Create an RV Camping Classroom for the Kids!

Smart families start planning their spring RV camping trips early to get the best reservations and discounts. There’s another reason to plan early for your next camping vacation with the kids—you’ll have time to create a fun ‘RV camping classroom’ to keep them entertained, educated and challenged as you travel.

Family Fun in an El Monte RV

Family Fun in an El Monte RV!

We’ve got lots of ideas for teaching young campers as you travel—and they won’t even mind the homework!

RV Camping Classroom Ideas

  • Catch the Camping Bug:  Bring along a magnifying glass (or load a magnifying app on your cell phone) and plastic containers with lids and go on an insect safari. Have youngsters look up ahead of time what kinds of bugs live where you’ll be camping. Give a small prize (gummy bugs?) for each kind they find, and ask them  to write about, draw or make up a story about the insects they catch. Tip: Accompany younger kids to avoid insect bites!
  • Create a Colorful Campground: When it’s time to take a break from swimming, hiking and other outdoor activities, set up watercolors and sturdy paper on the picnic table. Encourage young artists to interpret nature on paper, and take along fishing line and bag clips to make a campground art gallery.
  • Vacation Memories in a Box: Another artistic way to encourage campground learning is to bring a shoebox for each child, along with a collection of art supplies. Have each young artist create a diorama that represents their favorite memories of the trip—natural wonders, campground antics, animals in the wild—you may be surprised by what they want to remember! Pack their creations carefully to display back home.
  • Camping Finance Challenge: RV camping makes vacations affordable, but do the kids know what it costs to take your trips? Give each child a ledger (paper or app) where they can record expenses along the way (here’s a great sample ledger.) Give them a head start by taking them shopping for camping trip groceries and supplies. Point out where to see the cost of gas on a pump and how to figure tips at roadside cafes. Up the ante by giving each child a budget for their own camping expenses like souvenirs and snacks. Award the best budget hound for keeping accurate track of the most expenses.
  • Look to the Skies! One of the things we love most about camping in the great outdoors is the ability to see stars and constellations invisible in the city. Teach your kids about the heavens by taking along a telescope, using a helpful astronomy app like Pocket Universe or just laying on a blanket and looking up. There are lots of ways to expand this RV classroom exercise—draw, paint or sculpt what they see in the sky, write a story about space travel or challenge them to make up their own planets, complete with occupants!
  • Animal Arithmetic: Create a simple set of miniature playing cards on paper, with a photo or picture of common birds or animals on each and a numeric value assigned. Have the youngsters cut them out and put a set for each of them in envelopes. As you travel and camp, instruct them to watch for those birds and animals, look them up on their cards and track the numeric value on the outside of their envelopes. Decide how much you’ll let them score for spotting unusual species. On the last day of your RV camping vacation, have them add their totals and award a prize to the child with the highest score.
  • Camp Captain: Teach your children leadership skills on vacation by telling them ahead of time they’ll be in charge of one family activity.
  • Assign them a campground meal to plan and enlist others to help them cook.
  • Let them decide what hiking trail the family will take and then ask them to plan how long it should take and what they’ll need to take along (water, snacks, sunscreen, first aid kit, etc.).
  • If you’re camping near historical sites, have them choose one as a day trip and then prepare a preview for the family.

Any kind of activity families can do while camping can be turned into a fun and educational experience. Remember to allow young campers to do things to their own ability and don’t expect perfection—you’re on vacation, after all!

Let us know what types of RV camping classroom ideas you’ve tried while traveling with the kids. Share your epic successes (and your funny failures) below so other camping families can learn from your experience. And don’t forget to let us know if you need help planning an RV rental

Photo Credit:  An El Monte RV customer photo, permission granted.

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Drive the Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway in an RV

Downtown Sandpoint, Idaho looking north from 1st and Bridge

Downtown Sandpoint, Idaho looking north from 1st and Bridge

The Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway conjures up mental images of cowboy days when horses ran wild and fences didn’t exist. Taking an RV vacation up this byway is inspiring and fulfilling when you wish some time to contemplate our natural world. You will drive north on the eastern side of the Selkirk Mountains and follow a historic path that was taken by Kootenai Tribes is early days. Moving through northern Idaho’s beautiful scenery is something you won’t want to miss.

Sandpoint, Idaho is your starting point. This resort community deserves some of your vacation time, as it is a town which gives you easy access to all kinds of outdoor fun. All sorts of events are happening throughout the summer months and into the fall, so your family will never want for things to do and see.

Of course, Lake Pend Oreille is right there, with plenty of big fish and many miles of water so you can get in some boating. This is the state’s largest lake and its deepest as well. In fact Lake Pend Oreille is the fifth deepest lake in the U.S. The beaches are wonderful places to spend an afternoon soaking up the sun.

If you love paddling, you may want to try the Pack River which is a 23-mile river trail and used for canoeing from April to October. You can take Upper Pack River Road and reach stunning views at Chimney Rock and find miles and miles of hiking trails.

Wildlife is abundant at the McArthur Lake Wildlife Management Area. You may catch glimpses of numerous birds, and if you are a birder this is definitely the place to stop. The 200 species of birds here include waterfowl, upland birds, shorebirds and raptors.

Naturally, the scenic wonders you can enjoy on this trip include the beautiful Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Fishing in the waters in this forest provides many catches you will be able to write home about. See all the wildlife that make this region their home, from deer and elk to grizzlies and wolves.

Before you reach Bonners Ferry, you can stop to camp at the Blue Lake RV Resort. You can rent paddle boats or kayaks, exercise your pet in their pet run, and find convenient laundry facilities. When you head once again north, you will move through the Kootenai Valley to see the rich agricultural lands which make this area so popular.

Bonners Ferry will take you back in time, with many historic buildings and other stories from early days. Here is where Edwin Bonner created the ferry crossing so gold seekers could make their way across the Kootenai River and discover their fortunes. Take a side trip to Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge for more wildlife viewing. There is so much to do in this area and you will want to fit in as much as possible! Once you explore the immediate surroundings, you can turn back towards home or continue north to the Canadian border and have more adventures. What a trip it has been!

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

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Travel the Top of the Rockies in an RV this Summer

View of the Rockies Near Twin Lakes Colorado

View of the Rockies Near Twin Lakes, Colorado

Move along the top of the Rocky Mountains on the Top of the Rockies Byway in Colorado. This trip is an exciting venture across our planet’s most incredible Continental Divide. Sea level is a thing of the past and the rugged mountains present themselves to you in all their magnificence. An ideal destination, too, to get out of the summer heat! Experience the best of the Rockies on this RV trip!

Beginning your adventure in Aspen, you may want to spend some time in this mountain town before moving on. With all the trails surrounding Aspen, it is a great place to get out and hike. Of course, there is always something going on right in town, from a festival to a sporting event. You’ll find something to capture your fancy. Find a secluded spot to sit and fish for a day.

As you follow Highway 82, you are going to come to Independence Pass, a pass that has challenged travelers for many decades. You can drive three miles from the summit to visit the ghost town of Independence to get an idea of the many broken dreams of those who left when the gold rush was over. You will also have the opportunity to visit the Upper Lost Man Trailhead Interpretative Site on your way to this spot. Learning a little history is always good for the soul and puts things in perspective.

If anyone in your party is blind or disabled, the Braille and Discovery Trails were developed especially for them. The Braille Trail allows visitors to experience the outdoors in so many ways – sound, touch and smell. It is an enlightening experience for anyone at all and is worth a stop.

Picture of Downtown Leadville Colorado

Downtown Leadville, Colorado

Stop in Twin Lakes on your way along this scenic byway. The town overlooks the Twin Lakes and has the towering Mt. Elbert as a backdrop. The natural beauty of this area will simply take your breath away. And then, you will come to Leadville. Truly a historic town, Leadville offers a charm that is hard to resist. Besides great food, you will have the opportunity to get out into the wilderness and hike, bike, or fish – or all three. Browse the antique stores. Perhaps buy a gift for a friend or loved one back home. You will have many great amenities at Leadville RV Corral, so settle in there for the duration.

While in Leadville, be sure to see Tabor Opera House, currently being renovated to restore it to its original beauty. Also stop at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum to see numerous displays of valuable metals and minerals. This museum honors those who worked so hard to discover and develop our country’s natural resources.

Pass through Red Cliff (or stop for a snack) and then on to Minturn which marks the end of your RV adventure. The views here are wonderful, and you can stop and take them in before turning to head for home. There is nothing like a summer Rocky Mountain RV trip to rejuvenate the spirit.

Picture credits: The pictures of the Rockies near Twin Lake is from the National Scenic Byway website. The picture of downtown Leadville is by Dennis Adams and is from the National Scenic Byways website. Both images are in the public domain.

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An RV Adventure on the City of Rocks Back Country Byway

Emery Canyon in the City of Rocks National Reserve

Emery Canyon in the City of Rocks National Reserve

Get set for a real adventure on the City of Rocks Back Country Byway in Idaho. This is a drive around the Albion Mountain Range with amazing sights to see along the way. Beginning your trip through the Albion Valley you will take Idaho 77 and follow the roads to Birch Creek and finally Oakley, Idaho. The entire route is only 49 miles and will take a few hours depending how often you stop and for how long.

Albion is a fascinating place to visit before you embark on your RV journey. If you stop in at the Albion Museum you’ll find mementos of the area’s pioneer history. Another attraction in this historic town is the Albion Normal School which operated from 1893 until 1951. Once you get your fill of history, you can move on with your travels.

Follow the Howell Canyon Road and get out into nature in the Sawtooth National Forest. Climb to Mount Harrison and visit the fire lookout to get some of the most panoramic views imaginable. If you are really adventurous, you may want to do a long hike all the way from the lookout to City of the Rocks National Reserve. You could either have someone drive your RV there and meet you, or you could hike the 26.2 miles back again. Be sure to have your sleeping bags to hand if you do this. If not up for a hike, you can simply enjoy the scenic lake.

When you reach Connor Creek you’ll be in the region where emigrants moving along the California Trail traveled in their quest for a life in the West. Further along in Elba, the towering mountains on all sides brings to mind how difficult travel was for these pioneers.

Next stop is beautiful Castle Rocks State Park. This is where you have the chance for some real outdoor recreation. Any rock climbers in your family? The rock climbing opportunities here are abundant. There are trails where you can ride horseback, hike or bike. Wildlife and birds are abundant too, and you may spot a moose wandering in the forest. This is always a thrilling experience!

City of Rocks National Reserve is something you definitely won’t want to miss. This is a picturesque area with the granite spires towering above and meadows beckoning you into nature. Rock climbers come here from all areas of the U.S. to meet the challenges of those granite formations. Have a picnic, hike or do some bird watching. This is a marvelous place to relax and let all worries fade away.

Camping at Birch Creek provides an ideal spot with the backdrop of the Albion Mountain Range and Middle Mountain. There is a campground with 20 RV sites with hookups. Then onto your last stop on this byway adventure – Oakley Historic District with its amazing stone and wood structures from the late 1800s. This entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places.

What a trip this has been! There is nothing like an RV adventure on the City of Rocks Back Country Byway!

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A Summer RV Trip along the Connecticut River Byway

Along the Connecticut River Byway near Mount Toby and Sunderland, MA

Along the Connecticut River Byway near Mount Toby and Sunderland, MA

This summer take an RV trip along the Connecticut River Byway to experience the most powerful river trail through New England. You can get a full taste of the history, beauty and heritage of three states as you drive this most fascinating and inspiring route. Outdoor recreation is abundant, and the entire family will find activities and fun things to do along the way. Paddling, fishing, hiking and bird watching – whichever you prefer is available, and more.

Starting in Massachusetts and traveling up through Vermont and New Hampshire, this scenic drive will take approximately 14 hours, depending on how often and how long you stop. When you pass through this landscape of rich farms and historic villages, you get a different view of our heritage. Stop at the Mount Holyoke Range State Park and you can find what hikes are available by stopping in at Notch Visitor Center.

On Mount Holyoke, you should be sure to visit the Summit House which was once a luxurious hotel and is now part of J.A. Skinner State Park. The views from this spot will literally take your breath away. On a clear day you will be able to see all the way into New Hampshire and get a glimpse of Mount Greylock.

In Hadley, Massachusetts, stop in at the Hadley Farm Museum. Here you will discover an incredible collection of early farm vehicles and equipment, all housed in a barn built in 1782. Historic artifacts to see include butter churns, toys, cobbler benches and other furnishings. You will really be taking a step back in time.

If you are ready for some hiking, you can embark upon a portion of the Metacomet Monadnock Mattabesett Trail, a National Scenic Trail offering some outstanding scenery and plenty of other recreation as well. One part of the trail is great for those of all ages and is five miles long (the Route 77 to Route 17 section).

Coming upon quaint New England towns is all part of the adventure. Small communities show you a huge welcome, such as in Canaan, Vermont or other Vermont towns such as Littleton, Brattleboro or Vernon.

When traveling through Vermont, stop at one or more of the many state parks along the way. There is a long list of them. Recommended is Fort Dummer State Park in Brattleboro. This fort in the southern foothills of the beautiful Green Mountains was flooded in 1908 with the building of the dam on the river. It can be viewed from the vista from Sunrise Trail. Quechee State Park is also a place to stop and nearby you can visit the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site and the glass blowing mill and pottery shop. Both parks have campgrounds for RV motorhomes.

When in New Hampshire, find many wonderful places to stop with the family to take in the sights and sounds of New England. Small towns such as Pittsburg, New Hampshire, Bath, Woodsville and Hinsdale invite you into their locale so you can enjoy the hospitality and ambience. The North Woods is an intriguing place and one that provides a multitude of recreation opportunities. Of course, in the winter there is skiing and snow sports, but in summer there are just as many things to do, such as hiking, trout and salmon fishing and much more.

Your route is sure to take you by the Chesterfield Gorge Natural Area, thirteen acres of natural beauty. There are numerous hiking paths along the gorge and you can take some photos of the views. As you hike along through the gorge, notice how the brook flows from a rushing cascade to a gentle stream. It will finally merge with the Connecticut River farther downstream.

In Lancaster, New Hampshire, the John Wingate Weeks Historic Site gives you the opportunity to see a lodge that makes interior decorators melt with envy. Gorgeous picture windows, massive fireplaces of fieldstone! Climb the tower and view the countryside from the observation deck.

Naturally, you will want to get out into the forest and the best way to do that is to take to the trails. Natural wonders are abundant on the Connecticut River Birding Trail (PDF) with numerous stops along the Connecticut River to witness the many species of birds. The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is also nearby, a place where Native Americans made their way across the land in their birch-bark canoes. History runs deep here and the sights you see will remind you of that time and time again.

Picture credits: The picture of the Connecticut River Byway is by Christopher Curtis and is from the America’s Byways Website. It is in the public domain.

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Drive along Lake Coeur d’ Alene Shores on an RV Vacation in Idaho

Beauty Bay on the Lake Coeur d'Alene Scenic Byway

Beauty Bay on the Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway

Driving through an area of mountains and lakes filled with an array of wildlife makes an ideal RV vacation to take this summer. On the Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway the traveler will discover a summer playground that outdoes most others. As you drive from the junction of I-90 and Idaho Highway 97 along the eastern shore of the lake, you will spot elk, moose and deer roaming and grazing. This will be a trip to remember.

The byway is a two-lane affair, winding through the forests. Access is simple in the summer months and RVers will just have to be confident in their driving abilities. When you reach Wolf Lodge Bay this is where bird watching is at its zenith. Find raptors, waterfowl, upland birds and songbirds galore. The Western tanager is likely the most colorful bird you see. Learn to listen for the call of the loons and the soft hooting of the owls.

Before moving on you will find RV camping is excellent at Lake Coeur d’ Alene Camping Resort with full hookups and direct access by boat to the lake. Stay awhile here then drive on. Obtain some of the best views of Lake Coeur d’ Alene from around Beauty Bay. You can take one paved trail to a deck that overlooks the water. There are other unpaved trails in the area as well. This day-use area is a great place to stop for a picnic among the trees.

More panoramic views and wildlife spotting at the Mineral Ridge Trail! Wander through the Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs as you admire the natural beauty surrounding you. The lake glistens and the sun shines as you make your way to the viewpoints and stop to take in the magnificent scenery. Take the short trail to the west to see an abandoned mine.

The Caribou Ridge National Recreation Trail invites you into the wilderness at any time, but the summer season is the best. In five miles of hiking you can go from around 2100 feet to 4400 feet in elevation. Some parts of the trail are just gentle strolls, so just choose your expertise level. Get a view of the lake in the distance and go all the way to summit – just to say you did it.

For boat access to Lake Coeur d’ Alene, head for Blackwell Island Recreation Site. There are plenty of launch sites, parking spaces and picnic areas to sit and enjoy a quiet lakeside lunch. Walk along the boardwalk that follows the path of the Spokane River. Wildlife viewing decks are the favorite attraction along the way.

One of the best trails in the West is the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. You can find access near Lake Coeur d’ Alene, although the entire trails spans some 72 miles from Plummer, Idaho to Mullan, Idaho. This is a paved trail which is ideal for hikers, bikers, skaters and even those in electric wheelchairs.

When you end your journey at Idaho Highway 3, you may wish to carry on exploring on the White Pine Scenic Byway. Otherwise, you can now head home with memories that will last a lifetime.

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Travel the Ohio River Scenic Byway on an RV Vacation

Ohio River in the Fall

Ohio River in the Fall

Take off through the beautiful state of Ohio on the Ohio River Scenic Byway for an RV vacation to remember. You can travel the entire 943 miles through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, or you can start out just exploring Ohio. Rich in history and full of marvelous views, this drive will allow you to enjoy the rural landscapes and small towns in a unique trip across our lovely American land.

Begin your trip in North Bend, Indiana as you won’t want to miss seeing the Harrison Tomb with its beautiful design of marble and limestone. Views are spectacular here of the Ohio Valley. Move on to Cincinnati where you simply must stop at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House. This is a taste of history regarding the abolitionists, the Underground Railroad and much more. You will discover plenty to do in downtown throughout the summer with various cultural events occurring.

While in Cincinnati there are more extras as far as attractions go, like the Carew Tower and the Museum Center at Union Terminal. But you are going to want to move on to enjoy the remaining sights along the Ohio River Scenic Byway. Next stop will be Georgetown, Ohio, the spot where you can see Ulysses S. Grant’s boyhood home.

In Ripley, the Rankin House is a must-see for history buffs. Around 2,000 slaves were hidden as the Underground Railroad moved them to freedom. This National Historic Landmark is definitely worth a stop. Other places you may want to visit are Carolyn’s House of Mini Rooms Museum with tiny rooms based on various themes and the famous Ripley Museum.

Next stop – Portsmouth. Pick up some antiques while here because this town undoubtedly has some of the best. Browsing the shops is just as much fun as buying, but once you get started you won’t want to stop. Drive out and have a picnic at Alexandria Point where two rivers meet. Forest land is all around for outdoor recreation.

When you reach Gallipolis, visit Our House State Memorial for an education on the rich history of this region, and experience this French Art Colony by walking the streets and absorbing the ambience. After a relaxing time here, move on to Marietta. This city offers many interesting sights but top among them are the Mounds of Marietta, ancient Indian earthworks.

You are reaching the end of this phase of your Ohio River adventure, but take time to enjoy Steubenville and tour Historic Fort Steuben. There are many murals on the walls of this town’s buildings which may provide some memorable photos. Then in Wellsville, stop at the Wellsville River Museum and a short distance from town, see the Museum of Ceramics in East Liverpool. You have had quite a trip, but a fulfilling one. You can return again to enjoy the beauty of Ohio or you can continue your journey into and through other states. The choice is yours!

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Take an RV Trip along the Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway

Anna Ruby Falls in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Anna Ruby Falls in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

It is that time of year to head to Georgia and take a scenic drive in an RV. This is the ideal spring adventure, beginning your extensive travels planned for the year. The beauty of Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest awaits you. This is where you can enjoy those cool mountain streams, misty valleys and pristine forests. All manner of outdoor activities are right at your doorstep.

Start out in Helen, Georgia, a wonderful village tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The rich history of the Native Americans who lived here is enough to take up considerable time to investigate. Wander the cobblestone alleyways and dine in fabulous restaurants. RV camping is plentiful and you will find a long list of RV campgrounds to choose from. Once you settle in, you can plan your 41-mile trip along the nearby scenic byway.

The Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway attracts travelers from all over. They love to see the gorgeous cascades of numerous waterfalls and get lovely views of the valley. This byway is the way to see it all. There will be lots of places to stop and go for a hike or cast a line into a bubbling stream.

If you want to go hiking, you will have access to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. This trail travels through dense forests and moves over ridges with amazing views. You will also have the ability to reach some wonderful places to fish. There is nothing quite like fishing a mountain stream in Chattahoochee National Forest.

A perfect trip is the famous Russell-Brasstown Waterfall Tour where you can get the full tour of all the best spots in the area. This is the greatest time of year for this tour, too. The mild temperatures make for cool hiking and sightseeing. You can take in the sights, hike, fish or do whatever else your heart desires.

Brasstown Bald is another must-see. This is the tallest mountain in Georgia. Getting to the top will provide you with some incredible 360-degree views from 4,784 feet above sea level. The road is very winding and steep, so be sure to get weather reports and more road information before driving your RV motorhome up there.

Into the wilderness you go and you will soon discover the Chattahoochee River’s Headwaters with the forests surrounding and the wildlife peeking around every corner. Perhaps you will see some deer, turkey and quail. There is so much territory to explore. And all of it is accessible from the byway. Just pull over, get out and the world is at your feet!

Nearby is Unicoi State Park. You will find campsites for an RV here too, and best of all tons of outdoor recreation. You can rent a boat for a paddle on the lake, take a mountain bike along the trails, swim or even play tennis. It is all here for you!

It is great fun visiting Anna Ruby Falls, a beautiful scenic area where two creeks meet. Each creek forms one of the twin waterfalls and falls over the rocks into Smith Creek. Grab your camera to get a shot to take home. You’ll want to share these sights with friends who couldn’t be there. The picnic areas make a wonderful respite from traveling around. Bring some food and spread out a feast. Check out the visitor center too!

Be sure to stop at Raven Cliff Falls and Wilderness Area so you can take in another fantastic waterfall and have more opportunity to see nature at its finest. Raven Cliff Falls tumbles 100 feet in a series of three lovely waterfalls. Again, a time to have your camera at the ready! There are other waterfalls around too.

Another state park which offers some natural beauty is Vogel State Park. Spring is the perfect time to hike the trails with wildflowers blooming all along the way. RV camping is available here and you may just want to stay awhile. Swimming and fishing are great here. You have over 200 acres you can explore.

Yes, you will be really happy you brought an RV on this trip so you can relax in a homey environment in between adventures. You can sit with the rest of the family over a cool drink or a hot cup of coffee and relive your day’s journeys and discoveries. You will get a good night’s sleep and be right there, ready to go the next morning and see what else Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway has to offer.

Picture credits: The picture of the Anna Ruby Falls is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is in the public domain.

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An Autumn RV Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Picture of the Blue Ridge Parkway on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina

For breathtaking fall foliage, you must take the Blue Ridge Parkway through North Carolina and Virginia. An RV trip along this blazingly beautiful route will remain in memory for many years to come. Stop and get some delicious apple cider, enjoy a hay ride and a number of fall festivals.

Start your adventure in Asheville, North Carolina and travel north on the byway. But before leaving Asheville, stop and see the Biltmore Estate for some history of the area. Tour the estate and see the acres of lovely gardens winery and more. Then stop by the North Carolina Arboretum for more garden trails and an amazing bonsai collection.

A fun stop along the way is the Museum of North Carolina Minerals near Spruce Pine, North Carolina. See the more than 300 types of minerals and gems located on this beautiful parkway. The interactive displays are fun for the whole family.

You will want to take your time as you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway because there is so much to see and do. Stop at the many overlooks and get out your camera to capture the beauty. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and all the plants and animals that make this area their home. Drive to see rushing mountain rivers and enjoy panoramic views. There is also plenty of hiking, biking and fishing for the outdoor recreation lovers.

You will find a multitude of things to do along the way. One you may enjoy is the Linville Caverns in Marion, North Carolina. This attraction is open every day through November. You will be guided through the caverns for some incredible sights. The Natural Bridge is another place to stop and take a breather. In Natural Bridge, VA, this is a spot of wonder, a place to see how nature truly can make a majestic mark on our land. Learn about how people lived here 300 years ago by chatting with the Living History staff in the Monacan Indian Village.

Plan ahead as you move onward through Virginia because you will find RV camping at Montebello Camping & Fishing Resort. You can rent a paddle boat to get out on the water and can fish all year round. RVs are welcome!

Of course, you can’t miss checking out all there is to do in Shenandoah National Park. Hike to see lovely waterfalls and incredible vistas of wooded hills all bright with fall colors. You may want to stay here for a few days to take in everything. Then moving on to the end of the parkway, be sure to also visit Skyline Caverns in Front Royal. If you have kids with you, they will love the miniature train ride.

Yes, a Blue Ridge Parkway RV trip has nothing else that can quite compare, especially with autumn beauty marking your way.

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RV Vacation Fun on the Talimena National Scenic Byway

Talimena Scenic Byway

Talimena Scenic Byway

If you’re looking for an amazing RV vacation, look no further than the Talimena National Scenic Byway – a 54-mile stretch of highway that runs along the ridge of the Ouachita Mountains, located at the border between the states of Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Don’t just limit yourself to driving along the highway for an hour or two, however. There are enough things to do along this road that you could easily spend multiple days here, coming back to visit in every season. There are different sights to see and different activities to enjoy whether you come during the winter, spring, summer, or fall.

One thing you might want to do is see the mountains the way the original settlers did. You can take a number of hikes of different lengths, or rent horses for a day ride through the mountains.

Devoted birders will want to visit “Bird Island” in Lake Ouachita. The mountains are home to a wide variety of species of birds, including many that are extremely unusual and hard to find outside of this protected area. There is also a great deal of wildlife, much of it visible from the windows of your motorhome as you drive along the scenic highway.

The Ouachita Mountains are named from an Indian word meaning “hunting trip”, and there are still plenty of hunting and fishing opportunities to be had among the mountains. On the Arkansas side of the mountains, you can hunt bear, beaver, birds, bobcats, coyotes, deer, elk, fox, opossum, otters, raccoons, quail, turkey, and waterfowl. On the Oklahoma side of the mountains, you can hunt antelope, bear, birds, deer, pheasant, quail, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, and waterfowl. Of course, you must obtain the correct hunting permits from the appropriate state authorities. Also important to note is that in some parks you are required to display a permit in your vehicle. Please check the local authorities.

Other exciting additions to your RV vacation are the many watersports in the lakes and rivers of the Ouachita Mountains. You can take day trips or overnight adventures through whitewater rapids, go kayaking, or go boating on the many lakes.

A short distance away in the San Bois Mountains, you’ll find the notorious Robbers Cave. This location is known to have been a hideout used by Jesse James and Belle Starr. Nowadays, it is popular with those who love exploring caves, as well as climbers and rappellers who traverse up and down the outside of the cave.

There are plenty of RV Parks in the countryside around the Talimena National Scenic Byway. Some are rustic campgrounds, some include horseback riding and trail rides, and one even includes a health spa.

While you’re here, be sure to sample the local barbecue. It’s considered a specialty. There are also a number of local artisans that sell their wares at specialty shops tucked away in remote locations. You can find antiques, novelties, and curios. Don’t worry about buying too much, because you can always store your finds in your RV!

Picture credits: The picture of the Talimena Scenic Byway is from the National Scenic Byways website. It is public domain by Dennis Adams.

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