Experience the Brandywine Valley on an RV Vacation

Brandywine Valley

Hagley mill race on the Brandywine Creek, Delaware, USA.

Although a short trip, traveling through the Brandywine Valley offers beautiful scenery and many interesting sights to see. Here you will get tastes of history, natural beauty and country hospitality. Driving through Pennsylvania and Delaware as fall approaches is a vacation trip not to pass up, particularly in a comfortable RV motorhome.

Take the twelve-mile drive on Routes 100 and 52 through rolling hills. But don’t neglect to stop and see the sights. You’ll begin your journey in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania where you can browse the shops and find fine dining. You can stay at the Philadelphia/West Chester KOA in Coatesville, PA with a lovely rural setting and plenty of activities.

Be sure to travel to the Brandywine Battlefield Park to experience the feel of life in the times of the Revolutionary War. This side trip on U.S. Route 1 is worth the time it takes to get to Chadds Ford and see this historic site. The visitor’s center has a number of exhibits that display the weapons and uniforms of that era. It is a thrill to see Washington’s headquarters. If you are there in September, you will also get to view a full re-enactment of the battle in all its glory.

Longwood Gardens is a must-see for the whole family. There are more than 1,000 acres of beauty here, with twenty indoor gardens. There is no other place with such stunning displays of plants, flowers and fountains. Stop by and explore the Brandywine River Museum located in a 19th century grist mill. The art work there will take your breath away, with a superior collection of Wyeth art from three generations.

To see a spectacular mansion with a large garden area visit the Nemours Mansion and Gardens. Walking the Long Walk is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the sculptures and flowering plants and trees. The reflecting pool is a thing of wonder with its twelve-foot spray.

Another must-see on your journey is the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, a working farm that has been in existence since the 18th century. Then you will move on to Wilmington, Delaware with its many attractions. Take time to shop for gifts for friends and relatives while in town. You will also have the opportunity to enjoy some entertainment or sports events here in Wilmington.

Of course, before you leave to travel home once again in your RV, stop by the residence that was once owned by Henry Francis du Pont. The Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library offers the visitor a glimpse into the world of American decorative arts and a natural garden that is amazing in its breadth.

Your travel through the Brandywine Valley is a time to explore nature, history and have some fun. You will learn a lot about colonial times and experience a peaceful and enlightening getaway with the family. Explore, learn and relax. And come again for another late summer adventure in Pennsylvania and Delaware!

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

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Travel Historic Route 66 on a Winter RV Vacation

Picture of a Route 66 Sign

Picture of a Route 66 Sign

Drive a historic trip along Route 66 on an RV vacation to experience all the wonders of the American Southwest. This is a perfect adventure for winter months, as the weather and road conditions will cooperate. Historic Route 66 does not appear on current road maps, but is signposted off I-40. You will begin in Glenrio, NM which sits on the New Mexico/Texas border. You will travel across New Mexico all the way to Topock, Arizona, near the California State line.

From Glenrio to Santa Rosa, follow the best routes so you don’t run into trouble on the rough roads with your RV. When you reach Tucumcari, be sure to take your family photo by the Route 66 sign. Montoya is also a must-see, a ghost town where you can even visit a boot hill cemetery.

Santa Rosa, New Mexico is known as the “City of Natural Lakes.” This oasis is a great place to stop for a while and sight see. If you are a scuba diving enthusiast, you will want to try out the Blue Hole. Leaving Santa Rosa and driving to Tijeras, there are many sights to see. Stop at Longhorn Ranch to view the ruins here, and get a real flavor of the Old West.

You will likely want to follow the post 1937 alignment of Route 66 as you move from Tijeras to Grants, New Mexico. But the choice is really yours. Study your maps carefully. In Albuquerque you must see Old Town as well as the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center you will absorb the fascinating history of our Native Americans, and at the National Museum of Nuclear Science History you’ll learn all about the Atomic Age.

In Grants, you can enjoy some great meals out (if you are tired of cooking in your RV). Then take a side trip to Bandero Volcano and the Ice Caves. From Grants to Manuelito, you will move through more haunting landscapes. When you reach Gallup, you will find a long list of attractions, and if you are visiting in December, you simply must go to the Red Rock Balloon Rally.

The next phase of your trip is in Arizona. Traveling from Lupton to Winslow is filled with anticipation as you approach some of the most famous sights in Arizona. At Houck, you will want to bring back some memories by seeing the old fort built just for the television show, the F-Troop. See the ruins of the Old Querino Canyon Trading Post.

Of course, for amazing stretches of desert and colorful views, drive into the Painted Desert a ways. The lavender, gray, red, pink and orange hues simply take your breath away. And the Petrified Forest has a 28-mile drive that will take you to some of the most popular parts of this National Park area.

Next, Winslow to Flagstaff is a drive to remember. Winslow is filled with Southwestern history. Visit the Old Trails Museum. Stop on the corner of 2nd Street and Kinsley and sing that old Eagles’ song – “Take it Easy“. This was the corner referred to in the song.

To view one of the largest “accident” sites in the world, stop at the Meteor Crater. A huge meteor crashed into Earth about 50,000 years ago, making a gigantic crater of one mile across and more than 550 feet deep. Check out the former observatory and stop in the Visitor Center on the rim.

You will continue on your trip, from Flagstaff to Seligman, only wishing this vacation will never end. The desert expanses give you the feeling sometimes that you are on the moon. At Flagstaff, take a side trip to the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument where you can view old extinct volcanoes and the black remnants of lava flows. Contrasting colors and the jagged fields of old lava invite you to experiment with your camera to capture the unique scenes.

When you come to Williams, Arizona, you are really close to the Grand Canyon, so you can make a 60-mile side trip here if you would like! Everyone loves the Grand Canyon’s beauty and the scenery between Williams and this amazing wonder of the world.

The last leg of your journey is from Seligman to Topock, AZ, with more beauty and spaces stretching before you. It is a shame to be done with your Route 66 adventure, but this highway continues on all the way to Los Angeles. If you feel up to it, you can drive this historic route onward – a winter trip with nothing to compare.

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Taking a Cajun Country RV Trip along the Old Spanish Trail

A winter getaway to warm days in Louisiana landscapes can be just the thing when you are getting chilled to the bone up north. An RV trip through Cajun Country is a treat for any family. You will drive along U.S. Highway 90 and part of the Old Spanish Trail. Besides great scenery, you will experience the flavor and heritage of the Old South, with alligators, Creoles and Cajuns welcoming you. Travel the moss-draped route of the Old Spanish Trail Scenic Byway with plenty of opportunities for tours, both self-guided and led by knowledgeable guides.

Start your adventure in Houma, LA where museums abound and wildlife is right on your doorstep. Fish the Gulf from shore or charter a service to take you out for a chance at a big fish. Dance halls and festivals bring to you Cajun history you will find no place else. See alligators and more at Wildlife Gardens. Here you can enjoy a self-guided walking tour and see all kinds of local plants and animals.

Before you leave Houma, stop by the Bayou Terrebone Waterlife Museum to get an idea of how water transport and seafood have affected the connections here with the rest of the world. Then travel on to Morgan City where you can visit more museums, go hiking or play a round of golf.

Right on the edge of Morgan City is the Atchafalaya Basin, America’s largest river swamp. There are bayous, backwater lakes and hardwood trees that form amazing forests. Take a swamp tour or hike some trails. The Bayou Teche National Wildlife Reserve is not a place to miss on your travels either. Some of the endangered or threatened species living here are the American alligator and the Louisiana black bear.

Take your RV motorhome along the Bayou Teche Scenic Byway, moving through St. Mary, Iberia and St. Martin parishes. This 125-mile side trip is well worth the time. The natural landscape will thrill and inspire. All the small communities you pass on your entire trip along the Old Spanish Trail and other side roads have been shaped by the arrival of Acadians, moving here from Nova Scotia in 1755.

When you reach New Iberia, you will want to stop at Shadows-on-the-Teche, a mansion built by a sugar planter and restored by the builder’s great grandson many years later. If you are interested in antique furniture used in this region in the 19th century, you will love touring this home. You will also see displays of Mardi Gras costumes and other local artifacts.

St. Martinville offers many interesting sights, from historic museums, lovely parks and fishing to wildlife wading in waterways thick with cattails. Check the city events schedule as there are always some festivals going on in this Louisiana town. You will find RV camping at the Catfish Heaven Aqua Farm and Campground nearby. They have plenty of amenities to make your stay a perfect Cajun experience.

Breaux Bridge, LA is the end of the line for this particular RV trip. Before heading home, stroll around the quaint streets of downtown and fill up on some fabulous Cajun food. Enjoy some Cajun music and plan your next trip to this amazing down-south region.

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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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Traveling Along the Columbia River Highway on an Autumn RV Adventure

Columbia River Gorge from Crown Point

Columbia River Gorge Looking East from Crown Point

Jump into an RV motorhome and drive the Columbia River Highway for a unique adventure. This is one scenic excursion that will provide some amazing views. Fall is a wonderful time to go because you will miss the summer vacationers and the parking problems. You’ll also experience beautiful autumn colors as the trees turn.

Yes, Columbia River Gorge during autumn is something to see. And the trip in late fall is one not to miss. The drive takes about one and a half hours, however you will certainly want to allow more time for this 90-mile drive as there are plenty of places to stop along the way. Begin the trip in Troutdale, OR and spend some time there seeing the sights.

Remember, you won’t find a lack of RV camping on the drive. In fact, a great place to stay is the Bridge RV Park and Campground across from the Hood River Bridge. It has quiet and peaceful accommodations with great views.

First stop should be the Lewis and Clark State Park at the western gateway to the gorge. This is also the entrance for the Historic Columbia River Highway. A public boat launch will allow you to get in some boating time. What a great way to soak up some autumn sun! Next stop – on a bluff above Columbia River you will find Corbett Station. Go to View Point Inn to see where the movie “Twilight” was filmed.

At Crown Point State Park, your next stop on your scenic route, you can stop at the Vista House to see a wonderful historic structure. Then you will want to get out and do some hiking in the great outdoors. Mirror Lake hiking couldn’t be better. Then when you reach Guy W. Talbot State Park you can throw out a blanket and have a secluded picnic.

Now for some cascading waterfalls to inspire you to bring out your camera gear. At Shepperd’s Dell State Park you will see the falls that roars over steep cliffs into the creek and rushes on out to the Columbia River. And believe it or not, Oregon has ghost towns! Stop at Bridal Veil to experience a real one! Surrounded by forests, you will find lots of outdoor recreation nearby.

When you want to enjoy the power of nature, visit Multnomah Falls! There is parking right off of Interstate 84 and you just need to walk for five minutes to get to this amazing waterfall. Want to try your hand at fishing on this vacation? You can fish the lake at Benson State Recreation Area and perhaps catch a nice-sized rainbow trout.

Moving on, you will soon come to John B. Yeon State Park where you can hike to your heart’s content. The gentle trail leads you to more lovely waterfalls, and you’ll find the fresh, crisp autumn air makes hiking a pleasure.

Mayer State Park is worth a visit, particularly when you love a little solitude. This time of year won’t have the crowds of summer and you can have a wonderful picnic or enjoy fishing or boating. Don’t neglect to stop at The Dalles, the end of the Oregon Trail. Get another taste of history by visiting the Fort Dalles Museum. Head to Sorosis Park for some incredible views of the area! And you will want to stop at the oldest bookstore in Oregon, Klindt’s. It has the original wood floors and display cases from when it was established – 1870. You can’t beat that for getting the flavor of life in those times.

Families love the Deschutes River State Recreation Area! Go rafting, mountain biking, hiking or fishing. Park at the trailhead near the entrance and take off on a wide trail that goes along an old railroad bed. In the fall you won’t find horses on this trail so you’ll own it!

When you get to Biggs Junction, after a long and leisurely trip along the Columbia River, you will cross the river and head to Maryhill, Washington. You will want to stop in Maryhill State Park to enjoy the natural beauty and take in some cultural history. Walk along the waterfront of the Columbia River.

This brings an end to your Columbia River Highway RV adventure. You can now head home with the knowledge that you have at last experienced the beauty and wonders of Oregon and the Columbia River Gorge. This is one place you can return to again and again and always get a little more enjoyment from your trip.

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A Scenic RV Drive on the Beartooth Highway

Beartooth Highway Near the Beartooth Pass

Beartooth Highway Near the Beartooth Pass

For one of the most scenic RV vacations ever, take the Beartooth Highway through Montana and Wyoming. This byway rates high on the list of top scenic drives in America. Breathtaking views, gorgeous valleys, waterfalls and glacial lakes await you. You will travel sixty-seven miles from Yellowstone to Red Lodge, Montana, through a number of National Forests and National Wilderness lands.

Make your home base in Cooke City and stay at Colter Campground, a spot high in elevation with RV sites available. You will be close to Yellowstone National Park, which is where you will start your adventure. If you haven’t visited Yellowstone before, now is the time! You can’t miss Old Faithful, and there are numerous geysers, mud pots, hot springs and other amazing sights. Wildlife is abundant as well as plenty of places to hike or bike.

As you move northeast out of Yellowstone and begin your drive in your RV on the Beartooth Highway, stop in Cooke City, Montana and visit the F.J. Williams Gallery. This is the oldest house in town, built more than 140 years ago. You will see fascinating antiques and primitive art and learn some interesting history. You should also stop at the historic mining community of Silver Gate. This is filled with history of the Old West.

Side trips are always fun, and at the junction of US Highway 212 and WY 296, you can take the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway for more spectacular scenery. You will head south to Cody, Wyoming and enjoy miles of breathtaking beauty. Head back then to the Beartooth Highway to continue on your journey.

Just a bit further west when you get back on the Beartooth scenic route, you will find Crazy Creek Falls. It is worth a stop to see this incredible waterfall and learn some of the history connected. This unique waterfall comes from Crazy Creek, named because of its wild, erratic pattern of flowing. Take the walking trail and reach the viewing area for some lovely vistas.

The Beartooth-Absaroka Wilderness in Central Montana offers great wildlife watching with wildlife such as elk, mountain goats, black and grizzly bear and moose on the prowl. You can even ski here in June and July. Granite Peak stands high over the plateau, and is the king of all the rugged peaks in the Absarokas. Dare you try to climb this mountain? Many do. It is usually best as an overnight endeavor.

As you drive over the Beartooth Plateau, you will marvel at the inspiring views of alpine tundra, glaciers, mountain peaks and of course, the wildlife spotted at a distance. This plateau is at an elevation of 10,970 feet. You are really up there in the atmosphere! You will finally come to Red Lodge, Montana, a quaint town with a lot of history.

You have completed your RV journey and it is time to head home. You have the satisfaction of knowing you have visited a beautiful corner of the world, the Old West coming alive in all directions. It is something that you will never forget.

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An RV Vacation along the Great River Road in Minnesota

Take an RV vacation along the great Mississippi River, traveling the Great River Road from Minneapolis to the Iowa border. The landscapes are sights that early explorers witnessed on their travels north. You won’t have the same kinds of adventures these pioneers experienced (Indians, wild animals and the like) but your excursion will still offer plenty of culture, outdoor recreation and relaxation. The best time to go is between April and November.

RV camping is available at Town & Country RV Park and Campground, where the amenities are wonderful. They have a heated pool, and 80 campsites to choose from. Minneapolis is the center of much art, history and beauty. Tour the city before continuing on your journey, as you won’t want to miss the attractions here in this marvelous city on the river. To carry on, take US 61 out of Minneapolis but not before you stop at Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. Here you will find a 72-mile park with places to fish, launch a boat or canoe, or do some hiking.

Further along on your trip, you can explore the Pierce County Islands State Public Hunting Grounds, extending into Wisconsin. Then travel along the shores of Lake Pepin where you can throw in a line and catch (perhaps) your trophy catch. You can also boat on this lake. If you love watching wild birds, Frontenac State Park is the spot to stop. In the spring and fall the migrating birds create a sight to behold. You can also hike this wooded valley, fish or swim.

Wildlife viewing couldn’t be better than at Hok-Si-La Municipal Park, just north of Lake City and along the shores of Lake Pepin. Walk along the sandstone bluffs, enjoy the scenic views and be sure to try your hand at sailing these sparkling waters. You can also hike, swim or just walk the beach. The Mississippi Bluffs are a place to reflect and unwind.

The nature around the Mississippi River is the best part of a trip along the river through Minnesota. Outdoor recreation is incredible here, like at the Nelson-Trevino Bottoms State Natural Area. Take off into the wilderness on a backpacking adventure. Do some rock climbing. In the fall, hunting is wonderful here. Further down your route, you can stop at the Wabasha Overlook to look out over the Mississippi and forested hills.

There are over 3,000 acres of wooded landscapes at the McCarthy Lake State Wildlife Management Area, which give you the feeling you are in the past, a traveler of distant lands, heading west and just now discovering the treasures of this great land. Early explorers viewed these lands as you see them today.

To get a wide view of the Mississippi River Valley, you can stop at John Latsch State Park. These are acres of lush green forest in the summer and incredible autumn colors in the fall months. Plenty of wildlife wander these 1,605 acres, such as fox, white tailed deer, coyotes and opossum. For another wildlife experience, you can visit the Upper Mississippi Wild Life and Fish Refuge near Wabasha. The confluence of the Chippeawa and Mississippi Rivers hold wonders like you’ve never experienced. You will see islands, marshes and wooded beauty.

The Great River Bluffs State Park offers a wide variety of trees, such as oaks and maples, pines and hickory trees. Try and catch a glimpse of some wild turkeys, coyotes or ruffed grouse in the hardwood forests, and on the prairie lands you will see lizards and perhaps a bobolink or two. The amazing red-tailed hawks are often seen soaring overhead.

Finally you will find US 61 merge with Interstate 90 along the shores of Lake Onalaska and you will have even more opportunities at some recreational pleasures. There are seven boat landings on the lake and the fishing is wonderful. You can catch some walleye, northern pike or smallmouth or largemouth bass. There are lots of panfish too!

Get back on Highway 61 and continue to La Crescent, MN, known as the Apple Capital. You’ll simply have to stock up on the sweet fruit so it will provide great and healthy snacking for the rest of your trip. In La Crescent, you will take Highway 16 south to Highway 26 and continue your journey to the Iowa State line, south of La Crosse, MN.

You have reached the end of your trek, but your journey doesn’t have to stop here. You can find your way back up this wonderful Great River Road and stop at any of the places that you passed up before. There is plenty to see and do in Minnesota, and you don’t want to miss a bit!

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An RV Adventure Across the Continental Divide

View of the Trail Ridge Road

View of the Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road offers RV vacations that are beyond compare. This scenic byway is the highest continuous road in the United States and takes you across the Continental Divide, past sweeping views of the Rockies. Along all 63 miles, from Estes Park to Granby, Colorado, are breathtaking views, wandering wildlife and a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.

The best time to go is from late May to mid-June and from the middle of August to mid-October. Otherwise you will run into the summer crowds. Drive north to Estes Park, the gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park.

The quaint mountain town of Estes Park will invite you to stay awhile. Motorhome vacations wouldn’t be complete without thoroughly taking in everything along the way. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountain wilderness, Estes Park, Colorado is definitely a place to stop and enjoy some popular attractions. You should make it a point to visit the historic Stanley Hotel, where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining. Take a ride on the Aerial Tram to the top of Prospect Mountain for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Now you are ready to embark on the exciting trip over Trail Ridge Road, through Rocky Mountain National Park. You can plan your motorhome vacation more completely when you know that this park offers four campgrounds where you can park RV rentals up to 30 to 40 feet long. These campgrounds are:

  • Aspenglen Campground – RVs up to 30 feet
  • Glacier Basin Campground – RVs up to 35 feet
  • Moraine Park Campground – RVs up to 40 feet
  • Timber Creek Campground – RVs up to 30 feet

As you follow Highway 36 into the park, you will come to Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, a fascinating place to stop before turning south on Bear Lake Road. This side-trip takes you to Sprague Lake and Bear Lake, where you can fish or hike. The Bear Lake hike is one of the park’s most famous trails.

Back on Highway 36, you’ll soon be on Highway 34 (Trail Ridge Road). As you travel in your motorhome rental, discover the magic of the Rockies by getting in some more time out in the fresh air. Stop at the Deer Mountain Trailhead to and hike a little ways on the trail. At Beaver Ponds, you can walk the boardwalk in the peaceful forest, and enjoy a picnic at the picnic area. Each place you stop in your RV rental, you wish you could stay there for weeks. However, there is more to see and do.

Soon you will arrive at Many Parks Curve, at an elevation of 9,624 feet. Stop here and walk the boardwalk for some spectacular views. Further along, Lava Cliffs offers more views, and soon thereafter you will be at an elevation of 12,183 feet, the highest point on Trail Ridge Road. The Alpine Visitor Center is a good place to stop for a snack, picking up some gifts and enjoying views of the tundra. You will cross the Continental Divide officially at Milner Pass.

The scenic Kawuneeche Valley has much to offer, with many chances to see wildlife roaming the meadows and forests. Here you’ll discover a historic homestead that was a dude ranch in the 1920s. Holzwarth Historic Site is a must-see and a tour will be worth your while.

As you move south on Highway 34, you’ll notice a number of trailheads. At the Coyote Valley Trailhead, you can enjoy a one-mile trail to see the lovely valley and a wide variety of wildlife, particularly moose and elk. The Green Mountain Trailhead is another hike of 3.6 miles through fir forests. No matter if you see photos of this lovely spot, they never seem to do it justice.

As you leave the park and head further south on Highway 34 towards Granby, you will drive along the shores of Shadow Mountain Lake. Stop for a picnic at Pine Beach where the north fork of the Colorado River enters the lake. This is a great canoe access to the water.

Motorhome rentals are really a home away from home. When you take an RV vacation across Trail Ridge Road, you are actually making the Rocky Mountains one of your home locations, with a wide array of activities and the incredible sights and sounds of true wilderness country.

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An RV Adventure Along Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Valley

Sunset From Skyline Drive

Sunset From Skyline Drive

Shenandoah Valley’s Skyline Drive is 105 miles of pure beauty. Motorhome vacations on this scenic byway offer spectacular views, healthy outdoor recreation and interesting historic sites.

Let’s start in Front Royal, Virginia. From this lovely town, you will access the northern entrance of Shenandoah National Park to start your scenic journey.

However, before you actually enter the park, Front Royal deserves some attention. This gateway town is surrounded by some fine wineries. Take time for a short country-road detour along a wine trail to enjoy a delicious wine tasting experience. Stop in historic downtown with your RV rental parked only briefly while you browse the quaint shops.

Now you are ready to embark on the main objective of your RV vacation – seeing one of the most scenic drives in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Skyline Drive is a two-lane road that twists along through the long and narrow Shenandoah National Park. From one end to the other, you won’t have a lack of things to do and see.

With numerous overlooks along the route, this scenic trip is a dramatic nature experience, with wildlife standing quietly on far-off hillsides, birds flitting from tree to tree, bubbling streams and unspoiled landscapes. The flowing Shenandoah River sparkles on your right, peaceful forested hills lie to your left.

Those who explore the park on their RV vacations find camping is a pleasure. No matter if your motorhome rental is large or small, there are three campgrounds that have pull-through sites. These are:

  • Mathews Arm Campground – at Mile 22.1
  • Big Meadows Campground – at Mile 51.2
  • Loft Mountain Campground – at Mile 79.5

When you reach Mile 31 on your trip south, you will go through the only tunnel on this National Scenic Byway – Mary’s Rock Tunnel. The height of this tunnel is 12 feet 8 inches, so ensure you plan for this when you pick up your RV rental at the start of the trip. Also at Mile 31, you have the opportunity for a great side-trip to Sperryville, 7 miles to the east on US 211. While visiting this friendly town, you will find many arts and crafts shops and so have a multitude of choices for souvenirs to take home to family and friends.

Outdoor lovers never fail to find the hiking trails immediately. Skyline Drive offers many choices, from easy to the most challenging. The Skyland area (PDF) has the best trails, among them the difficult Whiteoak Canyon Falls Trail. Plan on this steep trek taking three to four hours. Having the opportunity to view seven different waterfalls make this trip completely worthwhile.

An RV vacation along Skyline Drive offers so much in the way of natural beauty, and a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. If you get the opportunity to enjoy this scenic drive, don’t pass it up.

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

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The Fun of an RV Adventure along Illinois River Road

Take off in your RV come late spring for a wonderful adventure along the Illinois River Road. You can also enjoy the trip in the fall when the trees are turning color. But no matter the time you pick, this is a wonderful trip through some of the best of Illinois landscapes.

Stop at any wineries you see along the way. The rich wine making traditions of this state will impress you with some of the finest. Your embarkation point will be in Ottawa, Illinois. Here the Illinois and Fox Rivers meet and Lincoln’s career began. Lots of natural beauty here and plenty of outdoor activities all around. You should remember that binoculars are to be included in your travel gear so you can get great views of river wildlife.

Buffalo Rock State Park is a must for your RV vacation itinerary. See two bison that make this their home, and visit the observation decks so you can look out over the river. Walk through the park on the Woodland Trail and just absorb that wonderful nature. Catlin County Park is another one not to miss. You can get out and stretch, taking in the amazing forest of hickories and maples. See if you can identify the many different species of trees and plants. Of course the wildlife is awesome, and if you love bird watching, you will be in your element here.

Princeton will be your next stop. This lovely place provides many activities for young and old. Woodlands you can visit nearby are Miller-Anderson Woods Nature Preserve and the Warnecke Woods. You’ll find RV camping at Condit’s Ranch Campground overlooking the Illinois River. Enjoy swimming, hiking and fishing at Condit’s Ranch.

If you like lakes, you’ll like Mautino State Fish & Wildlife Area, with more than a dozen lakes scattered throughout the area. This is prime habitat for birds of all kinds. Hike the trails to see the wide variety of aquatic vegetation along the shores.

When you reach Peoria, stop to take in the rich beauty of this area. Outdoor lovers won’t be able to resist hiking along the river, fishing or biking along a forest trail. Go to Peoria Zoo for a relaxing visit to the animals there. One must-see is the Apple Blossom Farm. When visiting in the fall, you’ll find it open from August through December. Stock up on apple cider, jams or doughnuts. Yes, the bakery is stupendous.

Visit the home of Abraham Lincoln at New Salem State Historic Site when you come to Havana, Illinois. Again, if here in the fall months, there is nothing better than driving along Spoon River Drive to marvel at the autumn colors. Then it is time to get over to Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge. A paradise for bird lovers, this refuge boasts amazing numbers of species. Bald eagles come here because of the wetlands, and you’ll see everything from Great Blue Heron to songbirds and sandpipers.

Even if your journey along the Illinois River Road is done for now, this is a wonderful place to return again and again. There is always more to see and do, things you may not have had time for on this trip. So anticipate packing up that RV once again and taking off through the varied landscapes of Illinois again next year.

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