Boondocking / Dry Camping, How To's and Why Not's, RV Camping, Rv Solar, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons

11 Myths About Boondocking

Spring is here, and summer camping is upon us! Many people think boondocking (aka dry camping) means you’re out in the middle of nowhere with nothing. We are here to tell you this couldn’t be further from the truth! Here are 11 myths we know from experience are untrue!

Myth #1 – Boondocking is dangerous and unsafe

Boondocking is not unsafe at all. In 2018 we traveled the whole year and didn’t stay in one campground. We traveled through 19 states and over 25k miles, staying 365 days in unique and beautiful locations. However, if you feel unsafe in a location, another location is typically nearby. Tip: We always have a plan B location picked out, and also the nearest Walmart, Cabelas or Cracker Barrel in the area just in case.

Myth #2 – Boondocking sites are challenging to find and hard to access

Another false statement we’ve heard. We travel in a 40-foot Grand Design 5th Wheel, and as always, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes of research, using multiple websites and reading reviews to ensure we can fit. However, the solitude and views just can’t be beaten! You can check out our link here on what apps we use: Top 20 Phone Apps For RV Travel

Myth #3 – Boondocking is illegal in most places

Boondocking is illegal in “some” places. But not in “most” places. The public lands around the USA are incredible gifts to us. If taken care of, we can use these amazing places. In our years of traveling, we see more and more trash being dumped. This is when the states must get involved, as they do not have the manpower to clean up these areas. We always pick up trash wherever we are. We encourage you to help when and where you can!

Myth #4 – You need to be an experienced camper to boondock

You do not need to be an experienced camper to boondock. You should always do research and be aware of your surroundings, whether you’re boondocking or doing any other event in your life; however, you will learn as you go, and it becomes easier and more of a routine the more you do it.

Myth #5 – Boondocking is uncomfortable and lacking in amenities

Define “Amenities”. If you’re looking for a clubhouse full of bingo cards or a swimming pool full of waterfalls and kids, then this statement may be true. However, there is never a lack of any other amenities. Check out our blog here: Boondocking ~ How We Spent $48 on Camping Fees For the Whole Year

Myth #6 – Boondocking is only for people who want to “rough it”

Did I mention we live in a very nice Grand Design Solitude? This is our 7th year of living full-time in our RV. We have all the comforts of anyone else living in a regular home, only more! Our views change, and we can visit friends one day, swim in the ocean the next, and park near the mountains the next. In Colorado, we had so much sun coming into our solar panels that our batteries were full by noon, and we were making cobbler in the convection oven some days. Do you have to put the money upfront for solar and energy so you can “just live”? Yes! Nevertheless, with the cost of campgrounds being over $100 a night now, I can guarantee you that you’ll not spend $36,000 on an adequate system to be able to live quite amazingly in your RV. Need help with an RV solar quote for your RV? Check out Panels Up Solar!

Myth #7 – You can’t boondock if you have kids or pets

Both statements are again untrue. Kids and pets actually love boondocking. Fewer restrictions and more creativity and freedom for kids.

Myth #8 – Boondocking is only for hippies and free spirits

Well, if we live and travel in our RV, we are free spirits, so what’s wrong with that? I promise we take daily showers and vacuum our floors. Ha!

Myth #9 – Boondocking is only for retirees with no work or family obligations

During most of our seven years in our RV, Justin and I have both worked remotely, and Justin even attended college for 2 years. With RV life being increasingly popular, many young people are getting out there working, getting out of debt, and showing their kids that classrooms have more than four walls.

Myth #10 – If you sell everything and live in an RV, you can’t go back to a house

Wait – What? Do you know how many times I’ve heard people say this? If you sold your house and decided to go on a grand adventure, who says you can’t settle somewhere else again? Why is life one way or another? Guess what? You absolutely can go back to living in a house anytime you want. Perhaps back in the same city you left. Maybe clear across the country. Possibly you’ll move back into a house for 4 or 5 years and then repeat the cycle. Maybe you’ll rent. Maybe you’ll build a house. Possibly you’ll trade up or down in an RV. Maybe you’ll decide to live in a cabin off-grid or save money while traveling so that you buy a mansion. Why is it so badly looked upon to change your mind or experience different things throughout your life? You do you!!! Don’t try to impress people you don’t know or don’t care about. Life is too short. Be happy! If you’re not, change where you are until you are happy.

Thank you to close friends for this photo! We have enjoyed boondocking with friends so often!

Myth #11 – It’s impossible to stay connected and maintain communication while boondocking

That is another completely false statement. I have rarely been in any boondocking situation where I didn’t have full connectivity to be able to work, make phone calls, search the internet or any other connection to the rest of the world. On the rare occasion, we were somewhere without cell/internet service, it was nice just to read a book, and a 5 or 10-minute drive to town could usually get me connected if needed. Check out our blog here: Full-Time RV Life ~ Working Remotely and Staying Connected

In conclusion, try it!! Don’t live your life campground hopping. Campgrounds have some great advantages; however, when you boondock, you’re less restricted, and the quiet and solitude may be just what you need once in a while.

You can read some more of our boondocking blogs here:

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Boondocking / Dry Camping, RV Organization, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons, RV Upgrades & Mods

The Best 30+ RV Hacks!

2023 Updated: We’ve been on the road, traveling, and living in our RV for over seven years. Almost eight years ago, we decided to sell our two homes and move into our RV to travel full-time. Our new home on wheels needed to have some clever organization, and I was on a mission to find it. But, I had a really hard time finding some practical, inexpensive, innovative storage ideas. So I’m here to share our ideas with you!

In The Bathroom

We are lucky to have a pretty big bathroom when it comes to RV’s, but definitely use the wall space you have. The wall is prime real estate for storing items that would otherwise take up valuable floor space.

You can install a hanging toiletry bag and hang it on the back of the door or purchase a shower caddy that hangs from a towel rack.

You can also install shelves and attach them to the wall to store larger items like shampoo and conditioner bottles. Here are a few ideas we’ve personally used or had friends use.

  • Toothbrush Holder
  • Second Choice Toothbrush Holder
  • Wall Mounted Towel Holder (can also be used as wine rack – maybe drink wine in the bathroom! Ha!)
  • Over the Door Storage (Not for pocket doors but you can take off the door hangers and just mount to the wall)
  • Wire Basket (wait … here me out! We took one of these, attached it with a Command Hook on each end, and it holds a lot of miscellaneous stuff. Including a place to hang your jewelry and watches while you shower. These hooks hold a lot of weight!
  • Towel Holders (again, you can easily hang these with Command Hooks. Just make sure you use the correct weight hooks)
  • Baskets for Towels (think of these turned so the bottom is against the wall. Again, another great use for Command Strips. Just make sure you get the really good ones that hold weight, and maneuver the hooks through the wicker in the basket, and stack your towels inside. These were my favorite. I actually purchased an additional set for my bedroom)
  • Hand Towel Holder (We’ve had this hanging in our bathroom for 3 solid years. It’s never come down, and looks like the day we bought it!) You can see it in our pictures here: Simple DIY RV Renovation
  • Shower Mirror (for the hubby who shaves in the shower. We love ours!)
  • Need somewhere to hang dry some clothes? Take a tension rod long enough to stretch the length of your shower, and you have an easy place to dry your clothes. Plus a tension rod is small to store!
  • Keep things from falling out of your medicine cabinet with tension rods – Make sure you measure your own area!

In the Kitchen

  • Wall Mounted Dispenser (these are fantastic! Great for snacks for kids, cereal, or any dry goods. Use your imagination! So many uses)
  • Flour/Sugar Storage (I actually use these for so many different baking storage containers. Don’t forget ~ An RV isn’t airtight, and there may be a time when you get a mouse or two, so keep all your food in storage containers. ALL of it! Take my word for it!)
  • Food Storage (you know when you order what looks like a great deal and then you get 40 storage containers that fit a grain of rice and the one big one you need? This set actually has nice big storage containers for your pasta, and other items. You won’t regret these!)
  • Tea Storage (We drink a lot of hot tea in the colder months, and this is a great idea instead of having a bunch of flimsy cardboard boxes of tea)
  • CHECK THIS OUT!!! A magnetic organizer for the refer! What we loved the most – Nothing falls out! What does that mean? You can travel with this in place! We highly suggest getting a few more magnets. We purchased these heavy duty magnets which we used in several projects.
  • Pasta/Dry Goods Storage (again, I can’t stress enough to keep your food in airtight storage contains from the beginning. We learned the hard way when an uninvited family of mice took residence in our pantry and we ended up throwing away so much food!! We keep all our oatmeal, pasta, etc in these. Never leave anything in the cardboard box it came in from the store)
  • Cream & Sugar Dispenser Set (not the prettiest out there, but we love our glass holders, and they are airtight.)
  • Spice Cabinet (oh boy! Did we go through a lot of different spice cabinet things. We’ve now had these over a year, and they are perfect! Don’t fall for all the fancy RV spice holders. They really don’t work well!) Check out our blog here on our Spice Cabinet Rehab!
  • Refrigerator Organizing (we bought a ton of these Design baskets. One of the best quality, the best solutions we have found. We’ve been using them for over a year now and they make everything in our Refer organized. MEASURE YOUR OWN spaces. They have so many sizes, and you want to make sure you get the ones that fit your areas! We use these in the bathroom drawers in different sizes, our spice cabinet, etc. We love these!)
  • Tension Rod Shelf (these were probably one of the biggest lifesavers for us! We have these in the kitchen because our RV gave us nice tall storage cabinets but not enough shelves. We tried cheap ideas, but during travel, things weren’t staying in place. We’ve been using these for over a year and have never had any problems with them! Plus, they are simple to remove. No screws, no adhesive! Measure – and then measure again! (Not all cabinets are the same.)
  • Shelf Liner (I also use round velcro dots to hold the liner in place)
  • BEST HACK! Put these curtain rod ring/clips over a tension rod, and hang your “anything” on them. You can use these in the kitchen pantry, the closet for hats, the kid’s area for toys, etc. The possibilities are endless!

In the Bedroom

  • Wall Caddy (low profile – works on a slide wall)
  • Command Wall Caddy (we have several of these. Can be used anywhere)
  • Seasonal Clothes storage (in our RV, we have storage under our bed, and these fit perfect. Keeps our seasonal clothes clean, dust free and organized)
  • Velcro (ok, I know! Silly right? We put a strip of velcro on the back of our TV remote and stuck it to the wall next to the TV. You can obviously put it where it’s convenient for you. We personally don’t watch TV in the bedroom, so that remote control has been up there since the day we bought the RV)
  • Tension Rods and more Tension Rods (we use these for so many things. You can use them for holding trash bags and paper towels, even making a shelf out of putting 2 or 3 next to each other and putting a basket on top.

There are so many suggestions, hacks, and ideas for inexpensive storage ideas. Some of these things you might be able to make yourself if you have time. We have several helpful blog posts on organizing your RV! If you’re a newbie and need some great ideas, you’ll definitely find them here! We wished we could have found a list of ideas when we were looking many years ago. I hope this helps you, and we’d love to hear your favorite RV hack!

Here are some other blog posts on organizing we think you’ll love! You’ll see lots of pictures of our organizing tips, ideas, and suggestions. Happy travels!!

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Boondocking / Dry Camping, Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Off the Beaten Path in New Jersey. Amazing Hidden Gems You Shouldn’t Miss!

If this is your first time here – WELCOME! If not, welcome back!! As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Off The Beaten Path series where we explore the hidden treasures in every state. We love the big popular attractions like everyone else; however, there is just something incredible about discovering something unique and different. Our goals are to find the most unexplored places and take less traveled roads. We certainly can’t explore them all, so we’d love you to share your own off-the-beaten-path stories with us. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking/free camping area, with GPS coordinates. There are 1 or 2 states that are so small or have no true boondocking. Yes, only a couple! I have done my best to give a few very low-dollar suggestions in those cases. 

Awww … New Jersey! I’ve come to the conclusion that people either hate it or love it. And that there is just no in-between. I’ve also come to the conclusion that the ones who don’t like New Jersey are the ones that don’t like the big cities and crowds. Well, we have a solution. There is so much more to New Jersey than that! Let’s explore!

If you like creepy abandoned places, New Jersey is your place. There is a recently abandoned psych ward at the end of Sanatorium Road, in Glen Gardner. The abandoned Hagerdon Psychiatric Hospital is said to be pretty creepy. We’ve not been there! Have you?

Grounds for Sculpture

In Hamilton Township, A unique sculpture park that specializes in the huge and bizarre. You never know what you might find around the next corner at Grounds for Sculpture. Opened in 1992, the park draws visitors for its sculpture collection and exquisitely landscaped site, complete with more than 2,000 rose bushes, 1,000 trees, and other flower beds and shrubbery.

In addition to the outdoor sculpture park, Grounds for Sculpture also features exhibitions in six indoor galleries, several of which are housed in the original fairgrounds buildings. The welcome center building includes a cafe, gift shop, and museum. Rat’s is a gourmet restaurant that overlooks a Monet-inspired sculpture garden and serves lunch and dinner. If you have kids traveling with you, this is a fun place. It’s just different and unique enough to keep their interest. The bizarre story behind this park is unique in itself. I’ll save that for your adventure!

Buttermilk Falls

Located in Layton, an easy 1.4-mile hike to the falls. I think over the years it’s become more popular in the Summer, but definitely still worth a mention!

Van Slyke Castle Ruins

Located in Oakland. I think one of our favorite things is the little known parts of our US history lessons we learn. The bizarre stories give you a glance into how people lived and also give you that familiar family dynamics that still live in today’s families.

Built in the early 1900s, Van Slyke Castle (previously known as Foxcroft) transitioned through multiple owners until the final blow to the property came when vandals burned the mansion in 1959. Large portions of the castle, pool, and water tower can still be explored today (the pool and water tower are not too far from the castle ruins). Print out the trail map for Ramapo Mountain State Forest. The castle ruins and water tower are marked on the trail map and will guide you. Click Here For the PDF Map

Tripod Rock

Located in Boonton Township, this massive boulder is either a unique rock formation created by glacial melt or a magic energy vortex – We’ll let you decide! This is about a four and a half mile hike. Pretty easy, but really a very quiet, breathtaking hike you’ll enjoy!

Kayaking the Medford Canoe Trail

The two-mile Medford Canoe Trail on the Southwest Branch of the Rancocas Creek begins in Medford Park and ends at historic Kirby’s Mill. It offers amazing scenery with tranquil waters. The two-mile Medford Canoe Trail on the Southwest Branch of the Rancocas Creek begins in Medford Park and ends at historic Kirby’s Mill.

Most people go to New Jersey for the beaches. But they can become crowded and loud. Try Spring Lake Beach! This beach is an untouched piece of nature far away from crowds of people, and you can feel it in the undisturbed water and soft white sand. To get away from the loud crowds of people who inhabit other Jersey Shore beaches, this beach is a nice alternative, with all the beauty and none of the noise.

Boondocking

If you’re looking for true boondocking in New Jersey, this is another state you’re a bit out of luck in. There are several very inexpensive state forest areas, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything in the true sense of boondocking. In the Pinelands National Reserve, you will find some $3 to $5 a night places.  There is also a local Walmart in Hamilton Township, but please ask management.

If you’re looking for something fun! Check out this book! Really fun and unique information. You’ll find some local stories, history, and just things that make you kind of say “huh?”.

Have you ventured down some roads less traveled in New Jersey and discovered something you’d love to share? We’d love to hear about it!!

Looking for more fun and full-time RV information? Here are a few blogs we think you’ll love!

So – You’re shopping on Amazon? I mean who doesn’t, right? Please consider using our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it gives us a few extra pennies. Click below to use our link and then just shop like normal. Don’t forget ~ check out within 24 hours so we get credit! Thank you!! It really means a lot to us!

Thank you for stopping by our little corner of the internet! We truly appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read our blogs. We’re honored you spent the last few minutes with us!  If you aren’t signed up to follow us, please do! You’ll be notified of our new blogs when they go up. 

RV Travel
Boondocking / Dry Camping, RV Camping, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons, Travel Destinations & Stories

10 Reasons To Live Full-Time in An RV

As a seasoned RV traveler, I can attest to the joys of full-time RV living. With the ability to take your home on the road, explore new destinations, and create unforgettable memories, full-time RV travel is a dream come true for many people. Here are our top 10 reasons to travel full-time in an RV.

Freedom to Travel Anywhere

When you hit the road in an RV, you have the freedom to travel anywhere you desire. You can go off the beaten path, discover hidden gems, and explore at your own pace. With no set itinerary, you can adjust your plans on a whim and take advantage of unexpected opportunities. Take your time! It’s something we encourage everyone to do. 

Cost-effective Travel

Full-time RVing is still a cost-effective travel method, even in our current economy. Combining transportation and accommodations in one vehicle will save on travel expenses like airfare and hotel accommodations. Plus, you can cook your meals and avoid expensive restaurant prices. I encourage you to check out our blog here on how we spent $48 for the entire year on camping fees

Comfortable Living

With an RV, your home comes with you wherever you go. You can enjoy the comforts of a comfortable bed, a full kitchen, and a private bathroom no matter where you are. The beauty of RV living is that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for travel.

Time to Connect

Traveling full-time in an RV provides ample time to connect with friends, family, and loved ones. You can spend quality time with your travel companions and experience new adventures together. Plus, you’ll meet new people and make lasting connections.

Opportunity for Adventure

RV travel lets you see and experience things outside your comfort zone. You can try new activities like kayaking, hiking, or skiing. Adventure awaits around every corner. And if you’re looking for RV solar, check out our RV Installation Center we opened! Click here!

Flexibility in Travel

Full-time RV travel provides the flexibility to work and travel simultaneously. You can work remotely from your RV while traveling and exploring new destinations. You can also adjust your travel dates as necessary and take your work with you. Justin and I both worked remotely while living and traveling in our RV.

Chance to Escape

RV travel provides the perfect opportunity to escape the routine of everyday life. You can take a break from the daily grind and enjoy the serenity of nature. With no set schedule, you can relax and enjoy the journey.

Build Memories

Full-time RV travel allows you to build memories that will last a lifetime. Every new destination, every new encounter, and every new adventure will create lasting memories that you will cherish forever.

Access to Nature

By traveling in an RV, you get to experience the beauty and tranquility of nature. You can park your RV in a scenic location, enjoy an afternoon hike, or enjoy the view from your RV. Nature provides the perfect backdrop for full-time travel.

Independence and Self-Reliance

Full-time RV travel allows you to become more self-reliant and independent. You will learn to troubleshoot and fix problems that may arise with your RV, and gain confidence in your ability to handle challenges on the road. And oh boy, will there be some challenges! 

In summary, full-time RV life and exploring our beautiful country in an RV is the most unforgettable adventure, building lasting memories, cost-effective living, and the chance to connect with others and nature. Take advantage of the adventure of a lifetime; consider full-time RV travel for your next life’s chapter. amazing,

Here are a few more blogs we think you’ll love:

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Glacier National Park
Boondocking / Dry Camping, Travel Destinations & Stories

5 Must-See Places in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is one of the most breathtaking places to visit in Montana; numerous spots are worth checking out. The park has stunning landscapes that showcase the beauty of the Rockies, and it has endless opportunities for outdoor activities. Below are some of the popular places to visit at Glacier National Park.

  • Going-to-the-Sun Road: If you look online, you see so many people stating it takes 45 minutes to drive this road. Please schedule a whole day! There are many places to pull over, and enjoy the views! Going-to-the-Sun Road is an iconic highway that cuts through the park, offering a picturesque drive to the Rockies. It passes through the Continental Divide and Logan Pass, providing breathtaking views of the valleys below. Tip: Make sure you know the dates when it’s open. When we were there, it didn’t even open until after July 4th weekend.
  • Lake McDonald: Lake McDonald is one of the largest lakes in the park, offering a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains. It’s popular for kayaking, fishing, and swimming, making it an ideal destination for families.
  • Grinnell Glacier: Grinnell Glacier is a must-see for any hiker visiting National Park. The hike is challenging but offers stunning views of the glacier and the valley below. Visitors can also see diverse flora and wildlife along the hike, making it a fantastic adventure for nature lovers. Take your bear spray!
  • Many Glacier: Many Glacier is an area in the park known for endless hiking trails and stunning views. Visitors can go on a boat tour of the swift current, enjoy horseback riding, or hike to the Grinnell Glacier.
  • Two Medicine: Two Medicine is a tranquil park area with many hiking trails, fishing spots, and stunning vistas. Visitors can hike to the Scenic Point or Medicine Grizzly Lake to enjoy the beauty of the rugged landscape.

No matter which spot you choose to explore, Glacier National Park is a destination that offers endless adventures and breathtaking views. Whether you’re hiking, kayaking, or just driving down the Going-to-the-Sun Road, you’re bound to find something new and discover at Glacier National Park. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and start your trip today!

Here are more blogs we think you’ll love!

So – You’re shopping on Amazon? I mean who doesn’t, right? Please consider using our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it gives us a few extra pennies. Click below to use our link and then just shop like normal. Don’t forget ~ check-out within 24 hours so we get credit! Thank you!! It really means a lot to us!

Boondocking / Dry Camping, RV Camping

RV Camping in Florida

Boondocking is what we do best! This is our preferred way to camp, and we have found some amazing, epic places we want to share with you! But we are also members of Boondockers Welcome, Escapees and Thousand Trails. So we’re here to share our tips on all the locations we stay in Florida. We are full-time RV travelers, so we will be updating this blog often! Come back often!

Boondocking / Free Camping

Florida has some pretty epic free camping areas! Yes, I know! Boondocking in Florida is challenging. Reserving your free sites on the WMA websites can be tedious and hard. But Florida has hundreds of amazing boondocking places. They are really scenic, beautiful places! Be patient, and you could land in some of Florida’s most scenic RV spots – FREE!

  • Potts Preserve – We stayed about eight days here. Loved it. Quiet, good cell service, and plenty of space for a big rig. GPS location on the photo below.
  • Lake Panasoffkee – Another great place. Hint: Reserve the Equestrian area if you’re a big rig. You know you’ll fit if horse trailers can fit.  GPS on photo below.
  • Dead River Landing – Cell service is limited here, but wow! We ended up reserving this just for the weekend because I work, so I need cell service during the week. Here you are just steps away from a beautiful little river/lake where you can put your kayak in. See more pictures below!
  • Bayside – waterfront small beach, amazing sunsets, and great cell service. We were able to stay here for five days. Loved the little beach right behind the RV. GPS on the picture below.
  • Goose Pasture Campground – GPS: 30.202837, -83.967889 – Good cell service, and plenty of room. 

Thousand Trails

Since we are very new to Thousand Trails, we have not stayed at any of the Thousand Trails parks yet. Stand by! Our top pics based on recommendations from friends are:

  • Space Coast
  • Crystal Isles
  • Tropical Palms

Check out our list of hidden gems and fun, unique things to do in Florida! Click the button below!

Don’t forget! This list will be updated as we travel. Share your own amazing boondocking and paid campgrounds with us. We’d love to hear about them!

Here are some other blogs you might enjoy!

Thank you for visiting our blogs! We hope you find value in our information and we’d love to hear your tips and finds!

So – You’re shopping on Amazon? Please consider using our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it gives us a few extra pennies. Click below to use our link, and then just shop like normal. Thank you! It means a lot to us!

Boondocking / Dry Camping, Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Off the Beaten Path in Connecticut. 9 Unique Places to Visit!

If this is your first time here – WELCOME! If not, welcome back!! As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Off The Beaten Path series, where we explore the hidden treasures in every state. We love the big popular attractions like everyone else. However, there is just something incredible about discovering something unique and different. Our goals are to find the most unexplored places and take those roads less traveled. We certainly can’t explore them all, so we’d love you to share your own off-the-beaten-path stories with us. Each series will include at least one epic boondocking/free camping area with GPS coordinates.

Ok, first of all, who added the extra C in the spelling of Connecticut, or have I been saying it wrong for over 50 years? Maybe there is a Connecticut accent I’m missing!

By all means, make sure you visit the Mark Twain house! It’s a pretty popular attraction, but worth the visit!

Also, the Yale University campus is incredible! If you’re able just to check out the buildings from the outside, they are something to see! I mean, look at this amazing building!!

The Thimble Islands 

This is a cluster of small islands in the Branford area off Long Island Sound. One of the largest, Horse Island, is 17 acres and is owned by Yale University who uses it for ecological studies. Governor Island is 10 acres and is home to 14 houses, while Money Island is 12 acres and is home to an entire village of 32 homes and a library.

There are many boat tours available through the islands during the summer. Frisbie Island is maintained as a bird sanctuary and is open to the public only one week every summer. Did you know you can kayak around the Thimble Islands? Dress appropriately and enjoy it! So, it’s well worth it. The best put-in is Branford River State Boat Launch.

Fort Griswold – Groton

Do you love history? We do! If you need another reason to hate Benedict Arnold, a visit here will do it. In 1781, Arnold, an American general who famously switched to the British side, led a raid on New London and Groton that resulted in the massacre of more than 80 troops at this fort across the Thames River in Groton.

There is a memorial to these fallen soldiers, and guests can wander at will through the remains of the structure, which is among the best examples of a Revolutionary War fort still in existence. The Ebenezer Avery House, which sheltered the wounded after the battle, is also still on the grounds. The site is part of the Thames River Heritage Park, which connects the fort with City Pier in New London and Fort Trumbull across the river by means of a water ferry running seasonally Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

TIP!! Take a ride up Route 219 West in Granby and you’ll find this incredible series of waterfalls along a quarter-mile stretch of river within Enders State Forest. The pools formed in the waterfalls’ gorges are tempting to swimmers on hot summer days.

The Putnam Fairy Doors

Keep your eyes peeled in Putnam for these tiny but intricate gateways to the “fairy world.” Along the town’s Main Street, there are possibly up to 21 little doors hidden in plain sight. It feels strange to walk around looking down and under, but so many people are also doing the same thing! 

Bigelow Hollow State Park

This jewel of the park system, way up in the northeast corner and “hidden” away in the 9,000-acre Nipmuck State Forest, has a lot to keep you occupied. During the warmer months, this park truly shines. Tons of beautiful hiking, boating, and fishing in the Mashapaug Pond, which is actually a 300-acre lake that touches the Massachusetts state line. This is one of the great places to be in the state for fall foliage, as the densely packed trees offer a very colorful canvas, while the lake waters provide a beautiful mirrored surface.

Saville Dam

Saville Dam

If you’re a photographer or even a wanna-be like me, this dam is so picturesque. Completed in 1940 and located on the eastern branch of the Farmington River, the dam creates the 8-mile-long Barkhamsted Reservoir, which serves as the primary water source for Hartford. This is a place where you come to get away and to enjoy the quiet and stunning views. You might even spy a soaring bald eagle. There are also some great walking trails in the area. But if you’re planning a long stay, make sure to bring food and drinks; there are no dining options in the immediate vicinity.

Shore Line Trolley Museum

Once upon a time, you could get almost anywhere in the state via mass transportation. Before the personal automobile, an extensive network of suburban trolley lines covered not just Connecticut, but most of New England. Some of the last remaining suburban trolleys are still running at the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, where you can ride a selection of vintage trolleys through a rural area! It gives you a feel for the transportation methods of days gone by. It’s $10 for adults. $7 seniors, and active duty, and retired military are free! 

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Being the daughter of an author, this place intrigues me. It holds the university’s extensive collection of medieval manuscripts, rare books, maps, historical tracts, and pamphlets, as well as modern-day items such as artists’ books and rare limited editions. Built in 1962, the building is the largest in the world dedicated to the preservation and collection of rare books and manuscripts. But perhaps the most famous item is the mysterious Voynich Manuscript. Which I hadn’t ever heard of! Not sure how I hadn’t but now must do research! Ha! We love mysteries! The Voynich Manuscript is named for the book dealer who purchased it in 1912, and very little is known about its true origins. Written entirely in a mysterious and most likely fictional language, the manuscript is elaborately decorated with symbols and illustrations of fanciful plant life. The book was donated to Yale’s Beinecke Library in 1969, where it continues to attract the attention of scholars and code-breakers attempting to crack its riddles and solve its mysteries. Maybe someone will actually break the code one day. Or maybe it was a joke to see how many people would try and it’s just a bunch of nonsense. Who knows! This kind of stuff fascinates me!

East Rock Park

Panoramic views of the city of New Haven and the Long Island Sound, with a side of history. You can reach the top of East Rock by driving or on foot. The latter will give you access to some smaller, unmarked paths that take different routes to the top. As long as you keep your basic bearings, it’s hard to get lost. The park is open year-round to hikers and walkers. But the road is only open April to November

Chapman Falls

This is a short, easy hike to yet another beautiful waterfall! The trail is a 1/2 mile loop trail. Dogs ok but on a leash. The best time to visit is April to November.

We know you can get a lot of information online, but there are sometimes we like to buy books we can write in, and this is one of those times. Check out the New England Waterfalls Guide. 

Speaking of books! Did you read our top 10 favorite travel books?

Boondocking

  • Mohegan Sun – GPS: 41.48553, -72.081582 – Yes, this is a casino parking lot, but you are able to stay for up to 2 weeks. It’s actually a wonderful view where you overlook the river, and cell service is super fast! We personally aren’t gamblers, but we usually go in and use their free play, maybe get a drink at the bar and try to give back a little bit. Of course, the last casino we were at we won $100 and walked out. So didn’t give much back at that one! Ha!
  • Most rest areas in Connecticut are free to stay overnight. Again, not the most epic place, but free, safe, and easy on/off the highway.
  • Beach Pond Boat Ramp – 41.5821, -71.8176 TIP: If you want to get to some excellent swimming, just follow the path along the water for about a half-mile. There’s a small island you can wade out to. The water is about 1-2 feet deep, and you’ll find a rope swing out there. 

Thank you for sticking it out this far! We hope you enjoy our Off the Beaten Path series. Here are a few other blogs we think you’ll love!

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Best Places to See in Fall
Boondocking / Dry Camping, Travel Destinations & Stories

Top Places to Visit in Fall in the USA

As full-time RV’ers, fall is our favorite time of the year. We once followed the Natchez Trace from Tennessee to Mississippi (backward, according to some – but we actually loved doing it this way) and experienced fall for a solid three months. It was like we followed the fall season down. Aside from the colors and the cooler temperatures, things get quiet as the kids go back to school and people start preparing for the holidays. Below are our favorite places to visit in the fall.

You can read our 3 part Natchez Trace experience by visiting the first link below.

Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania

Before we decided to sell it all and travel full-time in our RV, we bought our dream house in Pennsylvania. Justin was born and raised in PA, so he knew most of the areas really well! The Pine Creek Gorge is sometimes referred to as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.

We really enjoyed it here!! Check it out any time of the year, but it’s incredible in the fall! It stretches almost 50 miles and is best seen in early October. The path winds through the gorge, offering up-close and personal views of the ever-changing colors of countless trees. Another local favorite is Colton Point State Park, which covers 368 acres and offers impressive views of the canyon and river. 

Pine Creek Gorge (Pennsylvania Grand Canyon)

Upper Peninsula, Michigan

We really must go back to the UP. We visited almost too quickly our first time! The UP is home to over 20 forested state parks and 4 million acres of aspen, beech, birch, maple, oak, and sycamore trees, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula comes to life in a spectacular array of fiery fall colors each October. What makes this area especially amazing at this time of year is the contrast between the sapphire waters of the Great Lakes, the eroded white limestone of the cliffs, and the brightly painted leaves. If you’ve never been to Michigan in the fall, definitely put it on your bucket list!

Middlesboro, Kentucky

Part of my heart belongs in Kentucky! It was one of our first stops to really explore after we left to travel full-time in our RV. Close to the beautiful Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Middleboro offers a quiet and small-town feel. Located about two hours south of Lexington, Kentucky, the Gap offers the same spectrum of fall color as the more crowded Great Smoky Mountain National Park, with a fraction of the tourists. If you’ve read our Off The Beaten Path series, you know how we love the smaller, more quiet areas. Nearly 24,000 acres of the park are pure wilderness and offer truly spectacular hiking, biking, and camping in the fall. Best time to see the colors is between late September and late October.

Leavenworth Washington

When you think of fall, I bet you don’t think of the west coast! Well, definitely put Leavenworth on your radar! Leavenworth is a little slice of Germany hidden in the Washington forests.

It really pulls out all the stops for its annual Oktoberfest. Running over three weekends, with the last in mid-October, this is definitely an all-out extravaganza. Kick it off at the time-honored keg tapping ceremony, and then enjoy live music, games, and plenty of beer and schnitzel all day. Prost!

Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests, North Carolina

Another excellent stay for us!! And again, we weren’t there long enough! Of all of the places in America, the Great Smoky Mountains are the most renowned for rainbows of foliage in fall. Both of these forests have incredible wilderness areas with incredible fall colors. You can see our blog of hidden gems in North Carolina here!

You can see one of our campground reviews of Curtis Creek in the Pisgah National Forest here

Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky

Did I mention I love Kentucky? And aside from the fantastic colors of fall here, you’ll have to check out our incredible free camping finds in the Daniel Boone National Forest!

Visiting in mid to late October is the time to see Kentucky’s sugar maple, beech, birch, and basswood trees alight with color. Daniel Boone contains Clifty and Beaver Creek Wilderness Areas. The Red River Gorge is a geological wonder you just must see!

Door County Wisconsin

Door County is one of the Midwest’s best fall color destinations.

It is popular and sometimes crowded during the few weeks of color pop. Follow Highway 57 down the Lakeside of the peninsula, enjoying the bursts of scarlet, gold, russet, and vermilion that line highways and form canopies over country lanes. Peak colors usually arrive about the second week of October, lingering well into the third week during a good season. Get there early, and stay late, so you don’t miss it!

I think I could have picked another 100 places to visit, but these are a few of our favorites. We hope you found some value and some new places to travel. Please share your fall favorites with us. We’re still working on our fall bucket list, so share your best places to visit in the fall.

Here are some other blogs we think you’ll love!

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Boondocking / Dry Camping, Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Off the Beaten Path in North Dakota

If this is your first time here – WELCOME! If not, welcome back!! As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Off The Beaten Path series where we explore the hidden treasures in every state. We love the big popular attractions like everyone else, however, there is just something incredible about discovering something unique and different. Our goals are to find the most unexplored places and take those roads less traveled. We certainly can’t explore them all, so we’d love you to share your own off-the-beaten-path stories with us. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking/free camping area, with GPS coordinates.


Traveling through North Dakota was really much like traveling through South Dakota. It’s hard not to fall in love with the hills and buttes that cover North Dakota’s landscape. From the Red River to Little Missouri and everywhere in between. We loved Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Since it’s more popular, we won’t go into all the things to see there, but definitely go!!

Lewis and Clark Riverboat

The Lewis and Clark Riverboat is a 40-foot flat-bottomed boat that departs from Bismarck and sails along the Missouri River every Summer. You can choose to just cruise the river and take in the landscape views from the water (definitely go at sunset), or opt for the food-filled dinner cruise option if you want to make a night of it.

Enchanted Highway

I think this has gotten more popular, but still, a really fun thing to see. Odd, but fun! One man’s quest to save his town with a trail of record-breaking sculptures. 

If you are traveling with young kids, I think they will love this highway! Located at exit 72, approximately 20 miles east of Dickinson via I-94, the Enchanted Highway is clearly marked by road signs and billboards with easy on-off access from the Interstate.

The International Peace Garden

This garden was intentionally grown where Manitoba Highway 10 becomes North Dakota Highway 3, because, it’s the longest north/south road in the world, symbolizing the connection between the United States and Canada. The Garden itself is dedicated to the harmony between the two nations. It spans 2,339 acres and can take up to two hours to drive through. But do it! Tip: There’s a 1.5-mile hike around the gorgeous Lake Stormon. This peaceful oasis is worth the hike. Quiet, and not many people do the hike.

Lake Metigoshe State Park

On the Canadian border, Lake Metigoshe State Park offers a well-rounded, classic lake with walleye fishing, a beach, clean cabins, a Fourth of July fireworks show plus some amazing kayaking if that’s your thing, with way less noise and crowds than you’ll find at big, better-known Lake Sakakawea.

St. Patricks Day Pub Crawl

This is a fun event put on each year. If you plan this right, you’ll have lots of fun! Running O’ the Green is an event in Jamestown where you dress up in green the Saturday before/after St. Patrick’s Day (check the calendar for the actual date) and run down a snow-covered hill to start off a pub crawl for charity. Fun and giving back! That’s perfect, right? If you want more information on this, I think YouTube has some videos on it. 

Abandoned Towns

Since we love photography, sometimes there is just something strangely beautiful about abandoned towns. And there isn’t a lack of those in North Dakota. Most of the ghost towns dwindled because of the railroad leaving, but so many buildings still stand in some towns. We simply like photography and history. Sometimes driving through these areas you can imagine the thriving town and wonder about the people who lived there. Schoolhouses, churches, and old homes – are dilapidated today. Definitely check them out if you’re curious! Check out Arena and Verendrye for sure!

Boondocking

North Carlson Lake – Douglas – GPS: 47.921023, -101.470419 Big rig friendly! Bathrooms and trashcans. Pretty nice little county park. 

DOUGLAS CREEK – GARRISON ND

Douglas Creek – Garrison GPS: 47.578242, -101.574641 Awesome big rig place, with amazing views, and great cell service! Awesome free CoE (Corps of Engineers) park!

Here are a few more blogs we think you’ll love!

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Boondocking / Dry Camping, Small Footprint ~ Big Impressions, Travel Destinations & Stories

Tiny Town with Big Stories ~ Encampment, WY

We especially love finding small towns with a big story. Since we travel full-time in our RV, we’ve discovered there isn’t a lack of tiny towns with amazing stories. So we are seeking them out to share with you! Since we boondock most of the time, we will also share our boondocking location with you on every post. 

You’ll love this town! Once called Grand Encampment by French-Canadian trappers who rendezvoused along the Encampment River, this small town has a rich history.

Encampment is located on the Colorado / Wyoming border. We stumbled upon this tiny town pretty much by mistake, as we had no idea how fascinating this small-town story was. We love history, but for me, I must be able to see it and not just read about it. 

History

In 1897, copper was discovered in the Sierra Madre Mountains just above this quiet settlement, and soon hundreds flocked to the area to get their share of the mined riches. A smelter was built along the river, and an incredible (for its time) tramway was built.

This tram ran for sixteen miles from the mining site in the mountains down to the smelter. The tramway, the longest in the world at the time, was considered an engineering marvel and carried 840 buckets that held as much as 700 pounds of ore each. The tramway traveled at 4 miles per hour to move the ore from the mine to the smelter. There were three cable stations each approximately four miles apart. The cable operation was powered by wood-fired steam engines. The tram could carry almost a thousand tons of ore a day. But it took about 8 hours for one bucket to complete the round-trip journey. 

The Grand Encampment Museum is really a trip back in time. They have a collection of over a dozen historical buildings filled with artifacts representing the timber, mining, and agricultural history of the Encampment valley at the turn of the 20th century. You don’t just have to read about it. You can walk through the buildings and get a feel for how they lived back then. The tour is free, as well as the museum. 

The End of Encampment

In 1908 a series of fires at the smelter caused setbacks there, and many people left. Property values fell, and today the population in Encampment is only 450 people. 

This is such a fun town! The free tour of the historic buildings was our favorite. Walking through the buildings gives you such an overwhelming feeling of how different life was back then, and also how much has changed. It made me wonder how much will change in the next hundred + years and how someday our great-grandkids might be looking at our life thinking how different it was. 

Fun fact about Encampment – Grand Encampment was organized and incorporated with that name in 1897, but postal regulations required that the “Grand” be dropped.

Free Camping in Encampment

I’m not sure if you can essentially call this boondocking, since this hidden gem had free full hookups! Including sewer, water, electricity, and large dumpsters available for the trash. Also, there are bathrooms available. Limited to 3 days stay, but that’s plenty of time to explore this great town. GPS coordinates on the picture!

There is so much more to come! Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss any posts. Have you seen our other series “Off the Beaten Path” where we shared over 400 hidden gems in the US to see? Click here to check out that series! Let us know if you have any questions, and if you have any small town suggestions for us, we’d love to hear about them!

Here are a few other blogs we think you’ll love!

So – You’re shopping on Amazon? I mean who doesn’t, right? Please consider using our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it gives us a few extra pennies. Click below to use our link and then just shop like normal. Don’t forget ~ check out within 24 hours so we get credit! Thank you!! It really means a lot to us!

Thank you for coming to our little corner of the internet. We truly appreciate each and every one of you and look forward to hearing where your favorite travel places have been in our beautiful country.