RV’ing For Thanksgiving Holiday Special

You may already be thinking about Thanksgiving… is it going to be the same old thing with way too many sweet potatoes and too much food in an atmosphere of gluttony with your family? Why not make it a special holiday this year by taking advantage of El Monte RV’s special Thanksgiving offer? Check out all the details of our RV rental special and how you can save money on the rental of an El Monte RV at all our nationwide locations.

To help make your Thanksgiving special, this is an RV rental special for rentals with pickup dates between November 1 and November 30. Rent for 4 nights or more and get double the miles free!  That’s 100 free miles per night!

Go out of town in an RV and take your ready-made accommodations with you so you don’t need to crowd into your relative’s house. Or make it a longer trip and enjoy some picturesque fall scenery and changing leaves on your way to or from your destination.

Or, consider, as host of the Thanksgiving feast, having an extra private space for your guests. Either way, an RV provides the perfect accommodation for you, your friends and family.

Ideas to Help Celebrate Thanksgiving

Here are some ideas to help you celebrate being together with your family and giving thanks for all you have to be thankful for.

Traditional Thanksgiving feast

Traditional Thanksgiving feast

Check out these award winning menus if you happen to be the host (and the cook) for your family’s gathering. Choose from 28 easy-to-make complete Thanksgiving menus here. Or try a vegan Thanksgiving feast; see suggested vegan menus and shopping list here.

Possible Touring Destinations

If you want to get out on the open road, consider traveling during Thanksgiving to these destinations.

Mid-Atlantic States: What about a visit to the Gettysburg Battlefield? This is a picturesque place to visit and experience a huge history lesson before the weather gets too cold to stroll on the battlefield. If it’s cold, you can drive through a self-guided tour of most of the key sites of this historic location. You can rent an RV from our Baltimore rental location which is only about one and a half hours from Gettysburg.

Northwest States: Try a visit along the trail first traveled by Lewis and Clark as they led American explorers across the country. Leaving from the mouth of the Missouri River, the Corps of Discovery made it all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back. Their journey was almost 8,000 miles long and took them two years to make. Wherever you may be, you can find parts of the Lewis and Clark Trail in Omaha, Nebraska, where the Trail Headquarters is located, all the way to the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon. See more details about their amazing journey and trail maps and locations of visitor centers and museums here.

To rent from our Ferndale, Washington location, click here.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving wherever you spend it and be grateful for all you have. Take advantage of our Thanksgiving special at all our nationwide locations.

Happy Thanksgiving from El Monte RV!

Posted in Food RV Vacations, Historical RV Vacation, Maryland RV Camping Vacation, Washington RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Nine State Park Campgrounds to Kickstart RV Camping Season

What plans have you made for camping on Memorial Day Weekend and beyond? With the beauty of America’s state parks just waiting to be enjoyed, there’s no time like the present to find your favorites in the comfort of a motorhome or travel trailer.

If you need some help deciding where to go first, why not use our list below of nine state park campgrounds that RV campers love to visit? Then build your own list and be sure to let us know in the comments section where you plan to go RV camping this season.

Nine State Park Campgrounds for RV Camping

  1. Salt Point State Park – California

“Camping by the rocky Pacific shore, just off iconic Highway 1 north of San Francisco”. Doesn’t that sound like a splendid way to kick off camping season? With coastal trails, an underwater park for divers and coves just waiting to show you the best views of the summer, there’s no reason not to add Salt Point State Park to your camping itinerary.

  1. Pocahontas State Park – Virginia

Fishing, paddling and more bring RV camping families to this state park near Chesterfield, VA. Besides the many miles of hiking, mountain biking and multi-use trails, you’ll find an Aquatic Center for swimming with the kids, Beaver Lake where you can rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboats and Swift Creek Lake, where the largemouth bass can be legendary. It’s just three hours north of Roanoke, VA and easy to access from Richmond and Norfolk, too, so why not make this park a goal for this summer?

  1. Grayton Beach State Park – Florida

Sugar sand beach, a scenic coastal dune lake and a pleasant RV campground—that’s what you’ll find at Grayton Beach State Park on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Not only can you play on the beach and hike the trails through coastal forest and dunes, you’ll also enjoy Western Lake, a prime spot for paddling and fishing.

  1. Golden Gate Canyon State Park – Colorado

Why not kick off the summer camping season by picking up your Denver RV rental and then heading west (and a little north) just thirty miles to Golden Gate Canyon State Park? Your camping party will find twelve-thousand-acres of rocky, tree-lined trails, be surprised by clear mountain lakes and, in the midst of all that, enjoy modern, convenient RV campsites.

  1. Elk Neck State Park – Maryland

About an hour and a half northeast of Baltimore, jutting out into Chesapeake Bay, is a wonderful place where hiking, lighthouse viewing, swimming and RV camping are just the beginning of the adventure. Elk Neck State Park, on the peninsula between Chesapeake and the Elk River, offers a whole vacation full of interesting things to do. Bonus: Nature photographers are going to love the trails, the seaside cliffs and the wealth of wildlife this gorgeous state park promises.

  1. Mills Norrie State Park – New York

What if you could pick up your RV rental near New York City and then drive north a couple of hours to a wooded paradise on the Hudson River? Would that help you jump into summer RV camping season? Then a visit to Mills Norrie State Park is in order! Wooded, no-hookups campsites with views of the river, trails through forests and to state historic sites, a legendary public golf course, a river marina and an on-site environmental center round out the perfect spot for a summer vacation on the Hudson.

  1. Clear Lake State Park – California

Just a couple of hours northwest of Sacramento is the chance to camp on the shores of California’s largest freshwater lake. Clear Lake State Park is a bass angler’s dream that also promises shaded campsites, hiking and interpretive trails and a visitor’s center. Bring the boat and plan to stay awhile!

  1. Shabbona Lake State Park – Illinois

Drive an hour straight west from our Glen Ellyn El Monte RV Rentals location and you’ll find Shabbona Lake, the “Muskie Capitol of Illinois”. Besides great fishing, your crew can rent kayaks and discover the lake’s scenic shoreline, hike the woodland trails and enjoy the amenities at the state park’s well-managed campground.

  1. Palisade State Park – Utah

A place to play for everyone—that’s the best way to describe the playground two hours south of Salt Lake City. Palisade State Park, home to Palisade Reservoir (great trout fishing here!), is also home to a public golf course, an expansive campground, miles of hiking trails and OHV trails in a high desert canyon. What could be better for kicking off summer camping season?

These are just nine of the places people like to play when they go state park RV camping in America. Let us know where you like to go, and as always, let us know if we can help with an RV rental.

Posted in Colorado RV Camping Vacation, Illinois RV Camping Vacation, Maryland RV Camping Vacation, New York RV Camping Vacation, State Parks, Utah RV Camping Vacation | 1 Comment

Four East Coast Camping Destinations for Early Autumn

You may think you’ve missed your chance to visit America’s East Coast by RV, now that the calendar reads September. The truth is, many Eastern campgrounds are open thru at least October and welcome autumn visitors. We’ve picked four East Coast RV camping destinations with something special to offer, to tempt you into taking one more trip.

Fisherman’s Memorial State Park – Rhode Island

The Ocean State boasts gorgeous ocean views, an abundance of historic treasures and nicely-maintained state park campgrounds, Fisherman’s Memorial State Park Campground is open through October and promises a pleasant RV camping experience way out on Point Judith. With five scenic beaches, Point Judith Lighthouse and the fishing village of Galilee nearby, you’ll find plenty to do on an autumn day. Use our quick link to Rhode Island RV campgrounds if you’re planning to travel the state.

Cedarville State Forest – Maryland

Come to Southern Maryland in early autumn and enjoy the peace and solitude of Cedarville State Forest, just an hour and a half south of Baltimore. Set up camp and then hike nearly twenty miles of trails through deep forest, exploring the Zekiah freshwater swamp and a surprising variety of plant and animal life. Click here to reserve your campsite now. Bonus: Here are even more Maryland RV campground possibilities as you travel the Old Line State.

Pocahontas State Park – Virginia

Just south of Richmond and a couple hours east of Roanoke, Pocahontas State Park is another awesome autumn getaway. With eighty miles of hiking and biking trails, this is a popular stop for ‘mid-season’ campers. The park’s campgrounds are open thru November and offer electric and water hookups (some 50 amp).

While camping in the area, be sure to take the short drive to Richmond to see the architectural treasures of Capitol Square, take the walking tour of Hollywood Cemetery and visit the city’s numerous museums. Click the link for even more Virginia RV camping locations to extend your stay.

Cape Cod National Seashore and Area Campgrounds – Massachusetts

Here’s the recipe for an unforgettable autumn camping excursion—pick up your RV rental and then head southeast through Plymouth and Barnstable to Cape Cod. The National Parks Service has preserved forty thousand acres of Atlantic shoreline, marshes and dunes, as well as an entire guidebook full of historic sites, for RV campers to enjoy.

It may be too chilly to swim in early autumn, but you’ll be blessed with uncrowded trail and beach hikes and views of more than a dozen Cape Cod lighthouses. No camping facilities within the Cape’s boundaries, but, lucky for you, we’ve gathered information on Cape Cod area campgrounds to help you plan.

Autumn camping

Autumn camping

From Cape Cod to Narragansett,
the crowds have gone home and left peace and quiet for autumn RV campers to enjoy.    Pack your own RV or pick up a convenient motorhome rental near your destination. Either way, it’s time to head east to discover the joys of autumn East Coast camping.

Posted in Connecticut RV Camping Vacation, Maryland RV Camping Vacation, Massachusetts RV Camping Vacation, State Parks, Virginia RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

An RV Trip through Chesapeake Country

Spring, summer, and fall seasons are your best bet for a pleasurable RV vacation on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay region. With over a thousand miles of shoreline, the Chesapeake Bay has a lot to offer. Begin in Chesapeake City, Maryland, stopping for a while to take a water tour of the canal system that surrounds the city.

You will be heading south on Maryland Highway 213, taking in all the sights as you go. You will come to the Anchorage in Easton, MD where you can see a historic home on the National Register of Historic Places. In Cecilton, you can absorb even more history in this town that was incorporated in 1864.

Take a short side trip to the Mount Harmon Plantation for colonial history. You can also take some scenic nature trails to stretch your legs and extend your view beyond the windscreen of your RV. This restored home is a treasure of Maryland, with its formal garden and tobacco house.

Fredericktown is another stop you should put on your Chesapeake Bay itinerary. Baker Park offers some pleasant recreation, everything from swimming and tennis to playgrounds for the kids and wonderful summer concerts. You have to admit, it’s time to get out into the sunshine after so much browsing the past of this area. In Georgetown you can launch a boat and try your hand at some profitable fishing. You can catch catfish or largemouth bass.

View the gorgeous dogwood trees blooming around Galena in the spring. You’ll want to capture the moments here for memory, so be sure to bring along your camera gear. If you are a hunter at heart, you’ll find Kennedyville hunting is great. You can bag some white tail deer, geese or upland game.

You’ll discover that Urieville Lake is a fishing hotspot. Here are 35 acres of prime fish habitat, with brown bullhead catfish, bluegill and more making these waters their home. After you make your trophy catch for the day, head on to Chestertown. On the banks of a lovely river, this town has a 300-year historic past. RV camping is available at Duck Neck Campground.

When you continue your journey along the Eastern Shore, you will finally come to Centreville. Stop at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Liberty Street to see this amazing church dating back to 1640. As you drive Maryland Highway 213, you will come to Highway 662 which you’ll take south, turning on 322 and finally Highway 33. This is going to take you to your final destination of Tilghman Island.

An important attraction, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum can be a surprise. Here is where Bay history comes alive. When you have children along, the interactive displays will hold their interest. Allow enough time for your tour, as many like to spend hours exploring the fascinating exhibits.

The unspoiled Tilghman Island is now ahead, and you are going to experience the truly beautiful area at your leisure. Enjoy some seafood dinners, photograph the fishermen at work in the village. Breathe that ocean air. Realize that your trip may be at an end for now, but you can work your way back the way you came and enjoy it all over again.

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RV Journey on the Historic National Road

Did you know the U.S. government started building highways way back in 1811? The National Road, meant to encourage settlement in the West, is also a great route for an RV camping vacation. Filled with historic sites, scenic vistas and friendly RV campgrounds, this route’s custom-made for RV travelers who want to know more about American history.

Today’s post covers the Historic National Road’s farthest eastern leg, through Maryland and Pennsylvania. Let’s start our journey in Baltimore, where the Bank Road was completed in 1820 to connect the National Road with the port at Baltimore. Maryland RV camping fans already know that Baltimore is filled with places of interest to the whole family, but let’s focus on area attractions along this important trade route.

  • New Market Maryland has been a trade center since the 1700s, and is now known as the antiques capital of the state. Stop by the New Market General Store, first opened in 1881 to serve westward travelers on the “National Pike” and plan time to enjoy the surrounding antiques district, too. From Baltimore, follow Rte-144 (Old National Pike) west to New Market.
  • Frederick County, Maryland just west of New Market on US-40 (part of the Historic National Road) is home to dozens of historic sites and glorious Catoctin Mountain scenery. Slow down the pace and travel north twenty minutes on the Catoctin Mountain Highway to explore 18th and 19th century history at the Utica Mills Covered Bridge and Catoctin Furnace/Cunningham Falls State Park.
  • Addison, the first National Road village in Pennsylvania, will delight history lovers with its early 19th century homes, shops and a nicely-preserved 1835 toll house. Follow US-40/Baltimore Pike west from Frederick, MD to reach historic Addison.
  • Fort Necessity Battlefield is just one of nearly two dozen historic sites along the National Road in Pennsylvania. Scene of the first battle of the French and Indian War, the battlefield park offers RV travelers 900 acres of historic interest, including an interpretive center, a fort and tavern, and plenty of interesting trails to explore.
  • Ohiopyle State Park beckons travelers ready to relax in the great outdoors. A twenty-thousand-acre Pennsylvania wonderland, this state park on the National Road is home to stunningly beautiful Youghiogheny River Gorge, a favorite with whitewater rafters. Plan time to explore the Ferncliff Peninsula, where the variety of wildlife and plant species will keep your cameras clicking.
  • Laurel Caverns, Pennsylvania’s longest cave, will delight the entire family with cave tours, “kavernputt” mini-golf and excellent views from atop Chestnut Ridge. You’ll find this popular attraction just south of the National Road near Uniontown. A bonus site near Uniontown-Hopwood, PA, where historic homes and taverns give a feel for how life would have been lived when the National Road first opened.

Our sample here doesn’t scratch the surface of the attractions to be found while RV camping along the Historic National Road in Maryland and Pennsylvania. With a little planning, your own RV trip along the road that opened the West will become part of your family’s treasured history.

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Traveling the Chesapeake Country National Scenic Byway by RV

Maryland’s Eastern Shore, on the Delmarva Peninsula between Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay, is a world apart from the busy streets of DC and Baltimore. Indulge yourself in this region’s rich beauty with an RV trip along the Chesapeake Country National Scenic Byway. Here are just a few of the places you’ll want to visit as you travel this picturesque route.

Chesapeake Country RV Itinerary
Start your journey in Chesapeake City, Maryland, two hours from Sterling, VA and just an hour ’round the Bay from Baltimore. Save time to visit the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Museum to learn how this fourteen-mile waterway between the Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay transformed the entire region. You’ll also want to visit South Chesapeake City, where vintage homes and charming waterfront shops line the streets.

Then it’s across the Chesapeake City Bridge on MD Hwy 213. You’ll travel south through rolling hills and farmland to the village of Cayots, MD and then on to the Bohemia River Bridge at Hack Point. If you’re hoping to canoe or kayak on your trip, the marina here is a good place to put in.

When you’re ready to move on, swing southeast on the Byway (MD 213) to Cecilton, where gorgeous manor homes dot the countryside and the rich Eastern Shore farmland provides wonderful scenery. Traveling south, your route will take you across the Sassafras River to the historic town of Galena, MD. Once the site of a silver mine, this 18th century village will charm RV travelers with tree-lined streets and historic structures.

You’ll swing back east at Galena on the Byway. Feel free to slow down and enjoy the beauty and history of rural Maryland by following the Kennedyville Road north to the Kent County Museum. When you return to the Byway and head south you’ll soon encounter Chestertown, where Duck Neck Campground, on the shores of the Chester River, offers the chance to go crabbing, swimming, or hiking, as well as sleep in RV comfort. And that’s not all Chestertown has to offer! A colonial village filled with plenty of activities for every interest, you’ll want to spend at least a day here.

Now it’s time to make a choice! Go east on the Chesapeake Country National Scenic Byway to Church Hill, home to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, built in 1732. Or you can follow the left leg of the byway (MD-20) to Chesapeake Bay at Rock Hall. Here are the highlights of the eastern route:

  • Centreville, MD – fascinating 18th century town with one of the oldest courthouses still in use in Maryland.
  • Queenstown, MD on Chesapeake Bay boasts the original Queen Anne’s County Courthouse, built in 1708. Stroll the streets to absorb the Revolutionary War history that’s abundant in Queenstown.
  • Then it’s across the Kent Narrows to Stevensville on Kent Island. Take the walking tour through historic Stevensville, charter a boat and enjoy a day on the Bay or simply unwind by enjoying the lively island setting. And did we mention that Maryland’s Bay Bridge leads from Kent Island back across the Bay, for those of you traveling back to Baltimore?

Decide to take the west loop of the Byway first? Here’s what you’ll encounter:

  • Chesapeake Farms, owned by the DuPont Corporation, studies the best practices in ecologically sound agriculture and wildlife management. Located south of Chestertown off Hwy 20, the self-guided tour will educate your entire group.
  • Caulk’s Field Monument west of Chestertown commemorates the battle fought in 1814 between British and American forces.
  • Old St. Paul’s – Kent – Stop and stroll this eighteenth century church’s magnificent twenty-acre churchyard. Located seven miles west of Chestertown.
  • Rock Hall, a bustling town on Chesapeake Bay, has museums, historic sites, a marina and a beach to keep RV travelers busy.
  • Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge – Cross the bridge six miles south of Rock Hall to enter an amazing island dedicated to preserving marine and animal life. Boardwalks, hiking trails and the Eastern Neck Water Trail for paddlers lead through tidal marshlands, forests and along the Bay.

Maryland’s Eastern Shore, as seen on the Chesapeake Country National Scenic Byway, promises RV campers a unique taste of the Old Line State. Traveling in RV comfort makes this Byway a best bet for our RV camping readers.

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Innovative Ways to Help Today’s Wired Generation Reconnect with Nature

One campground offers children a chance to build “bat houses” this summer, while another offers visits by “The Bug Lady”

Others offer river rafting, canoeing and kayaking, as well as nature walks, and opportunities to pick organically grown fruits and vegetables

One park outside of New York City even has its own wolf preserve, where you can hear the call of the wild as you sleep

Richard Louv made national headlines a few years ago when he published Last Child in the Woods, an award winning book that documented an alarming disconnect between today’s wired generation and nature.

But if you feel it’s a challenge to separate your children from their cell phones, iPods, and computer or video games, take heart. “Many of America’s privately owned and operated campgrounds are developing new activities for children of all ages to help them reconnect with nature,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. The Larkspur, Colo.-based trade association, in fact, is encouraging its 3,500-plus affiliated campgrounds and RV parks and resorts to increase their offerings of nature-oriented programs for children and families.

Here is sampling of privately owned parks across the country that are offering interesting and unique activities, both on their own initiative and with encouragement of the national association, to help their guests reconnect with nature:

Artic RV Park in Cosmopolis, Wash.: This park, located near Olympic National Park, offers crawdad fishing in a river that flows next to the park. “I keep spare bait for crawdads, string and weights for children to use for ‘long lining’ in the river,” said park owner Roy Pearmain. “I also teach children how to pick up the crawdads and how to sex the crawdads so they can throw back the girls.” Pearmain, who has a degree in biology, also takes his park guests on nature walks and talks about the medicinal uses of plants and trees that are native to the area.

Camp Taylor Campground in Columbia, N.J.: This campground is the home of the Lakota Wolf Preserve, which provides educational talks on wolves, bobcats and foxes twice daily. “We also provide lake swimming, rather than a pool maintained with chemicals. Our lake was built so that we have the ability to control the flow of water into it, thereby maintaining a continuous flow of fresh water,” said park owner Jean Taylor, adding, “Most of our weekend activities are designed to promote environmental awareness and preservation. Our newest activity this year is a ‘lett-us-be-green’ weekend, in which we will be introducing green smoothies made with various green vegetables and healthy fruits. We try to incorporate the need to eating healthy with the need for a healthy environment using informative, nature-based activities centering around simple ways people can ‘go green’ at home and the effect it can have in preserving the planet. Children will go home with a green plant to care for at home.”

Castaways RV Resort and Campground in Berlin, Md.: This park is the closest to Ocean City, Maryland’s most popular beach resort. “We are situated overlooking Assateague Island, where the wild ponies run. You can see them feeding daily from across the bay,” said Kathleen Morris, the park’s general manager. “We have kayak and jet ski rentals on the site as well as fishing skiffs. We also have numerous fishing and crabbing piers as well as clamming sandbars within wading distance.” Morris added, “We encourage the kids in the park to participate in our recreation activities as opposed to being couch potatoes.”

Herkimer KOA in Herkimer, N.Y.: This park is doing several things to try to encourage its guests to develop a closer connection to our natural environment, while also taking better care of themselves. The park recently installed the nation’s first “off grid” solar powered park model rental cabin, which includes bamboo flooring, LED lighting, recycled axels and tires, recycled lumber composite decking, on-demand water heating, energy efficient heating and air-conditioning.

“Our guests will not only have an opportunity for a great camping experience, but the dwelling itself becomes an educational tool,” said Dr. Renee Scialdo Shevat, the park’s owner, adding, “It’s going to increase awareness of environmental issues not only in New York state, but across the country. My hope is that our guests not only come to enjoy the weekend, but come away inspired to live a greener lifestyle.” Toward that end, a rainwater collection system is also being set up to capture rainwater that falls on the solar-power park model so that it can be used to irrigate an organic vegetable and herb garden. Dr. Shevat plans to encourage her guests to pick vegetables and herbs from the garden and use them in their cooking while they stay at the park.

Lake George RV Park in Lake George, N.Y.: This park has a nature awareness program that includes educational materials and designated nature areas where campers can learn about the wildlife that inhabits the park. The park also has live animal shows with wildlife experts.

Lazy River at Granville in Granville, Ohio: This park has many outdoor activities, including a 300-foot-long zipline, which is popular with people of all ages. But one of the park’s newest nature-oriented attractions is a teacher they affectionately call “The Bug Lady.” “She’s like a pied piper,” said park owner Mark Kasper. She comes to the park several times during the summer, equipped with a suitcase full of insects. Kasper remembers one day when a group of teenagers arrived at his park and scattered shortly after checking in. He worried that they were going to get into mischief. “I later found them sitting in rapture,” he said, “just listening to what this lady had to say.” In addition to talking about the insects she carries in her case, “The Bug Lady” also takes children on tours through the campground looking for bugs. The park also recently opened a mile-long walking path to encourage its guests to get out of their RVs and enjoy a walk in the woods.

Normandy Farms Campground in Foxboro, Mass.: This park has a 2-mile nature trail, complete with interpretive nature signs that the park incorporates into its regular activity schedule. The park also offers geocaching to encourage kids to get outside and search for caches. “We also have fishing derbies to entice kids to enjoy simple activities, such as fishing in our pond,” said park spokeswoman Kristine Daniels.

Sorensen’s Resort in Hope Valley, Calif.: This High Sierra resort offers nature oriented events throughout spring, summer and fall, including a medicinal plants hike on July 4th, a photography workshop on July 25th, a fly-fishing workshop Aug. 7th and 8th, a watercolor retreat Sept. 20th to 24th and a fall colors hike on Oct. 8th.

The Great Outdoors RV Nature and Golf Resort in Titusville, Fla.: This RV resort is one of the largest in the country, with 1,534 sites for towable and motorized RVs as well as park models and custom-built resort homes. But the park also has 3,000 acres of land that are home to native egrets, deer and quail. The Great Outdoors puts a heavy focus on nature, providing habitat areas for numerous land animals and birds, including the colorful “painted bunting,” a rare and stunningly beautiful red, blue and green bird whose habitat has been destroyed in many areas of Florida. The Great Outdoors not only preserves habitat for the painted bunting and other species, but recently opened a 2,795 square foot nature center, which provides a wildlife museum, nature programs and hikes.

Other park operators offer much more traditional but very satisfying nature-based activities. Consider Riley and Vicky Turner, who own a small campground in the Manistee National Forest in central Michigan. Their park, R & J Resort Campground, has 25 campsites, six cabins and three cottages, and is surrounded by pines, poplars, maples and oaks. It’s also close to the Manistee River, a prime spot for fishing and kayaking or canoeing. “My favorite kayak or canoe trip is to go from Hodenpyl Dam to Red Bridge,” Vicky Turner explains. “You’ll see eagles in flight, albino deer, turkeys and other different animals coming to the river to get a drink.” The trip takes about three to four hours by canoe. “When the kids come,” Turner said, “I take them to see some of our sassafras trees. It’s my favorite tree because you can chew on the leaf and it tastes like root beer!”

This was kindly provided to us by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds where you can find more help locating unique campgrounds in your area or for additional commentary, statistics and sources on the latest camping trends.

Posted in California RV Camping Vacation, Florida RV Camping Vacation, Maryland RV Camping Vacation, Massachusetts RV Camping Vacation, New Jersey RV Camping Vacation, New York RV Camping Vacation, Ohio RV Camping Vacation, Washington RV Camping Vacation | Tagged | Leave a comment

Many Families are Gearing Up for Water Balloon Wars as Campgrounds Prepare for Prepare for “Wet & Wild Weekends”

Some campgrounds organize water war competitions that pit staff against guests and involve virtually everyone in the campground

“There are three adjectives we like to hear. Awesome, sweet or wow! If I get one of those out of the adults or their kids, I’m doing my job. That’s how we run our business.” – Wisconsin campground owner Bud Styer

Some people like to camp in a quiet place in the woods. But quiet is not on the menu at the Wisconsin campgrounds that Bud Styer owns or manages on behalf of other park owners, which include Smokey Hollow Campground in Lodi; Merry Mac’s Campground in Merrimac; Baraboo Hills Campground in Baraboo; Tilleda Falls Campground in Tilleda; Rivers Edge Campground in Stevens Point; River Bend RV Resort in Watertown; and Harbour Village Campground in Sturgeon Bay. Styer caters to an active family crowd, the kind of people who will go through 14,000 water balloons in a weekend game of “water wars” in which everyone in the campground gets wet.

“There are three adjectives we like to hear,” Styer said. “Awesome, sweet or wow! If I get one of those out of the adults or their kids, I’m doing my job. That’s how we run our business.”

But Styer isn’t the only campground operator who is tapping into his guests’ wild side. Growing numbers of independently owned and operated campgrounds across the country, as well as many parks in the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort and Kampgrounds of America (KOA) chains, offer a growing assortment of water-related activities, from spraygrounds and waterslides to their own “Wet and Wild” weekends.

“Camping enthusiasts always seek access to water, whether it’s in rivers, lakes, swimming pools or along the beach. But many parks find they can further enhance their appeal by offering fun, water-related activities,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Williamsport, Md. is planning a “Wet and Wild Week” Aug. 2nd to 8th. “Wherever you are in the park and whatever you do that week, there is a very good chance you are going to get wet,” said park co-owner Vicki Vitkun. “We have water balloon fights. We do a water balloon pitch burst. We do wet sponge ball fights, big water gun battles, volleyball in the pool, basketball in the pool. Everything is wet. We even have a guest against staff watergun fight. So even the staff knows to beware that week because they’re going to get wet, too. It’s a week filled with constant laughter, screaming and shouting.”

Several KOA parks also offer “Wet and Wild” weekends at various times during the summer, such as July 16th to 18th at the KOA in Port Huron, Mich. and July 23rd to 25th at the Stockton / Delta KOA in Stockton, Calif.

Other parks are adding new water-related attractions. Pineland Camping Park in Arkdale, Wis., for example, just installed PineZilla, the world’s largest inflatable waterslide, which stands over four stories tall and features a 175-foot-long slide with a 45-degree descent at the drop zone.

Meanwhile, the KOA in Rusk, Texas has installed a new Frisbee skills court. “But watch out for the water hazards,” warns park owner Walter Preble. “Everyone gets wet.”

While Styer has “water wars” water balloon game stations at each of his Wisconsin parks, he said his water wars weekends are the most popular times of year at his parks. That’s when he drives throughout each park using a specially designed hay wagon that has been outfitted with four water guns that can each shoot water up to 75-feet. Of course, whenever he does this, Styer and his staff also risk coming under attack from campground guests, who arm themselves with everything from water balloons to pump action water guns.

Styer said his guests will spend an entire day filling water balloons as they prepare for a water wars weekend. “I’ve had guys fill up their pickup trucks with water balloons. It becomes a feeding frenzy,” he said.

In fact, fun family activities take place every day during the summer at the parks under Styer’s management, which include everything “water wars” water balloon games to nighttime light parades and nighttime miniature golf. He even organizes sumo-wrestling competitions.

“It’s hilarious,” Styer said. “You put on these big vinyl suits and you’re about 4-feet in diameter when you have them on. And then you try to push the other guy out of the ring. But if you fall over, you’re like a turtle. And somebody from the audience will have to step in to set you back up on your feet.”

This was kindly provided to us by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds where you can find more help locating unique campgrounds in your area or for additional commentary, statistics and sources on the latest camping trends.

Posted in California RV Camping Vacation, Maryland RV Camping Vacation, RV Campgrounds, Texas RV Camping Vacation, Wisconsin RV Camping Vacation | Tagged | Leave a comment

Scenic RV Road Trips – Delmarva Peninsula

We live in one big, beautiful country, and one of the best ways to see it is along its famous scenic drives. One of the most spectacular of those routes can be found on a rugged peninsula shared by three Eastern states. Delmarva Peninsula, made up of land belonging to Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, is a visual feast for RV travelers.

Sitting between Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, it’s not hard to find drives with beautiful ocean views on Delmarva Peninsula. A popular route is along the Coastal Highway (Delaware State Rd 1) from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to Ocean City, Maryland. Not only will you see some of the prettiest beaches on the East Coast, you’ll also get to experience the beauty of Delaware Seashore State Park, a family-friendly coastal paradise.

Once you’re ready to move on, continue south on Coastal Highway through pristine beach resort towns like Bethany Beach and South Bethany. You’ll have abundant opportunities to view wildlife and an amazing variety of birds along the way, as well as unforgettable views of the Atlantic. The drive south toward Ocean City will take you along the eastern edge of Assawoman Bay State Wildlife Area, so why not plan to spend time exploring there, as well as on Fenwick Island?

From there, it’s a straight shot south along Isle of Wight Bay to Ocean City, MD, a full-fledged resort and casino city. Anyone with a yen to try the tables will find plenty to do at the southern end of this scenic drive!

But that’s not the only awesomely scenic roadway on the Peninsula. You can also enter it from the south from Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT), a picturesque adventure in itself. A note here: there is a toll charged for CBBT passage, so be sure to add that to your travel budget.

Once you’ve reached land at the end of the CBBT, you’ll find yourself on Fisherman’s Island National Wildlife Refuge. Take time to get to know this Eastern Virginia bird, butterfly and wildlife migratory stop before heading north across Fisherman’s Inlet on Hwy 13. You’ll skirt the Atlantic Coastline before curving back east at Kiptopeke State Park, If you’re ready to stop for the night at this point, take advantage of the comfortable RV campground at this Park.

You can continue north the entire length of the Peninsula on Hwy 13 if you’d like, taking side trips to picturesque port towns like Cape Charles, Virginia and exploring the salt marshes and inlets like Longs Pond and Cherrystone. Jog over to Hwy 50 north of Salisbury, MD for views of the Eastern Bay all the way across the bridge to Annapolis.

Delmarva Peninsula should be on every RV camper’s dream vacation list. To make it easy to add it to yours, we’ve gathered the names of RV campgrounds located right on the Peninsula. Be sure to let us know about your Delmarva Peninsula scenic drive adventures!

Posted in Delaware RV Camping Vacation, Maryland RV Camping Vacation, State Parks, Virginia RV Camping Vacation | Tagged | Leave a comment

RV Camping in Search of Family Friendly Campgrounds!

As RV-camping families launch this year’s vacation plans, they’re anxious to find family-friendly places to stay. A bonus is scoring one of those campgrounds that are also close to plenty of ways to keep the kids busy. To help get those plans on the road, we’ve collected our top ten family-friendly campgrounds that feature plenty of nearby activities for the kids.

  • Space Center RV Park – League City, TX: Need someplace to camp with the kids that will literally have them begging to stay? This campground near NASA in Houston is centrally-located to visit the Kemah Boardwalk, Galveston Island and Six Flags Astroworld.
  • Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park – Bremen, GA: One of dozens of Jellystone Park locations in the US, this campground is within an hour of eight major family-centered attractions. It’s also a wonderland in itself, with rides, a large pool and putt-putt golf in addition to planned kid-friendly activities.
  • Peter’s Pond RV Resort – Sandwich, MA: Active kids who love fishing, boating and hiking will thank you for a trip to this Massachusetts campground. It’s also well-equipped for most summer sports, with baseball, bocce, volleyball, badminton and a host of other sports venues located on-site.
  • Coachland RV Park – Truckee, CA: Not only can your family experience the gorgeous Sierras where this campground is located, this RV park offers family-friendly sports like tobogganing on their property. Meet rafting outfitters adjacent to the park for a family day rafting the Truckee River.
  • Mesa Verde RV Park – Mancos, CA: Right across the road from Mesa Verde National Monument, this park boasts an 18-hole miniature golf course. It’s centrally-located for visiting all the attractions in Durango, Silverton, Telluride and the Four Corners area.
  • Boomtown USA RV Resort – Beaumont, TX: A waterpark, a miniature golf course and a 100-acre lake for fishing and swimming; doesn’t that sound like a great way to entertain your kids this summer?
  • Texan RV Ranch – Mansfield, TX: Planning a trip to the Dallas/Fort Worth area to visit Six Flags, Hawaiian Falls and the Dallas Zoo? This park is located in the Dallas suburb of Mansfield and offers down-home Texas hospitality.
  • Knoebel’s Amusement Resort – Elysburg, PA: Camping on the grounds of a family amusement park? What could be better? Ride the rides, splash at the waterpark and then camp right next door at Knoebel’s RV campground.
  • Frontier Town/Fort Whaley RV Campgrounds – Ocean City, MD: These frontier-themed campgrounds are fifteen minutes apart and both are right next door to the excitement of Ocean City, MD.
  • Pony Express RV Resort – Salt Lake City, UT: Take the family on a horseback ride through the surrounding Wasatch Mountains. Travel into downtown Salt Lake City to visit the dozens of attractions available there. Or simply hike the nearby nature trails and relax in the beauty of nature as your kids learn to relax.

And don’t forget that most amusement resorts like Disneyworld and Stone Mountain Park have on-site RV campgrounds to make your family’s visit more enjoyable! Anyway you plan it, you’re going to enjoy your family vacation more by RV.

El Monte RV Rentals has nationwide rental locations, so we’re well-equipped to get your family on the road. Let us know if you’ve found a family-friendly, activity-adjacent campground that’s not on our list. We’re already planning a second installment for our readers!

Posted in California RV Camping Vacation, Georgia RV Camping Vacation, Maryland RV Camping Vacation, Pennsylvania RV Camping Vacation, Texas RV Camping Vacation, Utah RV Camping Vacation | Tagged | Leave a comment