NASCAR RV Vacation in August: Don’t Miss the Action!

NASCAR begins August with a whirlwind of dirt as the Gander Outdoors Truck Series runs at the Eldora Speedway at Rossburg in rural Ohio August 1st; quickly followed by the Zippo 200 race on August 3rd at the Glen and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race, Go Bowling at the Glen on August 4th, both at Watkins Glen.

August 10th and 11th will find most NASCAR racers in Michigan at the Michigan International Speedway. The Gander Outdoors Truck series and Monster Energy will run in Michigan while NASCAR Xfinity Series Racers will go to the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course in Troy Township, near Lexington.

August 16-18th finds the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN. And for a great Labor Day weekend don’t miss Darlington Raceway’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 to wrap up the month from August 31st to September 2nd.

NASCAR RV Tailgating Party

NASCAR RV Tailgating Party

Here are the track details for each weekend:

July 31st – August 1stEldora Speedway: The action starts on July 31st with Super DIRTcar Big Blocks plus NASCAR practice and qualifying races. August 1st brings NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series plus the Big Block Invitational. Eldora offers plenty of camping space for race fans wishing to spend the weekend at the Speedway. Camping lot availability and pricing varies by event. Check their website.

August 3-4thWatkins Glen International Raceway:
Travel to see the Watkins Glen 355 at the “Glen,” a road course race at the Watkins Glen International Raceway. Don’t miss the NASCAR Xfinity Series Zippo 200 race on August 3rd followed by the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race, “Go Bowling at the Glen” on August 4th. Check their website for camping availability and a full schedule of events.

August 9th-11th Michigan International Speedway: The weekend opens with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, featuring NASCAR’s top drivers setting up their cars for Sunday’s race. Saturday, the Corrigan Oil 200 features the hard-charging drivers of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series as they battle for the chance to go to victory lane in this race. The Truck Series drivers put on a great show in this 100-lap event. The race is exciting and the finishes are always close. Stick around after the race for the free post-race concert! Sunday, August 11th features Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars who always end the Michigan Speedway season with an exciting finale, featuring many lead changes and exciting finishes!

August 9th-10thMid-Ohio Sportscar Course: NASCAR Xfinity Series Racers will go to Lexington, OH for the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course on August 9th-10th for an exhilarating experience at the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Mid-Ohio. Go to the fan guide on their website for full information about camping at this beautiful locale.

August 15th-18th Bristol Motor Speedway: From August 15th to the 18th, NASCAR action fills Bristol with non-stop action. The highlight of the weekend is the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race on August 17th, a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. But before and after that, consider this normally quiet spot in Tennessee for a great getaway weekend. See their website for all the details, camping options, and schedules.

August 31st – September 2nd, Darlington Raceway hosts the NASCAR Xfinity Series Help a Hero 200 event, followed by the Bojangles’ Southern 500 Race, part of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Don’t miss all the action in South Carolina as such notables as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and others race to the finish line! Check out Darlington Raceway Camping Options and be sure to reserve your spot early as these spaces will sell out fast.

Need to Rent an RV?

You can rent an RV from El Monte RV from one of our El Monte RV rentals locations to get to any of these tracks. Find all our RV Rental Locations there. See availability and rental rates for the location nearest your RV NASCAR adventure.

Camping at NASCAR Tracks:

Visit Monty’s Musings blog topic – NASCAR RV Camping – The Ultimate Racing Experience. Learn the top ten things you need to know before you go. No matter where you start your RV Vacation, you are sure to enjoy the roar of the engines and cheers of the crowds at NASCAR racing.

Posted in Michigan RV Camping Vacation, NASCAR RV Vacation, New York RV Camping Vacation, Ohio RV Camping Vacation, Tennessee RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

June NHRA Racing Action Continues to Burn Rubber

What could be more fun than driving to an NHRA race in an RV? Camping out in one for the entire race! This June, NHRA will travel to Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka from June 7th-9th, Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol Dragway in Tennessee, June 14th – 16th, followed by Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, OH at Summit Motorsports Park the next weekend. Don’t miss the action of RV camping and watching the drag racing at one of these exciting spots!

NHRA excitement

NHRA excitement

First, June 7th to 9thMenards NHRA Heartland Nationals, Topeka, Kansas – Heartland Motorsports Park: Heartland Motorsports Park has been a Midwest favorite since it opened in 1989, but its drag strip has gained the majority of headlines. This event, originally held in the fall, featured numerous recordsetting performances, including the shattering of the quarter-mile four-second and 300-mph barriers in Funny Car in 1993 and record runs in Funny Car in 2017.

Check out the schedule for this fired up weekend of drag racing at the Heartland Motorsports Park page.

Camping for Heartland Nationals: There are many options for camping near Heartland Motorsports Park. You could check out Forbes Landing RV Park, Topeka/Capital City KOA Journey, or Lake Shawnee Campground, just to name the closest ones. Find one that will fit your family best.

Then, from June 14th – 16th, Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tennessee will be packed with action for the entire weekend. Check the link above for the full schedule of activities and events leading up to the Nitro Eliminations finals on Sunday at 4:40 pm. Don’t miss the Top Fuel Harley Eliminations Finals before that and the Mountain Motor Pro- Stock Finals and Pro Mod Eliminations Finals, all from 3:45 pm on. These races are fast! Get there early and enjoy the whole weekend of non-stop action if you can.

Camping for Thunder Valley Nationals: The Bristol Motor Speedway is adjacent to the Bristol Dragway. There are many places to stay nearby and if the Speedway is filled up, check out “Start Your Engines” Campground super close by or the Dave and Kaye’s Family Campground, just about 10 minutes south of the Dragway. There are plenty of options near Bristol, Tennessee if these are filled.

The weekend of June 21st – 23rd takes the NHRA action to the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, OH. This weekend will again be jammed full of non-stop, heart-racing action complete with Mello Yello guided walking tour and Pro-Stock Motorcycle autograph sessions, which are followed on Friday afternoon by the Pro-Stock and Nitro qualifying sessions. The qualifying and preliminary races continue on Saturday while Sunday is packed with Semi-Finals and Final races in several categories, including the top alcohol eliminations finals, factory stock showdown finals, pro-mod eliminations finals and finally pro-stock and nitro eliminations finals at 4:00 pm.

For the full schedule of all the Summit Motorsports Park action, check out the link.

Camping for NHRA Nationals in Norwalk: Lots of campgrounds surround the Summit Motorsports Park, from Indian Trail Campground to Homerville or Shelby/Mansfield KOA if the Summit Motorsports Park is already full. Check with them early to try to book your spot if you want to camp in the middle of the drag racing action! If they are full, Camp Conley in Collins, OH is also highly rated.

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 and check with the nearest one for available rentals.   And be sure to check out our NHRA RV Rentals page for more suggestions and information about the NHRA and NHRA vacations.

Posted in Kansas RV Camping Vacation, NHRA Races RV Vacation, Ohio RV Camping Vacation, Tennessee RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Fall Foliage RV Road Trips to Remember

The fall foliage forecasts for many US regions are calling for early, but spectacular, autumn color. Before you plan your autumn RV road trip, use these tips to find the most colorful displays of the season.   

Fall Foliage Viewing RV Trips

Fall Foliage Viewing RV Trips

What looks good for 2017?

We’re glad you asked, because this year, the shrubs and trees across America are slated to outdo themselves. Here are our top suggestions for 2017 RV road trips to find fall foliage.

  • Drive along Grand Traverse Bay in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula from Charlevoix to Northport via US-31. It’s less than one hundred miles total, but you’re going to want to explore the side roads and fishing villages, as well as historic sites, lighthouses and wineries around Traverse City. Orange and yellow blazes of color will delight the eye as oaks and maples turn through October. Here’s a list of Michigan RV campgrounds to help you start planning.
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio boasts thirty-thousand-plus acres of hiking trails and scenic drives custom-made for leaf peeping. Follow SR-303 across the park for especially lush fall color. There’s no RV camping within the park, but the National Park Service has created this helpful list of RV campgrounds near Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
  • Driving the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway in Northern New Mexico is a magical way to spend an autumn weekend. A little less than ninety miles full circle, this route promises breathtaking autumn color late September to mid-October. You’ll circumnavigate Wheeler Peak from Taos north to Questa, then around the mountain down to Angel Fire. Plenty of wildlife, mountain passes and fall foliage combine for a drive you won’t soon forget.
  • Take a road trip to Quechee State Park, a few minutes west of I-89 at Hartford, Vermont, for outstanding leaf peeping opportunities. Quechee Gorge overflows with fall color, as well as views of the Outtauquechee River fall below. Park campgrounds are open through mid-October, allowing you to stay several days to explore the hiking trails.
  • If you happen to be in California’s Eastern Sierra this autumn, be sure to visit sites around Bishop, California to spy the luscious golds of aspens and cottonwoods against a backdrop of rugged mountains.  Owens Valley and the Lake Sabrina/Bishop Creek Canyon area, in particular, deliver autumn views worth slowing down to savor. Creekside RV Park west of Bishop is open through mid-October.

Where can I find more information on fall foliage?

There’s a wealth of information online to steer road trippers to the best fall color. One source often used by fall RV travelers is the Weather Channel’s annual fall foliage map. This map set reveals the forecasted peak of color for each region. There’s also a feature for uploading your own autumn foliage photos.

Be sure to visit local tourism offices or websites, as well, to learn where folks are seeing the best fall color. And don’t forget, this blog – Monty’s Musings – is searchable, so be sure to read through past blog posts on ‘leaf peeping’ and ‘fall foliage’ for more ideas.

It’s high time you hit the road for your own leaf peeping tour. You’ll enjoy cool weather camping and beautiful scenery on the same RV road trip. Who could turn down a chance to do that? We ramp up the enticement another notch with our Autumn RV Rental Special. Where will you go this year in search of fall foliage?

Posted in California RV Camping Vacation, Fall Foliage, Michigan RV Camping Vacation, New Mexico RV Camping Vacation, Ohio RV Camping Vacation, Vermont RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Motorhome Safari to Ohio’s Award Winning Zoos

Did you know that three of the top-ranked zoos in America are waiting for your family in Ohio? We’ve mapped an epic five hundred mile motorhome safari to discover the zoos in Toledo, Cincinnati and Columbus. To add even more adventure to your RV excursion, we’ve thrown in a bonus stop for the kids on the trip home.

In need of an RV rental? Start your journey in Louisville, KY, just an hour and a half south of Cincinnati. If you’re good to go, pick up the safari at the Cincinnati Zoo, FamilyFun Magazine’s 2015 top pick for animal attractions. From mysterious Wolf Woods to the spectacular polar bear habitat, your family will be thrilled, educated and thoroughly entertained on this leg of your zoological safari. Family Fun Tip: Save time to take in a show at the zoo’s 4-D theater, where 3-D movies mixed with sensory surprises are sure to capture everyone’s imagination.

Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

The next stop on our motorhome safari to discover Ohio’s zoos is a couple of hours north up I-71 in Columbus. The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is located in the city’s northern suburb of Powell, OH and features one of the most diverse animal populations in America!   Under the guidance of Jack Hanna, frequent guest of David Letterman, the Columbus Zoo has become famous for its natural habitats, abundant animal species and involvement in global conservation projects. Family Fun Tip: Plan to visit the adjoining Zoombezi Bay Water Park to help support the zoo while having a splashing good time.

Let’s take a second to remind ourselves why we travel by RV on trips like these. Three reasons come to mind:

  • The comfort of today’s luxurious motorhomes keep everyone happy on the road,
  • The convenience of cooking meals in your RV kitchen keeps the trip healthy and most of all,
  • Your vacation dollars are saved for family adventures rather than hotel charges and restaurant meals when you own or rent an RV.

Now back to our trip! Our final stop to find zoological wonders is Toledo, Ohio, two hours north of Columbus via US-23 and I-75. When you enter the gates of the century-old Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, you’ll know you’re a part of something special. Many of the main buildings were built during the Depression by the WPA and there’s a sense of history as well as adventure here. With thousands of animals waiting to amaze and educate your family, don’t be surprised if you spend the entire day at the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium! Family Fun Tip: Book a behind-the-scenes tour before your come, and challenge the kids to locate as many of the zoo’s historic animal sculptures as possible while on your visit.

And speaking of the kids, we promised them a bonus stop if you’re completing the loop back south. The town of Mason, OH, between Dayton and Cincinnati on I-75, is home to King’s Island and Soak City, the largest amusement park/waterpark complex in the Midwest. This gigantic destination promises a day or more filled with thrill rides (think 80mph roller coaster!), enormous water slides and fun for the little ones at Planet Snoopy. You’ll go home a hero if you make this stop part of your RV safari itinerary!

And there you have it—a five hundred mile safari to world-class zoos and family fun in Ohio. Thanks to the abundance of Ohio RV campgrounds, booking great places to camp is a breeze for families on safari. Strike out on a journey through Ohio this camping season to discover vacation surprises the kids will talk about for years.

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An Exciting RV Adventure in Canton/Stark County!

Make time in your RV camping schedule this year to visit a place where history and nature combine in the perfect RV camping destination. The Canton/Stark County region of Ohio is lushly scenic, blessed with plenty of outdoor recreation spots and towns rich with history. Whether you set up camp in one spot and make side trips of interest to your family or move from town to town on your trip, you’re going to have a great time while you’re here.

The town of Hartville, OH is one such memorable side trip, thanks to intriguing shopping and dining venues and an enormous indoor/outdoor flea market open year-round. Hartville Kitchen, Collectibles, Tools, Gift Shop, Hardware and Marketplace, all owned by the industrious Miller family, offer visitors excellent shopping and dining experiences.

You’ll find the same level of excellence at other shops and restaurants throughout Hartville. Make your stay even more enjoyable by reserving a campsite at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Campground, a wonderfully entertaining RV campground complete with a waterpark and miniature golf complex four miles away in Uniontown.

Speaking of amazing RV campgrounds, the Canton/Stark County area has them in abundance. Clay’s Park Resort in North Lawrence, Ohio offers so much to do on-site you may be hard-pressed to get the kids to leave the campground. Imagine a beautiful tree lined campground featuring a swimming lake, kayak rentals, water slides, indoor heated pool, skate park and hiking trails. It’s a vacation in itself!

But once you’ve persuaded the family to leave the campground, it’s a short drive to an historic gem of a town called Canal Fulton. Located on the Ohio & Erie Canal, Canal Fulton offers a lesson in history for RV camping families. Visit the town’s dozens of vintage structures, take a ride on a canal boat and put some time in on your bikes along the Ohio & Erie Towpath.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Canton itself. Beloved by sports fans as home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton offers a wide selection of attractions. One often recommended by RV travelers is a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Pack the cameras; the train tour through Cuyahoga Valley National Park is breathtaking!

If you have a golfer or two in your RV, they’re going to fall in love with the Canton region. Area courses such as Edgewood Golf Club will add a layer of outdoor enjoyment to your camping trip; in fact, there are almost two dozen golf courses throughout Canton-Stark County!

Before we finish our RV camping itinerary of Ohio’s Canton-Stark County region, let’s talk about Ohio’s Amish Country. The strong Mennonite and Amish influence is evident everywhere, especially at beloved places like the Amish Door Village in Wilmot. Enjoy a scrumptious meal, shop the gift shop and stay for a concert. It’s a wonderful way to familiarize yourself with regional cuisine and the Amish way of life.

Help your family enjoy life at a little slower pace this vacation. Come to Ohio’s Canton-Stark County area; it’s an RV camping vacation you’ll cherish long after you’ve gone home.

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Undiscovered Travels in Ohio

Devil's Bathtub in Hocking Hills State Park

Devil’s Bathtub in Hocking Hills State Park

While exploring new-to-them spaces in the Buckeye State, many explorers prefer the comfort and convenience of RV camping. Park your motorhome at one of Ohio’s beautiful campsites and spend your vacation delving into the places you’ve longed to see. What you’ll discover is that this state calls travelers back time and again to learn new secrets in the great outdoors.

To help you plan your Ohio RV journey of discovery, here are some clues to where you’ll find the natural wonders not everyone stops to appreciate. Consider Tar Hollow State Park and State Forest, less than two hours south of Columbus. Some of the state’s longest hiking trails, through steep, rocky ravines and lush hardwood forests, can be found at Tar Hallow. Take advantage of shady RV campsites, and then lace up your serious hiking shoes and keep your eyes open. You’ll discover the quiet places where skinks and salamanders skitter across the forest floor and rocky streams bubble through simply spectacular vistas.

The Hocking Hills area of Southern Ohio is fantastically scenic, as well, and each RV camping trip you make there will reveal new surprises. Hocking Hills State Park is a popular destination in warm weather, but you won’t want to miss the sights that unfold along the park’s trails. Dramatic gorges, rocky cliffs and dense forests give the sense you’ve stepped back to an unspoiled time.

If the thought of tree-lined campgrounds near quiet mountain lakes makes you hop up and pack your camping gear, Ohio also has plenty to offer. One fine example is Lake Hope State Park, also in the hills of Southern Ohio. Water-loving campers will be pleased to know you can rent paddle-propelled watercraft at the boathouse. RVers who hope to fish while on vacation will find the shady coves of this small lake a nice day’s challenge, too.

Every time you go RV camping in Ohio’s outdoor spaces, you can peel back another layer of mystery and find the places that soothe your soul. Whether you’re hiking the shoreline of Lake Erie, catching the wind in your sails on Buckeye Lake or photographing grey fox in Wayne National Forest, Ohio outdoors is never the same twice.

Ready to plan your trip? The Ohio Department of Natural Resources website has information on finding a state park campground and reserving your spot.

Take the time to get to know what lies just beyond the tree line and just inside that next rock-strewn ravine in Ohio. Those undiscovered travels in Ohio are likely to become your treasured vacation memories.

Picture credits: The picture of the Devil’s Bathtub is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

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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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Take an RV Vacation to Beautiful Hocking Hills, Ohio

Conkles Hollow

Conkles Hollow

Attractions and events in Ohio bring many to these lovely landscapes. And for sure, Hocking Hills, Ohio is the perfect place for a scenic RV journey. Outdoor recreation is a favorite of residents and visitors alike, with many State Parks, lakes and forests nearby. Outdoor events offer a diverse choice that will match your interests. You can’t beat an RV vacation in Hocking Hills.

RV travel is such a wonderful way to see the country. Hocking Hills KOA RV camping is just a hop, skip and a jump away from all the places you will be visiting. Happy Hills Family Campground is another great place to make your home base for your Hocking Hills adventures. Relax after a long day of exploration in your very own home away from home.

Once you get settled in, you can enjoy a ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway to view a number of sights. You will see a pioneer village at Robbins Crossing which gives you a taste of what it was like here in early days. Make your way to Hocking State Forest and you will be in close proximity to plenty of outdoor fun.

Right next door to the State Forest is the lovely Hocking Hills State Park. Be sure to get a fishing license because you’ll want to throw in a line at least once into Rose Lake. Picnic here in one of the five picnic areas. While here be sure to visit Old Man’s Cave where hiking is perfect. Part of the famous Ohio Buckeye Trail offers a wonderful trek for those up to it. This cave has quite a history connected to it. It was the home for Richard Rowe, a hermit who fell in love with the area and decided to live his life out in this very spot. He is buried right below the ledge to the main recess of the cave.

Ash Cave is another spectacular spot to explore. This is the largest cave in the state, reached by hiking through a narrow gorge lined with gorgeous trees and wildflowers. At Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve you will be witness to a number of cascading waterfalls, with more trails to explore and wildlife to enjoy.

Travel to the northern part of Hocking Hills to discover Cantwell Cliffs. This is a wonderful spot to get in more hiking and sightseeing. You can follow the valley floor trail or hike along the rim for incredible views. At lookout point, you can rest and just savor the breathtaking panoramas.

A recreational paradise, Lake Logan State Park is definitely a must to put on your Hocking Hills itinerary. Lake Logan is really the spot for fishermen to make a trophy catch. You will find bluegill, northern pike, catfish, bass, crappie and more in its waters. Take the paths through the woods and savor the fresh air and quiet peacefulness. Wildlife here is abundant and you may spot wild turkey, white-tailed deer, skunk, opossum, and box turtles crawling slowly over the paths. Love birding? Get your binoculars and view a pileated woodpecker, tufted titmouse or a beautiful scarlet tanager.

Further to the East you will find Zaleski State Forest which is the second-largest state forest in the state. This is the place to go when you are a backpacker. The Backpack Trail gives you some scenic wonders of this beautiful forested area. Take a day hike on the ten-mile loop trail or use the main trail for a 23.5-mile loop. If you bring a horse along, you will find a horse camp and a whole network of bridle trails.

Experience the beauty of Lake Hope State Park which is within Zaleski State Forest. Nature lovers come here to enjoy the solitude and quiet. Hikers love to explore the trails, and photographers get some truly marvelous shots. You will see gorgeous wildflowers such as yellow lady’s slipper, blue-eyed Mary and wild geranium. Explore and come upon a beaver dam. You may even catch a glimpse of the occupants.

If you need a refreshing dip in the heat of summer, you can also go swimming in Lake Hope State Park. There are fifteen miles of hiking trails to keep you out and about in the forest landscapes, too. Be sure to enjoy yourself to the max before heading home. Hocking Hills has so much to offer and you don’t want to miss out on one bit of it! An RV vacation is the ideal way to experience the beauty of this Ohio countryside. With plenty of places to camp and the convenience of a great place to spend your evenings, RV travel just can’t be beat, particularly in Hocking Hills, Ohio.

Picture credits: The picture of Conkles Hollow is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Posted in Ohio RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Tagged | 1 Comment

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.

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RV Camping in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Travel by RV this year to Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio for a chance to experience exhilarating natural beauty. That experience can take many shapes – biking on the well-planned trails, hiking the hills and forests of the Cuyahoga River Valley or taking a train ride through the Valley, learning about the area from many perspectives. Those are only three of the reasons RV campers are drawn to this National Park. Create your own experience in Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park with the help of these travel tips.

RV Camping in the Cuyahoga Valley
Camping near Cuyahoga Valley National Park is simple, thanks to the abundance of State Park and private campgrounds (PDF format) nearby. More than a dozen RV campgrounds in scenic towns such as Stow, Ravenna and Streetsboro offer the chance to camp near picturesque forests and lakes.

Only twenty-two miles from Cleveland and less than twenty minutes from Akron, you’ll find the Park easy to reach by RV. It is accessible from the east or west on the Ohio Turnpike and on Hwy 77 from Akron. Plan your route with plenty of time to enjoy the splendid green spaces of northern Ohio. If you’re new to the area, you may also want to stretch your trip to include a visit to Lake Erie, just north of the National Park.

Attractions at Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Once at the National Park itself, there’s so much to explore you may wish you’d planned a longer vacation. Here are some perennial favorites for Cuyahoga Valley National Park visitors:

  • Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers a wide variety of excursions up and down the Valley. Take advantage of the state-of-the-art audio tours that accompany your trip and enrich the experience with stories triggered by GPS technology.
  • The Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail leads bicyclists and hikers along twenty miles of this historic canal within the National Park’s boundaries, or you can use the Park as a starting point to travel the entire Trail.
  • Horseback Riding Trails throughout the National Park offer equestrian RV campers the chance to see the Cuyahoga River Valley from a unique vantage point. Eight trails are currently open for your riding enjoyment; check the NPS website for more information on parking, trails and special events.
  • Cultural Events are planned and held each year by the NPS in conjunction with local arts organizations. Be sure to check the Park’s NPS website for more information so you don’t miss concerts, art shows and dances scheduled during your visit.

In addition to these major attractions at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, there are dozens of ways to enjoy the beauty and history of the area. Hold a family meeting or gather those traveling with you to Ohio and decide which ways you’d like to explore the area. Use the National Park’s website to find maps, brochures and suggestions for vacation activities. All that’s left is to pick your dates, pack your suitcases and set your RV on a course for a memorable Cuyahoga River Valley vacation.

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