Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Off the Beaten Path in Oregon – Our Top Hidden Gems!

As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the “Off the Beaten Path” of every state. We love the big popular stuff like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, different, and maybe a little “off the beaten path”. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to include your favorites below too. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking area, some complete with pictures and all with GPS coordinates. 

Oregon is … simply put … EYE CANDY. If you blow through Oregon fast, this is one state you’re really missing some phenomenal things. Spend some time here! You won’t regret it. The Oregon Coast is one of the most amazing drives in itself. Make sure you spend some time driving the coast if you can. 

Some of the popular things in this state, I still have to highly recommend. Have you seen Thor’s Well or hike around Crater Lake? The Columbia River Gorge with the Multnomah Falls looks so picture-perfect, it’s almost fake! Cannon Beach and Mt. Hood National Forest are definitely the more popular things not to miss. But that’s not why you’re here! Let’s get to the Off the Beaten Path stuff!


Here are our pick’s for the unique and different finds.


Sea Lion Cave

Located 11 miles north of Florence on U.S. Highway 101 – The Sea Lion Caves along the Pacific coast in Oregon are a connected system of caverns where Steller’s sea lions (also known as northern sea lions) gather every spring and summer to breed and give birth to a new generation.

If you arrive and see no sea lions, it’s still a really cool place to see. At sea level, the ocean continually washes into the main chamber of the caves. The walls of the cavern are stained with a rainbow of colors because of the lichens and algae that grow in the dark, wet space.

Painted Hills

An unusual combination of a brutal high-desert climate mixed with the gentler lowland environment creates a setting for one of the most scenic landscapes in Oregon. Turn north to Burnt Ranch Road from Route 26 in Oregon, and it is impossible to miss them. This reminded us of South Dakota’s “Bad Lands” area. 

Octopus Tree of Oregon

Located in Tillamook – The Octopus Tree is believed to be around 300 years old. The tree itself extends from a central base that is nearly 50 feet around, and instead of shooting straight up with a central trunk, the body of the tree splits into a number of smaller trunks. The bizarre arbor has long been an attraction but the origins of its odd shape are up for debate.  

The Wreck of Peter Iredale

100-year-old shipwreck you can walk up to at low tide. The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel barque sailing vessel that ran ashore on October 25, 1906, on the Oregon coast en route to the Columbia River. It was abandoned on Clatsop Spit near Fort Stevens in Warrenton about four miles (6 km) south of the Columbia River channel.

The wreckage is still visible. Take SW 9th Street West from Warrenton proper and turn north on NW Ridge Road. Turn left/west onto Peter Iredale Road and follow it all the way to the beach, where there is a lot of parking about 200 yards from the wreck.

Crack In The Ground

MEcrackrock

I’m guessing coming up with a name wasn’t top on the priority list for this. Ha! This volcanic fissure is over two miles long and up to 70 feet deep – Simply called Crack in the Ground. There are 2 places in my travels I have found where I feel the most peace. Peace with everything and a calmness comes over me that it’s just hard to explain. Those two places are walking through a slot canyon, and next to a waterfall. Some people love the beach, I’m more of a waterfall girl. This crack in the ground is really amazing to walk through. It’s like a slot canyon and really is something to see. It’s over two miles long and up to 70 feet deep. If you can’t walk the whole thing, at least step inside a few feet of it if you can. It is located in the Deschutes National Forest. Hikers can walk the length of the main crack and explore its tributaries.

Airplane Home

Airplane

If you’ve followed along, you know how much I love strange homes and mystery castles with a story. Well … how about Airplane Home in the Woods? This man lives in a converted Boeing 727 parked out back. The aircraft’s owner, Bruce Campbell has been living in the airplane for six months each year since purchasing the plane in 1999 for $100,000. Equipped with water, electricity, and sewage plus 1,066 square feet of interior space, Campbell’s airplane home is pretty plush for all its eccentricities. This private residence is on private property, so check out his website for a tour if you’re interested. Campbell is happy to offer tours of his airplane in the woods.  Email: bruce@AirplaneHome.com

Elowah Falls Bridge

Elowah Falls (also called McCord Creek Falls). This reminds me of The Hobbit. Ha! I am sure you’ll feel the same way when you check it out. It’s on our list of places to see! So if you get there first, send me a picture or 5. Ha! If you allow us to post the pictures, I’ll give you credit!

2021 Update! One of our readers sent us this beautiful picture of Elorah Falls Bridge. Thank you to Holly for this picture, and you can follow her on Instagram @adventureswithholly. I highly recommend following her. She has some amazing and beautiful places to explore, not to mention incredible photography!!

Photo By Holly – IG: @adventureswithholly

Pillars of Rome

Located in Malheur County you will find these awesome and unique rock formations. Driving on Highway 95 South to Rome, then go west from Rome station the south for a little over a mile and you can’t miss this. Millions of years of weather erosion have given us an amazing sight to see. 

Natural Bridges Cove

Located on Hwy 101 along the southern Oregon coast, it holds many interesting natural wonders, including Natural Bridges Cove. Just before the CA border, there is the town of Brookings. This cover is just a couple of miles north of that. Just breathtaking. 

Salt Creek Falls

I mentioned my love of waterfalls, right? Salt Creek Falls is one of 7 Waterfall Wonders in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Region. Cascading 286 feet, Salt Creek Falls is one of Southern Oregon’s most powerful falls. A steep trail from the platform to the waterfall’s base is short but is not wheelchair accessible due to numerous stairs. The best viewpoint is halfway down this path. Salt Creek Falls Observation Site is 23 miles southeast of Oakridge and approximately 5 miles west of Willamette Pass. From Highway 58 look for the signs, turn onto Forest Service Road 5893, and follow the signs.

UPDATE! We visited the Oregon Coast this summer and found more for you!

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

Have you been to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse? We visited this really unique lighthouse, with a really great story! Take the tour! It’s free! The beautiful scenery around it, is just as amazing.

Oh … A little advice!! Traveling down the Oregon Coast? Don’t feed the sea birds. Even if he or she looks you in the eyes, begs and promises to be alone. Don’t ask us how we know that!! If you decide your story will be different, don’t say we didn’t warn you! Ha!!!

Looking for RV camping in Oregon? Click the button below where we share all our free boondocking plus paid campground and membership camping areas.

We think you’d love these other blogs too!

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

Off the Beaten Path in Wyoming. Our Top Hidden Gems!

As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the “Off the Beaten Path” of every state. We love the big popular stuff like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, different, and maybe a little “off the beaten path”. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to include your favorites below, too. Each series will include a link to all the amazing free places we have stayed. And there is no shortage in Wyoming!

Hell’s Half Acre

Located 40 miles west of Casper. This geologic curiosity comprises of deep crevasses, caves, rock formations, and hard-packed eroded earth. Even though it’s called Half Acre, it’s actually over 300 acres of mysterious beauty. 

Travertine Terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs

This place is incredible! I know I say that a lot, but our country just amazes me, and though this place is possibly on the border of being popular if you go at the end of summer, it’s quiet and peaceful.

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  It’s ever-changing and one of those things that make you feel you’re on another planet. 

Smith Mansion

Ok, so you all know I love castles or strange houses, but mostly I love the history behind them, which is usually kind of mysterious and bizarre. This is no exception. Wyoming’s Smith Mansion has many rumors surrounding it, but the truth is that it is simply the work of a man who could not stop building.

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I’ll let you read this interesting, strange story and the myths surrounding it today. Location: 2902 North Fork Highway, Cody, Wyoming, 82414 TIP: There is a RV Park so close to Smith Mansion, you could probably walk. 

Buford, Wyoming

Buford

Buford is the smallest town in the United States. Just fun to drive through to take a picture of the sign. Don’t forget to check out “Tree in the Rock”. The population is 1. 

Intermittent Spring

Located at the foot of a mountain just outside of Afton, Wyoming, Intermittent Spring (otherwise known as the Periodic Spring), is one of only three springs of its kind in the world that start and stop every few minutes for a reason science can only speculate on.

Researchers have not pinpointed exactly what causes the surprisingly regular ebb and flow of the spring, but they believe it has to do with an underground siphon effect. The water at the spring site is said to flow for 18 minutes straight before stopping for another 18 minutes. TIP: Follow the signs to the gravel road and drive 5 miles up. Hike an amazing 3/4 mile hike to the spring. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

Don’t forget to explore the more popular things too. They are never less beautiful or less amazing. We love to travel to these more popular places, too. But we tend to do it more off-season and during the weekdays because we can! Wyoming has endless beauty. 

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area

Highly recommend exploring The Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. And of course the National Parks! Our country is breathtaking. This is a more popular place, but it was worth a mention!

World’s Largest Hotsprings

Thermopolisme

Located in the town of Thermopolis, you can find the breathtaking hot springs. The Hot Springs are located at 168 Tepee Street.

Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway

Yes, you can drive through the three tunnels with your RV in tow. The tunnels are 14 feet high. So know your height, but most RV’s can make just fine! It’s definitely worth the drive! The Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway begins in the town of Shoshoni at milepost 100. Following U.S. 20 north through Wind River Canyon and the Wind River Indian Reservation, the route ends just north of the city of Thermopolis at milepost 134. Without stopping, the total drive time is about 40 minutes. 

Thank you for visiting our little corner of the internet. Let us know some of your favorite hidden gems in Wyoming! We’d love to hear from you!

Check out our amazing free camping in Wyoming! Click the button below!

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

Off the Beaten Path in Maine. Our Top Hidden Gems!

Lighthouses, beaches, and seafood come to mind when most people think about Maine. Of course, Maine is where you will also find the world’s largest telephone. I mean, who knew? 

By all means, go check out Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. WOW! Unbelievable beauty! But with that being said, take a look at our list of unique things to see in Maine. 

Did you know that we traveled full-time in our RV for over 7 years? And did you know we’ve put together a list of hidden gems in every single state? So check out some of our other top picks and great places to explore in another state!

Monhegan

Monhegan is a small, rocky island ten miles from the nearest mainland and scarcely a square mile in area. It is accessible only by boat and there are no cars or paved roads on the Island.

Since long before the explorer John Smith visited it in 1614, it was known to Native Americans as a prime fishing area, though today its economy is more invested in tourism than it is in lobstering or fishing. The year-round population has seldom exceeded 65 in recent times. No drones. No smoking outside the village. It’s a very protected island, and when you visit, you’ll see why! To get there, take a nice relaxing ferry ride and with the entire island being only one square mile, you can wander around quite a bit before taking the ferry back. 

Don’t forget to check out the D.T. Sheridan Shipwreck while exploring this island. The steel hull of a wrecked tug rests on Lobster Cove on Monhegan Island’s rocky southeastern shore. 

State Parks! We love them. We have found the most amazing things to see in the virtually unknown, off-the-beaten-path state parks.

Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park

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Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park is a five-minute drive from the center of Freeport’s bustling shopping district. Definitely check out the Casco Bay Trail.

Small Falls

Located in Rangeley. Can you imagine a typical rest area that has a waterfall? And I mean a real, beautiful, backcountry type of waterfall area. Well, you’ve found one! Smalls Falls, with its scenic waterfall, colorful gorge, and fine swimming holes, welcomes all, often including visitors from all over New England. This may well be the most epic rest area ever!

Moxie Falls

The trail to Moxie Falls is fairly easy, but it will make you feel like you’re deep in the woods, surrounded only by nature.

It’s a 2-mile round trip trail. That’s the beauty of getting away from the tourist traps on the coast. You’ll see the beauty in its natural state, away from the crowds.

Moose Point State Park

We will repeat it – State Parks don’t get enough attention. This is a peaceful park that many people don’t know about; those who do can spend a day enjoying long walks on beautiful trails along the coast or woods and wildlife spotting.

The tide pools appeal to kids especially, where they can poke around and find small marine creatures under the rocks. It goes without being said, I’m sure, but please respect our beautiful nature and be kind and easy to our tide pool creatures.

Wire Bridge

Do you like Bridges? We do! The elaborate, the new, the old, the abandoned, and the unique and different ones. Wire Bridge in New Portland is no exception. This bridge may be the last wire-supported bridge of its type in the world. New Portland is about halfway between Bangor and the Canadian border. Only about 725 people live there, and every one of them could probably point you to their showpiece – the old Wire Bridge. 

Cutler Bold Coast Preserve

Cutler Coast Public Lands is a gorgeous place to visit with very few tourists. Many people love the quiet hiking trails with incredible views.  I’d venture to say that most hikers who come to visit Maine have never heard of the Cutler Coast. Their loss. And that’s why it’s one of our favorite hidden gems!

Rattlesnake Flume and Pool

from the wild

Plan for a hot day of hiking Blueberry Mountain in Evans Notch, and make sure you stop off at Rattlesnake Flume and Pond near the end. The crystal clear pool is located just off Stone House Trail. You’ll see a marker showing you the way via a small detour.

Giant’s Stairs (or Staircase)

giants staircase

Another beautiful lava-made scene. When the hot magma met the sea.  Over several million years the seam of basalt rock eroded into an oceanside cascade of ledges now known as the Giant’s Stairs.

In the town of Harpswell, the Giant’s Stairs are at the midway point of a fantastic, easy half-mile trail. You just gotta do this! You most likely will be all alone on the trail unless it’s a weekend. But still, this is a very unpopulated area. You’ll love it! 

Wild Blueberry Land

Did you read that twice? Ha! Yes – More of an unusual gem than a hidden secret, Wild Blueberry Land is dedicated to the state’s official fruit: the tangy blueberry. This small theme park is located in Columbia Falls, filled with blueberry-shaped statues.

The main dome-snapped building is filled with tasty treats, including freshly baked blueberry pies, muffins, cakes, sweets, loaves of bread, and more. There are fun things to do for kids, including mini-golf. Plus, there are some views of Acadia NP.

Stephen King’s House

If you’re a long-time fan of the author Stephen King, you’ll want to take a drive-by. He was born in Maine and has used the state as the setting for many of his stories.

Despite his fame and wealth, we are told that he still lives in his home state, in a rather distinctive mansion just outside of downtown Bangor. But don’t just go to Bangor to see King’s home! Bangor is really a great little town to visit too!

Boon Island Lighthouse

Boon Island lies approximately 6 miles off the coast of York, Maine, and is the tallest lighthouse in New England. Take a personal vessel from York Harbor on a clear day and simply aim for the tall lighthouse on the island, which is visible for miles. There is a darker, sad history of this island before the lighthouse was built in 1855. It’s well worth a day trip!

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

Boondocking

Boondocking can be tough to find on the east coast. We know! But if you’re flexible in the location, you can certainly find some pretty epic places. 

  • Jewett Cove – Near Greenville, Maine. GPS: 45.687199, -69.551319 The road is gravel, and long (about 5 miles) but pretty well maintained. Beautiful lake you can launch a kayak or canoe from the boat launch. Sites are on the smaller side but you can still get a big rig in the areas if others are not parked strange. Cell service ok with Verizon. 
  • Big Eddy – Dead River – Long Falls Dam Road New Portland, Maine GPS: 45.230921, -70.195401 Another beautiful place that has recently been updated and looks fantastic. Big rig friendly
  • Another big rig friendly area, but beware of the low hanging trees. If at all possible, scout the road first!! Lakeside sites, beautiful and quiet. Bigelow Preserve – Stratton, Maine. GPS 45.173465, -70.411772

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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. 

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

Off the Beaten Path in Arizona

Top Hidden Gems We Bet You Didn’t Know About in Arizona.

Arizona is just packed full of popular, fantastic things to see. Of course, The Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and the Wave. Not to mention Horseshoe Bend, Havasupai Falls and The Petrified Forest National Park. If you’ve never been to these places, don’t miss them! But we’d like to share some unique and different places you might not have heard of. 

The Mystery Castle

What a crazy, sad, unique, and finally happy ending story. I’m not going to spoil it, but we did make a video that touched on the story a little bit. We loved this tour and the eclectic mind of the man who built it for his daughter. Not only is it really odd and interesting, but the story behind it is fascinating. We were lucky enough to have Juankarlo Gastelum as a tour guide. His father was a groundskeeper for over 40 years, and he basically grew up in and around the castle. It was really fun listening to his personal stories. If you have kids, bring them! They will love this quirky place! Check out our short video below. 

Hole in the Rock

This is a natural geological formation in Papago Park, a municipal park of Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona. This is a fun, short day trip. We took lunch and enjoyed a small hike to the top. Then we hiked a little more to do some geocaching. If you don’t know what Geocaching is, check out our blog here. The views from The Hole are beautiful!

HoleinRockAZ1

Kartchner Caverns

This is a beautiful state park located in Benson. After their discovery in 1974, these limestone caverns were kept secret for more than a decade as a way to preserve their untrammeled beauty. Seeking undiscovered caves in the mid-70s, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts discovered evidence of a secret cave: the two felt warm air emanating from a crack at the bottom of a sinkhole they found in the Whetstone Mountains of southern Arizona. The men slipped through the crack and discovered a network of pristine caverns with spectacular rock formations, including massive stalagmites and stalactites. They would return on several occasions over four years, discovering 2.5 miles of passageways and chambers while keeping their find secret. I don’t know about you, but this is the kind of stuff I think is fascinating. Can you imagine finding something like this and having it all to yourself for years?

Kartchner Caverns

Tonto Natural Bridge

Driving near Pine, AZ? Tonto Natural Bridge is the largest natural travertine bridge in the world is nestled in a small canyon in central Arizona.

tonto-natural-bridge-987223_1920

This 183-foot-high bridge is beautiful from every angle. The three hiking trails in the area bring you all the way down to the 400-foot-long tunnel. If you are not afraid of slipping on some algae, you can make your way through the tunnel to one of the other trails. Tonto Natural Bridge will not disappoint any visitor. There are viewing points from above so those not in the hiking mood can still enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Lake Havasu’s London Bridge

The old London Bridge was carefully dismantled, and each of the stones was numbered. Once it was broken down to its pieces, they were shipped to California through the Panama Canal, and then driven down to Arizona. The bridge was then just as carefully put back together again, and Arizona’s own London Bridge was opened in 1971. Near the bridge is a little walkway. Past some little shops, ice cream stores, and a few others. We found walking down the path pretty far was actually more thrilling to us than the bridge itself. Of course, we stopped for ice cream, so maybe that was more of our thrill. Ha! 

The Desert Bar

Located in Parker – and yes, it’s the Desert Bar, not the Dessert Bar!

deseet_bar_31

So we don’t really hang out in bars much, but this is more than a bar. The road to get there is an experience in itself. You just have to visit this really neat, unique, and totally run on solar power bar in the middle of the desert. It’s only open on weekends. Most people drive off-road vehicles to get there, which is half the fun, but you can certainly take your regular vehicle. We drove our dually. It’s just one of those interesting and unique places, and I have to say, though on the expensive side (because they can … there is nowhere else to go Ha) the food is actually really good. Humor yourself and get the gigantic pretzel. But ensure you have someone (or 5 someones) to share it with. Read the story of how the owner created this, and why he decided to go forward with it. Super fun place!! 

“The” Corner in Winslow AZ

Everyone who loves The Eagles needs to go stand on the corner in Winslow Arizona. Just sayin’! (Now you can thank me! The song will be stuck in your head for hours. In my case, days! Ha Ha!)

Slide Rock State Park

Located in Oak Creek Canyon just seven miles north of Sedona.

Slide Rock State Park is home to a smooth, natural water slide. It offers a fantastic place for cooling off on a hot summer day. Visitors can slide down the slickwater chute, wade in the cool waters, or soak up the sunshine along the creek.

Grand Falls

Grand Falls after monsoon rains

Located in the Navajo Nation, this seasonal waterfall flows a rich chocolate color after the annual snowmelt or after any significant rain! Most of the time, this is a dry river bed. So if you want to see the flowing water, make sure you are close by and schedule your time to go right after a monsoon. If you can get to this in March or April that is the best time to see it. The snowmelt will give you more opportunities to see it. There is also a short period in the summer that you can see the falls due to the monsoon season, but the window is short and is highly dependent on the weather patterns that year. FYI, this is on Navajo land, and you need to obtain a permit to be on it. 

The Town of Oatman

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The town of Oatman, AZ – OH what fun!! This is a quirky, fun place. Unique shops, and wild donkeys roaming the town. I mean ruling the town. While we were there they would often try to get into the shops because some of the shop owners have favorites they feed on a regular basis, and the donkeys know this. Also, the gunfighter wild west show happens every day in the middle of town at noon. The street is blocked, and it’s about a 15 minute, very humorous thing to see. The area close to the town of Oatman to boondock is also stunning (Boondocking information below). 

Sitegreaves Pass

Don’t miss this beautiful overlook near Oatman. The views are amazing. And the drive is even better!

Hiking

If you love hiking, you just have to check out the Arizona Hot Springs.

The hike is 7 miles round trip, and it pretty much kicked my butt with the rock scrambles. I am thankful for friends who didn’t mind pushing my butt up (literally) when I needed a little help on the rock scrambles. But we did it, and it was so worth it! After we completed the hike, we ran into some other friends a few months later who told us we could have kayaked right up to the short trail to the hot springs. Well … that would have been nice. But I wouldn’t trade that day for anything. We saw some beautiful sights and spent some amazing time with some friends. 

Another amazing find is Lake Powell. We haven’t made it there yet, but it’s on our list for next time! 

Boondocking / Free Camping

There is no lack of boondocking in Arizona. Here are our top picks in Arizona. What are your favorites?

SEE PICTURES FOR GPS COORDINATES

  • Sedona AZ – Forest Road 525. 
  • Oatman, AZ – Topic Dispersed. We loved this place. Beautiful area. 
  • Table Mesa Rd Boondocking near New River, AZ. 
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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. We’d love to hear your unique finds in Arizona. What hidden gems have your found?

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!

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How To's and Why Not's, Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Geo-What? What is Geocaching, and How Does it Work? Bringing Free and Family Fun Together.

Geocaching is something we’ve done with our kids since they were young! Let us help you understand what it is, and we’ll guarantee you’ll love it as much as your kids do. 

ge·o·cach·ing — ˈjēōˌkaSHiNG 

It occurred to us one day while speaking with someone that many people still don’t know what this incredibly fun activity is. And the most fun part is, in these unpredictable times of 2020 and 2021, you can absolutely get out and do this while social distancing. 

What is Geocaching?

“Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices (or phone – though I have confirmed the phone is not as accurate and can make this harder). Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.” There are millions of geocaches hidden around the world—there are probably some near you right now. You probably walk right by them every day. Which is the object of this! They are hidden and unless you know they are there, they are not seen. Sometimes under a rock, inside a tree, under a bush, inside a bird feeder, or under a bridge. The possibilities are endless. 

How We Got Started

We started Geocaching when our youngest daughter was about 5 (she is 24 now). Our girls didn’t spend much time in front of the TV, and video games were pretty expensive. I (Stacy) was a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, and funds were limited, so we learned about Geocaching. A free worldwide scavenger hunt. Who doesn’t like a scavenger hunt? It gets you outside exploring new and different areas. With the technology the way it is today, it’s gotten much easier for families to join, and yet so many of our friends look at us funny when we say we went Geocaching for the afternoon. 

More Information

There is a lot of information out there about this fun activity, but basically, you sign up on their website. It’s free, but they do have a $30-a-year premium membership you can purchase. Which gets you even more caches in your area. You can download their free app on all phones and enter your current location and search. Try it … just for fun, to see how many caches are in your area! Chose any geocache from the list and get information on that cache. If you want to search for it, you would enter into your GPS device the location coordinates, and your handheld GPS (or phone) will lead you to the cache. Our family likes medium, large or extra-large caches. These are typically Tupperware containers or ammo boxes full of “stuff” If you take something, the rule is to put something inside. There is always a logbook to sign and date, and make sure you “log our find” so the owner of the cache knows who was there. You physically sign the book and then log your find electronically online. 

What Are Trackables?

aka: “Travel Bugs” A trackable is a sort of physical geocaching “game piece.” You will often find them in geocaches. Each Trackable is etched with a unique code that can be used to log its movements on Geocaching.com as it travels in the real world. Some of these items have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles thanks to geocachers who move them from cache to cache! 

They can be coins, dog tag types, or connected to a particular item like a key chain, small stuffed animal, etc. These are our favorites. Because we traveled so much in the military, we loved to take them from one state and move them to another.

Here are a few supplies we have. But really, just keeping a bin of fun little items is a great way to share the surprise!

I could go on and on about Geocaching, but there is much more information online for you. Go to www.geocaching.com to find out more. Get your kids involved! My kids are 33 and 24 and we still involve them in this fun outside activity. Now my oldest is a mom herself and loves Geocaching and soon my granddaughter will be running around looking for fun caches everywhere!

So get out! Download the free app on your phone and enjoy your time exploring!

Here are some more fun blog posts we think you’ll love!

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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. 

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Off the Beaten Path Series

Off the Beaten Path in Mississippi. Our Top Hidden Gems

As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series, where we explore the “Off the Beaten Path” of every state. We love the big popular stuff like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, different, and maybe a little “off the beaten path.” We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to include your favorites below too. Each series will include at least one epic boondocking area, some complete with pictures and all with GPS coordinates. 

Ahhhh Mississippi! Have you driven the Natchez Trace Parkway? It’s 444 miles through 3 states with fantastic history and sights. We actually started in Tennessee and drove down to Mississippi. I have a detailed 3-part series – Click the button below.

Fun Facts about Mississippi

  • Kermit the Frog was born in Leland, Mississippi
  • It’s also where Elvis was born.

Windsor Ruins

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We found the story behind this absolutely fascinating. This was by far my favorite thing to see. I love castles, mysteries, and ruins. This was all of those! Windsor mansion was located on a plantation that covered 2,600 acres. The mansion was constructed between 1859 and 1861 for Smith Coffee Daniell II, who was born in Mississippi and had acquired great wealth as a cotton planter by age 30. In 1849, Smith Daniell married his cousin (interesting, huh?) Catherine Freeland. The couple had six children, with three surviving to adulthood. Much of the basic construction of the Windsor mansion was accomplished by Smith Daniell’s slaves. On April 28, 1861, Smith Daniell died at age 34, just weeks after the construction of the mansion was completed. 

The mansion stood from 1861 to 1890, when it was destroyed by fire. The mansion was never photographed in its completion. And to this day there have never been any known photographs found of the completed mansion. There is only someone’s drawing of it found many years later. Hummmm … makes you wonder! Really enjoyed visiting this site. Such mystery surrounding his death, the fire, no known photograph … just fascinating. The ruins are falling. Literally. So don’t miss this while you can still see this. It’s not far off the Natchez Trace, but don’t take your RV. Though it might be doable in a small one, if you have the choice, don’t do it.  The parking near this is small and hard to turn around if your RV is large. The huge oak tree on the property was massive!

The only regret we had … not bringing our drone to fly. We are very law-abiding, rule-following drone flyers, and it looks like you can freely fly your drone here, which had we brought it, we would have. 

We went exploring the Natchez area and got there just in time to see this riverboat take off! That was amazing and fun to see!

Cypress Swamp

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I think this was one of my favorite stops. This loop takes you through a pretty impressive but very short walk, Cypress Swamp. I didn’t realize just how unique and different Cypress trees grew. Though we were hoping to see an alligator, none seemed to be there while we were there.  

Sunken Trace

Make sure you stop at this! The trace appears sunken in this spot due to thousands of travelers walking on the easily eroded soil.

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This short trail will allow you to walk on the Natchez Trace just as thousands have before you. It was really a neat thing to see!

Rocky Springs Abandoned Town

This was another of my very favorite stops. We stayed in the Rocky Springs campground (see GPS coordinates below), so we could spend quite a bit of time here.

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This is an abandoned town. There isn’t much to see here in the way of structures or old town buildings. They have a couple of old safes still in the church, which had a sign out for the next gathering, so we have to assume it’s still an operational church which was super cool. The history of why this town perished is unfortunate and unique. Again, I don’t want to spoil it for you. We did quite a bit of research on the history of places on the Natchez Trace, but I tried not to read the stories before going. Only after. So that way, we could learn while we were standing right in front of it. For us, that makes it so much more exciting. 

French Camp

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We loved this stop! It’s a wide-open place where you can walk around the grounds, read the history, see and touch the old farm implements and you have to eat at the little restaurant (best potato soup ever!). We also learned there is a school there. Not a typical school but some sort of school where the kids live there. From listening, we understand it’s much like the “Hershey School” in PA. Also loved walking through the gift shops (there are 2). There is also a carriage house you can stay overnight in, and they have a wonderful bed and breakfast. Plan to spend a few hours here. It’s a great little community!

Children’s Museum

There is a wonderful Children’s Museum in Jackson. We did not stop there, but if you have children traveling with you, it comes highly recommended. It’s a bit on the pricey side from what I’ve seen, but definitely do some research on it. It looks like it’s a great place to spend a day!

Take A Tour of an Antebellum Home

Have you ever taken a tour of the antebellum homes in Natchez? We enjoyed a beautiful tour of a couple of them and found the historical stories really interesting. You can get information on all the homes at the welcome center in Natchez. 

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

Boondocking

Did you know you can stay at the welcome center in Natchez for two nights for free? We did it! Very friendly people at the visitors center, and they even have 20 and 30-amp hookups for us! Fresh water can be filled as you come (or leave) on the other side of the parking lot. GPS: 31.5543, -91.4131

  • Rocky Springs Campground (Natchez Trace Parkway) Hermanville, MS // GPS: 32.0868, -90.7994
  • Airey Lake Recreation Area // De Soto National Forest // GPS: 30.6892, -89.0611 We really enjoyed this area. Easy access camping, and aside from the one man who arrived on the motorcycle, clearly down on his luck and not real happy (about anything), we had a great time here. Loved the little lake, the ducks and the views were awesome, and our cell service was excellent!
  • POW Camp near Saucier, MS. See the pictures below (GPS info on the picture). Really unique history and a lake nearby.

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. 

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Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Off the Beaten Path in Kansas. Our Top Hidden Gems!

As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the “Off the Beaten Path” of every state. We love the big popular stuff like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, different, and maybe a little “off the beaten path”. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to include your favorites below too. Each blog post will have a link to our favorite free camping areas! Some will include pictures and all will include GPS coordinates and information.

I think everything in Kansas qualifies as “off the beaten path” since it’s such a rural, and unique state in itself. Don’t you think? Don’t let that fool you though! My gosh, there are some beautiful things to see in Kansas! Here are our picks. And I promise not to make a Toto reference. 

Rock City

Rock City is a park located on hillsides overlooking the Solomon River in Ottawa County, Kansas. It’s just over 3 miles south of Minneapolis, Kansas. Rock City claims that there is no place else in the world with so many huge concretions. I think it’s eerie and fascinating. Rock City does have a very small admission fee of about $3 or $4. Well worth it. 

Table Mound Hiking Trail

This is an out and back hike, of just under 3 miles one way. If you choose not to do the whole thing, you are still going to see some fascinating views.

From scenic overlooks to a drop-down into a crack in the rocks. This isn’t a super hard hike but there are some rock scrambles. You’re going to see some pretty amazing rock formations on this hike.

Slide Cave – Kanopolis State Park

This entire state park is worth seeing. But definitely check out some of the caves in the park. 

Geary Lake Falls – Junction City, Kansas

Bet you didn’t know there were waterfalls in Kansas.

There are actually quite a few. A secret hideaway for those hot summer days, this waterfall is only active after a bit of rain. There are few waterfalls in Kansas. And this one is not publicized. On most days you can take in the waterfall all for yourself.

Cedar Bluff Reservoir

Located in Ransom, KS. Incredible views! Atop the bluff, visitors can see for miles in all directions and can walk right to the edge of the bluff. It’s quite the drop to the shoreline below.

There is a small circle turnaround at the top of the bluff for parking. The walk to the edge of the bluff is very short and I think accessible by wheelchair. Also, the state park nearby offers excellent camping, both for RVs and tents alike, whether for group or solo excursions. Well worth a quick stop!!

Castle Rock Badlands

Just about an hour away from the below Monument Rocks National Landmark. We highly recommend this area, but it is very fragile. Please be respectful and careful! A little history – In 2001, a large portion of the tallest spire fell after a thunderstorm, taking ten feet off the overall height.

All that remains of the fourth spire is a stub on the west end. The wind and rain that formed this geological wonder are still eroding today. Human interaction has accelerated the process as well. Just south of Castle Rock are the Castle Rock Badlands. The badlands consist of steep crevices and hoodoos leading off a large ridge. They are fragile as well, with one of the hoodoos known as Cobra Rock collapsing in 1998. Like Castle Rock and nearby Monument Rocks, the Badlands are comprised of Niobrara Chalk and shale.

Monument Rocks National Landmark

I’ve had some people tell me this isn’t such a hidden gem in Kansas. I disagree, but I am also not a local. So I’m including it. Please don’t climb on or write on these amazing rocks. We’d love to have this available for everyone to see. Please Note: Monument Rocks is located on private property. The owners graciously allow any and all to come to visit this wonderful landmark. Near Oakley, Kansas, Monument Rocks are large chalk formations that stand up to 70 feet high and look as though they were arranged by human hands. From US Route 83 south of Oakley, turn east onto Jayhawk Road at the Monument Rocks sign, go 4 miles east, then 2 miles south on Gove County Roads 14 and 16. These roads for the most are gravel, but good.

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

Thank you for coming and reading our favorite hidden gems in Kansas. Have you explored Kansas? Did you find a fun, hidden gem of your own? We’d love to hear about it! Please leave your comments below.

Looking for the best free camping in Kansas? Here’s a link to some great boondocking locations we found!

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, Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Off the Beaten Path in Washington. Our Top Hidden Gems!

As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the “Off the Beaten Path” of every state. We love the big popular stuff like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, and different. Taking that road less traveled has been our favorite way to travel. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to include your favorites below too. Each blog post will include a link to the free camping areas we loved so much. complete with pictures and GPS coordinates. You definitely have to visit popular places like Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier National Park while in Washington. But we have some unique, off-the-beaten-path experiences you might want to check out too. 

Deception Pass

We really love State Parks. Most are just completely overlooked, unpopulated, and amazing. Deception Pass State Park is beautiful! Highly recommend checking it out. If beaches are your thing, you’ve hit the jackpot! You can also take a whale watching tour. Absolutely incredible.

Maryhill Museum and Stonehenge

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An odd museum and Stonehenge replica in rural Washington State. Sam Hill was a Quaker and used his money to organize and fund a Quaker utopian community on the banks of the Columbia River in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, no Quakers besides Hill ever moved there and his utopian vision failed after a few short years. Nonetheless, Hill continued with the construction of a French Mansion on a cliff overlooking the Columbia River. From Portland, Oregon, take I-84 east through the Columbia River Gorge for about 70 miles. Cross the river at The Dalles (the pink bridge) and continue east on state route 14 for another 20 miles

Stonehenge in Washington

Palouse Falls

Located in Lacrosse. Unless you know what they’re looking for, hikers are unlikely to simply stumble upon the nearly hidden Palouse Falls. This is a 1.2-mile loop trail hike, pretty easy. You can actually see the falls from the parking area if you don’t want to do the hike.

The state park offers three distinct views of the falls. The lower viewpoint provides a direct view; it is reached by a set of steps from the main day-use area adjacent to the parking lot. The second, at the end of a paved interpretive path, tells the story of the secluded canyon. Both the interpretive path and gravel secondary parking area lead to the third and highest viewpoint, the Fryxell Overlook, offering panoramic views of the falls and Palouse River Canyon. Don’t miss this! It’s awesome!

Beacon Rock

Located in Stevenson – A truly unique experience to do. The location is on State Route 14 about 35 miles East of Vancouver.

Today, visitors of Beacon Rock State Park use the unique trail system to easily traverse the rock’s steep ledges to its peak overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.  The rock is also open for climbing year-round.

Gravity Hill

Have you seen or experienced these across America? While traveling we’ve realized there are several places in the US that have a gravity hill phenomenon. This gravity-defying road is not easy to find. Located on a stretch of North Crosby Road about 10-15 miles north of Prosser, the road’s just down the street from an old (said to be haunted) grain elevator. Luckily, there’s a start line painted on the pavement so you’ll know where it is.

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie is a city next to Snoqualmie Falls in King County, Washington. It is twenty-five miles east of Seattle. Who knew you could be so close to a city and see this? 

If you’re in Seattle, definitely check out the Center of the Universe Sign. No one has been able to determine if this is actually the center of the universe, so the sign stays. Just a fun thing to see. 

Speaking of Seattle! Did you see our blog about our visit to Seattle? We were lucky enough to be able to hang out in a friend’s yard with full hook-ups in our RV! I know you’re here to see the quiet hidden gems in Washington, but if you wanted to venture to the more popular things, check out our Seattle blog post here!

The Nutty Narrows Bridge

Do you like squirrels? Yes, I said Squirrels! The Nutty Narrows Bridge in Longview was constructed in 1963 by a local builder, the late Amos Peters, to give squirrels a way to cross Olympia Way, a busy Longview, Washington, thoroughfare, without getting flattened by passing cars.

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

Click the button below to see our best places for RV camping in Washington.

Thank you for checking out our little corner of the internet. There is so much beauty in Washington. Please share your hidden gems with us! We’d love to hear from you!

lasttime

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, Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Off the Beaten Path in California. Our Top Hidden Gems

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 Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the hidden treasures in every state. We love the big popular attractions like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique and different. And taking the roads less traveled. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to share your own off the beaten path stories. Each post will have a link to our favorite boondocking (free) camping areas, plus reviews or information on paid and membership camping areas.

I (Stacy) was born, raised, and lived in California for the first 27 years of my life. I met the love of my life there, and at 27 we moved to VA for a few years. We moved a lot in our 20 years with the military but California will always be a part of me. Though I’m told I’ve lost my “California lingo/accent”. Funny, when we were in Germany on a train, someone asked me if I was from California. I knew then and there that we speak a little differently. Ha!

The amazing thing about California is within a few hours one way or another, you can be in the mountains, the desert, or the beach. There are amazing lakes, beautiful ski areas, and hot desert places to explore. 

Highway 1 – Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)

Though it’s not an unpopular thing to do if you ever get a chance to drive the PCH, do it! Down in Los Angeles County you’ll find houses hanging off the side of the highway which — may not be there forever.

As you head up toward San Francisco, you’ll find the most breathtaking views of the rocky coastline. Fun Fact: Highway 1 is one of the most filmed car commercial areas in the US. 

Bixby Creek Bridge

This is probably my favorite bridge in CA. Yes, even more than the Golden Gate Bridge. It reminds me of the “Bridge to Nowhere” which I have included in this blog too. The concept of building something like this into the rocky mountains of CA is just mind-blowing to me. This Bridge is on Hwy 1 which is such a spectacular drive. You can pull over and take pictures, have lunch, and just overlook the Pacific Ocean. 

Catalina Island

If you haven’t taken the boat trip out to Catalina Island, it’s a must! I’ve taken a boat out several times, and it’s a pretty popular thing to do, so I won’t go into details, but let me know if you have any questions.

The Sunny Jim Cave Store

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This is the only entrance to any sea cave in California that you can access via land. The entrance is a narrow and dim tunnel that leads from the store to a staircase made of 145 incredibly wet and dark steps that descend directly into the sea cave. The narrow tunnel and cave walls are very colorful, due to the natural minerals and the effect the saltwater has on them. Address:  1325 Coast Blvd., San Diego 

Natural Bridges in Calaveras County

This is a relatively unknown swimming hole that will really make you feel like you have stumbled on a true gem! If you’re planning to stop here, bring a flashlight, or headlamp. That will help ensure you really get to experience this!

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I would never recommend going on a weekend or during the summer months, or any long weekend. Unless you like to immerse yourself in people. We tend to do everything off-season and during the week. This is a busy place on weekends, but it’s still one of those very unpopular places. Bring your water shoes and if you like to float you can bring your “pool floats” but please remember to pack it in, pack it out. 

Heart Rock Falls

Heart Rock Falls

Carved by a waterfall this heart-shaped rock has inspired lovers for many years. A woodland hike of a mile round trip ends at a lovely waterfall, but if you don’t recognize the end of the trail by the waterfall, you definitely will when you see the heart-shaped rock. In fact, there are two heart-shaped pools on the side of the cliff where the waterfall hits. A few yards before you get to the waterfall, you’ll come across a massive, very old oak tree, seemingly to signify how old this place is,  A little further down the stream is a slide rock pool. From there you can backtrack up the stream to reach the base of the falls. 

Crowley Lake Columns

Located in Mono County – The giant plateau formation sits in one of the world’s most interesting volcanic areas. You know, our country and the rock formations tell such amazing stories.  Lava! It’s all about Lava! The columns are along the east side of Crowley Lake. Access roads are winding and sandy, four-wheel drive recommended. Walking inside these amazing columns is a feeling like no other. I hope they are standing for many more years. What a really neat part of our country!

Bridge to Nowhere

If you have followed my blogs, you know I love mysterious, strange things. You know, the things that make you go “huh?” So here’s a little strange one for you.

Near Mount Baldy, CA you’ll find the old, abandoned bridge.  The Bridge to Nowhere remains one of the most bizarre artifacts of the San Gabriel Mountains. During its initial construction, Los Angeles County claimed that the bridge and connected highway would be one of the most scenic roads in America. The food in 1938 washed out the entire road to the bridge, and it still makes me wonder with the expense of such a bridge, why not build the roads back up. But it remains a Bridge to Nowhere. It may have changed now, but I believe the only way in and out is to hike it. It’s a breathtaking, beautiful hike through rivers and streams, and a pretty amazing sight to see when you get there. 

McWay Falls and Waterfall House Ruins

This Big Sur waterfall drops 80 feet directly into the Pacific Ocean, and inspired the hillside house up top. Big Sur’s Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is renowned for its 80-foot McWay Falls and some of the most breathtaking views anywhere along the California coast. The story of how this property could have been owned by one family and then let go, is quite interesting in itself. I’ll leave the exploring to you! 

Point Reyes Shipwreck

Have you seen the shipwreck in Point Reyes? My first thought was “yeah, right, just behind a shopping area?” But once you read the history and walk out to the abandoned ship, you realize it a real deal.  Point Reyes shipwreck is perched on a sand bar off the shoreline of Tomales Bay. It is located in the small town of Inverness, just behind the grocery store. Easy access, no hiking required. 

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I’m definitely going to have to do a part 2 for CA. But make sure you check out Alcatraz and Morro Bay, and one of my all-time favorite places to visit and wander around is Solvang.

Also if you want to see something really over the top with an interesting story behind it, check out Hearst’s Castle. The views alone will make it worth it. But take the tour, and the bus trip up there is fun! We’ve actually done it a couple of times, and it’s really worth it. 

Mono Lake

Mono Lake is located East of Yosemite National Park. When you think of California, you don’t think of a place like this. They call it hauntingly beautiful for a reason!

Mono Lake is a saline soda lake in Mono County, California, formed at least 760,000 years ago as a terminal lake in an endorheic basin. The lack of an outlet causes high levels of salts to accumulate in the lake. These salts also make the lake water alkaline.

Wikipedia

Hope you enjoyed our ideas! Thank you so much for visiting our little corner of the internet. We would love to hear what you find “off the beaten path” in California. Check back often! We are always updating our blogs with new hidden gems!

Looking for the best boondocking or paid campgrounds to stay while you’re traveling in California? Check out our ever changing, always updating list! Click the button below to see our best RV Camping in California!

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 means a lot to us!

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

Off the Beaten Path Series

Off the Beaten Path in Texas. 10 Amazing, Cool and 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 Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the hidden treasures in every state. We love the big popular attractions like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, and different, and taking the road less traveled. We certainly can’t explore them all, so we’d love you to share your own off-the-beaten-path stories. Each series will include a link to our most epic boondocking locations. And boy does Texas have a lot!

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I kept thinking as I was writing this, that maybe I ought to contact my long-time Texas friend (Gayla) and pick her brain about some off-the-beaten-path places. Only I remembered she’s currently galavanting around London! So I’m on my own. 

Texas is home to … of course … the words largest cowboy boots, and the world’s largest killer bee – but wait – there’s more! Ha!

Old Tunnel

Located in Fredericksburg, this tunnel might look abandoned, and in a sense, it is, by humans, anyway. A railroad used to run through the tunnel, but now it’s home to a few million Mexican free-tailed bats.

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Every night at dusk between May and September, you can watch them turn the night sky into a cloud of darkness by following Highway 290 in Fredericksburg until you see a brown sign directing you to the tunnel. It’s an amazing sight to see them fly out for their nightly feeding

Munster Mansion (Waxahchie)

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To each their own, but this is a bit on the strange side. This family built an exact replica of the Munster Mansion. They were so infatuated with the TV show, they built their house exactly like that of the fictional family. It is a private residence and isn’t open to the public for tours, but you can drive by it at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, in Waxahachie

Hamilton Pool

Located just 23 miles west of Austin, Hamilton Pool is a breathtaking natural spring formed in the limestone bedrock and fed by an underground river. Surrounded by the Hamilton Nature Preserve. They require reservations from May 15 to September 30.

Fort Worth Water Gardens

The Fort Worth Water Gardens are pools of futuristic angles. A pool is surrounded by trees where waterfalls cascade down the walls. Nearby is an aeration pool where 40 nozzles spray 871 gallons of water every minute.  The pool is 40 feet deep. This is just one of those places where you feel so tranquil and at peace! 

Cadillac Ranch

As funny as it seems, I’ve had this place on my bucket list for a long time. I was so excited this last summer to finally get to see this! Cadillac Ranch, built in 1974, is the product of eccentric helium millionaire Stanley Marsh 3 (he doesn’t like the Roman numeral III) and The Ant Farm, a San Francisco art collective.

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The ranch consists of ten graffiti-covered cars half-buried in a dusty Texas field. The cars are positioned nose-down and face west “at the same angle as the Cheops’ pyramids.” The cars were actually moved two miles further out in 1997 to avoid the expanding city. Justin and I did not partake in the spray painting this time, as you can tell from the picture, it was so very windy that day and the area surrounding the Cadillacs was under about a foot of water. 

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Caverns of Sonora

The cave was discovered by accident in 1905, on ranch land belonging to the Mayfield family.  Our country has some spectacular caves! One of our favorite things to explore! This was really borderline popular, but I just had to share it. 

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Palo Duro Canyon

Known as the grand canyon of Texas. Palo Duro Canyon is considered to be the second-largest and longest canyon in the U.S. You can drive down onto the floor of the canyon by taking Park Road 5. The most prominent feature is the Lighthouse, a 300-foot formation at the north end of the canyon. It is accessible from the road or by a three-mile trail. 

Shamrock, Texas

U Drop Inn – Built in 1936, the U-Drop Inn in Shamrock, Texas, was kind of a big deal. With its prime location on iconic Route 66, the café with its connected Tower Station was one of the first commercial businesses along the route.

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The road itself was a fairly new addition to the country’s landscape, with the roadway being designated Route 66 just ten years earlier.  This was such a fun place to visit. You can walk through the now-closed cafe, which they have set it up as it looked just a few short years ago! 

We suggest checking out these caves if you’re in the area

  • Inner Space Cavern – Georgetown, TX
  • Cave Without A Name – Boerne, TX
  • Natural Bridge Caverns – San Antonio, TX

Also, make sure you visit Big Bend National Park. What an amazing place to hike and kayak. We didn’t get a chance to spend enough time there and we are definitely going back! It’s not an “off the beaten path” place, so we won’t be showcasing that here, but wow! It’s a beautiful place! 

Kayaking Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake in Karnack, TX (Caddo Lake State Park) is perfect for kayakers wanting to spend the day exploring its unique environment. I know there are two types of kayakers. Personally, we love floating the flat waters, taking in the scenery, and maybe eating lunch in our kayak. Just a warning, we have been told there are alligators here. Just leave them alone, and don’t try to get too close, and they won’t bother you.  And don’t forget your camera!!

Also, check out Frio River – We have not been there, but it’s on our list for sure!! We hear Fall is the best time to go! 

Here are some other blog posts we think you’ll love!

Thank you for reading and please leave your suggestions for your own off the beaten path in the comments section. We always love a new place to visit. Live Simply. Give More. Expect Less.

Looking for the best boondocking / Free camping areas in Texas? Definitely click the button below to see how many we found. And don’t forget to keep checking back!! We’re always finding more!

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 visiting our little corner of the internet! We hope you found some fun and unique things to see! We’re always updating our blogs, so come back often.