RV Tips Archives - How to Winterize Your RV
Fight the Frost: RV Hacks for Winter Weather

Fight the Frost: RV Hacks for Winter Weather

Every season adds beauty to our world. But winter RVing living can make it tough to enjoy the coldest part of the year. If you want to have fun in cold winter destinations, here’s what you need to know about staying warm, safe and happy.

Don’t Let Winter RVing Steal Your Fun

I spend most of my time in sunbelt states, where year-round RV living is possible. But those mild winter days can lull snowbirds like me into a false sense of security. Love it or hate it, winter always feels like an unwanted surprise — especially when I’m soaking in the spa at my favorite RV park in December. I find it easy to forget that unpredictable weather can be just around the corner. But even my favorite sunny regions like the Southwest often get hit with epic cold fronts that keep us indoors more than we’d like. A Midwesterner might laugh at my definition of “cold,” but the fact is that even the most well-built RVs like mine are not impervious to occasional arctic blasts and wet weather. I love my “four-season” RV, but cold always finds a way in somehow. This is what I do to keep it out:

Class C motorhome parked on frosty ground near a lake.

Getty Images

Monitor the Weather

Winter weather camping can test your appreciation for this lifestyle. It pays to know the weather headed your way in case you need to batten down the hatches, so don’t ignore weather reports. You can get a general sense of your region’s upcoming weather by tuning into any TV station’s news report. But for the most accurate weather reports for your specific location, the Internet is your go-to source. Visit The National Weather Service first. You’ll get instant knowledge of weather changes, pending hazards, and freezing weather that reminds you to detach your drinking water hose from the campsite spigot.

Sleek dehumidifier against white background.

PureGuardian Small Space Dehumidifier. Photo courtesy of Camping World

Use a Dehumidifier

Running your RV furnace can keep you toasty warm. But it can also add unwanted humidity and mildew to walls, windows, and furniture. My small space dehumidifier is one of the best winter RVing gadgets I ever added to our seasonal toolkit. Each time I dump the water chamber, I’m shocked by the amount of moisture taken from my RV interior. A constant power source is necessary to keep the device operating, but I won’t complain about hooking up to shore power when the chill comes on.

Keep an Alternative Heat Source on Board

One of the advantages of owning a smaller RV is that we can camp just about anywhere. But a huge disadvantage is our 27-foot RV’s lack of space for an onboard generator. When we are dry camping in winter and it’s too cloudy or dark to rely on our RV solar electric power system, our Honda generator powers everything from our computers to the furnace. Unfortunately, turning it on means flipping a coin to decide who will go outside to get it started. In the meantime, our indoor catalytic heater quickly and safely heats our living quarters enough for us to get moving.

A space heater glows red.

Camco Olympian Wave-8 Catalytic Heater. Photo courtesy of Camping World

Carry a Stash of Old Towels

Ratty bath towels never get tossed; they go into our clean-up supplies. Besides using them for an occasional dog bath, that ample supply of old towels can mop the floor, soak up falling drops from wet rain gear, and clean up muddy dog paws before they decorate our carpet and furniture.

Maintain Weather Stripping on Exterior Cabinets

Cold weather creeps into our RV at the point of least resistance, those basement storage bays. When the chilly wind blows hard enough, I can feel it hit my feet when I’m working at my desk. That’s a brutal reminder to inspect and replace weather stripping around cabinet doors if necessary. When it’s looking worn out, all it takes is a few pennies to replace it and enjoy a more comfortable interior.

A two-lane highway leads to jagged snow-capped mountains on the horizon.

HIghway to Jasper National Park. Getty Images

Insulate with Reflectix

That silver “bubble wrap” insulation material for home construction projects isn’t pretty. But it’s one of the best materials to keep you warm during the worst winter weather. Lightweight and easy to stash away, you can buy short or long rolls to custom-cut pieces that match your RV window dimensions. When placed over skylights and other openings, this material can reflect up to 96% of radiant energy for more warmth inside the RV. As a bonus, you can use them in summer to keep the rig cool.

Don’t Forget Plan B

Sometimes despite your best efforts, cold weather refuses to leave you alone. When that happens, remember that not even winter can steal one of the greatest joys of this lifestyle—the ability to turn the key and leave at a moment’s notice. If you’re tired of living inside and mopping rain and mud from pet paws and overcoats, just pull up stakes and follow the sun to your happier place.

Source: Fight the Frost: RV Hacks for Winter Weather

Experience the Oregon Coast Year-Round at Osprey Point RV Resort

Experience the Oregon Coast Year-Round at Osprey Point RV Resort

Located only one mile from Osprey Point RV Resort in Lakeside is the Oregon Coast with its miles of beautiful beaches, unusual rock formations and much more. Many beaches along the Oregon Coast are off-leash beaches, so your furry children can run, play and paddle in the water right along with you!

Sun setting over ocean and casting shadows on a creamy dunescape.

Osprey Point RV Resort

A mere 15-minute drive away from Osprey Point, you can visit one of the many natural wonders of the Oregon Coast, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Here you can witness wind-sculped sand dunes that tower 500 feet above sea level and experience the thrill of riding your off-highway vehicle on the dunes, hiking, biking, horseback riding or just sitting back and capturing photos of this natural wonder! There is so much to see and do at the Oregon Dunes, just down the road from Osprey Point RV Resort.

Lake Location

Osprey Point RV Resort is located on Tenmile Lake, known throughout the Pacific Northwest and California for great fishing and other water recreation. You can start your day enjoying one of our specialty coffees in our Coffee House. After a day of fishing, boating, riding the Oregon Dunes or simply beachcombing, end your day enjoying a pizza or burger in Osprey Point Pizza Pub.

A smooth wood bar stands in front of a variety of beer taps.

Osprey Point Pizza Pub

Our RV sites have full hookups and are big-rig friendly. Ask about our cabin rentals if you would like to bring along friends or family members who don’t have an RV. The milder coastal climate allows for boating and fishing fun all year long. Fish species include trout, bass, perch, bluegill, crappie and the occasional steelhead! We provide boat slips for our guests with shore power, security lights and parking for your trailer. Whether or not you have a boat, it’s not a problem, as we also have boat rentals! If you just want to hang around the campfire and relax at the end of a day of fishing, you can order dinner from our onsite Osprey Pub and Pizza and never leave the property. With all we have to offer, this can be your home-away-from-home for boating, fishing, skiing, beachcombing, dune jumping or just relaxing. We have everything you’ll need at our resort, or you may venture into nearby Lakeside for fine dining, casual dining and grocery shopping or personal services.

Lakeside hosts fun family events May-September, so if your timing is right, you could attend Mothers’ Day Weekend Crawdad Festival or the Lakeside Independence Day Celebration with fireworks. In August, Lakeside hosts the Annual Cardboard Boat Races at the County Park, which would be fun for the entire family! Labor Day Weekend brings the Labor Day Regatta at North Tenmile Lake Yacht Club and Lakeside’s Annual Labor Day Celebration. See, there are activities for all ages, everyone in the family can enjoy your stay at Osprey Point RV Resort!

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam provides everything you need to have a good trip. From savings on accessories and services to finding a campground, roadside assistance, insurance and specialized products and services designed to enhance RV and outdoor lifestyle.

Source: Experience the Oregon Coast Year-Round at Osprey Point RV Resort

Lakeside Casino & RV Park in Pahrump, Nevada: The Perfect Fall Getaway

Lakeside Casino & RV Park in Pahrump, Nevada: The Perfect Fall Getaway

Experience your oasis in the desert while staying at Lakeside Casino & RV Park this fall. Located just 45 minutes west of Las Vegas, the Lakeside RV Park is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts with plenty of hiking and biking trails just steps away. Guests are invited to take in the entertainment offerings of rural Nevada. The Lakeside RV Park carries a 10/10*/10 Good Sam rating.

The Lakeside Casino & RV Park has a full-service, 159-space RV Park that can serve as the home base for recreational vehicle travelers to discover the outdoors or just relax next to a lush seven-acre man-made lake.

A couple on a sandy beach with a bottle of wine overlooking the lake.

Wine on the beach at Lakeside Casino & RV Park.

The property is less than a five-mile drive to the Sanders Winery, where the tasting room is open daily, and the 18-hole Mountain Falls Golf Course, which offers a pro shop and grill room.

Lakeside’s amenities include the property’s man-made lake, which offers kayak and pedal boat rentals and fishing activities. The lake includes a sandy beach, swimming pool and hot tub, along with a nine-hole Frisbee golf course and a horseshoe pit. An enclosed dog park also is included in the facilities. There are also three comfort stations on the property available exclusively for guests who stay at the RV Park.

The Lakeside Casino, which is adjacent to the RV Park, has over 160 gaming devices, a non-smoking bingo room and a cafe that is open daily at 8 a.m. A convenience store and gas station are located on the premises.

Slot machines and poker games glow in a casino with wooden frame supports.

Lakeside Casino, which is adjacent to the RV park.

Book online and receive a 20% discount on your stay. This offer is available now through December 30. Don’t miss out on this offer. Guests checking in will also receive a coupon booklet valued at $50.

Members of the True Rewards players club are eligible for RV Park discounts at Lakeside.

Lakeside is one of three casinos in Pahrump operated by Golden Casino Group, a division of Golden Entertainment, Inc. The two other properties are:

  • The Pahrump Nugget, which has 69 hotel rooms, over 300 gaming devices, table games, a race and sportsbook, a bingo facility and a bowling center. The property also has a café and an award-winning steakhouse.
  • Gold Town Casino operates over 175 gaming devices. Gold Town also includes two dining facilities, the Back Porch Café and Slices and Scoops. Gold Town is also home to Pahrump’s largest full-service liquor store.

Arizona Charlie’s Boulder RV Park

Meanwhile, when traveling to Lakeside or on the way to your next destination, Arizona Charlie’s Boulder is the perfect stopping point. The location offers convenient access to the Las Vegas Strip or Downtown Las Vegas. Arizona Charlie’s is also a full-service casino-resort offering several affordable restaurant selections.

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam provides everything you need to have a good trip. From savings on accessories and services to finding a campground, roadside assistance, insurance and specialized products and services designed to enhance RV and outdoor lifestyle.

Source: Lakeside Casino & RV Park in Pahrump, Nevada: The Perfect Fall Getaway

9 Tantalizing Reasons to Experience New Orleans

9 Tantalizing Reasons to Experience New Orleans

The Big Easy. Crescent City. NOLA. Birthplace of Jazz. No matter what you call this Louisiana city on the Mississippi, New Orleans never loses its allure. After all, New Orleans is one of the most beloved cities in the U.S. and home to the infamous Bourbon Street and historic French Quarter. But there’s more than meets the eye in this town of above-ground cemeteries and voodoo priestesses.

A bright red streetcar in New Orleans.

Streetcars are ready to take passengers throughout New Orleans. Getty Images

Hop on a streetcar for a fun way to view the town. World-class museums offer a close-up inspection of Southern art, local religion and World War II from a NOLA perspective. City Park is renowned for its regal centuries-old oak trees and a beautiful place for whiling away an hour or two.

The Crown Jewel of New Orleans

A bowl filled with spicy shrimp.

Steam shrimp in a bowl with spicy chili sauce. Getty Images

When you enter Bourbon Street, you’ve stepped into 13 blocks of pure New Orleans culture. Grab a bite of authentic Cajun food at a local restaurant or check out Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, said to be “the oldest bar in the U.S.” and the supposed stomping grounds of the ghost of pirate Jean Lafitte (the bar serves great drinks, too). With an abundance of shopping and interesting architecture, there’s plenty to do until night falls and the streets come alive because this is the site of Mardi Gras.

Cool French Quarter

Building with wrap-around balconies in French Quarter

An old colonial building in the French Quarter on Dumaine Street.

The French Quarter is home to Bourbon Street but it’s also the oldest neighborhood in NOLA, with late 18th-century architecture, historic homes and the Hex Old World Witchery Shop (get a deck of Tarot cards or some roots or herbs). Step back to the days of swashbucklers and pirates when you meander Pirates Alley, filled with 600 feet of quirky shops and heart-pumping legends. Royal Street is another must-see with its French vibe and Southern hospitality.

Louisiana Water Fun

New Orleans Paddle Steamer

New Orleans paddle steamer on the Mississippi River. Getty Images

There are some fantastic boat tours to experience, like the NOLA Gondola in City Park or an airboat adventure through an area swamp. Looking for a way to chill? Float down the Bogue Chitto River or rent a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard for a cool way to explore NOLA’s waterways (if it’s warm enough). Go to extremes and seek a thrill when you try your hand at flyboarding; whether you ride high above the water depends on your balance. Anglers have a lot to choose from — freshwater, saltwater, brackish or deep-sea fishing may entice. For a romantic evening, watch the sunset on Lake Pontchartrain. Take a daytime riverboat jazz cruise on the Mississippi aboard the City of New Orleans stern-wheeler paddleboat.

A City for Strolling

Sunset over an elegant cathedral with horse carriages in foreground.

Jackson Square at Sunset with St. Louis Cathedral. Getty Images

Jackson Square is one of New Orleans’ most recognizable attractions. Take a stroll along slate flagstone pavers as you watch artists plying their craft or find a shady bench and people-watch. City Park, founded in 1853, is one of the oldest parks in the country. Home to 600-year-old oak trees draped in Spanish moss and stone bridges that cross rippling streams, this is a relaxing respite from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Go Golfing

Aerial view of a golf course surrounded by buldings.

Metairie Country Club in New Orleans. Getty Images

Since 1902, golfing has been a major pastime for New Orleanians. There’s a course for every level of play, so golfers can enjoy the iconic courses or tee off at an old-school course with natural surroundings. NOLA is home to the annual Zurich Classic stop on the PGA tour.

An Eclectic Delight

View of cathedral Interior from center aisle.

St. Louis Cathedral. Getty Images

St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continuous use in the country and among the tallest and most imposing structures in the French Quarter. Admire beautiful stained-glass windows shining colorful light on the rococo-style gilded altar. Hear a quiet whisper on a rainy day? That’s just Pere Dagobert, a monk rumored to haunt the church.

NOLA Art Scene

Crowd reflected in a trombone.

A trombone during a New Orleans jazz performance.

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art is home to the largest and most extensive collection of Southern art, including visual arts, music, literature and culinary history. New Orleans cemeteries are renowned for their resourcefulness and history. Walk the local graveyards for a peek into the haunting French-inspired beauty of these Cities of the Dead. And delight in a Jazz Funeral, an authentic New Orleans tradition of “cutting the body loose.” Held in April and May, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival brings top musicians to the Big Easy.

Larger Than Life: The Carnival

Revelers reach out for beads during carnival celebration.

A Carnival float during Mardi Gras. Getty Images.

This is the festival Louisiana is known for. For the week that is Mardi Gras, the fun never ends. Enjoy parades, parties, both on and off Bourbon Street, delectable Cajun and Creole eats including King Cake, lavish costumes with glittery, feathery masks and beads — catch plenty of beads. Visit the Mardi Gras Museum for the real low-down on the history of this festival, plus a look at antique masks, party favors and costumes. Mardi Gras World offers a behind-the-scenes story of the parade with mask-making, papier-mache props, and float-building demonstrations.

History and Mystery

A cat with white and gray fur lying on a slab in a cemetery.

A cat at the St. Louis Cemetery in New Orleans. Getty Images

Tempt military buffs with a foray into the National WWII Museum, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate, with interactive displays and historical exhibits. Learn how Americans responded to the war effort, how people coped with shortages during the war, and what life was like on the home front. Explore the Backstreet Culture Museum with exhibits, artifacts and films supporting NOLA’s African American culture. What’s a trip to New Orleans without a little voodoo? At the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, you can explore the culture and history that makes New Orleans synonymous with Voodoo. Learn secrets about rituals and folklore, and the lasting legacies of the Voodoo queens.

Discover Good Sam Parks in the New Orleans area:

Pine Crest RV Park of New Orleans, Slidell

Jude Travel Park of New Orleans, New Orleans

Lakeside RV Park, Livingston

Across the Border in Mississippi:

Bay Hide Away RV Park Campground, Bay St. Louis

Sun Roamers RV Resort, Picayune

Source: 9 Tantalizing Reasons to Experience New Orleans

Stay at Arizona Charlie’s, Minutes Away from the Vegas Strip

Stay at Arizona Charlie’s, Minutes Away from the Vegas Strip

Located just minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, Arizona Charlie’s Hotel, Casino & RV Park is home to more than 200 RV spaces with access to a handful of additional amenities. With easy access from the 93/95 highway, the RV park is the perfect destination for both Las Vegas visitors looking to explore the city and those who are in need of a great place to stop on their way home. The full-service park includes everything for both groups — renovated bathhouses, a pool area with access all year round, a private clubhouse with a large-screen TV, fitness equipment, complimentary wireless internet, 24-hour security, including brand new security gates, full hookups with 30/50-amp, propane service, pull-through parking and a remodeled guest laundry room, available for 24-hour use. Plus, the RV park is just steps from Las Vegas’ friendliest casino, a variety of dining options and more.

Rectangular pool in a luxury resort.

Arizona Charlie’s Pool

Arizona Charlie’s thrilling casino experience boasts both comfort and excitement when playing one of its many slot machine games and bingo. The casino offers 658 ticket-in, ticket-out slots and video poker machines, including traditional games like Double Double Bonus Poker, Jokers Wild, Ultimate X and Deuces Wild, as well as some of the latest games, including Dragon Link, Buffalo Link, Lightning Link, Buffalo Gold and Hot Wicked Wheels. Notorious for its bingo, Arizona Charlie’s hosts eight sessions daily during every odd hour from 9 a.m.–11 p.m., plus bingo and other gaming promotions, weekly. Also on the casino floor, bettors can take their pick at the William Hill Sportsbook.

RV park lit up with neon lights.

Arizona Charlie’s

Sourdough Café is Arizona Charlie’s traditional café restaurant, which offers comfort cuisine at an exceptional value in a casual atmosphere. Recently, Arizona Charlie’s has also welcomed local favorite, PT’s Express and coffee chain, Dunkin’, to each of its locations. PT’s Express is a first-of-its-kind, on-the-go burger, wing and sandwich joint, conveniently open 24-hours, daily. In addition to local favorites, Dunkin’-lovers may enjoy morning coffee, breakfast, wraps, sandwiches, muffins and more.

Also available just steps away, the newly remodeled Palace Grand Lounge offers exceptional bar service all day long and occasional live music.

Lights blazing, casinos line the Las Vegas Strip at night.

Las Vegas Strip

For rewards lovers who enjoy the “stay and play,” Arizona Charlie’s RV Park visitors may sign up for Arizona Charlie’s loyalty program, True Rewards, which rewards guests for playing, dining and staying at Arizona Charlie’s or any other Golden Entertainment Inc. property. Members can earn points while playing their favorite slot machine or daubing in the bingo room, plus rewards may be earned while dining at a participating restaurant. Redemption for True Reward points includes cash back, free play and retail comps. Membership is free, and those interested may visit the True Rewards Center at Arizona Charlie’s. For more information or details on Arizona Charlie’s Hotel, Casino & RV Park, guests may visit www.arizonacharliesboulder.com.

Source: Stay at Arizona Charlie’s, Minutes Away from the Vegas Strip

6 Simple Ways to Stop Wasting Fuel

6 Simple Ways to Stop Wasting Fuel

With the high costs of both gasoline and diesel fuel, it’s a good idea for RV travelers to modify driving habits to help reduce vehicle fuel consumption. Driving slower, accelerating at a moderate rate and keeping your vehicle in a well-maintained state are undoubtedly great ways to cut RV fuel costs. But many wasteful driving styles haven’t changed.

Consider how the following fuel wasters impact your budget’s bottom line:

A vehicle pulling a folding camping trailer driving close to a Class C motorhome.

Photo: Peter Mercer

Following Too Closely

Referred to as “tailgating,” this habit can cost you dearly at the pump and is hazardous for both you and the person in front. Looming close behind other vehicles, tailgaters work the throttle to maintain the distance between their vehicle and the one ahead. Frequent brake applications are required in maintaining this close proximity and the constant throttle-adjustment surges result in wasted fuel burn. All that braking consumes energy from the vehicle’s momentum — momentum that was built by fuel. And more fuel will be needed to regain that same speed.

Delayed Braking Application

Every day, we see people approaching a stoplight or sign at a speed looking like they’re not going to stop. Then, miraculously, they hit the brakes hard, halting their vehicle at the last second. This habit not only puts a lot of strain on your brakes but also delays the retarding of the throttle, which burns fuel needlessly. Starting to slow down appropriately begins with reducing the throttle input to zero at an appropriate distance for a normal braking application based on the vehicle’s weight and momentum.

Using Cruise Control on Hilly or Mountainous Roads

Cruise control is a wonderful feature that manages the speed, throttle control and, on some vehicles, even the jake and/or the service brakes. In addition, it can produce better fuel-consumption numbers than many drivers can attain while manually operating the vehicle. But these gains are enjoyed only when traveling on relatively level roadways. Using cruise control in conditions involving ascending and descending grades, however, may not yield the same rewards. Driving in these conditions requires varying the throttle input to attain the most economical fuel consumption. Allowing your vehicle to coast down to about 15 percent slower than your desired average speed when approaching a downgrade will eliminate or reduce the need for applying brakes to check the speed.  When climbing a grade, avoid using full throttle. A lesser power setting combined with a manually selected gear will get you up there burning less fuel. The need to manually select a lower gear is to prevent an upshift resulting in an engine-lugging condition.

A high mountain peak wreathed in fog.

Photo: Peter Mercer

Excess Idling Time

In many situations, RV owners let their engines run for long periods of time. We let engines idle for supposedly quick rest area stops while checking in to a campground and the like. Most of these stops take five minutes or more. While idling seems to make sense, consider how wasteful it can be. Shutting it down can aid in fuel savings, providing the motor does not need to cool down from a hard run.

Dealing With Head Winds

Tailwinds can offer a free bonus for vehicles. They don’t help by pushing you in the desired direction; they merely reduce the air’s friction resistance. Let’s say you’re traveling 60 miles per hour. A robust 20 mph wind from behind the vehicle would decrease the resistance down to what you’d experience driving 40 mph. But what about headwinds? This, of course, increases the vehicle’s air resistance. Driving in the opposite direction would present a wind resistance equal to 80 mph. In this scenario, the wind resistance in one direction would be only a half that of the opposite direction. This difference is very noticeable on the fuel gauge. So, when faced with headwinds, there are probably only two ways to deal with it short of just grinning and bearing it. You could hold up where you are and wait for the wind to ease or reduce your travel speed. Slowing down will help, as the air’s friction percent of resistance to travel speed will go down. Often the re-routing to a secondary highway, where winds aren’t as powerful, will aid in this endeavor.

A GPS device lying on top of an open Atlas.

Photo: Peter Mercer

Route Planning Dos and Don’ts

Having a well-planned route both before and during your journey is needed, including regularly referencing GPS and/ or maps.  After all, running in circles and backtracking is really not that economical. Good Sam members can access the Good Sam Trip Planner to create efficient routes.

These are just some of the ways that may help to capture some of your RV’s fuel that might otherwise go to waste.

Peter Mercer — With Ways To Reduce Fuel Shrinkage

Source: 6 Simple Ways to Stop Wasting Fuel

Tackling RV Fridge Troubles in October’s Mark My Words

Tackling RV Fridge Troubles in October’s Mark My Words

Hi all! This month, we’ve got questions on various RV appliances. Remember to send your RVing questions to [email protected].

Hi Mark,

We’ve noticed an increase of icing on our fridge-cooling fins. It is the original Norcold fridge in our 1996 Itasca Sunrise. Food remains cold at a midrange setting and the freezer seems to keep things frozen sufficiently, so there is nothing to complain about other than a concern about the icing. We do clean out the fridge and freezer routinely. The icing is occurring while we’re hooked up to shore power and doesn’t seem to be any different whether it is set for normal operation or high humidity.  We only run on gas infrequently. Wondering if there is something we should be doing differently.

Thanks,

Phil

Hi Phil,

Usually, when an RV refrigerator starts forming more frost but still cools normally, I’d look at the door gasket. It doesn’t take much of a leak to let humid, warm air into the fridge and that will definitely increase frost production.

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Visually inspect the door seal for any tears or obvious problems. Clean both surfaces. Now, close the door with a dollar bill inserted between the door seal and the body of the refrigerator. You should be able to pull it out with some resistance, but in areas where the seal is not making, it will be very easy to pull out or entirely loose. Usually, there’s no way to fix a door seal, you just have to replace it. It’s not a very hard job to do.

Some other possibilities: have you changed your diet recently and are loading new foods that tend to carry more moisture with them? Have you recently moved the RV to an area with more humidity?

I deal with frost build-up in my small Norcold fridge by adding a small 12-volt DC electric fan to blow on the right-hand side of the coils. That’s the part that gets the coldest, and the circulating air really reduces frost buildup while maintaining very low interior temperatures. The fan can be fed from the 12-volt DC power source behind the fridge. If you use a small muffin fan, it can run continuously because these small fans only draw about 150 mA (Milliampere) of current.

Dear Mark,

I have a Wilderness 27-foot travel trailer.  My problem is the heat. I don’t know when it’s going to run and when it may decide not to. We took a trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, last year for Thanksgiving. We turned on the heat and heard the lighter was trying to ignite, tick tick ticking, but if it didn’t want to ignite. We were just getting cold air. So we played with the thermostat and turned it on and off, and you’d never know if it was going to be heat or just fan going. I can tell it’s trying to ignite cause I hear tick tick, but if it doesn’t want to, it’s just not dependable, and we like to camp in the winter on occasion. Any suggestions? Someone said to clean the igniter, but I don’t even know where that is. Someone mentioned it may be propane is low. I just don’t know, but I want it dependable.

Sharon in Charleston, SC

Winter Rving. Class A Recreation Vehicle on the Park Parking Covered by Snow. Winter Boondocking.

Getty Images

Hi Sharon,

It’s no fun to have a furnace that you can’t trust! Several things can cause the problem you are seeing. It can be a problem with the propane supply to the furnace or low battery voltage at the furnace, but I suspect yours is an igniter problem or a circuit board problem. There are two metal probes inside the combustion chamber of the furnace that a spark jumps across to light the gas burner. That’s the “tick tick” sound you hear. Those probes may be dirty, misaligned, or there may be a problem with the high voltage connection to the furnace igniter board. If you have the manual for the furnace and are handy with tools, the igniter probes are relatively easy to remove and clean. The manual should show you where they are located inside the furnace. If cleaning the probes does not help, the problem may be in either the furnace control board or possibly the gas valve.

Unfortunately, furnaces really should be repaired only by folks who understand the safety aspects of working with gas appliances. If you are not sure what you are doing for your own safety, have a qualified technician diagnose and repair your furnace.

Mark:

You may have addressed this question before, but a friend told us that it’s not good to park our rig and leave everything off, especially the refrigerator. He said it’s not good to allow the coolant to settle to the bottom of the unit rather than circulate constantly. Our unit works off propane or electric, and we have been keeping the camper plugged into the house just to keep the refrigerator running. Fact or fiction?

Sonny and MayLynn

Hi Sonny and MayLynn,

I’d have to cast my vote for “fiction.” Leaving the refrigerator off when you are not using the RV will not adversely affect its lifespan. Running it continuously won’t really hurt it either, as long as it is level, but the electric heating element that operates the fridge when it’s on AC may eventually burn out; plus, it takes several hundred watts to operate. Save your money: RV refrigerators are designed to be turned on and off without causing any problems. Just leave it off, and prop the doors open so that it doesn’t smell musty inside. You may have to remove the inside 12-volt light bulb if it is still on when the refrigerator is turned off and the door is open.

Mark:

How do I clean out the water heater tank on my 1987 Bounder? 

Thanks,

Linda

Hi Linda,

First, make sure it is cold, or at least cool. Turn off the water heater, making sure that both the gas burner and the electric element (if so equipped) are off. Then, turn off the water pump, or disconnect the hose from the city water inlet. Open a hot water faucet to release any pressure, leave it open and go outside. Open the water heater access panel, and using a suitable tool, remove the water heater drain plug. Once the heater has drained, flush the inside of the tank through the drain plug by using a water heater flushing tool available at any RV parts store. The flushing tool is a long, thin nozzle that attaches to your garden hose and fits into the water heater drain opening. One popular brand is called a tank saver.

Once it’s all flushed out, replace the drain plug and turn the water back on. Let the water heater fill until water runs from all open hot water faucets before turning the heat back on. It’s best to do this at least once a year.

A single travel trailer on a camp site surrounded by green, leafy trees.

Getty Images

Hi Mark,

We are staying at an RV park in Tillamook, Oregon. We have a 30-amp connection.

The first morning after we arrived, it was about 45 degrees. I turned on our electric fireplace and started my microwave to heat my tea water. I usually set it at 2min 30 secs. When the water was done, it was barely warm. Then I noticed that the heater wasn’t as warm as usual. I thought that the microwave was on the fritz. I checked the power at the pole. I noticed that the three lights on the surge protector were not all green. The first light was red but the others were green. The list of faults said it was the L1 and L2 and neutral were reversed. I told the park of the problem, and they sent an electrician to remedy the problem. It was fine for a day. Next morning same issue. But it was repaired. I think it may be a supply issue at the park. There are about 65 other trailers here. Just looking for your thoughts on this issue.

Jeff

Hi Jeff,

Is your rig 50 amps and were you using a 30- to 50-amp adapter at the time? If so, those can cause some surge protectors to report a wiring problem, and it’s not usually a problem to operate that way.

Also, if you are used to having a 50-amp hookup, running on 30 amps requires load managing. In the example you provided, running an electric heater (fireplace) and the microwave at the same time along with the fridge and battery charging could push you over 30 amps. Low voltage is also a possibility: if the park’s system is overloaded and the voltage drops, it could make things like the microwave heat slower.

If the problem recurs at the next place you stay, then it’s something that needs to be looked into. I suspect, like you, that it’s a power issue at the park, and as such, shouldn’t follow you down the road. 😊

Source: Tackling RV Fridge Troubles in October’s Mark My Words

Fall for Apple Crisp Foil Packets

Fall for Apple Crisp Foil Packets

Fall is in full swing, and that means it’s time for all things apple! If you’re an apple lover, it’s the perfect opportunity to start cooking with these delicious fall fruits. In fact, October is National Apple Month, so why not whip up a tasty apple treat on your next camping trip?

Apple crisp is such an easy and delicious dessert, which makes it perfect for camping trips! The cinnamon and sugar go so well with the crisp apples and oat topping in a way that just screams “fall.” But while most apple crisp desserts need to be baked in an oven, this foil packet recipe is easy to make at the campsite and can be cooked over the fire, on a grill, and yes, in a tiny RV oven. You can even prep some of the ingredients at home, which makes this dessert even easier when you’re on the road!

Four crisp apples on a wooden table

Apples ready to cook. Photo: Pasja1000/Pixabay

If you’re traveling to a northern state that’s known for apples, stop by an orchard or farm stand and pick up some fresh apples to use in this recipe. But even if you’re heading south for the fall, grocery stores will be brimming with apple choices this time of year. What variety of apples work best with this recipe? Many! Any good baking apple will work great, and some of our favorites include Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Pink Lady, Fuji and Gala.

So if you’re enjoying the cool weather and sipping on something warm around the campfire, add this recipe to your lineup for a festive fall camping dessert!

Tips for Making Apple Crisp Packets

  • You can mix the dry ingredients for the crumble before leaving for your camping trip to cut down on the number of elements you’ll need to pack. Just add the dry ingredients to a resealable jar or bag and bring the container along. Then add the melted butter once you’re ready to make the recipe.
  • Should you peel the apples or not peel them? That’s totally up to you. I tend to peel the apples since I’m not a particular fan of apple skins, but it’s fine either way.
  • These foil packets can be made three different ways — on the grill, over the fire or in the oven. We’ve included directions for each cooking method in the directions below.
  • Using heavy-duty foil or 2 layers of regular aluminum foil will help keep the packets from ripping or getting holes while cooking. The double-layer is especially helpful when cooking over a campfire. If you’re making these in your RV oven, you can get away with a single layer of foil and place the packets on a small baking sheet before putting them in to cook.
  • If cooking over a fire or on the grill, occasionally rotate the packets so they can heat evenly on all sides.
  • Be extra careful when removing the packets from the heat and opening them after cooking. The hot steam can burn, so keep your face, fingers and skin out of the way.

Campfire Apple Crisp Foil Packets

Makes 5 packets

Ingredients:

Overhead shot of dry ingredients in a white bowl on a lawn.

Dry ingredients for apple crisp.

5 apples (such as Honeycrisp, Granny Smith,

or Braeburn), cored and sliced

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Crumble Topping:

1/2 cup quick oats

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, melted

Optional Toppings:

Ice cream

Whipped cream

Caramel sauce

Tools:

10 sheets of Aluminum foil

Directions:

1) To make the oat topping ahead of time, mix all dry crumble ingredients (everything EXCEPT for the butter) in a bowl (above) until well combined. Store mixture in a resealable jar or bag until needed. If you’re making this in one go, jump to the next step!

Sliced apples in a white bowl on wooden table.

Peeling apples is optional.

2) Core and slice apples. You can peel the apples if you’d like, but it’s not necessary. Add the apples to a large mixing bowl and add the 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 2 tsp of cinnamon. Mix well until the apples are evenly coated.

Coated apples sliced and ready to cook in a white bowl.

Coat the apples evenly before cooking.

3) Cut 10 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil approximately 12-14 inches long. You’ll use 2 sheets for each packet.

4) Add the crumble dry ingredients to another bowl and mix until well combined. Add the melted butter and stir until the mixture is crumbly.

Apples on a sheet of aluminum foil under a pile of crumbles.

Mixing crumble with the coated apples.

5) Divide the coated apples into 5 packets (each packet will have 2 sheets of foil).

6) Spoon the crumble mixture evenly onto the 5 packets.

On each foil packet, bring the two long sides of the foil together and fold them over a few times. Then fold in the ends to make a sealed packet. Be sure to leave some room inside the packets for the steam to circulate. Double-check to make sure there are no holes in the foil and that the packet is sealed tightly.

To cook on the grill:

Cook the packets over indirect medium heat on a grill for 15-20 minutes until the apples are cooked through. Carefully open the packets and watch for escaping steam.

A freshly unwrapped packet containing cooked apples.

Cooked apples in their foil packets.

To cook over the fire:

Wait until your fire has been burning for a while and has reduced to a nice bed of coals. Put the packets on a cooking grate over the coals and cook for 15 minutes, rotating the packets occasionally. Once the apples are cooked through, carefully remove the packets from the heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes and carefully open.

To cook in the oven:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the foil packets on a baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes. Cook until the apples are soft, then remove from the oven. Carefully open the packets and enjoy!

Whipped cream spread on apple crisps.

Whipped cream adds the final touch to an apple crisp packet. Now it’s time to dig in!

Top with whipped cream, caramel sauce, or ice cream for a tasty dessert or snack. Or skip the toppings; it’s just as good on its own! Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container. The leftover crisp will last 3-4 days in the fridge — if you don’t eat it all before then!

Photos by Kacey Cribari unless otherwise indicated.

Source: Fall for Apple Crisp Foil Packets

12 Spooky RV Destinations for Halloween and Beyond

12 Spooky RV Destinations for Halloween and Beyond

Don’t let the spirits of October catch you by surprise. To help you plan a fun and spooky Halloween road trip, we’ve compiled a list of some of the scariest places and events in North America. Many of these spots stay open long past October 31, giving you a chance to get your fright on well into autumn.

Find a Good Sam Park near each scary stop on this list. 

Gunfighter Ghost Tour, Tombstone, Arizona

Sign indicating the

Getty Images

If the town’s name and wild past doesn’t convince you that this place is haunted, then a tour through its neighborhoods might turn you into a believer. The Tombstone Gunfighter and Ghost Tour starts at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, once the elegant Grand Hotel. A stroll down Allen’s street takes tourgoers to sites of some of the bloodiest Old West gunfights; guests are advised to be vigilant for spirit sightings. Of course, the tour includes a stop at the infamous O.K. Corral, the place where lawmen led by Virgil Earp gunned down three outlaws in 30 seconds in 1881. Whet your whistle at Doc Holliday’s Saloon after a day spent walking with ghosts.

Stay: CT RV Resort in Benson offers luxury living with spectacular views just minutes from Tombstone.

Whaley House, San Diego, California

A brick, two-story house near a palm tree.

Whaley House. Photo: Joe Mabel

Sitting in the Old Town district of San Diego, a pleasant-looking, 1800s-era house hides a troubled past. According to local history, a thief named James “Yankee Jim” Robinson was hung on the site in 1852 for the charge of grand larceny. A few years later, a couple named Thomas and Ana Whaley built a brick house in Greek Revival style on the spot. In the subsequent years, occupants of the house have reported hearing the footsteps of Yankee Jim. Others have reported sightings of a little girl and dog. Were these real or imagined? Find out for yourself with a tour of the house, and explore the other historic sites in beautiful Old Town.

Stay: Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve in Santee has more than 190 acres of parkland.

Sea Witch Festival, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Sails and mast on ancient sailing vessel against a usk sky.

Getty Images

The family-friendly 30th Annual Sea Witch Festival puts a nautical twist on Halloween. Events here include a costume parade, dog parade, trick or treating, and hayrides. One of the event’s highlights is the Sea Witch Hunt, in which revelers try to find the dreaded witch for prizes. The event was featured in HGTV’s list of the “21 Great Fall Festivals.”

Stay: Massey’s Landing in Millsboro sits in the heart of the First State’s Shore.

Haunted Road, Orlando, Florida

Silhouette of person standing in the dark forest with light.

Getty Images

Florida’s theme park capital is home to the scariest stretch of road in the mortal realm. The Haunted Road leads motorists on a 40-minute drive past terrifying specters and eerie lights. Tune in to the radio broadcast to get the full experience. Designated parking spots along the route give motorists a chance to experience the total shock of the route. Every motorist must wear a seatbelt and vehicles must not exceed 7.5 feet tall and 17 feet in length. The road is open well into November, so don’t rush to get there — the ghosts will be waiting. 

Stay: Southern Palms RV Resort in Eustis features guest activities and is just a short drive from Orlando.

Haunted New Orleans, Louisiana

Horse and Carriage Wagon Ride, Historic New Orleans, Louisiana, at Night

Historic New Orleans. Getty Images

The town that gave us Mardi Gras puts on an equally spectacular Halloween show. History buffs can take tours through some of the many haunted sites throughout the town’s French Quarter or walk through one of the town’s famed above-ground cemeteries. During Halloween, street parties rage on Bourbon and St. Ann streets in the heart of the French Quarter. If you’re visiting earlier in the week, watch the Krew of Boo Parade on October 23. Marvel at the floats that pass by, and catch the prizes thrown out by the float-riding ghouls and goblins. This family-friendly event features plenty of candy and toys.

Stay: Pine Crest RV Park of New Orleans in Slidell is only 30 minutes from downtown New Orleans and Gulf Coast beaches.

Jack O’Lantern Blazes, Hudson Valley, New York

Many Halloween Pumpkin glowing faces in a row isolated on black background. 3D Rendering illustration

Getty Images

The historical Cortlandt Manor in New York’s Hudson Valley becomes the setting for eerie displays of orange light. More than 7,000 pumpkins are lit up for the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze held through November 21. Synchronized lighting and an original soundtrack make this a Halloween celebration like no other. See these glowing gourds arranged in towering sculptures that will make you rethink Halloween.

Stay: Rip Van Winkle Campgrounds in Saugerties is close to the beautiful Catskills Mountains.

Haunted Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

A lone cannon faces an empty battlefield under overcast skies.

Gettysburg National Military Park. Photo: Durban

Gettysburg has been considered one of the most haunted places in the United States. Much of that reputation can be attributed to the bloody Civil War battle that raged here in 1863, which saw more than 50,000 men die in combat, most buried in nearby graves. Take a ghost tour through town to learn about the spirits of soldiers and locals who purportedly haunt Gettysburg’s streets to this day. For something a bit more whimsical, watch the Annual Olde Getty Place Gettysburg Halloween Parade. Floats, marching bands and some scary ghouls highlight this event.

Stay: The Drummer Boy Camping Resort in Gettysburg has modern amenities and is close to ghost walks and battlefield tours.

Fright Nights, Las Vegas, Nevada

Moon hangs low over brightly lit Vegas skyline.

Buildings line the Vegas Strip. Getty Images

Las Vegas terrifies visitors with Fright Nights, a trio of hair-raising experiences located in the heart of the city. Dodge good ole boys wielding pitchforks and axes at the Blood Barn; Explore a nightmarish Victorian home in Nightmare Manor; and come face-to-face with a circus of nightmares in the Clown Invasion 3D, where painted fiends lurk in chaotic mazes and diabolical ball pits. Fright Nights benefits Opportunity Village, a not-for-profit organization serving adults in the Southern Nevada community with intellectual and related disabilities. 

Stay: Las Vegas RV Resort offers luxury amenities situated close to the legendary Strip.

Deadwood, South Dakota

Ghost town under starry skies.

Getty Images

During its heyday as a mining town in the Black Hills, the city of Deadwood was a magnet for outlaws. Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Potato Creek Johnny and other gunslingers helped fill the plots of Mount Moriah Cemetery on the edge of town. Today, ghosts from the town’s colorful past are said to haunt many of the buildings from the 1800s that line the town’s streets. Sign up with a Haunted History Walking Tour and visit places like the Historic Bullock Hotel; some say it reeks of cigar smoke produced by the ghost of the town’s first sheriff, who built the hotel in 1895.

Visiting during Halloween? Have fun at Deadweird, the town’s annual celebration with a Monster Ball, Costume Contest and music.

Stay: Chris’ Camp & RV Park is located in beautiful spearfish just minutes from Deadwood.

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Old haunted abandoned mansion in creepy night forest with cold fog atmosphere

Getty Images

Located at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure occupies 10,000 feet of scary space inhabited by creepy occupants — actors in makeup — who spook visitors at every twist and turn. Part of the Ripley’s Believe it Or Not complex of attractions in Gatlinburg, this haunted house is open 365 days a year, giving guests a taste of Halloween long beyond fall. Ripley’s Haunted Adventure celebrates its 20th annual Fright Nights with a special show each weekend in October, with no extra charge every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening plus Halloween night.

Stay: Greenbrier Campground sits on the Little Pigeon River and is only six miles from downtown Gatlinburg.

USS Lexington, Corpus Christi, Texas

Aircraft carrier under an overcast sky.

Aircraft carrier USS Lexington docked in Corpus Christi. Getty Images.

On the Gulf Coast, a decommissioned World War II aircraft carrier harbors ghostly crew members, according to spirit watchers. Visitors to the USS Lexington have reported a sailor in uniform helping lost tourists navigate the ship’s passageways as well as a sailor talking to guests in the engine room before vanishing. The high numbers of incidences have put the ship, which is now a museum, high on the list of America’s haunted places. The USS Lexington Museum has embraced the ghostly spirit with the 2021 LEX Haunted House, a tour through 80 compartments in the ship, including spaces never before seen by the public. Tourgoers should be able to handle steep ladders, dark corridors and spine-tingling frights. The haunted house runs through the first week of November. 

Stay: Colonia Del Rey RV Park in Corpus Christi is located just five miles from Padre Island.

Thomas Family Farm Pumpkins & Corn Maze, Seattle, Washington

Man leading kid through corn maze.

Getty Images

North of Seattle, Thomas Family Farm offers the perfect Halloween event for families seeking autumn fun. Visitors can take a wild ride in a Monster Truck, take aim at the Kids’ Paintball Blast or get lost in the 8-acre corn Maze. The Zombie Safari Paintball Hayride is as scary as it sounds, while the Nightmare on 9 Haunted house is bound to raise some hairs. Missed Halloween? The farm puts on plenty of Holiday events.

Stay: Lake Pleasant RV Park in Bothell situates guests close to all that Seattle has to offer.

Source: 12 Spooky RV Destinations for Halloween and Beyond

Protecting Your Pets on Camping Trips

Protecting Your Pets on Camping Trips

Sink your claws into this fact: RV travelers love bringing their pets on the road with them. Surveys have shown that more than 60 percent of RVers are accompanied by animal friends on camping trips. This should come as no surprise if you’ve spent any time in campgrounds across North America (at least the ones that allow pets). People walking their dogs, and to a lesser extent, cats, are a common sight. There are also RV owners camping with parrots, iguanas, ferrets and a whole lot more. But for this post, let’s focus exclusively on cats and dogs. Let’s talk about safeguarding your pets on the road.

Finding the Right RV Park

Keep in mind that it’s essential to review the pet policies of the parks you’re visiting. Most campgrounds require dogs to be kept on a short leash and not roam free. However, many private campgrounds offer dog walks or off-leash dog park areas to accommodate pet owners. Check the Good Sam listing of the park you plan to visit to determine pet policies. You’ll find information about pet restrictions in the campground listing’s Policies section.

Differences in Geography

Woman hiking with akita inu dog on mountain trail.

Getty Images

So how do we keep our furry friends from harm while traveling the country in our RV? How is safeguarding them while traveling any different than caring for them at home?

There are other things that change with the geographic area. Depending on where you travel, you may encounter birds and reptiles that may pose a problem. Snakes, for example, pose little danger for most of us as they will scurry away should we ever get near them. But dogs and cats like to sneak around and investigate. They might just find a Florida favorite, the pygmy rattlesnake. Not only might they come upon a snake, but cats may actually bring one back to your RV to show you what they caught. This I have witnessed several times with a park neighbor. Fortunately, these were not venomous types but more in the grass snake group.

Other Animals

Happy hipster people having fun in summer vacation in car during summer vacation - Young multiracial friends in camper van - Focus on dog face

Getty Images

If you’re visiting some wetlands areas in the Gulf Coast region of the country, you might want to keep your dog out of some of the freshwater rivers, lakes and ponds. Alligators have been known to surprise unsuspecting animals in their environment. In fact, Everglades National Park in Florida prohibits dogs from the park’s trails (although they are allowed in other areas of the park). So, it’s best to restrain Fido in certain areas.

Wolves, coyotes, bobcats and cougars are just some of the animals that may inhabit the regions you roam in. This is not a big issue, providing you are aware of the environment. Though the chances are highly unlikely a predator will target your pet, why expose them to such a risk?

If you have a very small cat or small dog, you should be mindful of larger bird species like the golden or bald eagle in places like Alaska. They target small animals like rabbits, squirrels, marmots and the like. Not allowing your pets to roam freely will alleviate the risk of such exposures.

Everyday Dangers

A man sitting on the edge of a cliff with two small dogs.

Getty Images

In many ways, traveling with your little friend is really no more dangerous than that of being at home. There may be a snarling rottweiler that lives down the street in your neighborhood, stretching his chain in hopes of being able to get your Fido. You put in place measures that prevent this from ever happening. Likewise, the urban and suburban motorways and multi-lane highways that wind through your area call for a secure restraint to protect your pet from roaming into a possible dangerous area.

Also we also must be vigilant against RV features that don’t exist in our fixed residences, things that your pet may not be familiar with. For example, interior slide tops, when retracted, are an appealing hideout for felines. In addition, both cats and dogs may curl up in a floor slide area. This may expose them to a mechanical injury if activated. So, be sure to have your pet(s) contained within a safe place when slide engagement is employed.

Automatic entrance steps are a great feature. However, not so great if your pet is beneath or close to them. Again, they can be exposed to possible mechanical injury. Therefore, if Fido or Felix is out and about in the patio area, be sure to turn the auto step feature off.

If you take the proper safety precautions for your pets, you and your traveling companion are free to have fun. Consider all the aspects of traveling with your pet.

Peter Mercer — Adjusting to your location’s environment.

Source: Protecting Your Pets on Camping Trips

Kid Eats: Top 10 Kid-Friendly Camping Recipes

Kid Eats: Top 10 Kid-Friendly Camping Recipes

In every camping escapade, from the early mornings to starry nights, only two things are constant: campfires and food. For children, camp stories will be an addition. While camping, a child’s vivid and nostalgic memories revolve around these three. Cooking by the campfire, especially with its varying temperatures, which will need extensive patience from everyone, will always be a challenge. But for the kids, what can we do? Cooking in the wilderness is fun enough that the challenges to be encountered (i.e., the fire going off with every gust of wind, keeping the food at the right temperature, etc.) will likely be worth it in the long run. But for a hungry brood of kids to feed, having scrumptious recipes planned out in advance will be best. Pack up the essentials, grab your ingredients and cookware, and cook up these kid-friendly camping recipes we’ve listed below.

Savory Breakfasts

Six pancakes cooking on an outdoor grill.

Getty Images

For early morning arrivals at camp, watching the sunrise will be the best way to spend the time. What better way to upgrade this experience than eating an extra special breakfast that will keep you and your family energized throughout the day? Pancakes make the perfect campfire food: You can pre-make (and pack) the dry and wet ingredients separately, then mix them up just when you need them. Another classic that kids can make themselves are peanut butter and jelly with a twist: they’re muffins. These can make this classic delicacy easy to grab and go.

Super Sandwiches

A pair of hamburgers with onions, tomatoes and halloumi.

Veggie halloumi burgers. Getty Images

If barbecuing would be your choice for lunch, halloumi would be a perfect option as it holds its shape while cooking and develops a beautiful chargrilled, salty flavor. Light up the coals and get grilling with those cheese slices! Try these quick and easy veggie halloumi burgers (above) featuring toasted brioche buns with fresh lettuce and tomatoes. These tasty little salmon tacos with lime dressing (top of page) will be a real treat for your kids as they can assemble their own after you’ve cooked the salmon on the barbecue. With just a frying pan in hand, a tasty no-oven pizza is a popular camp meal for the kids. They can simply make their dough and choose a selection of their favorite toppings to garnish!

Easy Lunches

Veggie boxes

Your little ones will be refueled with these fresh and healthy lunchboxes. This pasta pesto salad is not only easy to prepare in advance but also quick to eat and nutritious to keep the kids energetic for the rest of the day. Another veggie box the kids (and adults) would surely love is this deli couscous that isn’t just healthy, but definitely tasty too!

Homemade taco chicken soup in a rustic pot

Cowboy chicken and bean stew. Getty Images

Make-ahead Meals

Minimal prep will be involved with the cowboy chicken & bean stew, but you will need a bit of patience. Give this casserole dish a bit of time to cook to get the best results. Once every ingredient has been decked out, you can simply leave it to cook on its own. Alternatively, these make-at-home recipes that you can rehear at camp will make your lives way easier, especially with your schedule of activities completely packed. Our roast summer vegetables and chickpea stew and squash, chicken & couscous one-pot are full of goodness and also perfect for making ahead.

A cast-iron pot containing red blend of veggies with some spinach leaves.

Roast summer vegetables and chickpea stew. Getty Images

Make-Ahead Mac and Cheese

This decadent pasta features sharp Cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. You’ll savor every single forkful of this dish for sure.

A pan brimming with delicious Mac and Cheese.

Mac and cheese. Getty Images

Dipping Desserts

We’re all aware of how kids would probably choose desserts over any meal, right? You can satisfy their cravings with these sticky strawberry, marshmallow & chocolate dippers. Simply melt some chocolate (milk, white, or dark) over the dying embers of a barbecue so it doesn’t burn. Be careful not to let the kids touch the pan, though, as it will get really hot. Hand out wooden skewers to be used for the marshmallows and strawberries. Add on some selection of sprinkles, flaked coconut, crumbled biscuits, or chopped nuts for kids to be creative with after dipping!

Bedtime drinks

Nothing beats looking at the starry night, with board games, bedtime stories, and a warm cup of hot caramel malted milk, as the kids get ready to be tucked in bed. Of course, hot chocolate topped with mini marshmallows is a good idea, too. An all-time classic, for sure.

Source: Kid Eats: Top 10 Kid-Friendly Camping Recipes

Drop a Line in Destin, Florida, the ‘World’s Luckiest Fishing Village’

Drop a Line in Destin, Florida, the ‘World’s Luckiest Fishing Village’

In Destin, located on Florida’s panhandle, the menu for fun includes fishing, paddleboarding, shopping and dining on fresh seafood. Once a sleepy fishing village, Destin has grown to become one of the premier vacation destinations in the Sunshine State. Between the soft, white-sand beaches, the world-class fishing excursions and the thrill-a-minute attractions on shore, there’s a little something for everyone in this warm-weather paradise. Drop a line in Destin for snowbird adventure.

For a great place to stay, Camping on the Gulf is a top-rated destination situated right on the coast.

Hook, Line and Dinner

Grandfather, teaching his two teenager grandaughters his best tricks to catch some big fish.

Getty Images

Billed as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin is home to one of the country’s largest charter fishing fleets, making it easy to arrange the excursion of your dreams. For an accessible, family-friendly outing, try the inshore waterways of Choctawhatchee Bay, where king mackerel, red snapper or grouper are a quick cast away. However, more serious anglers will want to book a deep-sea outing 25-miles offshore, where the shallow waters of the harbor give way to the rich waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Tuna, billfish, and sharks, as well as plenty of seasonal sportfish, call these bountiful waters home, so you can expect plenty of fight and plenty of fish as you cast a line alongside some of the Gulf’s most experienced guides.

Surf and Sand

A young woman rides a wave on a paddleboard.

Photo Courtesy of Camping on the Gulf

Renowned for its sugar-white beaches, the region is a haven for sunbathers of all stripes. If you’re looking to lounge the day away, it’s hard to beat the powder-like sand at family-friendly James Lee Park. The sand’s white color even keeps it cool under your feet. For a more secluded outing, head to Henderson Beach State Park, where you can observe stunning sea birds in their natural habitats. The nearby nature trail offers an even closer look at the iconic animals. At Jetty East beach, you’ll find plenty of surfers testing their mettle against pulse-pounding waves. At the same time, the harborside Norriego Point is the perfect place for boating, kayaking or paddleboarding in calmer water alongside picturesque dunes. Of course, once you’ve worked up an appetite, nothings beat a visit to the popular Crab Trap, a thirty-year-old eatery that serves up super-fresh seafood and unforgettable sunset views amid fun nautical-themed decor.

The Squeaking Sands of Okaloosa

A pier stretches into emerald waters from a white-sand beach.

Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier and Beach. Getty Images

Just across the bridge on Okaloosa Island, visitors are greeted with miles of shoreline with sand so fine it literally squeaks under your feet. Bring a picnic and some sunscreen and be sure to enjoy some of the most strikingly beautiful coastlines America has to offer. You can even take a sandcastle-making lesson right on the beach. Anglers can bring their poles to the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier, which spans 1,262 feet into the Gulf’s waters. On an average day, pier anglers can catch Spanish mackerel, whiting or bluefish. Foodies should set their hooks for pompano, a fish prized by chefs for its taste, flaked texture and versatility. Didn’t bring fishing gear? No worries. The pier rents out rods, cut bait and tackle at an additional charge.

Harbor Walks

Two boats suspended by cranes above their slips on a bustling waterfront area.

Getty Images

Spice up your stay with a visit to HarborWalk Village, home to some of the best shopping on the Panhandle. Whether you’re in the market for a kitschy accessory or true nautical treasure, you’re sure to find it in one of the funky waterfront shops. The area is also home to an array of restaurants and rides catering to all types of visitors. From upscale eateries, dockside seafood, dolphin cruises, fireworks, pirate parades, and more, HarborWalk is at the heart of Destin’s fun-filled philosophy. It’s also a great jumping-off point for visits to a family-friendly outing to Big Kahuna’s Waterpark, where kids and adults alike will revel in the more than 40 slides, rides and play areas.

Wonderful Wildlife

Sea turtle swimming amid rays of sun that stream through the water.

Getty Images

Last but not least, no trip to Destin would be truly complete without experiencing the exciting world of wildlife that calls this unique region home. Dolphin cruises are a popular pastime, while SNUBA, a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving, brings the underwater world closer than ever before. With the ability to stay underwater for 20-30 minutes at a time, you can explore artificial reefs and shipwrecks, as well as collect sand dollars from the seafloor. Back on dry land, budding biologists should join a Nighttime Educational Beach Walk with a local sea turtle expert. The endangered species are a vital part of the Gulf ecosystem and the Emerald Coast is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of this majestic creature during its seasonal migration. Book your place online or via the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Welcome Center.

Sea Life Adventures

At the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, you can spend the morning snorkeling with stingrays, the afternoon feeding the penguins and then take in a fun-filled dolphin show before dinner. It’s an immersive, one-of-a-kind experience that visitors return to year after year. Just make sure to save enough time to make it to Okaloosa Island Pier for the brilliant sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico and Wednesday night fireworks shows that happen weekly during the summer. For a deep dive into the legacy behind the “luckiest fishing village in the world,” stop into the Destin History and Fishing Museum, which displays artifacts and exhibits about the city’s pioneer days and how the earliest fishermen thrived off the bounty of the sea.

Source: Drop a Line in Destin, Florida, the ‘World’s Luckiest Fishing Village’

Project Rustic: Boondocking Responsibly Off-The-Grid In An RV

Project Rustic: Boondocking Responsibly Off-The-Grid In An RV

Last Updated on October 8, 2021 by Christina

While you may not have heard of “boondocking” before, you probably know what it is and may have even done it yourself. It’s the primary form of camping for Project Rustic, a five-month long project to gather data about state forest campgrounds that stems from a partnership between General RV and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Paige Lackey, an AmeriCorps member serving with the DNR, is traveling in a Nexus Triumph provided by General RV on a tour of 77 sites where she’s gathering GPS coordinates, photos, and more. Paige is chronicling her experiences in this blog, including what she’s learned, how she’s been boondocking at many of her sites, and some of the highlights of her journey.

What is Boondocking?

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Boondocking is a type of camping that typically implies camping with a vehicle, such as an RV, van, car or pickup truck outside of a developed campground. Folks who primarily boondock are seeking a more traditional way of being in nature away from noise, other campers and light pollution.

Boondocking, or dry camping, is a self-sufficient way to camp away from town and without any public utilities or hookups. The term stems from the word, boondocks, which originates from the Tagalog word, “bundók” which means “mountain”. The word was brought to the United States by American soldiers fighting the Philippine-American War (1899-1902). The Filipino people used the word as a colloquial for rural inland areas, which on the Philippine islands is generally mountainous, difficult to reach areas. Today, the phrase, “out in the boonies” stems from the word “boondocks”.

Boondocking: The Responsible Way to Camp in a Pandemic

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Boondocking could be viewed as a responsible way to camp during the pandemic. It provides an opportunity for solitude and independence. Over the last two years, we’ve seen a large increase in use of campgrounds and outdoors spaces across the country. Many popular campgrounds were completely booked for the last summer season. Boondocking provides an opportunity to isolate and socially distance from the outdoor crowds. Additionally, there are no shared services like bathrooms or water sources. While boondocking, you use only what you bring and interaction with others is limited, and often nonexistent.

Rules of Boondocking & Things to Consider

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Although boondocking could seem as simple as spotting an open field and parking your rig there, there are many things to consider. First off, you need to know whether you are legally allowed to stay on the land. Check any posted signage or with a local ranger station regarding local regulations. Be mindful of the size of your RV. Make sure your RV can handle traveling off the beaten path and has enough room at the site to safely park, or even turn around. Additionally, make sure the surface you park on is durable – this will minimize your impact.

Safety should be taken into consideration when camping “off-the-grid”. You are likely alone, meaning the nearest person may be miles away. You most likely will be far from cell service or other means of communication. Keep your wits about you and choose your location wisely. Stick to existing roads and use established sites when possible. Weather can change quickly, which could alter road conditions, making a previously easy-to-navigate route impassable.  Be mindful of water sources, as a low and lazy creek could become a roaring river after heavy rainfall.

Most importantly, leave no trace. This should be top of the mind when boondocking. The same rules that apply to backcountry backpackers and tenters apply to boondockers. This means “pack it in, pack it out”. Everything you brought with you needs to leave with you, especially any trash generated. Be responsible with fire, don’t dump your tanks on the ground and respect the wildlife.

How to find a Boondocking site

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In the U.S., most boondocking can be found on public lands, which include Bureau of Land Management land, national forests and some state land. Dispersed and Primitive tent camping within U.S. Forest Service land is allowed almost anywhere, unless otherwise posted as closed and/or “No Camping”. Most national forests that allow dispersed camping have a 14-day stay limit, though it can vary from as short as one day to as long as 30 days. Check local regulations by either stopping in at the nearest ranger station, or calling ahead before you arrive. Some online resources are available, like Campendium and iOverlander, which provide honest reviews and detailed information on middle-of-nowhere places to set up camp.

Essential Items Needed for Boondocking

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Boondocking requires a little extra thought and preparation. Once you’re parked in your spot the nearest town could be miles away. Here are a few items you may need to be prepared for off-grid living:

  • Power Source:
    • Solar panels are more popular than ever and they’re much more environmentally friendly than a generator. Even with a solar set up, a back up generator is good idea. Some days might not offer enough sunlight to charge up your batteries.
  • Lights:
    • The easiest way to light up your camp is with solar powered lights. Lanterns or string lights can be helpful outdoors lights.
  • Heating/Cooling:
    • A portable heater might be necessary for cold nights. Instead of using the noisy, battery-draining heating system in the RV a propane heater is a great alternative.
    • Using the AC while boondocking is typically not possible. A battery-powered fan is a great, low-energy alternative.
  • Water Containers:
    • Prior to leaving civilization, make sure you have sufficient water for your trip. Top off the water tank in the RV and bring additional water sources with you. Plastic water jugs or reusable containers will offer additional water if your tank starts to run low.
  • Cooler/Fridge:
    • Food storage is necessary and often can be one of the more challenging elements of boondocking. A low power fridge or electric cooler are great options. An ice packed cooler is also sufficient for shorter trips. 

Best Types of RVs for Boondocking

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Small to medium-sized trailers, such as teardrop campers, tend to be most popular among full-time boondockers. Boondockers generally want their trailers to be manageable in having to make tight turns, towing up steep grades, and getting through soft sand. Vans, and Class-B RVs do a great job of being able to get into smaller campsites, and offer much more maneuverability in tight dirt roads, but full-time boondockers prefer to remain camped in the same site for at least a week or up to a few weeks at a time. When it comes to living full-time as a boondocker, couples need space to maintain a healthy relationship. Some of the best RVs for boondocking by class type include:

Best Travel Trailer for Boondocking

Best Class B RV for Off-The-Beaten-Path Adventures

Best Adventure Ready Toy Hauler

Pop-Up Campers Built for Exploring Parts Unknown

Best Fifth Wheel RV for Boondockers

Best Class C Motorhome for Boondocking

Project Rustic is now entering its final stages, as Paige visits the final handful of sites remaining on her list. Continue to follow Paige’s journey across Michigan with updates on the General RV Project Rustic blog page.

Source: Project Rustic: Boondocking Responsibly Off-The-Grid In An RV

The Best Virginia Campgrounds For An Unforgettable RV Excursion

The Best Virginia Campgrounds For An Unforgettable RV Excursion

Last Updated on October 6, 2021 by Christina

“Virginia is for Lovers” has been the state’s official advertising slogan since 1968, but we think that “Virginia is for Campers” has a nice ring to it, too. While the state, sadly, isn’t likely to change the slogan, we still love camping in an RV throughout Virginia. We’ll show you how it’s chock-full of campgrounds, each with unique aspects to offer that will make your stay in the Old Dominion a memorable one.

At 42,804 square miles, Virginia has several distinct regions, all featuring warm southern hospitality, a rich history and fantastic food. Pack your fifth wheel, travel trailer or motorhome to learn more about the nation’s first settlement at Jamestown. Catch a glimpse of the famous wild Chincoteague ponies and tour presidential homes in a single trip. There is so much to see and do, there is no time to waste!

Why Go Camping In Virginia?

chesapeake bay virginia
Pier leading out into the Chesapeake Bay, VA

The state is often referred to as “the birthplace of a nation.” Many people believe they know everything there is to know about the stunning state of Virginia from textbooks. However, seeing a photo of Chesapeake Bay is nothing compared to experiencing it for yourself in your RV. Virginia is full of surprises. Camp next to a battlefield one night and then a beach the next. Soak up the sights of Washington D.C. another night and relax to the sounds of the Blue Ridge Mountains the next evening.  Campers love:

8 Virginia Campgrounds We Love 

Whether you’re a fan of history or simply love nature’s beauty, you’re sure to enjoy your stay at the best Virginia campgrounds. There is truly something for everyone. Here are our favorite picks for Virginia campgrounds that will steal your heart:

Greenville Farm Family Campground | Haymarket

Best Virginia campground for old-fashioned fun

civil war cannon virginia
Civil War cannon at Manassas National Battlefield Park

First on our list is a campground for animal lovers. Greenville Farm Family Campground is both a campground and a working farm. This 200-acre farm has been family owned and operated since 1828. They added the campground in 1967. Today, campers are welcome to experience farm life firsthand by viewing farm operations and visiting with the animals.

The campground has a relaxed, quiet atmosphere.  There is a large outdoor pool and campers have access to four ponds that are stocked with bass, bluegill and channel catfish. The ponds also attract a fair share of ducks.

While the campground may be rustic with few bells and whistles, it does provide a unique experience. Enjoy the sounds of cows mooing and birds chirping during the day; frogs croaking at night to lull you to sleep. At dusk, sit outside and gaze out over the rolling hills as you watch deer and rabbit frolic in the distance. The sunsets are amazing in this rural part of Virginia, too.

The remote location is perfect to visit the nearby Manassas National Battlefield Park, the site of two Civil War battles. The First Battle of Manassas, also known as Bull Run, took place on July 21, 1861 and the Second Battle of Manassas happened on August 28-30, 1862. Visitors can take a guided tour, view living history demonstrations and visit the Henry Hill Visitor Center and Brawner Farm Interpretative Center. Other nearby attractions include the Manassas Historical Museum, Arlington Cemetery, Mount Vernon and Washington, D.C.

Campsites are available in the grassy area up front or wooded region in the back of the campground. Facilities and amenities are limited in the winter. They include restrooms, showers, dumping station, camp store, firewood, ice, laundry and playground. There are 125 spaces available and 30 have full hookups. Most sites are pull-thru with shade, a fire ring and a picnic table. Pets are welcome.

Tall Pines Harbor Campground | Temperanceville

Best Virginia campground for watching the sunrise or sunset

rv campgrounds sunset sunrise
Sunset along shore of Pocomoke Sound

Next, let’s take a trip to Temperanceville. Located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore in Sanford along the shores of the Pocomoke Sound is Tall Pines Harbor Campground. It has a fantastic sandy beach swimming area, boat ramp for small watercraft and bay front campsites. No matter where you camp in this beautiful, large campground, you’ll have a spectacular view of the best sunrises and sunsets around. 

With an entire day ahead of you, don’t retreat to your RV to go back to sleep. Take a refreshing walk or surprise the family with a huge breakfast. Prepare for a day of fun in the sun at the campground’s splash park, zero-entry swimming pool with splash features, jumping pillow or sandy beach. There is even a horse riding area. Get out on the water with the campground’s rentals. Rental equipment includes kayaks, canoes, water trikes, corcls and paddleboats as well as golf carts and pedal carts.

There is so much to do, you won’t have to leave the campground. However, you might want to venture out on the short journey to Chincoteague to get a real flavor for Virginia. Many campers say you’ll find the best crab cakes in town.

If you prefer, catch your own Chesapeake Bay blue crabs by throwing over a line on the campground’s 226-foot fishing pier. Campers also catch croaker, flounder, rock fish, trout and catfish. The camp store stocks a variety of bait, in addition to an assortment of tackle and crabbing supplies. Tall Pines Harbor is located on the Pocomoke Sound, where the mouth of the Pocomoke River and Chesapeake Bay meet. The water is brackish due to this, meaning you can catch both salt water and freshwater fish in the area.

There’s ample room on the campsites for large RVs like Class A motorhomes and fifth wheels. There’s a variety of campsite types offered, from bay front and waterfront to large pull-thrus and smaller back-ins. Full hookup, seasonal and shaded sites as well as cable TV hookups and free WiFi boost your comfort level. “Buddy sites” allow groups of friends to camp in close proximity like one big happy family. Each site is equipped with a picnic table and a fire ring. Also on the grounds are hot showers, restrooms, laundry, camp store, arcade, dump station and ice machines.

First Landing State Park | Virginia Beach

Best Virginia campground for views of Chesapeake Bay

chesapeake bay virginia
Chesapeake Bay, VA

Just off Chesapeake Bay on the back dunes of the beach, First Landing State Park is a popular place for travelers who want to get away without being far from the action. Tourists are drawn to Virginia Beach, a vibrant area filled with sun-seekers and plenty of things to do. The beach is the main attraction, in addition to a fishing pier and boardwalk to explore. Don’t miss the photo op in front of the Neptune statue on the boardwalk as well as other area attractions. This area is also well known for its military history. Check out the Nauticus, a maritime-themed science and technology center. Tour the Battleship Wisconsin, one of the largest battleships built by the U.S. Navy. Nearby, the Spirit of Norfolk offers a variety of leisure cruises.

First Landing State Park has its own unique history as the location where English colonists first landed in 1607. This campground provides a peaceful, calming space to relax and hang out with family. Also, explore the rich natural resources and early history. The park is a National Natural Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The habitats within the 2,888-acre park include cypress swamps, salt marsh, lagoons, freshwater wetlands, dunes, maritime forests and bay shoreline. Many are home to numerous rare plants and wildlife. In total, there are 20 miles of trails and 1.5 miles of Chesapeake Bay beach frontage.

Campers can enjoy swimming on the unguarded beach and activities like hiking, biking, boating, picnicking and fishing. Bicycle rental is available at the camp store. Beyond the campground, First Landing State Park also serves as a Virginia Beach Tourism satellite location, making it home to interesting displays and three indoor aquariums.

The campground has 200 campsites, many with water and electric hook-ups. Each site contains a picnic table, fire ring/grill. Campsites can accommodate both pop-up campers and RVs up to 50 feet in length. If the type of campsite you stay in is important to you, check out the campground map. Ensure your campsite is the correct size for your RV, as well as the location and scenery you prefer. The camping sites at First Landing State Park are quite different when it comes to their location and size. Some are located in close proximity to each another or may be near the highway that divides the park. Other campsites provide additional space between sites, are closer to the beach area and located further from the state road.

Common areas include a camp store that sells firewood, camping supplies and a limited amount of basic food items, bathhouses with hot showers, laundry facility, picnic spots and boat ramps.

Big Meadows Campground| Luray

Best Virginia campground to reconnect with nature

skyline drive
Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park

Nestled among the rolling hills and lush tree cover in Shenandoah National Park is Big Meadows Campground. Camping is more than just a relaxing experience in this section of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s an adventure.

Located in northeastern Virginia, Big Meadows Campground is one of three campgrounds within the massive 199,195-acre Shenandoah National Park. It is located at Mile 51.2 along Skyline Drive, the park’s popular scenic route. There are three waterfalls within walking distance. Also nearby is the picturesque Big Meadow, a recreational area listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 that is home to an array of wildlife and plant growth.

From the campground, you can access two major hiking trails, Story of the Forest Trail and the Appalachian Trail. The Story of the Forest Trail is a family-favorite, non-strenuous 1.8 mile walk that is partly paved and filled with wildflowers, deer and songbirds. Nearly 101 miles of the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail is located within Shenandoah National Park, crossing Skyline Drive several times. Individuals, couples and families can create many shorter hikes that utilize the Appalachian Trail.

Camping in this part of the state is mostly remote. Therefore, it’s imperative that you maintain proper food storage practices at all times. Otherwise, you could receive a surprise visit from a hungry bear, deer, raccoon or skunk in search of a tasty meal.

While in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, Big Meadows Campground welcomes RVs and is well-equipped to accommodate RV campers. Highlights include pull-through and deep back-in sites designed to harbor most RV sizes and a tow vehicle. There are no electric or water hookups available, but the campground does offer potable water and a dump station. Generator use is limited to certain areas during posted hours. In total, there are more than 200 campsites with plenty of shade.

Public facilities include restrooms, showers, a utility sink, laundry, emergency phone, ranger station, dumpster, recycle area and amphitheater.

Richmond North/Kings Dominion KOA | Doswell

Best Virginia campground for thrill seekers

Richmond North/Kings Dominion KOA is a great place to chill out after spending the day conquering rollercoasters and walking around in the steamy summer sun. There are plenty of opportunities to take a deep breath, recharge your batteries and prepare to hit the amusement park again the very next day.

Access to King’s Dominion, one of Virginia’s most popular attractions, is among Richmond North/Kings Dominion KOA’s greatest assets. Even if amusement parks aren’t your jam, there is plenty to do at Soak City. The 20-acre waterpark features massive water slides, wave pools, interactive splash pad area for young children, cabanas and more. Spend an evening at the Richmond Raceway, which hosts the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Gander RV & Truck Series, and the NTT IndyCar Series on a ¾-mile D-shaped oval track. In addition to its great location, the KOA has many fantastic amenities of its own, including volleyball, horseshoes, basketball, swimming pool and life-sized checkers.

The RV sites are spacious, with high water pressure and some under a canopy of tall pine trees. They can accommodate all RV types, from pop-ups to big rigs. Another benefit is the shuttle service to and from Kings Dominion and Soak City throughout the day at no charge. Park your RV, skip the parking fees at the amusement park and enjoy the short shuttle ride.

Camping in your RV so close to an amusement park definitely has its advantages. Escape the midday heat by taking a nap in your air-conditioned RV, avoid high-priced fried foods and enjoy a homemade meal back at your campsite and check out deals to the park for campground guests.

Smith Mountain Lake State Park | Huddleston

Best Virginia campground to splash around in the water

smith mountain
Smith Mountain Lake, VA

If your kids turn into mermaids and dolphins in the summer, then you won’t want to miss a trip to Smith Mountain Lake State Park. Located along Virginia’s second largest freshwater lake, there are numerous water activities to enjoy. That includes swimming, boating (rentals available) and a universally-accessible fishing pier.

The 500-foot beach features a snack bar and is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It has both guarded and unguarded swimming available and is one of two beaches located on the lake. Fishing is very popular. Smith Mountain Lake is known for striped bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish and other species. Fish on shore, take a boat out or participate in one of the many fishing tournaments. Boat rentals include canoes, kayaks, ski boats, paddleboats and pontoon boats. Hydrobikes and jet skis are also available for rent.

There are a total of 13 hiking trails at Smith Mountain Lake State Park, adjacent to the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The trails range in length from half a mile to three miles long,  providing a scenic view of Virginia’s stunning landscapes.

Campers receive a couple of fun perks, including free boat launches and access to a trail leading to a wonderful fishing spot. Although there are no waterfront camping sites, RVs up to 50 feet and most boats can be accommodated. Some sites are located in wooded areas. Water and electricity are available on all sites, which also come with a campfire area, picnic table, post for a lantern and in-ground grills for cooking.

If you are looking to explore Bedford County, check out the Booker T. Washington National Monument, National D-Day Memorial and the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most scenic drives in America. You can also tour an alpaca farm, go golfing and attend a wine tasting.

You also won’t want to miss the Smith Mountain Dam Visitor Center. It’s filled with exhibits about how the Smith Mountain Pumped Storage Project dramatically transformed the Roanoke River Valley region in the 1960s. Its main goal was to provide electricity and drinking water, but today is a recreational hot spot and home to nearly 21,000 residents. The Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce has an extensive article on the area’s history and a video with Smith Mountain Lake Dam designer Dr. Jeffrey Fong here.

Prince William Forest RV Campground | Dumfries

Best Virginia campground to relax and recharge

fishing prince william
Fishing in Prince William Forest Park

Located within Prince William Forest Park, Prince William Forest RV Campground features campsites with lots of tree cover.  The forest ecosystem is like a community, with each part making an important contribution to the neighborhood as a whole. The best way to experience everything this National Park has to offer is by taking a hike. Pack a lunch, bring lots of water and get out your camera, because there are more than 900 plant species within the park’s borders.

Feel the tension and stress melt away as you view the abundant wildflowers, ferns, moss, mushrooms, trees, shrubs and fungi. The forest is also home to skunk cabbage, which presents a pungent, familiar odor when the leaves are torn. The Indian pipe is a white plant that does not need sunlight to grow. For this reason, it thrives in some of the darkest areas. The small-whorled pogonia is a federally-listed threatened species that needs to be protected to ensure its survival.

If you love to spend your days fishing, there are plenty of opportunities within the park. There are nearly 18 miles of streams as well as two impoundments that are open for public fishing. That includes the South Fork and Quantico creeks as well as four small lakes built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Get away from it all and apply for a backcountry permit at the visitor center to fish at the Breckenridge Reservoir. This area can only be reached by foot and no watercraft is allowed. Anglers often report catching lots of bluegill, pumpkinseed, largemouth bass and channel catfish throughout the park.

If you find watching wildlife relaxing, the National Park Service reports that there are 38 species of mammals. Included on the list are black bear and beaver; 24 species of amphibians; 27 species of reptiles; more the 100 species of birds; and 23 species of fish. Two venomous snake species call Prince William Forest Park home; the northern copperhead and the timber rattlesnake. Neither is abundant and both prefer to stay away from humans.

Guests love the peace and quiet at the campground. It has a laid-back atmosphere with a playground and pool. Most guests tend to leave during the day to explore, so if you want to lie in a hammock with a good book, you can likely do so undisturbed.

Most campers report that the campground and its facilities are clean. If you have a big motorhome or travel trailer, you may want to call to verify that a site can accommodate your RV. Paved pull-thru sites are a maximum 35-feet long, with single car parking areas beside them. Many sites have full hook-ups. The campground’s proximity to Washington D.C. is a big draw as there are not many campgrounds close to the nation’s capital.

Prince William Forest RV Campground is a concessionaire-run campground with full hook-ups for RVs, a pool and laundry facility. Please note: If you opt to explore the park beyond the campground, you will be charged the park entrance fee unless you have a valid national park pass.

American Heritage RV Park Campground | Williamsburg

Best Virginia campground to be a part of history

williamsburg virginia
Williamsburg, VA

Is it possible to camp in modern surroundings in a place that is steeped in colonial history? Absolutely, if you reserve a campsite at the American Heritage RV Park Campground. Step out of your RV and step back in time at this campground just eight miles from historic Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, a region known as America’s Historic Triangle. Children will love watching the pages of their history book come alive. Costumed characters show visitors what times were like during the Revolutionary War in the Governor’s Palace, Capitol and Public Armoury. Then tour Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America and visit the Yorktown Battlefields.

Campers enjoy going on a daytime adventure to learn about the nation’s history, then returning to the campground for a quiet, relaxing evening. The campground is situated in an isolated, but not remote area. You’ll drive through a residential area and then poof – there’s a campground. Although not too far from local attractions, you still hear nature sounds at night and an occasional train whistle in the distance.

The 70-acre campground itself provides numerous recreation opportunities. Chill out by the pool, play a round of horseshoes, stroll on a nature trail, play mini golf or engage in a game of basketball or volleyball. Campers appreciate the well-appointed facilities, especially the laundry facilities and fenced dog run. An impressive camp store is fully stocked with snacks, RV supplies, gift items and Colonial Williamsburg souvenirs.

American Heritage RV Park Campground is well-suited for RVs both big and small. There are 80 pull-thru and multiple back-in sites available as well as 30/50 amps, WiFi and cable hook-ups. Full hook-ups are available at 138 sites in both shaded and open areas. There is plenty of room for multiple slides and campers love the leveled concrete pads at each campsite.

If you prefer some extra room and luxury amenities, the campground offers larger premium sites that come fully equipped with patio furniture and a fireplace.

For more information on the best Virginia campgrounds

  • Located 35 miles from Washington D.C. near Manassas National Battlefield Park, Greenville Farm Family Campground is a 200-acre working farm with 43 acres. Its address is 14004 Shelter Lane in Haymarket. For more information or to make reservations, call (703) 754-7944.
  • Your family will love all the water activities available at Tall Pines Harbor Campground. The campground is located at 8107 Tall Pines Lane in Temperanceville. For details, call (757) 824-0777.
  • First Landing State Park, located at 2500 Shore Drive in Virginia Beach, is rich in natural resources and military history. Breathe in the ocean air, relax on the beach or learn more about the country’s history. For more information, call (757) 412-2300.
  • Big Meadows Campground in Shenandoah National Park usually opens in the early spring to campers on a first-come, first-served basis. Specific campsites can be reserved beginning in early May, although a number of sites continue to maintain a first-come, first-served status. Reservations are highly recommended on weekends and holidays and may be made up to six months in advance of arrival. Make a reservation at recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777.
  • Richmond North/Kings Dominion KOA in Doswell, Virginia is the perfect place for an action-packed, fun-filled RV vacation getaway. Reservations are recommended, but not required for RVs. For more information, call (800) 562-4386.
  • Smith Mountain Lake State Park is a very popular campground at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is located at 1235 State Park Road in Huddleston. For more information, call (540) 297-6066. For reservations, click here.
  • Relax among nature at Prince William Forest RV Campground, which is open year-round. The campground is located amid Prince William Forest Park, a national park. Call (888)737-5730 for reservations or at 703-221-2474 for general information.
  • The American Heritage RV Park Campground is close to America’s Historic Triangle: Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. The campground is located at 146 Maxton Lane in Williamsburg. For more information, call (888) 530-2267 or (757) 566-2133.

For more must-visit destinations, check out these articles on the General RV Blog.

Source: The Best Virginia Campgrounds For An Unforgettable RV Excursion

9 Reasons to Discover Baltimore’s Natural Side This Fall

9 Reasons to Discover Baltimore’s Natural Side This Fall

Baltimore and the surrounding area seem tailor-made for autumn. The fall colors in the trees add splashes of bright crimson and gold to the town and the outlying regions. The many historic sites related to local hero Edgar Allan Poe are the perfect companions to Halloween season. And the hot seafood from the Chesapeake Bay wards off the fall chills that blow off the Chesapeake Bay. Discover Baltimore’s natural side this fall.

Known as Charm City, Baltimore also is home to historic ships, exciting museums and the Inner Harbor — the city’s focal point. When you’re not outdoors, explore this Jewel of the Chesapeake with a visit to the Baltimore Museum of Art, with a huge selection of Impressionist paintings. With the African American Wax Museum, the National Cryptologic Museum and a chance to follow Edgar Allen Poe’s wanderings, you’ll find plenty to keep yourself busy.

Camp out in a nearby Good Sam Park and enjoy the magic of Charm City.

Hiking Outside of Town

A paved trail flanked with crimson and gold trees during fall.

Autumn trees in Downs Park. Getty Images

Before exploring urban landscapes, check out the natural areas surrounding the town. Escape to Gwynns Falls, an urban hiking and biking trail with nine trailheads connecting 30 neighborhoods along with a historic greenway stream valley that provides access to Baltimore. Gunpowder Falls provides views of 18th-century Hoffmanville Cemetery and leads to Pretty Boy Reservoir. On the Chesapeake, Downs Park offers a variety of natural and recreational activities throughout its 236 acres. Also on the bay, Black Marsh Trail winds for six miles along wild wetlands and bordering forests, perfect for birders and naturalists searching for bald eagles and swamp sparrows.

Loch Raven Reservoir

For those who don’t mind traveling a little farther to the north, Loch Raven Reservoir, which provides the drinking water for Baltimore City, offers miles of woodsy trails for running, hiking and spotting wildlife. On most weekends throughout the year, a stretch of road through the watershed is closed to vehicle traffic and open to pedestrians. Check the website for updated schedules.

Harbor Boats

A tall ship moored to a dock with tall buildings in the background.

The USS Constellation, which served in the Civil War, is moored in Baltimore Harbor. Getty Images

One of the most important seaports in the U.S. is the Baltimore Inner Harbor, where four historic boats are moored. The oldest is the USS Constellation, a sloop-of-war that served in the Civil War and is the last tall-sail ship of the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter 37, built in the 1930s, was designed for search and rescue, law enforcement expeditions and maritime patrol. Lightship 116 Chesapeake patrolled the mouth of the Bay for 50 years. USS Torsk served during WWII and is often called “The Last Survivor of Pearl Harbor.” The Inner Harbor also is home to the National Aquarium, the most visited attraction in the city. Don’t miss a chance to see the first Dolphin Sanctuary in North America where seven dolphins live, play and train. Overlooking the harbor is the odd-shaped Seven Knoll Lighthouse, built in 1855 and the oldest screw-pile lighthouse in Maryland.

Red, wide lighthouse on a sunny day.

The wide Seven Knoll Lighthouse overlooks Baltimore Harbor. Getty Images

Water Fun

There are plenty of boat tours, harbor cruises and water taxis to explore the Inner Harbor; there’s even a pirate ship — whatever floats your boat — but for a more personalized water experience, grab a paddle, set sail or start your engine. Catch a guided kayak tour or be part of a group paddle for fun on the water. Schooners are plentiful in the harbor and you may be asked to help with ropes and sailing activities during a tour. Rent an electric boat for an exciting spin or charter a private yacht and experience the ultimate way to travel. Anglers can spend a day on the Chesapeake Bay catching striped bass, trout, flounder, king mackerel and seabass.

Impressive Collection

The Baltimore Museum of Art is the largest art museum in Maryland and home to the most extensive collection of paintings by Matisse in the world. There are more than 95,000 pieces of artwork, including 200 African ceremonial weapons, Native American scrimshaw and Chinese ceramics. National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is an African American wax museum and exhibits life-size, lifelike wax figures focusing on influential people who’ve defined the Black experience in the U.S.

A gravesite with the raised letters,

Base of the Poe tombstone with a floral tribute. Getty Images

Get to Know Poe

Take a Halloween hike. Walk in the footsteps of Edgar Ellen Poe, the writer who pioneered macabre fiction in the early 1800s. Visit the eerie Edgar Allen Poe Home and Museum before making a short pilgrimage to Poe’s grave at Westminster Hall and Burying Grounds. For 60-plus years on Poe’s birthday, the anonymous Poe Toaster would leave a bottle of cognac and three red roses at the grave. If you’re still in the mood for mysteries, delve into the world of spies and espionage at the National Cryptologic Museum. Examine the only existing German Enigma machine and learn how Code Talkers played a vital role during WWII.

A Crackin’ Good Time

Steamed crab on cutting board.

A steamed crab in a Baltimore eatery. Getty Images

Baltimore is known for its delicious crab, and several great crabbing spots are found throughout the city. Crabbing season runs from April through November, so visitors will have lots of chances to add crab to fall menus. Check out Fort Smallwood Pier, located on Chesapeake Bay and within reach of Maryland’s iconic blue crabs. Located about 30 minutes from downtown Baltimore, Green Haven Wharf has abundant crabbing and also is a great place for launching a kayak. Just outside of town, North Point State Park has a fishing pier that makes crabbing easy. If the crustaceans aren’t biting, go hiking in the park or launch a kayak on North Bay.

Oh Say Can You See

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine preserves the stubborn fortification that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the “Star Spangled Banner” during the War of 1812. Key marveled at the American flag that remained waving over the fort amid the turmoil of battle under “the rockets’ red glare.” Stroll the historical grounds, visit the casements and brush up on American history. Nearby, the Baltimore Museum of Industry provides hands-on exhibits and stories of the workers and entrepreneurs from small companies, manufacturing industries and national businesses that have thrived and grown in the city.

A pagoda structure towers over cherry blossoms in the foreground.

Patterson Park’s Pagoda. Getty Images

Patterson Park

Located blocks from the Baltimore Harbor, Patterson park has given city dwellers a welcome dose of nature for more than a century. The centerpiece of the six-acre expanse is the Pagoda, a four-story structure with wrap-around balconies that dish out excellent views of the city. A boat lake inhabited my mallard ducks adds to the scene.

Source: 9 Reasons to Discover Baltimore’s Natural Side This Fall

Pacing Your RV Trip: How Many Miles a Day Is Too Much?

Pacing Your RV Trip: How Many Miles a Day Is Too Much?

So, you are preparing to set out on a long RV journey stretching over miles of ever-changing landscapes and distant urban silhouettes. This is one of the biggest trips you will take this year. You have spent a great deal of time planning the route and activities that you seek to enjoy.

Now comes the big question: How many miles are too many miles to drive per day? Do you have the constitution of a long-haul trucker, or do you prefer trips with short legs between stops? This article will help you arrive at answers to those questions.

Planning

A family of four pours over a map in their RV.

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Proper planning for such a journey entails identifying locations of points of interest, night stopovers, extended stay venues, probable fuel stops and so much more. Making campground reservations for each planned stop is highly recommended, especially during the busy season. Arriving in an area that is totally sold out can really spoil your day, and, of course, your night. Though through all of this, free time and time to just relax must also be considered. Making too tight a travel schedule can dampen some of the enjoyment.

Don’t fall into the trap of planning too great a distance each day. Generally, this leads to the need for earlier on-the-road starts each day and later-than-anticipated evening arrivals. In addition, this usually includes the need for higher vehicle cruise speeds and minimized stops. This generally can heighten the fatigue and travel stress you may experience throughout the day.

Instead, with a more relaxed planned trip with shorter daily runs, a family breakfast can be enjoyed prior to setting out each day.  Also, time would be available should attractions along your route warrant stopping.

Tools for Your Trip

Map of major highways with location markers.

Good Sam Trip Planner

Good Sam’s Trip Planner can help you map out itineraries and provides drive times and traffic reports for your journey. The planner also indicates Good Sam Parks, Gander RV & Outdoors and Camping World stores along the way. The planner only is available to Good Sam members. For an overall list of RV parks, check out our Find a Park page. The Good Sam Camping app, available for Android and Apple IOS, also helps drivers find nearby Good Sam parks.

Finding the Right Miles Per Day

So how many miles a day is right? Much of this is subject to the type of route you are traveling on and the traffic conditions. But I can tell you, if your RV is equipped with an average speed display, you will probably find the following: Speed averaged over a long RV journey (2,000-3,000 miles) will be in the low forties. This, to me, would support a daily target of 300 to 350 miles per day. Of course, this is all subject to your holiday time availability and your route highway type and conditions.

Refueling

Travelers also should factor in fuel stops. After all, being on a long trip from home, you are probably unfamiliar with the services in the region. Don’t wait until the “Low Fuel” light has to remind you. That typically happens many miles from any service station. This, too, tends to elevate the driver’s stress level on the road.

Refueling a Class C motorhome at a service station.

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Drivers should really start looking for a gas stop before the gauge reaches one quarter. It is a great idea to reset the trip odometer each time you refill the fuel tank. Then, knowing your vehicle’s approximate tank range, you have a redundant measure to determine the remaining fuel quantity. In some ways, this can be a more accurate tool to use as it is not affected by temperatures, pressures or vehicle angle.

For RV travelers, Flying J travel centers provide fuel as well as propane and dump stations. Good Sam members receive a 5-cent-per-gallon discount on gas and 8-cents-per-gallon discount on diesel.

Going the Distance

Hopefully, these suggestions might help you start a less stressful RV vacation. A vacation when you walk out of your house, not when you reach your destination. Getting there can be half the fun and part of the adventure that awaits.

Peter Mercer — Getting More From Your RV Journey

Source: Pacing Your RV Trip: How Many Miles a Day Is Too Much?

Glow West: Dazzling Fall Colors in Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada

Glow West: Dazzling Fall Colors in Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada

Autumn in New England is a stunning experience to behold. But fall RVing in the Southwest is an equally impressive leaf-peeping journey. If you haven’t experienced the change of seasons in Nevada, Arizona or New Mexico, it’s not too late.

Fall in Love with Southwest Leaf-Peeping

I had no idea what fall is supposed to look like until I went RVing to New England in the fall. As a child growing up among the evergreen landscapes of Southern California, the only way I knew when seasons were changing was by paying attention to department store displays. Years later, I figured out how to tell it was fall when my husband and I took a leaf-peeping excursion to Maine. Until then, I had never personally experienced the joy of fall colors painting my surroundings. That breathtaking East Coast experience left me yearning for another fall experience, but with better weather and taller mountains. When we took a fall RVing trip to the Southwest, I finally found that and so much more.

Discover a Rainbow of Autumn Hues in New Mexico

Golden leaves of trees shimmer in the sun.

Golden colors grace the trees in Santa Fe National Forest. Getty Images

The state that pledges allegiance to the chili pepper has a wide variety of terrain There’s a lot more to see than the flat moonscape comprising the Chihuahuan Desert of southern New Mexico. With over 88 different mountain ranges towering above the state’s iconic sandstone cliffs and canyons, you’ll have plenty of high-altitude locations to embrace the season. One of my favorites is in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Just park your home on wheels at any Santa Fe RV park. They’re all great and so close to town. Then take a driving tour along the Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway. It’s one of the most scenic destinations in New Mexico any time of year, but especially in fall. Originating at the historic downtown Santa Fe Plaza, this 15-mile curvy mountain driving experience quickly ferries you up and out of the city.  You’ll find yourself in a brilliantly colored landscape of golden quaking aspens, trickling waterfalls and meandering hiking trails that take you deep into the heart of fall.

Stay: Route 66 RV Resort is just minutes west of Albuquerque on historic Route 66. Discover more New Mexico camping options.

Nevada’s Best Fall Destination

A road flanked by golden aspen trees.

The summit of Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park towers over bright yellow aspen trees in autumn. Getty Images

One of the best-kept fall secrets in Nevada is a long journey that’s always worth the drive. Located at 7,000-feet elevation, Great Basin National Park is a remote RVing destination in Nevada that’s an oasis in the desert any time of year. Upon your approach, you’re greeted by the 13,063-foot summit of Wheeler Peak. It towers above the park like a sentinel, ready to feed your fall foliage desires. In stark contrast to the state’s familiar flatlands, all of Great Basin campgrounds give you easy access to high desert hiking trails and scenery.

Take a gentle stroll through tall aspen groves exploding in blazing autumn hues of red, gold and orange. Or go underground and explore the stunning Lehman Caves. And you can’t leave without seeing the ancient Great Basin Bristlecone pine, one of the oldest trees on earth, estimated between 4,700-5,000 years old. Camping inside the park is rustic and geared toward smaller RVs, but larger rigs can find full-hookups just beyond the park entrance in the town of Baker.

Stay: Valley View RV Park in Ely is a scenic spot that puts guests within reach of Great Basin. Discover more Nevada camping options.

Fall in Arizona Is the Best Time of Year

Golden-green aspen trees flank a shallow creek.

Oak Creek outside of Sedona, Arizona. Getty Images

For those who like it hot but not too hot, fall in Arizona is a perfect choice. Escape from the warmer flatlands of the Sonoran Desert into the higher reaches of the Verde Valley. Here, cooler fall temperatures greet eager visitors ready for pumpkin spice lattes and hot apple cider. The change of season is easy to spot along Oak Creek Canyon, a meandering scenic drive between Flagstaff and Sedona. Along this route, you can explore trails like the West Fork of Oak Creek. It’s a showcase of wildlife and leaf-peeping hotspots that strut their stuff well into November. The Verde Valley makes a great base camp, where nearly a dozen Good Sam Parks offer front-door access to Arizona’s coolest autumn experience.

Stay: Verde Valley RV & Camping Resort is a 300-acre oasis in the high desert of Arizona near Sedona. Discover more Arizona Camping options.

New England in the fall is something everybody should experience at least once. But when you can’t make the drive, a showcase of fall foliage and mild temperatures combine for an unforgettable autumnal escape into the stunning high altitude deserts of New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona.

Source: Glow West: Dazzling Fall Colors in Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada

Hikes in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky

Hikes in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky

There are plenty of hikes in Mammoth Cave National Park for beginners and experienced trail buffs. The main trails near the Visitor’s Center can be explored in a single day if you are up for the task, but there are plenty of additional attractions to see in other areas of the park! Even though the park is known as the home of the longest-known cave system in the world, the trails above ground shouldn’t be missed by serious hikers.

Tip: The discovery tour of Mammoth Cave is the best way to see the main Rotunda on a self-guided adventure. If you want to explore deeper into the caves, I recommend booking a cave tour well in advance of your proposed arrival date.

Always check the national park website for the latest alerts and updates on tour availability.

Mouth of a cave bathed in red light.

Mammoth Cave near entrance. Getty Images

The Hikes in Mammoth Cave National Park I Enjoyed Near the Visitor’s Center

I spent a full day hiking while I was in the park. From the Mammoth Cave Campground, I connected the Whites Caves Trail to the Sinkhole Trail to the Echo River Springs Trail to the Green River Bluffs Trail (with little side spurs off on the River Styx Spring Trail and the Dixon Cave Trail).

There are roughly 7.2 total miles of trails in the center of the park, but here is a quick overview of the trails I hiked in the visitor’s center area:

Raised trail in Mammoth Cave in Kentucky

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Whites Cave Trail

  • Length: 0.6 miles
  • Starting Point: Sinkhole Trail and/or Mammoth Cave Campground Trail
  • Difficulty: Easy

The Whites Cave Trail descends gently from the Mammoth Cave Campground. It is a wide trail that offers plenty of space for two-way traffic while still offering plenty of canopy coverage to keep you in the shade.

It eventually ties into the Sinkhole Trail, which you can take to the left if you want to check out Echo River Springs. If you follow it to the right, it will remain higher up on the bluff and head towards the Visitor’s Center.

Sinkhole Trail

  • Length: 1 mile
  • Starting Point: Heritage Trail and/or Echo River Springs Trail
  • Difficulty: Easy

The Sinkhole Trail runs from the Old Guide’s Cemetery and runs down to Echo River Springs. The section I hit from the junction with Whites Cave Trail down to the springs lost elevation the entire time and could be a little slippery after heavy rain.

Echo River Springs Trail

  • Length: 1 mile
  • Starting Point: Green River Ferry
  • Difficulty: Easy

Parking near Green River Ferry will give you the best chance to see Echo River Springs on a short hike, but you can also follow the trail along the river. It offers minimal elevation change throughout, but that can change if you decide to tie into the River Valley Trail or the Sunset Point Trail to loop back around.

Trees on the banks of a river.

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River Styx Spring Trail

  • Length: 0.4 miles
  • Starting Point: Historic Cave Entrance
  • Difficulty: Easy

The River Styx Spring Trail begins near the historic entrance to Mammoth Cave and descends gently down to the spring itself. Look for small fish and other aquatic life once you get down there and feel for the cooler air that is exiting the caves below your feet.

If you hike the Echo River Springs Trail from Green River Ferry, be sure to hit the quick spur on the River Styx Spring Trail to see the springs and enjoy some views of the Green River up close.

Waters wells up from a hole surrounded by trees and shrubs.

River Styx Spring. Getty Images

Green River Bluffs Trail

  • Length: 1.3 miles
  • Starting Point: Picnic Area near Visitor’s Center
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The Green River Bluffs Trail is one of the longest stretches of uninterrupted trail near the Mammoth Cave Visitor’s Center. It also offers mild elevation gain and some of the best views of the Green River Valley that the park has to offer.

If you take this trail all the way from where it begins at the intersection of the Echo River Springs and River Styx Spring trails, it will loop you all the way around to the picnic area, which is just a quick walk back to the visitor’s center.

Dixon Cave Trail

  • Length: 0.4 miles
  • Starting Point: Historic Cave Entrance
  • Difficulty: Easy

The Dixon Cave Trail descends moderately from the historic cave entrance and ends at a nice overlook of the Green River valley. Along the way, the overlook of Dixon Cave offers some unique insights into the caves below and the animals that inhabit them.

If you are hiking the Green River Bluffs Trail, the spurs to the cave overlook and river viewpoint are both well worth the added time and mileage.

Fingers of sunlight shoot through openings in the canopy of trees.

Getty Images

Other Cool Hikes in Mammoth Cave National Park

If you take the Green River Ferry into the northern part of the park, here are a few other epic hikes worth exploring:

Sal Hollow and Buffalo Creek Loop Trail

  • Length: 5.4 miles
  • Starting Point: Maple Springs Trailhead
  • Difficulty: Easy

If you make your way across the Green River on the ferry, the Maple Springs Trailhead is one of the first places you can stop to get on a trail. This loop only gains about 334 feet of elevation over its entire length and there are a couple of viewpoints where you can look down at sections of the Green River.

This hike is forested the entire route, which means it can get a little muddy after heavy rains. Wear long pants to protect yourself against ticks and other insect bites. Dogs are allowed, but they must be kept on leash at all times.

Collie Ridge Loop Trail

  • Length: 10 miles
  • Starting Point: Lincoln Trailhead
  • Difficulty: Easy

The Collie Ridge Loop Trail offers another easy hike but covers a longer distance. It is located in the northwestern part of the park and is most easily accessed via smaller towns like Sweeden, Straw, or Stockholm, Kentucky.

The trail is multi-use, which means you are likely to encounter horseback riders while hiking. Practice proper trail etiquette by moving off the trail to allow horses to pass and keep dogs on a leash at all times.

First Creek Lake Trail

  • Length: 3.6 miles
  • Starting Point: First Creek Trailhead or Temple Hill Trailhead
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This hike gains roughly 500 feet of elevation and loops around the small First Creek Lake. It can be muddy after rains and also experiences a good bit of horseback traffic throughout the year. Be prepared for horseback riders and wear long pants to protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks.

There are also a few backcountry campsites along this trail that can be great places to camp when the weather is nice. If you are interested in backpacking in the park, be sure to go to the visitor’s center for up-to-date trail information and to obtain a backcountry camping permit.

Trees along the banks of a lake.

Getty Images

Good Sam RV Parks near Mammoth Cave National Park

National park campgrounds can get crowded really quickly. If you aren’t able to snag a spot in the park, check out these Good Sam RV parks nearby:

Cave Country RV Campground

Cave Country RV Campground is located in Cave City, Kentucky, which is roughly 20 minutes away from the Mammoth Cave National Park Visitor’s Center. There are 51 full hookup sites in this Good Sam RV resort and some of its best amenities include an exercise run, heated pool, and enclosed dog run.

Singing Hills RV Park

Also located in Cave City, Singing Hills RV Park is approximately 12 minutes away from the visitor’s center. It is a smaller park with 17 full hookup sites and 29 sites in total. They offer Wi-Fi at all overnight sites and the park also features a self-service RV wash and a fishing pond.

Go Deep

I hope this guide has been helpful as you plan your visit to Mammoth Cave National Park. Of course, the premier attractions at this park are the caves themselves. Once you are tired of walking underground, however, we hope you enjoy some of these hikes in Mammoth Cave National Park!

Source: Hikes in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky

28 RV Snowbird Hot Spots in the Sun Belt

28 RV Snowbird Hot Spots in the Sun Belt

Feel that chill in the air? If you live in the northern states or Canada, the arrival of fall signals the start of snowbird season.

Each year, more than one million RV travelers descend from America’s north to bask in the warm weather of the Sun Belt until spring rolls around. Hundreds of RV parks welcome these snowbirds, who stay in one place for months or spend the winter season touring the south. 

If you’re planning a snowbird trip but haven’t chosen a roost, there’s still time to claim your place in the sun. Start getting to work now with the extensive planning and preparation that’s required. For Canadians, snowbird traveling has gotten more complicated. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the U.S.border is slated to open on October 21, giving Canadians a late start in the game. But there’s still time for fun in the sun.

Recreational Vehicle Driving on Autumn Highway In Beautiful Mountains Wilderness in Jasper, AB, Canada

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Below, you’ll find links to each state’s COVID-19 rules guidelines. Review the pertinent state’s policies before traveling.

Ok, now the fun part: Below we’ve rounded up the best landing spots for snowbirds seeking a warm winter. You also can consult Good Sam’s Snowbird Destinations page. Now stretch those wings and get going.

Winters in Alabama mean fun days along the Gulf Coast or exploring small towns and cities in the River Heritage region.

Sunset over Mobile Bay on the Alabama Gulf Coast

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Gulf Shores

Stroll along 32 miles of soft sandy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico on Gulf Shores and Orange. This coastal getaway is far from big cities but all you need for fun, including fishing, swimming and kayaking. 

Stay: Lake Osprey RV Resort in Elberta puts golf, fishing, a clubhouse and a tiki bar all in one place. 

Mobile

Once called “the Paris of the South,” this city has retained the elegance of its French colonial heritage. But beyond the seafood restaurants and historic neighborhoods, travelers will discover hundreds of miles of canoe and kayak trails in the waterways surrounding the city. Take a side trip to Dauphin Island to explore a forest, dunes and the Audubon Bird Sanctuary.

Stay: Shady Acres Campground in Mobile sits on the Dog River and is close to all of the area’s attractions.

Golf course accessible with wooden walkway.

Getty Images

Dothan

Considered Alabama’s “best-kept secret,” this small town in Yellow Hammer State’s southeast corner gives travelers an escape from busy interstates and big cities. From here, visitors are 12 miles north of the Florida Panhandle and just east of Georgia.

Stay: Dothan RV Park in Dothan is a dog-friendly place to stay with all the amenities you could ask for. Great shopping is close by.

Alabama COVID-19 Information

Arizona welcomes snowbirds with warm winter weather along with communities geared toward winter visitors. Places like Yuma and the Valley of the Sun have ample resorts for winter travelers. 

A rock outcropping looms over a desert community as dusk light glimmers on the horizon.

The red sandstone buttes of Papago Park in Phoenix after sunset.

Valley of the Sun

This region blends urban living with nearby outdoor fun. Phoenix is the fifth-largest major city in the U.S., with world-class museums, big-league sports teams and a wide range of entertainment options. Just beyond the border, spots like Superstition Mountains, Tonto National Forest and Saguaro Lake add more options. Stay through February and enjoy the Cactus League, which sees major league baseball teams slug it out in surrounding towns like Mesa and Goodyear.

Stay: Val Vista Village RV Resort hosts a vibrant winter community with world-class amenities and planned activities. 

Tucson

Arizona’s second-largest city caters to lovers of wide-open desert spaces. Just outside of town, the natural attractions of Saguaro National Park and Mt. Lemmon — home to the Tucson Observatory — draw lovers of hiking and mountain biking. In town, Spanish Colonial, Moorish and Googie architecture make Tucson a feast for the eyes.

Stay: Rincon Country West RV Resort is a gated community with all the amenities you’ll need for a long stay. Close to downtown Tucson, it’s also within reach of a casino, hiking and mountain biking.

A steel-truss bridge spanns a placid river.

The Colorado River Bridge in Yuma, also known as the Ocean to Ocean Bridge, connects California with Arizona. Getty Images.

Yuma

In southwestern Arizona, Yuma sits on the banks of the Colorado River, putting visitors close to tubing, fishing and boating. The town is close to major growers, and local restaurants offer guests some of the best farm-to-table dining in the nation. Eat your veggies while you enjoy fun in the sun.

Stay: Via Alameda Resort welcomes long-term guests to a resort that places guests in proximity to downtown Tucson, great golfing and historical attractions.

Elsewhere in the state, Lake Havasu keeps the party going on the shores of a fun-filled body of water and Camp Verde puts visitors close to Sedona and other northern Arizona attractions.

Arizona COVID-19 Information

The Golden State offers an eclectic mix of snowbird options. You can do the desert in Coachella Valley or camp with coastal vistas at your doorstep on the Central Coast. In the heart of the state, the nation’s agricultural breadbasket opens up wine-tasting and agritourism possibilities.

A pier juts out into the ocean with Ferris wheel lit up.

Santa Monica Pier. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Central Coast

If you don’t mind some chilly days, California’s Central Coast is a scenic snowbird base. Spots along the coast like Ventura, Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach and Morro Bay offer sweeping ocean views to the west and mountain adventures to the east. Go winter wine tasting without the big summer crowds at some of the nation’s top vintners.

Stay: Marina Dunes RV Resort south of Monterey puts guests close to the Pacific Ocean as well as one of the state’s most beautiful towns.

Coachella Valley

Do the desert in style. This SoCal region is home to Palm Springs, Palm Desert and La Quinta. More than 100 golf courses dot the area, and gourmet restaurants, upscale shopping and cultural events can fill your calendar throughout the season. Go on an architecture tour of Palm Springs, ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway or take a hike through the surreal landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park to the east. Craving big city action? LA is 100 miles to the west.

Stay: Sam’s Family Spa in Desert Hot Springs gives guests access to therapeutic pools and hot mineral spas from naturally heated underground wells. This, combined with great amenities, make Sam’s an ideal snowbird spot.

Sunset at Joshua Tree National Park

Sunset at Joshua Tree National Park. Photo Credit: Unsplash, Vik Jam

San Diego

This SoCal town will make snowbirds forget that it’s winter. With sunny days and popular attractions, from SeaWorld to the San Diego Zoo and Gaslamp Quarter, you’ll never run out of things to do. Although many attractions can get crowded, many local RV resorts will provide sanctuary in the sun.

Stay: Vacationer RV Park in El Cajon is a gated community that’s close to San Diego.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles area opens up a world of tourism possibilities, and some RV parks are located fairly close to the city. In the San Joaquin Valley, agritourism restaurants and tours await.

California COVID-19 Information

The Sunshine State gives snowbirds a taste of tropical living with plenty of water nearby. From the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic, visitors will never run out of beaches to explore.

A lighthouse at the edge of an island in a bay.

Harbour Island Lighthouse in Tampa Bay. Photo: Michelle Raponi/Pixabay

South Florida

Head South and just keep going down the peninsula. South Florida’s attractions include Lake Okeechobee — a fishing hot spot and the second-largest freshwater lake in the U.S. — as well as the Everglades and the vibrant town of Fort Lauderdale. Hit Miami for a hearty Cuban meal, then continue south on the Overseas Highway to the Florida Keys. 

Stay: Boyd’s Silver Palms RV Resort is just minutes from Lake Okeechobee and boasts amenities like a gym, pool, sports courts and surrounding wetlands and wildlife preserve.

Central Florida

In the mid-section of the Florida Peninsula, visitors can meet Mickey in Walt Disney World, cast spells at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or watch rockets blast off at Canaveral National Seashore. Tampa serves up Cuban cigars in Ybor City and thrills at Busch Gardens theme park. 

Stay: Tampa South RV Resort in Ruskin sits on the Little Manatee River, which leads to Tampa Bay and the Gulf. 

A fishing boat in Desint

A fishing boat in Destin. Photo: Florida Tourism

Florida Panhandle

This stretch of the sunshine state features laid-back cities, awesome fishing and lots of “Old” Florida spots that haven’t been touched by modern tourism. Charter a fishing trip in Destin and haul in hefty tarpon.

Stay: Camping on the Gulf in Destin offers beachfront camping and is in proximity to designer outlet shopping. 

Florida COVID-19 Information

The Peach State’s big cities host lots of places to stay during the winter, but don’t skip the small towns on the coast or in the countryside.

A fountain in a park square.

The Fountain in the Forsyth Park in Savannah. Getty Images

Coastal Georgia

This stretch of shoreline is a bewitching blend of beautiful scenery and rich history. Stroll the tree-lined squares of Savannah and take a selfie by the Forsyth Park Fountain. To the south, small towns like Brunswick preserve a colonial past and serve up shrimp right off the boat.

Stay: Southern Retreat RV Park in Brunswick puts guests close to beautiful beaches and cruise-ship ports.

Metro Atlanta

The biggest city of the South turns out to also be a great snowbird roost. The city’s gourmet eateries and cultural attractions could keep you busy all winter, but folks who venture outside of town are rewarded with beautiful countryside. Check out Stone Mountain Park, with a host of attractions that will dazzle snowbirds of every stripe.

Skyline of a major city under blue sky.

Atlanta skyline. Photo: Getty Images

Stay: Stone Mountain Park Campground is part of Georgia’s most popular attraction and puts all of the area’s attractions right at guests’ fingertips.

Georgia COVID-19 Information

The Pelican State is a feast for the senses. Smell the savory cooking, lay your eyes on elegant city streets and listen to music with Cajun roots going back centuries.

Colorful building corning in New Orleans.

Wrought-iron railing in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Photo Credit: Unsplash, Aya Salman

New Orleans

Lovers of food and fun will have a hard time beating New Orleans when it comes to choosing a snowbird roost. Catch one of the several Mardi Gras parades rolling through the French Quarter and other neighborhoods during winter and sample some world-class restaurants. 

Stay: Jude Travel Park of New Orleans puts guests near the heart of the Big Easy with all the amenities needed for a great stay.

Henderson

Welcome to Cajun Country. Visitors here can enjoy amazing boudin, gumbo and po’boys served in friendly restaurants. Located between Lafayette — considered America’s “Cajun Capital” — and the vast Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge, Henderson is the perfect base for adventures on the bayou.

Stay: Cajun Palms RV Resort has ample amenities and is close to Interstate 10, giving guests easy access to Louisiana attractions.

Vidalia

This town along the banks of the Mississippi River is steeped in history. Knife-wielding Jim Bowie once brawled here using the long curved blade that bears his name (Bowie would later perish in the Alamo). The Civil War raged here as Union and Confederate forces clashed for control of the vital waterway. See monuments dedicated to this history — and get some fishing in — during your visit.

Stay: River View RV Park and Resort on the Mississippi River 

Louisiana COVID-19 Information

Ole Miss treats snowbirds to Southern hospitality and rollicking fun. Indulge in casino play on the coast and then belly up to fine Gulf seafood in a homey diner.

Biloxi Lighthouse in Mississippi

Biloxi Lighthouse. Photo Credit: Getty Images, Sean Pavone

Biloxi

Golf, excellent cuisine and historic antebellum homes all are within reach from this town, just 75 miles from New Orleans. Try your luck at one of the high-stakes casinos on the Gulf shore. 

Stay: Majestic Oaks RV Resort in Biloxi treats guests to beautiful surroundings with all the amenities you’ll need for fun on the shore.

Bay St. Lous

Situated at the entrance of its namesake Bay, this town is a launching point for fishing charters heading out to catch trout, redfish, sharks, black drum and more. Folks who prefer to stay on dry land can walk the town’s miles of white beaches or embark on one of the Mississippi History Trails leading to significant sites of the state’s past.

Mississippi COVID-19 Information

While the northern half of the Silver State gets hit by winter, you can still chase the sun in Vegas and surrounding areas.

Climbers scale sheer red rocks

Climbing in Red Rock Canyon Natural Conservation Area. Photo: Tuende Bede, Pixabay

Southern Nevada

Las Vegas might be the first place that springs to mind when thinking about this region of the Silver State, but the surrounding towns shouldn’t be missed. Pahrump, Laughlin and Boulder City, with gorgeous scenery and lots of attractions, each deserves a visit. Lovers of the great outdoors can explore Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which lies just west of Vegas. Lake Powell and the Hoover Dam are found to the east. Let it roll!

Stay: Arizona Charlie’s Boulder RV Park in Las Vegas boasts casino action, dining, shopping and a relaxing pool & Jacuzzi just steps from your site.

Snowbirds in the Land of Enchantment can choose between forests and mountains in the north and sprawling deserts in the south. Take a deep dive into Native America and Spanish Colonial pasts.

Central New Mexico

Albuquerque stays fairly warm during the winter, although nights can get chilly. Attractions here include a historic stretch of Route 66, with compelling shops and restaurants along the way, as well as the Acoma pueblo to the west, considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. Take the tramway to the Sandia Peak Ski area just north of town.

Stay: Isleta Lakes & RV Park

Boating in a lake amid a desert landscape.

Boaters go fishing and cruising on the waters near Elephant Butte. Photo: Visit New Mexico

Elephant Butte Lake and Truth or Consequences

Elephant Buttle Lake is the state’s largest body of water and a haven for boaters and anglers. Follow the Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway for hiking and four-wheeling adventure. Nearby, the town of Truth of Consequences has historic hot springs as well as a cityscape that preserves architecture from the 1930s. 

Stay: Elephant Butte Lake RV Resort in Elephant Butte puts guests close to hiking, boating and sightseeing.

Las Cruces

This desert town is home to New Mexico State University and a slew of museums and entertainment options. A short drive to the north takes visitors to White Sands National Park, a glittering gypsum dune field that stretches across 275 square miles. 

Stay: Sunny Acres RV Park in Las Cruces has big, grassy sites with lots of shade close to town.

New Mexico COVID-19 information

The Palmetto State is home to long stretches of the Atlantic Ocean for a four-seasons of vacation. A winter stay here means fewer crowds but no shortage of attractions.

A long stretch of shore with towering hotels and Ferris wheel.

Myrtle Beach South Carolina. Photo Credit: Getty Images, Kruck20

Grand Strand

This 60-mile segment of the Atlantic Coast includes Myrtle Beach, considered the ultimate family beach getaway. Along this stretch, golfers will discover courses designed by some of the game’s biggest names along with fishing piers.

Stay: Apache Family Campground & Pier has a restaurant, lounge, planned activities, entertainment and the Apache Pier. You may be tempted to stay on the grounds for your visit’s duration.

Hilton Head Island

How’s this for an island getaway: Hilton Head has 12 miles of beaches, 24 golf courses and six marinas, making it an ideal snowbird roost. Hit one of the many bike trails, Go shopping for designer goods or learn about the Gullah-Geechee culture that arose in the region.

Stay: Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort & Marina situates guests right on the Intracoastal waterway between the island and the Pickney Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Down here, snowbirds are called “winter Texans,” and you’ll feel like a local in one of the Lone Star State’s welcoming communities.

A woman on a boat holds a big fish that was just caught.

Catching a big redfish off Port Aransas. Photo: Visit Texas

Gulf Coast

On this stretch of coastline, visitors will find endless miles of unspoiled beaches to explore. Walk along the sprawling shores of Padre Island or put down stakes in Port Aransas, where fishing and kayaking are unrivaled. In Rockport, a vibrant cultural scene is matched only by its fishing piers and birdlife.

Stay: Ancient Oaks RV Park in Rockport sits close to beaches with lots of amenities. Activities for winter Texans keep things fun.

Hill Country

Country music, cowpokes and unforgettable landscapes have helped put this region on the map. Located between Austin and San Antonio, this vibrant spot is home to Bandera — the “Cowboy Capital of the World” — and New Braunfels, a hotbed of German cuisine. 

Stay: Top-rated Buckhorn Lake RV Resort in Kerrville is an ideal base camp for exploring Hill Country. 

A rope bridge stretches across a rainforest canopy.

A rope bridge spans a subtropical forest in the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge in Texas.

South Texas Plains

Experience life along the Rio Grande, a migration spot for both snowbirds and actual birds from across the Americas. See Spanish missions throughout the region, then tour the Alamo as you traverse San Antonio’s Riverwalk.  

Stay: VIP-La Feria RV Park in La Feria has pools, spas and planned activities amid the lush landscapes of the Rio Grande Valley.

Texas COVID-19 Information

Source: 28 RV Snowbird Hot Spots in the Sun Belt

Mark My Words September: Fiver Fixes and Generator Queries

Mark My Words September: Fiver Fixes and Generator Queries

Hi Mark My Words Readers! This month we’ve got questions on axle flips, generators, toilets and propane. Remember to send your RVing questions to [email protected].

Mark,

Could you discuss the pros and cons of doing an axle flip on a fifth-wheel that results in gaining three to four inches clearance from your truck bed? Also, a friend gave me one of those brass fittings that allow you to fill a 16-ounce propane bottle from a larger bottle. However, no instructions were included, and I can’t make it work. Can you explain the process?

Ron

Hi Ron,

Flipping the axles is a common way to raise the fiver to accommodate a taller tow vehicle. It will gain you around three to five inches of increased hitch height. The job should only be done by a competent shop, as new spring perches must be welded onto the axle. You can’t simply flip them over, as the axles are designed with a built-in bow to provide for proper toe-in and camber. Most trailer service places can do the job. The only disadvantages will be the need for an additional step at the entry door and a slightly raised center of gravity on the rig. These modifications don’t usually adversely affect either tire wear or handling.

A man twists the valve of a white propane tank.

Getty Images

The bottle filler is a mixed blessing, in my opinion. To use it, you attach it to your large tank and then screw the small disposable cylinder onto it. Then you must invert the large tank so as to feed only liquid propane to the small cylinder. Open the valve and some gas will be transferred to the smaller tank. I have played with one of these refilling fittings and attempted to refill a number of cylinders. I have found that you typically don’t get a complete gas charge into the little tank.

About half-full seems to be the average, and, what’s worse, many of the little disposable tanks will fail to seal properly after refilling and can leak gas. For that reason, you should never store refilled disposable cylinders in any compartment or enclosed area. Plainly labeled on all disposable cylinders is a warning that they cannot be transported or shipped if refilled. That’s because the dispensing valves weren’t designed for repeated use, and most will leak after several refilling cycles. Due to the problems I experienced, I now just buy the disposable tanks from the store and don’t try to refill them.

Hey Mark,

We are about to purchase a fifth-wheel and begin full-time RVing. Our plan is to spend two to three months at a park and do some sightseeing as we travel around the country. Should we invest in an onboard generator when we make this purchase? This would add $5,000 to the price. Could we get by with a less expensive portable generator or should we make the original investment upfront?

Thanks,

Ray

Bright Red Honda Generator on white background.

Honda CU2200. Photo: Camping World

Hi Ray,

You might want to just get the fifth-wheel without the generator. It is always possible to add one later after you have had a chance to see if you really need one. After you spend a few months settling into your new lifestyle, you’ll know whether or not you need a generator. Many RVers have onboard generators they hardly ever use. Unless you will be spending a lot of time away from electric hookups, a generator is just extra weight and expense. Plus, you have to exercise them every few weeks to keep them healthy.

If possible, have the RV made “generator ready” by the manufacturer or dealer. They will prep a compartment for accepting a generator and typically will install a transfer switch and all necessary wiring. (Some units come from the factory with generator prep as standard equipment.) Then, if you decide you need a generator, adding one is painless. Portable generators are another option, but don’t be tempted by that $400 open-frame contractor’s generator. Those units are ill-suited to RV use as they tend to be noisy and do not last as long as a quality inverter generator. The only portable generators that are suited to RV use are smaller portable inverter units like the Honda EU series. These units are quiet and efficient, but their capacity is limited. For more information on portable inverter generators, check out these links for Yamaha and Honda.

Mark,

It is time for me to replace my RV toilet. Has anyone done any research as to the best on the market? Any input would be appreciated.

Tom

RV Bathroom interior with wood cabinetry and toilet

Photo: Camping World

Hi Tom,

The current RV toilet manufacturers are Dometic and Thetford. Sealand is now owned by Dometic. There are a wide range of prices and options. The Thetford Aqua-Magic line seems to be the most inexpensive choice, and the Sealand toilets are at the high end of the price range. Most of these units are similar in the way they perform their function (how much innovation is really possible in an RV toilet?) and are generally interchangeable. You’ll need to determine if your existing toilet is a high-rise or low-rise model and replace it with one of the same height.

If you go with a different brand or model, you may need to modify the freshwater connection, as different models tend to have slightly different water connections. Prices vary from around $120 for the Aqua Magic up to around $350 for top-of-the-line models from Sealand. Shop around to find the best prices. Special features, such as china bowls and more house-like appearance and operation, are available on the more expensive models. I guess it all depends on what you feel is the best match to your wallet and your personal preferences.

Dear Mark,

We’re in the process of shopping for a new RV, and we’ve found several models that utilize a single huge holding tank instead of separate black- and grey-water tanks. Would you comment on the advantages/disadvantages of each system?

Thanks,

Jane

Hi Jane,

Well, you’re asking for an opinion, and I do have one! I feel that putting it all in a single tank is a bad idea. A single-tank setup will prevent you from keeping the nasty and disgusting black water separate from the relatively benign greywater. That means you’ll be unable to dispose of them separately. I’d much rather tote a blue tank full of soapy water over to a dump station than a tankful of waste! What will I use to rinse the black goop out of my hose if I have no grey water handle to pull? Also, it will be much harder to use any kind of bacterial/enzymatic black-tank treatment when you are filling the tank with antibacterial soapy water and cleaning products.

Worst of all, we all know how unreliable tank gauges tend to be, and I’m sure that most of us have allowed our grey-water tank to get a tad too full. The result is usually greywater backing up into the shower or tub. Now, that I can deal with, but black water in the tub? Time to break out the Clorox and the Brillo pads before setting foot (ewww!) in that tub again! I think “one tank for all” is the concept of simplicity taken a step too far. Thankfully, RVs set up this way are rare.

Mark,

I want to head for the coast, but my husband is concerned about salt air and all the exposed metal on our fifth-wheel. How can we protect it and keep the rust to a minimum? Should we spray the exposed joints and hinges with WD-40 or silicon?

Barb

Several motorhomes parked against beach concrete wall

Photo: PaulBR75/Pixabay

Hi Barb,

I spent winter on the Texas Gulf coast and didn’t have any significant problems with salt-induced corrosion. Salt air is not as much a problem as you might think unless you are planning to spend many months on the coast. For visits of a week or two, if your rig is waxed and you wash it or rinse it off when you leave the coast, you should be fine. If you want to spend several months somewhere like Padre Island, where you park on or near the beach, then you may want to wash the rig every week to remove the accumulation of salt and dirt. If any rust or corrosion starts anywhere, clean the spot thoroughly, removing all corrosion, and protect with automotive wax or clear spray-on sealant. I’d avoid oil, or any oily spray stuff, as it will be a dirt and dust magnet. Boeshield T-9 is the best thing for preventing corrosion on metals. Spray it on and it dries to a non-sticky waxy residue.

Hi Mark,

My LP gas-leak detector goes off on an intermittent basis. It went off about six times in one day until I moved all the produce out of the nearby cabinet and aired out insect spray I’d sprayed into the electrical connector box (outside). Weeks will go by and nothing sets it off. Then, seemingly for no reason, off it goes again. I have been advised to ignore it, that “they all do that.” If it is a case of a leak in the line, why would several weeks pass with no alert?

Thanks,

Nicole

Hi Nicole,

Those alarms can be set off by anything in a spray can that uses propane or butane as a propellant. That covers the majority of aerosol sprays, which are a common source of false alarms. If your alarm is more than five years old, it may be in need of replacement. Those alarms do have a service lifespan and many times will begin to act erratically when they get senile. I suspect from the symptoms you describe that you probably don’t have a propane leak. Watch to see if your false alarms are associated with using aerosol products. If not, then it may be time for a new alarm. It’s probably a good idea to replace your smoke alarm, too, if it’s getting on in years.

Source: Mark My Words September: Fiver Fixes and Generator Queries

5 Dog-Friendly Activities To Do This Fall on Oregon’s Adventure Coast

5 Dog-Friendly Activities To Do This Fall on Oregon’s Adventure Coast

Another Labor Day has come and gone and you may think to yourself, “Doggonit, summer is nearly over! What am I supposed to do now?” Well, friends, don’t fret! The fun is only beginning. Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend & Charleston is a year-round destination, and autumn is one of our favorite seasons! If you want to plan an extra special adventure, bring a furry family member or two along for the trip! We not only welcome dogs to Oregon’s Adventure Coast, we encourage them! Guess you could say the “paw-sibbilites” are endless!

Here are five great ways to enjoy Oregon’s Adventure Coast with your pet this fall. Unless otherwise specified, please keep your pet on a leash in all public areas.

Dog on park bench looking at ocean.

A dog overlooking Cape Arago. Getty Images

#1 Hike along the Cape Arago Loop Trail. There are plenty of impressive hiking trails to choose from on Oregon’s Adventure Coast, but this 6-mile round trip hiking trail takes you along the rugged coastline and through mysterious and beautiful coastal forests. Paths are wide enough that if you encounter other hikers, it’s easy to step aside and let them pass and still keep your distance.

A golden lab dog runs free along a beach

Getty Images

#2 Run Free Along an Open Beach! We love all our beautiful, undeveloped beaches. Our beaches are ideal for picnicking, walking/jogging or spending a relaxing day tossing a ball or frisbee with your best friend. If your pup needs a good run, we recommend heading to Horsfall Beach in North Bend and Bastendorff Beach just outside of Charleston. Both locations have long stretches of beach for dogs to run and play.

A dog looks down a forested trail.

Getty Images

#3 Traverse Through Coastal Forests in the Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area. Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area (about 30 miles from Highway 101, on Highway 241) is the perfect destination for two-legged and four-legged adventure-seekers alike! This destination has been called “a hidden gem in dense coastal forests” and takes hikers through scenic canyons and lush coastal forests to two magnificent waterfalls. Vantage points all along the trail give you excellent views of the falls from the bottom, mid-point and top. It’s the perfect place for a “pup-arazzi” photo shoot!

Closeup of dog's face in forest.

Photo: Getty Images

#4 Wander Through the Scenic Trails and Waterways in the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (SSNERR). This glorious nature preserve covers 19,000 acres and offers miles of beautiful hiking trails and waterways to explore for all ability levels. These trails are well maintained and relatively easy to hike — perfect for hiking with your best furry friend! SSNERR is also home to various marine life, plant and bird species — so be sure to bring binoculars with you! Please note that all dogs must be on a leash at all times.

Labrador relaxing at a campsite.

Photo: Ari Bady/Unsplash

#5 Embark on a Camping Adventure. Are you going through a rough “pooch”? Outdoor enthusiasts have long known that camping is an excellent way to retreat into nature and relieve stress and anxiety — especially when traveling with your beloved pet(s)! There is no shortage of fabulous (and in most cases pet-friendly) RV Parks & Campsites on Oregon’s Adventure Coast! You never know, a camping trip might be the perfect way to get a new “leash” on life!

For more travel inspiration, visit the Oregon’s Adventure Coast website! Or request a visitor’s packet today.

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam provides everything you need to have a good trip. From savings on accessories and services to finding a campground, roadside assistance, insurance and specialized products and services designed to enhance RV and outdoor lifestyle.

Source: 5 Dog-Friendly Activities To Do This Fall on Oregon’s Adventure Coast

Fantastic Fall for Camping Myrtle Beach

Fantastic Fall for Camping Myrtle Beach

It is that welcoming time of year when life starts getting back to a routine, and we began to prepare for Fall and the holiday seasons. While camping in Myrtle Beach offers wonderful accommodations at award-winning campgrounds, their locations allow easy access to the area’s major attractions including golf, shopping, fishing, dining, and more. Not to mention the beautiful scenery along the lakes and oceanfront. This time of year, the weather is not too hot or cold…it is just right. So, choose your campsite and enjoy the freshness and crispness of Fall that can only be experienced in Myrtle Beach.

Aerial shot of RVs parked on green lawn around a pond area.

Willow Tree RV Resort Campground

Make sure to visit CampMyrtleBeach.com and plan your next camping adventure.  The experts at these wonderful campgrounds:  Lakewood Camping Resort,  Myrtle Beach KOA Resort, Myrtle Beach Travel Park, NMB RV Resort-Dry Dock Marina, Ocean Lakes Family Campground, PirateLand Family Camping Resort and Willow Tree RV Resort Campground can help you design the perfect vacation, weekend get-away, or few days escape in beautiful South Carolina. Take advantage of Fall savings and discounts like never before. A variety of festivities are happening in Myrtle Beach over the next few months so come and Camp Myrtle Beach and experience them all.

Aerial shot of RVs parked next to a beach shore with pool and lazy river.

Ocean Lakes Family Campground

We are going to let you in on a little local secret; Not only does Myrtle Beach have the best camping in the world, our fall festivals and holiday shows are some of the most entertaining and memorable experiences. There are all types of festivals up and down the Grand Strand that will bring plenty of smiles and laughs to you and your family. It is not too early to plan for Christmas and with that in mind, you can witness Christmas parades and tree lighting ceremonies, special, one-of-a-kind celebrations, unique to Myrtle Beach. If you can only choose one event to attend, then Night of a Thousand Lights at Brookgreen Gardens is the one for you.  Tens of thousands of lights sparkle in the dark creating a special kind of holiday glow. Take enchanting walks through the twinkling lights as carolers sing, holiday music plays, all the while enjoying a warm cup of apple cider. It is the perfect way to celebrate the enchantment of Christmas. So, plan your holiday get-away and take in some of the local flair that only Myrtle Beach can offer. Make sure to check out the Events page on CampMyrtleBeach.com for more information.

Cyclists riding a bike path in the shade of old oak trees.

Cyclists under Oaks in the Myrtle Beach area.

While you’re welcoming fall and the holiday seasons, here are some friendly reminders. Location: Myrtle Beach is one of America’s favorite vacation destinations. Visitors, like you, have been enjoying the Grand Strand for decades and generations of families continue to return each year. If you have never been, this is the perfect time of year for a weekend get-away or an extended stay. Don’t miss out on all that Myrtle Beach has to offer. Crowds: All the people that pack Myrtle Beach in the summertime have left. There is room to breathe, and traffic is no longer bumper to bumper. The long lines at the restaurants have vanished and it doesn’t take all day to visit your favorite attractions. This alone is reason enough to visit Myrtle Beach this time of year. Come experience the salt life like never before and enjoy the relaxation and peacefulness. Attractions: All the awesome attractions are still here. Savory restaurants, incredible shops, and championship golf courses are nestled in Myrtle Beach for your pleasure. Tourist favorites, like Broadway at the Beach and the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade, stand proud and await your arrival.

A wooden walkway leading to an unspoiled beach.

Myrtle Beach

The beaches of Myrtle have seen millions enjoy romantic walks in the sand and the soothing sounds of the tide rolling in and out has pacified countless guests. Come experience one of the best locations, with gorgeous weather, uninterrupted by crowds, featuring awesome attractions, and the best camping Myrtle Beach has to offer! Visit CampMyrtleBeach.com for more details.

Source: Fantastic Fall for Camping Myrtle Beach

How to Organize Your RV

How to Organize Your RV

Good Sam sets a high bar for quality, and for 2020, a total of 197 RV parks answered the challenge by attaining flawless 10/10★/10 Good Sam ratings. The numbers are based on our trusted evaluation system, and most of the top scorers are Good Sam perfect parks.

Our rep teams who visit the parks check for cleanliness of restrooms and showers; environment and visual appearance. Each category is rated on a scale of one to 10, and a star is added for exceptionally clean restrooms. You’ll also find a list of these parks — along with plenty of helpful RV-related content — in our 2020 edition of the Good Sam Guide Series.

Desert RV camping with cactus in foreground.

Getty Images

Set a high bar on your next RV trip. Stay at one of the top-rated parks, or to cast a wider net, search Good Sam Parks that have cumulative ratings of 28 or more. Good Sam members save 10% at Good Sam Parks across North America —  2,400 locations in all.

Good Sam Parks with 10/10★/10 scores.

Arizona

Doubles tennis under blue sky.

Valle Del Oro RV Resort

De Anza RV Resort, Amado

Superstition Sunrise RV Resort, Apache Junction

Weaver’s Needle RV Resort, Apache Junction

Black Canyon Ranch RV Resort, Black Canyon City

Vista Del Sol RV Resort, Bullhead City

Distant Drums RV Resort, Camp Verde

Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort, Casa Grande

Sundance 1 RV Resort, Casa Grande

Pueblo El Mirage RV & Golf Resort, El Mirage

Eagle View RV Resort Asah Gweh Oou-o At Fort McDowell, Fort McDowell

Arizonian RV Resort, Gold Canyon

Canyon Vistas RV Resort, Gold Canyon

Gold Canyon RV & Golf Resort, Gold Canyon

Apache Wells RV Resort, Mesa

Good Life RV Resort, Mesa

Mesa Regal RV Resort, Mesa

Sun Life RV Resort, Mesa

Valle Del Oro RV Resort, Mesa

Desert Shadows RV Resort, Phoenix

Far Horizons RV Resort, Tucson

Mission View RV Resort, Tucson

Rincon Country East RV Resort, Tucson

Rincon Country West RV Resort, Tucson

Del Pueblo RV Park and Tennis Resort, Yuma

Shangri-La RV Resort, Yuma

Villa Alameda RV Resort, Yuma

Westwind RV & Golf Resort, Yuma

Arkansas

Ozarks RV Resort On Table Rock Lake, Blue Eye

California

RVs parked in desert as mountains rise in the background.

The Springs at Borrego.

Bakersfield RV Resort, Bakersfield

The Springs At Borrego RV Resort & Golf Course, Borrego Springs

Indian Waters RV Resort & Cottages, Indio

Jackson Rancheria RV Park, Jackson

Cava Robles RV Resort, Paso Robles

Berry Creek Rancheria RV Park,
Oroville

Pala Casino RV Resort, Pala

Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff

JGW RV Park, Redding

Redding Premier RV Resort, Redding

Pechanga RV Resort, Temecula

Vineyard RV Park, Vacaville

Colorado

Royal View RV Park, Canon City

Mesa Verde RV Resort, Mancos

River Run, Granby

Florida

A tranquil pool surrounded by palms.

Palm Beach Motorcoach Resort

Cross Creek RV Resort, Arcadia

Belle Parc RV Resort, Brooksville

Palm Beach Motorcoach Resort, Jupiter

Aztec RV Resort, Margate

Crystal Lake RV Resort, Naples

The Great Outdoors RV, Nature & Golf Resort, Titusville

Williston Crossings RV Resort, Williston

Georgia

Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick

Illinois

Double J Campground, Springfield

Louisiana

Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson

Paragon Casino RV Resort, Marksville

Massachusetts

RVs parked under tall, shady pines.

Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort

Cape Cod Campresort & Cabins, East Falmouth

Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort, Foxboro

Pine Acres Family Camping Resort, Oakham

Michigan

Traverse Bay RV Resort, Traverse City

Minnesota

Stony Point Resort RV Park & Campground, Cass Lake

Grand Hinckley RV Resort, Hinckley

Missouri

Big Creek RV Park, Annapolis

Cottonwoods RV Park, Columbia

Lazy Day Campground, Danville

Osage Beach RV Park, Osage Beach

Montana

RV park lodge surrounded by robust trees

Nugget RV Park

Nugget RV Park, St Regis

Nevada

Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas

LVM Resort, Las Vegas

Lakeside Casino & RV Park, Pahrump

Nevada Treasure RV Resort, Pahrump

Wine Ridge RV Resort & Cottages, Pahrump

Sparks Marina RV Park, Sparks

New Hampshire

Mountain Lake Camping Resort, Lancaster

New Mexico

Route 66 RV Resort, Albuquerque

New York

An RV reflected in a pond surrounded by lush treen lawn

The Villages at Turning Stone RV Park

Swan Bay Resort, Alexandria Bay

Camp Chautauqua Camping Resort, Chautauqua

Skyway Camping Resort, Ellenville

Black Bear Campground, Florida

King Phillips Campground, Lake George

Ledgeview RV Park, Lake George

Rip Van Winkle Campgrounds, Saugerties

The Villages At Turning Stone RV Park, Verona

North Carolina

Raleigh Oaks RV Resort & Cottages, Four Oaks

The Great Outdoors RV Resort, Franklin

Fayetteville RV Resort & Cottages, Wade

Ohio

Cross Creek Camping Resort, Delaware

Evergreen Park RV Resort, Mount Eaton

Arrowhead Campground, New Paris

Oklahoma

By The Lake RV Park Resort, Ardmore

Do Drop Inn RV Resort, Calera

Xtreme RV Resort, Eufaula

Fun Town RV Park at WinStar, Thackerville

Oregon

RVs parked under lush trees with mountain skyline in distance.

Seven Feathers RV resort

Bend/Sisters Garden RV Resort, Bend

Cannon Beach RV Resort, Cannon Beach

Seven Feathers RV Resort, Canyonville

Bay Point Landing, Coos Bay

Olde Stone Village RV Park, McMinnville

Pacific Shores Motorcoach Resort, Newport

Hee Hee Illahee RV Resort, Salem

Casey’s Riverside RV Park, Westfir

Pheasant Ridge RV Resort, Wilsonville

Tennessee

Smoky Bear Campground and RV Park, Gatlinburg

Twin Creek RV Resort, Gatlinburg

The Ridge Outdoor Resort, Sevierville

Two Rivers Landing RV Resort, Sevierville

Texas

Aerial shot of RVs in a lush resort

Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort.

Whistle Stop RV Resort, Abilene

Shady Creek RV Park and Storage, Aubrey

Bushman’s RV Park, Bullard

Alsatian RV Resort & Golf Club, Castroville

Galveston Island RV Resort, Galveston

Jamaica Beach RV Resort, Galveston

Shallow Creek RV Resort, Gladewater

San Jacinto Riverfront RV Park, Highlands

Advanced RV Resort, Houston

Katy Lake RV Resort, Katy

Buckhorn Lake Resort, Kerrville

Fernbrook Park, Longview

Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort, Mission

Forest Retreat RV Park, New Caney

Texas Lakeside RV Resort, Port Lavaca

Northlake Village RV Park, Roanoke

Coffee Creek RV Resort & Cabins, Santo

Rayford Crossing RV Resort, The Woodlands

Oak Creek RV Park, Weatherford

Utah

Mountain Valley RV Resort, Heber City

Vermont

Sugar Ridge RV Village & Campground, Danville

Apple Island Resort, South Hero

Virginia

American Heritage RV Park, Williamsburg

Washington

Northern Quest RV Resort, Airway Heights

Deer Park RV Resort, Deer Park

Columbia Sun RV Resort, Kennewick

Liberty Lake RV Campground, Liberty Lake

Wine Country RV Park, Prosser

North Spokane RV Campground, Spokane

Wisconsin

Stoney Creek RV Resort, Osseo

Recreational vehicle travel trailer in campsite at dusk with lights and campfire, horizontal.

Getty Images

Canada Good Sam Parks

New Brunswick

Camping Colibri, Bertrand

Camping Pokemouche, Pokemouche

Ocean Surf RV Park, Shediac

Nova Scotia

Baddeck Cabot Trail Campground, Baddeck

Bras d’Or Lakes Campground On The Cabot Trail, Baddeck

Ontario

Quinte’s Isle Campark, Cherry Valley

Wildwood Golf & RV Resort, Essex

Bissell’s Hideaway Resort, Pelham

Quebec

Camping la Cle des Champs RV Resort, Saint-Philippe

Other Parks

Resort housing lines a tranquil canal.

Palm Creek Golf RV Resort

Arkansas

Catherine’s Landing At Hot Springs, Hot Springs National Park

California

Outdoor Resort Palm Springs, Cathedral City

Outdoor Resort Indio, Indio

Colorado

Tiger Run Resort, Breckenridge

Pueblo South/Colorado City KOA, Colorado City

Florida

Renegades On The River, Crescent City

Cypress Trail RV Resort, Fort Myers

Gulf Waters RV Resort, Fort Myers Beach

Ocean Breeze Resort, Jensen Beach

Riverbend Motorcoach Resort, La Belle

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Lake Buena Vista

Naples Motorcoach Resort & Boat Club – Sunland, Naples

Emerald Coast RV Beach Resort, Panama City Beach

Myakka River Motorcoach Resort, Port Charlotte

Georgia

Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa, Blairsville

Idaho

StoneRidge Golf and Motor Coach Village, Blanchard

Louisiana

Reunion Lake RV Resort, Ponchatoula

Maine

Red Apple Campground, Kennebunkport

Wells Beach Resort, Wells

Massachusetts

Beach Rose RV Park, Salisbury Beach

Michigan

Oak Grove Resort, Holland

Harbortown RV Resort, Monroe

Soaring Eagle Hideaway RV Park, Mount Pleasant

Duck Creek RV Resort, Muskegon

Petoskey KOA, Petoskey

Petoskey RV Resort, Petoskey

South Haven Sunny Brook RV Resort, South Haven

River Ridge RV Resort & Marina, Stanwood

Minnesota

Prairie View RV Park & Campground, Granite Falls

Montana

Polson Motorcoach Resort, Polson

New Hampshire

Twin Mountain/Mt. Washington KOA, Twin Mountain

Cold Springs Camp Resort, Weare

New Mexico

Angel Fire RV Resort, Angel Fire

New York

Chautauqua Lake KOA, Dewittville

Triple R Camping Resort & Trailer Sales, Franklinville

Lake George RV Park, Lake George

Canoes and houses on a lakeshore.

Branches of Niagara Campground & Resort

Branches Of Niagara Campground & Resort, Niagara Falls

North Carolina

Mountain Falls Luxury Motorcoach Resort, Lake Toxaway

Ohio

Sunbury/Columbus North KOA, Sunbury

Oklahoma

Choctaw RV Park KOA, Durant

Pennsylvania

Lake In Wood Resort, Narvon

South Carolina

Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort & Marina, Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort, Hilton Head Island

WillowTree RV Resort & Campground, Longs

NMB RV Resort and Dry Dock Marina, Myrtle Beach

Ocean Lakes Family Campground, Myrtle Beach

Tennessee

ps://www.goodsam.com/campgrounds-rv-parks/details/default.aspx?cgid=201519913″>Anchor Down RV Resort, Dandridge

Texas

Johnson Creek RV Resort & Park, Kerrville

Wisconsin

Milton KOA (formerly Hidden Valley RV Resort & Campground), Milton

Canada Parks

Ontario

Fisherman’s Cove Tent & Trailer Park, Kincardine

Sherkston Shores RV Resort, Port Colborne

Woodland Park, Sauble Beach

Quebec

Camping Alouette – Parkbridge, Saint-Mathieu-De-Beloeil

KOA Bas-St-Laurent Campground, Saint-Mathieu-De-Rioux

Source: How to Organize Your RV

3 Small Beach Towns to Escape the Big Crowds

3 Small Beach Towns to Escape the Big Crowds

RVing makes it so easy to try on different lifestyles. When I feel like being a surf bum, I just head to cute small beach towns with RV resorts and campgrounds. Great destinations like Jacksonville, North Carolina, Rockport-Fulton, Texas and California’s seaside San Luis Obispo County make it easy to reap the rewards of oceanfront real estate—at a fraction of the cost! Playing in the sun and sand with my home on wheels in tow allows me to enjoy waterfront real estate on my terms.

First stop, Jacksonville, North Carolina

Five young kayakers paddle on a placid lake.

Photo: Visit Jacksonville NC

There are 23 U.S. cities named Jacksonville, but only Jacksonville, North Carolina, has plenty of sun and sand for RVers. Located in the state’s Crystal Coast region and nestled along the New River, this fun beach town is currently ranked as one of North Carolina’s fastest-growing small cities. It’s adjacent to Camp Lejeune, the East Coast’s largest Marine Corps base, giving it youthful energy that welcomes visitors into this vibrant community with so much to do.

Life begins on the Jacksonville Landing

Every day, you’ll find anglers, kayakers, boaters, and bird watchers gathering at fishing piers and boat launches to enjoy the day on calm, clear water. Back on land, Jacksonville’s 19 miles of multi-use paths and greenways meander through fun and interesting places like the old train depot at Riverwalk Crossing Park, or Lejeune Memorial Gardens, the second largest Vietnam Memorial in the United States.

Anglers cast a line on a boat during sunset.

Photo: Visit Jacksonville NC

For more of that classic coastal experience, it’s an easy jaunt to the Atlantic at popular beaches like Emerald Isle, Bear Island, or North Topsail Beach. And if you happen to know a Marine at Camp Lejeune, ask them to take you to Onslow Beach. This gorgeous, fun oceanfront destination has its own coastal RV park just for authorized military members with visiting friends and family.

A variety of great RV parks makes it above average

Online reviews by RVers show that Jacksonville is one of North Carolina’s best RV destinations. You’ll find it tough to choose just one. The area has four highly rated parks all within 30 minutes of downtown. Waterway RV Park in Cape Carteret, Lanier’s Campground in Surf City, White Oak Shores Camping & RV Resort in Stella, and Deep Creek RV Resort & Campground in Hubert. All of Jacksonville’s RV resorts give you that country getaway feel, without sacrificing any of the cute small beach town vibes you’re after.

Gulf Coasting at Rockport-Fulton, Texas

I once met a Texas snowbird RVer who wintered in the Rockport-Fulton area. When she told me about her resort, I pictured a tired enclave of canasta clubs, elevator music, and Bermuda short-wearing retirees. I was so wrong! Rockport and Fulton have so much to do for RVers of all ages, the area rivals any coastal destination in the country.

Three paddleboarders crossing a bay.

Photo: Rockport-Fulton

Rockport Beach is one of the cleanest in the country.

Both in the water and on the shore, beaches don’t get any nicer than Rockport’s. Experts test the water twice weekly for bacteria, and the results are posted on the TexasBeachWatch.com website. Local efforts to keep it clean have granted Rockport a “Blue Wave Beach” status as part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program. Unlike some other small beach towns, you can feel really good about swimming, surfing and lounging at this beach.

Anglers casting a line at sunset.

Photo: Rockport-Fulton

One way that Rockport and Fulton do feel like other small beach towns for RVers is that life is lived on the water. You can’t truly experience this area without casting a fishing line into the Gulf. Don’t know how? Dozens of charter guides are ready to help! Bird watching is also big, especially between November and March when North American whooping cranes return to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Paddlesports are wildly popular, too, in places like the calm waters in the south end of Little Bay. The nearby dog park and the canine-friendly beach also make it fun for RVing dogs. And if the weather isn’t the greatest, which sometimes happens, a choice selection of art galleries and coffee shops lets you experience Rockport and Fulton’s funky, artsy side.

The hardest part is choosing where to camp in Rockport-Fulton

Few great beach towns cater to RVers the way this place does. Nine of the Gulf Coast’s best RV parks are in Rockport and Fulton. Most have monthly rates for winter snowbirds and an endless list of fun things to do that will keep you so busy, you might never want to leave.

Take it SLO in San Luis Obispo County, California

Uncrowded cove on a sunny day.

Photo: Visit SLO CAL

The Golden State’s central coast is a throwback to my Southern California childhood. That’s when camping and dune buggying on the beach was allowed almost everywhere, and farm stands dotted the countryside with fresh-picked produce. California has changed a lot since then, but not so much in the region dubbed “SLO CAL” – and rightfully so. Having fun doing what you love (preferably outside) is a way of life for locals and visitors alike, whether it’s putting pedal to the metal in an all-terrain vehicle or winery hopping on the weekends.

SloCal has California’s best beach fun

From the county’s northernmost town of San Simeon, where the glitzy Hearst Castle stands like a sentinel over the coastline, to cool the beach towns of Pismo and Oceano where off-roading is allowed and encouraged. Dune buggy and UTV enthusiasts are welcome to play at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, one of the last stretches of California coastline that allows motorized vehicles. If that’s your scene, you can park your RV on Pacific Coast Highway to camp, then take off for a day of adventure right from your front door.

Cyclists coast down a steep trail.

Photo: Visit SLO CAL

SloCal isn’t just about beaches, however. Culinary fans can head inland to quaint communities like Paso Robles and Edna Valley. Both are agritourism meccas where farmers and ranchers enthusiastically share their love for local agriculture production with foodies and wine aficionados. With so many great food destinations, it’s tough to choose just one. Thankfully several food and wine tour operators are ready to help with guided trips to SloCal’s best food and drink producers. In the surrounding hills, bike trails give cyclists a chance to explore the stunning countryside.

Two Cute Small Beach Towns, Two Great RV Parks

Four young women riding horses on the beach as green hills rise on the horizon.

Pacific Dunes Ranch RV Resort

Pismo and Oceano have the best choices for parking the RV and playing in the sand; Pismo Sands RV Park and Pacific Dunes Ranch RV Park. Both offer year-round beach camping with oceanfront fun just steps away. Fill your day with off-road adventure in the dunes, leisurely bike riding, and scenic coastal hikes right from your doorstep in the region’s best beach camping destinations.

With 95,471 miles of coastline in the United States, these three great coastal destinations for RVers barely scratch the surface of bucket list RV destinations. No matter which cute small beach town you decide to explore, the ever-shifting sands and surf is guaranteed to give you the adventure of a lifetime.

Source: 3 Small Beach Towns to Escape the Big Crowds

10 Awesome Mid-Atlantic Destinations for October

10 Awesome Mid-Atlantic Destinations for October

Leaves turn beautiful hues during autumn in the Mid-Atlantic — but this region also has high-speed racing, vast wilderness areas and outdoor adventure in the shadows of big cities.

Find a destination below and then book a stay at a nearby RV Park (click on the links for more information).


Delaware

Ride the Waves in Rehoboth Beach

Surfing on the eastern seaboard? Although West Coast wave riders think they have a lock on this board sport, you’ll find lots of big waves crashing onto this shore. Rent a surfboard and take surfing lesson at Rehoboth Beach Surf Shop. If you don’t want to hang ten, enjoy the town’s artsy, sophisticated and family-friendly vibe. The area is well known for fine cuisine, plenty of shops and – of course – the beautiful sandy beach. Bonus: Finish your day with a tall one at Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats. Hoist a nice, cold “Brett Lacks Toes” beer or a “Covered in Nuggs” brew. Oh yeah, they serve great food, too.

A surfer takes on a wave in the ocean.

Photo: Getty Images

Get Your Motor Running at the Monster Mile

In October, top drivers rev their engines during NASCAR Race Weekend at the Monster Mile, a top stock car racing venue. Set up a tailgate in the lot and prepare to watch high-speed action in one of the most challenging NASCAR tracks around.

Stay here during your Delaware visit:

Massey’s Landing, Millsboro


Maryland

Kayak in Baltimore Harbor

Who knew that Maryland’s biggest city had so many great places for paddling? Grab your kayak and paddle past the tall ships and the Domino Sugar Factory at your own pace or join a tour led by expert guides on the area’s background. More intrepid paddlers can enjoy picturesque surrounds about a half-hour away at Loch Raven Reservoir or Gunpowder Falls State Park, where top-notch bass and trout fishing are also available. For a relaxing outing, hop aboard one of the smaller charter schooners docked in the Inner Harbor for an exclusive day or night tour.

Skyline overlooking a river.

Photo: Bruce Emmerling

Relax in Abingdon

Nestled on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, this town gives you the opportunity you divide your time between rural life, seaside adventures and day trips to Baltimore. Step back in time on a visit to nearby Jerusalem Mill Village or the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center at Otter Point Creek. For dinner, head to the Inner Harbor neighborhood in nearby Baltimore to dine on the famous steamed blue crabs while taking in a sunset over the Bay.

Stay here during your Maryland visit:

Bar Harbor RV Park & Marina, Abingdon

Ramblin’ Pines Family Campground & RV Park, Woodbine


New Jersey

Go Beachcombing in Cape May

Occupying the southern coast of New Jersey, Cape May’s seem frozen in time, with preserved Victorian architecture and uncrowded beaches. The best beach is at Cape May Point State Park, two miles south of town, where a pristine ribbon of white sand is unblemished by commercialism, and whales can be spotted off the coast from May to December. The park’s diverse ecosystems, including wetlands that draw myriad bird species, can be accessed along three miles of hiking trails. Take the 1.6-mile novice loop trail that meanders through idyllic woodlands carpeted with wildflowers, picturesque beaches and fertile marshlands. Birders won’t want to miss the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, a 212-acre sanctuary rated as one of the nation’s finest birding areas.

Escape the Big City at Liberty State Park

Less than a mile across the water from New York’s Ellis Island on the New Jersey Mainland, Liberty State Park gives visitors a pleasant getaway from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Visitors can stroll on the green expanses or visit the Liberty Science Center, which hosts an array of fun and interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages. The park also is home to the Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial, commemorating the fateful 2001 attack of the World Trade Center in Manhattan across the harbor.

Stay here during your New Jersey visit:

The Depot Travel Park, Cape May

Liberty Harbor Marina & RV Park, Jersey City


New York

Explore the Adirondacks

The Empire State enjoys two big distinctions: It’s home to the biggest city in the U.S. (New York) as well as the largest expanse of publicly protected area in the Lower 48 States. Adirondack Park consists of six million acres of rugged countryside, making it bigger than the nation of Belize and an ideal getaway for hikers and bikers seeking adventure in untouched environments. Nearby, you can check out the Village of Lake George, Six Flags, Saratoga Springs and other area attractions.

Check Out Two Iconic Big Apple Parks

On sunny days, 843-acre Central Park welcomes families, friends, dog-walkers, picnickers and ballplayers. The world-famous park, which forms a 2.5-mile-long rectangle between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West, has served as a backdrop for countless New York books, plays and movies. Visitors could easily spend a day strolling among the fountains, statues, conservatories, lakes, carousel, zoo, boathouse and gorgeously landscaped Shakespeare Garden. While many lavish praise on famed American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted for his designs for Central Park, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park offers an equally seductive complement to NYC’s urban frisson. There’s the 60-acre lake, myriad ballparks, a zoo and the only urban Audubon Center in the U.S. Prospect Park forms a key part of the Atlantic Flyway bird migration route, and more than 200 species can be found in the park.

Stay here during your New York visit:

King Phillips Campground, Lake George

Lake George Riverview Campground, Lake George

Lake George RV Park, Lake George

Ledgeview RV Park, Lake George

The Villages At Turning Stone RV Park, Verona


Pennsylvania

Taste the Sweet Life in Hershey

More than a century ago, Milton Hershey began manufacturing chocolate treats in a community that would come to bear his name. His legacy is honored at Hersheypark, a  confectionery-themed amusement destination that pays homage to the town’s chocolate legacy. Rollercoasters and exhibits will awaken the candy-loving kid inside. For more on the history of Milton Hershey’s candy empire, tour Hershey’s Chocolate World and Founders Hall at the Milton Hershey School. Adventure Sports in Hershey keeps the good times going for families with extra energy to burn. Go-kart tracks, miniature golf and an arcade keep everyone busy.

Leaf Peep in the Poconos

Get your fall foliage fix in the Poconos in eastern Pennsylvania, where the abundant trees change hues from green to crimson, rust and yellow during October. A great place to see this spectacle is the Delaware State Forest,  which features the 82-acre Tarkill Forest Demonstration Area. A self-guided nature trail provides glimpses of a compelling ecosystem. Also on offer are boating, hunting and horseback riding along 26 miles of designated riding trails, along with biking and ATV trails (for all skill levels).

Stay here during your Pennsylvania visit:

Friendship Village Campground & RV Park, Bedford

Gettysburg Campground, Gettysburg

Tucquan Park Family Campground, Holtwood

Flory’s Cottages & Camping, Lancaster

Pinch Pond Family Campground, Manheim

Twin Grove RV Resort & Cottages, Pine Grove

Otter Lake Camp Resort, Stroudsburg

Source: 10 Awesome Mid-Atlantic Destinations for October

Temple View RV Park in the Heart of St. George, Utah

Temple View RV Park in the Heart of St. George, Utah

Temple View RV Park is in the heart of St George, Utah. It’s convenient to everything — 45 Minutes to Zion National Park and a short drive to Las Vegas!

A pool illuminated by soft lighting during the evening.

Pool at McArthur’s Temple View RV Park.

Enjoy the park’s year-round heated pool and hot tub, clubhouse, bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities, putting green, billiard tables and more…

Consistently ranked as one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, St. George, Utah provides an ideal mixture of big-city appeal and small-town feel. The city has become a popular retirement destination and a favorite getaway spot for those seeking pleasant weather, unrivaled scenery and year-round recreation. You will not be disappointed in your surroundings when you choose McArthur’s Temple View Southern Utah RV Park over other nearby RV parks.

A woman swings a golf club in a desert environment.

Golfing in St. George, Utah. Photo: Getty Images

Located in the southwest corner of Utah, St. George is the gateway to many spectacular scenic wonders, including Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Closer at hand, visitors will find Snow Canyon State Park and Red Cliffs Recreation Area, two spectacles of southern Utah’s signature red rock scenery. In addition to its sandstone spectacles, St. George is near popular alpine recreation areas, including the Pine Valley Mountains and Brian Head Resort, the highest elevation ski area in Utah.

A view of a majestic valley with golden cliffs.

View from Angels Landing in Zion National Park. Photo: Getty Images

For families, the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm and St. George Children’s Museum combine with a wildlife museum, nature center, aquatic center and multiple local hikes to petroglyph sites for a complete family getaway.

Aerial view of cityscape with temple in midst of small town.

Saint George at sunset. Photo: Getty Images

Before your visit, consult this list of the Top Ten Things to See & Do while in St. George.

Make Temple View RV Park your next destination. Call 800-776-6410.

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam provides everything you need to have a good trip. From savings on accessories and services to finding a campground, roadside assistance, insurance and specialized products and services designed to enhance RV and outdoor lifestyle.

Source: Temple View RV Park in the Heart of St. George, Utah

Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best hiking destinations in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. While it can be quite busy during the summer, many people believe that the changing colors and cooler temperatures make fall the best time to hike in the park.

Because the park covers a total of more than 522,000 acres, you will have many routes to choose from if you want to hike in the Smokies. Today, we are going to highlight five very different options for hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park that will give everyone from beginners to experts something to enjoy during their trip.

Mountains shrouded by white mist.

View from the Appalachian Trail Loop. Photo: Getty Images

Appalachian Trail Loop From Newfound Gap to Charlie’s Bunion

  • Distance: 8.1 miles
  • Trail Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,640 feet
  • Difficulty: Hard

While you might not initially like the idea of making a bunion your primary hiking destination, no visit to the Smoky Mountains is complete without setting foot on the Appalachian Trail. The trailhead for this hike is located at Newfound Gap on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.

Be prepared for a nice climb to start the first two miles of this hike, but make sure you lift your head up to appreciate the foliage from time to time. During the spring and summer, wildflowers line the trail and the changing colors of fall are definitely a sight to see.

You will find the spur to the doorway to Charlie’s Bunion at mile 4, which is definitely worth it for the views. If you want to turn this hike into an overnight trip, you can even get a permit to stay at the Ice Water Spring Shelter and then get up early to catch sunrise views from the bunion!

An observation tower accessible by winding walkway.

Clingman’s Dome observation tower. Photo Kirk Thornton/Unsplash

Clingman’s Dome

  • Distance:  1.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 334 feet
  • Trail Type: Out and back
  • Difficulty: Easy

Clingman’s Dome is easily the most popular attraction in the park. It is the highest point in the park and the observation tower that has been built there offers 360-degree views of the mountains. It is a great option for a quick sunrise or sunset hike between other park activities.

Be prepared to share the views with plenty of other visitors during your visit to Clingman’s Dome. Because of the views and the relatively easy hike required to get there, this trail is often quite crowded and you may not get to hike at your regular pace.

Still, this hike is worth a quick stop if you haven’t been to the park before and there is even a visitor’s center at the trailhead if you want to grab a ranger’s attention to answer any questions. You can also do the Clingman’s Dome hike and then hop on the Appalachian Trail in either direction from here if you want to extend your day.

A veil like cascade of water tumbles down jagged rocks.

Ramsey’s Cascade. Photo: Andrea Walton

Ramsey Cascades

  • Distance:  7.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain:  2,190 feet
  • Trail Type: Out and back
  • Difficulty: Hard

Ramsey Cascades is the tallest accessible waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While there may be others that top the 100-foot height of these cascades, this waterfall is the largest that you can comfortably reach on foot using a developed trail.

The hike to get there is both lengthy and quite strenuous, but you can usually cool off in the small pool at the bottom of the falls once you get there. The strength of the falls will depend on the time of year that you visit and the amount of seasonal snow and rainfall that the park has experienced recently.

The spring months are usually the best time to see the waterfall in its most powerful form. However, this hike is absolutely magnificent in the fall as well. The leaves of the diverse trees along the trail (silverbells, yellow birch, tulip, and basswoods) turn the typically green forest into a warm landscape of reds and oranges in the fall months.

Sunlight sparks on the surface of a stream that races between boulders.

Scenery along the Little River Trail. Photo: Brian Stansberry

Little River Trail

  • Distance:  4.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain:  412 feet
  • Trail Type: Out and back
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

The Little River Trail is a great intermediate hike for the entire family. If you aren’t able to explore the full length of this trail, you can still enjoy hunting for salamanders on the banks of the river or documenting wildflowers lining the trail.

The trailhead for this hike is located in the Historic Elkmont District, which used to be a very popular vacation spot for Appalachian visitors. The town has lots of history, which is another great reason to put it on your list before the remnants of the resort degrade and fade away.

The hike itself is a great choice throughout the summer and fall, but it actually attracts many visitors during the spring as well. If you visit from late May to early June, you can bear witness to the world-famous synchronized fireflies of Elkmont.

Sun sets over mist-shrouded mountains under a golden sky.

View of the Sunset over the Appalachian Mountains from Rocky Top. Photo: Getty Images.

Thunderhead Mountain and Rocky Top

  • Distance:  17 miles
  • Elevation Gain:  3,639 feet
  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Difficulty: Hard

No trip to the Great Smokies would be complete without summiting Thunderhead Mountain and good-ole Rocky Top along the way. The latter is actually a sub-peak (aka ‘false summit’) of Thunderhead Mountain, which sits at an elevation of 5,527 feet.

The cool part about this trail is that it makes a complete loop so you can continue to enjoy new scenery along the entire route. The longer length of this trail also makes it a popular choice for a multi-day backpacking trip in the park.

Thunderhead Mountain is coined for the often unpredictable weather that is common to the Smokies. So if you do opt for this trail for a backpacking trip, just make sure you are equipped with rain gear and have permits to camp at a location like Spence Field Shelter.

Good Sam RV Parks Near Great Smoky Mountains National Park

While there are options in the park for multi-day backpacking trips, every hiker enjoys coming home to a comfortable base camp at the end of the day. So here are a couple nice Good Sam RV Resorts close to the park.

Twin Creek RV Resort

RVs and camping cabins against a background of crimson and gold fall foliages.

Twin Creek RV Resort.

Twin Creek RV Resort is the best option if you want to be close to downtown Gatlinburg. It boasts a total of 85 full-hookup sites and offers WiFi throughout the park. Some of the park’s best amenities include a heated pool and hot tub, laundry services, and a camp store. But this park’s best attribute is its proximity to town and the main entrance to the national park.

Stonebridge RV Resort

Horseshoe pits on a green grassy meadow with background of green trees.

Horseshoe pit at Stonebridge RV Resort.

Stonebridge RV Resort is located on the other side of the park in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. It sits right on the banks of Jonathan Creek and offers a total of 130 full-hookup sites with WiFi. Aside from being able to swim in the creek, the park also offers a swimming pool, recreation hall, and outdoor games for evening activities. It is also just under 40 minutes from Asheville and 35 minutes from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the south entrance to the national park.

Misty Mountain Hikes

If you have never visited this area, it is definitely worth adding to your bucket list. The terrain can be demanding, but the views are worthwhile and the nearby towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge provide fun for the whole family between your hiking excursions.

We hope that you have enjoyed this brief guide to hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you have any other hikes that you would highly recommend and weren’t included on our list, we would love to hear from you!

Source: Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Campfire Recipes to Optimize Your Next Trip Out

Campfire Recipes to Optimize Your Next Trip Out

Last Updated on September 13, 2021 by Christina

Nature enthusiasts often cherish the time they get to spend around a campfire. While you don’t have to be a world-class chef to make delicious campfire recipes, a bit of preparation, the right equipment and little bit of innovation can go a long way.  That could include using recipes and a cooking style that you already know and are familiar with making at home. Many meals are easily transferable to the outdoors, while others may require a few adaptations.

A pair of foil-packet meals cooks on a grill grate over a campfire. Foil packet meals are simple campfire recipes that are as easy as throwing all the ingredients into a piece of foil, folding the foil into a rectangular shape and cooking over a campfire.

Paige Lackey, a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member serving with the DNR, is putting her campfire cooking skills and recipes to the test as part of Project Rustic, a statewide RV tour of Michigan’s rustic campgrounds. While living in and working from an RV provided by General RV, Paige put together a basic meal plan and some of her favorite campfire recipes that anyone can enjoy.

A selfie of Paige, the explorer behind Project Rustic, as she walks along a Michigan beach.

Paige’s favorite campfire recipes and daily meal plan

The last thing you want to do while camping is spend time inside your camper, slaving over a hot stove. You’re camping to enjoy the outdoors and mealtime should not take up hours of your day! Many of my favorite go-to meals while camping are one-pot meals that can be made over a fire. One-pot meals are easy to prep, cook and clean-up and honestly, what’s better than cooking over a fire?

A man stirs a meal in a pot while it cooks over a campfire. One pot meals are ideal for camping cooking recipes because they mean less cleanup afterward.

Fuel Up for Your Day with these Campfire Recipes for Breakfast

For breakfast, I like to stick to the basics and make a big, scrambled egg skillet loaded with veggies and lots of flavor. My personal favorite veggies to add are sweet potato, onion, spinach and bell pepper. Once the veggies and eggs are cooked, I like to top the dish off with avocado and salsa.

Camping Recipes for Lunch: On the go options are best

For lunch, I keep it simple. No need to disrupt an adventure-filled day by preparing a five-course meal. I always keep wraps or tortillas on hand to throw together a simple meat and cheese sandwich wrap. They’re quick to make and easy to take on-the-go. Let your creativity flow by combining different veggies (spinach, cucumber, bell pepper, kale, tomato), fruits (apple or banana with peanut butter) or spreads (hummus, avocado, cream cheese).

Enjoy these Campfire Recipes for Dinner

Typically, dinners are when I like to indulge myself a bit more, and spend time preparing a meal. I still prefer simplicity and one-pot meals are easy prep and easy clean-up. Some of my favorites are:

Pork tacos with onion and bell peppers

A cast iron skillet filled with chopped bell peppers and other vegetables cooks on a grill grate positioned over a campfire. In the background, an RV and vehicle are parked at a campsite. Two camp chairs are positioned near the fire.

Chicken and kale salad with red onion, avocado, cherry tomato, shredded carrots, broccoli and feta with a poppy seed dressing

Stir fry with lots of veggies, tofu and stir fry sauce

One-Pot Protein Pasta

Campfire Nachos

A large cast iron pot sits on a grill grate over a campfire. The pot is filled with fixings for Campfire Nachos - tortilla chips are covered with beans, cilantro, melted cheese, avocado, onions, and more.

Which one of our campfire recipes will you enjoy on your next trip? Let us know on our Facebook page or tag us in a photo on Instagram!

This blog post is part of our Project Rustic series. Paige, the explorer behind Project Rustic, helped put together these helpful tips while RV camping with her dog Willow. Paige and Willow are traveling and working in a Nexus Triumph Class C motorhome provided by General RV Center while they collect data about rustic campgrounds in Michigan. Stay tuned for more Project Rustic posts on our blog. And follow General RV Center on Facebook and Instagram for more exclusive content from Paige’s adventure across Michigan!

Source: Campfire Recipes to Optimize Your Next Trip Out

Los Angeles RV Resort is Now Open

Los Angeles RV Resort is Now Open

The Los Angeles RV Resort (formerly Acton / North LA KOA) is now open as a Good Sam Park for guests in historical Acton’s beautiful Soledad Canyon. Located just 45 miles from Los Angeles, Action Camp has all you need for the ultimate camping getaway or as a base camp for your SoCal explorations. The fun family-friendly campground offers lots of amenities.

Enjoy the swimming pool, volleyball & basketball courts, convenience store, outdoor café-style area, indoor lounge and more. Perfect as a large group retreat center with wide open fields for family reunions, school groups, clubs and nonprofits. There are full hookup RV sites but if you don’t have an RV, reserve our Woody tents, cabins or teepees or maybe a deluxe tent site with power. Camp with a touch of glamour… Glamping! This lovely canyon area has limited cellular signal but there is Wi-Fi available for those times you do need to stay connected. There are plans to add educational programs and more, so checkout our website often for activities.

Local area attractions include Universal Studios, Hollywood, Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Dodgers Stadium, museums and more! Enjoy day trips to Santa Monica, Malibu and Venice Beach. AND it’s a must-stop base camp for hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. Stay for a night, a week, a month or more!

Book your travel today at LARVResort.com or call (661) 268-1214

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam provides everything you need to have a good trip. From savings on accessories and services to finding a campground, roadside assistance, insurance and specialized products and services designed to enhance RV and outdoor lifestyle.

Source: Los Angeles RV Resort is Now Open

Campfire Cooking Tips to Optimize Your Next Trip Out

Campfire Cooking Tips to Optimize Your Next Trip Out

Last Updated on September 10, 2021 by Christina

Nature enthusiasts often cherish the time they get to spend around a campfire. While you don’t have to be a world-class chef to make delicious meals over a campfire, a bit of preparation, the right equipment and little bit of innovation can go a long way.  That could include recipes and a cooking style that you already know and are familiar with making at home. Many meals are easily transferable to the outdoors, while others may require a few adaptations.

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Paige Lackey, a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member serving with the DNR, is putting her campfire cooking skills to the test as part of Project Rustic, a statewide RV tour of Michigan’s rustic campgrounds. While living in and working from an RV provided by General RV, Paige put together a basic meal plan and some of her favorite campfire recipes that anyone can enjoy.

Paige Lackey
Paige Lackey

Paige’s favorite campfire recipes and daily meal plan

The last thing you want to do while camping is spend time inside your camper, slaving over a hot stove. You’re camping to enjoy the outdoors and mealtime should not take up hours of your day! Many of my favorite go-to meals while camping are one-pot meals that can be made over a fire. One-pot meals are easy to prep, cook and clean-up and honestly, what’s better than cooking over a fire?

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For breakfast, I like to stick to the basics and make a big, scrambled egg skillet loaded with veggies and lots of flavor. My personal favorite veggies to add are sweet potato, onion, spinach and bell pepper. Once the veggies and eggs are cooked, I like to top the dish off with avocado and salsa.

For lunch, I keep it simple. No need to disrupt an adventure-filled day by preparing a five-course meal. I always keep wraps or tortillas on hand to throw together a simple meat and cheese sandwich wrap. They’re quick to make and easy to take on-the-go. Let your creativity flow by combining different veggies (spinach, cucumber, bell pepper, kale, tomato), fruits (apple or banana with peanut butter) or spreads (hummus, avocado, cream cheese).

Typically, dinners are when I like to indulge myself a bit more, and spend time preparing a meal. I still prefer simplicity and one-pot meals are easy prep and easy clean-up. Some of my favorites are:

Pork tacos with onion and bell peppers

Chicken and kale salad with red onion, avocado, cherry tomato, shredded carrots, broccoli and feta with a poppy seed dressing

Stir fry with lots of veggies, tofu and stir fry sauce

One-Pot Protein Pasta

Campfire Nachos

Campfire Nachos
Campfire Nachos

This blog post is part of our Project Rustic series. Paige, the explorer behind Project Rustic, helped put together these helpful tips while RV camping with her dog Willow. Paige and Willow are traveling and working in a Nexus Triumph Class C motorhome provided by General RV Center while they collect data about rustic campgrounds in Michigan. Stay tuned for more Project Rustic posts on our blog. And follow General RV Center on Facebook and Instagram for more exclusive content from Paige’s adventure across Michigan!

Source: Campfire Cooking Tips to Optimize Your Next Trip Out

Campfire Cooking Hacks for RVers

Campfire Cooking Hacks for RVers

Last Updated on September 10, 2021 by Christina

Enjoying a great meal around a campfire with friends is one of the best parts about camping. But the last thing you want to do while camping is spend hours cooking inside your RV. Instead, read our campfire cooking hacks and learn how to make tasty meals in the great outdoors.

S’mores and hot dogs probably come to mind when you think of campfire food, but don’t limit yourself! You can cook just about anything over a campfire with the right tools.  Start by reading our camp cooking tips, and then click here for easy and delicious recipes that will have everyone coming back for second helpings!

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Tips for cooking outdoors or in your RV

Plan your campfire meals

Meal planning takes a little work up front but it’s well worth the effort.  The more prep work you do at home, the less chaotic your camping trip will be.  After all, no one wants to tear down camp for an unexpected run to the store when you realize you’re out of a key ingredient. Plus, you’ll save money and waste less food by creating a meal plan.

Choose easy recipes over complicated or labor-intensive meals

While a hot meal prepared over a campfire is a cherished camping pastime, no one wants to spend their entire trip in the kitchen. Choose simple recipes that can be cooked in one pot or grilled together, and select foods that require less effort to prep.

Prep as much as possible at home

Whether on a weekend getaway, or a week-long excursion, the less chopping and mixing that needs to happen on site the better off you’ll be. Less food prep onsite also means less gear being hauled out, as well as fewer opportunities for cross contamination or foodborne illness.  Stews and soups are easy to prep beforehand and then cook onsite, for example. Just be sure to keep prepared food chilled until it is cooked.

Only pack what you need

A common household product that comes highly recommended for campfire cooking is aluminum foil. You can use aluminum foil over your grate grill for less greasy grilling, minimize dirty dishes, or make endless (and easy) tinfoil packet meals. Need some spice in your life, but you don’t want to bring the whole spice rack? Use a lighter or pinch, fold and tape the end of a drinking straw, and fill with your desired spice. Seal the other end of the straw, label it, and snip it open when you’re ready to get cooking. It’s a simple and easy cooking hack that will save you time, space and money!

Practice food safety

Maintain food safety by keeping harmful bacteria at bay. If your RV does not have a working refrigerator, pack a cooler with both ice and bags of cold water for any meat, dairy or other items that must remain below 41 degrees F. The bags of water help keep the temperature cooler for longer.  If you’re uncertain about the doneness of food, an instant read thermometer can help ensure that foods are cooked through to between 145–165 degrees F, as suggested by the FDA.

Keep things clean

Due to COVID-19, access to park facilities may be limited, so ensure that you plenty of clean, potable water and soap for washing anything that touches raw foods, as well as hand sanitizer to help kill any harmful pathogens.

Store food properly

Be wary of outdoor critters, both big and small. It’s best to keep food stored away inside your RV. If food has to be stored outdoors, make sure you pack it in tightly sealed containers. If you’re camping in areas where bears are present, follow these additional tips from the National Park Service about storing food and bears.

Practice fire safety

Choose a site at least ten feet away from bushes or anything flammable, including tents or RVs.  A general rule is to have three times the height of the fire in clear overhead space.  Always keep a bucket of water or sand nearby to extinguish the fire. Once the flames die down, stir the ashes and pour more water or sand to cover the ashes completely.

Bring the right equipment

Cast iron is a necessity if you are cooking over a campfire. It will never get ruined, and if you season it well the flavor of cooking on cast iron is amazing. You can cook anything on it and cleanup is a breeze.  Grabbing food from the campfire grill grate or from the coals with your bare hands is a bad idea. You’ll only make that mistake once, and then you’ll get yourself a good pair of grilling tongs.  The item most highly recommended by campfire cooking experts is an oven mitt, since the last thing you want on a camping trip is a bad burn.

Helpful products for cooking while camping

For many, some of the best camping memories are made while enjoying a meal together.  General RV has a huge selection of equipment and accessories to simplify your camp cooking experience – whether you’re feeding one or a crowd.  Some of our favorite products from General RV’s Parts Department include:

Camco Sink Kit

It’s a universal truth that those who eat must also do dishes. Having a consolidated set for washing and drying dishes is a must. It helps you feel organized and makes dish washing efficient!

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Progressive Microwavable rice and pasta cooker

Rice and pasta are simple and filling which makes them great for chow time after a day of exploring. The Prep Solutions Microwave Rice and Pasta Cooker is designed specifically for cooking and reheating your favorite starchy dishes in the microwave. It features an easy-locking lid that secures tightly and prevents spills and messes while preparing your food.

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Rome Extension Fork

Perfect for cooking brats, hotdogs and marshmallows over a roaring fire. The fork extends a good length so you’re not burning your hands by reaching too close to the flames.

Pudgy Pie Revolution cookbook

This cook book is filled with 81 unique pie iron camping recipes that will inspire campers and backyard cooks to bring their campfire cuisine to the next level.

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Rome Double Pie Iron

It’s no secret that we love a good pie iron recipe, and this is the big daddy of pie irons. Perfect for cooking two pies at the same time over the fire. Get your creative juices flowing to make delicious sandwiches, pizzas, mountain pies and more!

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Stromberg Carlson Stake & Grill cooking rack

Some fire pits at campgrounds have a built-in rack, but they don’t reach far enough over the fire or they’re not positioned correctly once the fire is burning. This adjustable cooking rack solves that problem.

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Nesting bowls

These nesting bowls are great multi-taskers and can be used for preparing ingredients, serving meals, and storing leftovers. The space-saving design allows individual pieces to be stacked neatly together, making it a great addition to any camper or small kitchen.

Omelet maker

As much as we love breakfast over the campfire, sometimes the weather isn’t ideal for building a fire. That’s where microwave cookers become lifesavers. This Omelet Maker makes the perfect omelet, filled with all your favorite ingredients, quickly and easily! The pan does the flipping for you; simply flip the pan and your omelet is folded!

Campfire cooking doesn’t have to be intimidating

Anyone can cook a great meal over a campfire. All it takes is a little know-how, the right tools, and a recipe. General RV is here to help. Stop by the Parts Department at your local General RV Supercenter before your next adventure and start enjoying mouth-watering meals wherever you go.

Source: Campfire Cooking Hacks for RVers

3 Camping Cocktails for Outdoor Happy Hour

3 Camping Cocktails for Outdoor Happy Hour

You’ve had a great day exploring, the crickets are chirping, and you’re kicking back around the campfire in the evening. It’s time for camping cocktails! But what are your options when you’re parked away from civilization? Limited space in your RV means you’re probably not bringing along an entire home bar, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a mixed drink.

With a little planning and preparation ahead of time, you can easily make cocktail bases that save space and time for your camping trip. From slushy margarita mix to fruity sangria, we have three recipes that can be easily made ahead of time and transported to your campsite in a cooler or an RV fridge/freezer. They all have less than four ingredients and only take minutes to assemble. And they all make between 4-8 servings, so they’re perfect for group camping and campsite happy hours.

Camping Cocktails — three cocktails in diagonal pattern, each with fruit.

Sarah Cribari

So whether you’re heading to the woods or parking your rig next to a lake, try mixing up one of these summer camping cocktails for your RV trip. And of course, always drink responsibly and never drink and drive.

Prep at Home Camping Cocktails

These three cocktail bases are easy to prepare before your trip. Then just mix and pour at the campsite!

Simple Fruit Sangria

Making the sangria base at home means you don’t need to pack all the ingredients for your trip. You’ll save space by only needing to bring the container of sangria mix and the soda. This recipe is a great way to use up any leftover fruit, but you can also use frozen fruit.

Jar with strawberries, oranges and blueberies

Sarah Cribari

Tips on picking a wine to use: If you like sweeter sangria try a sweet Riesling or Moscato wine. For less sugar use a dry wine like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Vino Verde. More of a red wine drinker? You can swap out the white wine for a red. Try a Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Garnacha.

Ingredients:

4 oz vodka

2 cups white wine

1 cup of fruit such as sliced strawberries, oranges, peaches, blueberries, or raspberries

1 liter of Fresca, Sprite, or 7-Up

Equipment:

Quart size mason jar with cover, or a resealable container

Makes 4 drinks

Jar with strawberry slice on rim surrounded by other fruit.

Sarah Cribari

Directions:

  1. Slice and chop any fruit into small pieces for the sangria.
  2. To make the drink base add the fruit, vodka, and 2 cups of white wine to a quart-size mason jar or a container with a resealable cover.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight so the flavors have time to mix.
  4. Bring the sangria base and the soda to the campsite in a cooler or your RV fridge.
  5. When ready to enjoy, fill individual glasses 1/3 full of the sangria and spoon some of the fruit into each glass. Top each glass with the soda and serve.

Camping Margaritas

This easy frozen margarita recipe can be stored in a releasable freezer bag until you’re ready to enjoy. If you like your margaritas slushy, these will be best right out of the freezer. They will keep all weekend in a cooler, but as the mixture melts, you’ll have to drink them on the rocks. If there’s room in your RV freezer, pop the freezer bag back into it to keep it slushy. You can also make the margaritas several days before your trip; the mix will keep in your freezer.

Mixing bag with limeade and limes

Sarah Cribari

Tip: for even less clean-up, use the 12 oz frozen limeade can to measure all the ingredients.

Ingredients:

1 can (12 oz) frozen limeade concentrate

2 cans (12 oz)  water (use the limeade can to measure)

1/2 can (6 oz) Triple Sec

1 can (12 oz) of tequila

Optional ingredients:

Salt for riming the glasses

Lime slices for garnish

Equipment:

2 Resealable gallon size freezer bags

Makes 8 drinks

Hands mixing yellow liquid in a bag.

Sarah Cribari

Directions:

  1. Pour the limeade, water, Triple Sec, and tequila into a resealable gallon size freezer bag and put it in the freezer overnight. For extra protection against leaking, double bag the mixture before freezing. The alcohol will keep the mixture from freezing solid.
  2. Keep the bag in the freezer or put it in a cooler with ice until you’re ready to serve.
  3. If you’d like to rim the glasses with salt, rub a lime wedge around the edge of the glass and dip it in salt to coat.
  4. Spoon or pour the margarita mix into the glasses and enjoy!

An icy margarita with limes.

Sarah Cribari

Easy Sparkling Gin Lemonade

Using frozen lemonade concentrate packs more of a lemon punch. If you like your drinks sweeter, use a white soda like Sprite or Fresca for the mix. To keep it on the citrusy/sour side, stick with unflavored seltzer or sparkling water.

Lemons, jar and lemonade concentrate.

Sarah Cribari

Ingredients:

1/2 can (6 oz) frozen lemonade concentrate

1 cup gin

1 liter seltzer/sparkling water/white soda such as 7-Up, Sprite, or Fresca

Glass with lemon slice and lemons.

Sarah Cribari

Optional ingredients:

Lemon slices or mint for serving

Equipment:

Quart size mason jar with cover, or a resealable container

2nd pic of glass with lemon slice and lemons.

Sarah Cribari

Directions:

  1. To make the base, mix 1/2 can of the frozen lemonade concentrate with the gin in a quart-size mason jar or resealable container. Let sit in the fridge for a few hours.
  2. Bring the base mixture and a liter of white soda or sparkling water to the campsite in a cooler or your RV fridge.
  3. When ready to serve, pour the lemonade base into a pitcher and add the seltzer. You can also serve this directly in cups. Fill individual cups 1/3 of the way with the lemonade base and fill the rest of the cup with seltzer. Top with mint or lemon slices if desired.

Source: 3 Camping Cocktails for Outdoor Happy Hour

Cherokee Casino Grove, Oklahoma, Offers World-Class Gaming and More

Cherokee Casino Grove, Oklahoma, Offers World-Class Gaming and More

If you’re planning to visit the beautiful Grand Lake, Oklahoma, area, be sure to stop into Cherokee Casino Grove during your stay. This stunning new casino is the new Number One Choice for Grand Lake nightlife. Nestled near Tom Cat Corner and Shangri-La Golf Club Resort & Marina at Monkey Island, Cherokee Casino Grove is the crowned jewel by Grand Lake. The casino is located 8 miles north of Grove on Highway 10, just 1 mile from the Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees.

When you’ve enjoyed your day on the water and want to have some adult fun to round out your vacation, Cherokee Casino Grove offers everything you need for a great night out. The 39,000-square-foot casino offers more than 490 of the newest electronic games, a full-service bar, a live music venue, a dance floor, complimentary nonalcoholic drinks, and a restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night options.

Whether you LOVE GAMING or this will be your First Gaming Experience, we have everything at your fingertips to LIVE YOUR LIFE GRAND.

Guests who walk in our doors have come to expect EXCELLENCE. We opened our doors in January 2017 and offer a clean, new and exciting place to play. Our gaming floor features many of the MOST POPULAR GAMES IN THE INDUSTRY. Some of our fan-favorites include our theme-based options, such as “Walking Dead,” Red Ruby and Harley Davidson’s Cycles.

Take Your Gaming to the Next Level

Brightly lit interior of casino with rows of slot machines

Photo Courtesy: Cherokee Casino

GET EVEN MORE from your gaming experience by joining the One Star Rewards program, where you can earn rewards for complimentary dining, Rewards Play and more, along with access to EXCLUSIVE PROMOTIONS and GIVEAWAYS.

Going Beyond Gaming For Your Enjoyment

Our full-service bar and nightspot, 1897 Bar, features free weekly live music. Boogie out on our dance floor, or simply relax in our posh booths while enjoying a brew from our craft beer selection or a cocktail mixed by our friendly mixologists. We have extra-large TV screens surrounding the bar so you always know the score.

Cherokee Casino Grove offers a range of delicious dining options, no matter your mood. Grove Springs Restaurant offers a variety of traditional options, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a special late-night menu. Our dinner menu features high-end steak options, fresh seafood and chef-crafted desserts. You can always add your favorite fine wine or mixed cocktail to complete the meal. Enjoy your dinner in our fabulous restaurant or in our peaceful patio setting with covered tables to continue to take in the sights.

Cherokee Casino Grove has changed the game on Grand Lake. We offer everything at your fingertips to make the perfect weekend getaway. Start living life grand — we have exactly what you’re craving.

Cherokee Casino Grove is located north of Grove on Highway 59 and East 250 Road. For more information, visit www.cherokeecasino.com or call 918-786-1300. All guests must be at least 21 years of age.

Source: Cherokee Casino Grove, Oklahoma, Offers World-Class Gaming and More

Top 11 Kid-Friendly Camping Destinations in the U.S.

Top 11 Kid-Friendly Camping Destinations in the U.S.

Families from all across America are bound by tradition to go camping. There is nothing quite like hitting the road and having fun outdoors with your own folks.

Whether you want to experience cuddling your kids close to the campfire or sleeping soundly after staring up at the starry sky, there is always a sense of togetherness when exploring nature with your family. While you’re enjoying nighttime comfort and extra snacks, you can see it’s a different experience with kids in tow, especially when you need to slow down and look after them. We’ve listed the top 10 kid-friendly camping destinations in the U.S. Hopefully, the kids will enjoy them too!

Camping Destinations

Here is the list of a variety of kid-friendly camping destinations you can with your little ones. If you have an exclusive membership, you might get a discount and more from the campgrounds we’ve listed below.

Snake River Campground, Nebraska

At the lake, you can find sugar-white beaches to spend your days swimming and boating around. Every summer night, the campgrounds host a “star party,” so be sure to come in season or you’ll miss it.

Other stellar activities to pair with this is making rockets out of soda bottles, which is included in the program. Ride a canoe down the Niobrara River and try to spot the occasional blue herons and bald eagles.

Group of kids in innertubes splash.

Photo: Getty Images

Big Wills Creek Campground & Tubing, Alabama

This is something the whole family will enjoy, not just for summer. Come and play year-round and enjoy creek tubing, a sand beach, playground, canoeing, paddle-boats and a pool. The park is located in Wills Valley and is associated with some of the earliest historical events in northern Alabama. Today families and Friends enjoy coming to the creek for tubing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, hiking and relaxing in the outdoors. Families can also rent a vacation cabin rentals with a mountain view located on the banks of Big Wills Creek.

Review: “Had an absolute blast. We floated down several times, swam, played human pool, and just enjoyed our kids, nature and the water. Super friendly staff, affordable, and laid back.”

Morro Dunes RV Park, California

Huge majestic rock looms over RV park.

Morro Dunes RV Park

From golfing to surfing, sunbathing to wine tasting, if you’re looking for excitement or relaxation it’s here in Morro Bay. Splash in the ocean, kayak across the bay, fly a kite over the sand on a perfect breezy day.The campground is steps away from nine miles of pristine Atascadero Beach coastline and the iconic Morro Rock, with lots of opportunity for sightseeing, beach-combing and relaxation. Rent a bicycle built for 4 or 6 and pedal around town on a Surrey Cycle; sunshine and salt air is what family memories are made of. Take a short drive to Hearst Castle.

Piñon Flats Campground, Colorado

Woman rides a board down a sandy slope.

Photo: WikiImages

Unlike the rest of the campgrounds on this list, you’ll be spending more time on the actual ground than anywhere else! As the only campground in Great Sand Dunes National Park, you can set up camp in the piñon pines and explore the sand dunes. Not only are they fun to hike — they’re also fun to sled down on sandboards!

Families can build sandcastles in the nearby creek, with the view of the Sangre de Cristos mountains, or spend hours looking up at the sky stargazing at the watchtower. Or, if you want to see some little jaws drop, take your folks out to see the alligators in the geothermal ponds.

Fort Yargo State Park, Georgia

Outdoor recreation activities and scenic lakeside views will greet you as soon as you step foot into Fort Yago. Originally built to exclude Native Americans from the community, it has now become a prime tourist destination for the family.

Test your endurance in the mountain trails riding your bikes, or by hiking up the path led by park rangers. The large lake offers a beach for swimming, fishing, and touring on a boat. This campground is also a participant of Georgia’s First-Time Camper Program, which lets the children experience sleeping in a tent under the stars and partake in Junior Ranger camps.

Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

Lights reflect purple against cave walls and ceilings.

Mammoth Caves. Photo: Raychan/Unsplash

Right at the center of Kentucky’s Cave Country is Jellystone Park. One of the best family-focused campgrounds you will find in the country, this is one kid-friendly place you cannot afford to miss.

Feel free to bounce in the Jumping Pillow, slide down a 300-foot waterslide, and make a splash on Karst Beach. On the weekends, kids can join in on Olympic-style events like a water-balloon battle with other families. If you’re bringing an RV along, the sites offer full hookups and free Wi-Fi, and more.

With the first-rate amenities and the special events that they host specifically for children onsite, you’ll want to prolong your stay each time.

Witch Meadow Campground, Connecticut

Chairs lined up on a sandy lakeshore with house in background.

Witch Meadow Campground

Hundreds of acres of woodland contribute to the great variety of amenities in Witch Meadow Campground. Swimming, fishing, and boating are a few activities to name doing in the freshwater lake. As one of the most tranquil and serene camping grounds in the state, you can let your kids enjoy different outdoor sports and games onsite.

There’s a recreation center for playing as well, where you can play video games, read books in the library, and participate in sports indoors like basketball, badminton, and ping pong.

Clay’s Park Resort, Ohio

Colorful kayaks moored to a dock.

Clays Park Resort.

Welcome to Clay’ Park Resort, one of Ohio’s top outdoor camping, waterpark, and event destinations. As the resort enters its 72nd year of service to northeastern Ohio, we are proud to offer a huge selection of outdoor recreational activities and invite you to come visit soon.

A visit to Clay’s Park can be an activity-filled adventure or a laid-back and relaxing retreat. Splash around in a 10-acre adventure waterpark complete with tanning docks and a central island for sunbathing. Or you might want to swim indoors in the heated pool. The family can enjoy life-size foosball, kayaking, and beach sports.

Camp Gulf, Florida

A girl on a paddleboard rides a wave.

Camp Gulf

Looking for a family-friendly getaway near the beach and the city? Florida’s beachside RV Park, Camp Gulf, is the place for you! With white sand, clear waters, and a blue sky, you can do all kinds of outdoor activities under the sun.

Every cabin is within walking distance from the beach, where you can have fun swimming, boating, fishing, dining, and shopping. The property also has a waterslide, heated pools, and several onsite amenities. Enjoy pancakes and ice cream for breakfast, and watch programs like magic shows in this family-oriented campground.

Custer State Park, South Dakota

An adult bison lies on the ground with baby.

Bison at Custer State Park. Photo: Janathan Mast/Unsplash

Set in a forest of mature pine trees in the Blue Bell Campground, you can find granite spires hundreds of feet tall and prairies with a variety of vegetation. For a more nature-focused adventure, don’t let your family miss the opportunity of visiting Custer State Park.

Keep your eyes open for pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and a thundering herd of a thousand bison. Let local naturalists help you catch, clean, and cook fish while you’re camping. While you’re here, come to the chuck-wagon cookout, where you can play cowboy with your kids as the staff offer you hats and kerchiefs.

Tranquil Timbers Camping Retreat, Wisconsin

The campground is sequestered by lovely tall trees shading the surrounding area, cooling down the forest. As this is near Lake Michigan, you can easily access boat landings and water channels full of fish. Along the shoreline, you can even find paths that lead up to hiking trails in the nearby mountains.

In Tranquil Timbers Camping Retreat, you can let your family in on the fun with their playground, swimming pools, and other onsite amenities like live bands, magic shows, and balloon artists. Nearby at Sturgeon Bay, you can take the kids out for in-season festivals and to museums.

Source: Top 11 Kid-Friendly Camping Destinations in the U.S.

Experience Maine Magic in Bar Harbor and Acadia

Experience Maine Magic in Bar Harbor and Acadia

The coast of Maine shows off New England’s rugged side, and Acadia National Park is the place where mountains spectacularly tower over the Atlantic Coast. The entry point is the town of Bar Harbor, which has been a resort destination for almost 200 years. Here, painters and writers came as far back as the 1850s to soak up the ambiance of sea and sky surrounded by craggy coastline. “Rusticators” was the term to describe summer visitors and residents who built quaint cottages that grew into elegant mansions.

A Crown Jewel

Raise wooden trail snakes through forest.

Trail through Jordan Pond. Getty Images

Acadia National Park is the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast.” With more than 48,000 acres and close to 3 million visitors each year, this is one of the top 10 most visited parks in the country. Cadillac Mountain at 1,527 feet above sea level, is one of the highest points on the East Coast, with spectacular views of the sunset over Bar Harbor and Frenchman’s Bay. Anglers can cast for 30 types of fish including lake trout, land-locked salmon and white perch in nearly 30 lakes. Set out on 120 miles of trails in the park, including the walkway through Jordan Pond.

Desert Island

Sunlight illuminates rugged cliff face.

Sunrise illuminates Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park. Getty Images

Explore the barren beauty of Mount Desert Island, where much of Acadia is located, along Ocean Trail with massive spruce trees perched upon two granite cliffs and Sand Beach wedged between. The craggy pink face of Otter Cliff belies beautiful views of the coastline, and the heart-jolting roar of Thunder Hole are just a few of the natural gems tucked along Park Loop Road.

Marine Mammals Await

A lone sailboat sails out of a bay.

Sailing off the coast of Bar Harbor in Frenchman’s Bay. Getty Images

Cast anchor on a nature tour with views of coastal Maine and Frenchman’s Bay. Take binoculars for eagle, seal, puffin and porpoise sightings. Set sail for a sunset cruise showcasing the rocky shoreline of Bar Harbor, misty views of the outer islands and the light of Egg Rock Lighthouse guarding the Bay. Head out into the Gulf of Maine in search of humpback, pilot and sperm whales – the largest mammals on earth. Prefer to go it alone? Frenchman’s Bay has several marinas that rent fishing boats, sailboats, pontoons, even houseboats, cruisers and yachts. Don’t miss Jordon Pond, the deepest lake, and second-largest, in Acadia National Park.

Rugged Fun

This Down East shoreline’s rugged beauty consists of verdant mountain forests and giant granite cliffs scattered along the rocky Maine coastline. Lace up your sneaks for an easy stroll along Ocean Path winding along the coastline between Sand Beach and Otter Point. Meander down memory lane on the Bar Harbor Shore Path past historic cottages, graceful inns and picturesque summer homes. Be a daredevil and head across the sandy “land bridge” to Bar Island in search of dainty shells and water-worn stones. But keep your eye on the rising water; high tide washes the route away.

Like No Other

A man takes an ax to a log.

Getty Images

Swing on in to the Great Maine Lumberjack Show every summer and watch as Jacks and jills compete in “The Olympics of the Forest.” The agility and skill required for 12 events, including log rolling, speed climbing and Hot Sawing is amazing. Prefer ocean-related thrills? Learn the history of whaling and view a whale skeleton at the Bar Harbor Whale Museum. All exhibits are from the coastal Maine waters and are collected by students and staff of the College of the Atlantic.

Major Mansion

Brick mansion with two chimneys overlooks the coast.

La Rochelle Mansion in Bar Harbor. Photo: Jerrye & Roy Klotz MD

La Rochelle Mansion, now a 13,000 square foot museum with iconic Greek Revival architecture, reflects the architecture of manors of the past. Stroll through time and admire a repository of furniture, photos, artwork, documents and books relating to the city’s past.

Maine’s Premier Musical Event

At the Bar Harbor Music Festival, you’ll experience an abundance of sounds; everything from classical to jazz from aspiring singers, instrumentalists and composers to jam sessions and offbeat compositions. This local event takes place several nights a week over one month and includes pop, brass, jazz, string orchestras along with opera, solo pianists, flutists and a New Composers series. The outdoor concerts are free and held in Acadia National Park.

The Sentinels

A lighthouse perched on a cliff overlooks the ocean

Bass Harbor Lighthouse in Acadia National Park. Getty Images

Bar Harbor’s history is tied to the sea and its lighthouses guard its rugged coast. Egg Rock Lighthouse, with its 40-foot tower, still aids in navigation at the entrance of Frenchman’s Bay. Great Duck Island sports a 42-foot brick tower that can only be viewed from the water.

Bass Harbor Head Light Station perches 56 feet high on the rugged granite coastline at the entrance to Bass Harbor and is possibly the most photographed lighthouse in New England.

Rock Lighthouse

Mount Desert Rock Lighthouse sits on barren rock and boasts a 48-foot granite tower. Though not open to the public, it is used as a research station by College of the Atlantic’s Allied Whale program. Baker Island Lighthouse was first built in 1828 and replaced in 1855 and viewing is best from the water. Bear Island Head Light Station is under the care of Acadia National Park. Constructed in 1853, the lighthouse stands 31 feet tall and protected the south entrance to Northeast Harbor.

Good Sam Parks in the Region:

Mt. Desert Narrows Camping Resort, Bar Harbor

Narrows Too Camping Resort, Bar Harbor

Meadowbrook Camping Area, Bath

Lake Pemaquid Campground, Damariscotta

Old Orchard Beach Campground, Old Orchard Beach

Source: Experience Maine Magic in Bar Harbor and Acadia

Where to Roam in Wyoming

Where to Roam in Wyoming

While being the country’s least populous state, what Wyoming lacks in people, it makes up for in natural wonders. With over 109 mountain ranges including 7 national parks and monuments, the state offers endless outdoor opportunities and the chance to explore some of the most breathtaking landscapes in North America.

Wind River Range

Goat posing at Square Top at Green River Lakes

Frankie takes in the views of Square Top at Green River Lakes @CateBattles

Though one could easily assume the Tetons claimed the state’s highest mountain, the Wind River Range is actually home to over 40 peaks over 13,000 feet, including Wyoming’s tallest- Gannett Peak. Located in the west-central region of the state, the “Winds” follows the Great Continental Divide, featuring over 1,300 lakes and the single largest glacier in the American Rockies. Its remote wilderness encompasses an area of 2.25 million acres and provides 600 miles of trails that beckon outdoor enthusiasts.

While planning a visit to the Wind River Range, Pinedale serves as a perfect basecamp and your best bet to find supplies. In order to access this untamed land, be prepared for a 20 mile drive down a dirt road that takes every bit of two hours with a trailer. For those that don’t mind a little adventure, I can guarantee you every one of those washboards was worth the views you will be awarded once you reach Green River Lakes. Here, you’ll find the trailhead into the Bridger Wilderness and ample camping, between the national forest campground and dispersed sites along the gravel road. The majestic views of Square Top mountain, perhaps the most iconic of all the Wind’s peaks, can be seen from the campground as well as the remnants of several abandoned homesteads. Whether you’re looking for a day-hike or a multi-day trek, this is a great jumping off point into the Wind River Range. For an incredible and relatively easy day hike, take the 10-mile Highline Loop Trail that meanders along the shore, meadow, and forest. If you prefer a more strenuous backpacking adventure, take the 24-mile Cirque of the Towers Loop via the Big Sandy trailhead that showcases summer wildflowers, pristine lakes and rivers, and stunning views of glacially carved peaks.

Know Before You Go: Bring plenty of bug repellant and watch for seasonal snow.

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Devils Canyon Overlook

One of the best views can be found at Devils Canyon Overlook @CateBattles

Straddled along the Wyoming and Montana border is one of the state’s best-kept secrets. The Recreation Area was established shortly after the construction of Yellowtail Dam and today stretches over 60 miles, 55 of which traverses through the canyon. This colorful chasm exposes more than 570 million years of Earth’s history, including sediments laid down by volcanic forces and inland seas. At its deepest point, the canyon rises 2,500ft above the floor at Bull Elk Ridge. This region of Wyoming offers an array of landscapes from snow-capped mountains, desert, forest, prairie, and wetlands. Not only is the scenery diverse, but so is the wildlife. Here, you’ll have a chance to spot pronghorns, wild horses, bear, fox, and the park’s namesake… sheep. Additionally, the canyon is rich in indigenous history, as there’s evidence of human activity dating back 12,000 years. During the winter months, these early people would travel deep into the canyon and live in caves and rock shelters. In the summer months, they followed the animals up into the mountains to hunt and escape the summer heat. The best place to see  signs of these early inhabitants is along the Bad Pass Trail where ancient cairns dot the sacred footpath.

While exploring Bighorn National Recreation Area, take the scenic drive up into the Bighorn Mountains outside of Lovell. The steep graded US14A whisks you up to 10,00ft in elevation, so it’s best to leave the trailer back at camp while exploring the high country. Along the drive, enjoy panoramic overlooks and make sure to visit the Bighorn Medicine Wheel, an ancient stone circle that was used to predict astronomical events. Down below, spend an afternoon on the lake fishing or kayaking or hike the many trails that follow the canyon rim.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Teton reflections at Schwabacher Landing @Catebattles

Perhaps the most photogenic national park, the Grand Teton’s awe-inspiring beauty brings in visitors from all over the globe. Between the impressive views and legendary wildlife, this crown jewel of the West has so much to offer. Rising 7,000ft nearly vertically over the meandering Snake River and Jackson Hole Valley, the picturesque granite peaks are the youngest mountains in the Rockies. Often snow-capped well into July and home to several glaciers, these mountains are the heart of the 310,000 acres that encompass the national park. Situated along the Idaho border and just 7 miles south of Yellowstone’s boundary, the Tetons offer some of the best wildlife viewing in the country. While there, visitors have the chance to spot moose, bison, grizzlies, wolves, and over 300 species of birds. It’s also home to the National Elk Refuge, which provides sanctuary for one of the largest elk herds on Earth.

The best way to explore Grand Teton National Park is to visit in the late spring and early fall in order to avoid the summer crowds, otherwise, plan to start your days early from June to August. Some of the most photographed scenes of the park can be found at Oxbow Bend made famous by Ansel Adams and Schwabacher Landing, where alpenglow lights up the peaks during sunrise. Near Mormon Row, the iconic Moulton Barn was built by Mormon settlers in the early 20th century and is often regarded as the “most photographed barn in America”. For those who enjoy hiking, try the Cascade Canyon Trail, a 9 mile round-trip hike or the shorter Taggart Lake loop. Unfortunately, like most national parks, the trails are not pet-friendly, but there are fantastic Fido-friendly trails in the Bridger-Teton and Caribou-Targhee National Forests. For a day on the water, boat rentals are available at four different marinas or bring your fly rod and score some cutthroat trout for dinner.  After an afternoon of adventuring, the town of Jackson has scores of restaurants, bars, boutiques, and art galleries to visit. If you happen to plan a trip during the winter, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Snow King Resort offer world-class skiing.

Stay: The Virginian Lodge and RV Park, Jackson, WY

Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower is an iconic landmark of the Wyoming prairie @CateBattles

Have a Close Encounter with one of the country’s most impressive monoliths, looming 1,000ft above the Black Hills of northeastern Wyoming. This striking natural landmark made of hexagonal columns is shrouded in mystery, as scientists are still trying to figure out how it was formed. Some geologists believe its the remnants of a volcanic plug while others are convinced it’s likely the remains of a laccolith; an intrusion of magma between two layers of sedimentary rock. Similar to basalt, the tower is comprised of rare igneous rock called phonolite porphyry and is the largest example of columnar jointing in the world.

Devils Tower got its name from Lt. Col. Richard Dodge in 1875, who led a scientific expedition into the Black Hills and believed the Native Americans called it “Bad God Tower”. However, it’s suspected that he received a poor translation and the native words for bear and bad god were confused. Known as Bear Lodge to many tribes including the Lakota, Cheyenne, Crow, Kiowa, and Arapahoe, this site has held sacred significance to native inhabitants for thousands of years. Though every tribe’s variation is different, the popular oral history passed down generation after generation tells of a group of girls that were chased by giant bears and climbed on top of a rock to escape the beasts. When they prayed to the Great Spirit to save them, the rock rose from the ground to the heavens and the bears left their claw marks in the rock.

While visiting the monument, there are 5 different trails that provide great views of the tower and the surrounding Belle Fourche River Valley. For those more daring, Devils Tower is a popular rock climbing destination, just be aware that climbing is closed in June to respect cultural ceremonies and in early April when falcons nest. Nearby, visit Fort Laramie and the adorable prairie dog town off of highway 110.

Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring is the 3rd largest hot spring in the world @CateBattles

It’s no wonder that Yellowstone is one of the country’s most visited parks. A few of its claims to fame include being the home to half of the world’s geysers, having the largest concentration of mammals in the Lower 48, and being the world’s first designated National Park. Established in 1872 by Ulysses S Grant, the park protects more than 2 million acres of mountain wilderness and the 10,000 geothermal features you see today.

Yellowstone is one of the world’s largest active volcanic systems and dates back 16.5 million years ago. Three major and catastrophic volcanic events took place within this time, the most recent being about 613,000 years ago when the Yellowstone caldera was formed. Today, the park sits on top of a chamber of scorching hot magma and this shallow source of heat is what fuels this geothermal activity. Some of the most iconic features in the park are Grand Prismatic Springs, Ol’ Faithful, and Artist Point where visitors are afforded spectacular views of the Yellowstone Canyon and falls.

To escape the crowds of the main park, take a day trip to the northern portion near Mammoth Hot Springs and enjoy the scenic drive around Grand Loop Road. While there, take a soak in the Boiling River- the only human safe hot spring in the park. Just be mindful of temporary closures due to high water levels. For your best chance of catching wildlife, head over to Lamar and Hayden Valleys. There, you’ll have a greater chance of witnessing the grizzlies, wolves, moose and bison that call Yellowstone home.

Stay: The Longhorn Ranch Lodge and RV Resort, Dubois, WY

Sinks Canyon State Park

Sinks Canyon State Park

Chad and Frankie watch as the Popo Agie River disappears into the cave @CateBattles

Along the eastern slope of the Wind River Range and just outside of the outdoorsy town of Lander, you’ll find one of Wyoming’s neatest parks. Best of all, what you won’t find are the crowds! Sinks Canyon State Park is a rugged canyon that follows the Popo Agie River, and offers outdoor enthusiasts a wide range of activities, from hiking to world-class rock climbing. However, what makes this 600-acre park really unique are the incredible “Sinks” and “Rise” geological formations. At the Sinks, the river cascades down a set of rapids before disappearing into a limestone cave, only to re-emerge a half-mile down stream. Despite the short distance, the water takes nearly two hours to escape the cave and oddly enough, the amount of water exiting the Rise is considerably more than what enters the Sinks. This mystery has dumbfounded scientists, who still continue to study and learn more about this natural phenomenon.

While visiting Sinks Canyon, take the short pet-friendly trail starting at the Sinks where you can go inside the mouth of the cave and watch the river disappear. Afterwards, walk over to the Rise and watch the water escape into trout infested water. Here, you’ll spot hundreds, even thousands of trout from the observation deck above. During your visit at Sinks Canyon, continue on the Scenic Loop Road which takes you up into the mountains, passing several high elevation lakes and meadows scattered with wildflowers during the summer.

Beartooth Highway

Beartooth Highway

The Beartooth Highway is usually open Memorial Day through October but can still get a surprise snowstorm even in July @CateBattles

Elevate your senses by taking the 68-mile jaw-dropping journey along one of the most scenic drives in North America. The Beartooth Highway was built shortly after the gold rush and finished during the height of the Great Depression in 1936, as a road was needed to connect the mining town of Red Lodge with Yellowstone National Park. This winding mountain drive sweeps you up to 10,947 feet at the “Top of the World”, awarding visitors with panoramic views of the Absoroka-Beartooth Mountain Wilderness. With over 20 peaks over 12,000ft, the drive passes glaciers, pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls, and vibrant displays of wildflowers during the summer months. Views you typically could only get by backpacking up into the mountains can be witnessed without even leaving a car. Don’t be surprised to see mountain goats and bighorn sheep grazing just off the highway, as wildlife is abundant in this region. Additionally, bears, marmots, elk, and wolves call these mountains home.

Though it’s possible to do the entire drive in 3 hours, you can easily spend an entire day exploring. With dozens of hiking trails, endless vista points, and several lakes to stop and have a picnic, there’s no better place to relax and take your time.

Source: Where to Roam in Wyoming

Try Refreshing Watermelon Salsa for a Summer Camping Treat

Try Refreshing Watermelon Salsa for a Summer Camping Treat

There are some things that are just better in summer, like swimming in a lake, spending long evenings outside and eating your fill of watermelon! This juicy and refreshing fruit is the perfect way to cool off on those hot summer days. But instead of basic and plain watermelon, why not skip the typical slices and make a delicious and tasty watermelon salsa instead?

If you’re a fan of chips and salsa (and who isn’t?), this fresh fruit salsa is the perfect way to shake up your typical salsa or dip. Instead of a tomato base, this recipe calls for chunks of fresh watermelon, crunchy cucumber, zesty lime and cooling mint. It’s a great mix of salty and sweet, and even spicy if you choose to add a jalapeno or two. It’s a perfect treat to enjoy after an intense hike or after a long drive day and setting up camp. And you can even make it in one bowl, so there’s not a lot of clean-up.

Chips Salsa and Lime arrayed

Photo: Sarah Cribari

While the salsa can be made before you leave on your camping trip, this recipe is best when it is fresh. If it’s easier, you can chop up all the ingredients before you leave and then just mix them together at the campsite. But this recipe really shines when you make it right before you serve it. Luckily, it’s incredibly easy to make and only involves chopping a few fruits and vegetables!

Besides eating this as a delicious dip (or straight out of the bowl with a spoon!), try using it as a topping for grilled chicken, fish or fish tacos. Can’t get enough watermelon this summer? Try our Grilled Watermelon Salad with Goat Cheese and Basil recipe for another tasty summertime camping dish.

The Ingredients

So what goes into this fruit salsa to make it so delicious?

Watermelon: Find the freshest watermelon that you can. Summer really is the best time to make this recipe since the fruit is in season. I prefer using seedless watermelon, but you can also use other varieties of watermelon and remove the seeds before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.

Fresh slices of watermelon

Photo: Sarah Cribari

Cucumber: You’ll want to peel and dice the cucumber for this recipe. The cucumber gives the salsa a bit of crunch and helps with the refreshing taste.

Red onion: A red onion adds color and some savory flavor to the salsa. Dice into small pieces and add them to the mixture.

Cilantro: I love using cilantro in this salsa, but if you can’t stand the taste, you can also use parsley. Just remember, it will change the flavor of the salsa a bit.

Mint: Fresh diced mint leaves really add a refreshing boost to this salsa. However, if you can’t find fresh mint while on the road, you can use fresh basil leaves instead. You can also leave out the mint (or basil) entirely if you want a version that’s closer to traditional salsa flavors.

Lime juice: The lime adds that zesty citrus flavor and makes this dish taste more like a salsa. It also pulls all the ingredients together with a citrusy kick.

Bowl of watermelon salsa with chips in background.

Photo: Sarah Cribari

Jalapeno: This is where you really get to customize the heat of the salsa. If you’re a fan of heat, you can add another jalapeno (or even a serrano) for more spiciness. Or you can leave it out entirely for no kick. You could also swap the jalapeno out for a bell pepper if you like your salsa mild but still want the crunch of a pepper.

Looking for more fun ideas on how to use up extra watermelon? Try a few of these easy recipes at home or on your next RV trip:

  • Add a shake of chili powder salt and lime juice to slices or chunks of watermelon for Mexican-inspired flavor.
  • Blend up a few chunks of watermelon with a shot of tequila and a squeeze of lime juice for a watermelon margarita.
  • Throw a thick slice of watermelon on the grill with a sprinkle of salt and sugar for an easy side dish for lunch or dinner.
  • Make a watermelon caprese salad with chunks of watermelon, slices of mozzarella and fresh basil leaves all topped with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Freeze cubes of watermelon and put them in a resealable plastic bag. Bring them along in your cooler or RV freezer to use in your drink of choice. Add them to glasses of water, lemonade, or even white and rosé wine for extra flavor and freshness.

Watermelon Salsa Recipe

Wooden spoon about to mix salsa ingredients

Photo: Sarah Cribari

A twist on regular salsa, this watermelon salsa recipe mixes refreshing watermelon, mint, lime, and cucumber for a fun summer dip, side dish, or topping for chicken and fish.

Ingredients:

3 cups chopped seedless watermelon

1 cucumber peeled and diced

1/2 cup diced red onion

1/4 cup diced cilantro

2 TBSP diced mint leaves

Juice from 2 limes

Salt to taste

Optional:

1 jalapeno deseeded and minced. If you don’t want any heat in this recipe, you can use a green bell pepper or leave it out entirely.

Chip scooping up watermelon salsa

Photo: Sarah Cribari

Directions:

  1. Cut the watermelon into small cubes. You want these to be small enough to be easily eaten with chips.
  2. Peel and dice the cucumber. Dice the red onion, cilantro, mint leaves, and jalapeno if using.
  3. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the lime juice and salt to taste. Gently toss to make sure everything is fully mixed. Enjoy with chips or as a side dish!

If you have any left over, this salsa will last about two days in the fridge in an airtight container.

Source: Try Refreshing Watermelon Salsa for a Summer Camping Treat

Escape to Northern California Wilderness RV Parks

Escape to Northern California Wilderness RV Parks

Sometimes you need to get away from it all. The hustle and bustle of life may have caught up to you. If you’re in California, you may be ready to throw your phone off the Golden Gate Bridge and run towards the hills.

I get it, and I’m totally on board for that. It’s important to get away from the tourism hot spots every now and then, and there are many perks to wilderness camping. It’s quiet, peaceful, the air is fresh and crisp, and you don’t have to worry about people breathing down your neck all the time.

In this guide, I’m going to highlight all the benefits of staying away from the big crowds with these wilderness fantastic camping locations in Northern California.

Olema Campground

Motorhomes and trailers parked under tall trees.

Olema Campground

Located next to the Point Reyes National Seashore, you can explore 65,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness. You’ve got wine country in one direction, San Francisco in another, and miles upon miles of splendid wild bliss in the other.

Lighthouse overlooking a turquoise ocean.

Point Reyes National Seashore. Photo: Hristina Satalova/Unsplash.

The Olema Campground has offered families, friends, and couples a great place to relax since 1969. The facility is one you won’t soon forget, and from the second you step foot on the endless property, you’ll feel relaxed and tranquil.

This facility is an RV park with a dump station and mobile sewer service. They also allow folding tent campers and pets are allowed, but there are a few restrictions based on the quantity and breed. You can set up camp and stick it out here for as long as 14 days if you like.

There are many great activities to do here, such as:

• Horseshoes • Mountain biking
• Playground • Boating
• Outdoor games • Fishing
• Shuffleboard

• Kayaking/Canoeing

• Nature trails

Best of all, if you’re a Good Sam member, you receive a 10% discount when you choose this location for your next camping trip. There are also many other perks and benefits to becoming a member of Good Sam’s program.

Marin RV Park

Motorhomes parked in a row on gravel.

Marin RV Park

If you’re looking to get away, but you still want to stay close enough to the action, you’ll want to check out another one of our sponsored Good Sam RV Parks. Marin RV Park in Greenbrae is 10 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and it’s only a ten-minute walk from a bus or ferry that will take you to San Francisco.

Crimson cliffs against turbulent ocean.

Rugged cliffs face the Pacific Ocean in Marin County. Photo: Robert Gomez/Unsplash

This park has 89 RV spaces, WiFi, Cable TV, on-site RV service, supplies, laundry, and showers. There are many recreational facilities and activities on-site such as:

• Heating pool • Boating
• Swimming • Fishing
• Hiking

• Kayaking/canoeing

• Mountain biking

Many guests choose this RV park for its proximity to great activities and location smack dab right in the middle of Northern California. You’re only a short drive from anything you could want to do.

Novato RV Park

Garden of snap dragons with RVs parked in the background.

Novato RV park

Our final choice takes us a little closer to the action in Novata, California. The Novato RV Park is located just miles from wine country. The park offers 69 total spaces with WiFi at overnight sites. There are amenities and activities on-site such as:

• Swimming pool

• On-site RV service

• Horseshoes • Laundry
• Outdoor games • Ice
• Horseback riding • Groceries
• Nature trails • Restaurant

Horse grazing on green grass near fence as sun hangs low on horizon

A horse grazes in the Indian Tree Open Space Preserve in Novato. Photo: Rich Dahlgren/Unsplash

There are many other parks and activities to do off-site if you rent a car or take public transportation. Many guests choose this park because it’s close to wine country as well as not being too far from the city.

Best of all, if you’re still interested in the wilderness side of camping, you’re only a half-hour drive or less from miles and miles of redwood forest. You can have your wilderness camping experience without having to rough it too much!

Get Away From It All

There are many reasons why someone would want to choose a campsite that might not be in the thick of things. I would suggest choosing the Olema Campground for your wilderness camping experience.

It offers the best amenities, and it’s close enough to the beach so you can enjoy everything that Northern California has to offer.

Best of all, it’s a Good Sam campground, so you know you’re in good hands!

Source: Escape to Northern California Wilderness RV Parks

5 Tips in Choosing the  Best RV Parks for the Family

5 Tips in Choosing the Best RV Parks for the Family

Dreaming of the perfect family vacation? After all, there are few things in life better than gathering your loved ones, jumping in a camper, and exploring new places or old favorites. To make things easier, we’ve listed five practical tips for choosing the best RV park for your family’s needs.

What are some summer activities you’re itching to try? Maybe something more adventurous rather than going the conventional route? RVs, or recreational vehicles, continue to be a hot topic. While you might associate RVing with Baby Boomers or retirees, RV travel has something for everyone, with more families have becoming open to RV camping and boondocking. It’s a fun and exciting way to travel as a family, adding the right amount of spontaneity. Of course, planning ahead always helps. For some, the RV location, more specifically the RV Park, could make or break your family trip. Knowing that, we’ve compiled some recommendations for choosing the right RV parks to ensure your trip is one for the books.

Lake at RV Resort

Spruce Lake RV Resort

1. Personal preferences

First things first, always take into consideration the requirements for your beloved recreational vehicle. Is the RV park large enough to accommodate your motorhome? If you don’t have a generator in tow, always try and find out what power connections are available in the park you are eyeing. Next off, consider what your family will need. When you are traveling with kids, always choose parks with playgrounds and other kid-friendly recreational areas. If you have a pet with you, be aware that parks have different regulations when it comes to pets. Last but not least, if you have any preferred amenities, research will be key. If  Wi-Fi is an absolute necessity for you, it’s better to do some research beforehand.

2. Online presence

We are all expect successful businesses to run a thorough and complete website that mirrors what they do, and how well they do it. The more attention to detail given on the website can often show how likely the owners are to pay attention to their guest’s experience. It doesn’t just provide potential clients with significant amounts of information, but it also somehow unintentionally advertises the amount of attention the campground owners or managers give to the park itself.

RVs in the evening with lights on.

Getty Images

3. User reviews

It’s never a bad idea to check other users’ reviews. We tend to trust other people, specifically other families, who have used the products or services we are looking into. There are tons of review websites like Yelp, Tripadvisor, Good Sam, and more to familiarize you with the camp and highlight the potential pros and cons.  If you prefer researching the traditional way, you can check into some annually-published books to view ratings and reviews.

4. Affordability

Checking your finances is always a surefire way to ensure a great trip all throughout. That includes establishing how much you are willing to spend on the RV park. Some RV parks offer extra amenities and resort activities as part of their reservation packages. It’s always important to factor other likely expenses such as food, sightseeing, and of course, money set aside for an emergency.  The options on the more affordable end of the scale may not be five star, but it’s always a good idea to compare different offers so you can weigh your options.

RVs parked around a lake.

Getty Images

5. Location

This could still be under your personal preferences, but if you intend to spend most of your time at the RV park, you’d likely want some peace and quiet, away from the city’s hustle and bustle. If you have other items on your agenda, such as sightseeing, it might be best to choose a park near a city or town. The less fuel wasted and the less cranky everyone is, the better.

These are just some of the tips that should be taken into consideration when choosing RV parks for your family. Keeping all members happy is still the most important end goal in choosing a park so, in the end, the right RV park is dependent on your needs.

Source: 5 Tips in Choosing the Best RV Parks for the Family

Escape to Paradise at Ventura Beach RV Resort

Escape to Paradise at Ventura Beach RV Resort

Spoil yourself with a relaxing camping trip on the California Coast. Ventura Beach RV Resort sits on 14 lush acres and offers RV and tent sites ranging from standard to ultra-deluxe sites. Visitors also can rent travel trailers, poolside yurts or a summer studio.

When guests aren’t exploring this beautiful slice of Golden State heaven, they can relax in the resort’s refreshing heated swimming pool and inviting hot tub. Other amenities include a recreational room with billiard tables, a flat-screen television and an ATM. You can also enjoy the playground and half basketball court.

Beach and Town

After settling in, take a short 8-minute walk to the beach, or enjoy a 15-minute bike ride to the Ventura Beach. Ventura has that classic beach town vibe that casts a spell on visitors. Spend your days riding waves at Surfers Point, fishing off of Ventura Pier and enjoying the view from the Ventura Botanical Gardens. The waterfront community also acts as the gateway to Channel Islands National Park Located an hour away from the mainland, these five remote islands are coined the “Galapagos of North America” because they support more than 2,000 species of flora and fauna, 150 of which can only be found here.

Explore More

If you’re ready to venture further, check out the Island Packers Cruises for a trip to the Channel Islands, whale watching and more. You can walk to the Ventura County Fairgrounds to enjoy various seasonal events like the fair, speedway, live concerts and markets. Of course, there is Main Street, where there are shops and restaurants, plus plenty of bars within walking distance.

Also, a few minutes from the Resort is “The Cross,” where you can hike up (easy hike) to the very top and you can see ALL of Ventura and the coastline all the way up to Santa Barbara!

Be sure to book in advance, and take in all the beauty the resort has to offer. Call 805-643-9137 or send your booking request from our webpage.

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam provides everything you need to have a good trip. From savings on accessories and services to finding a campground, roadside assistance, insurance and specialized products and services designed to enhance RV and outdoor lifestyle.

Source: Escape to Paradise at Ventura Beach RV Resort

Bracing for Bumpy Roads: 9 Ways to Safeguard Your RV’s Components

Bracing for Bumpy Roads: 9 Ways to Safeguard Your RV’s Components

Driving across North America in your RV can be an enjoyable part of the overall camping experience. But while cruising through the scenic countryside, one must be mindful of the need to safeguard and secure your RV’s components. Avoid potential damage to RV equipment and — most critical — avert injuries to your passengers. Consult an RV checklist before departing.

Here are some things that may help you to avoid costly mistakes.

Secure Your RV's Components — drive pov rolling down highway

Photo: Peter Mercer

Securing Loose Items

Unlike automobile travel, recreational vehicles require the prior securing of items such as small appliances, dishware, foodstuffs and many other loose items. Failure to do this risks these pieces becoming missile-like in the event of a violent maneuver or hard braking action. Several products are available to prevent loose items from wandering.

Securing the Refrigerator Contents

Organize the contents of your fridge to prevent items from falling down. Make sure that the latch-type closure or manually applied lock on your fridge is secured. Having a well-stocked fridge door spring open while flying down the road can ruin your day, not to mention your rugs and coach interior.

Turn Off the Freshwater Pump

Turning off the freshwater pump while in motion is recommended. The vibration and road bumps could cause a hose fitting to fail.  This would probably be unnoticed until it’s too late. The pump would start operating to fill the demand until the tank becomes empty. At this point, the pump would be operating dry, causing it to eventually burn out.

Close The Toilet Lid and Seat

Leaving the toilet lid open may leave it subject to chafing at the point of contact with the wall behind. The road motion will cause this to move slightly, wearing on the lid, the wall behind, or both.

Secure all Doors

Close conventional interior swing doors as they can suffer abusive wear if left to swing. Lock sliding doors in the open position. These can be damaged and/or jump partially off the rail if left unsecured.

Motorhome parked in lot.

Photo: Peter Mercer

Take Frequent Break Often

Stopping at a rest stop or suitable parking area allows you to stretch your legs, take a bathroom break, and do a walk-around. Your walk-around should include a visual inspection of the wheels, tires, engine compartment, storage compartments, doors, hitch and towed vehicle (If applicable) along with general observations. If you have an infrared temperature gun, this is a great time to check the wheel bearing and tire temperatures. Basically, you do not have to know what temperature they should be. Just verify that all are in the same range. If you have one that is substantially higher, further investigation may be required.

Engine Shutdown

Whether shutting the engine down for the day or for a short stop, always allow the motor to idle for a couple of minutes in neutral prior to shutting it down. This allows the engine hot spots to even out and disperse. This is important for both gasoline and diesel-fired units after running hard, climbing grades, towing big loads and running for extended amounts of time. Delaying stopping the engine for a couple of minutes is especially important for turbocharged diesel engines.

Mind Your Entry Steps

When parked at a rest stop or similar parking area, keep the entry steps in their stowed, retracted position except when you need to enter or exit. The extended steps might not be seen by passing vehicles and may be at risk of damage.

House Air Conditioning

If you run your house air conditioning while traveling on a hot day, be sure you allow it two or three minutes without load prior to shutting it down. That means turning off the air conditioning and leaving the generator running. This is needed to cool the coils and disperse the heat evenly. This cool-down period could be beneficial if done prior to entering a campground and driving to the site, as it will be less dusty. Generator cooling fans often kick up clouds of dust in some sandy campsites.

Well, these are some tips that may help to avoid on-the-road issues. A stress-free trip leads to a restful time. Enjoy the wonderful RV lifestyle.

Peter Mercer — With a Happy Motoring Moment

Source: Bracing for Bumpy Roads: 9 Ways to Safeguard Your RV’s Components

Indian Point RV Resort: Playground on the Mississippi Bayou

Indian Point RV Resort: Playground on the Mississippi Bayou

Indian Point RV Resort, a beautiful getaway located on the waters of the Sioux Bayou, is a 180-acre property that has all the amenities to make your stay in the Great State of Mississippi a memorable experience. Whether you need a safe, peaceful place to spend the night, a week or several months, we can provide accommodations for you.

Stay in the Great State of Mississippi — a totem pole and American flag next to an entrance hut.

Indian Point RV Resort

Perhaps you would enjoy a swim in one of our two pools, maybe a day fishing in the brackish waters of our beautiful bayou or spending time on the observation deck we have built for you to view the vast variety of birds that visit our area. We also provide for your convenience, a boat launch and dock, fishing pier, fish cleaning station, on-site laundry, bathhouse and mini-golf for the whole family to enjoy, and we offer free Wi-Fi for our guests. Our plan is to maximize your experience while you are at Indian Point RV Resort.

Southern Playground

Want to visit our nearby “Playground of the South”? We are only minutes away from the 26-mile stretch of white-sand beaches that feature great fishing, water sports and general relaxation on the Golden Gulf Coast. If you want a little more excitement, there are 11 casinos within 15 miles for your entertainment, a variety of seafood and other fine restaurants for your dining pleasure, golf courses as well as historical and cultural attractions. We have a great variety of retail stores for your shopping pleasure, too. We also have a restaurant on the grounds for your convenience.

Lots of Accommodations

Indian Point RV Resort also has 12 cabins that sleep 4 adults, 4 cabins that sleep 2 adults, 12 park models with 1 bedroom, 3 cottages with 1-bedroom and more for you to rent. We also provide you with an outdoor pavilion, fenced RV storage and a clubhouse. There is a playground for our younger guests on-site as well.

So, load up your family, friends and groups we are waiting to make your stay one of the best on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Before you come, be sure you visit our website www.indianpt.com to learn more about the legend of our world-famous “Singing River,” be ready to listen for it to sing to you!

You can find us at:

1600 Indian Point Pkwy

Gautier, MS 39553

228-497-1011

www.indianpt.com

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam provides everything you need to have a good trip. From savings on accessories and services to finding a campground, roadside assistance, insurance and specialized products and services designed to enhance RV and outdoor lifestyle.

Source: Indian Point RV Resort: Playground on the Mississippi Bayou

21 New Good Sam Parks for Late Summer Adventure

21 New Good Sam Parks for Late Summer Adventure

Squeeze more vacation fun into the last weeks of summer and into the fall. Good Sam has added 21 new parks to its network for more outstanding outdoor fun across North America. Good Sam members can enjoy the 10 percent discount at any of the RV parks in the Good Sam Network.

If you’re not a member, it’s easy to join. Buy a membership at any Good Sam Park, or sign up online. Check each Good Sam Park’s link (below) to determine seasonal availability and to make reservations.

Talladega Pit Stop RV Park & Campground, Talladega, Alabama

Colorful stock cars race around a track.

Talladega. Photo: Pixabay

Camp across the street from one of NASCAR’s most iconic tracks. This RV park offers a shuttle to/from the airport as well as to nearby racing attractions. Relax in RV campsites, rental cabins or tiny houses, or venture out to watch the racing action. Also nearby: The Talladega Race Track & Museum.

Heber RV Resort, Overgaard, Arizona

The White Mountains are where Arizonans escape the summer heat of the desert. Heber RV Resort has 71 50-amp full-hook-up sites and is large enough to handle big rigs, including toy haulers. The resort is located just two hours from Phoenix, between Payson and Show Low, just 1 mile north of Arizona State Route 260 on Arizona State Route 277.

Klamath River RV Park, Klamath, California

Camp on the river or in the woods in one of the most beautiful parts of the Golden State. This resort has full hookups with showers and a gift shop. Pop into the Aroma Cafe, where the Bigfoot Caffeine Team will fuel you up for a day of fishing, hiking and rafting in a beautiful NorCal playground.

Iona Ranch MH/RV Resort, Fort Myers, Florida

Palm trees sway in the wind on a silky white sand beach.

Fort Myers. Photo: Paul BR

This 55+ resort puts you near a beautiful Gulf Coast city. Enjoy a 3,300-square-foot swimming pool, an air-conditioned clubhouse and ample sites. Theater outings, group activities and cruises will keep guests entertained.

Flatland RV Park, Abilene, Kansas

Situated in the heart of the Sunflower State, this park is the perfect stop for cross-country travelers. Refuel, shop and refresh at the 24-7 Travel Store, located within walking distance of your site. The gated and secure park has a great dog park along with an onsite Arby’s.

West Bay Acadia RV Campground, Gouldsboro, Maine

Silhouette of a lighthouse at sunrise in Maine.

Acadia National Park. Photo: Pixabay

Stay on one of the tiered sites and enjoy stunning bay views or get the latest news by logging on to the park’s blazing-fast WiFi. Escape the urban hustle to Acadia’s quiet side of captivating trails, local artisans and village friendliness. Take a hike through the East Coast’s most spectacular national park.

Olive Branch Campground, Lebanon, Ohio

Occupying 25 wooded acres, this family-friendly campground has full hookups on every campsite, with convenient access for vehicles of all sizes. The park is close to Kings Island Amusement Park, the Cincinnati Zoo and Ozone Zipline Adventures.

Kountry Resort Campground, Racine, Ohio

Located in beautiful Ohio countryside, this park invites guests to stay at their well-appointed spaces or camping cabins, or cut loose in the Aqua Park, located on a gorgeous lake. From fishing and swimming to putt-putt golf, there is something for everyone to do at Kountry Resort.

Wild Goose Meadows RV Park, Lakeview, Oregon

Placid, pretty lake surrounded by tall trees.

Photo: Pixabay

Nestled in the “tallest town in Oregon” at an elevation of 4,802 feet, Wild Goose Meadows RV Park puts guests within reach of excellent recreation. The nearby Fremont–Winema National Forest has 22 trails open to mountain bike riders as well as lakes and streams for sport fishing.

County Line RV Park & Campground, Summit, South Dakota

Located near Interstate 29, this resort sits in the heart of South Dakota lakes and hunting country. Stay at one of the roomy sites and enjoy nearby ATV riding, fishing, hiking and casino action.

Rock Ridge Retreat at Royal Blue, Pioneer, Tennessee

ATV rider fords a stream.

Photo: Getty Images

Rock Ridge Retreat at Royal Blue offers luxurious camping less than one mile from Royal Blue’s extensive off-road trail system access point. The resort offers cabins with full amenities and RV sites with full hookups, including both 30- and 50-amp power. Yurts will soon be available.

Sasquatch Farm RV Park & Campground, South Pittsburg, Tennessee

Sitting on 120 acres of beautiful land, Sasquatch Farm offers leisurely and adventurous hiking on scenery-rich mountain trails. Wildlife, creeks and waterfalls dazzle explorers. After your adventure, stay in one of the large shaded campsites for a restful stay.

Beaumont RV & Marina, Beaumont, Texas

Close to Interstate 10 east of Houston, this resort sits on the waterfront close to the fun-filled Neches River. Take advantage of the boat ramp and marina and set off for fishing on the waterway. Clean your rig at the self-serve RV wash.

Twin Lakes RV Park, Edna, Texas

In the Gulf Coast region of Texas, this resort entertains customers with full-hookup RV sites and house rentals. The pet-friendly park has picnic and playground areas as well as ponds stocked with fish for angling.

MacMillen RV Park, Fort Davis, Texas

Military barracks lined up in Fort Davis.

Fort Davis. Photo: Pixabay

In beautiful Big Bend country, this resort treats guests to stunning landscapes and ample recreation. Cast a line at the Balmorhea Fishing Resort or go mountain biking or hiking nearby.

The Royal Palms, Magnolia, Texas

Royal Palms RV Resort is family-owned and operated by experts in the RV lifestyle. Since opening its doors, the resort has achieved a balance between perfect recreational living and simple convenience. Located only 30 minutes from Houston, the resort provides everything you need to enjoy your new home with over 40 acres of beautiful lakes and trails.

Mineola Civic Center & RV Park, Mineola, Texas

Mineola Civic Center & RV Park offers large, level, concrete sites with green grass. Guests also have access to indoor facilities, a seasonal splash pad, playground, tennis courts and pavilion. A free meeting room is given to RV groups with at least 10 RVs. Additional meeting rooms are determined by the number of RVs attending a rally.

The Bluffs RV Park, Pittsburg, Texas

RVs parked under sprawling, shady trees.

The Bluffs RV Park

This luxury RV park in East Texas sits beside Lake Bob Sandlin and rents out kayaks, canoes and paddleboards for fun on the water. Fishing also is on offer, but folks seeking a more sedate time can relax in roomy sites amid the resort’s professionally designed landscaping.

Big Fish RV Park, Rockport, Texas

Located on a ranch-like setting, Big Fish RV Park is open all year and offers oversized 30/50-amp back-in sites, which are fully landscaped and maintained on crushed white rock with large concrete patios. The tranquil park sits among oak trees and guests can watch wildlife from their sites. Several stocked ponds allow guests to hook catfish and bass.

Standing Bear RV Park, Fountain Green, Utah

Bring your OHV and ride the Sanpitch Trail, which begins just 15 minutes across the road from the park. Also nearby: the Skyline trails. Standing Bear is surrounded by farmland with lots of open space to let the kids and pets run around and play.

Canada

Bensfort Bridge Resort, Bailieboro, Ontario

On the banks of the Otanabee River, Bensfort Bridge Resort offers one-, two- and three-bedroom cottages along with ample RV sites. Rent a motorboat or canoe or simply go dock fishing on the river for muskie, bass and more.

Source: 21 New Good Sam Parks for Late Summer Adventure

Take a Stroll Through History in Cody Yellowstone

Take a Stroll Through History in Cody Yellowstone

It should come as no surprise that the town of Cody in Wyoming has seen a lot. In fact, if the buildings that line these streets could talk, there’s no doubt they’d have plenty of stories to share. Stories of bank robberies gone sideways, frontier justice, unforgettable adventures and undying friendships. Oh, and we can’t forget a ghost story or two!

It’s been 125 years since this one-time rough-and-tumble frontier town was founded by the legendary Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. And over the years it has certainly attracted its fair share of colorful characters. Perhaps more than you may expect to find in a town that boasts just 10,000 full-time residents.

When you visit, you can learn all about Cody’s curious history and the people who shaped it by listening to a free TravelStorys walking tour. Created in partnership with Park County Travel Council and Buffalo Bill Center of the West, TravelStorys is a unique and amazingly insightful 45-minute tour highlighting the independence, enthusiasm, and visionary thinking of the town’s early settlers.

Best of all, many of the places featured on the tour can be found along Sheridan Ave., Cody’s vibrant main street.

Here are a few of the places you’ll visit on your TravelStorys walking Tour.

Cody Country Visitor Center

A visitor center with a log-cabin facade and likeness of Buffalo Bill on the side.

Cody Country Visitor Center

Anchoring the end of Sheridan Avenue, the Cody Country Visitor Center was the first home of the Buffalo Bill Museum. This sprawling, one-level lodgepole pine building was built in 1927 and designed to model the TE Ranch, our town founder’s home at the south fork of the Shoshone River. The museum collections were for visitors to view until 1969, when they were relocated to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. These days, in addition to the Cody Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, the building also houses the Cody Country Art League and Park County Travel Council.

Park County Courthouse

A tall, classical building whose entrance is framed by two greek columns and looming over a small lawn decorated with American flags.

Park County Courthouse

The Park County Courthouse has a classic look. In fact, many visitors have remarked that its clock tower is reminiscent of the one featured in the classic Back to the Future film franchise. Of course, we think the real deal is better than anything in the movies! The clock, which was manufactured by Seth Thomas, was donated to the county by a prominent resident by the name of William Robertson Coe.

This beautiful clock currently runs on electricity, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, it originally featured a weight-driven mechanism to keep the folks here in Cody on time. Over the years, the Park County Courthouse has seen multiple renovations, but through it all, the clock has been faithfully preserved (much to the delight of historians and clock-watchers everywhere!).

Chamberlin Inn

When Agnes Chamberlin arrived fresh from Kansas in 1904, she opened a boarding house. Her husband, in an effort to boost family income, opened a dentist’s office onsite. Of course, he did this without bothering with the small details, like, for example, obtaining a license to practice or even acquiring any useful dental skills!

Today this home has dropped the questionable dentistry and evolved into a lovely boutique inn that continues to bear Agnes Chamberlin’s name. With its prime downtown location and luxurious rooms, the Chamberlin has been a home away from home for many travelers over the years, including celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway — whose signature can still be seen on an ancient guest register. Chamberlin Inn today is an upscale boutique inn that features a popular conservatory where guests enjoy live music, spirits and food.

Carnegie Library

It’s amazing to think about this history of buildings. Take, for example, the Carnegie Library. Today, the building is home to Millstone Pizza (yum!), but throughout the years, it stood (and continues to stand) as evidence of the powerful role frontier women played in the growth of our fair town. All the way back in 1906, an energetic group of female leaders known as the Women’s Club of Cody built the town’s first small library. Afterward, the library secured a sizable contribution from a philanthropist named Andrew Carnegie. This contribution allowed for the expansion of the original building. Unfortunately, time took its toll on the original building, and it had to be demolished, but an annex continued to serve as the book-lending hub of the town. In 2008, the library outgrew the annex and moved to a larger location. The building was sold and renovations began to transform the annex into what would become Millstone Pizza. During this time, workers made an incredible discovery — a time capsule containing photos of the original library, old coins, and historical documents.

J.H. Vogel Building  

Sometimes, you need to wear multiple hats — just ask John Vogel. A notable entrepreneur, John Vogel’s brick building — the current home of The Cowboy Palace — was the home of both a furniture store and a mortuary. And yes, this means frontier shoppers would browse for a new set of tables and chairs on the main floor of the building, all while undertakers worked in the basement below. But the mortuary work wasn’t confined to the basement — mourners could actually visit their loved ones in a back room that was separated from the furniture store by nothing more than a curtain!

Rather Not Walk? Take the Trolley

Another good way to learn about Cody history is to take a one-hour tour aboard the Cody Trolley, where riders are provided with a thorough overview of the town and its highlights by energetic narrators.

History is Waiting For You

So what’s the best way to learn about the history of Cody Yellowstone? It’s to experience it for yourself! Start planning your escape to the authentic Wild West with a little help from our vacation guide. We can’t wait to see you here on Sheridan Avenue and beyond!

Source: Take a Stroll Through History in Cody Yellowstone

10 Ways to Experience the Fabulous Florida Keys

10 Ways to Experience the Fabulous Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are a gorgeous chain of islands that stretches south from the Sunshine State, culminating in the southernmost point of the continental United States. The best time to visit the Keys is between March and May, because winter crowds will be on the decline and the weather will still be balmy and blissful (but not too hot or buggy yet).

Winter is the most popular time of year down here because so many people head south from the colder, and sometimes frozen, reaches of the north. Whether you are planning a winter getaway or trying to avoid the crowds by visiting in the shoulder season, we have some awesome recommendations of what to see and do in the Florida Keys.

A bridge stretches across a vast expanse of dark turquoise ocean.

Seven Mile Bridge. Photo: Chase Baker/Unsplash

Drive Over Seven Mile Bridge

The good news about this Keys attraction is that it is almost unavoidable. If you go as far as Big Pine Key, you will drive across Seven Mile Bridge. It is one of the most iconic spots in the Keys because the bridge’s elevation provides a perspective of the region that you just will not find anywhere else.

Visit the Hemingway Home and Museum

 yellow house stands amid tropical palms and trees.

Hemingway Home and Museum. Photo: Michelle Raponi

Ernest Hemingway is one of the most famous American novelists of the 20th century, author of books like “The Sun Also Rises” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” He only lived for a small portion of his life in the Keys, but the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West is the largest piece of property on the entire key (and it is still under an acre in total). For a small entrance fee, you can enjoy a guided tour of the home and learn the history of its inhabitants.

If you don’t want the guided tour, you can also walk around the property at your own pace. There are plenty of informational signs to read about the history there and there are more than 60 polydactyl (six-toed) cats living on the property that you are sure to meet.

Take a Picture at the Southernmost Point Buoy

A marker proclaims,

Photo: Fitz Fox

Just down the road from the Hemingway House is the buoy marker that denotes the southernmost point in the entire continental United States. No, the buoy is not out in the water. It is perfectly safe on dry land and you can take a picture with the entire family in front of it.

You might want to hit this one early during your visit to Key West, though. When I got there in the middle of the afternoon, there was a long line up the street of people waiting just to take their picture with the buoy!

Tour the Turtle Hospital

A sea turtle navigates the dark green depths of the ocean.

Getty Images

Pollution, boat traffic and habitat loss pose serious threats to turtle populations throughout the world. On Marathon Key, the Turtle Hospital is one of the leading turtle research and rehabilitation facilities in the Keys.

The hospital has full-time and part-time residents living there. These turtles are being rehabilitated for a number of reasons. Go support a local non-profit and learn about how human activity is endangering these peaceful ocean dwellers.

Go Kayaking or Paddleboarding

A kayaker paddles across the ocean during sunset.

Photo: Katy Frank Designs

There are numerous places to launch a kayak or paddleboard to enjoy a little ocean paddling while you are in the Keys. If you have your own watercraft, I highly recommend checking out Curry Hammock State Park in Marathon. There is an excellent paddle trail there that loops through a mangrove stand and is even accessible on windier days.

If you want to get out on the water on a human-powered watercraft but you didn’t bring one with you, don’t fret. If you are closer to Islamorada, check out Aquaholic Adventures. If you are down in Key West, Blue Planet Kayak offers rentals and guided tours. Plus, there are plenty of other outfitters up and down the Keys!

Charter a Fishing Boat

Man holding a hefty green fish in his hand.

Catching a hefty Mahi Mahi off the Florida Keys. Photo: Beautiful Key West/Pixabay

The Keys has some of the best fishing in the entire United States. From tarpon to barracuda, there is also a lot of variety in the ocean ecosystems surrounding the Keys. Plus, there are many channels and sandbars that can be challenging to navigate if you are inexperienced.

That is why the best thing you can do if you are visiting the Keys for the first time and want to go fishing is to charter a fishing boat with an experienced and knowledgeable captain. Doing so is a win-win for you as well because your captain will know exactly where to take you so that you catch fish instead of going home empty-handed.

There are several marinas throughout the Keys where you can inquire about chartering a fishing boat. To give you a head start, I would begin by checking out Early Bird Fishing Charters in Islamorada and then branch out from there.

Climb Aboard a Sunset Sailing Cruise

A yawl silhouetted against a red sunset.

Sunset cruise from Key West. Photo: ImprintMyTravel/Pixabay

One of the best things about the Florida Keys is that you can enjoy both epic sunrises and sunsets over the water. In many cases, you can even walk from one side of the key you are staying on to the other to see both in one day.

It is hard to argue, however, that the best way to see a Keys sunset is on a sunset sailing cruise. Sunset Sail Key West is one of the leading proprietors in the Keys for this offering. Many resorts and hotels also offer regular daily cruises, depending on where you are staying.

Try the World Famous Lobster Reuben

Cutting lobster on a cutting board.

Photo: Joy Real/Unsplash

There is no shortage of delicious seafood in the Keys, but there is nothing quite as unique as the World Famous Lobster Reuben at the Keys Fisheries. The restaurant lies in a marina-like setting and you will often see huge tarpon swimming in the waters within view of your table.

Yes, this sandwich is a Reuben in all ways but one very important one. Substitute pastrami for some freshly caught lobster (yes, it is based in a fishing marina, after all) and there you have it!

Enroll in an Introduction to Scuba Diving Course

Scuba diving and snorkeling in Florida's Lower key A woman swims in a reef with lots of fish.

Swimmin in Florida’s Lower Keys. Getty Images

If you have always wanted to learn how to scuba dive, now is your chance. There are several outfitters that offer an “introduction-to-Scuba” type course. These are usually all-day endeavors that start you off learning the basics in a classroom and then supervised pool environment. The second part of the day then takes you out onto the boat for a couple of dives at nearby coral reefs.

During my time in the Keys, I had several courses recommended to me, but you will need to check availability in advance. Try Key Dives in Islamorada, Florida Keys Dive Center in Plantation Key or Dive Key West down in…well, Key West!

Interact With Dolphins

Women swim with a dolphin.

Photo: Grossy Tammy/Pixabay

If your family is more intrigued by dolphins than turtles, head down the road to the Dolphin Research Center. Visitors here can enjoy a full day seeing dolphins and sea lions up close and experiencing live behavior sessions.

They even have a number of interactive programs that include swimming with dolphins, learning fun dolphin facts, and observing scientific studies in progress. They even have DolphinCamp and Teen DolphinLab programs that are designed to introduce students to dolphins and inspire the next generation of dolphin scientists!

The Keys to Fun

The reality of visiting the Florida Keys is that there is a single road in and a single road out. Be prepared for a little bit of traffic and take any slow-downs you come across as an opportunity to roll down the windows and breathe in the salty air.

There is so much to see and do in the Florida Keys that many people find themselves going back again and again. As long as you are respectful of the environment and its full-time residents during your stay, there is no reason why we all can’t continue to enjoy this island paradise for years to come!

Source: 10 Ways to Experience the Fabulous Florida Keys

Tasty Tangipahoa Parish: Louisiana’s Home for Planes, Antiques and Strawberries

Tasty Tangipahoa Parish: Louisiana’s Home for Planes, Antiques and Strawberries

From cultural events like arts and theater, to fun-filled farmers markets, Tangipahoa Parish offers a variety of events for locals and tourists alike. Located in southeast Louisiana, at the intersection of Interstates 12 and 55, Tangipahoa Parish is in close proximity to major destinations like New Orleans, Baton Rouge and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Antiques, Spaghetti and Strawberries

Ponchatoula has earned the title of “America’s Antique City” because of the many antiques and collectible shops there. The city hosts the Ponchatoula Antique Trade Days-Arts & Crafts Fair each March and November with over 200 vendors.

Tangipahoa Parish offers a variety — Red building near railroad track

A shop selling antiques in Ponchatoula.

While in Hammond, you will enjoy the Pirates of the Pontchartrain Festival, the Smokin’ BBQ Challenge as well as the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, which starts November 6. See fantastic planes at the Hammond Northshore Regional Airshow on October 16-17.

Tangipahoa Parish offers a variety — two knights joust.

Knights joust at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival.

In Amite, be sure to check the dates for the Amite Oyster Festival as well as the Italian Festival in Tickfaw and the Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival in Independence.

Enjoying spaghetti at the Italian Festival in Tickfaw.

Tangipahoa Parish is the “Strawberry Capital of the World,” and each year Ponchatoula hosts a huge FREE family-friendly outdoor festival with food, games, entertainment and fun for all ages. They also will host the 50th Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival on April 8-10, 2022. No wonder the strawberry is the state fruit of Louisiana!

Rides at the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival.

Enjoy the farmers markets in Tangipahoa Parish. Be sure to visit www.tangitourism.com for accurate dates and times.

Tangipahoa Parish has several hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts, as well as several nice campgrounds to make your stay comfortable. Home to some of the best steakhouses and seafood restaurants, as well as cuisine from around the world, locals and visitors alike will enjoy the fresh ingredients and the variety of dishes from mom & pop diners or restaurants, all with stunning Louisiana views. Either way, if you love to eat, you will appreciate the skill and quality of the dishes prepared.

All the Shopping You Need

Shopping in Tangipahoa Parish has everything you need. National chains here include Target, TJ Maxx, Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot and Academy, to name a few. You’ll also find boutiques that are locally owned and operated with the latest fashions, from chic to casual, along with merchandise for all ages and styles. In the parish, there also are spas, furniture and souvenirs shops to enhance your shopping experience.

Tangipahoa Parish also offers a variety of cultural and historical museums, including the Louisiana Treasures Museum and the Collinswood School Museum in Ponchatoula, the Kentwood Historical and Cultural Arts Museum and the Camp More Museum & Cemetery in Kentwood, the Independence Italian Cultural Museum in Independence and the Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum and Veterans Archives as well as the Louisiana Children’s Discovery Center in Hammond.

Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, extends an invitation to visit us and enjoy our people, festivals and our southern hospitality. For more information, please contact us at:

Tangipahoa Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau

13143 Wardline Rd., Hammond, LA 70401

www.tangitourism.com

Call toll-free: 800-617-4507

Email: [email protected]

Source: Tasty Tangipahoa Parish: Louisiana’s Home for Planes, Antiques and Strawberries

4 Cool Mountain Towns That Beat the Summer Heat

4 Cool Mountain Towns That Beat the Summer Heat

Cool summer camping is easy for Colorado RVers like me. From June to September, I’m beating the heat in the Rocky Mountain high country. Of course, other cool mountain town destinations are out there too, and because my home has wheels, adding them to my bucket list makes sense. From the West Coast Cascades to the Whiteface region of the Adirondacks, these four are on my RVing bucket list. Keep reading and you won’t need much convincing to add them to yours, too.

Embrace Your Inner Bavarian in Leavenworth, Washington

Bavarian style-buildings at dusk with lights on

Posthotel in Leavenworth. Getty Images

There are four places named “Leavenworth” in the U.S. But only one is a cool place to be during the hottest time of the year. Nestled in the eastern Cascades, Leavenworth sits at 1,171-feet altitude, just high enough to whisk you away from scorching summer temperatures. Surrounded by towering alpine peaks and bordered by the cool, crystal clear Icicle River, this former lumber town was re-imagined into a West Coast Bavaria in the 1960s. But it has so much more going for it than bakeries, beer and brats.

  • For outdoorsy RVers, there’s epic hiking, rafting, and water sports that hardly scratch the surface of things to do in Leavenworth.
  • You’ll want to stay all summer and into fall to hike, bike, paddle and fish your way through the seasons.
  • Then there are Leavenworth’s annual celebrations you won’t want to miss, like Bavarian Bike & Brew (June), Kinderfest (July), the Washington State Autumn Leaf Festival (September), and of course Oktoberfest.

Where to RV Camp in Leavenworth

Airstream trailer parked near the banks of a pond under towering fir trees

Leavenworth Campground

Close to town but away from the hubbub, Leavenworth RV Campground is a 300-acre riverfront getaway in beautiful forests & meadows. Hop into your kayak or paddle onto Alpine Trout Lake, located just four miles away. There’s plenty of wine tasting, too, along the scenic backroads. Back at base camp, this family-friendly RV park keeps everyone entertained with amenities like mini-golf, hiking trails, pickleball and disc golf.

Go Beyond Glacier in Kalispell, Montana

Two kayakers smile as they paddle a lake fringed in thick trees.

Kayakers on Flathead Lake. Photo: Pam Voth

The 1 million epic acres of Glacier National Park should be on every nature lover’s bucket list. But summer visitors seem to arrive at the same time. If you’d rather savor the park in quieter times, expand your northwest Montana itinerary to include Kalispell. Located in the Flathead Valley and just 32 miles from the park’s west entrance, this outdoorsy mountain mecca has something for everyone. One summer just isn’t enough.

  • Tall alpine peaks, clear lakes, wild rivers, and endless trails invite the explorer in all of us to soak up every ounce of the Flathead Valley’s stunning scenery, wildlife, and far-reaching western horizons.
  • Spend time sailing Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi.
  • Cast your line in the clear waters of the Flathead River, or challenge your off-roading skills on bike, horse or ATV.
  • You’ll want to cap off your daily adventures in downtown Kalispell restaurants featuring Montana-made cuisine and craft beverages.

Where to RV Camp in Kalispell

Travel trailers parked in the shade of towering fir trees.

Rocky Mountain Hi RV Park and Campground

You won’t be more than ten minutes from downtown Kalispell and 30 minutes from Glacier National Park when you make Rocky Mountain Hi RV Park and Campground your summer RV getaway. The forested creekside getaway with super-wide RV sits and plenty of pull-thrus feels miles from civilization but is close enough for everything you need in town. Book early, since this highly rated park is one of Kalispell’s best places to stay for RVers.

You’ll Want More Wasatch After Visiting Heber Valley, Utah

A man and two young woman fishing on a placid lake surrounded by green mountains

Fishing on the Provo River. Photo: Visit Heber Valley

Let’s be real: driving an RV through Salt Lake City isn’t exactly relaxing. But it’s worth the trip if you’re headed to the Heber Valley. Located less than one hour from the state capital, 30 minutes from Orem and minutes from Utah’s famous winter ski towns, this cool camping getaway in the gorgeous Wasatch Front is a bucket list destination for RVers.

  • Explore three state parks with huge reservoirs, book yourself a guided backcountry adventure on ATV or horse, go mountain biking and hike to your heart’s content.
  • Want more? Try Blue Ribbon fly fishing on the Provo River, world-class golfing on local courses, sampling locally grown food, or ride the vintage Heber Valley historic railroad.
  • And don’t forget the fun at annual events like the Wasatch Mountains Music Festival and the Mountain Valley Stampede Rodeo.

Where to RV Camp in Heber Valley

A balloon sails high above a Montana fifth-wheel.

Mountain Valley RV Resort.

Awarded the coveted perfect 10 Good Sam rating, as well as being voted #1 Best Luxury RV Resort by USA Today, Mountain Valley RV Resort is Heber Valley’s best RV park for short and long-term visitors. Recently built with big-rig RVs in mind, the resort is family-friendly but also features a special section with adults-only hotel-style amenities, including a clubhouse, fitness center, pool, spa, pickleball courts and dog park.

Go Wild in Wilmington, NY

A lake shaped like a horseshoe viewed from a tall mountain.

Lake Placid. Getty Images

To a Coloradoan like me, a summer RV getaway at 1,093-feet altitude seems like an unlikely place to beat the heat. But with an average summer temperature that hovers at 76-degrees Fahrenheit, Wilmington weather is mild enough for a “real” Santa’s workshop at the nearby North Pole village. If Santa can call Wilmington home during summer, then it’s cool enough for me. Here’s why I’m putting this special destination on my summer RVing bucket list:

  • Wilmington sits at the base of awe-inspiring Whiteface Mountain, with slopes so steep that it was home to the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games at Lake Placid.
  • Over 62% of the town is Forest Preserve land. This means endless recreation possibilities, like the Flume Trails, with ten miles of riverfront hiking and biking paths.
  • The majestic Ausable River flowing through town is a liquid playground for all types of river sports, from fishing to rafting.
  • And, of course, Santa Clause’s North Pole workshop is waiting to greet you with Christmas in July and other fun seasonal events.

Where to stay in Wilmington

A camper sitting in an orange kayak casts a line on a placid lake.

Kayak fishing near North Pole RV Resorts

In the Adirondacks, the highly rated North Pole Resorts is as idyllic as it gets in summertime. Big rig friendly with roomy sites and upgrade options, this Wilmington RV Park destination is packed with amenities like multiple pools, playgrounds, and dozens of ways to keep the kids happy. Surrounded by 100 acres of forest land, it’s the only base camp I want for exploring the Whiteface region.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Into More Cool Places

Once you find your way to a cool mountain town for RV camping, it’s easy to get comfortable. Fifteen years ago I discovered how easy it is to beat the heat in Colorado and it’s been our number one summer RV destination ever since. But as these scenic mountain town getaways prove, it pays to get outside your comfort zone all year long. In summer, North America has a long list of great destinations just waiting for all of us to explore.

Source: 4 Cool Mountain Towns That Beat the Summer Heat

End Your Summer in Beautiful Bryce Canyon Country

End Your Summer in Beautiful Bryce Canyon Country

The first signs of summer coming to a close have peeped through. The good news is there is still time to explore Bryce Canyon Country in the warm weather. Pack up the RV and make Bryce Canyon Country your final summer road trip.

Bryce Canyon Country is filled with hidden gems throughout the area. It really could be explored for a few weeks. Here are some last-minute travel and activity ideas in Bryce Canyon Country that you may have never heard of.

Ticaboo

This area is located in the southeastern part of Bryce Canyon Country right by Lake Powell. Spend several carefree days staying at Ticaboo Lodge RV Park boating, ATVing, swimming, biking and kayaking. On Friday nights, you catch an outdoor movie and have a BBQ. Rentals are available for kayaks, ATVs, boats and bikes. Spend your days playing right up against the beautiful red rocks of Lake Powell with the conveniences of Ticaboo Lodge.

Panguitch Lake

Want to go fishing? Panguitch Lake is rated as one of the most popular fishing spots in Southern Utah. Panguitch comes from the Paiute Native American word “big fish,” so you’ll definitely catch some big fish here. Stay at Panguitch Lake Resort RV Park and be steps away from the lake each day!

A man and woman fishing on a calm lake.

Fishing on Panguitch Lake. Jay Dash Photography

Other activities in the area include ATV-ing, mountain biking, horseback riding and more.

Boulder

The mountains of Boulder are filled with breathtaking desert landscapes and hours of exploration. The Boulder Mountains, crossing several areas of Bryce Canyon Country, are also known as Utah’s Aquarius plateau for its high plateaus section of the Colorado Plateau. It is 90 miles long, covers more than 900 square miles and is the highest and largest plateau in Bryce Canyon Country. There’s access to lakes, fishing, camping, hunting, hiking, mountain biking and ATVing.

In the town of Boulder, explore Anasazi State Park Museum, a prehistoric Indian village. The area was once one of the largest Anasazi communities west of the Colorado River. Many artifacts have been uncovered and are on display. After visiting, get a bite to eat at Magnolia’s Street Food, outside of the museum. Grab some of their delicious tacos, burritos, loaded fries or sandwiches!

Aqua-colored school bus converted to food truck and named

Magnolia’s Street Food outside of Anasazi State Park Museum.

When looking for an RV park in the area, drive 40-mins west on Highway 12 to Escalante and find a variety of places to stay. In Escalante, make sure to visit Escalante Petrified Forest and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Don’t Let the Fun End with Summer

Just because summer is ending doesn’t mean traveling does. Check out brycecanyoncountry.com for itinerary ideas year-round.

Happy traveling!

Source: End Your Summer in Beautiful Bryce Canyon Country

Mark My Words: Water Pressure Woes and Irate Inverters

Mark My Words: Water Pressure Woes and Irate Inverters

Hi Folks! This month, we’ll talk about RV water pressure, mildew, screeching inverters, nitrogen and toilet tanks. Remember, you can submit your RVing questions to [email protected]. Happy Trails!

Hi Mark,

Our Carriage Cameo fifth-wheel is stored outside in an RV storage area for the winter. We go out to check on it about every 7 to 10 days. We store it with all three ceiling vents open and cabinet doors open. Yesterday when we entered it, we noticed a distinct musty smell for the first time, much like many house basements have. We did find what appeared to be dark bacteria or mildew cultures in the RV antifreeze left in the stool during winterizing. I cleaned that all out and rinsed the stool with Clorox. Are there other measures we could or should take?

Thanks,

John

Hi John,

Mildew and mold need two things to thrive: moisture and a source of organic nutrition. Mold and mildew love to grow on dusty surfaces, so a good cleaning of all exposed surfaces to remove dust and lint will help a lot. Airborne moisture can usually be controlled in drier climates by providing ventilation, but in humid areas, only a dehumidifier of some sort will work. You need to keep the interior humidity below 60 percent at all times. Installing an indoor thermometer/hygrometer with a memory function can be a big help, as it will allow you to monitor the actual peak humidity over time. You should also check the rig very carefully for water leaks. A tiny leak on a roof or sidewall will allow water into the wood framing and insulation in the RV and create a perfect climate for mold. Keep it clean and dry, and you won’t have any mold problems.

Showerhead spraying

Photo: Tookapic/Pixabay

Mark,

I have had several motorhomes, and water pressure is always a problem! When taking a shower, the pump always cycles on and off. I have updated to a variable-speed pump with a higher volume (4.0 GPM) with no success. The next thing I am going to try is to add an accumulator on the discharge of the pump. Any good ideas?

Mike

Hi Mike,

The pump is cycling because the water flow is too low to keep up with the pump’s output. A larger pump or an accumulator tank won’t address the actual problem, which is a restriction of flow through your shower plumbing. Check the showerhead and hose for any foreign material that may be partially plugging them. Try removing the showerhead from the hose, then run the shower on the pump and see if it flows properly. If the pump still cycles, it may be a problem in the valves or the piping leading to the shower. Sometimes a pipe will get crimped or bent during manufacturing, causing a restriction. If removing the showerhead fixes the flow issues, it may need cleaning or replacement.

On standard plastic RV shower heads, you can use a small drill bit to enlarge the spray holes. This will allow the head to flow more water. Once everything is properly set up, the shower should flow enough water to keep the pump from cycling on and off.

Mark,

I bought a used motorhome and discovered that the 300-watt dc to ac inverter would start to screech after less than a minute after I turn on the TV and immediately if any other light in the motorhome is on. To remedy this, I did two things.

Electrical currents shooting across the sky.

Photo: Mikegi/Pixabay

Since the batteries were about 8 years old, I replaced them (two 6-volt deep cycle golf cart batteries), then I replaced the old 19-inch analog TV with a 19-inch digital LCD. Lo and behold, after spending about $500 on what I thought was wrong, the inverter still screeched after 2 or 3 minutes of TV. Thinking there must be something wrong with the 300-watt inverter, I bought one rated at 200 watts constant and 400 watts surge. I plugged it in and found that it will run the TV by itself without screeching, but as I started to turn the lights on inside the camper, I only had to turn four on before it, too, started screeching.

What’s going on? I assume the screeching starts when the voltage falls below 10 volts, as the instructions say, but the TV works fine, and all the lights are nice and bright even though the inverter is screeching at me. Naturally, I don’t want an inverter that’s going to screech every time we use a little power; but still, I’d like to have an inverter that gives me warnings or shuts off with any surge. Would a more powerful inverter (600 or 1000 watts) be any different? Any answers you can give me would be deeply appreciated.

Thanks,

Bob

Hi Bob,

You are right to suspect that it is a low-voltage condition that is causing the inverter to go into an alarm state. Most 12-volt RV wiring uses fairly small gauge wire, especially for lighting circuits. You didn’t say where you were plugging the inverter in, but if you are using one of the installed 12-volt outlets in the rig, they are often tied into one of the lighting circuits. When you add the large load of the inverter to one of those circuits, the wiring is not adequate to supply the needed current, causing a large voltage drop.

The inverter senses a low-voltage condition and sounds the alarm. Add a couple of lights to the load, and things just get worse! The best way to address this is to run a separate 12-volt circuit dedicated to the inverter directly from the RV’s 12-volt fuse panel or directly from the house batteries themselves. Use a good size wire and be sure to include an inline fuse if you run the circuit directly from the battery. That 400W inverter can theoretically draw a maximum of about 40A briefly in surge mode and will probably draw 20A or less when running since it’s rated for a maximum 200W continuous load.

With this in mind, I’d suggest that you use at least 10-gauge stranded wire for your circuit. An eight-gauge wire would be better if the length exceeds 15 feet. The larger the wire, the less voltage loss! I would use a 20A fuse or circuit breaker to protect the wire because it is unlikely that you’ll actually draw the maximum current with your setup, but if you have problems with that fuse blowing due to high surge current on startup, you could safely go to a 25A or 30A fuse. You can install a 12-volt cigarette lighter receptacle to plug the inverter into, but if you intend to always use the inverter in the RV, you would be better off wiring it directly without the plug. If any of this sounds like it’s beyond your capabilities, please have a qualified RV tech or electrician do the wiring.

Hi Mark,

Can you tell me where I can find tire pressures for nitrogen-filled tires?

An RV showing its tires.

Getty Images

All air pressure is given at cold pressure, which expands to a hot running pressure and, since nitrogen does not expand, I need to know what running pressure should be.

Cheers,

Glen

Hi Glen,

There is only a small difference in the thermal coefficient of expansion between air and nitrogen. Air is, after all, 78% Nitrogen. If you inflate your tires with nitrogen to the proper inflation pressure specified for air, they will be fine. The primary advantage advocates claim for pure nitrogen is that it is a larger molecule, and that slows down the normal loss of pressure through the permeable rubber of the tire.

The most important thing you can do for your tires is to keep them at the proper inflation pressure at all times for the best fuel economy and tread life. Nitrogen is supposed to make this easier by not leaking down as fast, but there is no scientific evidence that a tire properly inflated with nitrogen lasts any longer or provides any better gas mileage than one that is properly inflated with air.

Mark,

We have a particular problem that requires the use of two-ply toilet paper and have found that we need to do extra hose flushes from the toilet bowl to completely empty the collected debris in our black water tank (we also frequently empty scraped food and dishwater into the black water tank to save space in the gray water tank, which fills up more quickly). Have you any suggestions as to a product we can flush the black tank with to disintegrate the solid waste materials? Any other suggestions? We are new at RVing and have a 36-foot motorcoach.

Thank you,

Old Roadie!

Hi Old Roadie,

It sounds to me like you are creating the problem by using your toilet as a kind of dispose-all. A black water tank works best if it is a miniature septic tank, where aerobic and anaerobic bacteria can work to break down solids. Most biological tank treatments are designed to promote bacterial activity and when your tank is working well, it will be very effective at liquefying wastes. However, there is a limit to how much solid material the system can handle. When you add food scraps, you are adding solids to the tank that are very hard to digest. You are far better off disposing of food scraps, paper products and grease in the garbage and keep them out of your tank. You should never put that kind of stuff into your gray water tank, either. I would also avoid putting significant amounts of soapy water into the black tank as well, as soap is inherently anti-bacterial and will reduce or eliminate the beneficial bacteria in your tank. For more info on black water tank dos and don’ts, check out my Water, Water, Everywhere article at www.marxrv.com/tech.htm.

Source: Mark My Words: Water Pressure Woes and Irate Inverters

3 Ways to Keep Your Pets Cool During Summer

3 Ways to Keep Your Pets Cool During Summer

RVing with pets during a heatwave isn’t the most fun way to explore the country, but sometimes you just can’t get away from the swelter. When Mother Nature catches up with us during the summer season, these three easy ways to keep RVing pets cool will help you keep them safe wherever you roam.

When the heat hits

Our first canine co-pilot was a cool coastal dog who had never experienced a “real” summer inland. But on that hot July afternoon when we landed in Moab as newbie RVers, we quickly discovered how heat affects traveling dogs. Jerry’s constant panting and reluctance to take short walks were all we needed to know that the heat was too much for him. It was time to navigate north to cooler temperatures, so we did. And in the meantime, I wish I had known these top tips for RVing with pets during a heatwave.

Keep RVIng Pets Cool — Dog Near monument valley

Photo: Halie West

Portable fans are not always helpful for pets

If you’re lucky enough to have full hookups during a heatwave, congratulations! You’ve won half the heatwave battle. Air conditioning is a lifesaver for pets and people living through a heatwave. Just don’t trust your unit enough to leave your pet home alone with it running. Heatwaves cause power outages all the time, especially in RV parks. Many RVers use a portable fan as a backup or when RV hookups lack enough amperage to run an air conditioner unit. This seems like a logical thing to do during a heatwave, but be careful.

Portable fans sometimes do what they’re supposed to. Like when slightly humid outdoor temperatures hover under 95-degrees Fahrenheit. That’s when fans can be safe for humans because we sweat throughout our bodies. The moisture cools our skin (known as “evaporative cooling“), and we feel better when a breeze hits it. But new research shows that when the outside temperature is dryer and hotter, and a person lacks air conditioning, portable fans just push hot air around and make things worse. They suck precious moisture from already dehydrated people and especially pets, who sweat mainly through their paws.

Do this instead of relying on a portable fan:

Dog sitting on blue mat

Pet cooling mat. Photo: Camping World

  1. Keep pets hydrated. Don’t wait until your pet is overheated to give fresh water. Consistently supply fresh, clean water with an automatic water fountain for dogs and cats. Add ice cubes to the bowl throughout the day. You can also make popsicles from Gatorade, Pedialyte or no-salt chicken or beef broth. And don’t forget to carry a portable pet water bottle when you and your pet head outdoors.
  2. Get a self-cooling pet mat. New technology enables these pressure-sensitive pet cooling mats to keep pets’ body temperature low. They don’t require electricity or water, and when used in combination with a nearby portable fan, they work well to cool off RVing pets during a heatwave.
  3. Avoid asphalt. It’s not uncommon for asphalt temperatures to reach 180-degrees Fahrenheit during extreme, hot weather. Don’t let your pet go outside until you test asphalt or concrete with the back of your hand. If you find the surface painful to the touch, your pet will too and could suffer burned paws. Help your pet go straight from the RV to grass and back again, either by carrying them, using a pet ramp, or for dogs, assisting with a dog harness that has a built-in top handle.

Dog standing on the dirt with sunset in background.

Photo: Robson Hatsukami Morgan

Is your pet overheated?

Dog with tongue hanging out.

Photo: Lucas Ludwig

Pets don’t speak the English language, but they do communicate how they are feeling in other ways. When dogs get tired, they give signals like:

  • A long, flat, dark purple extended tongue. When your dog’s tongue is dragging, it’s time to stop and cool off.
  • Giving a great big “smile.” When a dog pulls their lips all the way back to expose their gums, they are trying to get more air into their lungs.
  • Losing form. If your dog’s graceful trot starts looking sloppy, ears and tail droop, or suddenly plops down on walks, that’s another sign your pup is worn out.

Cats don’t suffer from heatstroke as often as dogs because they don’t participate in as much outdoor activity, but they can still feel the heat. The most common signs of heatstroke in cats or dogs include dark, red gums, uncontrolled panting, restlessness, drooling, vomiting and lethargy.

If you suspect your pet is overheated, get them into a cool spot, offer cool (not icy) water and shade. Spray tepid/cool water onto your pet’s fur and skin (especially the groin and armpits). That’s a good time to turn on a portable fan and kick start cooling. And if your pet doesn’t stop showing heatstroke signs in a few minutes, get to the nearest emergency vet for help.

Hopefully, your pets won’t ever suffer from hot weather. In fourteen years of RVing, I’ve never had it happen to mine. Looking out for them during summer is a giant responsibility, but the reward is a lifetime of adventures with easygoing companions who will never call you a fool for RVing in a heatwave.

Source: 3 Ways to Keep Your Pets Cool During Summer

Complete guide to RV camping with your dog & easy tips for having more fun

Complete guide to RV camping with your dog & easy tips for having more fun

What’s better than RV camping in the great outdoors? RV camping with your dog!

Dogs are wonderful companions at home and on the road so it’s no surprise that many RVers include their pups in their camping plans. And you can, too! Our complete guide to camping with your dog includes tips for preparing, a packing list of essentials, and RV camping hacks. You’ll learn what to do before you go and how to plan for camping with your dog. Plus, we included fun activity ideas that you and your dog can do together.

A woman carries her dog, a Yorkshire Terrier, in her arms as they stand outside an RV. She is wearing sunglasses and a plaid blue shirt. The dog is light brown and looking directly at the camera.
Plan a road trip with your pup!

Want to go camping with your dog? First, schedule a vet appointment.

Keeping your dog healthy and safe is one of our biggest responsibilities as dog owners. Read our tips before you go camping with your dog to ensure they’re ready for your big adventure.

  • Schedule an appointment with your vet. They can assess your dog’s overall health and determine if there are any health conditions that might make camping uncomfortable for your dog (like arthritis or an unseen injury).
  • Make sure your dog is up to date on his or her vaccinations. This is especially important if you’re leaving for an extended period of time.
  • Refill any medications your dog may need. Don’t forget to pick up monthly preventatives for heartworms, fleas, and ticks, too!
  • Check your dog’s microchip. Microchips can migrate over time so ask your vet scan the microchip to ensure it still works and is easy to locate. Then, double-check the contact information registered on the chip is up to date.
  • Make sure your dog’s ID tags have current contact information. Additionally, consider printing two phone numbers on the ID tag in case you are out of service range or unable to answer. Choose a trusted friend or family member to be your pet’s backup contact.
  • Lastly, look over your dog’s collar, leashes, harnesses, and tie outs for wear. Replace any worn gear if necessary.
A happy dog sits on a colorful towel in the grass beside a picnic bench at a campground. The dog is wearing a green harness attached to a red harness.
Willow loves being in the outdoors!

6 essential tips for camping with your dog: Follow these to have more fun adventures!

Set your dog up for success! Make sure he’s comfortable before you go camping with your dog. If you have an adventure pup, like Willow (pictured above), you know your dog will have fun being outside and camping. But not all dogs are comfortable outdoors. Try these tips to make sure your dog has fun on your camping adventures.

  • Practice camping with your dog. If you’ve never taken your dog camping before, plan an overnight trip near home to test out how they do. This will give your dog an opportunity to get comfortable sleeping in a new place (even if it’s just in your driveway) and get a feel for camp life. Bring along familiar items, like a favorite bed or blanket, so your pup feels more at home.
  • Also, consider your dog’s personality and temperament. If your dog does not do well around other dogs or people or struggles with anxiety in new places, it may be best for them to stay home. He’ll be more comfortable with a dog sitter or at a familiar kennel, and you’ll enjoy your camping experience more knowing he’s safe and content.
  • Check the campground rules. Most campgrounds are dog-friendly, but each may have different rules and leash requirements. Make sure to look online or call ahead so you are aware of the rules upon arriving.
  • Help your dog enjoy the journey. Some dogs get motion sick or anxious in the car. Like our first tip above, take it slow and plan short drives with your pup to get him accustomed to being on the road.
  • Once you’re on the road, plan for breaks. This is especially important if you’re driving for multiple hours. Let your dog get out, stretch her legs, and relieve herself. You can also give her water but avoid giving food since it may upset her stomach once you’re back on the road.
  • Lastly, secure your dog to keep her safe. There are several ways to secure your dog in your RV or vehicle. The safest way is to use a harness that connects to a seat belt. This article does a great job of explaining your options and how to choose the right one for your dog.
A dog is curled up in her dog bed wiht a reindeer toy in her paws on an RV couch.
Help your dog feel at home in your RV. Bring her bed, blanket, favorite toy and other familiar items.

What to pack for camping with your dog:

Similarly to packing for yourself for a trip, you need to pack for your dog! Choose a duffel bag or some sort of bag that can be your dog’s designated travel bag. That way all his belongings are together and organized.

Here is a packing checklist for your dog, and some extra gear that is helpful while traveling:

  • Food and an air-tight container for storing
  • Water
  • Food and water bowls – we recommend collapsible bowls for easy storage
  • Treats and air-tight containers for storage
  • Snack-Duo – holds water and food/treats in separate compartments; great for an all-day adventure!
  • Toys
  • Leash and harness
  • Tie-out or tether
  • Glow collars/leashes, flashlights, or other visibility aids for after-dark walks
  • Bed/blanket
  • Towels, dog shampoo, and a brush for cleaning up (consider a PawSpa Handheld Washer if your pup loves to roll around in the mud)
  • Mudbuster for removing dirt from paws
  • Pet waste bags
  • Canine first aid kit (include a tick removal tool like the Tick Tornado)
  • Dog life jacket (if you plan to be in or on the water)
  • Jacket for rain or cold weather
  • Boots to protect paws in extreme weather

Bonus Tip: You can pick up the bolded items in the Parts department at your local General RV Supercenter. Before you go, check out our favorite accessories for camping with dogs.

A man kayaks with his dog. The dog is standing up to look out over the water and towards the camera.
Dogs enjoy lots of outdoor activities. Some even make great kayaking partners.

What can you do while camping with your dog? Lots!

The best part about RVing with your dog is being able to play in the outdoors together! Plan activities that you can both do when you travel or camp. This will make their experience more enjoyable and, honestly, everything is more fun when you’ve got your dog by your side.

  • Hit a hiking trail or go for a long walk. Remember to bring water, a bowl and snacks for your pup (and yourself)!
  • Go to a dog beach or get out on the water. Lots of dogs enjoy boating, kayaking, and canoeing. Make sure you have a life jacket for your dog if you’re taking them on the water. Check out this link for pet-friendly recreation opportunities in Michigan state parks.
  • Play some of their favorite outdoor games, like fetch. There’s more room to run in the outdoors and that means a happy and tired puppy at the end of the day.
  • Try an outdoor agility or obstacle course. You can buy agility kits or create your own DIY dog obstacle course with some supplies from home. This is great exercise for high-energy dogs!
  • Go exploring together! Visit bringfido.com for a guide to dog-friendly businesses, restaurants and destinations. Wineries and cider mills are some of our favorite places to go with our pups.
  • Record your adventures with a doggy cam like a GoPro. Not only is this an awesome way to remember or share your adventures, you’ll also get to see everything from your dog’s perspective!
A black and white dog lays in the grass with a red frisbee near the woods.
Pack a frisbee to enjoy a super-sized game of fetch with your dog in the outdoors.

Be prepared for the unexpected when camping with your dog.

Despite all of your advance planning, sometimes 💩💩 happens. Here a few ways to prepare for and handle unexpected bumps in the road.

  • Know how to remove skunk smells. Keeping your dog on a leash will help avoid unwanted wildlife run-ins, like porcupines and skunks. If your dog encounters a skunk and gets sprayed, here’s how to get rid of skunk smells.
  • Check for ticks. Ticks are one member of wildlife that cannot be avoided. Make sure to look over your dog at the end of each day. Keep a tick removal tool in your first aid kit; this will make it easy to remove any you find.
  • Keep a photo of your dog and any important medical files. Getting lost is never in the plans but having a high quality, current photo of your dog along with microchip information can make finding him easier. Bookmark PetBFI.org for free information and resources that can help you find a lost pet.
Two young women toast with wine glasses while sitting in the back of a Class B motorhome. A large brown dog stands between them.
Whatever your RVing style is – from boondocking to glamping – dogs can be a part of your adventures.

6 More safety tips for traveling with your dog:

Your dog’s safety should always be your top priority when traveling or camping. Here are more tips for keeping your dog safe on the road.

  • Follow local and state leash laws. Keeping your dog on leash is one of the best ways to ensure her safety.
  • Always ask before you let your dog approach other dogs or people. If you’re in an off-leash area and you see someone approaching with their dog on-leash, recall your pup and put him on leash.
  • Do not let your off-leash dog run up to or approach an on-leash dog. It doesn’t matter if your dog is friendly; other dogs may be reactive. Be respectful of everyone you meet on the trail.
  • Stay hydrated! Be aware of the signs of dehydration and make sure to take breaks to hydrate your pup and yourself.
  • Protect their paws. If it’s really hot out and you’re walking on pavement, feel the ground with your hand. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws. Dog boots can help protect your pups feet from extreme temps.
  • Never leave your dog unattended. Do not leave them on a tie out at your campground while you are gone. Do not leave them inside your RV or vehicle alone.
A toddler picks up sticks with her two dogs at a campground.
Camping with dogs isn’t much different than camping with kids. With a little planning, everyone can have fun together in the outdoors.

Camping with your dog doesn’t have to be ‘ruff’

Taking your dog camping can be fun for everyone. And, just like camping with kids, there are some simple tips to follow for smoother adventures. Make sure to plan your trip, pack appropriately, and enjoy lots of activities together!

This blog post is part of our Project Rustic series. Paige, the explorer behind Project Rustic, helped put together these helpful tips while RV camping with her dog Willow. Paige and Willow are traveling and working in a Nexus Triumph Class C motorhome provided by General RV Center while they collect data about rustic campgrounds in Michigan. Stay tuned for more Project Rustic posts on our blog. And follow General RV Center on Facebook and Instagram for more exclusive content from Paige’s adventure across Michigan!

Source: Complete guide to RV camping with your dog & easy tips for having more fun

7 Great RV Accessories for Camping with your Dog

7 Great RV Accessories for Camping with your Dog

Would you love to take your dog camping with you? General RV can help with unique, dog-friendly RVing accessories that will make your adventures more fun. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite accessories for camping with your dog in this blog post. These are must-have items you’ll want to take along to make life easier when camping with your dog. And they’re not just convenient for you, they’ll help your pet enjoy the trip as much as you enjoy having them with you. Best of all, you can find all these products and more at your local General RV Supercenter!

Collapsible Klipscoop

Dog camping accessory #1: The Collapsible Klipscoop looks like a regular bag clip but with a collapsible cup on one side of the clip.

Make mealtimes easy with the Collapsible Klipscoop! The compact design saves space in your RV and is a great camping accessory for any dog parent. This 3-in-1 tool is a measuring cup (2-cup capacity), food scooper, and bag clip all in one! The clip fits easily on your dog’s food bag so no more searching for where you put it last. It also seals the bag to keep your pet’s food fresh and dry. And it’s dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The Collapsible Klipscoop is one one of our favorite accessories for camping with dogs. Take it on the road or use at home!

Collapsible Travel Cup with Bottle Holder & Carabiner

Dog camping accessory #2: A green Collapsible Travel Cup with Bottle Holder and Carabiner

The Collapsible Travel Cup is another compact accessory for traveling and camping with your dog. It’s important for you and Fido to stay hydrated while enjoying the outdoors. The Collapsible Travel Cup with Bottle Holder & Carabiner makes it easy to carry everything you need so you can both have water for your hike. Just attach it to a bottle of water and hit the trails! This clever accessory features a collapsible cup with a bottle holder and carabiner so you can clip it to your belt-loop or backpack, allowing you to keep both hands free. It’s also dishwasher safe for easy clean up.

Single Elevated Feeder (holds up to 1.5 cups)

Dog camping accessory #3: Single Elevated Feeder is a bowl that has folding legs for easy feeding and storage.

For pets on the go, mealtime will be a snap, literally, with the Single Elevated Feeder. Instead of leaning down, the elevated feeder keeps the bowl at a comfortable height for your pet during mealtimes. The removable, collapsible bowl has a 1.5-cup capacity, is sturdy enough to be used separately and can even be cleaned in the dishwasher after use. When not in use, it folds down to a mere 1.5-inches for space-saving storage in your RV. Or toss it into your backpack so your pet won’t go hungry if you’re both out exploring past their dinner time.

Double Elevated Feeder (holds up to 2.5 cups)

Dog camping accessory #4: Double Elevated Feeder contains two bowls and has folding legs for easy feeding and storage.

The Double Elevated Feeder features two collapsible bowls, each with a 2.5-cup capacity, for food and for water. The elevated feeder provides a more comfortable eating position for larger pets and folds down to only 1.5-inches for space-saving storage in your RV. Like the single-bowl version, these bowls are removable so they can be used separately. Grab a bowl to pop into your backpack so you’ll have a way to give your pup water when you are out exploring together.

Snack-Duo w/Companion Cup

Dog camping accessory #4: Snack-Duo bottles hold water and food or treats in two separate compartments. Each compartment has an individual opening to keep items separated.

Now it’s easy to make sure your pet has all they need while out and about! This accessory is perfect for traveling, exploring and camping with your dog. The Snack-Duo is the first pet bottle that has a section for both water and snacks. The compartments are side by side and separated by a divider that is built into the bottle. Each chamber has a 12-oz capacity with individual openings to ensure the contents from each side stay separate. The collapsible, one-cup companion bowl can be used for food or water. So grab the Snack-Duo, grab your pooch and head out for a day of exploring with your best furry friend.

Mudbuster Paw Cleaner

Dog camping accessory #3: Mudbuster paw cleaners feature silicone bristles that gently clean dirty paws.

Another essential RV accessory for camping with your dog is the Mudbuster. This handy device helps keep your pet from tracking mud into your RV after your adventures. To use, add a little water and insert your pup’s paws one at a time. Gentle silicone bristles help remove dirt and mud. Then pat their paws dry and reward him or her with a well-deserved treat. The Mudbuster is easy to clean – just rinse and let dry. You’ll want to keep this handy device by the door, and you may want to get an extra one for use at home as well. Choose from two sizes: Medium for medium-sized dogs with paws up to 2 ½-inches wide and Large for bigger pups with paws up to 3 ½-inches wide. The Mudbuster is also available in multiple colors!

PawSpa 5-Setting Handheld Washer

Dog camping accessory #7: PawSpa SuperWash Handheld Washer is a shower attachment that helps you clean up your pet's toughest messes.

If your dog got more than just their paws muddy, they may need a bath before you let them back on your couch or bed. PawSpa’s SuperWash Handheld Washer is a complete pet washing kit that will help make rinsing or bathing your pet easier. Your pet will enjoy the massage from the rubber nozzles while you deep clean their fur of even the toughest messes they enjoyed getting into. The water-saving SmartPause switch allows you to quickly adjust the water flow from full pressure down to just a trickle. It also features five different settings and an extra long 84-inch hose. It comes with multiple adapters for indoor/outdoor use. Add this to your shopping list and pick up this dog camping accessory next time you visit General RV.

Find these great accessories for camping with your dog at General RV

You’ll find these dog-approved camping accessories and more in the Parts Department at General RV Supercenter. Our inventory varies by location, so plan a visit before your next camping trip. If the item you are looking for isn’t in stock at your store, we can order it for you. Just ask one of our friendly, knowledgeable team members for assistance.

Lots of RVers enjoy camping with their dogs, and you can too! Check out our complete guide to camping with dogs. It includes what you should do before you head out on the road, tips for making it a great adventure for everyone, a packing list for your dog, and more.

Source: 7 Great RV Accessories for Camping with your Dog

The 6 Best Topwater Frogs for Hot Summer Fishing

The 6 Best Topwater Frogs for Hot Summer Fishing

When it comes to bass fishing in the muck and mud, it’s hard to beat a topwater frog. These are usually weedless lures that glide right through the pads and weed beds creating the perfect presentation to entice a bass out of hiding. Whenever I’m fishing heavily vegetated water along the shoreline, these are the lures I turn to.

The Top Picks

Here’s my top picks for the best topwater frogs on the market right now:

Lunkerhunt Pocket Frog

Lunkerhunt Pocket Frog

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Specs:

  • Type: Floating
  • Size: 1-¾ inches
  • Color: Croaker

Pros:

  • Realistic appearance like a real frog
  • Legs swim with the water
  • Tapered nose to pass through vegetation

Cons:

  • Hooks are a bit large and get hung up

The first choice is the Lunkerhunt frog because of its appearance. If you want something that looks lifelike and even behaves that way, this is the topwater frog you want. It replicates a young frog and even has realistic legs that swim as you cruise through the water. The weedless design is functional and works most of the time but I find that the hooks are too big for this 1-¾ inch topwater lure.

Booyah Toadrunner

Booyah Toadrunner

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Specs:

  • Type: Floating
  • Size: 4-½ inches
  • Color: 4 color variations

Pros:

  • Makes a lot of noise for a big disturbance
  • Great for open or covered water
  • Topwater motion with rotating tail

Cons:

  • Not the easiest lure to fish

This lure was built with stability in mind. Booyah added side rails to the original Pad Crasher body to create this one. It has lifelike balance in the water with precise leg movement and 360-degree rotation of the tail that draws attention and makes a ton of noise. Another great thing about this lure is the four different options for colors. Really new anglers may have a hard time figuring out how to fish this properly because it requires specific presentations such as “frogging” which has a bit of a learning curve.

Livetarget Hollow Body Frog

Livetarget Hollow Body Frog

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Specs:

  • Type: Hollow body
  • Size: 1.75” – 2.25”
  • Color: 8 color variations

Pros:

  • Soft body provides a natural feel
  • The design makes it easier to set the hook
  • Variety of colors and sizes

Cons:

  • Concerns over manufacturer quality

You need a topwater frog lure that is both realistic looking but functional in the water. The main feature about this one is the soft body which serves two important purposes. First, it provides a more realistic appearance as it glides through the water. Second, it makes setting the hook easier. A lot of the topwater frogs are designed to hide the hooks but the heavy plastic or wood doesn’t give way when a fish bites down on it which puts the pressure on you. Since this will depress when a fish strikes it, it’ll make it much easier to set the hook.

Big Bite Rojas Fighting Frog

Big Bite Rojas Fighting Frog

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Specs:

  • Type: Soft plastic
  • Size: 4”
  • Color: Tilapia/Blue-black

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Comes in a pack of seven
  • Large lure for pulling big bass out of hiding in dense cover

Cons:

  • Not realistic looking
  • Not an actual topwater frog

If you’re in the market for something a little different and you think that the large-bodied frogs aren’t going to work for you, check this out. It has the shape of a soft plastic craw but in terms of movement, it’s supposed to mimic a frog. I’d recommend a stop-and-go presentation with this because you shouldn’t have any issues getting hung up on the weeds. It’s not the most realistic looking lure out there but it could work nicely in some really dense cover.

River2Sea Spittin’ Frog

River2Sea Spittin’ Frog

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Specs:

  • Type: Topwater popping frog
  • Size: 9/16 ounces
  • Color: 3 color variations

Pros:

  • Great for open water
  • Makes a lot of noise with a bubble trail
  • Lifelike appearance

Cons:

  • Really small

I’m a big believer in tearing the water up when it’s hot and murky because everything gets really still. On a hot summer morning in the middle of July, throw this bad boy on the end of your line and drop it right in the middle of a weed bed working it back towards your boat. It makes a ton of noise due to the cone on the front and there’s a bubbler inside too that creates a bubble trail as you’re going along. It’s a great way to create a big disturbance when the weather is muggy and murky.

Booyah Poppin’ Pad Crasher

Booyah Poppin’ Pad Crasher

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Specs:

  • Type: Topwater
  • Size: 3”
  • Color: Yellow/Black

Pros:

  • Great choice for newer anglers
  • Weedless
  • Recessed mouth for louder presentation

Cons:

  • One color option

Sometimes going back to the basics is the way to go and that’s the case with this topwater frog from Booyah. This is one of the most respected brands in the industry and that’s why I recommend their products. You know they’re going to hold up, have great quality, and outperform the competition, it’s just the way it is. It offers two weedless rigged hooks, standard legs, and a recessed mouth that creates a presentation similar to a chugger.

Types of Frog Lures

Frog lure

Photo Credit: Pixabay

If you’re planning to use topwater frogs for bass fishing, you’ve got a few different types to choose from. In this section, I’m going to break down the different types and explain the pros and cons of each.

Hollow-Bodied Frogs

These frogs have a soft rubber mold that makes them into the shape of a frog. You’ll find two hooks wrapped around the rear to protect them from taking on excess vegetation as you move through the water. They provide a natural motion and the best feature is the fact that you can set a hook pretty easily with these. The soft body allows the fish to bike down on it and right into your hooks.

Hard-Bodied Frogs

As you can likely guess, these are the opposite of the previous topwater frogs. These are usually made of a non-workable plastic or even wood. These types of lures generally have better balance and they’re easier to fish but they aren’t as lifelike and they make setting the hook harder. You can use a stop-and-go or “walking the dog” presentation for these and let them cruise right through the weeds because you’ll never get hung up.

Frog Poppers

You’ve seen one of these above but they’re frog lures that also come with recessed mouths to make a lot of noise. When you cast these, they’ll make a loud popping sound when they hit the water. Then, as you retrieve them, the water will funnel up through the recessed mouth creating a chugging noise. This drives the fish nuts and provokes a strike from ornery bass. The only problem is you can’t fish these in dense cover because they often come with a treble hook. If you find a weedless one (like the one recommended above) you’re lucky.

How to Fish Topwater Frogs

You’ve seen the lures, you know the differences, you’ve got the gear. Now, all you need to know are some techniques for fishing them.

Cast Parallel to the Shore

Whether you’re fishing from a boat or the shore, you want to find a location where you can drop anchor and cast parallel to the shore. You should be working the frog right along the shore in the shallow water because that’s where frogs are naturally and bass are used to seeing this. Cast right along the weed beds and work it towards you right along the weeds using a short burst, pause, short burst, retrieval.

Bass Don’t Bite Right Away

One of the biggest things that new anglers need to learn when fishing frogs is that bass don’t typically “strike” these lures in the same way that they will other lures. Bass don’t eat frogs right out of the water – instead, they knock the frog around hoping to stun it so they can eat it. Don’t be so quick to react on that first contact. If you don’t think you’ve hooked the bass already, wait for the second strike – that’s the one you want.

Get The Right Color

I always preach the importance of lure color because I think you need to cater to your surroundings by choosing a color that represents that. On a bright sunny day, you want to choose something that is bright and vibrant because the bass will likely feel energetic. When it’s cloudy and cooler, the bass might feel more lethargic and a bright neon colored lure may intimidate them. On those days, you’d want to choose something more neutral.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve seen the best topwater frogs, what do you think? If you’ve never fished these before, they’re a great choice for weedy waters. Remember that frogs have good and bad days just like every other lure so if you didn’t have success in the past, it doesn’t mean you won’t now!

Source: The 6 Best Topwater Frogs for Hot Summer Fishing

Beginner’s Guide to Tent Maintenance

Beginner’s Guide to Tent Maintenance

Tents withstand extreme weather and resist natural elements, but they can still be broken beyond repair due to unchecked wears and tears.

Just because you’re roughing it, doesn’t mean you won’t be taking care of your camping gear. Knowing how to maintain and repair the tent will help it last longer. We’ve put together this beginner’s guide to tent maintenance, where we’ll drop some tips on how to better take care of your camping gear before, during, and after use.

Set-up

Setting up can make or break the maintenance game. Know how and where you can set up to avoid unnecessary damages.

Campers setting up the tent at the forest.

Campers setting up the tent at the forest. Photo Credit: Getty Images, SolisImages

Test gear at home

Make it a habit to practice pitching your gear at home before you head out into the wild. Check if you have a complete gear set: the accessories, guy lines, and stakes must be accounted for. Carefully test the equipment, and do not under any circumstances whip the poles around, not at home nor at the campsite. We’ll get to that later.

Set up in a good spot

Extending the life of your tent means camping at established sites more often than not, especially since people comply with the Leave No Trace principle. The key to finding a good spot is to check for smooth, level, and clean ground. Clear away pinecones, twigs, or small rocks that might damage the material where you want the gear set up. Stay away from places that are near water, and make sure you’re a good few hundred feet away from the nearest source.

Be gentle with the equipment

Set up carefully. Unfold and fit the sections of the poles together one by one. Otherwise, you might weaken the poles and cause them to crack. Aluminum poles will become more brittle and will corrode when exposed to sea air and saltwater. A good way around this is to rinse the poles and let them dry.

Use a footprint

Prevent tearing as soon as setting up camp so you won’t have to clean it as often. A footprint is designed to shield your tent from outside elements. You can also use a groundsheet that is cut to match its shape. This is used as protection at the bottom from gravel and puddles.

Use

Upon using, be sure to not pry anything to the point of wear and tear. Also avoid water and sunlight.

Take care of the zippers

When you want to come in and out, ascertain that the zippers are not forced to glide when you pull them. Not only does this weaken the fabric, it will also cause the zippers to split. Use your other hand to hold down the track as you’re pulling it open with the zippers.

In the event that zippers do split, you can try latching it back together again. Pliers can also be used to mend them.

Leave footwear outside

Bringing dirt and soil inside might corrode the material and tear holes into the bottom. Another thing to remember is to avoid eating inside, as the food will attract rodents who can chew on the fabric.

Photo Credit: Unsplash, Patrick Hendry

Stay away from water

Water exposure can gradually break down the material. Avoid pitching in areas where water could pool around you because it damages the waterproofing. Make sure the air is ventilating inside when you’re using the tent to keep it from condensing.

Avoid extreme sunlight

The ultraviolet rays of the sunlight are harsh on the camping material. Exposure to too much UV light can cause fading, softening, or impairment.

There is camping gear that is UV resistant, but the same synthetic fabric can degrade with enough radiation. Once it has sustained enough UV damage, the material becomes non-repairable. If you do dry your gear, make sure the sun isn’t too blaring outside, otherwise, hang your gear in the shade.

Maintenance

Going through the process of taking care of your tent before, during, and after its use will help preserve its longevity.

Washing

As much as possible, handwash the material. Fill a bucket with lukewarm water and soap and immerse it in the bath. Use a smooth sponge or a piece of white cloth to scrub the soiled areas. In parts where you waterproofed the floor and the seams, be careful not to rub too hard. Wash and rinse the fabric, then dry completely.

Use mild soaps that are free of detergents and fragrances. Detergents might contain chemicals that break down the DWR coating and fragrances will likely attract insects.

Air-dry your tent

Set up outdoors, preferably someplace with shade, to dry your camping gear after a weekend getaway. The fabric can grow mildew if stored with any moisture. You’ll be able to tell from the smell. Do not neglect to dry your tent because it can become flaky and tacky for use.

Removing mold

After a day out camping, it is not uncommon to find mold or mildew in the fabric. It might have been the condensation or the weather. Prepare it outside in sunlight to kill the mold before you remove any stains.

Use a soft brush to remove the mold from the material. Wash the fabric with a solution of hot water, vinegar, and dish soap. You can also use variations of this, such as Lysol or lemon juice and salt with hot water. For stubborn molds, avoid scrubbing it too hard. Instead, use a brush with bristles. Rinse the fabric gently and let it dry completely in the sun.

For mildew, bleach the stain. Wash the affected area with non-chlorine bleach. Colored fabrics need a solution of a cup of lemon juice and salt with a gallon of hot water, whereas color-safe fabrics need a solution of two tablespoons of bleach and a quart of water. As much as possible, do this outdoors to avoid leaving mold spores inside the house.

Prevention

Keep your tent dry

Do it as much as you can help it. It’s your responsibility to become meticulous about its maintenance.

Tents may accumulate moisture, so best expect mold and mildew to form, especially in humidity, which allows them to form inside when the dampness is trapped. While these are unavoidable, you can prevent mold and mildew during storage.

Waterproof your tent

Waterproofing will need two coatings. These will wear off eventually, so be sure to reapply every once in a while. Buy a tube of seam sealer for waterproofing the equipment. It can also be used for patching holes in the fabric.

First, apply urethane coating to prevent moisture from penetrating the material. The second layer is the DWR solution, which repels water.

Storage

Remember to store it in a cool and dry place after using.

Shake your tent

After taking it down, give it a good shake to make sure nothing is inside before you repack it. Remove the footprint.

Shot of a group of friends setting up their tent while out hiking in the mountains.

Home is where you pitch your tent. Photo Credit: Getty Images, bernardbodo

Push, don’t pull

Poles are easier to remove than you think, so there is little need to be rough with them. They pass through sheaths on the exterior for easier removal, so just push them through and they’ll pop out. Then, break them down in the middle and divide the sections.

Dry after using

You know the drill. Dry the tent whenever you can. If the inside is even a bit wet, mildew is sure to grow. After a day outdoors, you need to make sure no moisture is left inside, because you’ll be leaving it in storage for a while. Roll it up before you put it inside. Simply stuffing it will ruin its form and stress the materials. At home, dry it again, and then store it in a loose sack someplace dry and cool.

Source: Beginner’s Guide to Tent Maintenance

5 Tips to Get Away from the  National Park Crowds

5 Tips to Get Away from the National Park Crowds

Planning a camping trip is quite a challenge in itself, especially if you want to escape the crowds. During peak season, you may think this is one impossible task. Most people eye the summer months to escape to America’s national parks and embrace the peace and quiet the wilderness offers. But with hordes of people who want the same thing, this may be close to unattainable. On a sunny summer weekend, expect to see long bus lines, traffic jams, and many people cramming popular trails. Here are a few tips on how you can escape crowds in national parks this summer.

Choose your dates wisely

Going in the off-season can be the easiest way to avoid the crowds. Especially for the most popular national parks like Zion, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon, which can be way too busy during the summer. Not only are there fewer crowds, but these parks are more beautiful in early spring and late autumn with better weather.

If you really want to go to the most popular national parks in the summer, remember to avoid the weekends as much as possible. It’s still recommended to visit during the week to ensure that there are fewer crowds. Keep in mind that long weekends, discounted entry days, and special park events are certain to be extra crowded. If going on weekdays is not possible, try to go during other weekends.

Book activities early

There are various activities you can do in national parks. For first-time campers, guided tours and adventurous excursions are great ones to try. These can get fully-booked quickly, especially during peak seasons, so make sure to make your reservations as far in advance as possible. One example is the Grand Canyon helicopter tour which not only offers you a clear view of the park, but also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the view without tons of crowds around you!

Yoho National Park, Field, Canada

Yoho National Park, Field, Canada. Photo Credit: Unsplash, Ryan Christodoulou

Get an early start

Booking off-season is easier said than done, so if your schedule is uncompromisable, it’d be best to rise and shine with the sun. Even better if you can get up before dawn and find the best spot to view the sunrise and head out to enjoy your day early. Book your activities earlier in the morning, trying to avoid not only the crowds but also the extreme heat of the sun. Getting dehydrated is one of the last things you want happening when you’re out. An early morning hike is also one option you can do if there are still crowds gathering while trying to view the sunrise. You’ll thank yourself for skipping the midday madness.

Consider less popular activities

Your enjoyment should still be the number one priority, but other people are likely itching to pick the most popular activities as well. It’s a good compromise to pick the less popular activities that are also fun and worth your time.

Backpacking overnight is a worthwhile experience, especially if you plan on avoiding large crowds. Looking at the stars at night while eating s’mores around a campfire is a traditional activity you shouldn’t miss. Afterward, sleeping inside a tent in the middle of the forest is a great way to rest, unwind, and relax your mind.

Elk with his tongue out. Marmot Point, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Elk in Marmot Point, Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo Credit: Unsplash, Dave Willhite

Explore someplace new

We know you want to go and explore the most popular national parks, but there are still tons of incredible places out there, including the less busy national parks. Try researching on which national parks are near your locale. You may find a new gem, possibly even your next favorite destination.

Here are some less explored vacation options:

  • The Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is spectacular. It’s the third most visited National Park in the US. Colorado is full of winter resorts that are pretty quiet even in the summer.
  • Zion National Park is the fourth most visited park. You can still get away from the crowds by, for example, checking out the Kolob area. It has fewer crowds but the hikes are spectacular.
  • The fifth most popular park is the Lassen Volcanic National Park. It’s in far-away California, but Lassen is also a stunning destination with spectacular hikes, volcanoes, and forests.

Lake Helen at Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lake Helen at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Photo Credit: Unsplash, Yang Liu

Source: 5 Tips to Get Away from the National Park Crowds

Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing: Best Spots for Paddling and Pulling in the Big Ones

Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing: Best Spots for Paddling and Pulling in the Big Ones

Gulf Coast kayak fishing is an experience unlike any other. While the gulf waters can be fished from the shores of Texas all the way to the southern tip of Florida, we are going to focus on fishing opportunities off the west coast of Florida in this guide.

What Fish Live Off The Gulf Coast?

Species can differ slightly depending on where exactly you are kayak fishing on the Gulf Coast. That being said, here is a general list of some species you can fish for:

Amberjack Crevalle Jack Red Grouper
Barracuda King Mackerel Redfish
Black Drum Lionfish Roosterfish
Blacktip Shark Mahi Mahi Sailfish
Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin Northern Red Snapper Sheepshead
Bonita Peacock Bass Snook
Cobia Pompano

Spotted Seatrout

Corvina Red Drum Tarpon

Kid pulls in a fish from a kayak

Getty Images

Top Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing Destinations

For those of you interested in heading to the Gulf Coast for a kayak fishing trip, here are a few great fishing destinations to consider:

Pine Island Sound

This angler’s paradise was recently named one of the United States’ 25 best fishing spots by Field & Stream Magazine. Calm and flat waters here make it an easy kayak fishing destination for beginners and experienced anglers.

Guy in Yellow Kayak holds up a hefty Fish

Getty Images

One of the best spots in the sound for tarpon, snook, redfish, and a variety of other saltwater species in Matlacha Pass. For reference, the closest cities to the sound are Cape Coral and Fort Myers. For those launching their own kayak adventure, there are several marinas on the island to choose from.

The Useppa Marina is located at the northern end of the island, while the Monroe Canal Marina is a great launching point for trips at the southern end of Pine Island.

Yankeetown

Located just north and west of Crystal River, Florida, this kayak fishing destination is a great spot for redfish, trout, and Crevalle jack. The town itself is quite small, so be sure to stock up on gear and supplies before you get there.

That said, the undeveloped natural landscape of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve offers a look into what many call ‘Old Florida’. If you are visiting with all of your gear in tow, the Yankeetown Marina is a great launching point for your kayak fishing adventure.

Kayak fishing during sunrise

Getty Images

Cedar Key

Cedar Key isn’t too much further north on Florida’s Gulf Coast from Yankeetown. This location offers both inshore and offshore fishing, although the waters further inland tend to become murkier and dirtier. So if you are looking for clear water and abundant grass beds, you will want to paddle offshore.

In addition to being a great kayak fishing destination, Cedar Key is a popular spot for bird watching. This small island community used to be a busy port city, so it has some interesting history to check out when you aren’t fishing.

The Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge has created the perfect protected environment for fish species like tarpon, cobia, king mackerel, and a variety of others. To launch your own kayak fishing adventure, Cedar Key Marina is a great place to pick up local tips before starting your paddle.

Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing Outfitters

Two kayak on the beach waiting to fish - kayak fishing competition in the Mediterranean Sea - Marbella. Andalusia

Getty Images

Even if you have your own kayak and fishing gear, it can be helpful to hire a guide to help you figure out where exactly to fish. So here are a couple of Gulf Coast kayak fishing outfitters worth checking out:

Gulf Coast Kayak

Gulf Coast Kayak offers everything from kayak rentals to guided fishing charters. So whether you have your own gear or you want a guide to help you explore kayak fishing for the first time, this Matlacha-based kayak fishing outfitter has everything you need to get out on the water for some Gulf Coast kayak fishing.

Tampa Bay Kayak Charters

If you are interested in doing any kayak fishing in the Tampa Bay area, definitely check out this charter company. They specialize in inshore fishing with artificial lures, but live bait is an alternative option as well. They offer various charters up and down the west coast of Florida.

Kayak chasing sunset on forested channel

Photo: Jaye Music/Pixabay

Fishhead Kayak Charters

Located in the small town of Crystal River, this kayak fishing outfitter offers charters in some of the Gulf Coast’s least developed coastal regions. Their main charter locations are Homosassa, Ozello, and Yankeetown. While anglers are responsible for arriving with an up-to-date fishing license, this charter supplies your kayak, rod and reel, and all artificial lures needed for your kayak fishing trip.

Best Gulf Coast Good Sam RV Parks

You will need a solid basecamp if you really want to enjoy your kayak fishing trip on the Gulf Coast. So check out these Good Sam RV Parks situated close to some of the Gulf Coast’s richest fishing waters.

Tow men in kayaks fishing

Photo: Imordaf/Pixabay

Nature’s Resort

Nature’s Resort in Homosassa, Florida offers 250 full-service RV sites with a maximum site length of 60 feet. They have sites that offer both 30 amp and 50 amp electrical service, and WiFi is available at their overnight sites. The location of this Good Sam RV park is ideal for kayak fishing adventures in Ozello and Homosassa.

Gulf Coast RV Resort

Gulf Coast RV Resort in Inglis, Florida, is a more intimate resort with only 30 full-hookup RV sites available. They can still accommodate RVs of up to 60 feet in length, and they also offer WiFi for overnight visitors. Their best amenities include laundry services and a heated pool, and they are ideally situated for kayak fishing trips out in Cedar Key or Yankeetown.

Pine Island KOA

Located towards the southern end of Pine Island, this KOA offers 210 full-service hookups and includes an enclosed dog run for furry visitors. The campground isn’t far from the island’s southern marina and its best amenities include a heated pool, hot tub, shuffleboard, recreation hall, and pickleball.

Man displaying fish in yellow kayak.

Photo: Zygplater0/Pixabay

Paddling and Fishing

Keep in mind that the summer can be hurricane season in many destinations on the Gulf Coast. So just keep an eye on the weather forecast and seek recommendations from local fishing outfitters when planning your kayak fishing trip.

As always, we hope that planning your Gulf Coast kayak fishing trip is a little easier after reading this guide. If you are planning a trip for the coming season, we would love to hear where you are heading or see photos of your favorite catch once you return home!

Source: Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing: Best Spots for Paddling and Pulling in the Big Ones

6 Reasons to Try Camping for Your Next Girls’ Trip

6 Reasons to Try Camping for Your Next Girls’ Trip

Exhausted from work and home? We feel you! There is nothing quite like a vacation to help you out. Consider camping for your next getaway with the girls!

Wherever you may be, with great company there will always be full of adventures. We listed down 6 reasons to try camping for your next girls’ trip, and why.

Making memories to look back on

Four young girls smiling in camera

Photo Credit: Unsplash, Jessica Wilson

When was the last time you and your friends hung out together? A camping trip over the weekend will be sure to drag everybody out of their offices and homes. Experiences outside your comfort zone will be memories you can look fondly back on in the future. Catching up by the campfire and stargazing at the night sky will make for great memories in later years.

If this is your first time, head someplace with amenities. You can start roughing it when the rest of the girls are prepared. If that idea of camping does not appeal to you and your friends, you can always try glamping.

Choose glamping to get the best of both worlds

Tee pee tent with tables set up in nature

Photo Credit: Getty Images, Gerardo_Alvarez

With glamping, you can have the stunning serenity of nature and the convenient comforts of home without the buzz of the traffic or the town. As a more recent movement, waves of glamping resorts are spreading across the country. Of course, there are inexpensive glamping spots where you pay as low as $60 per night, and then there are the larger resorts with full amenities and rooms that can cost you $1,500 per night.

Depending on your friends’ input, all of you can chip in for a wonderful weekend in the wilderness. You’ll find that most national parks and reserves have at least some type of glamping spot in the deep forests, so expect lots of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and canoeing during the trip! After that, you can end the day by slipping into a hot tub in your tent and sipping champagne.

Learning new skills to use at home

The wild can be the ideal space for you to learn different skills. Being outdoors and without the usual conveniences and comforts of home, you’ll have to teach yourself how to be resourceful in seeing responsibilities through. This can include making fires, cooking food, and building dens.

Picture yourself coming back from the trip, and you’re trying out what you’ve learned from camp at home. Even if it’s something as tedious as learning to wash your own clothes, it’s worth doing it outdoors so you can feel the ease doing it inside. Washing clothes by yourself is a rather useful skill to learn if you want to save water!

Channeling energy to de-stress

Young woman splashing in stream

Photo Credit: Unsplash, Sean Thomas

Each time you feel drained, de-stress. Allow yourself this window of opportunity to reflect, relax, and recover from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Reconnect with nature amid the chaos of the city. When you feel your energy has regained its charge, propel yourself back into action and resume business.

After all, your energy can bounce right back with proper rest, so you owe it to yourself to get your girlfriends, grab some wine, and head to the great outdoors.

Self-Empowerment

Woman relaxing in hammock near lake

Mount Zirkel Wilderness, Walden. Photo Credit: Unsplash, Zach Betten

Something about camping trips might make you want to consider taking more risks than you would at home. Given that you’re already pitching the tent, planning your meals, and warding off bugs and wildlife from taking your food, you will realize that you’re capable of doing more than the standard 9-to-5. Camping will help you feel more self-sufficient by testing yourself in the wild.

Overcome your fear of heights and go rock climbing, or try and brave through the job of dumping the wastewater in the nearest station. There are challenges you might not have previously imagined doing, but with the right preparation and gear, can be accomplished!

Connecting with nature

South Lake Tahoe

138 Emerald Bay Rd, South Lake Tahoe. Photo Credit: Unsplash, Fransiskus Filbert Mangundap

Environmental stewardship is not taught at school, so you need to learn it yourself. Out in the wild, you can get in touch with nature. Environmental stewards in the Amazon and the Arctic wilderness have been protecting and preserving their ancestral lands since time immemorial: Understand that you can do it in your own way too through spending a weekend in the woods.

You and your friends will be able to experience firsthand a home with the sky as a ceiling, or the wildlife as your neighbors. Reattune yourselves to the beauty of the environment, and remember to Leave No Trace and respect your surroundings.

Camping is a unique experience to each and every person who tries it. With a group of your girlfriends, spread the positivity and have fun outdoors.

Make a reservation with the closest Good Sam park and make some unforgettable memories.

Source: 6 Reasons to Try Camping for Your Next Girls’ Trip

Celebrate National Day of the Cowboy with some Cowboy Caviar

Celebrate National Day of the Cowboy with some Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy caviar is one of those dishes that always seems to be a crowd pleaser. The dip called cowboy caviar, or Texas Caviar as it’s also known, came from Texas in the 1940s, and is a favorite dish for potlucks, barbecues, and camping get togethers! There’s no actual caviar in this recipe, instead crunchy corn, fresh bell peppers, smooth avocados, and sometimes even some spicy jalapeños are all mixed with black beans and black eyed peas for a flavorful dip. While it’s often eaten with tortilla chips, it’s also wonderful on fish and chicken, in omelets, over rice, or heaped on top of toasted or grilled pieces of bread.

Cowboy caviar on plate with chips

Photo by Sarah Cribari

And what better time to make cowboy caviar than to celebrate the National Day of the Cowboy? That’s right, the fourth Saturday of July is National Day of the Cowboy, and this year that day is July 24th. This holiday was created to celebrate the cowboy, an iconic symbol of the American west. And since the western states are such a popular destination for RVers, it seems like a perfect fit.

But even if you’re not heading to a rodeo or an old western town this summer, this bean-based salad is worth making for your next RV trip. Cowboy caviar is one of those great recipes that holds up really well in the fridge for several days. Which means it’s a perfect dish to make at home before you go. And with all the beans and veggies, it’s pretty healthy as well!  It’s also very easy to throw together and can be made in less than 15 minutes. All you need to do is chop up the veggies, mix up the dressing, and toss everything together! And if you prep this ahead of time, you’ll be able to pop it out of the fridge or cooler on your trip and enjoy it right away.

beans and black eyed peas mixture with chips

It’s also a very customizable recipe that can be changed to your preferences. Here are a few suggestions and options for adjusting the amounts and ingredients.

Notes on Ingredients

Sugar: The sugar level in this recipe can be adjusted to your taste. Our recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of sugar, but you can add an additional tablespoon if you’d like it to be sweeter. You can also omit it entirely if you’d like a no sugar option.

Corn: You can use frozen corn or canned corned for this recipe. If you’re using frozen corn, be sure it defrosts before adding it to the mixture. If you use canned corn, drain and rinse the corn before adding.

Vinegar: This recipe uses white wine vinegar, but you can also use red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar for a stronger flavor. We’d recommend not using balsamic vinegar since it has a different flavor and will change the taste of the recipe.

Cilantro: If you’re someone who can’t stand cilantro, feel free to swap it out with Italian parsley instead.

Beans: Canned beans are the easiest to use in this recipe, however you can use dried beans as an alternative. If using dried beans, cook them beforehand according to their instructions and add a cup of the cooked black beans to the mixture in place of the canned beans. You can also swap out the black beans in this recipe for red beans, white beans, or kidney beans.

bean mixture in bowl

Photo by Sarah Cribari

Onion: We like the color and flavor of a red onion in this recipe, but you can also use a Vidalia or sweet onion instead.

onion, tomato and pepper cut

Photo by Sarah Cribari

Jalapeño: If you like your dip spicier, feel free to a minced jalapeno to the mix. Or for some extra kick make it a serrano pepper! You can also leave this out entirely if you’d prefer more of a mild dip.

Dressing: If you’re in a pinch, you can forget the dressing ingredients all together and just use a premade Italian salad dressing instead. It’ll change the flavor a bit and you’ll lose the ability to customize the ingredients, but it’s a good option if you’re in a hurry and don’t want to mix up a separate dressing.

dark dressing in small bowl

Photo by Sarah Cribari

It’s called a dip, but it’s actually pretty versatile! You can also use this recipe as a topping for fish, chicken, or grilled meats, try it in an egg scramble or omelet over the campfire, or add it as a topping to a bowl of rice. Once you make it, store it in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Cowboy Caviar / Texas Caviar Recipe

Colorful mixture of cilantro, onion, tomato in bowl

Photo by Sarah Cribari

Ingredients:

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 oz) can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup red onion, diced

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed (can also use canned corn)

1 bell pepper, diced

1 cup cilantro, chopped

2 avocados, diced

Optional: 1 jalapeño, deseeded and minced

Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

3 TBSP white wine vinegar

1 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1 TBSP sugar

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. Chop, mince, and dice vegetables.
  3. In a large serving bowl, combine the beans, black eyed peas, onion, tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, cilantro, and jalapeño if using.
  4. Pour dressing over the ingredients and mix well until everything is well coated. Add more salt or sugar to taste. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so the flavors can marinate together. Add the avocado right before serving so it doesn’t turn brown.
  5. Serve with chips as a dip or as a side dish.

beans, black eyed peas, onion, tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, cilantro, and jalapeño in bowl

Photosby Sarah Cribari

If you happen to have any left over, the dip will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Source: Celebrate National Day of the Cowboy with some Cowboy Caviar

Summer Fun at 8 New Good Sam Parks

Summer Fun at 8 New Good Sam Parks

Make it a summer to remember. For July, Good Sam has added eight new parks to its network for more great camping experiences and value on the road. Good Sam members can enjoy the 10 percent discount at any of the RV parks in the Good Sam Network.

Not a member? Joining is easy. Buy a membership at any Good Sam Park, or sign up online. Check each Good Sam Park’s link to determine seasonal availability and to make reservations.

California

The Californian RV Resort, Acton

More Great Camping Experiences — Swimming pool sparkling under the sunlight.

Photo: Californian RV Resort

The Californian RV Resort puts guests within striking distance of some of the Golden State’s most popular attractions. Located in the desert town of Acton, the resort sits just 35 minutes from Magic Mountain and 40 minutes from Hollywood and Universal Studios. It’s also close to the magnificent Lancaster Poppy fields, which bloom in spectacular gold profusion every spring. When not exploring SoCal, guests can relax in the heated pool or hot tub or get a good workout in the exercise room. The 193 spaces include pull-thru sites and full-hookups with Wi-Fi available for overnight sites. Nearby activities include ATV riding and hiking on surrounding trails.

Frandy Park Campground, Kernville

A cluster of tents next to a running river.

Photo: Fandy Park Campground

Located along the banks of the Kern River, Frandy Park Campground offers some of the best high-desert camping found in the Golden State. The 92 roomy sites put campers close to the waterway, and a short trip will take you to Class III-IV rafting along with outstanding fishing. Catch golden, rainbow or brown trout from the banks. In town, visitors can stroll the streets lined with antique shops and quaint restaurants. Make time to visit the Kern Valley Museum and Silver Ghost Town. The campground offers Wi-Fi, a dump station, showers and wildlife viewing.

Florida

Resort at Canopy Oaks, Lake Wales, Florida

RVs parked against a pond that reflects tall trees.

Photo: Resort at Canopy Lakes

Opened in 2020, this luxury RV resort and cottage community occupies 435 acres of lush, central Florida land with oversized sites and concrete pads. Relax in the 12,000-square-foot clubhouse and belly up to the full-service tiki bar for tropical concoctions. Active campers can work up a sweat on the pickleball courts, while pets can run to their hearts’ content in the sprawling pet exercise area. Need to slow things down? Get pampered at the relaxing spa, try on some new styles at the hair and nail salon, or express yourself at an arts and crafts class. Recharge your batteries at the coffee and ice cream shop.

Maine

Two Lakes Camping Area, Oxford

Two empty patio chairs facing a lake during dusk/sunrise.

Photo: Two Lakes Camping Area

Spend your next camping vacation in the lush woods of Maine. Two Lakes Camping Area sits on the shores of 177-acre Hogan Pond and close to 147-acre Whitney Pond. Guests can swim, canoe or kayak on the water or find a spot to drop a line. Take advantage of the boat ramp and go cruising, or take your pooch for a run on the dog beach. With a fun-filled event calendar, along with a DJ every weekend, you’re sure to find lots of ways to keep your family busy. Most sites are shaded and pull-through sites are available.

Ohio

Bluegrass Campground, Swanton

Scenic RV campground reflected on the surface of a placid lake.

Photo: Bluegrass Campground

Located 25 miles from downtown Toledo, Bluegrass Campground gives guests the perfect blend of natural and urban experiences. Take a day trip to the Toledo Zoo, Toledo Museum or Oak Trips MetroPark, or stay near the campground for horseback riding trails and fishing and swimming in Pine Tree Lake. The gated campground provides a safe, family-oriented environment with lots of planned activities. Seasonal sites are available and a rec hall and playground can keep campers busy. Beyond Toledo, Lake Erie offers fantastic fishing and boating. Hop on a fishing charter for perch, walleye and more.

Tennessee

Bean Pot Campground, Crossville

A man completes the swing of a driver on a lush fairway.

Photo: Damir Spanic/Unsplash

Nestled in the rich forests of the Cumberland Plateau, Bean Pot Campground situates guests in the “Golf Capital” of Tennessee. Bring your clubs and take your choice of 10 championship golf courses that challenge all skill levels. Visitors also can go hiking, biking or whitewater rafting in the surrounding countryside. The park’s ample amenities might tempt you to stay put. Camp in level, shaded pull-through sites, enjoy the large clubhouse with AC and full kitchen facilities or surf the internet through the park’s Wi-Fi. Also available are a swimming pool and nearby nature trails. Fishing, kayaking and boating can be found within 10 miles.

Texas

Hidden Grove RV Resort, Honey Grove

Man looking at his phone as he relaxes on a raft floating on a lake.

Photo: Hidden Grove RV Resort

This new high-end RV park pampers guests with luxury and comfort amid the sweeping countryside of north Texas. Go fishing in the lake or hit the nearby trails, then enjoy the full-hookup, pull-through sites as well as cabins and convenience store. RV storage and self-storage are available. Just seven minutes away, the 82 Speedway thrills spectators with stock car racing action. Also nearby, the soon-to-be-opened Bois D’Arc Reservoir will offer boating and fishing. For big-city thrills, drive 90 miles southeast to Dallas. Just 20 minutes away, the Caddo National Grasslands WMA gives hunting, fishing and hiking on a sprawling, lush landscape.

Virginia

Chesapeake Campground, Chesapeake

Chesapeake Campground caters to active campers who love having fun in nature. Go on a pony ride, hit the driving range or rent a canoe for paddling on nearby Deep Creek. The campground also has tennis and basketball courts, along with an exercise room and minigolf. Planning a big event? The Plantation House facility is perfect for hosting weddings, family reunions or group get-togethers. Also on location are Deep Creek Stables, a state-of-the-art horse boarding and riding facility for guests who prefer exploring on horseback. Seeking camping supplies or vintage treasures? The Country Store & Antiques provides all the food and gear you need along with souvenirs from the past.

Source: Summer Fun at 8 New Good Sam Parks

Find it. Tag it. Win it. In Bryce Canyon Country

Find it. Tag it. Win it. In Bryce Canyon Country

Are you searching for a road trip adventure that features the red rock desert, towering Ponderosa pines, miles of hiking trails and the ultimate rock climbing playground? Filled with shapely rocks, uncovered ancient history and a sky known for its twinkling stars, make Bryce Canyon Country your next destination.

From now, until Labor Day Weekend, the ultimate summer event is happening. Bryce Canyon Country is hosting the “Find it. Tag it. Win it.” event. Simply travel around Bryce Canyon Country, tag @brycecanyoncountry on Instagram and use the hashtag #findtagwin at any of the 10 designated locations and win big prizes.

To participate, grab a brochure online or from a kiosk located in businesses throughout the county. Make your way to as many of these locations as possible:

  • Panguitch Lake
  • Antimony
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Kodachrome Basin State Park
  • Devils Garden in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
  • The Burr Trail
  • Anasazi State Park Museum
  • Ticaboo
  • Escalante Petrified Forest/Wide Hollow Reservoir
  • Red Canyon

Visiting all 10 locations isn’t required but visit as many as you can. Each location is unique. Some are filled with whimsical hoodoos and others with sky-high copper chimneys.

Rock chimneys jut out up to the sky.

Kodachrome Basin State Park

Some locations hold ancient history, while others sprout new life.

Petrified logs lying on the ground.

Escalante Petrified Forest

Some locations are a watersports paradise while some are fit for a peaceful morning of fishing.

Rugged and arid shoreline of a desert lake.

Ticaboo, Lake Powell

No matter what adventure you’re searching for, you’ll find it in Bryce Canyon Country.

While exploring any of the 10 designated areas, take a picture with the location marker on the flyer. Post on Instagram and tag @brycecanyoncountry using the hashtag #findtagwin.

Every Friday, a winner is announced and mailed their prize. At the end of the summer, you could have up to ten entries which will give you a higher chance of winning the grand prize! Picture yourself winning a free night stay in comfortable lodging or a gift card to one of Bryce Canyon Country’s most popular restaurants. Get ready for your next outdoor adventure when you win a tent, sleeping bag, Hydroflask or Camelbak. There are several prizes that’ll prep you for your next getaway to Bryce Canyon Country.

Go beyond Bryce Canyon National Park this summer and visit the dozens of other painted landscapes surrounding the area. Bryce Canyon Country features two national parks, three state parks, one national monument, parts of Lake Powell, Dixie National Forest and so much more. With that much to explore, you’ll easily spend hours hiking, biking, swimming, canyoneering, ATV-ing and enjoying the breathtaking views. Endless adventures await you!

For more information about the event, terms and agreements and contest rules, check out findtagwin.com.

Follow Bryce Canyon Country on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date information. Visit brycecanyoncountry.com for itineraries and vacation ideas.

Source: Find it. Tag it. Win it. In Bryce Canyon Country

Mark My Words July: RV Air Conditioning and Electrical Issues

Mark My Words July: RV Air Conditioning and Electrical Issues

Hi Mark My Words readers! This month, we’ve got questions on RV air conditioning and electrical issues. Remember to send your RVing questions to [email protected].

Mark:

I have a Winnebago motorhome with a Coleman ducted-roof AC. We have condensation leaking into the coach. My inspection reveals no freeze-up on the evaporator coil, and a temperature check shows 20 degrees difference between the air going into the return and that in the outlets. The leak occurs periodically but is consistent. Condensate is running off the roof as well. Need help.

Thanks,

Hkrbr

Hi Hkrbr,

Most Coleman roof airs have two plastic drains for condensation water, located on the sides of the air-conditioning unit baseplate. These will often become restricted by a buildup of dirt and goo, and that can cause the condensate water to find a new path, like into the coach’s interior. The cure is a fairly simple cleaning of the drains and the evaporator compartment. Shut the unit off and, to be extra safe, either unplug from shore power or turn off the breaker that serves the air conditioner.

Black air conditioning unit.

Photo: Coleman/Camping World

On the roof, remove the plastic shroud. Remove the cover over the evaporator core. Use a spray cleaner, like Fantastic or 409, and clean the evaporator coils and the drip pan. Use a small brush or a piece of flexible wire to clean out the little plastic drains that are found on each side of the baseplate. Button it up, and you should be good to go. I found a very good webpage with pictures and info to help you do the job. Take a look at this website before you get on the roof. As always, don’t take on a task unless you feel it is within your abilities. If you prefer, most RV service providers can do this for you, and it is a fairly easy job, so it should not be all that expensive.

Mark,

My brother has a Monaco Diplomat just like ours, and he asked me a question the other day, and the same issue has puzzled me on occasion. The question is this: If you are plugged into, say, 30-amp shore power, and you have demands like air conditioning, microwave, etc. exceeding your source, can you start your genset and augment your watts without disconnecting the ground power?

Thank you,

Loren

A beautiful sunset sky at a Rv park in Rio Vista , Ca. along the shore of the delta

Photo: Getty Images

Hi Loren:

The short answer is yes and no. You can’t use the generator to supplement your shore power in most rigs. Most RVs with installed generators are equipped with a transfer switch that is designed to disconnect your shore power connection and connect the generator’s output to your rig’s electrical system. It’s kind of an either/or situation. Rigs without automatic transfer switches may require you to plug the rig’s shore power cable into an outlet on the rig that the generator feeds. Other RVs will have a switch that will transfer the input side of the rig’s AC power system from the shore power cord to the generator when the generator begins supplying power. This is done to prevent your power cord from becoming “hot” when the generator is running and to prevent your generator output from feeding back into the shore power receptacle. If the shore power isn’t able to handle the load, you can safely start the generator in most RVs with the shore power cord plugged in, as the transfer switch will disconnect the shore power input and switch all AC loads to the generator automatically. It won’t be a “shared” load, though.

Mark:

How do you check a converter/charger to see if it is working properly? I don’t believe that mine is trickle-charging my battery.

George

Hi George,

Here’s a simple test that’s really easy, and all you need is a digital voltmeter. Leave the RV plugged into shore power overnight, and then check the voltage directly at the terminals of the house battery(s) with your meter. If you are reading 13.2 to 13.8 volts, then your converter is probably fine. If it is below 13v, chances are your converter is broken, is not getting AC power, or the connection between the battery bank and the converter is open. If the answer is “none of the above” or your voltages are way out of range, get an RV tech to look at the system.

Hi Mark,

Do you know any way to improve the efficiency of my basement residential AC unit in my Winnebago motorhome? I love the motorhome, but I definitely need more cooling. Can a rooftop unit be installed in the place of the Fantastic vent system in the coach? I could use this to supplement the main unit on a hot day.

Thanks

Chuck

Hi Chuck,

Before you look into adding an air conditioner, take a good look at the basement unit to make sure there are no easy-to-fix issues. Make sure the intake air filter is clean and the cooling coils are free of any dirt or fuzz buildup. Also check the condenser coils. Dirt can really reduce the efficiency of the heat transfer. Check your manual for help in identifying the various components of your basement system and for cleaning procedures. Also, check both the supply and return air ducting wherever possible. It is not uncommon to find places where the ductwork has come loose and created air leaks. It doesn’t take much of a leak to make a big difference in cooling capability. Finally, with the unit operating, test the air temp at both the intake and at the outlet. You should see at least a 20-degree temperature drop through the system. If everything looks good and you still need more cooling, then it is definitely possible to add roof air to any standard roof vent. The biggest issue is getting power to it. In most cases, it will be a project for a good RV service facility.

White cowel of a roof-mounted air conditioning unit

Photo: Camping World

Mark,

I have a Citation travel trailer, and my AC keeps tripping the circuit breaker. This happens even if it’s on low or only on the fan. I’ve already had a new thermostat and board put in when the AC seemed to “cycle” (always ran, never shut off when reached temp). I’ve also replaced the converter. New ACs can be very expensive ($1200) and I am hoping that is not the next step. Do you have any suggestions besides a costly replacement?

Joyce

Hi Joyce,

If the A/C is tripping the breaker even when it is on “fan only,” then there may be either a wiring problem, a problem with the A/C fan or controls, or the circuit breaker itself may be failing. Normally, the fan-only setting should not draw enough current to trip the breaker. I would first replace the AC circuit breaker for the air conditioner. Breakers do fail occasionally, and it is an inexpensive and relatively easy thing to try first. If replacing the breaker does not solve the problem, then you need to have a qualified service person check out the wiring and the A/C unit for problems. A tripping breaker signifies an overload condition or a short circuit, so for safety’s sake, the problem needs to be identified and corrected, a.s.a.p.

Source: Mark My Words July: RV Air Conditioning and Electrical Issues

Best Beaches and Stunning Sights on the Oregon Coast

Best Beaches and Stunning Sights on the Oregon Coast

Without a doubt, the Oregon coastline is one of the prettiest and most geographically diverse shores in the country. With majestic sea stacks, expansive sand dunes, colorful tide pools and rugged cliffs that dive into the ocean, the entire 363 miles of pristine shoreline stretches from the California border near Brookings, all the way to the mouth of the Columbia River in Astoria. Aptly named “the People’s Coast,” Oregonians and visitors alike can enjoy the entire stretch of Pacific Ocean Coast due to legislation making it public land several decades ago. Starting South and heading north, here are some of the most impressive stops along the way.

Southern Oregon Coast

Waters churn on a rugged coastline.

Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor near Brookings @catebattles

Perhaps the most photogenic stretch of shore can be found along the Samuel Boardman Scenic Corridor, between the town of Brookings and Gold Beach. Known for its impressive sea stacks, natural arches, and rugged beaches, in this area, you’ll find waterfalls cascading down onto the beach, sea caves lined with anemone and starfish, and best of all, it garners a fraction of the crowds you’ll see up North. Harris Beach State Park is a favorite for camping families. But for those who enjoy a bit more solitude, Lone Ranch Beach and Whales Head are nice alternatives. For those who enjoy hiking, one of the best trails on the coast starts at Whales Head, where the hike leads you past fern blanketed forests, ocean vistas, and a natural bridge at a place named Indian Sands. For those wanting to escape the full sun or cool ocean breeze, Brookings is home to Oregon’s only Redwood groves, which are found along the Chetco and Winchuck Rivers. Additionally, just across the border, you can enjoy the Jedediah Redwoods and the Smith River and take the scenic drive on Howland Hill Road that meanders through the old-growth forest.

A colorful Airstream trailer parked on a coastline with sea stacks in background.

Cate and Chad’s Argosy parked at Meyer’s Beach @catebattles

Heading north, the next stop is Gold Beach, the mouth of the wild and scenic Rogue River. In the mid 19th century, gold was discovered in town and prospectors moved to the area in droves. To this day, folks pan for gold on the beach, and rock hounds search for agate and jasper. For those who enjoy fishing, king salmon and Dungeness crab are popular catches in the area. If you forget to bring your gear, you can buy fresh local seafood at the docks or hire a private charter to take you fishing. For a scenic river trip, Jerry’s Rogue Jet Boats offer rides upstream where you’ll traverse through canyons and rapids. Next door to Jerry’s, and adjacent to hwy101, is the moss-covered sunken ship, Mary D. Hume, a steamer built in 1881 that holds the record of the longest-serving vessel of the Pacific Coast.

A moss-covered ship hull run around in shallow water.

The moss-covered Mary d. Hume in Golds Beach @catebattles

Continuing the journey along Highway 101, you’ll pass Humbug Mountain and the kitschy Prehistoric Gardens- a fun stop for young families.  Close to the town of Port Orford is Floras Lake State Park, which features majestic cliffs reminiscent of ones in Wales or Western Ireland and the hike to Blacklock Point, one of the most rewarding hikes along the Southern Oregon Coast. Soon after leaving Port Orford, you’ll approach the town of Bandon, a popular coastal destination with plenty of dining and shopping options. Additionally, Bandon happens to be Oregon’s cranberry capital, producing nearly 500,000 barrels annually. While visiting, drop by Bandon Brewery or Bandon Rain Cidery and enjoy some local flavor, like the Cranberry Squall. One of the biggest draws of the town is the “Circles in the Sand” festival, a summer-long art event helmed by Denny Dyke and his many volunteers that create intricate labyrinths and shapes on the beach.

Circles drawn into the sand at a beach.

Circles in the Sand Festival in Bandon @catebattles

Just up the road from Bandon, is the town of Coos Bay, the last destination along the Southern Oregon coast and highway 101’s most populous city. For those who enjoy gardens, make sure to visit Shore Acres State Park, where you can enjoy the flower gardens during the warm months and their impressive holiday light display during winter. The park, which is perched on top of a sandstone cliff,  is also a fantastic place to watch storm surges as waves dramatically crash into the rocks below, with sprays rising to heights of up to 300ft in the air.

Central Oregon Coast

View from the bottom of a vast rock

Devils Punchbowl near Seal Rock @catebattles

Perhaps the most geologically diverse of Oregon’s coastline, the topography of the state’s central shore ranges from massive sand dunes, basalt cliffs and chasms, and mountainous forests. Driving along hwy101 from Coos Bay, the rocky landscape of the southern coast immediately transforms into towering 500-foot sand dunes. Formed over 20,000 years ago and constantly shifting from the wind and water, Oregon Dunes National Rec area is the continent’s largest coastal dune system and spans more than 40,000 acres. The area provides numerous outdoor recreation opportunities, including OHV use, sandboarding, hiking, horseback riding, and camping. Just down the road is Florence, a small city along the mouth of the Siuslaw River. The town is home to the United States’ largest sea cave, where you can witness the Steller sea lions that find solace in the cave during winter.

Lighthouse against a clear ocean coast.

Frankie at Heceta Head Lighthouse @catebattles

For some nautical history, the Central Coast has some of the most picturesque lighthouses in the state. Heading North from Florence, you’ll pass by Heceta Head Lighthouse, located on a cliff overlooking a beautiful cove. Named after Bruno de Heceta, a Spanish explorer and navigator who surveyed Oregon’s shore in 1775, the lighthouse was constructed in 1892 and remains one of the most iconic lighthouses along the coast. Today, you can either see it from the beach below or take the short trail up to the lighthouse.

Continuing on hwy101, the coastline becomes more rugged as you approach Cape Perpetua, home to some of the most impressive volcanic geology the West Coast has to offer. The best way to explore this area is to download a map that shows you where to spot some of these natural features since some of these features aren’t well marked. To get an idea of the tumultuous nature of Oregon’s Pacific waters, drop by Thor’s Well, a 20ft hole carved out of the black basalt shoreline that fills up with water below and sporadically spews it out in geyser-like bursts. Down the road is Devil’s Churn, a rocky volcanic chasm whose waves violently churn inside the 80ft wide gully. Unlike most coastal points of interest, these places are best to visit during high tide. Afterward, get a birds-eye view by taking the quick drive up to the Cape Perpetua overlook that offers commanding views of the ocean and hwy101 below. Just a couple miles from Cape Perpetua is the charming town of Yachats, pronounced “Ya-Hots” which has some great coffee shops and seafood restaurants like the Drift Inn Café.

A bridge arching over a wide river.

Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newort @catebattles

From Yachats, head North over the art deco-era Yaquina Bay Bridge to the city of Newport. While in Newport, visit the Yaquina Head lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse along Oregon’s coast, and explore the many tide pools below the cliff. To see one of the coolest natural features of Oregon’s Coast, take the quick hike to Devils Punchbowl. This open-sky cavern can only be safely accessed during low tide; however, it can be viewed from above at high tide as the frothy water swirls around like a bubbling cauldron. The punchbowl, likely created when the roof of two sea caves collapsed, comprises a sandstone/siltstone mix and is beautifully adorned with vibrant multi-colored moss and crustaceans.

A lone figure crosses a suspension footbridge.

Hiking Drift Creek Falls near Lincoln City @catebattlesContinuing along hwy101, you’ll enter the community of Depoe Bay, whose claim to fame is having the world’s smallest natural navigable harbor; a snug 6 acres. The town is small, but their wildlife viewing opportunities are immense. Dubbed the “Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast,” it’s possible to spot the gray whale year-round, but the best months for whale watching run from December- February and March-May when they traverse the waters between Alaska and Mexico. To get a better view of the migrating whales, Tradewind Charters offers trips where you can view these magnificent creatures up close.

The last major municipality of Oregon’s central coast is Lincoln City, a town that holds several year-round events, one most notably called, “Finders Keepers.” To entice out-of-towners to visit the area, Finders Keepers is a city-sponsored program that works with local glass artists to scatter thousands of orbs along their 7-mile coastline throughout the year. Beachcombers and treasure hunters alike are encouraged to search for these hidden glass balls and take them home. If you enjoy hiking and don’t mind leaving the beach, close to town is one of the coolest hikes along the Oregon coast. The trail to Drift Creek Falls features a 270ft suspension bridge, waterfall, and the lush scenery of the Siuslaw National Forest.

 Northern Oregon Coast

A lone goat stands on a beach as sun rays splash on the sand.

Rays break through the trees at Hug Point  @catebattles

Shortly after leaving Lincoln City, you’ll arrive in Neskowin, where you’ll find clues of Oregon’s past. Only visible during a negative tide, is the eerie remnants of an ancient forest, concealed for centuries after the major Cascadian Subduction Zone earthquake during the 1700s. These ancient stumps that have been carbon-dated to around 2,000 years old are all that remain of the Sitka forest that covered the area for a couple millennia. When the earthquake dropped the land into the tidal zone, the ocean water rushed in, burying the stumps in mud and sand, which helped preserve them.

From Neskowin, cross over the marshes of the Nestucca Wildlife Refuge and stray from Highway 101 to follow the Three Capes Scenic Loop. There you’ll pass Cape Lookout, Cape Meares, and Cape Kiwanda, known for its colorful sand dune. Merging back onto the highway, you’ll enter the town of Tillamook, a town that may be best known for its famous cheese factory, where you can take a tour and sample the different cheeses. Continuing North from Tillamook, plan to stop at Hug Point State Recreation Area, one of the most photogenic beaches along the coast that features several sea caves as well as a waterfall that cascades down to the beach.

A giant rock rises from the wet shoreline and dominates the horizon.

The iconic Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach @catebattles

Heading north, you’ll pass several resort towns, including Manzanita, Seaside, and most notably Cannon Beach. Perhaps most recognized as the filming location for the beloved coming-of-age classic, The Goonies, Haystack Rock is one of the most iconic landmarks in Oregon. The shoreline itself is not as impressive as some of the other places mentioned, but the beach is soft and wide, allowing extra space for the crowds of people who visit there. Adjacent to Cannon Beach is Ecola State Park, which offers great hiking trails and views of the coastline.

The final town along the Oregon Coast is Astoria, situated along the mouth of the Columbia River. This area is known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific” as it’s the final resting place of numerous shipwrecks over thehttps://www.oregonlive.com/history/2021/03/we-mapped-every-major-shipwreck-at-the-graveyard-of-the-pacific.html years. One of the most famous of these wrecks also happens to be one of the most easily accessible. Located in Fort Stevens State Park, take the short walk down to the beach and explore the wreck of the Peter Iredale during low tide. This four-masted steel barque sailing vessel ran ashore on October 25th, 1906 after failing to navigate the rough waters to the Columbia River.

Two people and a goat stand in front of the hulk of a damaged ship.

Cate, Chad and Frankie at the Peter Iredale @catebattles

After exploring the Peter Iredale, finish your coastal journey at the ending point of another famous voyage, the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In 1805 the Corps of Discovery pulled their canoes up along the banks of what would later become Fort Clatsop. Today, you can visit the replicated fort and follow the footsteps of these early explorers.

Source: Best Beaches and Stunning Sights on the Oregon Coast

Beer Batter Campsite Pancakes

Beer Batter Campsite Pancakes

Pancakes are a camping breakfast staple. They’re easy to make, they last for a few days in the fridge (if you even have any leftover), and are incredibly customizable. And while basic pancake mix is a great standby, sometimes you need to mix it up a bit. And a great way to do that is by swapping out the water or milk for beer! The carbonation in the beer makes pancakes light and fluffy, and the flavor add a little extra zing to the taste.

Many pancakes placed around a blue plate

Photo by Kacey Cribari

These beer pancakes the perfect breakfast meal to eat on their own smothered in syrup, or as a side to bacon and eggs. And like all pancakes, they’re very easy to make. Simply mix together the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and the beer, mix everything together, and cook the batter in a pan or on a griddle.

Tips on Ingredients

Since this pancake recipe can be adjusted to fit your tastes, we’ve listed a few optional ingredient suggestions below.

Flour:  We used all-purpose flour in this recipe to make the pancakes light and fluffy. You can also use whole wheat flour, but they’ll be denser and possibly drier. If you want to use whole wheat flour, try a 50/50 blend of all-purpose and whole wheat to keep some of the lightness.

Whipped egg getting poured into bowl of flour

Photo by Kacey Cribari

Beer: Now, for the best part of these pancakes – the beer! The style of beer you use will impact the flavor of the pancakes, which gives you a variety of options. Lighter beers like pilsners and lagers will give a mild taste, which is what we used in this recipe. However, you can also use darker beers for a more pronounced beer flavor. Fruited or fruit infused beers are also a fantastic option. Try using a blueberry or raspberry beer with fresh berries as a topping. Or fruited citrus beers or hefeweizens are also delicious options. You can even use heavier beers like a gingerbread stout or dark porter for cozy fall tasting pancakes. Those go particularly well with chocolate chips!

Can of beer pouring into bowl of flour and egg

Photo by Kacey Cribari

Just remember these pancakes aren’t cooked long or hot enough for the alcohol in the beer to be cooked off, so keep these cakes for the adults. Root beer, 7-Up or Sprite, and cream soda all make excellent substitutes if you’re looking for a kid friendly version.

Toppings: These pancakes are fantastic with maple syrup, but you can also enjoy them with butter, honey, fruit, jam, chocolate chips, or any of your favorite pancake toppings. Pick a topping that compliments the type of beer you use!

For a delicious caramel camp waffles recipe, click here.

The Pancake Batter

If you’re looking for less prep work at your campsite you can premix the dry ingredients at home before you leave. Just throw it in a resealable bag or jar and dump it into a large bowl once you’re ready to make the pancakes. Or you can totally cheat and use a powdered pancake mix, replacing the amount of liquid in their instructions with beer instead. You can also add in berries, chocolate chips, or fruit to the batter if desired before cooking.

Cooking Equipment

Blue bowl of batter next to outdoor stove

Photo by Kacey Cribari

Make sure you use a large bowl when mixing the batter. The carbonation in the beer will start to foam as you add it to the dry ingredients, and you might end up with a volcano of batter overflowing a small mixing bowl. If you’re worried about spilling, add the beer slowly and start by only pouring in half the can. Then give everything a good stir to start mixing the liquid into the dry ingredients. Add the rest of the beer and finish mixing everything together so it’s fully combined. Don’t overmix the batter through, or you’ll dissipate all the carbonation and the pancakes won’t be as fluffy.

Now how to cook these? One of the great things about pancakes is that you can cook them over on a variety of surfaces. You can use an electric griddle, a Blackstone, or on a nonstick pan on a camp stove. You can even cook these in a cast iron skillet over the campfire, but a griddle or camp stove set up will take less time. If you’re using a stainless steel or cast iron pan, add some oil or butter to help the pancakes easily flip without sticking to the pan.

Three pancakes cooking on stove

Photo by Kacey Cribari

Beer Batter Campsite Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 twelve oz can of beer (or root beer)
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter or vegetable/canola oil, plus more for cooking if using a cast iron pan

Directions

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. If making this recipe at home beforehand, store the mix in a resealable bag or container until needed at the campsite then dump into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Beat eggs in small bowl with oil or melted butter.
  3. Add egg mixture and beer to the dry ingredients. The beer will foam up as it’s poured, so make sure you’re using a large enough bowl and add the beer slowly.
  4. Mix the ingredients until just combined. You don’t want to overmix the batter, which can lose the carbonation.
  5. Preheat your griddle or pan to medium heat. If using a cast iron pan, add 1 tbsp butter or oil to pan.
  6. Ladle 1/4 cup of the batter onto the hot pan or griddle for each pancake.
  7. When the tops of the pancakes start to bubble and the bottoms are golden brown, flip the pancakes over. This usually takes about 2-4 minutes per side.
  8. Cook the second side until lightly browned and remove from heat.
  9. Serve with syrup, berries, or your toppings of choice.

If you have any leftovers you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also store them in an airtight container in the freezer. Let the frozen pancakes thaw in the fridge, then pop them in a toaster or heat them over a pan or griddle to warm them back up.

Stack of pancakes

Photo by Kacey Cribari

Source: Beer Batter Campsite Pancakes

Discover Crystal River, Florida: The Manatee Capital of the World

Discover Crystal River, Florida: The Manatee Capital of the World

Home of the Manatee

Crystal River and Florida’s Citrus County, located on the Gulf of Mexico, are an easy drive from Orlando and Tampa yet a world away from Florida’s busy theme parks and beaches. This is Florida in its natural state and nothing quite defines the natural wonders of Florida like the manatee. Crystal River and Homosassa are among the only places in the world where you can swim with manatees in their natural habitat.

More manatees gather in the waters of Crystal River and nearby Homosassa than anywhere else in Florida, giving it the name The Manatee Capital of the World. As many as 1,000 manatees — one-sixth of Florida’s manatee population–shelter in the 73°F (23°C) clear springs here each winter.

Swim with Manatee Tours and “Dry” tours—tours where you don’t get in the water–get you close to these amazing mammals on water while Three Sisters Springs Refuge and Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park provide an amazing up-close view from land.

Girl treading water smiling and holding a scallop

Photo: Discover Crystal River Florida

Diving for Scallops

In summer, the delectable Florida bay scallop draws hungry visitors to the Big Bend region of Florida to dive for scallops living in shallow water seagrass beds just offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.

Diving for scallops is often described as an underwater Easter Egg Hunt where guides provide everything you need. Afterward, you can enjoy the day’s catch at one of Crystal River and Homosassa’s many Seafood Restaurants where chefs are happy to prepare your fresh caught dinner with distinct regional flare.

A silver water tower rises above a town.

Photo: Discover Crystal RIver Florida

Florida’s Cycle City

For outdoor adventure and year-round fun, the City of Inverness can’t be beat. Right at the center of Florida’s 46-mile-long Withlacoochee State Recreation Trail, the city has truly embraced a cycling ethos with the impressive Depot District knitting together the cycling Trail with three lake-front parks and the city’s lively downtown which features restaurants, pubs, and even a microbrewery.

RV Haven

With over 2000 RV spaces, Florida’s Citrus County has all the variety you could hope for in your stay. From the Gulf of Mexico to the inland lakes, the waterfront awaits at Nature’s Resort and the Crystal Isles Resort. Or choose the secluded quiet and full amenities of forested Rock Crusher Canyon. Either way, getting around here is always a breeze and fun is just a few traffic-free minutes away.

A Premier Florida Eco-Tourism Destination

Crystal River and Florida’s Citrus County stand out for a wide array of true natural Florida experiences. Whether it’s cycling, hiking, birding or fishing, you’ll find inspiring and restorative natural settings and welcoming small towns where the pace is easier and there is room to roam.

Discover Crystal River Florida.

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam provides everything you need to have a good trip. From savings on accessories and services to finding a campground, roadside assistance, insurance and specialized products and services designed to enhance RV and outdoor lifestyle.

Source: Discover Crystal River, Florida: The Manatee Capital of the World

6 Easy RV Hacks to Survive Summer Heat

6 Easy RV Hacks to Survive Summer Heat

Hot weather RVing is sometimes impossible to avoid. But my favorite RV hacks to survive summer heat waves can help you get through it. From a sweltering blast of heat in the Colorado Rockies, to a scorching July RVing in the Midwest, this is what I’ve discovered about the best ways to keep cool and enjoy the long, lazy days of summer.

My Favorite RV Hacks to Survive Summer

It seems easy enough to point your RV north to escape summer heat waves. You could also go high-altitude mountain camping, if that’s convenient. But during the last 14 years of fulltime RVing, I’ve found that breaking camp to search for cooler temperatures isn’t always possible. Sure, heatwaves happen, but they tend to disrupt life at the most inconvenient times, like when my RVing pet needs vet care or a family member requires help. Despite occasional hot weather challenges, we’ve learned to keep our tempers cool with these easy RV hacks to survive summer heatwaves.

Heatwave Hack 1: Take Advantage of Shade

Woman lounging in RV with dog in patio area.

Getty Images

If you have the option to orient your RV in any direction, always park in a way that gives you the most shade. For example, a trailer owner should point the rig west to northwest. Campers with motorhomes and vans should point the windshield north. If your RV is like most, with your door and awning on the passenger side, taking advantage of the sun’s movement will give you shade throughout the day (presuming you’re camping in the northern hemisphere). When parking choices are limited, look for a campsite that allows you to face either of those directions. Don’t forget to consult RV park maps before you book a specific site.

Heatwave Hack 2: Don’t Cook (or do it outside)

A couple sitting outside of a silver motorhome with grill.

Photo: John Gibbons

When the mercury rises, our bodies naturally slow down our appetites in order to save energy. Instead of working hard to digest food, the automatic processes in our bodies exert effort into staying cool. Help yours along by preparing simple, cool, easy-summer salads and snacks that don’t require cooking. Gotta cook? Take it outside with a portable RV barbecue grill or outdoor stove. The inside of your RV will stay cooler and you’ll get more time to relax instead of cleaning up.

Heatwave Hack 3: Shade Your Freshwater Hose

rv tech tip for water hookups

Photo courtesy of Trailer Life/MotorHome.

Asphalt and concrete temperatures can rise to 180 degrees during the hottest part of the day. Unfortunately, RVers hooked up to utilities don’t have the luxury of underground plumbing, which can make drinking from the kitchen faucet a miserable experience. If you’re in a park when a heatwave strikes, get your freshwater intake hose off the ground and into shade. Set it under your rig, cover it with a towel, or slide some cardboard between your hose and the ground and then cover it. Shading your RV water hose is such a simple idea, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it myself! This is one of those easy RV hacks to survive summer that I picked up from other RVers.

Heatwave Hack 4: Ditch Electric Fans (or try this hack if you must use one)

Last summer during a triple-digit heatwave, I bought two electric fans to cool our RV, us and our dog. Later I realized that I was doing more harm than good. Research shows that unless the outside temperature is under 95 degrees Fahrenheit, fans just push hot air around and do not cool people or pets during extreme heat. Our brains might think fans are helping, but our bodies’ internal thermostat still works overtime and pushes us closer to heat exhaustion. Staying hydrated is one of the best cooling hacks you can do. Drink extra water and encourage your pet to do the same with ice cubes and popsicles made from no-salt chicken or beef broth. Wear cooling scarves and get a cooling vest for your dog, too. If your RV has two ceiling vent fans with reversible directions, you can create a cross breeze by setting one fan to pull air in and the other to push air out.

Heatwave Hack 5: Cover Windows and Skylights with Reflective Insulation

There’s nothing I love more than morning sun. But in a heatwave, starting the day off in warm sunshine creates a cascading effect of inescapable, day-long heat. When you know a heatwave is coming, cover any windows and skylights with reflective insulation. Start with your reflective dashboard sunshade and work your way back. Install adhesive-backed hook-and-loop fastener tape in each corner of your skylights and RV door to cover them with reflective insulation. When you’re not using the RV air conditioner, keep some windows open but partially covered to encourage airflow.

Heatwave Hack 6: Maintain Your RV Air Conditioner Unit

Silver Bullet trailer under hot sun

Photo: John Gibbons

It sounds like common sense, but like many RVers, I’m also guilty of neglecting RV air conditioning maintenance. With heatwaves now a regular part of summer living, I’m moving this RV maintenance job to the top of our priority list. Doing it is as simple as starting with removal and hand-rinsing of the internal air filters located at the unit’s intake area. Next, a rooftop inspection and dirt and debris removal around the A/C evaporator box can also improve efficiency and keep the RV cool during extreme temperatures. Here’s a helpful AC Maintenance Tips article to get started with more RV air conditioning maintenance tips.

The more you travel, the more you’ll find that living on the road doesn’t have to leave RVers vulnerable to extreme weather events. Preparing for the worst heatwave so you can enjoy the best of RV life keeps everyone on-board safe, comfortable and ready for adventures wherever you roam.

Source: 6 Easy RV Hacks to Survive Summer Heat

Connecting With Nimiipuu Culture in the Lewis Clark Valley

Connecting With Nimiipuu Culture in the Lewis Clark Valley

Nimiipuu, “the people,” were created in North Central Idaho at the dawn of time, according to tribal legend. French Fur Traders gave them the name Nez Perce when they began trading with the tribe. Today, visitors can view petroglyphs in Hells Canyon dating back more than 12,000 years ago, depicting stories of a time gone by told by the Nez Perce of Lewis Clark Valley.

The Nez Perce saved the lives of the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition, who entered this area hungry and without adequate shelter from the harsh winter. The explorers would likely have suffered a tragic ending if not for the assistance of the Nimiipuu. The tribe provided them food, shelter, and guidance for months while they were stuck here in the region that straddles the border between what is now Idaho and Washington.

Petroglyphs adorn a sheer rock face.

Petroglyphs in Hells Canyon. Photo: Lewis Clark Valley

Today, the tribe hosts PowWows and other community events in various locations throughout the year. Tribal enterprises include forest products, limestone quarry operations, two popular casinos, an RV park, convenience stores and the Red Wolf Golf Club. Travelers are welcomed today just as the Nez Perce welcomed the Corps of Discovery Expedition nearly 200 years ago.

Nez Perce Tourism is the warm welcome to Nimiipuu Country, offering the only tours created to connect you to Nimiipuu culture through interactive storytelling, song, drum and dance. From riverbeds to mountain tops, Nez Perce Tourism offers land and water journeys, giving insight into the Nimiipuu way of life, past and present.

The rich history and customs of Nimiipuu are featured at the Nez Perce National Historical Park’s interpretive center and museum. The park includes 24 separate sites and offers informational programs to educate people about the tribe. The park memorializes Nimiipuu history and culture. It also houses a fine collection of Nez Perce clothing and accouterments, utilitarian artifacts, a dug-out canoe and a model of an ancient lodge.

Click here to learn more about this amazing culture.

Paid for in part by a grant from Idaho Tourism

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam Camping

Good Sam provides everything you need to have a good trip. From savings on accessories and services to finding a campground, roadside assistance, insurance and specialized products and services designed to enhance RV and outdoor lifestyle.

Source: Connecting With Nimiipuu Culture in the Lewis Clark Valley

35 New Good Sam Parks Expand Your Camping Horizons

35 New Good Sam Parks Expand Your Camping Horizons

Ready to get back on the highway for summer? Good Sam has added 35 new parks to its network for RVers eager to jump into the camping life. Good Sam members can save big with the 10 percent discount, and while you’re exploring, discover all of the RV parks in the Good Sam Network.

If you’re not a member, joining is simple: Purchase a membership at any Good Sam Park, or sign up online. Check each park’s link to determine seasonal availability and to make reservations.

Alabama

Sleepy Holler Campground, Jasper

This friendly park sits about 30 miles from Birmingham and 60 miles from Tuscaloosa, home of the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide. Seventy-five full-hookup sites, many with 50-amp power, ensure comfort.

Arizona

CT RV Resort, Benson

Camp within striking distance of Kartchner Caverns, Tucson, Bisbee and Cochise Stronghold. Enjoy the pool, rec hall and self-service RV wash.

Antelope Point Marina RV Park, Page

Back on the Highway for Summer — RVs parked on a flat campground as the desert sun sets.

Photo: Antelope Point Marina Point RV Park

Camp near the shores of Lake Powell for a boating trip you won’t forget. Enjoy desert beauty in one of the state’s most scenic spots with all the amenities you’ll need.

Florida

Orange Lake RV Resort, Citra

Close to horse country, crystal clear springs and biking trails, this is the park you’ve always wanted. Roomy all-weather sites will make you feel welcome.

Georgia

Harvest Moon RV Park, Adairsville

Back on the Highway for Summer — Skyline of a beautiful modern city.

Atlanta skyline. Photo: Pixabay

Located north of Atlanta, Harvest Moon RV Park has a variety of sites that include 110-foot pull-throughs and back-in sites. Enjoy full hook-ups with 30- and 50-amp power. Check out the rec room for small parties or meetings of up to 50.

4County RV Park & Campground, Danville

Located 40 miles southeast of Macon, this pet-friendly park has roomy pads with fire rings and picnic tables to get you back on the highway for summer.

River Vista RV Resort, Dillard

This park is located in northern Georgia near the border of North Carolina, at the confluence of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains. Amenities like a sauna, spa and fitness center enhance the experience.

Waterside at Blue Ridge Tiny Home and RV Community, Morganton

Waterside at Blue Ridge is a community of tiny homes and RVs that has everything you need for a relaxing getaway in the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest. Take advantage of access to the fishing dock and stocked lake.

Southern Trails RV Resort, Unadilla

This newly renovated resort is located in the heart of Georgia off I-75. Surrounding museums and fun, as well as endless onsite amenities, make this the perfect place to stop whether traveling north or south.

Indiana

Heartland Resort, Greenfield

RVs camping along the banks of a wide river.

Photo: Heartland Resort

Heartland Resort is located in Central Indiana, just 20 minutes east of Indianapolis. Enjoy a quiet, tranquil campground with full hook-ups for RVs of all sizes. Stay for the night or the weekend, or extend your stay for a week or a month.

Louisiana

Maxie’s Campground, Broussard

Nestled under live oak trees, this park has been business for 53 years in beautiful “Cajun Country.” The park sits on U.S. 90 next door to Arceneaux Park and five minutes from the Broussard Sports Complex at St. Julien Park.

Land-O-Pines Family Campground, Covington

This friendly park puts guests just north of Lake Pontchartrain amid the Pelican State’s lush landscapes. Enjoy great fishing as well as fun activities for the whole family.