The RV Atlas is a weekly show exploring RV and family travel. Every episode has a feature segment highlighting the RV industry, the campground industry, tips and tricks, or destination guides. We also include gear reviews and interviews with interesting personalities from all arenas of the RV industry.
The RV Atlas is a weekly show exploring RV and family travel. Every episode has a feature segment highlighting the RV industry, the campground industry, tips and tricks, or destination guides. We also include gear reviews and interviews with interesting personalities from all arenas of the RV industry.
Are you looking for something new and unexpected for your next great road trip? Then why not take a good look at Maryland’s Scenic Byways? An RV, cabin, or tent camping trip along one of these 18 scenic byways can include mountains, rivers, lakes, beaches, cities, quaint small towns, historical site seeing, epic seafood and endless options for outdoor adventures. In short–a road trip through Maryland can be anything you want it to be. The state has a diverse landscape and a rich cultural heritage that is well worth exploring. When it comes to campgrounds, the state also has a wide variety of options, from posh RV resorts, to breathtaking state and national park campgrounds with sites right on the beach. So whether you are a glamper, a tent camper, or an RV owner–we think its time you gave Maryland’s Scenic Byways a good look.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort: Williamsport, Maryland
Assateague Island National Seashore: Berlin, Maryland
We roadtrip through Maryland every single fall, and we have made magical memories along the way–and we know you will too. We hope your journey starts right here. Here are quick breakdowns of our personal favorite scenic byways for an RV or camping centric road trip. To check out the entire list of Maryland’s Scenic Byways click here for maps, detailed itineraries, and photos and videos that will help you plan your trip.
To listen to Jeremy and Stephanie talk about Maryland’s Scenic Byways on a special episode of The RV Atlas podcast, click on the media player above, or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your favorite shows. This special blog post, and the accompanying podcast, are sponsored by the Maryland Office of Tourism.
Maryland has mountains! The western corner of Maryland often gets overlooked because of the state’s stunning beaches and coastal waterways–but the Mountain Maryland Scenic Byway is well worth visiting. Outdoor activities abound in all four seasons with great options for hiking, fishing, skiing, and boating. We like fall the best in Mountain Maryland–when the leaves change color and the crisp evenings are perfect for campfires. When visiting this Scenic Byway–make sure you don’t miss Keyser’s Ridge. The views are spectacular.
Also make sure to check out Swallow Falls State Park and visit Muddy Creek Falls–it is Maryland’s tallest free-falling waterfall. The campground at Swallow Falls State Park is also excellent. It has 65 wooded campsites and several well-equipped camper cabins that are perfect for a weekend getaway. There are even a few sites with electrical hookups! But make sure you book early if you want one of those.
Many of Maryland’s Scenic Byways offer a diverse landscape, but perhaps none more so than the Historic National Road Scenic Byway. It cuts across the top of the state from the northwestern corner to Baltimore. You can start in the city and work your way across the state from east to west–or start in the countryside in the western part of the state and end up in the city. Our family has loved visiting Baltimore for decades. When we go, we always head to the Inner Harbor first. Every time we go we try to visit the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) and catch a baseball game at Camden Yards, our favorite stadium in the country.
Getting a pit beef platter at Boog’s BBQ Pit is a must when we take in a ball game at Camden Yards–and we have even met Boog Powell there during one of our trips! He was kind enough to sign autographs for all three of our kids. The National Aquarium (formerly known as the Baltimore Aquarium) is another great option for families visiting the city.
When visiting Baltimore don’t forget to check out the Charles Street Scenic Byway. The options for food and culture are terrific. The flowers at Sherwood Gardens are amazing in the spring, and the Baltimore Museum of Art has a stunning collection of art by Henri Matisse. We recommend camping at Cherry Hill Park in College Park Maryland when visiting the city. They have RV sites that will accommodate rigs of all sizes, and a variety of cabins. Cherry Hill Park is open year-around–and so is Charles Street!
Maryland’s Scenic Byways have great camping options. The most unique byway for those that love to tent camp (or own small RV’s) may be the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Scenic Byway. Along this byway you will find 5 reservable drive-in campgrounds for tenters and small RVs-and over 30 hiker-biker campgrounds for those that are looking for a foot-powered adventure. There is great biking on the Western Maryland Rail Trail and on various spots along the canal–so combining a camping and biking trip is an absolute blast. We also recommend bringing your kayak or renting one from an outfitter when visiting this Scenic Byway. The fly fishing is also great in a variety of spots along the canal.
Antietam Campaign Scenic Byway
Our family visited Antietam National Battlefield when our kids were very young–but we know it still made a huge impression on them. We attended a ranger-led talk that the kids still talk about to this day. The historical reenactments of the bloodiest single-day battle of the Civil War and the events surrounding it are also fascinating. If you are looking to camp near Antietam, there are several good options in nearby Hagerstown–including a KOA and a Jellystone. After touring the battlefields and taking in a ranger-led talk, head into downtown Frederick for a terrific dinner.
History buffs will love the Star-Spangled Banner Scenic Byway–and so will those that love outdoor recreation. The soldiers that defended Maryland during the war of 1812 inspired the poem that was eventually transformed into our National Anthem. Sites along this scenic byway bring the past to life while two great parks provide plenty of fishing, hiking, swimming, and exploring. Calvert Cliffs State Park also has fossil hunting and really cool cliffs along the Chesapeake Bay and a sandy beach for swimming. Flags Pond Nature Park has great options for those that love to wet a line.
The mighty and culturally rich Susquehanna River offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventurers and for those looking for great food, culture, and antiquing. Our favorite stop along this scenic byway was Havre De Grace. We loved visiting here when our boys were playing in a nearby Ripken baseball tournament. Views of the water abound as you stroll through this town’s charming streets. The shopping is quirky and fun. There are plenty of antique shops, but there are also record shops and stores with sports memorabilia. There are also so many good places to eat that it is hard to choose. Make sure you check out Tydings Park and Concord Point Lighthouse while you are here. They are both lovely spots for a short stroll before or after lunch or dinner.
When visiting the Lower Susquehanna Scenic Byway campers might want to stay at Susquehanna State Park near Havre De Grace. The campground here is lovely and has two loops with a total of 69 sites. Well-equipped camper cabins are also available.
If you decide to take a roadtrip along the Booth’s Escape Scenic Byway, make sure you pick up a copy of Manhunt by James Swanson before you go. This nonfiction page turner will be a perfect primer for a road trip that follows in Booth’s footsteps as he fled from Ford’s Theatre after assassinating Abraham Lincoln. This journey will take you to some of Booth’s hiding places and to other historical sites that bring this dark chapter of our country’s history to life.
When we think of Maryland, our thoughts often turn to the beautiful waters of the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway. Here you will find spectacular kayaking, fishing, stand up paddle boarding, and seafood that is famous the world over. There are so many cute little towns along this byway that would make great spots for a romantic vacation. We love Easton for its charming farmer’s market, film festivals, and shady tree-lined streets. Also make sure to check out Oxford and Chesterton for boating, kayaking, and tons of seafood options.
We really want to check out the Frederick Douglass walking tour in the mid-shore area. Frederick Douglass was a runaway slave who became an author, public speaker, statesmen, and one of the most prominent Americans of the 19th century. His presence and council were even requested in the White House by Abraham Lincoln. African-American history is rich in Maryland as we can also see when we explore the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway.
History buffs will love all of Maryland’s Scenic Byways, but many will put the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway at the top of their lists. Tubman has been hailed as “the Moses of Her People” and for good reason. Like Frederick Douglass, she escaped slavery and dedicated her life to freeing her people. Harriet Tubman helped more than 70 enslaved people escape their captivity and find their way to freedom via the Underground Railroad. She was, perhaps, the railroad’s most famous conductor. To learn more about Harriet Tubman, start your roadtrip at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center.
As you can see, Maryland has so much to offer. A road-trip through the state offers endless opportunities for exploration. The only question is, which Scenic Byway do you want to explore first?
Sep 11 2022
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is surrounded by a wide variety of camping options for RV owners. But none of them are quite like Camp Margaritaville RV Resort and Lodge in Pigeon Forge. This exciting new property seamlessly combines the best aspects of a luxury RV Resort with the best aspects of a cozy and comfortable lodge. The RV resort and lodge truly operate as one cohesive unit. Guests staying in the RV Resort have access to everything that the lodge offers, and vice versa.
This is resort-style camping at its absolute best. Too many places call themselves RV Resorts without delivering the goods, but Camp Margaritaville delivers the goods in spades. Camp Margaritaville Pigeon Forge is our new favorite camping option outside of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you like parking your rig in the lap of luxury–then we think this will be your new favorite option too. RV owners that want to share a vacation with friends and family that don’t own RVs should also rejoice–because a shared vacation with non campers doesn’t get any better than this.
It’s 5 o’ Clock somewhere! Grab a cold drink and let’s take a look around.
Camp Margaritaville Pigeon Forge offered us a complimentary stay at this property. The opinions expressed here are completely our own.
Hot Tub and Pool at Camp Margaritaville, Pigeon Forge
Pool and Splash Ground at Camp Margaritaville, Pigeon Forge
If you love swimming, hot tubbing, or being lazy on a lazy river, then this is your place. The pool, kid’s zone, waterslide, and hot tub are located directly next to the lodge. There is plenty of seating and lots of room to kick back and relax here while your kids play. There is also a bar with food options located directly next to the pool. But more on food and drink later. This whole pool complex (especially the hot tub!) is a terrific spot to return to after a morning of hiking in the park. The thoughtful layout manages to be fun for both kids and adults.
The lazy river is in a separate section of the property, located just behind the lodge. At first you might think that it is odd to have them separated. But we think that the design is very intentional. The lazy river was calm and peaceful. There were no kids splashing around and ruining the relaxed vibe. Kids are allowed here, but this area really seems to be catering to adults who want to earn their license to chill. Both of these areas are really terrific, with views of mountains ringing the property. You would be hard pressed to find better swimming options at a campground in the Pigeon Forge area. Please let us know if you do.
RV Sites at Camp Margaritaville Pigeon Forge
The RV resort at Camp Margaritaville Pigeon Forge is shiny new and super clean. We also found the sites to be very good. The concrete pads were level and the grass and landscaping were lovely. There is not much shade now, but that will improve as the newly planted trees take shape. We also found the sites to be generously sized, though none of them were gigantic. There are sites that are a short walk away from the lodge, for those that want peace and quiet. There are also sites just steps away from the lodge if you want to be close to the pool and other amenities. Some of the sites have steep drop offs behind them. These sites are pleasantly situated, but those camping with small kids should avoid them. The roads throughout the resort are easy to navigate and backing into your site should be easy–even for a big rig.
Pickleball at Camp Margaritaville Pigeon Forge
Overall, the recreational options at this property are excellent. We loved the brand new pickleball courts and appreciated being able to play under the lights. These courts are located at the front of the lodge, just a few steps away from where the RV sites begin. There is also a corn hole game set up right outside of Fins Bar & Chill in the front of the building near the pickleball courts. Your kids can burn some time here while waiting for dinner to be served . You can keep an eye on them while they play because Fins has huge garage doors that get opened up during operating hours.
Behind the lodge near the lazy river there is an activities lawn that is also filled with fun options for recreation. We loved playing ping pong here before and after dinner. This area also has a communal outdoor fire pit and games like volleyball and Ga Ga Ball. Live music is also offered in this area on the weekends. Check at the front desk of the lodge for more information and show times.
The food and drink at Camp Margaritaville Pigeon Forge were also excellent. We loved having breakfast at Fins Breakfast Buffet every morning before heading into the nearby national park. The pancake bar and French toast were very good, and there were lots of other hot and cold options and plenty of fresh fruit. So you can indulge, or eat a healthy breakfast. It’s up to you. We are picky about coffee, and we are please to announce that the coffee was very good.
Lunch and dinner were even better than breakfast. The nachos were world class, and we had the best fish and chips we’ve ever had anywhere. Seriously, they were that good. The service at Fins Bar & Chill was also warm and friendly–as was the service throughout the property. The hiring manager should be applauded. Everyone working here was kind and the bartenders were quick witted and entertaining. The margaritas and loaded Landsharks were superb–but this is to be expected at Camp Margaritaville, no?
In a general sense, we felt that the Camp Margaritaville ethos caters to adults, but is still a blast for kids. Quite frankly, we found this very refreshing as so many campgrounds cater to kids and don’t think much about the adult experience at all. As parents, we felt that the experience here was a well earned respite from the cares and concerns of every day life. We felt comfortable, relaxed, and catered to in every way imaginable.
The Lobby at Camp Margaritaville Pigeon Forge
Fin City Entertainment Center, Camp Margaritaville Pigeon Forge
In some ways the lodge itself is the highlight of the property. And please remember–those staying in the RV resort can walk in and enjoy the great food and all of the amenities. You can even just bring a book and relax in a comfortable chair for a while.
The coolest part about the lodge may be the Fin City Entertainment Center located just downstairs from the main lobby. There is another bar down here, and more options for food–collectively know as the Feeding Frenzy Snack Shack and Bar. They also have Duckpin Bowling, tabletop shuffle board, and an entire separate room filled with pool tables. There is so much to do in the lodge and so many areas for fun indoor recreation. This makes Camp Margaritaville a great place to be on a rainy day. We don’t like rainy days on vacation–but spending one here would be just fine.
Rooms in the lodge are also comfortable, spacious, and reasonably priced. They even have rooms with double queen beds and a separate mini room with two twin beds. Those suites are perfect for families with kids. There is no need to book two hotel rooms here. One of these rooms will do just fine for a family of five or six. Whether you are camping in an RV, or staying in the lodge, we found the accommodations at Camp Margaritaville Pigeon Forge to be outstanding.
We did not want to leave Camp Margaritaville. Admittedly, we were a little bit sad driving home. It was one of those special vacations that sets the bar high for future trips. Having a resort vacation like this just a few minutes away from a magnificent national park is truly a unique experience. We spent our mornings in the park, and our afternoons back on property–and we loved every second of our time in both places. We have been talking a lot about a return trip since we got back home. We’ve got our eyes on the upcoming Camp Margaritaville in the Poconos for a family vacation in 2024. But we may end up visiting the properties in Florida or Georgia first.
It gets awfully cold where we live in the winter—and heading south to another Camp Margaritaville in the winter months may be just what the good doctor ordered. Especially if they serve up those strong Margaritas (and put extra cherries in the Shirley Temples) like they do in Pigeon Forge.
There’s really only one way to find out, isn’t there?
The post Fins Up! Our Visit to Camp Margaritaville Pigeon Forge appeared first on The RV Atlas.
Sep 02 2022
Yogi Bear is back in New Jersey! Thankfully he has found a terrific place to set up camp and steal some pic-a-nic baskets. Jellystone Park South Jersey is located in Williamstown, New Jersey, less than an hour away from Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware. The park was recently converted to a Jellystone, and there are many great things to come. But we think it is well worth visiting right now. There are so many things for kids to do already, especially if they love swimming. The setting is also surprisingly beautiful. We are thrilled to see a Jellystone Park franchise back in New Jersey, and to see that it is a truly excellent campground that families will return to again and again.
Let’s take a look around and see what Jellystone Park South Jersey has to offer its campers!
The Wibit at Jellystone Park South Jersey
The Picnic Area at Jellystone Park South Jersey
The central hub of Jellystone Park South Jersey is situated along Crane Lake. Here you will find a super fun Wibit (an inflatable obstacle course) and areas for picnicking, swimming, renting boats, and plenty of room to fish. This is clearly a resort-styled campground, but the area around the lake has the look and feel of a state park. There are plenty of picnic tables and families often set up camp for the day and even grill there while their kids are swimming.
The Wibit (which has multiple slides, a trampoline area, and more) is the star of the show for kids and teenagers, but there is also a nice swimming spot right next to it where adults can do laps, or just relax and keep an eye on their kids. There are two lifeguards in this area making sure that the kids behave, but it is also advisable to keep an eye on your kids while they play here.
The Wibit at Jellystone Park South Jersey is clearly a big hit and a real differentiator. We can’t think of any other campgrounds in New Jersey that have one. There is no additional charge for using the Wibit at this campground.
Fishing is also a popular activity at this Jellystone, and kids and families were set up around the lake casting their lines. The entire atmosphere around the lake was chill and relaxing and filled with great summer vibes. There is also plenty of room to spread out and the overarching design seems to handle a crowd really well.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts is a sponsor of The RV Atlas podcast. To listen to our complete review of Jellystone Park South Jersey, please click on the media player above. Or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your shows.
The well stocked camp store and snack stand (with walk up window) are right near the Wibit area. Families that are not grilling or eating their own prepared food can get burgers, dogs, chicken fingers, and more. The food is good and fairly priced. The service was also fast and friendly. Hand scooped ice cream is available here, and they dish up a variety of flavors with generous portion sizes. It is a perfect set up for a day of fun in and around the water. Once you set up camp for the day in this spot by the lake there is really no reason to leave. You can easily spend the better part of a day right there.
A wide variety of Jellystone merch is available in the camp store. So are essentials like milk, eggs, and butter–just in case you forget something. They also stock a small selection of RV parts and things like band-aids, neosperene, and aspirin. Overall, it is a very cute little camp store. Make sure you grab a fun family souvenir before you leave.
The Swimming Pools at Jellystone Park South Jersey
Jellystone Park South Jersey also has two pools. The more relaxing adult-centric pool is located right alongside the lake. This area tends to get a nice breeze, even on the hottest of days. Kids are allowed in this pool, but it definitely serves as a nice spot for adults to hang out and talk or just cool off and read a book. At the time of this writing, this pool does not have pool chairs of any kind. You have to bring your own. We have mixed feelings about this policy, but suspect that it will change as the park fully integrates the Jellystone brand.
The second pool is great for kids. There are fun obstacles and splash pad features, and there is even a whirlpool area where you have to make the whirlpool yourself by swimming around in a circle. Kids (and even whole families) were having loads of fun spinning around in a vortex of their own creation! This is also a “bring your own chair” pool. So don’t forget if you plan on spending some time here. Between the lake and the two pools this is a really terrific campground for swimming. it is possibly the best campground for swimming in all of New Jersey. So bring a towel, a lawn chair, and some suntan lotion and plan on staying for a while!
Lakefront Sites at Jellystone Park South Jersey
The vast majority of the RV sites are at Jellystone Park South Jersey are very good. The lakefront sites are awesome–if you can get one. There are not that many of them, and they are in high demand. The lakefront sites, and the sites throughout the campground, are spacious and shady. When choosing a site, consider how close, or how far, you want to be away from the fun and activity around the lake. Pricing for RV sites is dynamic, and changes based on supply and demand. The prices are definitely on the higher end of the spectrum. But there is much included with your site fee. As mentioned, the Wibit is available to all campers at no additional cost. Factor in the extra “free” entertainment when evaluating the campsite fees.
Organized Activities and Recreation
The pools and the lake may be the stars of the show at Jellystone Park South Jersey. But the campground offers up much more. There is a separate field with a playground and games like Ga Ga Ball in a totally separate part of the park. This area is tucked away from the busy lake area, but is also a nice spot for campers with young kids. If your kids still spend time on the playground, or if they love Ga Ga Ball, then consider booking a site in this area. The sites that ring the field are also spacious and shady.
There is a nice arcade for rainy days, and there is a robust list of activities that you will receive upon checking in. Your kids will certainly not get bored at Jellystone Park South Jersey–or at any Jellystone for that matter. This system of campgrounds is well-known for providing great attractions and amenities for families at locations across the country.
Jellystone Park South Jersey is already a great option for a family camping trip. And the owners are planning on making lots of exciting additions for 2023. There are more cabins on the way, and they are adding laser tag and other family-friendly attractions. We can’t wait to see what is in store for this campground. Hopefully we can make a return trip next summer!
Aug 31 2022
Where are the best fall camping destinations in the country? We asked our friends at Campspot to come on The RV Atlas podcast this week and share their top picks. They came up with an eclectic list of the 10 best fall camping destinations in the country. To listen to our interview with Erin Stender from Campspot, click on the media player above. Or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your shows.
Summer and fall are often cited as the two best seasons for camping. In many parts of the country, campgrounds shut down in early winter. RV’s also get winterized for the season. And while winter has its passionate devotees, few would claim it as the best season for camping. Spring can be lovely in many parts of the country. But sometimes winter hangs on for too long. Pools are not always open, and swimming in a lake or the ocean is only possible in the warmest locales. For many RV owners, spring camping is exciting–but because of what comes next!
For most campers in most locations summer and fall camping are clearly the best. We have had many lively debates around the campfire about which season offers the most magnificent camping experience. Summer may be better for long family vacations and endless opportunities for swimming, but fall is more temperate, with warm days and cool nights in many locations across the country. Fall is the perfect time for hiking, camp cooking, and for crackling campfires shared with family and friends. Here at The RV Atlas, we have always argued that when it comes to camping–fall is the best!
Are you looking for great places to camp this fall? Then check out Campspot’s 10 best fall camping destinations by clicking right here. Their list includes campgrounds and locations across the country that are often overlooked as great fall camping spots. Places like Santa Claus, Indiana, San Dimas, California, and Jekyll Island, Georgia.
Jellystone Park, Luray Virginia
For many people fall camping means chasing foliage in New England or bust. But Campspot’s list will inspire you to look at campgrounds near Big Bend National Park, and Shenandoah National Park, and so many more. We hope that you find at least one great campground to add to your bucket list for this fall. We know that you may be hanging on to every last second of summer just like we are. But maybe it is time to embrace the fall, and to embrace fall camping.
Maverick Ranch RV Park, Texas
We know that we will be embracing fall camping in 2022, just like we have for the past decade. But we might try to squeeze in one more summer camping trip first. Because we know that summer will end in the blink of an eye. Just like it always does.
Aug 26 2022
Maine is quite possibly one of the most beautiful places to camp in the U.S. RVers have so many magnificent choices that it can be hard to decide where to go. Hopefully, this roundup of 5 of the best campgrounds in Maine can help you develop your bucket list.
Whether you want to camp in the White Mountains, near Acadia National Park, or along the Atlantic Coast, we have a recommendation for you! Plus, you are in for a visual treat.
To hear Kendra and Tyler from One Y One tell us more about each campground, click play on the media player above or look for The RV Atlas on your preferred podcast app. Thank you to Kendra and Tyler for providing the amazing photographs in this roundup! You really get a taste of Maine thanks to these great photos.
If you want a fun, small family campground experience in Maine, check out On the Saco Family Campground in Brownfield. This park is located near the White Mountain National Forest, just an hour from Mt. Washington, and features 1,700 feet of frontage along the Saco River.
On the Saco Family Campground offers:
While the amenities are all great, the homey environment is what truly makes On the Saco Family Campground one of the best campgrounds in Maine!
You can’t go to Maine without getting an iconic lighthouse photo, and Bass Harbor Campground in Bass Harbor is a perfect spot. This is right across the street from the Bass Harbor Lighthouse in Acadia National Park. Being able to walk over from the campground is such a bonus since the parking lot fills quickly. Be sure to go for a sunset!
Bass Harbor Campground features:
Here’s one more gorgeous photo of Bass Harbor Campground!
“Downeast” Maine is the area close to the border with New Brunswick, Canada, and Wildfox Cabins & Campground in Lakeville gives you a great taste of the Downeast region. The campground is located on Junior Lake, which has 11 other interconnected lakes in a chain.
This place is amazingly beautiful in fall. It is especially remote and offers a good chance for spotting wildlife, including moose.
Here are just a few of the features that make Wild Fox one of the best campgrounds in Maine:
If you want to give boondocking a try without going too far off the beaten path, this is a great place to try it out!
Moose Creek RV Resort in Greenville is brand-new campground that opened in July of 2022. It is located one mile from Moosehead Lake in Maine’s highlands in the Appalachian Mountains. Unlike many of the other selections in this roundup of the best campgrounds in Maine, this one is a little more of a resort. While the campground is more manicured, you’ll find many magnificent views, hikes, and wilderness to explore in the area.
Moose Creek RV Resort offers:
Boothbay Craft Brewery, Taphouse & RV is such a fun, unique option, as you can tell by the name! The brewery and taphouse came first, and the owners noticed a ton of RVers were visting, so they added some RV sites. Located by one of inlets along the Gulf of Maine, this campground is just about an hour up the coast from Portland. It’s close to Freeport, which is a great place for shopping (don’t miss the LL Bean–this place is huge!).
Boothbay Craft Brewery, Taphouse & RV offers:
Doesn’t this food look amazing?! Can you even imagine how fun it would be to camp here? It goes to show that thinking outside of the box can offer a really memorable experience.
We can’t talk about the best campgrounds in Maine without mentioning a few more favorites:
Thanks for taking this tour of the great state of Maine with us! We hope you feel inspired to get out and explore all that this state offers. Right now, a lot of well-known travel destinations can be a little crowded, so don’t be afraid to look beyond the obvious locales. Just pick a state and begin exploring! Even in the off-the-beaten-path state of Maine, you can find so many amazing campgrounds and diverse experiences!
Click play on the media player to hear the full details about each park and to find out which region Tyler and Kendra love most in Maine! And, be sure to check out One y One. Look for @HistoricalCamping on Instagram, too, to see some curated photos of campsites from yesteryear!
Aug 22 2022
Have you ever been on a family vacation and wondered how much more of a vacation it would be without the kids? Once you have teenagers, you quite likely can go RVing without kids, but should you leave them home alone? Before deciding whether they should stay home or go with you, there are some considerations, pros, cons, and preparations you should think through.
Maybe images of Home Alone and teen-movie house parties pop into your mind as you even consider the idea of leaving your teenagers home alone. However, with a little thought and prep, you, too, can be on your way to a kid-free vacay!
Of course, the age of the kids in question matters. We are talking about older teens here–the older they are, the more freedom you might have. While your kids are younger, they may stay with friends and family, but as they get more independent, they can manage to stay home alone.
To listen to our interview with Kerri Cox, please click on the media player above, or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your favorite shows. Kerri has two young adult sons and writes about her travels with–and without–them on Travels with Birdy. Thanks to Kerri for providing several photos for this post as well.
Do these boys look ready to manage the house while their parents are out vacationing?
Aside from the laws in your state, there is no set age for determining whether or not you can leave your kids home alone overnight. Really, you have to consider the maturity level of your own teenage. Ask yourself these questions to help you decide:
Without your kids around, you have more time for the hobbies you prefer. You don’t have to make group decisions.
Finding yourself at a beautiful campsite without your kids is definitely bittersweet since you might miss them, even while you have fun:
Whether or not you leave your kids home alone while RVing is a very personal decision that comes from your comfort level and your kids’ comfort level. However, as you all develop confidence with it, you can possibly get a taste of the empty nester life in your mobile empty nest.
To hear more about Kerri’s experiences and trips for RVing without kids, click play on the media player or look for this episode of The RV Atlas on your podcast player. We shared a great discussion about parenting that extends far beyond RV travel!
Aug 14 2022
The St. Augustine Beach KOA Holiday is a solid basecamp option for exploring the east coast of northern Florida. We truly love this campground’s location. This region of Florida can often get overlooked by points further south. But the beaches here are beautiful. The area is also rich with history and culture. So plan on spending a week here if you can. A single weekend just won’t suffice to really soak in all that the area has to offer. The KOA is located on St. Augustine Beach at the intersection of the A1A and Pope Road. It is on the southern edge of St. Augustine, and is only about ¾ of a mile from the beach. So make sure you bring your sandals and beach towels!
KOA’s are all designated as Journeys, Holidays, or Resorts. Journeys are intended to service as a comfortable spot for a quick overnight stay on your way to other destinations. “Holidays” are meant to service as basecamps for a region. Resorts are supposed to offer an all-in-one camping experience and be a destination in their own right. The St. Augustine Beach KOA Holiday is appropriately designated as a KOA Holiday. Our correspondent Casita Dean May and his wife Laura stayed here last winter and used it as a basecamp to explore the area. They found the Holiday designation to be fitting.
To listen to our interview with Casita Dean May about the St. Augustine Beach KOA Holiday and things to do and see in the surrounding area, click on the media player above. Or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your favorite podcasts.
The St. Augustine Beach KOA Holiday is a medium sized campground. It has approximately 90 RV sites, 20 tent sites, and 25 cabins. The campground is in a convenient location for exploring St. Augustine, but the area around it is not very scenic. It is bordered by roads on three sides with the A1A side of the campground backing up to stores that face the A1A. However, the KOA property itself is attractive. Particularly along Turtle Lake. So you shouldn’t choose the St. Augustine Beach KOA Holiday if you want to be surrounded by natural beauty, but you should choose it if you want a safe and comfortable basecamp for exploring the region.
Florida’s gorgeous state park campgrounds are notoriously difficult to book. But getting reservations at this KOA should be doable if you call in advance. Prices for RV sites range from about $70-$100 dollars a night depending on the type of site, and the time of year. We always recommend getting a KOA Rewards Card so you get 10% discount on your site fees. Basic cabins with no bathrooms can be reserved for as little as $100 to $115 per night depending on the time of the year. Deluxe cabins with all amenities can be booked for $165 to $250 per night. Again, this depends on when you book. Tent sites are also available at a reasonable price.
We highly recommend the premium pull through sties along Turtle Lake. They are the nicest sites in the entire campground. If you are camping with friends who do not own an RV then have them check out the deluxe cabins. We have found that KOA’s deluxe cabins are (more often than not) comfortable, well-stocked, and reasonably priced. If you rent a cabin just check to see what is included, and what you are expected to bring with you. Showing up without linens or coffee filters is heartbreaking if the cabin does not provide them.
The St. Augustine Beach KOA Holiday has many of the amenities that you will find at KOA’s across the country. They have a nice pool, a Kamp K9 dog park, a playground, paddle boats, banana bikes, a clean laundry room, private full bathrooms, and a camp store that is stocked with all of the basics and souvenirs and gifts. If you are traveling with kids, they will have plenty to do here in the afternoon when you come back from the beach or downtown St. Augustine. The pool will be a welcome treat if you are visiting in the summer heat. It’s also really nice to come back from the beach and take another swim to cool off at the end of the day.
Overall, we find this campground to be an excellent choice for exploring all that the area has to offer. And this area offers quite a lot. From beautiful beaches to National Monuments like Fort Matanzas and Castillo De San Marcos, there is so much to do and see. Downtown St. Augustine is also packed with great food and great shopping. We think this area has something for everyone. We also think that St. Augustine KOA Beach Holiday will please most RV owners that are traveling through the area.
Make sure to listen to our interview with Casita Dean May on The RV Atlas podcast to find out even more about this KOA, and about the surrounding area!
The post Campground Review: The St. Augustine Beach KOA Holiday appeared first on The RV Atlas.
Aug 06 2022
September brings cooler temperatures, back to school routines, and the official start of RV show shopping season which kicks off with the Hershey RV Show in Pennsylvania every year. RV shows can bring amazing educational experiences and fantastic buying deals for consumers, but they can also leave some folks feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
We’ve compiled all our RV Show Shopping tips into one single episode to help you make the most of your RV show visits this year. Listen to hear our advice that will be applicable no matter where you are on your shopping journey.
Download a map of the show to your phone and print out any available coupons. Check for parking and cash policies. Look at the vendors and food options. RV shows have such a wild variety of policies, so make sure you check out the details in advance. We’ve seen a surprising amount of shows that are cash only for admittance.
Many shows start midweek. So if you are seriously shopping or easily overwhelmed, this is the time to go. Other quiet times can be early on Fridays and later on Sundays. Saturdays are usually bonkers. Period.
And snacks, and possibly even lunch. The quality of food and refreshments varies from show to show. Some have great local options like BBQ and crab cake sandwiches. Others are glorified snack shacks with frozen pretzels and chicken fingers. No matter what, water is surprisingly expensive, so bring your own water bottle. You’ll save money for your RV purchase.
Talk about goals and expectations in advance with anyone you will be shopping with. It can be aggravating to be in bunk house shopping mode while your partner is checking out the teardrop campers.
We promise you one thing. You will be utterly confused and overwhelmed by the end of the day if you don’t have some plan for recording information. RVs, floor plans, and prices start to blend together. You’ll completely forget which manufacturer made your favorite model. And you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to figure it online. Use your camera phone to take details pictures (exterior, price sheet, specs sheet, and interior). Plus take ALL. THE. BROCHURES.
Listeners repeatedly tell us this is our most helpful tip ever. Salespeople at large RV shows often don’t know much about the rigs and many times are temporarily hired to work just for the show. They are looking to make a sale, not educate you about a product. Manufacturer’s reps, however, usually know the rigs inside and out. They fly into the shows to support the dealers and answer customer questions. How do you know the difference between a salesperson and a rep? Look for the folks wearing a shirt that has the name of the manufacturer, not the name of the dealer.
Some people think they are too cool to sit in the seminars at an RV show. Other folks think they know everything from researching online. We know that RV seminars can be a wealth of information, sometimes presented by the biggest experts in the business, like our friends from RVSEF.
If you are ready to buy, an RV show shopping is a great place to start. However, it can also be a place where people make impulsive decisions with a big-ticket item. If you hadn’t even researched the difference between a travel trailer and a fifth wheel, you may not want to make an impulse decision.
There are definitely exceptions to this rule, so don’t blame us if you can’t get show pricing a month later. Sometimes the manufacturer is offering show incentives or the dealer is unloading last year’s inventory. However, for the most part, if you go back to that dealer later on and ask for the pricing you saw at the show, it’s possible they can make that happen.
Take a listen to the podcast episode to hear us discuss each piece of advice in greater detail!
It’s also important to know the type of shopper you are at the RV show. We have great tips for making the most out of your visit no matter where you are in your RV journey. We break it down into three main categories.
RV shows are a fantastic way to get a feel for the variety of RV types, sizes and floorplans available. Make sure you visit the bigger shows to get a broader view of options. GS Media and Go RVing have lists of rv shows. Compile your goals in advance and list questions you hope to answer:
Most importantly don’t be a statistic. So many buyers trade in a new rig within a year because they didn’t buy the right model. Listen to experienced RVers share their experiences with pop ups, hybrids, etc.
Reminder: Think long and hard about buying if you did not come planning on buying!!!
Stay grounded if you are in upgrade mode. It’s easy to get shiny, new object syndrome. Make a list of pros/cons of your old or current RV. Be honest about what works for your family and what doesn’t. For example, if you really like camping in state and national parks, stay smaller. If you get nervous towing your 32 foot travel trailer, don’t go and buy a 38 foot travel trailer because it seemed so spacious.
Arrive at the show with a list of non-negotiables made from prior experience. For us, we know dedicated beds and a master bedroom door are must haves…even when we start drooling over the cute, little campers.
Also know your numbers ahead of time, including budget, tow ratings, and GVWR goals. The worst thing is to upgrade your rig and then have to upgrade vehicle if you didn’t budget for that. Know whether your car can be towed by a motorhome (that catches some folks by surprise). If you will have to store the upgraded RV, research what will that cost.
If you are ready to buy your first (or next!) rig, you should still do some advance planning. Research the dealers that will be at the show. Look at online and Facebook reviews. Check out their inventory and look at the numbers. Getting a great deal at a show isn’t worth winding up with a crummy dealer with terrible service reviews.
You should also be fully aware of the realities of service and warranty work when buying from a non-local dealer. Whether you like it or not, the service end of the RV industry is woefully understaffed. This means that many dealers will refuse to service units that they did not sell. Or you will just be put at the end of the line and wait a looooong time to get warranty work done.
It’s important not to become obsessed with a certain percentage off MSRP. Every single deal is different based on location, RV model and year, and dealer stock. Don’t expect to get an RV in New York for the same price as in Indiana. The question is whether it is a good value for YOUR family. Some people on social media will claim that you can always get 30% off MSRP. That’s just bad advice.
RV shows are great whether you are just window shopping or ready to write a check. We’ve got a RV pep talk for everyone. If you want to hear us discuss this topic in more detail, take a listen to The RV Atlas podcast, available in the Apple Podcast Store or anywhere you listen. You can also join the conversation in our private, friendly Facebook group.
Visiting the Hershey RV Show? Here are some of our best tips for conquering America’s Largest RV Show.
Checking out the Florida RV SuperShow? Learn more here.
See you at the RV Show!
Jul 30 2022
This post about RVing in Oregon is the latest in a series of posts and podcasts about underrated destinations for RV travel. Make sure to check out the other underrated destinations in this series including, Michigan, New York, Virginia, Arkansas, and Indiana.
Most new RV owners create bucket lists of destinations filled with the usual suspects. Yellowstone, Yosemite, Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, Zion, the Grand Canyon; all of these epic locations typically make those lists. These destinations, like Yellowstone, Yosemite, Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, Zion, and the Grand Canyon rarely disappoint. But many of them are facing profound issues with overcrowding. The end result is that many RVers are looking for less crowded destinations with more available campsites. Thankfully, there are so many great places for RV travel in America. Each of our 50 states has great options for camping, and many of them are less crowded, and downright underrated.
We think that Oregon is an underrated state for RV travel. Possibly because it is overshadowed by Washington to the north, and California to the south. Oregon has so much to offer, including hip urban cities, a rugged and gorgeous coastline, and lakes and rivers and mountains without end.
To listen to our interview with Oregon travel expert Shellie Bailey-Shah, please click on the media player above, or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your favorite shows. Shellie is the founder of the website KidTripster where she writes about RV travel and national parks. Shellie created RV travel itineraries for each of Oregon’s 7 regions. You can find the links for each of these itineraries below. Thanks to Shellie for providing several photos for this post as well.
Portland is one of America’s hippest cities, and it probably always will be. It is known for its local “maker” culture and great beer, coffee, and farm-to-table food is always on the menu. This is the most challenging region for RVing in Oregon. But no surprise there, most urban areas will have fewer campground options. However, getting close is possible, and those flying in to rent an RV will almost certainly touch down in Portland first. The “City of Roses” is also home to the world’s greatest independent bookstore. The legendary Powell’s. To learn more about visiting Portland click here.
This region is close to Portland, and provides incredible outdoor recreation for city dwellers, and those out of state visitors that are RVing in Oregon. Shellie loves the waterfalls in the area, and she often brings friends visiting the state to see them. She recommends going to Multnomah Falls first. It is the tallest waterfall in Oregon.
To read more about Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge check out Shellie’s article here.
While Portland may be somewhat challenging to visit in an RV, coastal Oregon is not. This is one of the best places for RVing in Oregon, and there are many options for both state park and privately-owned campgrounds. The Oregon coastline is rocky and rugged in some places, and sandy in others. Surfers also love the uncrowded waves along the Oregon coast. Just remember to bring a wetsuit. Water temps are chilly–even in the summer.
To read more about coastal RVing in Oregon, click on the link to Shellie’s article here.
The Southern Oregon Region is perhaps most famous for being the home of Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake is a one or two day trip for most people, but it is still one of the most popular spots to go RVing in Oregon. Crater Lake is stunning, and there are good NPS campgrounds within the park. But there is much more to the southern region than just Crater Lake. Shellie loves the white water kayaking in this region is an absolute blast. Check out Shellie’s article for Travel Oregon to find out more.
According to Shellie, Central Oregon is “where Oregonians go to play.” It is also the home of Bend, one of the hippest and outdoorsiest towns in America. Hiking and biking trails are abundant in and around Bend, and so are great options for craft beer and great local food. Bend is known as the beer capital of Oregon, and it certainly could be called the state capital for outdoor adventure. When it comes to RVIng in Oregon, Bend and its environs should be near the top of your list.
To find out more about RVing in Central Oregon, click on this link below for Shellie’s article.
The Eastern Region of Oregon is its least populated, which may be part of the appeal for more adventurous souls who are RVing in Oregon. Shellie has covered Wallowa Lake on our podcast before and you can read more about that gorgeous destination here. Shellie also loves the Painted Hills and so do many landscape photographers that find their way to the region. To read more about Eastern Oregon, click on Shellie’s article here.
According to Shellie, RV owners that choose to visit The Willamette Valley Region of Oregon might want to join Harvest Hosts first. The area, which is known for its Pinot Noirs, is packed with terrific wineries–and some of them do allow overnight camping for Harvest Hosts members. She also recommends the Evergreen Aviation Museum for those that are traveling with kids.
To find out more about this region click on Shellie’s article here.
Clearly, Oregon has so much to offer those traveling through the state in their RVs. If RVing in Oregon was not on your bucket list, we hope that it is now!
Jul 29 2022
Most RV owners have a National Park’s bucket list. Whether its Yellowstone, Yosemite, Acadia or Denali, most RV owners know exactly what NPS units they want to visit next. But how many RV owners have a National Forest’s bucket list? Not many. Our National Forests fly under the radar for most RV owners, and for most American’s in general.
Most RV owners know that our most popular National Parks are experiencing major issues with overcrowding, and that they are being “loved to death.” Because of this, many smart travelers are looking for other options that also offer magnificent landscapes and epic opportunities for hiking, biking, kayaking, rock climbing, and more. Our National Forests provide all of these opportunities and more. With this in mind, The RV Atlas decided to interview an expert on our National Forests in a two-part podcast series. The last episode of the RV Atlas podcast offered tips for camping responsibly on public land. The most recent episode offers up recommendations for the best National Forests in each region.
Please click on the media player above to listen to this episode, or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your favorite shows.
photo by Greg M. Peters
Greg M. Peters was our guest on both of these aforementioned podcast episodes. Greg is the former director of communications at the National Forest Foundation and the author of Standup Paddling Montana and most recently, Our National Forests: Stories From America’s Most Important Public Lands. Greg’s latest book is truly beautiful and will look great on your coffee table or on the shelf. It is also imminently readable and the chapters can be tackled separately, or in one enjoyable read. Our National Forests is also filled with gorgeous photography. It is a must read for anyone that is interested in the past. present, and future of the NFS.
In Greg’s second appearance on the show he gives us some basic information about the size and scope of our National Forests, and then talks about one of his favorite National Forests in each of its 9 regions.There are National Forests or Grasslands in all but the following 8 states:.NJ, MD, IA, HI, DE, MA, RI, and CT. So the network is vast. As incredible as it sounds, our National Forests encompass over 193 million acres. There are 155 National Forests in the United States, along with 20 Grasslands, and one tall-grass prairie. All of these units are managed by the U.S. Forest Service under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Agriculture. Other federal lands, including our National Parks, operate under the Jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior.
photo compliments of Brian Chaszar
Here is a list of Greg’s highlights from each of those regions, and his top pick from each region. Click on the links to explore each one and begin building your own National Forest bucket list! To hear Greg speak about each of these National Forests please tune in to this episode of The RV Atlas!
***Please note that there is no longer a region seven.
Greg’s Highlights from the Northern Region – 2.8 million acres, Rocky Mountain Front – stunning scenery…prairies to mountains…Bob Marshall Wilderness Area…rivers…reservoirs…Island Mountain Ranges, Native American history, Lewis and Clark history, Missouri River…Gates of the Mountains…
Greg’s top pick from the Northern Region: Helena – Lewis and Clark National Forest
Greg’s Highlights from the Rocky Mountain Region: 2.3 million acres, Winter sports mecca – more than 10 ski resorts, summer activities too – Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Ck, Aspen, Maroon Bells… 1/3 of forest is Wilderness.
Greg’s Top Pick from the Rocky Mountain Region – White River National Forest
Greg’s Highlights from the Southeastern Region: 3+ million acres, all-season recreation…first ever Wilderness area…where wilderness concept was born…Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument…cave dwellings, dark sky parks…Cosmic Campground (first dark sky sanctuary on NF lands, one of 14 internationally)
Greg’s Top Pick from the Southwestern Region – Gila National Forest
Greg’s Highlights from the Intermountain Region: 2.1 million acres… Incredible mountain scenery, fishing and floating on Salmon River, Redfish Lake…Wilderness Areas, Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Sun Valley / Ketchum area – winter and summer recreation.
Greg’s Top Pick from the Intermountain Region – Sawtooth National Forest
(California (office in HI) – 18 NFs, plus LTBMU)
Greg’s Highlights from the Pacific Southwest Region: Mt Whitney – highest peak in Lower 48 (permits and special regulations…), Mono Lake (borders Yosemite, largest stand of Jeffery Pines…unique geology), bristlecone pine trees Grove of the Ancients – oldest single organism on planet – more than 5,000 years old.
Greg’s Top Pick from the Pacific Southwest Region – Inyo National Forest
(OR, WA – 17 NFs, 1 Scenic Area (CRGNSA), 1 grassland, 2 National Volcanic Monuments)
Greg’s Highlights from the Pacific Northwest Region: 630,000 acres, coastal old-growth forests, Marys Peak – highest peak on OR’s Coast Range, Oregon Sand Dunes NRA – 47 miles long, 1 mile wide…hiking, camping, horseback riding, ORVing, and Sand Lake NRA – another spot for OHV, camping, etc….
Greg’s Top Pick from the Pacific Northwest Region – Siuslaw National Forest
Greg’s Highlights from the Southern Region: combined, more than 1 M acres…Pisgah to the north, Nantahala to the south of Great Smoky Mountains NP…more than 1,000 miles of trails b/t the two…history buffs…Pisgah was the first tract of private land bought under the Weeks Act (from widow of George Vanderbilt), where “forestry” as a profession and practice was first established in the US…first forestry school in US – now preserved as Cradle of Forestry….first designated wilderness in East.
Greg’s Top Pick from the Southern Region – Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests
Greg’s Highlights from the Eastern Region – 3 M acres (largest on list…so far…) Bordered by Voyageurs NP, Lake Superior, Canada…Water, water, water – 1.300 miles of cold water streams, 950 miles of warm water stream, thousands of lakes…445,000 acres (695 square miles) is surface water…fishing is unbeatable, boreal and hard wood forests, 1M-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area (I think…most visited wilderness area in NFS)…Mountain Biking, ATVing, 37 campgrounds listed for RV camping… Grey Wolves, black bear, eagles…
Greg’s Top Pick from the Eastern Region – Superior National Forest
(Tongass National Forest – most of SE Alaska)
Greg’s Highlights from the Alaska Region: Largest national forest in country at 17 M acres! (7 times as big as YNP)….Glaciers, mountains, old-growth forests, ocean, islands….grizzly bears + black bears, whales, bald eagles, salmon…kayaking, hiking, several bear-watching opportunities, dog-sledding on glacier….interesting small towns (fishing and timber…now tourism), not easy to access – few roads, ferries and air travel…Chugach (~7 M acres) is a bit easier to access, but both require driving across Canada…
Greg’s Top Pick from Alaska is obviously Tongass National Forest
The post The Best National Forests in Each Region with Greg M. Peters appeared first on The RV Atlas.
Jul 22 2022
The story is almost a cliche at this point. America’s most popular National Parks (and the campgrounds within them) are overcrowded. So are many of our country’s most popular private campgrounds. Many RVers are feeling frustration when they try to get reservations at these places. Here at the RV Atlas we do feel that this story has been beaten to death with very little nuance, but nevertheless, there are elements of truth to the overcrowding narrative The most popular campgrounds at the most popular places are full.
But there are so many other places to go if you want more space and more privacy, aren’t there? With the rise of more capable solar systems many RV owners are looking to camp a bit further from civilization. They are looking for dispersed camping spots in our National Forests and on BLM land. But are those campers prepared? Do they know how to camp responsibly on public land?
This photo and featured image compliments of Brian Chaszar
Many American’s are heading out to camp on our public lands and they are woefully unprepared. Dispersed camping on BLM land or National Forest Service land is quite a bit different than camping at a KOA. If you want to camp responsibility on public lands it will require more education and outdoor competency. In turn, camping in these places can offer greater freedom and a wilder experience for those that want a deeper connection to the natural world. We want our readers and podcast listeners to know what they are doing when they head out for a camping adventure on public land. So we decided to interview an expert and get his best tips and tricks for camping responsibly on public land. Because we always believe that you should know before you go instead of learning potentially painful lessons during your stay.
Greg M. Peters is the former director of communications at the National Forest Foundation and the author of Standup Paddling Montana and most recently, Our National Forests: Stories From America’s Most Important Public Lands. Greg’s latest book is truly beautiful and will look great on your coffee table or on the shelf. It is also imminently readable and the chapters can be tackled separately, or in one enjoyable read. Our National Forests is also filled with gorgeous photography. We consider it a must read for anyone that is interested in the past. present, and future of the NFS. To celebrate National Forest Week we invited Greg onto the RV Atlas podcast to help teach our audience how to camp responsibly on public land. He was so wonderful to talk to and we learned so much from him in this terrific interview.
Greg M. Peters (photo compliments of Ray Foote)
Greg believes that recreating in our National Forests and on BLM land is a privilege and not a right, and that we all need to learn how to camp responsibly on public land before we go. He is passionate about our public lands and wants all tent campers and RV owners to be prepared before they go camping inside of these beautiful places. Greg has tons of tent camping experience, but he is also an RV owner. His family has an R-Pod and they use it regularly to camp on public lands.
To listen to our interview with Greg M. Peters click on the medial player above. Or subscribe to the RV Atlas podcast wherever you get your shows.
To read Greg’s show notes about how to camp responsibly on public land, just keep scrolling right here!
Photo by Greg M. Peters
Photo compliments of Brian Chaszar
Photo compliments of Brian Chaszar
Leave No Trace – www.LNT.org
Responsible Recreation campaign – www.responsible-recreation.org
Tread Lightly – www.treadlightly.org
The post How to Camp Responsibly on Public Land With Greg M. Peters appeared first on The RV Atlas.
Jul 17 2022
Many of our fans and podcast listeners love to cook at the campground using cast iron. For some of you that might mean bringing a 10 or 12 inch skillet and making eggs or pancakes, or searing a steak. But for others, cooking at the campground means Dutch oven cooking. Dutch oven aficionados love nothing more than lighting up the coals in your fire pit, and preparing a delicious meal or desert that the whole family will love. For many campers–Dutch Oven cooking is the quintessential way to cook at the campground.
We have covered Dutch Oven cooking on our blog and podcast several times. But our podcast listeners always ask for more. So this summer we asked Linda Ly to come on The RV Atlas podcast and share some quick tips for Dutch Oven Cooking. We also asked her to share a few of her Dutch Oven recipes from her wonderful cookbooks.
Linda Ly is the author of The Backyard Fire Cookbook: Get Outside and Master Ember, Roasting, Charcoal Grilling, Cast-Iron Cooking, and Live-Fire Cooking, and of The New Camp Cookbook: Gourmet Grub for Campers, Road Trippers, and Adventurers among other bestselling books. She is also the author behind gardenbetty.com, a hit blog that is filled with “tips and tricks for eating well and living well” in our backyards and in the great outdoors. Linda and her family live in Bend, Oregon.
Linda’s books are absolutely gorgeous and we can’t recommend them enough. The photography in the books is by her husband, Will Taylor. The combination of Linda’s writing and recipes and Will’s photography is absolutely magical. We find ourselves pulling these books off the shelves all of the time for practical tips and for inspiration for our next great meal at the campground.
To listen to our interview with Linda Ly about Dutch Oven cooking please click on the media player above, or subscribe to The RV Atlas podcast wherever you get your shows!
We talked about a whole bunch of Dutch oven cooking recipes with Linda on the podcast. Thankfully, her publisher was gracious enough to let us reprint two of them here! Here are Linda’s delicious recipe for Dutch Oven Spinach and Artichoke Frittatas and her Dutch Oven Old School Lasagna.
Frittatas are one of those meals I affectionately call “kitchen pantry” dishes, as you can add almost anything from your kitchen (pantry or not) to a custardlike base of eggs. While traditional frittatas require flipping (or starting on the stove and finishing in the oven), a Dutch oven frittata is a one-pot wonder, cooking in the same vessel, same spot. Spinach and artichokes are a classic pairing, but dig through your cooler for other add-ins that may be languishing at the end of your camping trip. Last night’s leftover sausage, half an avocado, some sprigs of basil, and the odds and ends from cans and jars are all fair game.
MAKES 4 SERVINGS12 large eggs
The post Quick Tips and Delicious Recipes for Dutch Oven Cooking appeared first on The RV Atlas.
Jul 10 2022
The Brattleboro North KOA has been an RV Atlas favorite for over a decade. We made our first visit back in our pop up camper days. Then we returned with friends a few years later and had a blast enjoying southern Vermont. We really love this cute little campground, and everything that this awesome section of the Green Mountain State has to offer its visitors. Brattleboro and its environs are packed with options for great hiking, kayaking, and swimming. We also love the quirky “shop local” vibe in downtown Brattleboro, and the local farm to table food scene is also excellent.
Jeremy recently returned to the Brattleboro North KOA to film an episode of his new Go RVing show, Let’s Go Camping With Go RVing. The show highlights 8 different types of camping experiences. One of the episodes gives tips for visting KOA campgrounds. Once he decided to feature a KOA in one of the episodes he knew that he would ask to film on site at the Brattleboro North KOA. Why pick this cute little campground in southern Vermont out of all the KOA’s within driving distance in the Northeast? Because Jeremy LOVED it here last time he visited, and because he wanted to meet the dynamic new owners that took over the place in 2019.
Kat and Alan Berta are the amazing young couple that purchased the Brattleboro North KOA back in 2019. As crazy as it sounds, they bought their first campground before buying their first home. Kat was still in her twenties at the time. Little did they know that a global pandemic was looming in the near future. The arrival of Covid-19 would initially close their campground down in the spring of 2020, and then lead to a nationwide camping boom and the best two years in their campground’s history.
To us here at The RV Atlas, Kat and Alan represent the future of the campground industry. They are young, ambitious, and tech and marketing savvy. For example, their instagram account is fun and polished, and their campground wifi is also lightening fast! These are things that many older campground owners still struggle with quite a bit. Kat and Alan are also passionate campers themselves. They have also owned RVs. At the moment, they are shopping for their next rig so that they can travel the country in the winter months, when their adorable campground is closed for the winter. Kat and Alan were even recently featured in Entrepreneur Magazine. You can read that interview here.
We have reviewed hundreds of campgrounds on The RV Atlas and on our Campground of the Week podcast. But for the latest episode of the RV Atlas Jeremy decided to interview Kat and let her talk about her own campground and the wild ride they have been on over the past three years. Kat is an absolute blast to talk camping with, and she also has a deep knowledge of the Brattleboro region. At the end of the interview she shares great recommendations for things to do and places to eat. So make sure to stay tuned until the very end!
To listen to Jeremy interview Kat about the Brattleboro North KOA, click on the media player above. Or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your shows!
Jeremy’s return visit to the Brattleboro North KOA to film for Go RVing was an absolute blast! It was awesome to see all of the improvements that Kat and Alan have made to the campground. His visit was short, but he really enjoyed getting to meet Kat and Alan in person and learn more about their ownership journey.
And the campground is even more charming than it was when he first visited all of those years ago. They have added new sites, and improved on existing sites as well. Jeremy also thinks that they have one of the most adorable camp stores in the country. They sell great branded merchandise there, alongside of locally crafted gifts and foods.
They also sell Maple Creemees there. And they are absolutely amazing. Jeremy had two of them during his brief stay!
Though the Brattleboro North KOA is small, it is an absolute delight. We actually think that a huge part of its charm is its small and accessible size, If you find yourself RVing through New England, make sure you stop by for a few nights. They can accommodate all sizes of RV’s and we know that they would be thrilled to see you! They also have cozy cabin rentals and a vintage RV rental! Tell them Jeremy and Stephanie sent you, and ask Kat and Alan for recommendations for things to do and see in the area. They are local experts!
The post The Brattleboro North KOA and Fun Things to do in Southern Vermont appeared first on The RV Atlas.
Jul 03 2022
Lakewood Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is one of the biggest RV campgrounds in the country. We are excited to bring you a campground review since it is in Myrtle Beach, the camping capital of the East Coast (in our opinion!). This resort is more like a small town for campers. With a lazy river, waterslides, sports courts, indoor and outdoor pools, and so much more. It’s nonstop fun.
Lakewood Camping Resort is located at the southern end of the Grand Strand near Myrtle Beach State Park and the pier, but not too far from town. This is a destination RV resort, so many people check in and don’t leave. We stayed for five nights and really wanted a place where we could relax and play on the sand and in the pool. We wanted the total RV resort package, and this resort truly delivered!
To hear Jeremy and Stephanie’s full campground review of Lakewood Camping Resort, click play on the media player above or look for The RV Atlas wherever you find your favorite shows!
Lakewood Camping Resort is true beachfront camping. Like we said above, it’s like a camping city–everything you need is right there. It’s more of a planned community, with campsites for the RVs and tents, cabins, condos, and more. It’s one of those destinations you can visit with non-RVing family and friends for a true group destination.
You can nab an oceanside site here for less than $100, which we felt was very reasonable for the beachfront location. The only disadvantage to having an oceanside camping spot is that it’s very busy on the promenade that goes right by those spots. However, we chose this space because it was near the basketball courts, where the boys could play nearby. If you want quiet, you might not want to be beachfront. Another thing to note is that they have some great trees and shade, which you don’t always find at beachfront campgrounds.
Lakewood Camping Resort is full of stuff to do! The lazy river is relaxing, and the waterslides are fast and fun! The pool is also large and spacious. They have a large arcade, an information center, a big pool, and of course, the beach. The campground also offers bike, paddle board, and kayak rentals at the trading post. If you like to play sports, there are volleyball, basketball, and shuffle board courts.
The camp store is well stocked. Plus, they have a huge laundromat. When you get hungry, visit the food truck area. We especially loved the Italian ice!
Our family made great memories at Lakewood. Stephanie enjoyed sitting on the beach watching the kids surf, as well as having a shuffle board tournament with the boys. Jeremy will always remember cooking big meals for the whole crew on the Blackstone griddle.
All of Myrtle Beach is full of adventures, but Lakewood Camping Resort is truly the type of destination you can spend an entire week and not feel compelled to leave the campground. We will probably be back to make more memories in the future.
See you at the campground!
Jeremy + Stephanie
The post Lakewood Camping Resort Review (Spring Break Pt. 2) appeared first on The RV Atlas.
Jun 24 2022
We know how much you all love campground reviews, so we are excited to bring you a few from our spring break trip, starting with the Wilmington KOA Holiday in Wilmington, NC. This was a perfect layover on our way down to Myrtle Beach, especially since we wanted to explore downtown Wilmington, which we’ve heard a lot about but have never seen.
Spring break feels more like summer in Myrtle Beach, making it a great spot to hang for us Jersey folks in April. Truth be told, we didn’t have to add a stopover in Wilmington, but we are glad we did, especially for a short stay. This KOA was cute, and downtown Wilmington was filled with great shops and places for food and drink.
To hear Jeremy and Stephanie (yes, Stephanie!) give a full review of the Wilmington KOA Holiday, press play on the player above or look for The RV Atlas wherever you find your favorite shows.
During Spring Break, we visited the Wilmington KOA Holiday. We spent two nights at this charming KOA, located off Route 17 in Wilmington, North Carolina. It’s near the highway, but the road noise within the camp ground was not bad because of all the trees. We were there the week of Easter in a nice pull-through site.
Let’s talk about the rates. It cost $100 for Thursday night, and Friday night was $105. As you know, campground prices have been rising, so this wasn’t entirely out of the expected, especially since it was Easter week. However, this seems a little more like resort-level pricing. Our KOA Value Kard was especially appreciated.
The deluxe sites have great patios and fire pits, which would have been great. We didn’t have one of those but definitely would book one in the future.
The pool at the Wilmington KOA Holiday was nice but not very large and not heated. Plus, it closed at 6 o’clock in the evening, which was a little too early for us. Again, for that resort-level pricing, we would like to see longer hours at the pool–especially during spring break.
One nice thing we appreciated at the Wilmington KOA Holiday was the outdoor common area. Honestly, this was one of the better ones we have seen at a KOA! It had corn hole, gaga ball, giant chess, horseshoes, volleyball, a cooking area, and much more. There’s a group gathering area. Plus, Stephanie even noticed an herb garden! The kids had a good time making use of amenities. Other accommodations included great tent sites and some cabins.
Downtown Wilmington is nearby, and it lived up to what we had heard about it. First, there’s plenty of parking to be found, even for our Ford F-250! We probably could have parked an RV downtown! So, that was a win.
The riverwalk was adorable with nice shops and places to eat. For some reason, there were a lot of pet boutiques. Pet lovers won’t want to miss this. Jeremy enjoyed an independent book seller called Papercut Books. The kids loved the Fork N Cork restaurant, which had delicious burgers.
We also went to the Battleship North Carolina. This is one of the best military ships for the way it was set up with interpretive displays and hands-on machinery and weaponry. If you go to downtown Wilmington and don’t check out the battleship, you’re missing out.
The Wilmington KOA Holiday is a nice place to spend a couple of days. It’s not a resort-level campground with big amenities, so it wouldn’t be the kind of place where we would spend a whole week. But, we would stop there again or would visit every year or so if we lived closer.
See you at the campground,
Jeremy + Stephanie
The post The Wilmington KOA in North Carolina (Spring Break Pt. 1) appeared first on The RV Atlas.
Jun 17 2022
If you are looking for an ultimate family-friendly campground destination, you have to check out Lighthouse Point. Lighthouse Point is a campground located next to Cedar Point, an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. Cedar Point covers an entire peninsula in Lake Erie, and it is home to roller coasters, a water park, hotels, campgrounds, and all kinds of family fun.
Bill Sferrazza visited the Midwestern campground and park with his wife and daughters. I talked to Bill about the family-friendly RV vacation they recently took to Lighthouse Point and found out why this is a fun spot for adults and teens. Like many teenagers, Bill’s daughters don’t always want to go camping, but Cedar Point was a big hit. Plus, Lighthouse Point is a premium RV park where adults will enjoy the many amenities such as the pool, hot tubs, and restaurants.
To listen to Jeremy interview Bill about Lighthouse Point, click on the media player above, or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your podcasts!
Thanks to Bill Sferrazza for graciously providing all of the photos in this post!
On the other hand, there are about 50 “ultimate patio” sites right on Lake Erie. They are some of the nicest, most well-furnished sites you will probably ever see. These sites are only slightly more expensive than the regular sites and well worth the extra cost. Prices are usually part of a package rate that includes tickets to the amusement park and water park.
The Lighthouse Point campground is right in the middle of the action. The water park is a short walk from the sites and one of the roller coasters goes through part of the RV park. In fact, Cedar Point is known for its roller coasters. They have some of the biggest and fastest coasters in the world. This is the place every coaster connoisseur has on their bucket list.
Lighthouse Point campground is fun and exciting, but it definitely is not made for a quiet getaway!
Being right next to Lake Erie is like being at the ocean in many ways. There is not a dedicated beach for the campground, but you can walk to a nice beach at the hotel nearby.
One minor drawback to being on the lake is the mayflies that live in and near the water. They are harmless and they don’t bite, but they get all over everything during parts of spring and summer. They are only present in the sites by the water.
Lighthouse Point is also a great home base for day trips to Cleveland. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is at the top of the list of places to visit. The Hall of Fame is good for a whole days worth of entertainment. Also, right next door is a science museum that kids will enjoy. Cleveland also has professional sports teams so you may catch a game.
Rock and Roll of Hall of Fame
If you are looking for a place that teenagers and adults can go for an action-packed vacation, you will enjoy Lighthouse Point at Cedar Point in Ohio. The fun parks, convenient amenities, lake views, and local sights provide something for anybody looking for an exciting RV destination in the Midwest.
See you at the campground,
Jeremy + Stephanie
The post Lighthouse Point Campground at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio appeared first on The RV Atlas.
Jun 04 2022
We loved our pop up camper. It was our first RV and we spent two years in it camping up and down the East Coast and falling in love with the RV lifestyle. That pop up gave us a lot of trouble too, but overall, our memories of those early camping trips are overwhelmingly good. After two years we decided to upgrade and sell the pop up. We were fairly certain that we would buy a Jayco X23B, one of the company’s most popular Hybrid Travel Trailers. But we ended up getting a regular 33 foot travel trailer instead. Our salesmen convinced us that we would probably just want to trade in a hybrid travel trailer after a year or two anyway. Maybe he was right. We did end up keeping the travel trailer that we bought (a Jayco Whitehawk 22SQB) for over six years–and we did love it.
But we have always felt that we skipped a step–that maybe we should have bought one of those Jayco hybrid travel trailers that day. Why? Because we both love canvas and the open airy feeling that pop ups and hybrid travel trailers provide. We have covered hybrids on the podcast before, but we felt like it was time for a fresh perspective from a passionate hybrid travel trailer owner. And, to be honest, we have been kind of missing the canvas lately! So we invited Johann Schnell, our truck and SUV correspondent, back on the show to talk about why he loves his Shamrock 233S, one of Forest River’s hybrid travel trailers. This RV has served Johann’s family incredibly well for over 5 years. In this episode of The RV Atlas podcast Johann gives us a review of his hybrid travel trailer, and shares pros and cons to think about before buying your own hybrid. He also gives some tips for getting the most comfort out of your hybrid after purchasing one.
To listen to Jeremy and Johann talk about the pros and cons of Hybrid Travel Trailers, click on the media player above or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your favorite podcasts! And big thanks to Johann for appearing on the show!
The post Hybrid Travel Trailers: Pros, Cons, and Tips from Johann Schnell appeared first on The RV Atlas.
Jun 02 2022
Do you enjoy making delicious drinks while you are at the campground? Are you looking to stock up your RV bar and take your mixing skills to the next level this summer? Then look no further. On today’s episode of The RV Atlas podcast Jeremy interviews Claudia Jack Sutton. She is a passionate Airstream owner, an author of two books, and a chef and expert mixologist! Her first book is called A Movable Feast: Recipes for Rolling Kitchens. But for her first appearance on The RV Atlas podcast the topic is her second book, Campfire Cocktail Hour: Appetizer and Drink Recipes for Airstream & RVers.
from the bio of her latest book:
“Claudia Jack Sutton’s second book, Campfire Cocktail Hour, chalk-filled with over 120 appetizer and drink recipes, was designed with the Airstream and RV enthusiast in mind. Part cookbook, part “how-to,” you will learn time saving food pre-prep techniques, tips for stocking your bar, and enjoy countless recipes. So, whether your creating an intimate evening or entertaining a crowd, beginning with a drink named for an American National Park promises to set the mood and provide you with the necessary ingredients to make your rolling kitchen the envy of the campground.”
To listen to Jeremy interview Claudia about stocking your RV bar, and to hear Claudia describe making 6 drink recipes from the book, please click on the media player above. Or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your podcasts! To get step-by-step ingredients for the six drinks that she describes on the podcast–keep reading! All six recipes (from easy to intermediate) are excerpted below!
To purchase both of Claudia’s books, head over to her website, recipesforrollingkitchens.com.
The post Campfire Cocktails: Stocking the RV Bar and Easy Drink Recipes appeared first on The RV Atlas.
May 30 2022
Who doesn’t love eating a delicious breakfast at the campground? We certainly do! Some mornings we keep it light and simple, especially if we are heading out for a hike or an active adventure on the water. But other mornings we love to laze around at the campground and make a big breakfast. There is simply nothing quite like the sound and smell of bacon sizzling on the Blackstone, or the simple pleasure of flipping a huge pancake onto a child’s plate. Emily Vikre’s brand new book The Family Camp Cookbook is absolutely jam packed with delicous camping breakfasts that will satisfy your entire family.
This delightful book also includes chapters on “Lunches and Foods on the Go,” “Dinner,” and “Treats and Drinks.” But the focus of the latest episode of The RV Atlas podcast is on camping breakfasts. We were pleased to invite Emily on the show to share six of her favorite camping breakfasts from The Family Camp Cookbook. Each and every one of them made us incredibly hungry and we plan on making all of them at the campground this year!
Emily is the author of Camp Cocktails: Easy, Fun, & Delicious Drinks For the Great Outdoors and of the aforementioned The Family Camp Cookbook: Easy, Fun, and Delicious Meals to Enjoy Outdoors, both published by Harvard Common Press. She is also the co-founder and CEO of Vikre Distillery, “an award-winning craft distillery in Duluth, Minnesota.”
To listen to Jeremy interview Emily Vikre about six amazing camping breakfasts from her new book, The Family Camp Cookbook, please click on the media player above. Or subscribe to The RV Atlas podcast wherever you get your shows! Or read on for two great sample recipes that we have excerpted from Emily’s book! To check out all of the amazing recipes in The Family Camp Cookbook, or Camp Cocktails, click on the links and purchase copies for your own camping library today!
Recipe and text for both recipes below by Emily Vikre. Excerpted with permission from the author and publisher.
Dry Ingredients1½ cups (188 g) all-purpose flour
The post 6 Amazing Camping Breakfasts from “The Family Camp Cookbook” appeared first on The RV Atlas.
May 13 2022
Want to do some baking at the campground but don’t have a stove? The Omnia Stove is a cool cookware gadget that will let you live your baking dreams. This versatile circular oven is great for campers who don’t have a built-in oven, since it is super easy to transport and to use. CEO Gustaf Lundén is here to tell us more about the Omnia Stove.
To hear Gustaf and Jeremy talk all about the Omnia Stove, click play on the media player or find The RV Atlas wherever you find your favorite podcasts. Hear about Gustaf’s favorite recipes and find out what else is in the works!
The Omnia Stove includes three pieces: a steel base, which is circular and moves heat around the bottom of the pan; the aluminum Omnia pan, which has special holes to direct the heat upward; and a lid, which pushes the heat back down. This creates a great baking oven. You’ll recognize the Omnia by its iconic circular shape and its red lid.
What makes the Omnia special is how evenly the device heats. You can apply heat in a variety of ways–both indoors and outdoors. Just set it on top of your electric or gas burners. It will not work on induction cooktops, however.
Check out this video from our RV Atlas YouTube channel for Jeremy’s full review:
People really love their Omnia Stoves! What makes people such dedicated fans? Mainly, the fact that you can bake so easily without an oven. Plus, the price point is reasonable–this is a cooking gadget that won’t break the bank.
Also, Gustaf points out that people are just really proud of their creations! They love finding, creating, and sharing great recipes and new ways of using the stove. Social media is a fun way to share and gather ideas, especially since people use the Omnia Stove in so many places and different environments. Everyone from #vanlifers to international travelers to RVers are all loving this stove! The website also has cooking tips and recipes.
Another thing that makes the Omnia Stove popular is that you can use it to cook dinner and to cook dessert. Just do a quick wash in between, and it’s ready to go. Even though it is three pieces, it’s not difficult to clean or use, especially if you add the optional silicone mold, described below. Make lasagne, baked potatoes, bread, cakes, brownies, and so much more!
Gustaf said those who are new to using the stove shouldn’t be afraid to start with box cake and brownie mixes. It’s a great way to learn how everything works. When you cook, you’ll need to preheat the stove, allowing a little more time for electric burners to heat. You can start with a higher flame for the 2-3 minutes of preheating. It’s honestly okay if you forget this step, too!
Another tip is to cook with a low flame, especially if you are using gas. Gas can get very hot, so bake slow and easy. How do you know how long to bake in the Omnia Stove Top Oven? Basically, you just check it. If it’s not done, leave it cooking for a few more minutes. There’s not necessarily an exact science for most baking. Follow these tips and you’ll build your confidence.
Check out this video to see Jeremy use the Omnia Stove Top Oven for the first time. Will he burn the cinnamon rolls??
Though the Omnia Stove Top Oven comes to us from Sweden, there are American distributors for accessories, so you’ll be able to get them quickly. Here are a few of the top accessories Gustaf recommends:
Our family has used our Omnia Stove three times already, making cinnamon rolls and store-bought croissants. While we are still at the basic stage, we are already intrigued by all of the crazy things we’ve seen others cooking in their Omnia Stove online. Gustaf said he’s been impressed with some of the birthday cakes, special breads, and so much more.
Also, you can also buy more than one! We’ve seen people online with an Omnia Stove for each burner. This can help you feed larger families, do double-layer cakes, or cook dinner and dessert at once.
This gadget actually dates back to the 1940s! The company has existed under various names for decades, with Gustaf’s family at the helm for 16 years. He has helped bring it from Sweden to America and to add more accessories.
Nowadays, the campervan market, especially in Europe, has been a steady customer, and it’s taking off in the overlanding community. The Omnia Stove really adds versatility to the limited camp kitchens found in these small spaces. Gustaf loves seeing the pictures from travelers and their favorite recipes.
Click play on the media player or download this episode to hear Gustaf share some of the similarities and differences between the American and European camping cultures! Be sure to also check out the company’s website to see more.
I want to give a huge thank you to Gustaf for coming on the show and for telling us all about the Omnia Stove. I can’t wait to have more adventures with mine!
See You at the Campground,
Jeremy + Stephanie
May 09 2022