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

Finding America by RV—Michigan’s Copper Country Trail

Hoping to find an RV camping destination where you can learn about America’s past along an epically beautiful lakeshore? Why not venture north to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and learn how copper mining shaped the region along the Copper Country Trail? It’s one of America’s National Scenic Byways, and a route where fascinating history, splendid landscapes and excellent campgrounds come together for a trip you’ll long remember.

How Do We Get There?

To give you the overall picture of Michigan’s Copper Country, let’s start by saying that it lies in the Keweenaw Peninsula, that finger of land jutting into Lake Superior at the top of the Upper Peninsula.

The Copper Country Trail is a 47-mile section of US-41 that runs from Houghton, Michigan to Superior’s shores at Copper Harbor. The Keweenaw is about eight hours north of Chicago on I-90.

It may seem like forty-one miles of byway isn’t worthy of an RV camping vacation, but once you’ve discovered the beauty and historic significance of the Keweenaw Peninsula, you’ll find yourself wishing for more vacation time.

What Can We See and Do Along the Byway?

Let’s cover a little history before we highlight the wonders of the Copper Country Trail. From 1841 to the Great Depression, copper mining was the main economic force of the region, with a high percentage of America’s copper output being mined there.

Immigrants from many countries arrived to mine copper ore, run the businesses that supported the mining industry and share in the economic upswing. As with other industries at the time, however, the 1930s brought the collapse of copper mining and the closure of the last mine.

But that’s not to say that you won’t find plenty of evidence of this region’s copper-laden history as you travel the Copper Country Trail.  We start our journey in the city of Houghton, MI, the perfect access point to the Keweenaw Water Trail. This series of lakes, rivers and canals cuts across the peninsula to connect to Lake Superior at both ends. It was an important addition to the region’s ability to ship copper to other parts of the country, and is now a nationally-recognized water trail for kayak and canoe paddlers. There are lighthouses at both ends of the water trail, as well as developed and primitive campgrounds and access to inland trails along the way.

Travel north from Houghton along the Copper Country Trail (US-41) to find Keweenaw National Historical Park, an expansive collection of museums, mining-related buildings, historic mining towns and visitor centers that tell the tale of the peninsula’s past.

Quincy copper mine

Quincy copper mine

At the southern end of the collection is the Quincy Unit, where you can tour Quincy Mine on a cog rail tram and walk the historic village streets to explore a blacksmith shop, a mine office and other structures.

Farther north along the Byway, you’ll arrive at Calumet, MI, where the Calumet & Hecla Copper Mining Company brought unrivaled prosperity. Many of the historic structures built during the copper mining boom remain and can be located on the self-guided Calumet walking tour.

One more stop, just twenty miles north at the Delaware Mining Company, will complete your education on the valuable mineral that changed this peninsula forever. This mine, also part of the Keweenaw National Historical Park collection, allows self-guided walking tours suitable for families (and pets!)

Visiting these villages and mines will certainly give you a better understanding of the Keweenaw’s past, but the present-day beauty of the area will also capture your imagination. All along the National Scenic Byway, you’ll find mountain lakes and lush, tree-studded hillsides sweeping upward to tempt your eye.

When you reach road’s-end at Copper Harbor, there’s still more to discover. A visit to Fort Wilkins Historic State Park offers a restored 1840s military outpost, a developed campground and the chance to tour Copper Harbor Lighthouse. 

For RV travelers who enjoy a good hike, the Copper Harbor area is an outdoor wonderland! Just a couple of suggestions to get you started: for a short walk in the woods, consider the 1-mile Cathedral Grove Trail through the oldest white pines in Michigan at Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary. To fully appreciate the rocky Superior shoreline and the coastal forests that surround it, hike the trails at Keweenaw Shore Nature Sanctuary just east of Brockway Mountain.

And speaking of that high point along the Superior shoreline, be sure to treat your fellow campers to nine miles of breathtaking scenery along Brockway Mountain Drive from Copper Harbor east to Eagle Harbor. The entire drive is awe-inspiring, and a stop at the top promises full-circle views of Lake Superior.

Where Can We Camp Along the Way?

Besides Fort Wilkins State Park campground at the northern end of the Copper Country Trail, the peninsula offers many camping possibilities, from private lakeside resorts to basic state park campsites. 

The City of Houghton RV Park along the Keweenaw Water Trail accepts self-contained RVs, with quick access to downtown Houghton, the Water Trail and an adjacent city park.

The Village of Lake Linden Campground, north of Houghton and just east of US-41 on Torch Lake, is also adjacent to a village park, within cycling or walking distance to shops and eateries.

McLain State Park, west of Calumet, is right on Lake Superior, with a modern campground, hiking trails and a sand beach.

One more tip for RV camping along the Copper Country Trail—Lake Fanny Hooe Resort in Copper Harbor is a popular place to stay while enjoying the sights at the trail’s northern tip.

For camera-grabbing views, interesting historic sites and friendly, scenic campgrounds, Michigan’s uppermost peninsula takes top honors. Be sure to send us your favorite memories as you travel by RV along the Copper Country Trail.

Photo Credit: NPS.gov, Keweenaw NHP Archives, Koepel–8×10–B.F. Childs–Quincy
Posted in Michigan RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

Camping and Fishing at Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Imagine a place where you can enjoy RV camping, desert mountain views and first-rate fishing year-round. You’ve just caught the vision for Arizona’s Dead Horse Ranch State Park. This pleasant place in the Verde Valley draws RV campers in search of mild winter temperatures and exceptional places to play outdoors.

What You Need to Know Before You Go

Dead Horse Ranch SP is situated about an hour north of Phoenix in Cottonwood, AZ. If you’re renting an RV for the trip, fly into Phoenix for the ultimate in convenience. Once you’ve reached the state park, you’ll find three loops with a total of nearly one hundred developed campsites, all reasonably close to the water.

The park’s modern facilities make camping here easy. From hot water showers to friendly staff and easy access to trails and boat ramps, the campgrounds get high marks with veteran state park campers. Make reservations before you come; it’s a popular place!

It’s also a beautiful place, surrounded by desert mountain plant and animal life in abundance. At thirty-three-hundred feet elevation, you can expect to enjoy much milder temperatures than you’d find further south in the state. It can be as warm as the 60s in winter, coming down into the thirties at night. For a brief spell in summer you might encounter temps above one hundred, but the mercury’s normally lower most of the time.

Fishing at Dead Horse Ranch State Park

If fishing is your favorite part of an RV camping vacation, you’ll love the challenge waiting at Dead Horse Ranch SP. The free-flowing Verde River and the park’s three lagoons offer top fly fishing opportunities, with rainbow trout stocked often.

Fishing for catfish, also part of the stocking schedule, is popular in the lagoons. Nice-sized largemouth bass are pulled frequently from the lagoons, too, so bring along your favorite rigs if you’re a bass angler. The hiking paths around the lagoons add to the ease of access, just one more plus at this well-maintained park.

Here’s a link to more information about fishing at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

Of course, you’ll want to purchase an Arizona fishing license before you put your lines in the water. One more tip: if you enjoy paddling your kayak to find the best fishing, these waterways where only non-motorized watercraft are allowed are the perfect place to indulge.

Take Time to Explore the Verde Valley

Camping by RV at Dead Horse Ranch SP keeps you centrally located for all Verde Valley adventures, whether that includes fishing, hiking, visiting the galleries and shops in Cottonwood or exploring the area’s many historical attractions.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Take a day off from fishing to visit legendary Sedona, just up the road. A twenty-minute drive will take you to Jerome State Historic Park, where the area’s copper mining history is on display for your discovery. And that’s just the beginning. The natural, cultural and historical treasures of the Verde Valley are well worth slowing down and getting to know.

Finding a state park where RV travelers are welcomed with open arms is always a pleasure. When you find that perfect spot also welcomes avid anglers, it’s a place to add to your annual camping schedule. Bottom line…when traveling through Arizona by RV, don’t miss the chance to enjoy Dead Horse Ranch State Park, where mountains, desert and fine fishing waters come together beautifully.

Photo attribution:  I, Murderbike [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Posted in Arizona RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

RV Camping on Georgia Grown Trail 301

Are you the kind of RV traveler who enjoys stopping along the way to visit farmers markets, fruit stands and other local agribusiness attractions? If you are, Georgia Grown Trail 301, a 150-mile journey to discover Georgia’s farming heritage, is a trip you’ll want to make soon.

An added bonus on this scenic route is that you’ll discover historic sites you might not find in the guide books, places that speak of local color and flavor and Georgia’s Civil War history. Interested? Then follow along as we make a quick trip along the highlights of Georgia Grown Trail 301.

You can start your journey in the town of Sylvania, GA, in the state’s Magnolia Midlands region.  A stop at the Georgia Visitors Center on Highway 301, your route for the entire journey, will supply more information about battlefields, historic structures and the farms and vineyards that bring thousands of agritourists to Screven County each year. Save time to stroll through downtown Sylvania to absorb the town’s serene beauty.

As you make your way south along the Georgia Grown Trail 301 toward Statesboro, you’ll notice vineyards and farms in abundance, so slow down and enjoy local farm stands and gorgeous scenery. If you like planning your campsites in advance, check the campgrounds in Brunswick, a coastal gem just east of your route, as well Magnolia Springs State Park west of Sylvania and private RV resorts in towns like Guyton and Folkston.

While enjoying the college town energy of Statesboro, be sure to save time for a side trip to Hunter Cattle Company, twenty minutes east near the town of Brooklet. You’ll find a vibrant family farm dedicated to sustainable, pastured beef, pork and poultry, with a farm store, tours and plenty of Southern charm.

Another Georgia Grown Statesboro favorite is Braswell Food Company, where nationally-famous preserves and condiments have been made and sold since the 1940s. The factory store is open Monday through Friday, so don’t miss the chance to experience their creative collection of products.

If you happen to be in Statesboro on Saturday morning, make your way to the Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market. Besides plenty of local produce, you’ll be able to purchase products like grits, cornmeal and whole wheat flour from nearby Freeman’s Mill.

One more stop well worth your time as you’re leaving Statesboro is Meinhardt Vineyards, east of Hwy 301 on GA-46. Their fabulous Muscadine varieties can be sampled and purchased while you’re there, and the vineyard is a picture perfect place to spend an hour or two.

If you’re a fan of both RV travel and scrumptious, freshly-baked fruitcake, you’re going to want to make a stop in Claxton, GA, just down Hwy 301 from Statesboro. Two local companies deliver their fruit-filled goodness to visitors in this little town. Claxton Fruit Cake has been a holiday staple in American homes since 1910, and Georgia Fruit Cake Co. offers not only the town’s signature pastry but also gourmet coffees and other fine foods from a quaint corner storefront.

Traveling south through Tattnall County on Hwy 301, you’ll begin to see evidence that the county grows more Vidalia Sweet Onions than any other place in Georgia. Along with this world-famous delicacy, the town of Glennville and surrounding area offers agritourist RV travelers an amazing number of ways to explore local flavor.

Watermelon Creek Vineyards is just such a place, offering tastings of wines made from Georgia Grown muscadine grapes and other tempting treats. Another Glennville favorite of RV travelers is a stop at DC Durrence Farm, north of town on Hwy 301. This family farm offers u-pick vegetables or a farm stand where picked vegetables are available for sale.

If you’ve got a fishing fan on-board your RV, you’re going to want to make a reservation to tour Armstrong Cricket Farm while in Glennville. Selling brown crickets and bait worms all over the country has made this locally-owned concern famous with anglers.

Where else can you find natural goodness on the Georgia Grown 301 Trail near Glennville? Check out Folsom Farms Country Store for dressings, pickles and, of course,

Gordonia Alatamaha State Park

Gordonia Alatamaha State Park

fresh Vidalia Sweet Onions. By the way, if you plan to stay a day or two in the Glennville area, check out the RV campsites at Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park.  It’s an easy drive and a pleasant place to set up camp.

We’ve got a trio of burgs to explore on the road toward Folkston that you won’t want to miss. Morgan Lake between Jesup and Ludowici is a fisherman’s paradise, as well as home to a nice, family-owned RV campground. The countryside surrounding Jesup is filled with outdoor recreation venues on the Altamaha River, as well as side trips to spots like Poppell Farms, Growing Green Plant Nursery & Farm in Screven and the Jesup Train Depot, built in 1903 and still operating as an Amtrak station.

And that brings us to the end of the Trail, in Folkston. Tucked between the St Mary’s River and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Folkston is a place where you’re going to want to spend a lot of time outdoors. Explore the swamp, paddle the river and camp in lush, green places where birds and wildlife abound. Don’t leave Folkston without experiencing the Folkston Funnel Viewing Platform for a one-of-a-kind opportunity to watch more than sixty trains pass through each day.

There are dozens of fascinating places to explore as you make your way by RV along the Georgia Grown Trail 301. Plot your itinerary today and get started; we’re here to help with an RV rental and can’t wait to hear about your adventures.

Posted in Georgia RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

Nine State Park Campgrounds to Kickstart RV Camping Season

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

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

Nine State Park Campgrounds for RV Camping

  1. Salt Point State Park – California

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

  1. Pocahontas State Park – Virginia

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

  1. Grayton Beach State Park – Florida

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

  1. Golden Gate Canyon State Park – Colorado

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

  1. Elk Neck State Park – Maryland

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

  1. Mills Norrie State Park – New York

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

  1. Clear Lake State Park – California

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

  1. Shabbona Lake State Park – Illinois

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

  1. Palisade State Park – Utah

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

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

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

From Wilkes-Barre, PA to Adventure: Four Summer RV Road Trips

Wilkes-Barre, PA has plenty to offer vacationers, but what if you’d like to leave the city behind? Four RV road trips within easy driving distance from Wilkes-Barre offer a whole summer of vacation fun. Here’s what you need to know to plan your trips.

RV Road Trip #1: Wilkes-Barre to Delaware Beaches

The beaches of southern Delaware offer not only sun, sand and ocean views, they present a wide range of other choices for outdoor recreation, too. Your major highways south from Wilkes-Barre will be I-81 and DE-1, all the way to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware (about a four hour drive.) From there, camp and play in beach towns like Rehoboth Beach, Lewes, Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach.

From the vibrant nightlife to quiet paddling trails, there’s something here for every kind of beach-loving RV traveler. Abundant state park and private campgrounds along the shore hold their own attractions, so why not choose more than one and make your way down Delaware’s Atlantic Coast at your leisure?

RV Road Trip #2: Wilkes-Barre to New York’s Finger Lakes Region

Three and a half hours north of Wilkes-Barre, PA, New York’s Finger Lakes Region is an awesome RV road trip destination for families, adventure-seekers and anyone longing to spend time in the great outdoors.

Eleven narrow lakes, spread across nine-thousand square miles, create the backdrop for hiking, boating, fishing, paddling and a dozen other outdoor activities. State parks throughout the region highlight the stunning beauty of waterfalls, gorges and the Finger Lakes themselves.

Favorite spots for road tripping RV travelers include

Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park,  Robert H. Treman State Park, Finger Lakes towns like Corning and Seneca Falls and the wineries of the Finger Lakes region.

RV Road Trip #3: Wilkes-Barre to Burlington, Vermont

Tucked between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, Burlington, VT is the perfect spot for campers who like a blend of outdoor fun and urban comforts. Burlington’s city-run North Beach Campground can be the center of your Burlington experience, with wooded campsites, a beach on Lake Champlain and easy access to the city’s attractions.

From Wilkes-Barre, PA, it’s about a six hour drive through Albany and then either straight north through Saratoga Springs or with a scenic side trip on US-7 near Green Mountain National Forest.

By either route, you’re driving toward Burlington’s lakeside charm, complete with picturesque municipal dock, a quartet of beaches on Lake Champlain, charter schooner or shoreline cruises and a vibrant city filled with museums, marketplaces and historic sites.

RV Road Trip #4: Wilkes-Barre to Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

Drive six hours southwest of Wilkes-Barre through Harrisburg, PA and you’ll find yourself amidst a million acres of rugged forest land in the Allegheny Mountains. Wilderness sports enthusiasts will find prime spots to play there, with dozens of day hiking trails through diverse landscapes, eight designated wilderness areas for extended backpacking and four species of trout to chase in the cold water streams throughout the forest.

Add in the Highland Scenic Highway, climbing opportunities at Seneca Rocks and a half dozen RV camping districts and you’ve got a wild and rugged vacation for as long as you care to stay.

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania is the hub of hundreds of possible road trips to beaches, mountains and urban energy. Pick up your RV in nearby Kingston, PA and head down the road to adventure; the possibilities are endless.

Photo attribution:  By Flickr user: Peter Rivera Stamford, Connecticut http://www.flickr.com/people/riverap1/ – Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/riverap1/4001930205/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22596460
Posted in New York RV Camping Vacation, Pennsylvania RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

Three Spring Break RV Camping Itineraries

Kids out of school soon and still haven’t picked your Spring Break vacation spot? Why not take the family RV camping this year? We’ve put together three camping destinations perfect for families on Spring Break.

Spring Break RV Camping & Fishing Trip: Lake Texana, Edna, Texas 

Have a houseful of eager young anglers looking forward to catching the big ones? Take the RV southeast from Austin to Edna, Texas and the wonders of Lake Texana.

Brackenridge Park and Campground and Texana Park and Campground, both part of the Brackenridge Recreation Complex on the lake, offer Texas Spring Break RV Campers plenty of choice for accommodations. Not sure how to please everyone in your crew? Whether it’s hiking the trails, photographing wildlife or enjoying legendary Texas bass fishing, we think you’ll find something for everyone to enjoy on your stay.

With a fishing pier, perfect bass habitat, canoe and kayak rentals and six hundred acres of shoreline to enjoy, this South Texas lake is an excellent place to entertain the youngsters on Spring Break. Don’t forget to reserve your Texas RV rental. Spring Break is right around the corner!

Spring Break in the Heart of California Gold Country – Columbia, CA 

Hoping to surprise the youngsters with a little gold this Spring Break? Why not camp in the heart of California’s Gold Country and spend some time in the town that’s also a State Historic Park? Columbia, California, home to an impressive collection of Gold Rush-era structures, has plenty for young prospectors to explore.

Stroll the boardwalks with the family and soak up 1850s ambience, then stop to enjoy a meal, shop for souvenirs and enjoy the living history presentations. There are enough historic structures, museums and exhibits to keep everyone busy. Be sure to let the kids try their luck at gold panning, too; it’s a favorite activity for Columbia visitors.

You’ll also enjoy camping in the beauty of the Sierra Nevada foothills. Private campgrounds in Columbia help keep family RV camping convenient.

Spring Break in the Pacific Northwest – Bellingham, Washington 

Families who want to divide their Spring Break time between urban adventures and outdoor recreation will find no better place than Bellingham, WA. Just south of the Canadian border and a couple of hours north of Seattle, this coastal city has plenty to discover.

Larrabee State Park

Larrabee State Park

Start your time RV camping in Bellingham by challenging the young ones to complete at least part of the six-mile Interurban Trail. They’ll be rewarded with views of Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands and waterfalls in a dense urban forest. Plan to play awhile at Larrabee State Park  at the trail’s southern end, where gorgeous Samish Bay and trails into the Chuckanut Mountains are just part of the outdoor splendor.

While in Bellingham with kids, you’ll also want to visit the city’s exciting museums. One of the best is the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention, where you’ll find thrills for the entire family. Another don’t miss—Mindport, where art and science come together in a fun, interactive environment.

Two more ideas for active families hoping for the full Bellingham experience on Spring Break:

  • Spend a day in the city’s Historic Fairhaven District enjoying shops, coffee houses and vintage charm.
  • Take an hour’s drive east to Mount Baker Ski Area for a day on their world-famous slopes.

One last travel tip for Bellingham RV campers—March will be cooler in Washington than in Southern Spring Break destinations, so pack plenty of cool weather clothing for the kids. Aren’t you glad you’ll be traveling in the roomy comfort of an RV?

And there you have it, three fantastic ways to spend Spring Break RV camping with the kids. Whether you decide to travel to Texas, California or Washington, you’re sure to bring back memories that only camping with the family can deliver.

Photo attribution: By Cody Logan (clpo13) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Posted in California RV Camping Vacation, State Parks, Texas RV Camping Vacation, Washington RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Paddling and RV Camping Expedition to Bastrop, Texas

Bring your kayaks and canoes to Bastrop, Texas, RV travelers, for some stellar paddling action on the Colorado River. This beautiful waterway provides year-round recreation in the Austin area, whether you like to fly fish, paddle, hike a trail or simply set up camp nearby and watch the sun rise over the river.

If you’ve never traveled to this stretch of Texas, your best route from the north is I-35 from Dallas to Austin, then thirty miles southeast to Bastrop via TX-71. Once in Bastrop, you’ll find the perfect launch spot for the six-mile El Camino Real Paddling Trail at the city’s Fisherman’s Park.

Take a few minutes before you launch to enjoy Bastrop’s Riverwalk that links this park to Ferry Park just down the river. When you’re done admiring the view, head back to the boat launch and paddle downstream toward Lost Pines Recreational Trails. The Colorado makes a big loop around the city of Bastrop, but you won’t know you’re close to town once you get out on the water.

The unspoiled, backwoods beauty of this paddling trail makes it popular for kayakers, fly fishermen and the well-run paddling tours led by local outfitters. If you don’t have your own watercraft, be sure to book a tour as you plan your RV camping trip to Bastrop. For paddlers who want to drop a line while on the water for Guadalupe bass, smallmouth bass or channel cats, the El Camino Paddling Trail offers excellent prospects.

Entrance to Bastrop State Park

Entrance to Bastrop State Park

When you decide to take a break from the water, head over to Bastrop State Park  to enjoy the beauty of the ‘Lost Pines’, a remnant of loblolly pines found only in this section of Central Texas. You’ll also find RV campsites there, so if you like the idea of camping in a deep, green forest, by all means set up camp there for the night.

Another popular way to get out on the Colorado River while camping near Bastrop, Texas involves a visit to the Colorado River Refuge. Accessible right in town in the Tahitian Village Subdivision, the Refuge offers not only hiking trails and nature talks led by local volunteers, but also a launch point to yet another scenic stretch of the Colorado.

If you’d like to paddle a little longer on the Colorado near Bastrop, why not take the Wilbarger Paddling Trail? Put in at the bridge north of Bastrop on Farm-to-Market Road 969 and float fourteen miles past sandstone cliffs, hardwood forests and plenty of birds and wildlife, all the way down to Fisherman’s Park.

Bonus Bastrop Travel Tip: Don’t leave this Texas small-town gem without experiencing the charm of Bastrop’s Main Street. Maxine’s on Main is known throughout Texas for rib-sticking eats and the homes and shops around town represent with flair one of the Lone Star State’s earliest settlements.

With several campgrounds located along the river in the Bastrop area, including the Colorado River KOA, there’s no obstacle to an extended RV camping and paddling expedition to Central Texas. Get in touch with us for a Texas RV rental and plan to spend time on the Colorado River soon.

Image attribution: Billy Hathorn at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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Exciting RV Camping at Georgia’s Crooked River State Park

Why wait for warm weather to take an RV camping trip to Coastal Georgia? Just downstream from Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia’s Crooked River State Park has plenty to keep active RV campers busy.

Crooked River State Park

Crooked River State Park

Three hours north of Orlando, FL via I-95, this beautiful park at St Mary’s, GA offers large state park campsites as well as a private RV campground adjacent to the park. You’ll also find easy access to Cumberland Island by private boat or ferry. But before you head for the National Seashore, why not discover the outdoor adventures at Crooked River?

Hiking trails for every ability encourage Crooked River State Park campers to explore the area’s coastal marshes and maritime forests. Whether you choose to follow the Bay Boardwalk Trail to enjoy two species of bay trees, wax myrtle and sweet gums in a lush forest or choose the hardwood forest beauty of the Sempervirens Trail, you’ll be accompanied by plenty of birds and wildlife. Keep your camera ready for gopher tortoises, osprey and great blue herons.

Like to fish while on your RV camping trips? The intracoastal waters, as well as the tidal creeks and streams that make up Fancy Bluff Creek, are prime fishing territory for Whiting, Trout, Sheepshead and Black Drum. Paddle out into the waterways with your fishing gear or hike the bank to find the big ones. Here’s a link to current fishing reports for Crooked River State Park.

And speaking of paddling—there are several challenging water trails in this area, including the four-mile Cherry Point Trail through the salt marsh, and the paddling tour of magnificent St. Mary’s Harbor. Unless you’re well-seasoned as a paddler, it’s probably best to connect with a local outfitter, as the complex network of waterways surrounding the state park are not recommended for novices. A bonus for paddlers—you’re liable to see not only gators but sand sharks, stingrays and river otters on your journey.

Don’t forget the proximity of St Mary’s, worthy of at least a day trip while you’re in the area. Rich with history, from the Submarine Museum that details the role of nearby King’s Bay Naval Submarine Base to the town’s antebellum historic district (complete with guided golf cart tours!), this picturesque harbor town is also a stop along the Colonial Coast Birding Trail.

Doesn’t the thought of waking up to seabirds, bald eagles and abundant marine life, all while camped in a lush, coastal forest sound delightful? Pack the RV and make your way to Coastal Georgia and Crooked River State Park, and let us know if we can help with an RV rental. It’s all there waiting for you!

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Slip Away to Santa Cruz for an Early Winter RV Trip

When the Thanksgiving crowd goes home and winter is settling in, wouldn’t it be fun to slip away to Santa Cruz, California for an early winter RV trip? If you’ve never been to this city on the north shore of Monterey Bay, it’s time you did. Mild winter temperatures, beautiful natural attractions and exciting wintertime events make it the perfect place for winter RV travelers to relax and regroup.

Natural Bridges State Park

Natural Bridges State Park

The beauty of nature in the Santa Cruz area welcomes visitors to come enjoy. Natural Bridges State Beach,   for example, holds a wonderful surprise for winter travelers, in the form of thousands of Monarch butterflies migrating to its eucalyptus groves. Stroll the boardwalk and photograph these fluttering beauties to your heart’s content. What a peaceful way to spend an afternoon!

To truly let go of your stress and strain, take a day to hike the beaches and shoreline along the California Coastal National Monument. Created to preserve the diverse ecosystems both on and offshore, CCNM encourages wildlife watching, nature photography and simply soaking in the wonder of the coast as it unfolds along Hwy 1.

Man-made beauty, in the form of boats bedecked with Christmas lights and decorations, will be the star attraction for families, if you’re in town the first Saturday in December. The Lighted Boat Parade in Santa Cruz Harbor kicks off the holiday season with a splash. The kids will love it!

If you’re still having trouble getting into the holiday spirit, there’s a train for that! The Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Christmas Train departs from and returns to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk for an hour long journey through the city. Sing along with carolers, sip a little cocoa and allow yourself to believe in Santa for an hour!

And what’s a trip to Santa Cruz without exploring Monterey Bay? Whale watching tours abound, with particular interest to December visitors as thousands of Grey Whales migrate south along the Bay. Back on shore, be sure to visit the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Interpretive Center adjacent to Santa Cruz Wharf.

Doesn’t a trip like this sound like the perfect antidote to early winter doldrums? It’s easy to plan, thanks to Santa Cruz RV rentals and an abundance of RV campgrounds in the Santa Cruz and Monterey area.

So, why not do yourself the favor of slipping away to a stunning city by the sea, where whale and butterfly watching are the most stressful things you’ll do? Santa Cruz, with miles and miles of pristine coastline to wander and plenty of tempting winter events, can become your refuge from holiday stress and the grey days of winter elsewhere.

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