NHRA Races from North Carolina to Virginia and Route 66

NHRA racing continues in late April and May with some really exciting races.

From April 26th – 28th the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Mello Yello Four-Wide Nationals will burn up the track at the zMax Dragway in Concord, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NC. This Dragway is famous for its fan amenities and enormous grandstands, where tons of fans can watch the excitement. Racers try to qualify in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock Motorcycles, as well as Pro Mod racing. The Semi-Finals and Finals take place on Sunday afternoon. Take the time to watch the Top Alcohol racers as well as racers in the Sportsman category at this NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series race. The wheels will be spinning and tires burning as top racers vie for points in Charlotte.

Camping for your RV is available from 4/25-4/28 at the Camping World Racing Resort adjacent to the zMax Dragway. And, trackside camping is available at the Dragway where you can  enjoy the comforts of home while watching the fastest accelerating machines on the planet race all weekend. These sites are located near the top of the timing light on the east side. For more information on tickets and to reserve camping, see NGK Spark Plugs NHRA race.

The next weekend takes racers to the Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals at the Atlanta Dragway. This race weekend occurs on May 3rd through the 5th with Pro Qualifying races on Friday and Saturday with the Pro Stock Motorcycle and Nitro Final races on Sunday afternoon. This is one of NHRA’s long-established events; this belle of the south has gained a reputation as one of the tougher events on the tour to win. With summer approaching, warm temperatures can turn the event into “Hotlanta” and throw crew chiefs a curve as they try to glue their charges to the facility’s 660-foot concrete launch pad.

For more information or to find out more schedule details or to see about on-site camping, check the Atlanta Dragway website.

As the temperatures heat up, so does the excitement while the NHRA’s best Top Fuel and Funny Car competitors battle at Virginia NHRA Mello Yello Nationals in Virginia Motorsports Park. This exciting event takes place on the weekend of May 17th-19th and will be full of fast cars, motorcycles and fun! Starting with Pro Stock Qualifying and Nitro Qualifying sessions on Friday, the excitement continues on Saturday and Pro Stock Eliminations and Nitro Elimination finals are on Sunday.

Camping inside is available and you can get all the details of the race and the available campgrounds at the Virginia Motorsports Park website.

And to wrap up May, from the 30th to June 2nd, don’t miss the Route 66 Nationals at the northeast end of Route 66 in Chicago. Friday and Saturday are qualifying rounds and Sunday will be the eliminations, semi-Finals and Finals for the Pro Stock and Nitro Eliminations races. For more information on the races, camping and tickets see Route 66 NHRA Nationals.

NHRA racing

NHRA racing

Don’t miss the exciting action at the track when you go in your RV to any of these NHRA events.

Need to rent an RV?  Find your ideal recreational vehicle at one of our El Monte RV Rental locations. See our Where to Rent an RV page for all our El Monte Rental locations and check with the nearest one for available rentals.

Posted in Georgia RV Camping Vacation, NHRA Races RV Vacation, North Carolina RV Camping Vacation, Virginia RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

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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Visiting the National Parks by RV

Seeing a Show While Visiting the National Parks

There’s no better way to see the beauty of our country’s national parks than with an RV vacation. In an RV, you can make yourself at home on the road, to chart your own course and stray off the beaten path to see parks up close and personal. When the sun sets on an amazing day in the national park, head to a nearby city to enjoy a game, performance or concert. We’ve listed a few of our favorite national parks, as well as nearby towns where you can catch a show and be ready to get back to nature the next day.

The Park: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Escape the hustle and bustle of the east coast and spend some time in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Before the arrival of European settlers, the park was once the home to the Cherokee people, and it was officially dedicated a national park by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. Explore the pristine beauty of over 500,000 acres of woods, rivers and historic settlements. With its convenient location and beautiful surroundings, it’s easy to see why Great Smoky Mountains is the most frequently visited national park in the country.

The Venue: The Orange Peel, Asheville, N.C.

After you’ve hiked, fished and relaxed in the wilderness, head just 40 miles east to the city of Asheville, N.C. Nestled in the mountains, Asheville has long been a destination for friendly people, great food and fantastic music. While you’re in town, catch a show at The Orange Peel, which has been recognized as one of the top music venues in the country. The intimate space only holds about 1,000 people, but it has drawn musical acts such as Bob Dylan and Smashing Pumpkins. You can even catch a great comedy show there; comedian Tig Notaro will be performing at the Orange Peel on December 12, 2017.

The Park: Yosemite National Park

On the other side of the country is Yosemite National Park, an iconic American gem in Northern California. The park makes up more than 1,200 square miles of mountain vistas, valleys and breathtaking waterfalls, including Yosemite Falls, the highest waterfall in North America. Much of the land making up Yosemite National Park has been protected since the mid-19th century, and the plants and animal life in the park are incredibly diverse.

The Venue: Save Mart Center, Fresno, Calif.

Yosemite is just over an hour from Fresno, where you’ll find the Save Mart Center on the California State University campus. This multipurpose arena hosts everything from UFC fights and comedy shows to concerts from the likes of Miranda Lambert, Pink and Bruno Mars. It’s also home to the Fresno State men’s and women’s basketball teams. Pair an exciting event with a trip to Yosemite for a vacation that checks all the boxes.

The Park: Grand Canyon National Park

They say there’s no way to prepare yourself for seeing the Grand Canyon. No photo or description can do it justice; you just have to stand on the edge of its walls and see it for yourself. It was officially declared a national park in 1919, and more than 5 million Americans head to the northwestern corner of Arizona to see it every year. Whether you walk from one side to the other, fly over it on a helicopter tour, or just take it all in from the visitor’s center, a visit to Grand Canyon National Park is an experience you and your family will be talking about for years to come.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

The Venue: The Orpheum Theater, Flagstaff, Ariz.

The Orpheum Theater was originally built in 1911 as a movie theater, and has been transformed into a state-of-the-art venue for film, live music and stage performances. Flagstaff is about an hour from Grand Canyon National Park, and a great home base for your Grand Canyon adventure. The theater is in Flagstaff’s beautiful downtown, close to restaurants, shops and surrounded by the area’s natural beauty. Visit the Orpheum to see rock shows, singer-songwriters or even a classic film on the big screen.

The Park: Mt. Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier is an active volcano southeast of Seattle that rises over 14,000 feet above sea level. The highest mountain of the Cascade Range, it’s also the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S., and it spawns six major rivers. Visitors can skip through wildflower meadows, marvel at powerful waterfalls and hike on well over 100 trails in this massive park.

The Venue: The Gorge Amphitheatre, George, Wash.

With stunning views over the Cascade Mountains and the Columbia River, this outdoor amphitheater is known as one of the most scenic in America. It seats nearly 30,000 fans, and although it’s located in a fairly rural area, there are several campgrounds nearby.

The United States has 58 National Parks, which means you may never run out of sights to see and beautiful roads to drive. Get creative on your next National Park adventure and add in some evening entertainment. An RV adventure gives you the flexibility to make the most of your vacation, no matter where the road takes you.

About the Author

Adam Young enjoys exploring the country’s national parks when he’s not serving as the CEO of Event Tickets Center. His home state of Florida offers a range of parks that are perfect for visiting via RV.

Posted in Arizona RV Camping Vacation, California RV Camping Vacation, National Parks, North Carolina RV Camping Vacation, Tennessee RV Camping Vacation, Washington RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

AAA Members-Look Skyward! 2017 Eclipse RV Travel Savings

You may have noticed our earlier discussion about the singular celestial event that’s coming to America in 2017. To refresh your memories, we’ll be enjoying a total solar eclipse over America on August 21, 2017. A special reason we’re highlighting this opportunity for RV travel again is that AAA members can save big when renting an RV to view the solar eclipse.

AAA members always enjoy RV rental discounts through El Monte RV Rental & Sales as part of their active membership. For this year’s total solar eclipse experience, the nationwide auto club is encouraging members to hit the road in an RV to find the optimal eclipse viewing sites.

This article on the 2017 eclipse in AAA’s April member newsletter offers information on where, when and how to view the eclipse. If you aren’t currently a AAA member, this link offers you the opportunity to join so you can take advantage of the RV rental discounts.  

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse

Haven’t started making plans to see the moon’s shadow completely block the sun from Earthly viewers? Here are the details you’ll need to plan your 2017 total solar eclipse RV vacation:

When Will the Eclipse Occur?

The shadow of the moon will align to blot out the sun from our view for approximately two minutes at 10:15 a.m. PDT on the Pacific Coast near Newport, Oregon. That will be the North American debut of the 2017 solar eclipse. The moon’s shadow will then block the sun from sight in an arc across the US, moving back over the Atlantic off the South Carolina coast at 2:48 pm EDT.

Where Will the Total Eclipse be Visible?

This excellent map of the eclipse trajectory shows the fourteen states (from Oregon to South Carolina) crossed by the “path of totality”. On that path, there’s a sixty-mile band of optimum viewing of the entire eclipse event. Outside that band, you won’t be able to see the total eclipse and will have to settle for partial eclipse memories.

To help you plan your eclipse-viewing RV vacation, here are some of the cities within the path of totality:

Oregon: Newport, Corvallis, Madras, Salem

Idaho: Stanley, McKay, Idaho Falls

Montana: No cities within optimum viewing band, eight miles of remote mountain terrain only

Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park, Casper, Thermopolis

Nebraska: Scott’s Bluff, Hastings, Grand Island

Kansas: Troy, Atchison, Leavenworth

Missouri: St. Joseph, Columbia

Illinois: Carbondale, Chester

Kentucky: Bowling Green, Hopkinsville

Tennessee: Nashville, Gallatin, Clarksville

Georgia: Blairsville, Clayton

North Carolina: Andrews, Clingmans Dome area of Great Smoky Mountain NP

South Carolina: Anderson, Orangeburg, Columbia

Why Rent an RV to View the Eclipse?

As any experienced RV traveler can tell you, weather changes occur when you least expect them. Viewing the eclipse in all its glory will require staying ahead of cloud cover or storms. Two planning steps can help you win the race:

  •         Watch local forecasts for the area where you plan to view the eclipse. If heavy cloud cover or storms are predicted, have a Plan B viewing location in mind.
  •         Traveling by RV allows you to change plans quickly. The flexibility to move to a better location as the event approaches may make the difference between awesome eclipse viewing memories and traveling home disappointed.

AAA and El Monte RV Rental & Sales can help you plan the perfect eclipse viewing RV vacation, but you’ll need to act fast. Campgrounds are filling rapidly, so don’t delay any longer making your plans.

Where will you be when the sun goes dark on August 21, 2017?

Posted in Georgia RV Camping Vacation, Idaho RV Camping Vacation, Illinois RV Camping Vacation, Kansas RV Camping Vacation, Kentucky RV Camping Vacation, Missouri RV Camping Vacation, Montana RV Camping Vacation, Nebraska RV Camping Vacation, North Carolina RV Camping Vacation, Oregon RV Camping Vacation, South Dakota RV Camping Vacation, Tennessee RV Camping Vacation, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Autumn Adventure Camping Possibilities

Campers who love to chase adrenaline won’t want to hang up their mountain bikes, kayaks or kiteboards just because summer’s over.  Instead of parking the RV for the season, why not take advantage of smaller crowds and cooler weather to enjoy your favorite adventure sport? Autumn RV camping can be spectacular when you’re parked in a forest of fall colors, so there’s really no reason not to take at least one more trip this autumn.  Here’s how.

Autumn Adventure Camping Idea #1: Kiteboarding & RV Camping Cape Hatteras

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras National Seashore, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, is a primo kiteboarding destination, and home to some pretty fine autumn RV camping, too.  If kiting is your favorite way to play, there’s nothing quite like the autumn winds that hit Hatteras.

The Frisco campground operated by the National Park Service is open through November. It offers campsites among the secluded dunes on the Atlantic side of Hatteras Island.  Legendary Pamlico Sound is a short distance away, so you’ll have two nearby choices for kiteboarding venues.  Just in case you haven’t tried the sport before, outfitters on Hatteras Island can fix you up with lessons and gear.  The national park RV campground is comfortable, but without hook-ups, so if you like more amenities there’s a private campground at Frisco Woods five minutes away.

Autumn Adventure Camping Idea #2: Cuyuna Country SRA Single Track and Camping

Two hours north of Minneapolis, Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area at Ironton, MN is a single track rider’s best autumn destination.  In the first place, you’re going to find twenty-five miles of groomed trails twisting and turning their way among twenty abandoned iron mining lakes.  The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System is gaining notoriety with riders around the country, with five separate units of clearly marked and superbly-maintained trails.  That should be enough to get single track fans packing.

But just in case you’re wondering about the RV camping, you’ll also find the camping at Portsmouth campground on Portsmouth Mine Pit Lake close to the trails and plenty comfortable in autumn.

Autumn Adventure Camping Idea #3: Autumn Gales Sea Kayaking, Stonington, CT

For campers whose adventure sport is sea kayaking, the annual Autumn Gales event is a not-to-be-missed fall adventure. Coaches from several countries convene each October at the New England Science & Sailing Centre in Stonington, CT to work with a fortunate few.  Taking advantage of the optimal waters of Fishers Island Sound, the group spends several days sharpening their skills through tiered training courses, in essentials such as rough water confidence and tide race surfing.

It’s easy to reach Stonington, just two hours away from Boston and under three hours’ drive from your New York RV rental pickup.  You’ll be happy to learn that Mystic KOA is only fifteen minutes from the event site and offers special campsite rates in September and October.  Why not plan to camp awhile at this scenic, friendly campground while learning new skills that will put you at the top of your paddling crew back home?

Did these ideas get your adrenaline flowing for another autumn adventure?  Pick one or plan your own, but don’t stop camping just because the crowds went home.  There’s a place that’s perfect for you to find adventure and enjoy the comfort and convenience of autumn RV camping, while you’re at it.  We’re always here to help with the right RV!

Posted in Connecticut RV Camping Vacation, Minnesota RV Camping Vacation, North Carolina RV Camping Vacation | 1 Comment

A North Carolina Destination for Autumn Colors in an RV

This is the most colorful season of all and a perfect time for an autumn RV trip to North Carolina. As you enjoy the yellow, red and orange leaves, you can also take advantage of the many activities and attractions available to you and your family. It’s a lovely time of year and nothing could be better than a vacation to the North Carolina forests and mountains.

Botanical Gardens at Ashland, NC

Botanical Gardens at Ashland, NC

Have Asheville, North Carolina as your home base. There is colorful foliage around town as well as in the surrounding area. Mid-October is the beginning of the changing leaves and offers breathtaking views of a panorama of hues. The peak will be around late October so you can stay a few weeks to experience a full fall display.

While in town, stop at the Botanical Gardens at Asheville. It is located right next to the University of North Carolina. There is no charge to visit and you will see a wide variety of trees, both native and exotic. Hiking around these gardens provides you a unique way to experience fall. The Southern Appalachian Mountains collections of plants are something you won’t want to miss.

Of course, you can’t pass up taking the Asheville Urban Trail around downtown Asheville. This is like an outdoor museum, with plaques explaining the history of the region, sculptures and other works of art. It is an easy loop which takes about two hours to walk and will thrill you with history, culture and inspiration.

At the North Carolina Arboretum at the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will get in some more hiking, but this time through forests of pine, hardwood and other species of trees, many turning with gorgeous fall colors right now. You’ll discover ten miles of hiking and biking trails, but may prefer the Carolina Mountain Trail above the others to see the forest and stop at an overlook for a view.

While here, you can decide on a further adventure. Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway provides outstanding views of fall foliage displays.  Even with the current government shutdown of national parks, this parkway is open, although visitor centers and campgrounds are closed for now. Enjoy the mountain meadows, the scenic overlooks and the peace and solitude of this gorgeous region. Stop at Craggy Gardens to have a quiet picnic and hike a trail or two.

Not many miles from Asheville, you can visit Dupont State Forest to get some additional fall beauty. There are more than 80 miles of trails, and the best thing of all is the numerous waterfalls to see. Triple Falls is a favorite as well as Hooker Falls and High Falls. Hooker and High Falls require only a moderate hike, where Triple Falls has an approaching trail that can get quite steep. Explore as you will find three other waterfalls that will take your breath away.

Be on the watch for wildlife as you tour this beautiful section of North Carolina. You will want to bring your camera gear too, so you can take home photo-memories of your autumn RV trip.

Picture credits: The picture of The Botanical Gardens in Ashland, NC is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Take a Thrilling RV Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway in the Fall

Blue Ridge Parkway in the Fall

North Carolina and Virginia offer some gorgeous sights for the RV vacationer. The best route for enjoying the views is the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is really no better way to experience these Eastern forests, mountains and blooming flowers. Attractions are numerous and just waiting for your visit.

Traveling north on the byway begins in Asheville, North Carolina. Tour the art community and discover some amazing history by seeing the Biltmore Estate, a 250-room French Renaissance chateau. And if you love to wander garden trails go over to the North Carolina Arboretum. You will see a bonsai collection there that will have you yearning to learn that art.

Take your time as you head north on the parkway. The overlooks allow you to gaze out on the diverse landscapes of the Great Smoky Mountains. When you reach Spruce Pine, North Carolina, stop at the Museum of North Carolina Minerals to look over the hundreds of minerals and gems that were found in this area. Kids with you? They will love the interactive displays at this museum, but so will the grownups.

You will most certainly want to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park while here. The outdoor recreation in this park has no equal anywhere else. The rushing rivers and panoramic views serve to remind us of the fragility of our natural world and urge us to get out and enjoy it anytime we have the chance. You can hike, bike and fish here until your heart’s content.

Take a guided tour of the Linville Caverns when you reach Marion, North Carolina on your journey. This is an attraction you won’t want to pass up as you are getting the unique opportunity to explore the inside of a mountain! Then you will continue on into Virginia to stop at the Natural Bridge. Hike the Cedar Creek Nature Trail. Be sure to begin conversation with the staff at Monacan Indian Village to find out what life was like here more than 300 years ago.

You will find all kinds of options for RV camping as you travel the Blue Ridge Parkway. Plan ahead and scope out where you’ll stay as you move south to north. Each RV park is unique and all have great amenities.

The best time of all awaits you in Shenandoah National Park. Take Skyline Drive for some breathtaking vistas. Don’t miss any one of the incredible overlooks. And don’t forget your camera! Cascading waterfalls in the park are a favorite and many come just to see them.

There is really no end to all the outdoor recreation, marvelous wilderness views and wildlife you can enjoy in Shenandoah National Park. You would think that this is the perfect ending for a perfect vacation. However, one more thrill is ahead. In Front Royal, you can stop to get a guided tour of the Skyline Caverns. This has been a wonderful adventure and you are welcome back again any time for a fun RV vacation.

Picture credits: The picture of the Blue Ridge Parkway is by the National Park Service.

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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.

Posted in Historical RV Vacation, Lighthouses, North Carolina RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Tagged | Leave a comment

Take a Spring RV Vacation to Pisgah National Forest

Linville Gorge in the Pisgah National Forest

Linville Gorge in the Pisgah National Forest

Spring in the Appalachian Mountains has no compare. What a thrill to spend a spring vacation in this gorgeous area! The Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina offers so much for those who want to get away from it all and bask in the beauty of nature. Towering peaks, sparkling waterfalls and dense forests all provide the inspiration you have needed all year. Hiking, fishing, biking or horseback riding provide only some of the outdoor fun you’ll find here. RV camping is plentiful too. Stay at the Black Mountain Campground where you will have lovely campsites with tables and fire rings with grills. Although there are no hookups, you will have showers and restrooms with flush toilets handy.

The Appalachian Ranger District of the forest is one of the best areas to visit. This region stretches from the eastern edge of Great Smoky Mountain National Park to the Blue Ridge Parkway near Tennessee. Some of the best trails to hike or bike here are the Bear Pen Trail, with cascading waterfalls and lots of camera-ready sights, and the Staire Creek Trail, taking you through some lush forests with streams and more waterfalls.

Near the Tennessee state line in the Appalachian Ranger District you can reach Max Patch, an incredible view from 4,629 feet up. This is an ideal place to fish, hike or view all the wildlife in this area. Wildflowers will be in bloom this time of year, too. Picnic, gaze out at Mount Mitchell and the Great Smoky Mountains. Views like you won’t believe!

In the Pisgah Ranger District, the Lake Powhatan Recreation Area offers great fishing. There are thirteen man-made lakes and ponds into which you can cast a line. Hike the loop trails or take the more challenging trails for added excitement. When you take the Shut-In Trail, you will get to hike through a black bear sanctuary and get an experience like you’ve never had before. If you love fishing, catch some rainbow or brown trout in Bent Creek or the French Broad River. Lake Powhatan has plenty of great places to fish along the shore or from the fishing pier by the dam.

Make your way to the North Carolina Arboretum, a lovely area with gardens, hiking trails and exhibits of plants, including a fine bonsai collection. There are 434 acres of inspiring beauty where you can collect your thoughts and prepare yourself for even more adventures to come.

Of course, perhaps the greatest adventure is traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway. The scenic vistas will take your breath away. Originally built to connect Great Smoky Mountain National Park with Shenandoah National Park, this byway is a drive you will never forget – 469 miles of nature at its best.

Another place to stop and explore is the Bent Creek Experimental Forest. Day hiking is a favorite here on the Cold Knob Connector Trail, Chestnut Cove Trail or Boyd Branch Trail. You can also fish, ride horses or just settle in for a delicious picnic at a quiet spot.

Yes, nothing like a trip to Pisgah National Forest for an inspiring spring RV vacation!

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A Springtime RV Trip to North Carolina’s Croatan National Forest

Croatan National Forest

Croatan National Forest

Inching northward as the spring weather warms, you will find North Carolina a marvelous destination for an RV trip. Croatan National Forest, on the eastern coast of the state, provides a wealth of wildlife, amazing pine forests and plenty of outdoor spring fun for the whole family. With more than 160,000 acres to explore, you will be hard put to do everything you’d like in one trip. RV camping (PDF) is no problem in the forest and you will find the site of your dreams to make your home base during your visit.

You are surrounded by water in Croatan National Forest. You have the estuaries, tidal rivers, and swamps on all sides. The Bogue Sound has some of the best fishing around. Canoeing is always fun on the creeks and marshes. The wildlife you see will include black bears, deer, alligators and turkeys.

Before you leave for Croatan National Forest, you should study up on one of the unusual plants you will come upon – the carnivorous Venus fly-trap. You will better understand how they survive as they get nutrients from insects instead of the boggy soil into which they extend their roots. A fascinating experience – to witness a Venus fly-trap in its natural habitat.

Grab your mountain bike and head for the Neuse River Recreation Area within the forest. Here under the trees you will unwind and leave all your cares behind. It is a lovely spot on the shores of the river with a wonderful beach where you can spread a towel and listen to the waters running by. The Neuse River Trails offer easy hiking or biking along a paved trail and boardwalk.

Cedar Point Recreation Area is another must-see. Located on the White Oak River with salt marshes surrounding, you will find saltwater fishing and much more in this spot. This is a wetland famous for its beauty and quietude. The coastal forest invites you in for some great walking and hiking.

If you want a boat trip to outdo any other, try the Saltwater Adventure Trail where you can stop at a number of sights along the way. Even novices can enjoy this trip. A real adventure would be to explore the entire trail, but be prepared. It could take you up to seven days.

Brice’s Creek Trail is a part of the Saltwater Adventure Trail and is an additional treat to your water adventures. However, if you want to fish, Catfish Lake is the place to go. There is a boat ramp where you can launch a flat bottom boat. Catch some catfish or perch!

A North Carolina RV trip is well worth the time and energy, especially when you are going to visit Croatan National Forest. The coast will provide you with great weather for your spring adventure. You will discover a part of the country that is unique and beautiful. You will certainly want to return again for more fun.

Picture credits: The sign for the Croatan National Forest is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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