel in Selma, AL

Your visit should start with the First Baptist Church where Dr. King spoke often to others of the Civil Rights Movement. He also would gather youth together here to enlighten them on the struggle. Then you can stop at the Brown Chapel, another major attraction on the byway. This church also housed many civil rights activities in the county. This is the location where the march actually began.

Cecil B. Jackson Public Safety Building was the City Hall in old Selma and held the jail where King and other protestors were imprisoned for their protests. You can stop here and visit and get the feeling of the vital spirit of those days. While others were still in jail, marchers would file past and sing loudly to give them hope.

Jesse Jackson crossing Edmund Pettus Bridge on 29th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday

Jesse Jackson crossing Edmund Pettus Bridge on 29th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday

The scene of Bloody Sunday was located at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. On March 7th, as the marchers moved across this bridge, they were stopped and driven back by troopers and sheriff deputies as well as a posse on horseback. The unarmed marchers were attacked – beaten and gassed – which shocked the nation. The bridge became a symbol of all the changes taking place in America and communities around the world. On one shore you can go to a park which commemorates the site of Bloody Sunday.

Further along you will find the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute. This museum will give you a full overview on the struggle for equal voting rights, with first-hand stories about this historic march. As you travel on the route taken by the marchers, you will see a number of campsites where they spent the night. Be sure to stop when you see one to get more of the history of the times.

The City of St. Jude was one major campsite of the marchers on March 24th. The site of their camp was the athletic field and marked the last night on the march to the capital. Many celebrity singers came to celebrate, including Tony Bennett, Harry Belafonte, Peter, Paul and Mary and Sammy Davis Jr.

The end of your trip will be in Montgomery, Alabama, the same ending for the marchers on this particular quest for freedom. Visit the Alabama State Capitol where King delivered one of his most famous speeches. Your RV trip is over, but the memories made from this journey will never be forgotten.

Photo credits: The picture of Brown Chapel is copyright © 1996 Selma to Montgomery March Byway. It is used here in accordance with their terms and conditions. The picture of the Edmund Pettus Bridge is copyright © 2001 Selma to Montgomery March Byway. It is also used here in accordance with their terms and conditions.

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