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

Off the Beaten Path in South Carolina. 8 Hidden Gems you Shouldn’t Miss!

If this is your first time here – WELCOME! If not, welcome back!! As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series, where we explore the hidden treasures in every state. Exploring the big popular attractions is something we love too! But there is something incredible about discovering something unique and different and taking that road less traveled. We certainly can’t explore them all, so we’d love you to share your own stories off the beaten path with us. Each blog will include at least one epic boondocking area with GPS coordinates.

CHECK OUT OUR VIDEO BELOW OF THE SANTEE COASTAL RESERVE!

Tunnel-Vision – Columbia

Inspired by a dream, an artist in South Carolina created the mural known as Tunnel-Vision to create the illusion of a road to another world. It is painted on a large blank wall that joins a downtown Columbia parking lot. At 50 X 75 feet large, the painting shows a portal to a world under a different moon, which, if it were real, would be large enough to drive a large car through. The painting creates an optical illusion of depth, and thanks to repeated additions and touch-ups by the artist over the years, the scene does not seem to fade but actually improves.

The Busted Plug – you can turn around from the Tunnel-Vision wall of art and see this. “Busted Plug Plaza” is among Sky’s most widely recognized and impressive works. And was created by the same artist. Four stories in height and weighing 675,000 pounds, it is located on Taylor St., between Marion and Bull St. If you like interesting art as much as we do, check these out. In the picture here, you can see the Tunnel Vision on the right. They share a parking lot. So you get to see both within a short walk across the parking lot.

Location for both: Taylor and Marion Streets

Caesars Head State Park – Cleveland (Devil’s Kitchen)

Are you visiting Cleveland? Head over to this beautiful state park. Nestled on the Blue Ridge Mountains, Caesars Head State Park is known for its spectacular views of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area and is named for a granite rock formation located at the top of a long, steep slope. Caesars Head rock passes through another intriguingly named geological curiosity, a narrow passageway between two giant rocks called “Devils Kitchen.” When the trail reaches Devil’s Kitchen, a set of stairs descends deep down into the rocky gap, which is just wide enough for a person to pass through.

The formation was created thousands of years ago as water on the mountain froze and expanded, causing the rock to crack open from the pressure. Shortly after passing through the Devil’s Kitchen, the trail arrives at a small overlook offering a panoramic view of Caesar’s Head rock formation. The trail through Devils Kitchen is an easy hike just a short distance from the Visitor Center to the Caesars Head overlook, however, walking through the crack in the rocks requires descending a fairly steep set of stairs.

Horseback Waterfall Tour

This is a one-of-a-kind experience. You can make arrangements for the Horseback Waterfall Tour out of Pickens, SC, on their website. You will be amazed and delighted to tour South Carolina’s incredible waterfalls on horseback. Because you will be so close to the border, you will also see waterfalls just over the state line in North Carolina! A photographer is along every ride to capture priceless moments, too. This is the only horseback waterfall tour in South Carolina. It books up way in advance, so reservations are a must. Must be age ten and over to ride. We didn’t take this tour, but so many people talk about it! Did you go on this tour? If so, share your experience with us! We’d love to hear about it!

Canopy Walk at Lynches River – Coward, SC

Take a walk on a raised boardwalk that takes you through the treetops at the county park. You will cross over a couple of swinging bridges. This fun county park offers 676 acres of outdoor activities, including this canopy walk. Parts of the walk are suspended more than 50 feet above the ground. Grab the kids and the teenagers alike! Really fun. 

Reedy River Falls – Greenville County

Reedy River Falls

This might be a pretty popular place, depending on the time of the year. Though I had not heard of it before researching the area.  Visit Falls Park and you’ll see some amazing views. Take the scenic walk over the Liberty Bridge. So beautiful. 

Hampton Plantation – McClellanville

What a gorgeous property this is. We decided not to do the house tour and just walk around the grounds. It was Winter, and the trees in the garden area were all full of beautiful flowers. It was breathtaking! We checked out the history, the stories, the property, and even the geocache. Want to learn more about Geocaching? Check out our blog here: Geo-What? What is Geocaching, and How Does it Work? Bringing Free and Family Fun Together.

Blood Moon Kayak Tour

What a fun time we had. We booked a Blood Moon Nighttime Kayaking trip. After the trip, there was a campfire, with hotdogs, and smores, and a lot of laughing and storytelling. If you’re looking for a great place to get out on the inner coastal waterway and do some kayaking, this is your place! Click here to check out their website!

Boondocking

Santee Coastal Reserve – Near McClellanville – GPS: 33.154569, -79.367734. Eight very large camping spots. There is enough room for 2 large RVs if you have friends. Great cell service, close to town, but only a maximum of 4 days allowed to stay.

If you go in the off-season, you can ask to stay longer. When we were staying, there was only 1 other camper who was camping. A few vans came and went but it was never full.

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

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

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

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

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

Monhegan

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

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

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

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

Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park

wolfes-neck-park-2033099_1920

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

Small Falls

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

Moxie Falls

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

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

Moose Point State Park

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

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

Wire Bridge

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

Cutler Bold Coast Preserve

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

Rattlesnake Flume and Pool

from the wild

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

Giant’s Stairs (or Staircase)

giants staircase

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

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

Wild Blueberry Land

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

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

Stephen King’s House

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

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

Boon Island Lighthouse

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

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

Boondocking

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

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

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

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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!