Ten Tips for Staying Alert on RV Road Trips

An RV road trip can be exciting, but it can also lead to disaster if we don’t take steps to stay alert while driving.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, an estimated eighty-three-thousand drowsy driving related crashes occurred in America between 2005 and 2009. In 2014 alone, eight hundred forty-six deaths were caused by drowsy driving!

RV travel can be a safe and enjoyable experience if we know how to stay alert while driving on RV road trips. Use these ten tips to keep your RV between the lines on your next journey.

1. Set a Realistic Schedule: You may be tempted to rush the long drive to arrive at your destination sooner. Setting a realistic schedule for your trip is the first step to staying alert while driving. A sixteen-hour drive may sound doable, but that’s two full work days’ worth of driving! If getting there quickly is a must, see below for ways to stay alert while keeping to your schedule.
2. Get Good Rest Before You Go: If you’re a last-minute packer, you’re probably loading the RV at midnight the night before you leave. It also means you’re missing sleep before driving long distances. Try to get to bed early and get a good night’s sleep so you’ll be alert and refreshed for your drive.
3. Admit Your Limits: This one’s related to tip number one, but it’s a little more personal. It may be hard to admit when you hit the wall of exhaustion, but throwing in the towel instead of ‘toughing it out’ could make the difference between a memorable journey and tragedy.
4. Know Your Warning Signs: Do you know the signs that you’re too tired to drive? For most people, it’s blinking or yawning excessively, having trouble focusing on traffic, an increasing temptation to close your eyes “just for a second” or beginning to swerve to the shoulder or outside your lane of traffic. By the time these signals appear, you may already be in danger of causing an accident.
5. Set a Schedule for Trading Drivers: If more than one person is a licensed driver with experience driving an RV, set a schedule for trading off driving duties. Every two to three hours is a good timeframe.
6. Take a Stretch Break: If you’re the sole driver, exercise executive privilege and take stretch breaks when you need them. You may get some grumbling about stopping too often, but your first responsibility is to get everyone to your destination safely. Roadside rest areas are ideal for getting out of the vehicle, taking in some fresh air and stretching those road-weary muscles. Take a quick inventory before you get back on the road; if you’re still too drowsy, it’s time to stop and rest.
7. Try Caffeine: Caffeine can increase alertness, so drinking coffee, tea or a caffeinated soda can help. Keep in mind that at some point you’ll feel the ‘caffeine crash’ when the effect drops off.
8. Exercise to Increase Alertness: If you’re in a place where it’s safe to move around outside your vehicle, try a few minutes of cardio—jogging in place, jumping jacks, anything to increase blood flow and break the monotony of sitting behind the wheel for hours.
9. Find a Safe Place to Take a Nap: If you’re far from your destination campground and can no longer drive safely, have someone use the All Stays app to find a Walmart or truck stop that allows you to park and sleep a few hours. It could be a life-saving decision.

Driving through Death Valley

Driving through Death Valley

10. Go to Plan B: There comes a time, thanks to weather delays, poor planning, road construction and other obstacles to reaching your destination, that it’s time to change your plans to fit reality. Going to Plan B might mean deciding you’ll slow down your pace and not spend as many days at your destination. It could mean finding a campground to spend the night instead of pushing through.

Maybe it means exploring attractions along the way and stretching out your trip to allow you to drive more rested. It might be disappointing, but deciding to flex your RV vacation rather than driving while exhausted is always the better plan.

RV travel to America’s beautiful places can provide some of life’s best moments. Keep your RV trips safe and sane by using these ten tips for staying alert on the road.

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5 Ways to Keep in Touch with Family & Friends on the Road

Traveling by RV can free us from our daily routines, but being cut off from family and friends doesn’t have to be part of the package. By using today’s technology and some old-school ways to interact, your RV camping trips can include the people most important in your life. Here are our five favorite ways to stay in touch while on the road. 

  1. Start a Travel Blog

Ever read a blog and wonder if you could write one, too? Millions of people share their thoughts, travels and just about anything else you can think of in a ‘weblog’ that others can access. It’s a great way to keep family and friends up-to-date on where you’re traveling and what’s happening along the way.

Setting up and updating a travel blog is simple, thanks to the step-by-step tutorials, photo and video uploading tools and packaged templates available through popular blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger. You’ll even be able to connect your personal travel blog to social media via simple tools. Unless you’re planning to use your blog to promote a business, the no-cost blog options are just fine.

Security tip: social media updates are a wonderful thing, but they can also announce you’re away from home to burglars. Share your blog’s link and travel posts with those you trust and consider sharing them with a wider audience only after you return home.

Social media ideas

Social media ideas

  1. Set Up Group Emails

Like to send occasional updates or important news while on the road, but hate writing the same email many times? Setting up a group of special contacts in your email software allows you to write one message and send it to many people at once. Use the help function to guide you through setting up a group, or ask your favorite tech expert to help before your leave on your trip. By the way, you have the same option for setting up texting groups in most cellphone texting applications.

  1. Go Old School—Write a Letter!

Admit it, you still love seeing a handwritten letter mixed in with that stack of bills. Sending letters while on vacation adds a personal touch and could start a trend among family and friends. Pack stationery and stamps and block out time on your trip to catch up on your correspondence (doesn’t that have a classy ring to it?) Creative tip: buy stamps that relate to your travels. There are ‘forever’ stamps commemorating states, historic sites and national parks, just to name a few ideas.

  1. Send Quick Notes on Postcards

Postcards are the old school equivalent of a text—a quick note meant to keep you connected with the reader. Postcards bought along the way as you travel by RV are a fun, colorful way to let friends and family back home know they’re in your thoughts. Leave a trail as you travel by mailing postcards from major stops, or amuse the folks back home by choosing post offices with memorable postmarks.

  1. Video Chat or Call

Making video calls used to be restricted to folks with specialized equipment, but that’s a thing of the past. Free applications like Skype or Facetime (iPhone users) allow RV travelers with webcams on their devices to both see and hear during calls. There are also apps like Facebook Messenger that allow video chats, and most major cellphone carriers have a setting for video calls that can be turned on and off on some models. Before you leave on your next camping trip, do some homework to determine what’s available for your cellphone, tablet or computer and whether the people you’d like to stay in touch with also need an account.

The road doesn’t have to be a lonely place. Stay connected as much as you’d like while RV camping by taking advantage of these five communication ideas.

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5 Mobile Apps for RV Travel

Mobile Apps for RV Camping

Mobile Apps for RV Camping

Your goal on an RV road trip may be to detach from technology, but be sure to take advantage of the ways it can make RV travel easier. Mobile apps you can download to your tablet or cellphone can be a real help while on the road. We’ve picked five mobile apps for RV travel that we think make planning and enjoying RV camping trips a breeze.

Allstays Camp and RV – $9.99 – Google Play Store and iTunes

The mobile app for this excellent camping tool has an amazing variety of information of use to RVers. From thousands of campground listings in the US and Canada to information on rest stops, where to buy RV supplies and locations that allow free overnight RV parking, Allstays helps keep you informed on the road. The map-based search feature allows you to filter by type of campground (COE, state parks, independent, etc.), as well as letting you search for RV dump stations, low-clearance warnings on your route, RV rental locations and dozens of other necessary aids to RV travel. Search results also drill down to details and contact information, directions, websites and web reviews.

Oh Ranger! – Free – Google Play Store and iTunes

Created by the American Park Network, this app contains searchable listings and details on American national parks and other public lands. You can search by activity, location or map. The database includes state parks and BLM lands, as well as national parks, historic sites and monuments. This app does contain ads, but the information provided is excellent.

PackPoint Travel Packing List – Free or $2.99 for premium app – Android and iOS

Always seem to be missing something when you get to the campground? This app begins by asking where you’ll be going and what you’ll be doing and for how long. With that information, plus your gender, it suggests a packing list you can add to or shorten. Items like cell phone chargers will make their way to your luggage and you’ll stop making emergency trips to Walmart at midnight! Premium version allows you to customize packing templates and integrate the lists with Evernote and TripIt.

RoadTrippers – Free – Android and iOS

Like to map your route before you go? This is the ultimate route mapping app, with details on restaurants, attractions, campgrounds and other helpful stops along the way. Save your trips for repeat RV camping journeys and expand your horizons by adding stops you decide to make along the way.

RV Checklist – Free – Android and iOS

Even veteran RV campers appreciate having a checklist to use before leaving home, while setting up camp and when it’s time to pack up. This app provides full-bodied checklists, from lowering the satellite antennae to making sure your pets are in your vehicle. You can also add new checklists, items or categories. Anyone can overlook a crucial detail, and having a checklist to use every time can make the difference between disaster and smooth traveling.

Today’s mobile technology has definite benefits for RV camping fans. Why not try these five mobile apps for RV travel and let us know in the comments how well they’ve worked for you?

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Chasing America’s National Pastime by RV

One of the best reasons we can think of to travel by RV this summer is to watch your favorite teams play baseball. We know our readers love their baseball almost as much as they enjoy RV camping. Some might even have gotten the jump on the regular season by traveling to Arizona or Florida for spring training.

America's Pastime - Baseball

America’s Pastime – Baseball

America’s national pastime inspires loyal fans to travel to stadiums across the country. We thought we’d offer even more inspiration to travel in search of baseball. Take a look at what this National Park Service blog post highlighting baseball’s history reveals.

Did you know, for example, that baseball greats like Stan Musial were known to visit fans at Alcatraz Prison? It’s true, and you can learn more with a trip to Alcatraz Island within Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Or that Hot Springs National Park was once the spring training destination for legendary players like Babe Ruth? Baseball has become so much a part of the American fabric that even our national parks get involved.

RV Travel to Watch Baseball is a Grand Slam

We know you’ll be spending lots of time at the stadium as you indulge the urge to travel with your favorite teams. But when it’s time to call it a night and refuel for the next day’s games, an RV can be your best home base. Being able to cook your own meals after a day buying pricey stadium food might make the difference between heading for home and staying to see one more game.

Relaxing at the campground, rehashing the day’s best plays, could be your kids’ favorite memories from this year’s RV road trip to watch baseball. Unwind in RV comfort, make healthy meals that keep your road trip budget on track and enjoy campground amenities that add an extra layer of fun to your journey. That’s the way to have a grand-slam baseball road trip!

Tools to Help Plan Your Baseball RV Road Trip

Ready to exercise your obsession with baseball by traveling by RV to games? Here’s a list of resources that can help streamline your baseball RV travel.

MLB.com – the official site of Major League Baseball. Start here for team schedules and stadium information.

NCAA.org – the place for all things collegiate baseball.

MiLB.com – for everything you need to know about minor league teams and schedules.

USABaseball.com – governing body for US amateur baseball, including US National Teams.

National Baseball Congress – home of the annual NBC World Series.

Baseball-RoadTrip.com – a handy tool for planning a road trip to watch multiple teams play.

BallParksofBaseball.com – for stadium info and suggested baseball road trip itineraries.

El Monte RV for RV rentals and baseball road trip planning assistance.

Bonus Tips for planning your RV Baseball Tour. (1) Check the stadium website for parking details before you go, especially if you plan to park the RV at the ballpark.      (2) Book your campsites early. Campgrounds near the stadium are likely to fill up on game day. (3) Plan to see some weekday, mid-day games if possible. You may score cheaper tickets than those for high-demand weekend or night games. (4) Find out whether tailgating is allowed at the stadium. If it is, arrive early and add a parking lot party to your game day fun.

We hope these tips and tools help you plan your best RV trip to watch baseball yet. It doesn’t matter whether you plan to follow the team to multiple states or travel to one location for a home-game series. Getting there by RV is a great way to enjoy the journey, relax in comfort at the end of an epic game and get back home without ruining your road trip budget. There’s a ballpark out there waiting to show you a good time!

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Summer in New England is Right Around the Corner

10 Maine destinations to explore by RV

Ocean to mountain, deep campsites to quaint villages. Traveling Maine by RV promises fascinating times. Summer RV camping season in New England is just around the corner.  Start planning!

Here are ten Maine destinations you’ll want to explore by RV, roughly north to south.

  1. Aroostook Valley Trail in far north Maine winds a path from New Sweden at the northern terminus to Presque Isle at the southern end. It’s a 28-mile long gravel, multiuse trail created from a former rail bed. Expect to find deep woods, riverside stretches and brushes with five towns. RV camping can be easily found near the Trail, from dry camping at Aroostook State Park to luxury resorts such as Arndt’s Aroostook River Lodge & Campground.
  1. Maine’s capital city of Augusta beckons history-loving RVers with an eighteenth century wooden fort, a spectacular State House, the impressive Maine State Museum and nearby Waterville Opera House.
  1. Explore the Kennebec-Chaudiere International Heritage Corridor for more than two hundred miles from Bath, Maine to Quebec for the RV adventure of a lifetime. Water trails on two rivers, fascinating small towns and lush North Maine landscapes are just the start of the journey.
  1. Swan Island, on the Kennebec River at Richmond, is a nature lover’s paradise. Bring your kayak and paddle the river, or enjoy miles of hiking trails through pristine forests and meadows in search of the island’s abundant wildlife. Don’t forget to book your ferry ride in advance! 
  1. Bridgton, in the Western Maine’s Lake Region, is popular with RV travelers for its vintage downtown shops, easy access to outdoor recreation and city-run Salmon Point Campground on Long Lake. Fish, paddle, hike or shop—you’ll find wonderful places to do it while camping in Bridgton.
  1. While camping in the Freeport/Durham area, consider a side trip to Bradbury Mountain State Park for a memorable mountain biking experience. Single and double track trails crisscross the mountain and the view is fine, too.
  1. The Desert of Maine in Freeport is where the kids will want to spend your Maine RV camping vacation. Located on the central coast, this forty-acre glacial desert within a forest features tram tours, hiking trails, historic buildings and an on-site RV campground.
  1. Reid State Park, on Georgetown Island, has the distinction of being one of the few places in Maine you’ll find stretches of sand beach and large sand dunes. Plan to camp on the island at Sagadahoc Bay Campground for oceanfront sites and lighthouse views.
  1. Casco Bay, by way of Portland, allows RV travelers to Maine to reach beyond the shore. Once you’ve settled in your campground in nearby Scarborough, Saco or Old Orchard Beach, make your way to Maine State Pier in Portland to go island hopping in the Bay, courtesy of Casco Bay Line ferry service. They also offer a variety of scenic bay cruises.
  1. Southern Maine Lighthouse Tour: Love lighthouses? As you leave the Portland area, you’ll enjoy views of no less than seven historic lighthouses by making stops from Cape Elizabeth to Kittery. Here’s your itinerary, driving south.

    Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, Maine

    Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, Maine

  • Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth features Portland Head Light (and museum), as well as views of the Ram Island Ledge Light from the park’s rocky beach.
  • Two Lights State Park, down the shoreline in Cape Elizabeth, offers views of privately owned Cape Elizabeth Light.
  • The Pier Road landing in Cape Porpoise is your next stop for views of the Goat Island Lighthouse.
  • Sohier Park in York is a delightful spot to stroll the shoreline and enjoy views of Nubble Light.
  • Fort Foster Park in Kittery is famous for views of both Whaleback Light and Portsmouth Harbor Light.

An RV camping trip to Maine can be a different adventure every time you visit. Pick your next itinerary and be sure to book an RV rental early. The Pine Tree State can’t wait to show you a good time.

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

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

Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument

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

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

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

Freedom Riders National Monument

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

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

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

Birmingham Area RV Camping

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

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

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Spring RV Travel in Search of Desert Wildflowers

North American desert landscapes will host lavish displays of color this spring, thanks to heavy winter rains. In parts of California, they’re actually calling 2017 the year of the ‘Super Bloom’.

It’s time to take the RV out of winter hibernation for a trip to the desert in search of wildflowers. We’ve got all the information you’ll need to hike, camp and thoroughly enjoy the desert’s flashiest season.  

RV Wildflower Viewing Trips

RV Wildflower Viewing Trips

RV Desert Wildflower Itineraries

According to DesertUSA.com, there are several desert locations in America where wildflowers are either blooming right now (last minute RV road trip, anyone?) or will be in full bloom in the next thirty days.

Some of the best places to enjoy desert wildflowers are on BLM preserves. This year has promised to bring such abundant color that the Bureau of Land Management has set up a special hashtag, #TracktheBloom, and is asking desert visitors to share their wildflower photos on social media sites such as the BLM California Facebook page.

That last-minute location we mentioned, where cacti and other desert plants are showing their best colors this month is Carrizo Plain National Monument in California’s Central Valley. Here’s what you need to know to plan your RV trip:

What’s Blooming? Plenty! Expect to see lupine, delphinium, goldfield, hillside daisies and poppies through April in the immense valley that’s home to Soda Lake.

How to Get There? Carrizo Plain NM can be reached via several major highways. From Van Nuys, drive north on I-5 (four-hour trip.) From Las Vegas, it’s nearly a straight shot west eight hours via I-15, same distance from Phoenix via I-10.

Where to Camp? There are two improved campgrounds within this two-hundred-thousand-acre preserve, if you’re up for primitive camping (vault toilets, no utilities). If you prefer developed campsites, there are dozens of RV campgrounds near Carrizo Plain NM in Bakersfield, Santa Margarita or San Luis Obispo.

Or, you could drive farther south to where Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is also in full bloom through late April.

What’s Blooming? Ocotillos, desert sunflowers, many kinds of blooming cacti and spectacular indigo bush are just a few of the species waiting to delight the eye.

How to Get There? The State Park is two hours northeast of San Diego on Montezuma Valley Road, about an hour-and-a-half southeast of Temecula or a six-hour drive west from Tucson, AZ via I-8.

Where to Camp? Lots of options, but be sure to call ahead, as wildflower season may fill campgrounds. Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Tamarisk Grove Campground, an hour south in Julian, CA are three campgrounds to consider for your RV trip to Anza-Borrego.

We’ll leave you with a trio of other RV road trip ideas to find desert wildflowers. Pick one that sounds fun and get packing!

Have a four-wheel drive towed vehicle? Bounce along the 25-mile Quebradas National Backcountry Byway in southern New Mexico. You’ll find beautiful blooming cacti and desert plants in a rugged, undeveloped setting. Take I-25 south from Albuquerque, follow the Byway signs from Escondida, NM to Escondido Lake and beyond. This is on BLM land, and you can find developed campgrounds nearby in Magdalena, NM.

Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada is another stunningly scenic landscape that’s especially nice when brittle bush and cactus species are abloom. Find it forty miles north of Las Vegas on I-15 (northern end of Lake Mead), with campsites both primitive and developed within the park, or Las Vegas campgrounds close enough to make it a day trip.

Poppies, lupine and globe mallows dominate the slopes of Picacho Peak State Park in southeast Arizona. Located midway between Phoenix and Tucson off I-10, this wildflower haven is easy to access and features hiking trails surrounding the peak that gives the park its name. There are eighty electric-only campsites within the Park (fill those water tanks before you arrive) as well as a private RV resort near the I-10 park entrance.

What better reason to travel by RV in spring than to seek the desert places abloom with wildflowers? Pick one or more of these amazing desert settings and bring your hiking shoes. You’re going to want to get close to nature when you see what she’s offering this spring!

Posted in Arizona RV Camping Vacation, California RV Camping Vacation, Nevada RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

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

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

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

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

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

What Will We See There?

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

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

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

Where Can We Camp?

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

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

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

Posted in Historical RV Vacation, New York RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

RV Camping to Special Events—Two Southern Festivals in May

What could be more fun than coming together for a weekend of good food, good music and outdoor festival camaraderie? RV camping at festivals adds an additional layer of enjoyment to multi-day festivities. Whether you’re camping right in the heart of festival action or at a comfortable campground nearby, the convenience and affordability of festival camping make it a favorite activity of RV travelers.

We’ve picked two special festivals for you to consider for this year’s camping itinerary—and both take place the first week in May! From smokin’ hot blues in Memphis to a luscious celebration of South Carolina strawberries, they’re both good reasons to reserve an RV rental and plan your own Southern festival weekend.

South Carolina Strawberry Festival, Fort Mill, South Carolina, May 5-6, 2017

If you love the experience of small-town festivals, where local elementary school choirs take the same stage as regional country-rock bands and well-known blues artists, you’ll want to turn your RV toward Fort Mill, SC this May.

Fort Mill, a four-hour drive from Roanoke, VA on US-220, and just across the state border from

South Carolina Strawberry Festival

South Carolina Strawberry Festival

Charlotte, NC, is home to the annual South Carolina Strawberry Festival that honors the sweet red fruit that comes ripe right as this festival begins.

There are festival-related events like a pageant and golf tournament the week prior to Festival Weekend, but the action really starts to get sweet on Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6, 2017.

Home-spun fun such as shortcake and hot wing eating contests and a ring-full of professional wrestlers raising funds to fight cancer will keep RVers plenty occupied. That’s even before we mention the musical talent that takes the Strawberry Jam Stage both Friday night and all day Saturday.

There’s even a Strawberry Pancake Breakfast Saturday morning at the local high school. And it’s all within easy reach, as most festival events take place in or near the town’s Walter Elisha Park.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? But you may be wondering where to camp close to the festival. You’ll find plenty of private campgrounds in the area. Here are just a few:

  • Camp Wilderness at Carowinds Amusement Park, fifteen minutes north of the Festival grounds. Why not plan to stay and play at Carowinds to round out your South Carolina family RV camping vacation?
  • Charlotte/Fort Mill KOA, just off I-77 and less than ten minutes from Walter Elisha Park, gets high marks from RV travelers.
  • Crown Cove RV Park on the North Carolina/South Carolina border, minutes from Fort Mill, is another highly-recommended campground close to the Festival.

Our next festival takes us to Memphis, home of blues, barbeque and sassy Southern hospitality.

Beale Street Musical Festival, Memphis, Tennessee, May 5-7, 2017

Each May, more than one hundred thousand music lovers congregate on the banks of the Mississippi at Tom Lee Park in Memphis to enjoy musicians as varied as Snoop Dogg to Drive-By Truckers. The 2017 Beale Street Music Festival will be held May 5-7 and promises to be one of the best reasons to travel to Memphis by RV this year.

Bring your blanket (no coolers, outside beverages or lawn chairs, please) and your love of good music to this three-day festival in a city world-renowned for its musical offerings. The eclectic mix of artists on four stages will ensure everyone in your camping crew has a stellar festival experience. And what could be more exciting than a festival with the South’s most iconic river as a backdrop? (By the way, you’ll need to buy your tickets now, as Tier I and II passes have already sold out!)

Where to camp close to the Beale Street Music Festival? Try these campgrounds for RV camping within thirty miles of the Festival:

  • Memphis Jellystone Park, Horn Lake, MS
  • Graceland RV Park & Campground on Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis
  • Memphis KOA, twenty minutes away, across the state line in Marion, Arkansas
  • Tom Sawyer RV Campground in West Memphis, Arkansas

Bonus Memphis RV camping idea: While RV camping in Memphis to attend the Beale Street Music Festival, while not schedule a longer stay to enjoy the other Memphis in May International Festival events? Kicking off with the Beale Street Music Festival the first weekend in May and stretching to the 901Fest in late May that celebrates all the 901 (Memphis) area code has to offer, this quartet of Memphis festivals in May will tempt RVers to linger longer.

It’s time to start planning your festival RV camping experiences! Use these ideas as a springboard to make your 2017 festival camping plans, and don’t forget—we’re here to help you have your best RV travel experience yet.

Posted in Festivals, South Carolina RV Camping Vacation, Virginia RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Finding America by RV—Connecticut River National Scenic Byway-Part I

Here’s some motivation to follow this week’s route by RV—the chance to visit three New England states while tracing the path of a wonderfully scenic waterway. The Connecticut River Byway charts a course from near the Canadian border, along the Vermont/New Hampshire line, all the way south into western Massachusetts. It’s just short of a five-hundred-mile journey altogether, but we’re going to break it down into two parts, to allow RV travelers time to savor the experience.

How Do We Get There?

The Byway’s northern terminus is just across the border from Quebec in West Stewartstown, New Hampshire. You’ll be following the Connecticut River from near its headwaters in the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Natural Area, all the way to the Byway’s southern-most point at South Hadley, Massachusetts. That’s the big picture, but remember, for this itinerary, we’re only taking in half the Byway.

The Byway invites RV travelers to find the treasures in villages, natural areas and historic sites throughout the region. We’re going to wind our way back and forth across the Connecticut River from Vermont to New Hampshire once we leave Massachusetts, but don’t worry, we won’t leave you stranded. You can get a complete picture of the route from bottom to top at the America’s Byways website.

What Will We See Along the Byway?

One of the reasons so many travelers follow the Connecticut River National Scenic Byway more than once is that there are hundreds of points of interest along the route. As we start our journey in South Hadley, MA, we find the first Byway signs at the intersection of MA-116 and MA-47. You’ll follow MA-47 north through the villages of Hadley, North Hadley and Sunderland, but let’s take a minute to talk about the sights you’ll see along the way.

South Hadley, a pre-Revolutionary War town, is home to Mount Holyoke College and invites you to wander its streets for memorable finds such as Village Commons, home to nationally-famous Odyssey Bookshop.

Skinner State Park, MA

Skinner State Park, MA

As you travel north on MA-47, be sure to stop at Skinner State Park south of Hadley, MA, where a one-and-a-half mile hike up Mount Holyoke will reward you with stellar views of the Connecticut River, as well as the chance to see historic Mount Holyoke Summit House (open for tours on weekends).

The rolling hills surrounding Hadley are home to farms owned by the same families for generations. During the summer, you’ll find the Byway dotted with abundant farm-to-table offerings from local fruit and vegetable stands, creameries and bakeries.

You’ll also find access points for launching canoes and kayaks all along the Massachusetts section of the Connecticut River. Use this handy interactive map to the Connecticut River Paddlers Trail to plan your water excursions.

Another excellent way to explore the state’s Connecticut River Valley is along hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails. These can lead to a multi-day New England adventure, or simply a pleasant day spent hiking or cycling through forests, hills and glorious river frontage. Besides the trailheads within the region’s many state parks and reservations, the Norwottuck Rail Trail is a popular path for cyclists and hikers to follow.

We’ll finish this leg of the Byway by following MA-63 north to the town of Northfield, on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire or Massachusetts/Vermont border, depending on which side of the river you’re driving, to Bellows Falls, VT.

Once you’ve crossed the state line, you can visit historic villages, nature preserves and historic sites in both Vermont and New Hampshire by crossing back and forth across the river. Some RVers may decide to stick to one state on the journey up to the Canadian border and follow the other route on their return trip south.

Or you could stop for a few days and explore the entire Connecticut River Byway between the Massachusetts border and Bellows Falls. From the fascinating walking tour through the Village of Bellows Falls, VT to the swimming beach on the south shore of Spofford Lake, there’s something for everyone in your crew to enjoy.

Where Can We Camp?

Private campgrounds create a cozy home on the road for RV campers who explore the Connecticut River National Scenic Byway. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Brattleboro North KOA-East Dummerston, VT
  • Kampfires Campground-Brattleboro, VT
  • Northampton/Springfield KOA-Westhampton, MA
  • White Birch Campground-South Deerfield, MA

While traveling the southern half of the Byway, choose one of these RV campgrounds as your home base and then journey to mill towns, nature preserves, historic town centers and mountaintop aeries to your heart’s content.

Next week, we’ll move up the Byway to explore the north woods and the wild beauty of the Connecticut River. In the meantime, start reserving your campsites and get in touch to plan your RV rental in Pennsylvania. You’re going to love this RV camping itinerary!

Photo attribution:  By User:Magicpiano (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Posted in Massachusetts RV Camping Vacation, New Hampshire RV Camping Vacation, State Parks, Vermont RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment