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

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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 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.

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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!

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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?

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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.

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Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Off the Beaten Path in Kentucky. Our Top 5 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. Exploring the popular sights is something we love to do too, 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. We love to “Opt-Out of Normal”. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking area, complete with pictures and GPS coordinates. 

Ahhhh Kentucky! One of the states we are sure we could spend a year in. We definitely will be going back. There is so much to see, and do! Who knew? Most of our finds listed are going to be nature finds (as that’s what we like to do). We know there is so much more in Kentucky to see. The whole state is just a hidden gem in our opinion. 

Grayson Lake / Grotto Falls (Hidden Falls)

Grayson Lake Kentucky

The scenery at Grayson Lake is just incredible. The sandstone cliffs, the waterfalls, the rare eagle flying overhead and if you love kayaking, this is candy for you! You’ll love this lake and the hidden falls you can only get into by a narrow short rock cave where you can paddle through a crack in the sandstone to go into a secret cove in the back, where you’ll think you’ve left one world for another. It’s magical and unbelievable.

Grayson Lake, KY

 By far our favorite place in Kentucky (so far). Also dropping onto Grayson lake are many waterfalls. We kayaked so much of the lake and I’d bet we passed 10 or more waterfalls just cascading off the side. It’s just amazing!


John A Roebling Suspension Bridge

This might not be considered off the beaten path, but it’s just a really amazing part of our US history not to mention a beautiful bridge!

John A Roebling Suspension Bridge

This bridge spans the Ohio River between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Covington, Kentucky. It opened on December 1, 1866. If you happen to be near it, or if you just like bridges, check it out.

Angels Window Trail

Double Arch Angels Trail Kentucky

Located in Daniel Boone National Forest. This is a phenomenal almost virtually unknown little gem. The bigger more popular arches here always win. From the forest service site: Angel Windows Trail begins at the Parched Corn Overlook off KY 715. The trail extends along a wooded ridge that leads under a high cliff to Angel Windows – two small arches clustered together at the end of the cliff. You will pass a number of overhangs and continue along the ledge. The official trail ends here, where there are some lovely views of the cliffs. Just beware of the drop-off to the right as you go past Angel Windows and use caution when exploring the area. Angel Windows Trail is located in the Red River Gorge in the Cumberland District of the Daniel Boone National Forest. 

The Ghost Ship

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Ghost Ship in Petersburg KY

Abandoned in Petersburg, Kentucky, the ship that is now a favorite destination for kayakers was once an award-winning navy ship that served proudly during both world wars.  Fun Fact: It served as the backdrop in a Madonna video (if you’re old enough to know who she is Ha!). So how did this vessel end up abandoned in the river? I’m going to leave you to experience this! This is definitely a fascinating thing to see. If you’re looking for something different, definitely check this out. 

Mantle Rock

mantle rock, Kentucky

A very large natural sandstone bridge. Spanning 180 feet and 30 feet high, Mantle Rock is an impressive natural sandstone bridge. A very short hike from the parking area. It’s definitely something easy to access and it’s one of those formations that make you not quite understand gravity as you know it. 

I know first hand there are many more amazing things to do and see in Kentucky. Make sure you check out Mammoth Cave and all of the Red River Gorge hikes and rivers and cliffs and arches. There are so many! They are more populated and can get pretty busy in the Summer, but if you want to discuss some other areas that aren’t necessarily off the beaten path, send us a message and we’ll try to steer you in the right direction. Or … we’ll meet you there! We do plan to go back to Kentucky at some point in 2019. We’d love to hear your hidden gems in Kentucky too!

Boondocking

Ask any questions you need regarding the boondocking area shown. I’m including a map with GPS coordinates. 

(Daniel Boon National Forest Boondocking)

Paragon, KY boondocking
Boondocking in Kentucky

Thank you so much for visiting our little corner of the internet. We appreciate each and every one of you! Let us know where your favorite hidden gems are in Kentucky. We’d love to hear from you!

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!

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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!

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.

oldtunnel2ME

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)

MUnsterHouseme

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.

CadRanchUS

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. 

CadRanchInsta

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. 

CavernsofSonme

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.

Rt661

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.

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

Off the Beaten Path in Virginia. The Most Unique Hidden Gems in Virginia.

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 our favorite boondocking area(s), some complete with pictures and all with GPS coordinates.

While Justin served on active duty we were stationed in Virginia. It’s funny how life can change from the plans you made. We bought a house, settled in Chesapeake, and he planned to get out of the military. Within a couple of years, we were offered orders to Germany, which we accepted, and we ended up finishing out 20 years of service.

FUN FACT: Virginia is home to the world’s largest Slinky (Richmond). 

Virginia is such a beautiful, fantastic state. It’s a state you just have to take your time in. The popular, tourist attractions are still unbelievable and amazing! So check them out!!

The Natural Bridge

natbridge2

This really used to be unpopular and left alone. I think more and more it’s becoming something to see, but definitely visit this amazing place if you haven’t. We visited in the “Winter” (January) and couldn’t have been happier we did. It was in the 50s on the day we hiked the 2-mile trail to the waterfall. We might have seen a total of 20 people all day long. Very quiet, and peaceful. Virginia’s Natural Bridge is an enormous natural limestone arch. Carved by Cedar Creek over thousands of years, the arch was created when an ancient cavern collapsed leaving only the bridge. It is the largest natural land bridge on the North American continent. Don’t forget to go see the Hidden J.R.R. Tolkien Quote. Lines from a walking song are etched into a rock in Natural Bridge State Park.

Barboursville Ruins

We love the history behind ruins, and the architecture of some, for the times, is just breathtaking. Usually, there are mysteries and unanswered questions. We love that stuff. The ruins of this Thomas-Jefferson-designed mansion have been left to crumble since the Christmas Day they burnt down. The Mansion is available for visiting when the winery is open (10-5 every day, closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day). It is an enjoyable 1/4 mile walk from the winery, or you can drive to a parking lot adjacent to the ruins. 

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We highly recommend this book on your travels! We don’t carry too many books with us but love this one, and have really gotten some great information from it. 

Kiptopeke’s Concrete Fleet

Nine of the 24 concrete ships were contracted by the U.S. Maritime Commission during World War II. In 1948 the ships were brought to Kiptopeke Beach in order to bring protection to the terminal during severe weather. The ships lie, partially sunken, about a quarter-mile off of the shore near the fishing pier. Kayaks are available for rent at the pier if you want to get up close and personal with the ships and the many nesting birds that live on them. We did not see if we could launch our own kayaks from the launch pad, but we are assuming you can. What a great historical thing to see! Can you imagine – ships made out of concrete?

Great Channels of Virginia

Wait! Slot canyons in Virginia? There sure aren’t many, if even more than just this one! If you read my blogs regularly, you know there are two places in the world I feel most at peace with everything. Slot canyons and waterfalls. They are all so very different, and yet, so much the same. This maze-like slot canyon is a unique gem within an already fascinating area. A roughly 6.5-mile hike leads explorers through their many twists and turns. The channels are near the summit of Middle Knob on Clinch Mountain, so hikers are rewarded with gorgeous vistas of the surrounded nature preserve.

meGreat Channels of Virginia

Patowmack Canal

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Today the Patowmack Canal is largely in ruins, though better-preserved portions are visible as part of the Great Falls Park. Great Falls Park is a section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The entrance to the park is located off of Old Dominion Drive, about 15 minutes off the Washington DC, beltway. Entry to the park is $10/car or $5/person without a car.

The Ghost Church

This is just something fun and unique, but also plays games with your vision and mind. Easy to get to and check out since it sits on the side of a rural road in Mechanicsville, Virginia. But what locals call the “ghost church” is more of a suggestion of a building. The white beams that comprise the structure were built on the site where the historic Polegreen Church once stood. Open sunrise to sunset!

Museums

Virginia is a state that is just full of historical museums if that’s your thing. We do go to some, but we really love outdoor things to do. Hiking, kayaking, and exploring. There are some fun and unique museums so if you are a museum hopper, make sure you do some research. 

KAYAKING

If you’re boondocking at the above Dismal Swamp CoE kayak an 8-mile there-and-back into the Great Dismal Swamp. Start at the state boat ramp on US 17 near Ballahack Road. Paddle your canoe or kayak south through the Dismal Swamp Canal then west on a feeder canal to Lake Drummond, one of only two natural freshwater lakes in Virginia, part of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Continue west on the feeder canal to reach cypress-ringed 3,000-plus acre Lake Drummond, a Virginia legacy.

We are asked a lot about how we travel in 39 feet with 2 full kayaks. Easy! They are inflatable. We do not have an affiliate with Sea Eagle Kayaks. We are simply very happy customers. We’ve traveled 3 full years with these and love them! Click here to see which kayaks we have.

Exploring Virginia

There is so much more exploring to do in Virginia! We hope to be back in Virginia at the end of this year to add more hidden gems to this list! Do you have your own hidden gems to share with us? We’d love to hear about them!

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

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!

Looking for some more states in our RV Camping series? Check out the links below!

Plus! Here are some more blogs we think you’ll enjoy!

Thank you for checking out our little corner of the internet! We appreciate each and every one of you! We’d love to hear from you!

Boondocking / Dry Camping, Off the Beaten Path Series

Off the Beaten Path in South Dakota. Best Kept Hidden Secrets in South Dakota

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. 

South Dakota is the state we chose for our domicile as full-time RVer’s. We decided we should probably know a little about the state since it was now our state of record.

Fun Fact – Did you know that South Dakota purchased the building designs from Montana for their capital building for $15? So the capitol building in Pierre is exactly the same as the capitol building in Montana. 

Our Top Picks for the 9 Hidden Gems in South Dakota. 

South Dakota has a ton of amazing, popular wonders to see. Don’t miss the Badlands! I won’t go too much into this as it’s a very popular place, but can I just say WOW! To think about the early settlers coming upon this area and trying to cross it is remarkable. Imagine what they thought as this area came into sight. It is one of the most scenic places of color, beauty, and history. 

Wall Drug

Do you know the story behind this place? Wall Drug started simply enough when Ted Hustead purchased the South Dakota town of Wall’s drugstore in 1931. But it was Ted’s wife Dorothy who hit upon the idea that changed not just the drugstore, but the entire 231-person town of Wall. The idea: ice water. In an attempt to attract people, Dorothy Hustead put up a sign advertising free ice water to parched tourists on their way to the attraction. It was a big hit. From then on Wall Drug grew under its own strange power, adding a bizarre assortment of fiberglass animals, including the iconic Wall Drug jackalope, giant dinosaurs, and an array of taxidermy jackalopes.

Wall-Drug-Jackalope

Wall Drug now has billboards as far away as 500 miles. If you are a honeymooner, veteran, priest, hunter, or truck driver, you can also get free coffee and donuts. They still give out ice water too. Some 20,000 cups a day. Though we don’t personally travel with our kids anymore, as they are now grown adults with their own lives, this is a super fun place for kids. Every 30 minutes the dinosaur inside comes to life and gives you a little show. Seriously make sure you spend a day in this little eclectic town. The little unique shops are really fun! 

Corn Palace

It happens to be raining when we decided to visit. The Corn Palace is built out of concrete, not corn. However, each year, the entire exterior is redecorated in murals made out of corn and various other local grains and grasses. These decorative facades are redesigned annually around a different theme created by local artists.

Decorations from years past are displayed inside the building itself. We didn’t venture inside, but it’s a pretty cute little town surrounding the Corn Palace. We were there in May of 2017 and it is all about Rock of Ages. Super cool! 

Roughlock Falls State Nature Area

Spearfish Canyon – This trail is handicap-accessible and winds its way slowly to Roughlock Falls, a breathtaking waterfall that flows into Spearfish Canyon from Little Spearfish Creek. Spearfish Canyon highlights an outdoor wonder that is impressive and unique to the Black Hills. From Spearfish, take 14A (Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway) to Savoy. The trail begins near Spearfish Canyon Lodge and is signed and accessible from the lodge parking lot.

Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway

Speaking of Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway – This is a breathtaking 19-mile stretch of US Highway 14A. Gradually climbing from the town of Spearfish on the northern edge of the Black Hills, this canyon is one of the gateways into the heart of an ancient mountain range. Spruce, pine, aspen, birch, and oak trees cling to the hillsides. Spearfish Creek flows along the canyon bottom, acting as a natural guide for the scenic byway.

Getting There: To start at the northern end of the byway, take either Exit 10 or Exit 14 off of Interstate 90 to Spearfish and hop on 14A. To find the southern end, take Highway 85 east from Wyoming or west from Lead/Deadwood. When you come to the Cheyenne Crossing junction, head north on Highway 14A and let your scenic drive begin. Before you go, check out some of the reviews on where to pull off and what to check out on the Byway. It’s different depending on the season you go. 

Devil’s Gulch

You just must take a drive here!! Located in Garretson – The ravine where Jesse James supposedly performed an impossible jump to evade capture. We just think it’s an amazingly beautiful area.

Thunderhead Underground Falls

A waterfall 600 ft. inside a mountain is a spectacle of nature. Unfortunately, this place closed down in May of 2017. Seriously just days before we were there. We’re keeping it on our list though!! Keep it on your radar to see if it ever opens up again. It’s one of the most unique and different things to see for sure. 2021 Update: We’re looking to visit this again, and it appears it’s still closed. I hope it does open up someday!! Please let us know if you hear of it opening up!

Awesome for kids (and kids at heart) Splash Central Waterpark in Huron with plenty to offer with its water slides, pools, and lazy river.

Falls Park / Sioux Falls

We think this has become popular, but it’s definitely a place to put on your list. Falls Park (or Sioux Falls). We highly recommend spending a few hours here.

The waterfall, one of the best in South Dakota, is the crown jewel of the 123-acre park. Falls Park also protects some of the city’s oldest and most historic buildings. The falls themselves are about 100 feet tall, and 7,400 gallons of water drop over them each second. 

Hippie Hole

HippieHoleme

Hippie Hole (funny name, right?) This is one of the most amazing hikes in the Black Hills (we think) You can approach the waterfall from two directions, a short hike (our choice) down Battle Creek from the small parking area found off of South Rockerville Road or from an extremely strenuous hike off of Hwy 40. Once you reach the water from either direction, it is all worth it.  You can jump from the waterfall, float in the pool, or just sunbathe on the rocks. The hike is about 1/3 of a mile, and it’s a great place for playing in the water, jumping off of a cliff, and taking in the scenery. From Rockerville, head south on S Rockerville Rd, or head north if coming from Highway 40, until you come to Foster Gulch Rd (gravel). Drive about a mile until there is a marked road to the right and then another right about a mile later, after the next cattle guard. Stay right on all forks and the road comes to an end at a parking area.

Have you visited a hidden gem you’d love to share? We’d love to hear it! Please share your favorite off-the-beaten-path places with us!

Looking for the best RV Camping in South Dakota? Check out the epic places we found by clicking the button below!

Here are some more blog posts 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 visiting our little corner of the internet! We hope you found value in our information, and we’d love to hear from you!