Organizing your RV
How To's and Why Not's, RV Organization, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons, RV Upgrades & Mods

The Best Tips for Organizing Your RV Stuff

Are you new to the full-time RV lifestyle? We have hit our 6-year mark of living and traveling in our RV! It has taught us so much about what works, and what doesn’t work in an RV. Below are some really helpful organizing tips and hacks of things we use, and some things that were a total fail. We hope you find some great items you might not have thought of. The things that worked and things that definitely did not! Please understand these are all our personal choices and preferences. What worked (or didn’t) for us. It will, undoubtedly, be different for everyone.  This might be a lot to take in, but I promise, these are some items we truly value as full-time RVers.

Travel or Stationary?

Do you travel full-time, or are you stationary? Do you have a home base where you store or “switch out” things from time to time? The answers to these questions make all the difference in our opinion. Yes, you still want your RV to be organized when you’re out on the road, but if you have a sticks and bricks house that you return to here and there, you may not need every inch of your RV maximized for optimal space. Either way, we hope you find our ideas useful. 

How Do We Travel?

Our advice comes from the way we travel. We are full-time RV “travelers”. Owning our dream home was a beautiful experience. Deciding to sell it was a choice we made. There are no regrets! Even seven years later. Everything we have fits inside 39 feet, which takes a lot of organizing and hoping that you don’t have a mess to clean up when you get to your new destination

Here Are Some Top Suggestions

Always have a First Aid KitEven if you decide to put one together yourself, please make sure you have one!

Tension rods are your best friends!

I use these for everything!                                                                       

  • Tension rods hold things from falling out in our refrigerator
  • They hold our wine and our wine glasses
  • They keep our medicine cabinet organized and keep things from falling out
  • Double RodsThese are supposed to be used for a refrigerator?! They were not wide enough for me, but I did find them very useful in some of my cabinets! 
  • THESE tension rods are what I used the most! These are small and fit in most cabinets. Order more than one set! You’ll use these for so much!

Stackable can organizer

Adjustable chrome shelves in the pantry – LIFESAVER for storage! See the picture below!  

Bungee cords to hold food in place. See the picture below! This keeps my stuff stored on top from coming out during traveling. 

Pantry

LED Lights Stick-on anywhere – 2022 Update. We have purchased more of these in different sizes. We use them in cabinets, under cabinets, in our closets, etc. We couldn’t be happier with these.

Refrigerator deodorizer. No explanation is needed. You will need this! Small spaces ya know! You can easily buy a box of baking soda, but it’s big compared to these, and if every inch is a concern, you’ll love these.

Let’s talk RV mattress’ — Ok, so everyone complains about the RV mattress. In our sticks and bricks house, we had a mattress that was just over 15 years old. YES, time to replace anyway. So when we first checked out our RV mattress, we thought it was pretty nice! So we decided to keep it and just do a few upgrades to it. After a year of sleeping on it with the below 2 upgrades, it’s one of the most comfortable beds I have ever had! We highly suggest if you are keeping your RV mattress, think about adding these two items. We love them! Click on the links below to view and purchase.

Mattress Topper

Quilted Mattress Pad

2024 UPDATE: Look at this! We purchased these two items above for our bed back in 2016. We still use them today! Our bed is so comfortable!

Bed Band sheet holderThese have saved us so much money! RV mattresses are just a tad different in size, and our sheets kept coming off. I didn’t want to buy new sheets, as the ones I had bought were super high quality, which came with super high prices. I was happy to find something that works to keep them in place. And a year later, we still love them!

Let’s talk vacuums! I have a Labrador. That should answer everything if you’ve ever owned one. Oh, she’s cute alright! And she sheds only when she’s breathing. I sweep up “puppies” almost daily, and so I needed a vacuum that would really work well on dog hair, but also be really small and easy to store. I got online and researched, and asked in groups of fellow RVers, and I’m so happy to say this is seriously the best vacuum I’ve ever owned. Hands down! Even better than the one I had in my sticks and bricks house.    Shark Rocket Vacuum

We’ve used this vacuum for over seven years now. TIP: We blow it out (filters and all) often with an air compressor. We still have that same yellow Lab, and she sheds beyond belief. You can’t go wrong with this vacuum, but I highly recommend keeping it clean.

Speaking of dogs, why do they have to take a bite of food and then look around? Letting it all drip on the floor! YUCK! The best thing I ever bought for this dog of mine was the below mess-proof dog feeding system!

Another 2024 Update – We still use this. What we love best is that on travel days, her water isn’t all over the floor when we arrive at our destination. If it splashes out, it’s contained.

Neater Feeder      

Dog/Cat food storage containersNo mice! No ants! And in bear country, no bears! Even if you stay in RV parks 100% of the time, you’ll eventually get a mouse. It’s not fun! But these containers mean that mice and critters will not be able to get in your pet food. Ants are not something I’ve had to deal with (yet), but I see them all over our RV groups. These will save your life! Ha Ha! You can certainly buy cheaper, non-airtight containers, but you’ll regret it the first time you get ants or a mouse in there. 

Padded car seat cover for pets. Did I mention our dog sheds? This really helps keep the hair off the seat. 

Command Strips (please click the link below) Pretty sure I need to own stock in this company. I use these for everything. Here is a sampling of what I have used. We all know about Command Strips so get a bunch! You’ll need them!

Collapsible Dish Drainer – let’s talk about this for a moment. I have seen those super cool little drying pads out there. Small, and easy to fold or roll up and put away! Right? Well, the first time I used one, my coffee pot (which I balanced on a spoon) rolled off and completely shattered on the ground. So unless you have amazing Tetris skills, get this awesome collapsible dish drainer! It has been very convenient and I put it right between my back couch and the wall. 

It’s another one of those “I still use it today” items! This dish drainer is perfect for us. It fits between our couch and a little side table on travel days!

Coffee filter dispenser – Works like a charm! I love it!

Coffee Cup holder – It works great! Please measure the area you’re putting this in, to make sure you can still get them out of the top, or it won’t work for you! You might want to try this if stacking doesn’t work for you.

Silicone Cup Lids – Who would have thought? I love these things. When we were in Montana, I couldn’t sit outside without flies or mosquitos hovering. These saved my drinks 100 times, if not more, from bugs in my drinks. 

Onion Keeper – This does much better than I even expected. Not only does it keep the smell in, but it keeps the cut onion fresh for a very long time. 

Cutting Mats – When we left on our full-time journey, I had cutting boards. I wasn’t going to spend the money on something new. I quickly learned how valuable these cutting mats are and how much more efficient and easy to store and use they are. 

Collapsible salad spinner – We just didn’t have the storage for the salad spinner we had in our house. When I found this, I was more excited than anything! I had planned just to eat wet salad all the time!  

Collapsible laundry basket – Aside from the obvious of it being a laundry basket, I also use this for washing hand wash items. It holds water well, and I liked the square one vs. the oval one. The oval one is hard to store in a square closet. Yes, I use every inch of storage.  

Dinner plate holder – Love this! This is truly one of our most loved items. It allowed us to use the space well! And as you can see, we purchased this back in 2016 and still use it today! We are lucky enough to have a small section in our trailer that is made for storing dishes separately. But they only gave us enough separators for three plates. Strange … I know. And believe me, I tried to buy more from the maker. I ended up getting this, and it also holds all my paper plates as well. 

Magazine holder for foil, plastic wrap, baggies, etc. I have 4-5 of these that I use for the storage of these types of items. There are other typical foil/baggie holders you can get to fit your space as well! I always find going vertical is the way to go in most RVs. But you may have a short long area that would be better for the 3rd one below.

Shelf liner – I struggled with this stuff until Justin came up with a genius idea! So these shelf liners are great, but they do not stay in place as you would think. We would drive, and I’d come in and open a cabinet, and everything that was on the shelf was shifted. Usually slid forward, and we’d have the liner all bunched up in the front. So I got frustrated because I bought this stuff to keep everything in place. Justin mentioned putting velcro dots on each corner. It worked!!! We use velcro dots often. They also hold our remote to the bedroom wall! 

Here are the before and after of my liners with and without the velcro dots. And we tested it … travel day was great! Nothing moved! 

Ice Genie  – Have you seen these great things? PERFECT for the RVer!

2024 Update: We finally bought an ice maker! We love it! It doesn’t use a lot of power when we’re boondocking and it’s been awesome to have. Here is the one we have!

Silicone Ice Tray  I have 2 of these, and they do exactly as they say! I can turn them any which way, and water does not leak out. I’ve used these for over three years, and they are still working perfectly!

Luci Lights  & Luci Lights in Color  –  These are so perfect for the RVer! If you’ve never heard of Luci Lights, you’re missing out! They are on the pricy side, and even though I’m a very thrifty person, I found these lights really worth the money, and the space-saving is wonderful! Tip: On travel day, collapse them and set them up on your truck/RV dash, and they’ll charge while you drive.

USB Charging Ports – These are SUPER easy to install! Let us know if you need some advice and help, and we can certainly help answer questions. Justin put these in 3 places in our bedroom to charge our devices. Super helpful! I don’t think RVs come with enough of these.   

Do you boondock? If so, I found this very helpful! It sits in my bathroom, and in the middle of the night, I can have a nice soft light! And the colors are fun for kids too. Easy for them to use to see! Dimmable LED Nightlight  

Water Bladder  – If you boondock, this will be very convenient for you! Who doesn’t always need a little more water? We’ve been using this now for over five years and have never had any problems. Make sure you rinse it with a couple of caps of bleach/water mixture before storing it. It keeps it clean.

Plastic bins – I would highly recommend getting sets of these all in the same size. We use these for all of the below items.  I used these labels to also write on each bin even though they were see-thru (you can call me an organization freak … I’m ok with that, HaHa) Measure … measure …. measure. Get the most of your space with the sizes you can. 

Magma nesting pot set – Ok RVers … these right here will change you! We had the hardest time making this purchase because of the price, and after six years on the road, I couldn’t be happier with these pans. My only complaint is they didn’t somehow incorporate a pancake pan. Ha Ha Keep in mind, that there are several options, so purchase the ones best for your cooking style. The ones we got were the exact link I sent. They are the non-stick ones. These are the best pans we’ve ever owned and take up such a small amount of space. 2022 update – We are still using this same set. We cook at home every night, and they are fantastic!

De-humidifier – I would never have thought I needed this! Never! Our goals were to spend our time in 70* year-round. Well, the first time it rained for five days straight, our pictures were falling off the wall, and we had so much moisture on the inside of our windows, that it was literally dripping. Of everything we bought for our RV, this was one of the top things I have enjoyed having. It makes living in a small space more comfortable when it’s humid outside. This is the one we bought. It works very well and has been very easy to store when we aren’t using it. You may not need one this large, but we have the room for it. There are much smaller options out there.

Foldable step stool – I’m short! I always need an extra 11 inches! 

Plastic container for dry goods #1 and Containers #2 – You know when you order a set of storage containers, and they send you one normal size one and ten that you might be able to fit a grape into? Well, after our mice fiasco, I put most of our food in plastic containers and was determined to find some that real food could fit in. I was not disappointed with either of these purchases! 

Something that did NOT work for usthe spice racks everyone seems to use. I did buy them. I did not like them. First off, we are spice hoarders. So taking up the room for 6 or 12 spices wasn’t going to work. They did not stay on the wood finish I have. I tried the alcohol wipes, gorilla 2-sided sticky tabs, velcro, everything I could think of. Fifteen minutes and they were falling off. I threw them away. If they work for you, great! I have my spices just in my cabinet by the microwave. We do ok with them just like that. 

Peppermint essential oil – I do diffuse oil as well. However, I defuse the high-quality, brand-named oils. I do not diffuse this brand of peppermint oil. Did you know Peppermint oil is a natural disinfectant? Mice/critter repentant? It is! And after having an issue with five little field mice, and lots of food of mine they thought they deserved to rummage through, I now am a firm believer in Peppermint Oil. I use it for many things.

  • In a spray bottle, mix two tsp of peppermint oil with two drops of liquid dish soap, and fill the rest with water. Spray under your trailer all around. By the way, this is natural, so you can use this in a National Park or National Forest. I recommend once a week or so. Using often keeps spiders and ants away as well! And everyone around will wonder where the nice Xmas smell is coming from. 
  • Peppermint-wicking pots can be made really easy. I bought a package of the wicks for tiki torches and cut them to about 4 inches (depends on the container you’re using. I used an old potato salad container). Cut an X on the top of your container. Insert the wick touching the bottom, and mix two tbs of peppermint oil with about half a cup of water. You can also add a drop of soap and stir. The soap keeps the oil and water from separating. Put these wicking pots in your food cabinets. Or under your bathroom/kitchen sink. 

Whew! Did you take all that in? If you aren’t too tired – check out part 2 of this list here. We hope it was helpful. I understand there are so many more things out there and so many more things for us to add to this list. Share your favorite tips! We would love to hear them! Thank you again for your support, and we appreciate you using our links. 

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 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!

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!

We hope you find value in our information! Thank you for checking out our website, and please share your favorite Off The Beaten Path places with us! We’d love to hear from you!

Organizing your RV
How To's and Why Not's, RV Organization, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons, RV Upgrades & Mods

31 More Must-Have RV Accessories

Organizing The RV On a Budget

Updated for 2024!! Many more bonus items were added!

I can’t count the number of times someone has walked into my RV and said, “Oh my gosh, I need that; where did you get it?”. I put together a large list in our first blog but realized I forgot so many more things. We’re in our 6th year of full-time travel, and we’ve learned a lot about what works and doesn’t.

We try to do all our organizing on a small budget. I hope you find the following items useful. Please reach out if you have any questions or need further ideas on organizing your RV. 

Check out our other organizing blogs:

KeyholderOrganizing your keys! We have this hanging just inside the RV door so we could always have our keys easily accessible.

Drawer Dividers – I love these in my kitchen drawers. I know it takes up just a bit more space in such a small drawer, but they really work! They keep everything on its own side, and because they are adjustable, they will fit in any drawer. I put them in one of my plastic bins to divide stuff and use them in my clothes drawers. You won’t be sorry! They have really come in handy.

Storage Baskets These are the best I’ve ever had! It is very sturdy and fits perfectly in my closet. I actually have 9 of them stretched across the back of my closet shelves. Three on each shelf. I keep overflow bathroom items inside (ace bandages, hiking items, cleaning supplies I don’t often use, water filters for the trailer, vacuum accessories, winter hats, gloves, and scarfs. There are so many uses for these, and I’ve had these baskets since before we started living full-time in our RV. They are still in perfect shape.

Add A ShelfAs funny as this might sound, this is a perfect fit in most RV cabinets. So many people complain about needing something to add more shelf space inside the cabinet. These work great!! Measure and make sure they will fit where you need them. I used them in my bathroom cabinet, and under my sink

Picnic Caddy We eat together with friends a lot! This makes it so easy to gather everything we need to meet our friends outside. 

Security SafeDon’t forget just because you’re not in a sticks-and-bricks house doesn’t mean you don’t need to secure your items. We love our safe! Hint: Make sure you secure it permanently to the floor somewhere convenient. 

Speaking of securing your item, check out these fire-safe bags! Small! Compact! And you can always get a few of them and store your important documents inside. 

An Organizing Video for You!

We recently made a video using some amazing spice cabinet organizing tools. I will link them below the video!

These are the spice trays used in the above video. 

Accessorizing An RV On a Budget

Drinking water hose – Please don’t forget you need a special hose for filling your drinking water.  

Weather Radio – This is not an option if you’re living in your RV full-time. It might seem like a frivolous purchase, but it’s not. We know we can rely on the internet for most weather, but when you’re sound asleep during a storm, you aren’t going to be able to rely on the internet. This is a super useful tool. Like a fire alarm, you should have this.

RV Sewer Hose SupportNo one likes to talk about the sewer, but this is a really handy item to have. 

2024 Update

I love these wall-mounted dry food dispensers!! I don’t travel with kids, but I imagine these would be so handy traveling with kids. Getting two sets of these is highly recommended. Even if you mount these inside your storage cabinet or pantry vs. on a wall outside, you’ll find some great things to use this for. Cereal, rice, pasta, coffee beans, candy, oatmeal, snacks, trail mix, and much more!

Ok, these Twist & Lock shower caddies have worked really well! No drilling is needed, and they really do stay put! There are so many options! Here are a few we love!

Metal Folding TableYou won’t realize just how much you will love these until you get them. They are perfect for sitting outside. Easy to store. And they don’t melt when you put hot stuff on them. 

Water Bandit Ever heard of one? Me either! Not until we got to a water spigot that didn’t have threads to fill our tank with our traditional hose. That’s when my talented husband said, “I spent $10 on this really cool thing just for this purpose”. And pulled this out of our toolbox. We’ve used it many times and helped friends many times with it. 

Screen Door HandleThis has been one of my top favorite items we installed in our RV. Between this door handle and the screen door protector you can find here, it’s made our life much easier. Did I mention we have a dog who has put her head through the screen door a few times?

Garmin RV GPSEveryone always asks us about our GPS. We love our Garmin RV edition. A favorite thing about it we enjoy is that we have put the height and length of our RV into the settings, and the GPS will not take us on any roads that we can’t fit down or bridges that are too low. We have had zero problems with our GPS, other than the occasional new road that was added. We do have free lifetime map updates.

Meat Chopper – This sounds like a funny thing to add to my list, but I actually listed this on a group list I was on as my #1 favorite kitchen tool. Ha!

Shower SqueegeeThis has really helped keep the humidity down when needed and also helped keep the water spots off the shower doors. We’ve used it for a year now. No problems and it’s never fallen off the shower wall. 

Don’t laugh! It’ll happen to you! Day of the Week Clock. I used to think it was crazy not to know what day of the week it is. I’m so there!! When you don’t have a regular job, it’s hard to keep track of the days. 

Bug Zapper – You are going to absolutely LOVE me! 🙂 We’ve actually had more fun with these than we should have. But in reality, these work amazingly!!

Brita Water Pitcher We do have a whole RV filter, but we still filter the drinking water and water for making coffee, which goes through yet another filter. Guess I’m a little neurotic about my water. Check out our water filter blog here: The Best RV Water Filter

Collapsible Colander with FunnelAnother great item for the small RV.

Portable Washing Machine I elected not to have a washer and dryer installed in my RV. I already had a dishwasher I didn’t want. I prefer to go to the laundromat and just get all my laundry done in an hour, a couple of times a month. This is a good alternative for those in-between times or when you have a “hand wash” item you just need to do yourself. It’s easily stored, small, and you can use it outside even. 

Clothes LineYou’ll use this more than you think! 

Wash All – You will love this waterless cleaner. Super easy and the best product I have ever used to wash/wax your RV. Go ahead, read the reviews, and ask around. 

Bose Bluetooth Speaker – This is the most epic sound in a small speaker we have ever heard. We love sitting outside, and this little speaker is perfect for streaming music.

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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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

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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!

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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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Boondocking / Dry Camping, RV Camping

RV Camping in Florida

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

Boondocking / Free Camping

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

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

Thousand Trails

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

  • Space Coast
  • Crystal Isles
  • Tropical Palms

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

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

Here are some other blogs you might enjoy!

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

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

Top Places to Visit in Fall in the USA

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

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

Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania

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

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

Pine Creek Gorge (Pennsylvania Grand Canyon)

Upper Peninsula, Michigan

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

Middlesboro, Kentucky

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

Leavenworth Washington

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

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

Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests, North Carolina

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

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

Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky

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

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

Door County Wisconsin

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

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

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

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

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. 

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

Off the Beaten Path in New York ~ The Best 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 road less traveled. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to share your own off-the-beaten-path stories. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking area, with GPS coordinates.

If you’re visiting New York City, did you know there are still so many “off the beaten path” things to do and see there? Strange happenings in that city, I tell ya!

  • Marilyn Monroes Subway Grate
  • The Earth Room – why? It’s a 22-inch-deep layer of dirt spread across a 3,600-square-foot gallery space in the middle of Soho. Interesting
  • Don’t forget about the Ghost Busters Fire House 

But our favorite part of NY is not the city. Have you been to Upstate New York? I hope you look at New York a little differently after checking some of these places out. 

The Wild Walk

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If you have kids, or even if you don’t, you just have to experience this place!  There are 81 acres for nature lovers. (wheelchair accessible as well) Nestled 45ft up in the Adirondack Forest. What would it be like to live on a spider web, hanging on a thread above the forest? The Spider’s Web at Wild Walk is your chance to lay in wait or walk across a web woven above the ground. This place is a really fun place whether you are 8 or 80.

Watkins Glen State Park

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We’ve been here twice, and we’re pretty sure we’ll go back again. It’s one of our two favorite State Parks so far. It’s magical and the beauty is one of those unforgettable places. New York’s Finger Lakes region. The park’s lower part is near the village, while the upper part is open woodland. There are 19 waterfalls along its course.  I believe it’s a course of 2 miles. The gorge path winds over and under waterfalls and through the spray of Cavern Cascade. Rim trails overlook the gorge. If you haven’t visited this State Park, definitely put it on your list.

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Letchworth State Park

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This park holds a special place in our hearts. It’s where we decided to take the first step to change the life we were living, which led us to ultimately the sale our two homes and live and travel full-time in our RV.

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It’s where the picture of us was taken on our home page. We were fortunate enough to visit right as they made a decision and started demolition of the old train bridge over the waterfall. There are three large waterfalls on the Genesee River and as many as 50 other waterfalls. The deep gorge formed by the river, with rock walls rising up to 550 feet in places and which narrow to 400 feet across above the middle of the three falls, prompted the area’s reputation as the “Grand Canyon of the East”. OH, and in the Fall, I hear there is a hot air balloon launch over the waterfall. I would love to go back and see that!

Eternal Flame Falls

The Eternal Flame Falls is a small waterfall located in the Chestnut Ridge Park in Western NY. A small grotto at the waterfall’s base gives off a natural gas, which can be lit to produce a small flame. This flame is visible nearly year-round, although it can be extinguished and must occasionally be re-lit.

Lucifer Falls

Located in Robert H. Treman State Park, Lucifer Falls can be found in the rugged Enfield Glen gorge.

There is a paved trail and staircases built by the Civilian Conservation Corps members that lead you along the gorge, making the hike beautiful and not overly challenging. A hike that is especially beautiful in Fall (we visited NY in the Summer), take the Rim Trail to Lucifer Falls to see the water cascading down the face of the rock. Be sure to also check out the rest of the park while you are there if you have the time. It is perfect for an afternoon picnic or a full day trip.

The Boldt Castle

Another castle! Another sad story! If you have read our other blogs in this series you will know I love to seek out castles. They are hidden in our American history in almost every state. I love researching and reading the story behind it. Sadly, so far everyone I’ve read about seems to be a story of despair, death, and/or extreme sadness. The Boldt Castle in Alexandria Bay is no exception. In 1900, Mr. Boldt started building a 120-room, 6-story home for himself and his family. Including a drawbridge, Italian gardens, and even tunnels.

boldt castle3

There were approximately 300 men working on building this structure. In January 1904, tragedy struck. Boldt telegraphed the island and commanded the workers to immediately “stop all construction.”  His wife, Louise, had died suddenly. A broken-hearted Boldt could not imagine his dream castle without his beloved. Boldt never returned to the island, leaving behind the structure as a monument of his love. For 73 years, the castle and various stone structures were left to the mercy of the wind, rain, ice, snow, and vandals. 

(these are not my pictures. Boldt Castle does not allow even your own pictures to be published. These pictures were available for download on their website.)

Natural Stone Bridge and Caves

natural-stone-bridge
pottersville

Located in Pottersville. Bring good rubber-soled enclosed walking shoes to explore this self-guided (we love the self-guided tours since we love to just take our time through things like this) ¾ mile, mostly above-ground, natural stone step nature trail and experience up-close the unique marble features including potholes, grottos, gorge and mill site waterfalls. The massive stone bridge arch is the largest marble cave entrance in the east.

Additionally, New York is another state that I could write for 2 solid days about. And you’d still be reading next week. So we’ll end it here, but make sure you check out the Corning Glass Museum. We didn’t get a chance to go there, but it was on our list! Next time for sure!

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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

seacave

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!

CAVEmemem

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. 

shipwreck-2096945_1920

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!

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