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
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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
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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 State Park RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | 1 Comment

Oregon’s Honeyman State Park-Four Tips for RV Camping Fun

School may be starting, but there’s still plenty of time for a weekend of R&R on the Central Oregon Coast. Load up the family and go RV camping to Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park. This coastal wonderland offers dozens of ways to relax and enjoy the weekend. We’ve narrowed it down to four top tips for making the most of your Honeyman State Park RV camping vacation.

Reserve an Awesome Campsite

With the second largest camping area in Oregon, Honeyman State Park has plenty of options when it comes to scenic campsites. Close to the park’s famous dunes, Lakes Cleawox and Woahink and plenty of hiking trails, the campground becomes the center your Oregon RV camping weekend.  Book one of more than three hundred campsites before you come, to make sure you have the services you prefer.

Jump, Boat or Fish in a Lake

Not only will your campsite be a quick drive to the beach, you’ll also be just down the road from two breathtaking, tree-lined lakes. Cleawox Lake is a highly-praised swimming spot, with tall, Pacific Ocean dunes on one side and a forest of pines on the other. It’s a great place to paddle the shoreline in a kayak and watch for wildlife, as well.

Woahink Lake is also within Honeyman State Park’s boundaries, and offers a different experience for Oregon RV travelers. Much larger than Cleawox, Woahink is the perfect spot to enjoy a day on jet skis or behind a ski boat. Fishing here for largemouth bass and yellow perch is also popular among anglers, so don’t forget your gear!

Hike the Dunes!

Did we mention the presence of two-mile-wide sand dunes that lead to the Pacific while providing a backdrop for Lake Cleawox?

Many park visitors spend a day or two learning the joys of dune hiking, or for more adventurous souls, sandboarding, up and down these windswept formations. Either way, the views are awesome, so you’ll be glad you reached the summit. Don’t own sandboards? Look for local outfitters in nearby Florence, OR who’ll be happy to supply what you need.   shutterstock_57728056_Oregon_coast

Take an OHV Adventure

One of the main reasons people come to the Central Oregon Coast is to embark on an off-highway vehicle (OHV) adventure at Honeyman’s dunes and adjacent Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. With miles of dunes designated for OHV use, you’re sure to find an area suited to your level of riding skill.

Just off Highway 101 and filled with possibilities, Honeyman State Park is ready to help your family relax and rejuvenate before school is back in full swing! Take time right now to book your campsite, pack your RV or set up an RV rental and get ready to unwind at Oregon’s Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park.

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An RV Trip to Whidbey Island in Washington

An RV trip around Seattle is good for the soul, and now is the ideal time to visit before the tourist crowds hit the road to this nice city.  You will find one of the favorite adventures in the Seattle area is to drive from the bottom to the top of Whidbey Island for cultural outdoor recreation and sights to see.  As you ride the ferry over, you’ll feel the anticipation of your landing build.

Camping and Picnic Area near Keystone Ferry in Washington

Camping and Picnic Area near Keystone Ferry in Washington

Once you land on the island, you may want to drive right over to Deer Lake and try your hand at fishing.  If the sun is out, you’ll want to catch some rays and soak it up while it lasts.  Then stop at the Earth Sanctuary, a little further up the road.  The wildlife and birds here will restore your faith in the goodness of nature.

When you move on and come to the South Whidbey State Park, you will love to get out and hike through old-growth forest.  You will also find a beach where you can walk by the water and enjoy this scenic shoreline.  This is a place to come for inspiration and solitude.  Take it all in before moving on.

One detour you’ll enjoy is taking Highway 20 over to Fort Casey State Park.  Stop to visit the lighthouse which was fully restored and is a great example of a ship warning system. Explore the fort and see early-day battlements and glean some history from this area. Keystone State Park is also nearby where you can get in some more fishing if you’d like.

Next on your itinerary is Fort Ebey State Park.  This is a great place to get into the out-of-doors and enjoy this northwest region, Puget Sound and some history as well.  The best hiking trail to take is the Kettles Trail.  If you love to watch birds, you will be thrilled to see some soaring bald eagles here.  Of course there are other species of birds too, so be sure to bring along your binoculars.

At Oak Harbor, turn to the west where you can get to Joseph Whidbey State Park.  It is always fun to walk along the beach, look out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca and view the San Juan Islands.  In winter, the birds are migrating making this RV trip the perfect chance to watch plenty of birds flying overhead.

Your last stop on this Whidbey Island trip is Deception Pass State Park.  This park also provides a great opportunity to gaze at all kinds of birds who like to spend the winter here. Cranberry Lake is a fishing hole for visitors and locals alike.  Pull on those hiking boots and get out there and hike some of the trails in Deception Pass State Park.  The RV park here is open all year.

Yes, an RV trip on Whidbey Island can be quite the experience.  You ought to prepare yourself for a time filled with a lot of nature, many outdoor activities, and lovely scenery.  It is a trip you will remember for years to come!

For information on renting a motor home CLICK HERE!

Picture credits:  Photo of campground by Roseanna Dana is licensed under the Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license.  Thank you!
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Take an RV Trip Through Napa Valley this Winter

The winter is mild in Napa Valley and there could be no better time to tour this fabulous wine country area.  You cannot imagine the beauty of this section of Northern California until you see it for yourself.  The picturesque landscape of rolling hills, vineyards, and quaint towns and villages is a perfect place to head in an RV for either a short trip or an extended vacation.

Napa Valley Region Welcome Sign

Napa Valley Region Welcome Sign

Besides some delightful wine tasting, you will want to see all the sights possible while you are here.  Make the best of your stay by camping at Napa Valley Expo RV Park.  Within close proximity to all Napa has to offer, this park has great amenities.  You can also use it as your home base as you visit Sacramento, Six Flags in Vallejo, Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, or Infineon Raceway.

Hiking in this area is wonderful, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun throughout Napa Valley.  For instance, hike among the pines in Bothe-Napa Valley State Park.  The coastal Redwoods also offer shade for some of the best hikes.  Quiet streams run through the woods and trails allow you to stroll peacefully as long as you desire.

Another popular stop is Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, named after the famous author of “Treasure Island.”  You can hike to the top of Mt.  St.  Helena and catch glimpses of the San Francisco Bay area and even Mt.  Shasta in the far distance.  This is a five-mile hike, but certainly well worth it.

Even in winter months, it’s fun to go horseback riding in Skyline Wilderness Park.  Study nature and hike along more than 16 miles of trails.  If you prefer, you can bike the trails through the oak woodlands.  It’s great to get outdoors and breathe that fresh, clean air and enjoy nature to the fullest.  Napa Valley is one perfect spot in which to do that!

Napa Valley Wine Train - All Aboard!

Napa Valley Wine Train – All Aboard!

Stop by the historic landmark of Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park where you can see how early settlers ground their wheat and corn into flour and meal.  There are milling demonstrations on most weekends that the whole family will enjoy.  Then from downtown Napa, take the Napa Valley Wine Train to enjoy a scenic ride with lunch or dinner.

Right in Napa Valley you can have an African safari experience at Safari West.  It is quite a treat to get close to so many wild animals.  In fact, this could very well be one of the highlights of the whole trip to Napa Valley.

Safari West's Giraffe with a Personality

Safari West’s Giraffe with a Personality

Before leaving to go back home, be sure to take one of the scenic drives around the area to drink in the real flavor of this famous wine country.  The Sonoma-Napa Valleys Scenic Drive brings you from Santa Rosa all around this historic valley.  Most of the highways in this area provide incredible views, including Silverado Trail and Highways 12 and 128.

Yes, Napa Valley is a wonderful change of pace for a pleasurable RV vacation in Northern California.  Enjoy a winter respite soaking up the sunshine, the wine, and all the  comforts of an El Monte RV!

El Monte RV

El Monte RV

To book an RV rental in CALIFORNIA – CLICK HERE  or to book an RV rental outside the state of California – CLICK HERE!

Picture credits: photo of Napa Valley Welcome Sign by Weinakademieerlin, photo of Napa Valley Wine Train by Bill Stanley, and photo of Safari West’s Giraffe by Donnaphoto are all licensed under the Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license.  Thank you for allowing us to share your photos!
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Head to Redwood National Park for an RV Adventure

Whether you are in Southern California or in its northern counterpart, the current weather should be very cooperative for a little getaway up the coast.  You may run into some rain, but since you’ll be travelling in an RV on this adventure, finding a beautiful place to pull over and stop to wait out the storm will not only be very easy but cozy as well!  Pull out your favorite cold-weather movie, warm up the hot chocolate on the RV stove, start popping that tasty microwave popcorn and you’re all set!  There’s hardly any travelling setbacks due to weather while vacationing in a motorhome.

El Monte RV motor home at the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

El Monte RV motor home at the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

You can rent your RV in San Francisco and start out driving up Pacific Coast Highway.  This is one drive that has some of the best scenery in the country.  Stay alert for curves and take your sweet time if the highway is wet, knowing that the drive itself is the best part of the trip and is well worth any effort made due to the amazing sights you will be seeing.  The best thing about traveling up through Northern California is viewing the beautiful Redwood trees.  Some of these trees are the largest and tallest trees anywhere.  You are going to have a true nature experience on this trip!

The Humboldt Redwoods State Park has thousands of acres of trees and many of them are the coastal redwoods.  You will discover fascinating exhibits at the visitor center and you can get directions on taking the auto tour (or we should say RV tour) which is 32 lovely miles.  Don’t miss Avenue of the Giants and don’t fail to get out and do your own exploring of these forests.

When you reach Humboldt Bay, stop and visit Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum and learn a lot about maritime history.  Do you love birds and wildlife?  You’ll also want to stop at Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  This is a great place to fit in some bird watching and see many ducks, geese, swan and other birds.

As you move closer to your destination at Redwood National Park, you will come upon a coastal town called Eureka.  You can enjoy many galleries, the boardwalk along the waterfront and the restored homes.  Then continue on to Big Lagoon in Dry Lagoon State Park where you might want to fish.  You can get more bird watching done here too, with lots of osprey and herons.  Throw in a line and catch some fish as well.

Exploring Humboldt Lagoons State Park is the next adventure on your itinerary.  You’ll discover this marshland is a wonderful place to see wildlife of all kinds.  Hike and get some exercise in.  You’ll want to be in shape so you can hike throughout Redwood National Park when you arrive.

Family of Redwood Trees

Family of Redwood Trees

So when you reach Redwood National Park you will be in an ideal location for whale watching, believe it or not!  Although migration was over in December, you could still spot a whale or two off the coast.  The forests here are some of the most gorgeous anywhere in California.

Spotting a Redwood National Forest Elk

Spotting a Redwood National Forest Elk

You may spot some black bears or elk in this area.  For the perfect hike, take off along Lady Bird Johnson Grove.  You will love checking out all that Mother Nature offers you here at Redwood National Park.   Take your family on this California road trip not only once, but go back again and again in an RV to maximize this amazing awe-inspiring vacation experience!

For information on renting an RV in California – CLICK HERE or to rent a motor home outside of the state of California –  CLICK HERE.

Picture credits:  El Monte RV in San Francisco is a company media stock photo and the photos of Redwood trees and Redwood elk by Arkansas shutterbug and Jeffery Delfiscio respectively are licensed under the Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license.
Posted in California RV Camping Vacation, National Parks, State Parks | 2 Comments

Plan a Colorful Autumn RV Trip to the Catskills

There is no time like the present to plan an autumn drive through the Catskill Mountains in New York. This is when the foliage is at its peak, during October, and you will have a wonderful opportunity to see some magnificent orange, red and yellow leaves. Route 30 will take you through charming communities and past some great views.

Catskills beyond Hudson

Catskills beyond Hudson

Start your fall journey in an RV from Hancock and begin to explore. You will be driving from close to the border of New York and Pennsylvania to lovely Esperance, New York. Near Hancock you will also find some terrific dining if you wish to eat out, or you can play some golf before you officially start your drive.

After traveling through some quaint hamlets, you will come to the Pepacton Reservoir and finally end up in the small village of Margaretville. In addition to fishing in the reservoir, you can also venture to some of the local lakes, streams and ponds to cast a line and see what trout you can catch.

You may want to turn right onto New York Route 28 to see some other sights. This includes the Delaware and Ulster Railroad in Arkville. The fall foliage season is the perfect time to take this rail ride so you can see the brilliant displays. You may even get to experience an old-time train robbery on your trip. How thrilling would that be?

When you reach Belleayre Mountain you can get in some hiking. This is the best way to see the scenery and get up close and personal to nature’s fall beauty. Although mainly a winter destination for skiing and winter sports, Belleayre is great in the fall too! You can fish here or perhaps get out on the water in a kayak.

More fishing, hiking and golfing await you at Hunter Mountain. And then there is Kaaterskill Falls, a 260-foot cascade in two tiers. Ensure you have your hiking boots ready and take off on the trails which take you to the top of the falls and to the bottom as well.

Back on Route 30 again, you will come to Roxbury. This is the time to visit Roxbury Depot Museum. Get outdoors again and hike the Catskill Scenic Trail. In town there are a number of historic spots to see including the Walter Stratton House. Right in the middle of town is an 11-acre park where you can walk and enjoy the autumn foliage.

As you drive through Schoharie County you will be amazed at the gorgeous colors and sweet fall air. Stop at Mine Kill State Park if you wish to see an incredible sight. A beautiful 80-foot waterfall cascades through a gorge which you can view from a platform overlook. Perhaps you want to try your luck fishing here. There are plenty of trout, bass and walleye in the lower reservoir.

Next stop will be Fulton and the famous Vroman’s Nose. This is an oddly shaped mountain which is ideal for a short hiking excursion. It is only a two-mile trek on a loop trail of moderate difficulty. You will see why the name once you check out the sight from a distance. And once at the top, you’ll understand why the summit has been nicknamed the Dance Floor.

The Old Stone Fort Museum is located in Schoharie and is an important addition to your itinerary. Look for the cannonball hole in the rear of the structure. It came from a fight between Captain Joseph Brant and the British Loyalists. The entire complex offers a taste of history you can get no place else. Check their website before you arrive for hours. They are open in October through the 27th.

One of your last stops will be the Secret Caverns with its amazing underground waterfall. This is 100 feet of tumbling water under the earth, highlighted by the lovely stalactites and stalagmites. Get a guided tour and learn more about this fascinating cavern.

Your fall drive is about to come to an end. It has the final destination of the village of Esperance. Visit the George Landis Arboretum while here and put off your drive home. You can see thousands of trees, shrubs and flowers from all over the world and can hike eight miles of trails through fields, wetlands and woodlands. What a terrific fall experience this trip has been. You will have to come back next year and take in any sights you missed!

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

Posted in Fall Foliage, New York RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | 1 Comment

An RV Trip to some Lovely State Forests in Massachusetts

A fall vacation in Massachusetts may be just the thing to reset your clock and begin a new adventure for the year. An RV vacation through some of the state parks and forests is even better, as you can travel in style and comfort, many inconveniences simply eliminated. Start out in Lenox, Massachusetts to enjoy the autumn beauty of Berkshire County. After exploring the city, you can discover great hiking trails in Kennedy Park. This is a wonderful spot for a family picnic too!

Sign Entering Lenox MA

Entering Lenox MA

Just to the east of Lenox is October Mountain State Forest where you can get into the forest and see nature at its autumn best. Trek through Schermerhorn Gorge for some incredible scenery. Wildlife watching is something that attracts many to this woodland. The Appalachian Trail moves through this area, too, so if you have time, you can hike some miles on this famous trail to experience the exciting Massachusetts wilderness.

North of Lenox, the Pittsfield State Forest is where the streams invite fishermen to take advantage of the great weather. Berry Pond is up at more than 2,000 feet in elevation and is a great place to find the fish biting. Drive to the top of Berry Mountain for some wonderful views. In the northeast corner of the forest, discover Balance Rock State Park with its limestone boulder balanced so precariously on the bedrock.

Continue north to visit Mount Greylock State Reservation, the highest point in the state. You will get some panoramic views here across Berkshire County and beyond. Although the Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower is closed for the season, the memorial chamber at ground level is open to enjoy.

Once complete with your visit at Mount Greylock, head east on Highway 2 towards Boston. You will run into Interstate 90 which will take you right back to the city. However, as you drive Highway 2, stop at Mohawk Trail State Forest  so you can see fabulous gorges carved deep in the rock, mountain ridges and a wide variety of animal and plant life. Trout fishing here is excellent.

Next stop is Erving State Forest with many outdoor activities for the RV vacationer. Try boating on the lake, hiking the forest woodlands or fishing from the shore. Many woodland trails offer destinations of scenic interest, so you will definitely want to put on the hiking shoes and get outside and move through nature’s surrounds.

Drop down south to stop at Lake Wyola State Park. The word “Wyola” is a Native American word for “quiet waters,” and you’ll see why when you arrive. Here are forty acres of peace and solitude on a lovely autumn day. It is the perfect ending to a perfect RV getaway. Now you can head back to the city ready to take on life once again. There is nothing like an autumn vacation in Massachusetts to give you a whole new outlook and energy.

Picture credits: The picture of entering Lenox, MA is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Travel Virginia in an RV to See some Unique Spots

Virginia is an ideal destination for an RV vacation this fall. Before the snows come, you really need to get away from it all and have a little time to relax and recoup. Driving an RV through the Virginia countryside and visiting some unique spots makes a vacation worth remembering.

Autumn Waterfall, Virginia

Autumn Waterfall, Virginia

Once you pick up your RV motorhome in Herndon, VA, you can travel to Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve in Loudoun County to experience a diversity of landscapes and some marvelous outdoor recreation. Hiking these trails takes you through an environment rich in plant life and teeming with wildlife. You’ll see fields, wetlands, forests and river habitats. It is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Another unique destination is the Leesburg Animal Park. If you have kids with you, the petting zoo is alive with bunnies, goats, pigs, sheep and much more. Of course, this zoo is not just for the children. Everyone loves to pet the animals and feed the llamas, deer and camels. Exotic animals are a treat too, with giant tortoises, zebras and lemurs. On weekends, ride a camel for one special adventure!

There are more than 1,800 acres with 17 miles of hiking trails in Sky Meadows State Park. You will also have an opportunity to go horseback riding on seven miles of bridle trails or take part in a history program this fall. Lots of scenic views too, as well as tons of wildlife – so don’t forget your camera! You won’t want to miss shots of your vacation time here.

The GR Thompson State Wildlife Management Area also should be on your itinerary. This is a place where outdoor recreation knows no bounds and wildlife are everywhere. In the fall you can do some turkey hunting, which is something everyone must do once in their lifetime! Explore the fields, the forests of mature oaks and white ash and streams running throughout. Thompson Lake is a great place to catch some smallmouth bass, catfish and bluegill. Every fall the hawks migrate through the region and provide quite a sight for bird watchers.

Although small, Whitney State Forest is worth a stop. You can hike more than six miles of trails in this 147-acre park. Changing colors make a lovely sight as you explore the area by foot. Many birds make their home here and you should watch out for one of the most beautiful – the scarlet tanager. Another lovely bird to catch a glimpse of is the rose-breasted grosbeak. Both these feathered creatures are colorful and certainly catch your attention.

As you head back to Herndon, Virginia and the D.C. area, you will know you have had one exciting and enlightening vacation in Virginia – one that is relatively unusual but one that has been very satisfying. It’s a time of fall beauty, outdoor fun and family bonding.

Picture credits: The picture of an autumn waterfall in Virginia  is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Posted in State Parks, Virginia RV Camping Vacation | 1 Comment