Summer RV Adventure in Washington’s National and State Parks

Washington offers many National and State parks to choose from plus a great climate for summer RV enthusiasts. Get out in your RV or ours and see some sights of the Pacific Northwest this summer. Here are some of the most popular but not necessarily really crowded spots.

If you are starting out near Bellingham, at El Monte’s RV Rentals, you could travel south to Seattle to begin your adventure. Here take a few hours to explore the Wing Luke Museum. This unique place is described as an experience more than a museum that reveals what it is and was to be Asian American in the Pacific Northwest. Visitors explore thought-provoking exhibitions of real stories, including that of actor and martial arts master Bruce Lee.

If you wish to travel east from Ferndale and Bellingham, you can treat yourself to the views of a true alpine landscape in the North Cascades National Park. Here you can find communities of life that have adapted to moisture in the west and recurring fires in the east. Jagged peaks are crowned by more than 300 glaciers. Here you can listen to cascading waters in forested valleys. This is truly a unique experience.

There are 15 National Parks and Places in Washington. First, check out the blog on this site for Monty’s Musings, RV Trip to Wild, Wonderful Washingtonwhich covered the 3 main national parks, Mt. Rainier, the San Juan Island and Olympia National Park. The current blog focuses more on the State parks that are available and some of the National parks and historic places not covered before.

Ebey’s Landing, in Coupeville, WA also offers a stunning view at the gateway to Puget Sound. This is just a short drive south from Ferndale. Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reservepreserves the historical, agricultural and cultural traditions of both native and Euro-American – while offering spectacular opportunities for recreation.

One thing you should also note: there is also a Free Admission Day to many national parks on Sunday, August 25th to commemorate the National Park Service Anniversary, and on September 28thto celebrate National Public Lands Day. So try to plan your trips to take advantage of those days, or purchase a National Parks Pass. See the webpage, National Park Service Passesfor more details.

 

State Parks in Washington

Washington has 154 State Parks, 5 State Recreation Areas, 2 State Forests, and 1 State Wildlife Area in addition to all the national parks and historic places.

These parks are divided into ten regions: The Islands, in the northwest corner of the state, North Cascades, going east from there, and Rocky Mountain Gateway, on the eastern edge of Washington. The Columbia River Plateau is south and west of the Rocky Mountain Gateway and the Palouse is southeast of that. The Wine Country is on the southern border of the state until you get to Volcano Country, west of the Wine Country. Wrapping up this amazing state are The Coast (west southern coast, north of that is Olympic and Kitsap and east of that region is King Country, which is around Seattle. To see all the recreation destinations in Washingtoncheck out their website.

Nine of their state parks have interpretive centers where visitors can experience the catastrophic Ice Age floods at the Dry Falls Visitor Center or retrace the journey of the Corps of Discovery at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. You can peer through one of the largest amateur built telescopes in the country at Goldendale Observatory or step inside a historic lighthouse at Cape Disappointment State Park. There are so many that one could spend a month or more just exploring all the State Parks Washington has to offer. For more information on Washington’s State Parks with interpretive centers,see their website.

Camping Spots

You can discover some of America’s best outdoor experiences in Washington. To find which parks will reserve spaces for camping in your RV, go to Washington Campgrounds and Camping provided by ReserveAmerica.

Camp in the National ParksWith reservations for many spots, you may have to book early to get one. But, our national park system is very sophisticated and they purposely leave many sites first-come, first-served. You can get full details including which sites filled yesterday at any of the park’s websites.

To make the most of your Washington parks trip, easily rent an RV at El Monte RV Rentals in Ferndale, near Bellingham.

Posted in Fishing Vacation, RV Campgrounds, RV Vacation, State Parks, Washington RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

RV Vacation – Summertime Music and Other Festivals

Part of your summer vacation plans should include getting on the road in your RV or ours to enjoy some of these exciting and entertaining music and other festivals and fairs! August is packed with lots of exciting events all around the country.

Several are featured here but please check our EVENTS page for many other possibilities.

From Chicago’s Lollapalooza Music Festival to the Oregon Jamboree on the weekend of August 1-4th, there are lots of options on the first weekend in August.  

The weekend of the 1st to 4th of August will find Grant Park in Chicago filled with fans of alternative rock and hip-hop bands like The Strokes, The Chainsmokers, 21 Pilots, and Childish Gambino among a host of other high-profile musical celebrities. Ariana Grande will perform on Sunday August 4th and there is an aftershow (should be called a pre-show) at the Metro on Clark Street on July 31st to kick off this weekend, featuring Hozier. For all the details and the full lineup please see Lollapalooza Music Festival.

The Oregon Jamboree, billed as the Pacific Northwest’s premier music and camping festival, occurs on the same weekend – from the 1st to 4th of August in Sweet Home, OR. It features the Brothers Osborne, Hank Williams, Jr. and Chris Young, among many other featured country stars. Check out their website for all the details and for ticket sales.

New Jersey State Fair

New Jersey State Fair

The New Jersey State Fair is held in Lafayette, NJ and is held from August 2nd to 11th. Then the Illinois State Fair starts in Springfield on August 8th and runs through the 18th. This year the fair will feature such grandstand acts as Pentatonix, Snoop Dogg and Friends, Montgomery Gentry, and Neil Diamond as well as Shinedown, Reba McEntire and many other stars. Check their respective websites for all the details and ticket information.

If you happen to be on the East Coast, take in the Moonrise Music Festival in Baltimore from August 10th-11th. This unique festival is held on the Pimlico Race Course (yes of Triple Crown fame), and is right in the middle of the action, but about 15 minutes from downtown Baltimore, and they even have shuttle service so you won’t have to hassle with traffic. For the full lineup of talent and the various other events around the main event, see the website at Moonrise Music Festival.

This is the high season for State Fairs, as the Kentucky State Fair begins in Louisville on August 15th and runs through the 25th. Besides the usual State Fair fare, there will also be a Texas Roadhouse Concert series which occurs each day of the Fair. Concerts each begin at 8 pm, except the Sunday, August 25th show which starts at 4 pm. For all the details and the exceptional lineup of top-shelf entertainment, see their website.

If you are near Watkins Glen, NY the Woodstock Music Festival runs from August 16th to 18th. This is the place to be for the most eclectic bill of music from hip-hop and rock to some pop and even some of the legacy bands from the original festival. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1969 celebration and will be headed by founder Michael Lang. The Woodstock 50 lineup is a star-studded one. Among the artists/bands scheduled for the festival are: Jay-Z, The Killers, Miley Cyrus, The Lumineers, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters; The Man, Gary Clark Jr., Nahko and Medicine for the People, Imagine Dragons, Judah and the Lion, Cage the Elephant, Courtney Barnett, Vince Staples, Earl Sweatshirt, Pussy Riot, and many more. Among the original Woodstock acts appearing are Santana, John Sebastian, David Crosby, Country Joe McDonald, and Jorma Kaukonen of Hot Tuna. Check out their website for all the information you will need about the tickets and camping there this August.

If you happen to be on the West Coast, take in the Psycho Music Festival that same weekend at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas (August 16th-18th). Featuring more than 70 artists from around the world, this mid-August mirage in the desert will be packed full of music and fun. See their website for the details.

Wrapping up the month are three more State Fairs, both from August 22nd to September 2nd. The first is the Washington State Fair in Monroe, Washington; the second is near Baltimore in Timonium, Maryland, the Maryland State Fair; the third is the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo from August 23rd to September second. Each one has a unique lineup of entertainment, horse races, rodeos, etc. Check out their websites for details. Plan well in advance to go to these as many of them offer great entertainment and will likely be very crowded.

Need an RV?

Don’t have an RV? You can rent an RV for your July RV adventure from one of our numerous El Monte RV Rental Locations. Check out the Where You Can Rent RV’s page to see the location closest to where you want to start your adventure.

Wherever you decide to adventure to, be sure to take your family and camera so you can capture the memories of this exciting summer fun.

Posted in Colorado RV Camping Vacation, Illinois RV Camping Vacation, Kentucky RV Camping Vacation, Maryland RV Camping Vacation, Music Festivals, Nevada RV Camping Vacation, New Jersey RV Camping Vacation, New York RV Camping Vacation, Oregon RV Camping Vacation, State Fairs, Texas RV Camping Vacation, Washington RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

NHRA Racing Burns Rubber in August!

This August, take your family on an exciting RV vacation to see any one of these exciting NHRA races.  From Seattle on the weekend of August 2nd–4th, NHRA Northwest Nationals take place at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Washington. Then two weeks later, from August 15th– 18th, take off for Minneapolis in your RV or ours to follow the Lucas Oil Nationals at the Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, MN. The last weekend of August finds NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at the Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. Don’t miss the heart pounding action of drag racing while camping out in your comfortable home away from home RV at one of these exciting spots!

Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways

NHRA racing

NHRA racing

The first weekend of August finds the Northwest Nationals in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle at Pacific Raceways. As usual at NHRA races, Friday and Saturday are mostly qualifying races for both the Pro Stocks and the Nitro racers. Sunday is the main event with semi-finals and final races starting at 3:40 and 3:45 pm. Click to see the complete weekend schedule at Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways.

You can rent an RV nearby at our Ferndale/Bellingham, Washington location. For more information on pricing and availability, please check with the El Monte RV Rental Ferndale/Bellingham location. For camping in your RV, there are numerous campgrounds in the area or you may get lucky and be able to book into the Pacific Raceway Campground if spaces are available. If not, there are other RV Campgrounds nearby such as Cranmar RV Park and Lake Sawyer RV Resort. Book early as this will be a popular spot in early August.

Two weeks after this excitement on the west coast take off for Minneapolis in your RV or ours to watch the excitement at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at the Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, MN. The schedule opens on Friday, August 16th with the Pro Stock Qualifying Sessions and the Nitro Qualifying Sessions, and continues with more qualifying sessions on Saturday, capped off by the Pro Stock and Nitro Eliminations, Semi-Finals and Finals on Sunday afternoon.

To rent an RV nearby, our closest El Monte RV Rental Location is near Chicago in Glen Ellyn, IL. Go to the Where to Rent an RV page of our website to check out that location and contact them to find out about available rentals and rates.

RV Camping near Brainerd: If you want to camp nearby, check out Rager’s Acres Seasonal RV Park, or Birch Bay RV Resort or you may try your luck to be able to put your name on a wait list to stay at the Raceway itself at their PleasureLand RV VIP Campground.

To see a fully detailed schedule of the action, see Lucas Oil Nationals.

Labor Day weekend this year is August 28th – Sept. 2nd and brings NHRA to Indianapolis at the Lucas Oil Raceway. Find all the action you can imagine here for this long weekend of fun and speed. The home for the U.S. Nationals, this Chevrolet Performance weekend is packed full of non-stop action. The schedule opens with Sportsman Qualifying races on Wednesday the 28th and Thursday the 29th, followed by Sportsman Eliminations and Hemi Challenges on Friday August 30th. Then the action heats up even more as Pro Stock and Nitro Qualifying Sessions occupy Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The weekend culminates with Pro Stock and Nitro Eliminations and Finals on Monday afternoon.

Camping at Lucas Oil Raceway is a family experience with lots of choices of campgrounds to suit your family’s needs. Try to reserve early to get your choice of campsites in one of several campgrounds.

To rent an RV, you can visit our El Monte RV Rentals Chicago Location only about three hours or so from Indianapolis.

To learn more, see our page devoted to NHRA Racing Vacations.

Whichever track you choose to visit, have fun with your friends and family watching these amazingly fast dragsters as they burn rubber on the track.

Posted in Indiana RV Camping Vacation, Minnesota RV Camping Vacation, NHRA Races RV Vacation, Washington RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

RV Adventures – Winter Gives a New Look to Western National Parks

Have you thought about what you might do to get out and adventure this winter: is cabin fever getting to you? Well in winter, the drop in temperatures and snowy landscapes will mean a different preparation for national park trekking, but the adventure is well worth the extra effort.

Just a few of our most scenic winter park picks are highlighted here:

Mt. Rainier, WA in winter
  1. Mount Rainier National Park, WA – At Mount Rainier you will find all the snow one could ever ask for in winter.One area known as Paradise averages 54 feet of snow each year and held the world record for most annual snowfall in the 1970s at 93.5 feet. Mount Rainier also has all the winter recreation you could wish for with sledding, skiing, sliding, snowboarding, snowshoeing, climbing and camping. Just be sure to prepare well for the weather and check local conditions before your trip. Note: All vehicles, including 4WD and AWD vehicles, must carry tire chains in the park during the winter season (November 1 – May 1) and be prepared to use them when tire chain requirements are posted.    
  • Crater Lake National Park, OR – Winter is the reason that Crater Lake exists. The high elevation and proximity to the Pacific make climatic conditions that cause Crater Lake to receive more than 44 feet of snow on average each year. Without all that precipitation the lake would not exist. If you would like to explore this snowy wilderness, it’s recommended that you try skiing or snowshoeing, plus there are ranger-led interpretive hikes each weekend.

Crater Lake was formed when a violent eruption of a volcano triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Native Americans witnessed this formation about 7700 years ago. Scientists still marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and perhaps the most pristine on earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range.  

Note: Not only do RVs need to be winterized for freezing temperatures, but it’s good to check the park’s webcams website frequently as updates such as this are posted there: “Winter road closures are now in effect. You can enter year-round from the south or west on Hwy 62. The road to Rim Village is also open year-round, except during periods of heavy snow. At Rim Village, you can enjoy views of the lake, weather permitting.”

  • Bryce Canyon National Park, UT – It may be hard to imagine Bryce Canyon’s spectacular earthly spires covered with ice and snow but this park is truly amazing in winter. There are ideal skies for stargazing which due to the cold, dry air makes them even more amazing with a weekly Saturday astronomy program to take advantage of these awesome views. The annual Winter Festival is usually held on President’s Day weekend. Bryce Canyon is even more beautiful in the winter! In the cold, crisp air, it’s thrilling to hop in and out of the warm car at the various overlooks to see the striking contrast of white snow, red rock, and blue sky.  Feeling more adventurous? Bryce offers many opportunities to enjoy its entire snowy splendor.

There are many dangers here in this season, however, so if you do visit, be sure to follow park regulations and get up-to-date weather information at the visitors center before venturing out. Boots are mandatory and traction devices are highly recommended for trail hikers, and back country permits are issued to only the most prepared and experienced. 

Winter camping in the National Parks will be far less crowded than summertime, but check with each park before you go to see what’s available. There are also additional RV Campgrounds nearby.

Holiday Special:

Whatever you do for the holidays, this is a special time to enjoy visiting with family and friends. To make the season even more fun, take advantage of our Holiday Special.

All this month we’re offering a free Monty Christmas night to help you with your holiday travel plans or accommodations! Whether you’re traveling to see relatives, needing extra beds for those visiting you or just getting away from the Christmas hustle and bustle, get a free extra day!

Rent any Class C or Class A model motor home, pick up any day in December and rent for a minimum of 6 nights and get 1 extra night FREE!  Plus you get 50 free miles per night! Get 7 nights for the price of 6!

Use Coupon Code: HOLIDAY

You can easily rent one of our RV’s at our various rental locations from Salt Lake City to Denver or near Vancouver ,CANADA.  Check out our Where you can Rent RV’s page for a location that’s convenient for you.

Posted in Oregon RV Camping Vacation, Utah RV Camping Vacation, Washington RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Winter RV Trip: Five Stunning National Parks

Feeling the shorter days and colder temperatures creeping up on you? Would you like to plan to get away, have fun and stay warm while you enjoy some of our national treasures? Here are five stunning National Parks you can visit during the coming months to lift your spirits and allow you to commune with nature.

If time allows, combine a few of these adventures while traveling in your RV so you have everything you need with you.

  • You can enjoy dog sledding at Snow Mountain Ranch, near Rocky Mountain National Park in Winter Park, CO. What an unusual experience and so much fun! See more information about it here.
  • Visit Olympic National Park and watch a winter storm travel across the Pacific from a luxurious hot tub. Olympic National Park has 73 miles of coastline that turns into a wave-crashing show in the winter. From November through February, storms coming in from the Pacific Ocean have wind gusts up to 60 miles-per-hour, not to mention the rain, sometimes accumulating six inches in 24-hours. The wind and rain combined can make it look like it’s raining horizontally.  The best time to watch a storm is when the tide is coming in and at high tide. In between storms, use the sunny time to explore the beach with its tide pools and tossed, teetering wood.
  • And at Yosemite, try and experience the Winemaker Weekend- Jan. 25-27, 2019, where you can join Napa’s Elizabeth Vianna, winemaker and general manager of Chimney Rock, at Rush Creek Lodge. Vianna is well-known for her estate-grown wines from Chimney Rock’s green-certified Napa Valley winery. Here you can sip wine paired with a gourmet prepared meal with one of Napa Valley’s renowned winemakers.

    Yosemite Valley

    Yosemite Valley

    Or come and visit the Yosemite landscape by going on a guided excursion. Winter provides a whole different view at Yosemite.

  • Go to the Grand Canyon on the Polar Express! Yes, really! Families looking to capture the awe of the holiday spirit in their children’s eyes will love Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express. Chris Van Allsburg’s classic book, The Polar Express, comes to life starting annually in November and ending in early January. Families board the special 1930s-era train at the depot in Williams, Arizona for a roundtrip-ride that lasts about 90 minutes. Passengers will ride through dark and quiet wilderness to The North Pole, where Santa and his reindeer wait. Aboard the Polar Express the spirit of Christmas is passed on to every boy and girl from Santa himself with their own special gift. The train departs at 5:30, and 7:30 p.m., and on some days at 3:30 p.m. Tickets sell fast, so don’t wait to book.
  • The Olympic Park in Utah is a wonderful place to fight the winter blues. Take part in this epic experience and feel more energized after you do it. Have you ever wondered how it would feel to climb on a bobsled and race down the track? In winter, the bobsled travels on ice, just as the Olympians do. You can head to Olympic Park in Park City for this ride on the 2002 Olympic Sliding Track.

Each of the National Parks has RV campgrounds for your accommodations. Check the one(s) you will be visiting for schedules due to inclement weather, but most have some winter operating times and there will be fewer people visiting, so winter can be an ideal time for a quiet getaway.

You can start your RV camping trip near Salt Lake City and rent an RV from El Monte RV there, or if you wish to rent at another location see our Where to Rent RV’s page here. And to make planning your trip even better, check out our RV Rental Deals page for current specials to help you get on your way!

Posted in Arizona RV Camping Vacation, Colorado RV Camping Vacation, Utah RV Camping Vacation, Washington RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

RV’ing For Thanksgiving Holiday Special

You may already be thinking about Thanksgiving… is it going to be the same old thing with way too many sweet potatoes and too much food in an atmosphere of gluttony with your family? Why not make it a special holiday this year by taking advantage of El Monte RV’s special Thanksgiving offer? Check out all the details of our RV rental special and how you can save money on the rental of an El Monte RV at all our nationwide locations.

To help make your Thanksgiving special, this is an RV rental special for rentals with pickup dates between November 1 and November 30. Rent for 4 nights or more and get double the miles free!  That’s 100 free miles per night!

Go out of town in an RV and take your ready-made accommodations with you so you don’t need to crowd into your relative’s house. Or make it a longer trip and enjoy some picturesque fall scenery and changing leaves on your way to or from your destination.

Or, consider, as host of the Thanksgiving feast, having an extra private space for your guests. Either way, an RV provides the perfect accommodation for you, your friends and family.

Ideas to Help Celebrate Thanksgiving

Here are some ideas to help you celebrate being together with your family and giving thanks for all you have to be thankful for.

Traditional Thanksgiving feast

Traditional Thanksgiving feast

Check out these award winning menus if you happen to be the host (and the cook) for your family’s gathering. Choose from 28 easy-to-make complete Thanksgiving menus here. Or try a vegan Thanksgiving feast; see suggested vegan menus and shopping list here.

Possible Touring Destinations

If you want to get out on the open road, consider traveling during Thanksgiving to these destinations.

Mid-Atlantic States: What about a visit to the Gettysburg Battlefield? This is a picturesque place to visit and experience a huge history lesson before the weather gets too cold to stroll on the battlefield. If it’s cold, you can drive through a self-guided tour of most of the key sites of this historic location. You can rent an RV from our Baltimore rental location which is only about one and a half hours from Gettysburg.

Northwest States: Try a visit along the trail first traveled by Lewis and Clark as they led American explorers across the country. Leaving from the mouth of the Missouri River, the Corps of Discovery made it all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back. Their journey was almost 8,000 miles long and took them two years to make. Wherever you may be, you can find parts of the Lewis and Clark Trail in Omaha, Nebraska, where the Trail Headquarters is located, all the way to the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon. See more details about their amazing journey and trail maps and locations of visitor centers and museums here.

To rent from our Ferndale, Washington location, click here.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving wherever you spend it and be grateful for all you have. Take advantage of our Thanksgiving special at all our nationwide locations.

Happy Thanksgiving from El Monte RV!

Posted in Food RV Vacations, Historical RV Vacation, Maryland RV Camping Vacation, Washington RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

RV Trip to Wild, Wonderful Washington

Two National Parks, One National Historical Park and One Awesome Recreation Area!

Washington offers some incredibly different scenery from the rest of the US, even the Pacific Northwest. Here, you can go from snow covered peaks on Mount Rainier to beaches covered with driftwood just asking to be carved or at least photographed. Whether you’re a hiker, a photographer or just a nature lover, Washington has a lot to offer.

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park encompasses nearly a million acres of vast wilderness on the Olympic Peninsula, in the northwest corner of Washington. This park protects thousands of years of human history, and several distinctly different ecosystems, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rain forests, and over 70 miles of wild coastline. It is diverse and beautiful with an incredible range of precipitation and elevation.

Designated as both a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations, the park serves as a living laboratory for scientists and students, as well as an incredible natural playground for visitors. Millions of people visit Olympic each year to experience its beauty, diversity, and many opportunities for adventure, exploration, and recreation.

You can hike short (1/4 to 1 mile) ranger-guided trails or go off for much longer and more challenging hikes to view the vast peaks of Mount Olympus. Mt. Olympus (7,980 ft.), the highest in the Olympics, is one of the most spectacular areas in Washington. Climbing here is only for experienced glacial climbers with proper equipment.

However, for most people Hurricane Hill is 1.6 miles one way and begins at the end of the Hurricane Ridge Road. The rough paved trail gains about 700 feet in elevation, giving panoramic views. This trail is also close to the visitor center which offers a large menu for a reasonably-priced lunch and spectacular views right off their decks. For more information about things to do, including maps and current alerts due to forest fires, see their website. 

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park offers a glimpse into glaciers where you can hear the ice of the glacier crack. Reaching 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning five major rivers. Sub-alpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park’s ecosystems. Plan a hike or a serious climb as you prefer. Check out all there is to do here.

San Juan Island National Historical Park

San Juan Island is well known for its splendid vistas, saltwater shore, quiet woodlands, orca whales and one of the last remaining native prairies in the Puget Sound/Northern Straits region. San Juan Island National Historical Park is composed of 2,141 acres of woodland, prairie and saltwater shoreline in two units on San Juan Island, one of the 172 named islands and reefs in San Juan County, Washington State.

But it was also here in 1859 that the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war over possession of the island, the crisis ignited by the death of a pig. The dispute is perhaps the best-known period in island history.

But the park also encompasses a rich and diverse environment that cannot be separated from the island’s 3,000-year human history. Long before the arrival of Europeans, the island sheltered a thriving culture attracted by its temperate climate, rich soil, abundant timber and marine resources. These same attributes lured Spain, Great Britain and the United States. Each explored, charted and named the islands while staking overlapping claims to the Oregon County– the present states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, portions of Wyoming and Montana and the province of British Columbia.

You can learn all the details of this fascinating chapter in history and more about the park on their website.

Round out your trip by visiting Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area

A jewel in northeast Washington, this park is worth the 5½ to 6 hour drive east from Seattle if you can make the time.

In 1941 the Grand Coulee Dam was built on the Columbia River as part of the Columbia River Basin project, creating a 130-mile long lake. Named for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area provides opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, camping, canoeing, hunting and visiting historic Fort Spokane and St. Paul’s Mission.

San Juan Island, WA

San Juan Island, WA

Where to Camp:

  • Olympic National Park: There are 16 campgrounds in Olympic National Park, although they do not have water or electrical hookups. Those amenities are offered at the two concession-operated campgrounds: Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort and the Log Cabin Resort. Check the websites for more details.
  • Mount Rainier National Park: There are four campgrounds in Mount Rainier National Park, as follows: Cougar Rock in the SW section of the park; Chanapecosh in the SE section; White River in the NE section and Mowich Lake in the NW section of the park. Check the park’s website for details.
  • San Juan Island: Both park units–American Camp and English Camp–despite their names, are day-use only. For an up-to-date list of lodging properties check the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau website.
  • Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area: To find out more about camping here and all the activities that abound in eastern Washington’s beautiful jewel, check their website.

You can rent an RV from El Monte RV in Vancouver/Bellingham, WA and drive to the Olympic Peninsula to start your adventure.

Posted in National Parks, Washington RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Visiting the National Parks by RV

Seeing a Show While Visiting the National Parks

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

The Park: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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

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

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

The Park: Yosemite National Park

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

The Venue: Save Mart Center, Fresno, Calif.

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

The Park: Grand Canyon National Park

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

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

The Venue: The Orpheum Theater, Flagstaff, Ariz.

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

The Park: Mt. Rainier National Park

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

The Venue: The Gorge Amphitheatre, George, Wash.

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

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

About the Author

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

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

RV Road Trip Nirvana: Stalking Seattle’s Grunge History

“RV camping” and “Grunge” may not click at first glance, but if you still miss the ‘90s and the glory days of Grunge, it will all soon make sense. Seattle, the birthplace of flannel-wearing, electric guitar slamming garage bands, also happens to be an awesome RV camping venue. If your vintage vinyl honors Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and Nirvana, your next RV road trip should be to Seattle.

Where Can I Find Seattle Grunge Landmarks?

Your Seattle pilgrimage can take you to the places where the bands played, recorded and hung out in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. Expect some of the locations to be under different names now; as with every city, businesses come and go. You can, however, map the trail of places important during the Grunge movement without much trouble.

As you pay homage to the Grunge Movement in Seattle, you’ll want to visit the unofficial Kurt Cobain memorial in Viretta Park. This unassuming little spot directly across the street from the house where Kurt Cobain died includes a park bench covered with graffiti from Cobain fans. Feel free to photograph the house from a distance, remembering that it’s private property.

Check the website for London Bridge Studio before you come to find out when they’ll be open for tours. Some of the biggest names in Grunge recorded here, including Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Buy your tour tickets online before you come to Seattle on your RV road trip.

Grunge may be gone, but Seattle still has a five-star indy and live music scene. Plan to visit The Crocodile, a live music venue where Nirvana and Pearl Jam were known to play. Check their concert schedule; you might just get lucky and be in Seattle when one of the Grunge tribute bands is performing.

Another venerable music venue that should be on your list is The Showbox near Pike Place Market. Grunge gods often played here, and it’s still a good place to catch live music, with every genre music you can imagine playing here since the ‘30s.

One more stop Grunge fans will want to make before leaving Seattle is Re-Bar, the legendary club where Nirvana was bounced for starting a food fight during the release party for Nevermind. Not your run-of-the-mill art/music/comedy venue, Re-Bar offers edgy shows and often features regional bands.

What RV Campgrounds Are Near Seattle?

It is possible to find a campsite close-in to the city, but drawing a circle in a forty-mile radius around Seattle will give you lots of amazing options. You’ll find private camping resorts and campgrounds from Everett to Tacoma. We’ll highlight just a few.

Eagle Tree RV Park in Poulsbo, WA, is on the Kitsap Peninsula, just across Puget Sound from downtown Seattle and served by the Seattle-Bremerton Ferry.  Lake Pleasant RV Park, north of Seattle in Bothell, WA, has lakeside campsites and easy access to bike trails that will take you to downtown Seattle.  Blue Sky RV Park, twenty miles west of Seattle on I-90, has a nice, park-like feel with plenty of green space.

National park campgrounds near Seattle are another option. The Seattle/Puget Sound area is ringed by national parks with picturesque RV campsites. You’re going to have to drive a little farther to reach those Seattle Grunge landmarks, but the view will make it worth the trip.

Mount Rainier National Park, in the shadow of that mighty peak, has three campgrounds that accommodate RVs. (Check the website for RV length limits.)   

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Olympic National Park & Forest west of Seattle also accommodates RVs in three of its campgrounds.

North Cascades National Park, where the glaciers rule, has RV-ready campsites in its main campground. Here’s one more resource to help you find the right campground in Washington State.

Where’s Seattle’s Best Coffee Shop?

Admit it, when I said “Seattle”, your brain said, “coffee”. And what would a Grunge-seeking, coffee-loving RVer do when visiting Seattle except search for the city’s best coffee shops? It’s going to take some time to visit the espresso options in this java-centric city, but here are a few suggestions to get you started.

  •         Milstead & Co. in the Fremont neighborhood ranks high in hipster chic, but Grunge fans will still love the coffee.
  •         Storyville Coffee in the famed Pike Place Market never lacks in espresso-scented charm.
  •         Voxx on Eastlake comes with the bonus of mid-century modern décor.

If Grunge music never died, as far as you’re concerned, and you’ve learned how comfortable RV travel can be, it’s time to put tires to pavement and get to Seattle. Walk the streets, visit the venues and experience the coffee of your dreams in the town where the best bands of the nineties got their start.

Posted in Washington RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Five Northwest Lake Destinations to Discover

Out of RV Travel Ideas?

If you camp by RV often, you may find the same old campgrounds losing their luster. We’ve got five enticing lake destinations in America’s rugged Northwest to help restart your RV camping hearts. Pick one from our list below and get back on the road to camping fun.

  1.   Washington – Lake Chelan

Located in the mountainous forests of Central Washington, Lake Chelan is a developed lake ringed by resort properties, quaint villages and abundant RV camping options.

Sunset at Lake Chelan, WA

Sunset at Lake Chelan, WA

Winding its way through Lake Chelan National Recreation AreaLakeshore RV Resort, operated by the city of Chelan, features full-service amenities paired with a swimming beach and easy access to services in town.the lake is custom-made for outdoor recreation. Boating, fishing, swimming, hiking and camping are popular ways to enjoy the bright blue waters of Lake Chelan and the surrounding Cascades. Campers are also within an easy drive of wineries, galleries, restaurants and shops in two lakeside villages – Chelan and Manson. A must-do day trip idea—hike or take the passenger ferry to the rustic village of Stehekin to enjoy unspoiled beauty.    

  1.   Oregon – Lake of the Woods

If you’ve been RV camping in Oregon, you’ve probably camped at magnificent Crater Lake. We’d like to offer Oregon travelers another possibility—RV camping at Lake of the Woods, a smaller, more intimate setting with plenty of woodsy charm.

Lake of the Woods, in Oregon’s Southern Cascades, is a high mountain lake kept full year-round by snow runoff and natural springs. Kokanee salmon, German Brown and Rainbow Trout thrive in the cold, clear waters at five-thousand-feet elevation.

Lake of the Woods Resort operates the camping concession within Fremont-Winema National Forest. Their small, nicely wooded campground features full hook-up and electric & water sites and is close to the marina.

Plan to spend many hours outdoors at this lush mountain paradise, where trails wind through old-growth forests, around the lake and beyond to nearby mountains. Views of Mt. McLoughlin frame your journey as you paddle a canoe or kayak along the lake’s shoreline.

  1.   Idaho – Lake Coeur d’Alene

Lake Coeur d’Alene in Northern Idaho is famous for its bright blue waters and first-class outdoor recreation. Camp in one of several RV campgrounds and resorts near the city of Coeur d’Alene and enjoy tour boat cruises, guided fishing excursions for chinook and bass, and golf on one of ten courses that ring this stunningly scenic lake.

Trails in and around the city (be sure to try Tubbs Hill), as well as a section of the seventy-mile Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, cater to hikers, trail runners and mountain biking enthusiasts. Adjacent Coeur d’Alene National Forest is also home to hundreds of miles of trails.

  1.   Montana – Flathead Lake

Been promising your camping companions a fishing charter experience? There’s no better place in Montana to fish than Flathead Lake, the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi.

Situated in the valley adjacent to Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake is fed by two cold, clear rivers. Local outfitters can guide you to where the forty-plus-pound Lake Trout (Mackinaws) feed.

If you’re not into fishing, never fear. The lake is surrounded by hiking trails, two scenic highways that skirt the lake’s thirty-mile length and plenty of places to enjoy wildlife watching, swimming, water sports and comfortable Montana RV camping.

Speaking of camping, Finley Point State Park Campground and a half-dozen private RV parks ring the lake, offering a variety of amenities. Most are on the water or in the lakeside towns of Polson, Bigfork and Rollins.

  1.   Wyoming – Jackson Lake

One of the star attractions of Grand Teton National Park is the collection of alpine lakes within the park’s boundaries. Several of these mountain lakes are remote, accessible to hikers and tent campers. There are, however, RV camping options near the chilly, pristine waters of Jackson Lake.

Colter Bay RV Park, five minutes from Jackson Lake, is a full-service campground with full-hookups and easy access to services in Colter Bay Village. Colter Bay Campground is a large, wooded campground suitable for dry camping in an RV. Showers, laundry facilities and a dump station are close by.

Why camp at Jackson Lake while visiting Grand Teton National Park? It’s centrally located for access to all the park has to offer. The lake itself is famous for cutthroat, brown trout and lake trout fishing, and is also perfect for launching your sailboat or kayak. Boat tours are offered throughout the summer to give campers an up-close view of Mt. Moran and other jagged peaks that border the lake.

Pick a lake that appeals to your heart and plan to go RV camping soon in America’s glorious Northwest. Be sure to let us know which lakeside camping adventure you’ll be repeating!

Posted in Idaho RV Camping Vacation, Montana RV Camping Vacation, Oregon RV Camping Vacation, RV Campgrounds, State Parks, Washington RV Camping Vacation, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment