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Stay up-to-date on RV travel news, products, and trends from around the world. Stay updated on all RV news from many online source, on WEnRV.com

10 Winter Festivals to Put on Your Radar

If any of these winter festivals are within visiting distances of you and yours, we highly recommend the trip to fully enjoy the season. 

 

Temperatures may be dropping, but the festival season is just warming up. Whether you’re looking to extend your holiday vacation or get your family uncooped from the house, there are still plenty of events to keep you busy.

 

To help you make the most of the frigid temps, here are 10 winter festivals to put on your radar.

winter festivals
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The End-of-Year Checklist for Campers

The end of the year is a time for rest, reflection, and preparations for the year ahead – including your travel plans. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of opportunities to make 2023 an even better camping season and to get ahead of the curve. 

Whether you’re getting a jump on reservations or investing in new gear, upgrading your RV or completing routine maintenance, preparation makes for smooth travels heading into the next year of camping. 

To make life easier, here’s a helpful end-of-the-year camping checklist.

Reserve early

Some campgrounds now fill up months or even years in advance, so it’s a good idea to get a jump on next year’s itinerary now. Instead of waiting to book reservations in the spring, take the time now to make a list, research site requirements, and know when bookings go live for your desired campgrounds. Discover campgrounds wherever you plan to travel, and book early.


Gear up (and down)

Take stock of your gear. What’s left in the closet from last year that’s still unused? Is there anything you’ve outgrown your need for? Once you’ve updated your inventory and identified what you don’t need, consider donating your old gear to someone who would really benefit from it. Then consider what you might need that you don’t already own.

checklist for campers
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Midtown Mountain Campground and RV Park Gives Guests a Taste of New Mexico Adventure

The mountain town of Ruidoso, New Mexico, keeps a low profile, and visitors like it that way. Sitting amid the Sierra Blanca Mountains in the heart of the state, Ruidoso avoids the bright spotlight enjoyed by Santa Fe or Taos to the north. That means fewer crowds on Ruidoso’s trails, the banks of local fishing lakes, and the town’s stores and restaurants. Midtown Mountain Campground & RV Park puts guests in the middle of the action, within walking distance of town and the surrounding outdoor attractions. 

Midtown Mountain Campground and RV Park

The campground makes the most of its location. Nestled among more than 100 tall pines on two acres, the park sits close to the town’s shopping strip and maintains sparkling-clean laundry facilities, bathrooms and showers. The owners, Rich and Anna Dozier, live on the grounds and set the tone for friendly customer service. At this writing, the campground has maintained a five-star average in customer reviews on GoodSam.com, and management works hard to maintain a friendly, carefree New Mexico environment. Look for the artwork found throughout the campground and enjoy the surrounding views. The nearby 98 River Park (open from dawn until dusk) on the banks of the Ruidoso River gives guests a chance to enjoy nature and follow trails along the waterway.

Rentals and More

Midtown Mountain Campground and RV Park

The campground’s rentals offer a wide variety of camping experiences. Guests staying in the Queen Anna cabin will enjoy a rustic camping experience with all the modern conveniences and comforts needed for a comfortable stay. The main part of the cabin is built in a contemporary design with a bedroom, bunkhouse and 11/2 baths. The cabin has a living area with stainless appliances, granite countertops, AC and a wood-burning stove.

Aerial shot of campground's trailers and motorhomes
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Savannah Hospitality and History Flourish at Red Gate RV Resort

Since 1931, Red Gate Farms has been owned by the same family, giving this RV resort a touch of genuine, Southern hospitality. But the property has a long, rich history that dates back even further. If the centuries-old live oaks could speak, they would tell you about the Indians, 18th-century colonists, civil war soldiers and more that crossed the land before Harry Martin established Red Gate Farms as Georgia’s first Jersey cattle dairy farm. Although the jersey cows no longer wander the land, something new was created through the family’s love of entertaining and the strong desire to preserve (and share) the property’s natural beauty. Red Gate Farms’ RV Resort, Event Venue, and Equestrian Center now set the scene for many lifelong memories.

Red Gate Farms

With its charming, historic ambiance, Red Gate Farms’ RV Resort has become the ideal stopping point for folks visiting Savannah. Here, guests are provided with a range of amenities to ensure that everyone has a comfortable and fun visit. You can take advantage of numerous onsite and offsite activities during your stay. Take a lazy day and relax in the saltwater swimming pool or spend the day on the lakes in a rented kayak or on the dock with some catch-and-release fishing. As an easy outing, leisure-seekers will find family-friendly trails throughout the property. Wander the path by foot or rent a bicycle to find the hidden treasures that constitute Red Gate Farms. You will also come across historic ruins, farm animals, wildlife and three distinct event venues — the traditional Barn (above), the chic industrial Grainery, and the intimate Belle Tower — blended seamlessly into the natural landscapes.

Red Gate Farms

Feeling a little more adventurous? The Equestrian Center offers guests a unique way to explore this Savannah landmark. Climb atop one of nature’s most beautiful creatures and discover the history and splendor of Red Gate Farms. A horse-drawn carriage ride is a perfect choice if you prefer to sit back and relax while touring the property. Each guided tour is a scenic experience beneath centuries-old live oaks with many spectacular views. For the younger guests aged 4-10, pony rides and pony parties are also available.

Motorhome parked in a grassy campsite with picnic table.
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The Real Reason That You Should Clean Up Your Campsite

My first camping trip was with my family alongside the road leading into Grand Canyon National Park nearly 50 years ago. Without a tent, proper sleeping bags, padding or even a stove, we lacked many of the amenities common to our more recent camping outings. A Styrofoam cooler was purchased specifically for this trip, and its sole purpose: keeping our food cold during this hastily planned vacation from everyday life. Years later, the memories of waking up during the night to find out that there were some unhappy ants underneath the sheet we slept on, watching the sunrise, illuminating the vastness of the Grand Canyon and pieces of that cooler endure through the years.

Milky Way over the Grand Canyon. Getty Images

The experience of seeing the Grand Canyon had a lasting impact that I could not comprehend at the time. Our trip began on a Friday night at dusk when we left Los Angeles. Speeding across the emptiness of the desert until fatigue prevailed, we pulled over and off the road. Looking up at the sky, I was puzzled by all the “clouds” that did not seem to move. Some years later, it dawned on me that we were seeing the Milky Way. Facing a sky full of stars and then a deep canyon that extended from one side of the horizon to the other, the world I lived in became bigger and more amazing at the same time. I eventually learned the importance of safeguarding these spaces.

Keeping America Beautiful

In my lifetime, our attitudes towards litter have come a long way. It was not uncommon for travelers to open the window of their vehicle and discard what they no longer wanted. The Highway Beautification Act of 1965 — spearheaded by Lady Bird Johnson — began the slow process of changing minds about litter on our public lands. Those of a certain age may remember the Keep America Beautiful commercial showing a Native American paddling a canoe in a dirty river, suffering the indignity of trash thrown at his feet and shedding a tear.

A lake in the Sierra National Forest. Photo: George Sherman

High altitude lake in mountain.
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5 Ways to Save Money Despite RV Inflationary Headwinds

With everything costing much more and inflation galloping onward, it’s no wonder people are reassessing their vacation plans. For folks seeking vacation fun without breaking the bank, recreational vehicle trips have never looked so inviting. However, even the RV lifestyle can’t escape the increased costs of nearly everything. So how do campers combat RV inflationary headwinds?

Get Back to Nature

So often, we think that to have a fantastic vacation, we must travel to far distant commercialized destinations like theme parks or fancy resort areas. These destination vacations can cost a fortune; fuel costs, RV park fees, activities, entrance fees and other costs pile up with alarming speed. But if you look back at the best summer vacations, they most often are the times you spent with your family doing simple things. Get inspiration from the vacations spent in national forest campgrounds, swimming and fishing in the lake or river, hiking and exploring the surrounding area, sitting by the campfire roasting marshmallows, savoring the potatoes that were roasted in the fire for dinner and having great fun with the family. Get back to basics and back to nature.

Cool’ n’ Cook

Getty Images

Eating at restaurants for all your meals becomes very costly over the course of your vacation. But spending excessive time cooking isn’t most campers’ idea of a great vacation. To save money and time, we make cookies, desserts and homemade freezer meals ahead of time to use while we’re traveling. Casseroles like shepherd’s pie can be frozen in individual- or family-sized aluminum pans. Soups can be frozen in correct portion sizes in freezer bags and laid flat to save space in the freezer. These freezer meals save time and effort; just heat and serve. Also, making use of a crockpot is not only economical but convenient. Throw in the ingredients in the morning, turn on the pot and dinner is ready any time you are!

Fuel Concerns

OK, so you’ve picked your destination and reserved a spot. Even though you’ve selected a campground that is relatively close to home, the trip still is going to make a dent in fuel expenses. Increasing the miles per gallon can help reduce the trip’s overall expenses. Let’s take a look at some of the many ways you can travel further on a gallon of fuel.

RV taking a slow turn with desert mountains in background.
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November Regional Travel — Give Thanks to New England Destinations

As the holiday season ramps up, New England remains a prime destination for touring. It’s worth the low temperatures to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal in Massachusetts or sip a cup of hot cider in New Hampshire.

Maine

See our Regional Travel Calendar for more year-round destinations.

Late fall along the Maine coast means clear air and few crowds. Take a drive to Ocean Point, at the tip of a peninsula director south of Damariscotta. See Lighthouses in the distance on the water and enjoy the brisk air. Afterward, head back to Damariscotta for a warm bowl of chowder and a tall brew. Motorists can also motor north to Acadia National Park and drive the Loop Road, which remains open through November. 

Photo: Getty Images

Hunt for Seaglass on the Coast

To the south along the coast, Old Orchard Beach hosts the annual Celebration by the Sea: Holiday Scavenger Hunt. Participants record where they found holiday treasure and turn it in for prizes. For more treasure, bundle up and walk the beaches of Kennebunkport to the south for seashells and sea glass, which wash up on shore during this month. Also, in Kennebunkport, visitors can take an early winter walk in Wells Reserve at Laudholm, with seven miles of trails that lead through compelling forests and marshes.

Statue of an equestrian flanked by trees.
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7 Scary Campground Neighbors — and How to Handle Them

You can count on two possibilities as an RVer. You will either have pleasant campground neighbors or you will not. Fortunately, annoying camping neighbors are the exception rather than the rule.

Here are seven types of campground neighbors you could encounter sooner or later and a strategy for maintaining your sanity if you do. But be nice. Campground neighbors are people too.

His-and-her high maintenance. You wonder how these neighbors get by. They assume that you have the perfect answer to everything. They ask your help in fixing everything from what’s broken on their RV to how to raise their kids. And they assume you know everything about camping and will ask about everything. Strategy: When asked, give the most outlandish answers and impossible solutions until the questions stop.

Getty Images

Family with a barking dog, shouting kids. I can understand family-friendly campgrounds. They’re meant to be raucous and kid-friendly. That’s the fun in them. But a dog that barks at everything that moves? Really? Strategy: Keep a pair of earplugs on hand.

RV Park Motorhome Campsite with Campfire and Wooden Bench. Recreational Vehicle Travels and Camping. Class C Camper Van.
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Route 66 RV Resort Pampers Guests in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Route 66 RV Resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico, puts a modern and luxurious twist on a historic road trip. Located off the legendary “Mother Road” (also Interstate 40) the resort brims with state-of-the-art luxuries, including a resort-style pool and luxury sites with 100-amp hookups. Guests can hop on a shuttle to the neighboring Route 66 Casino Hotel, which bustles with slot machines and high-stakes tables.

Route 66 RV Resort

To the west of Route 66 RV Resort, Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico, treats visitors to charming neighborhoods with historical buildings, many from the route’s golden age. There’s also a dynamic art scene and restaurants that serve up the finest Tex-Mex food in the Southwest. Food lovers can discover new flavors from centuries-old recipes passed down through the generations or delve deep into Native American history. 

The Route’s Roots

Connecting Chicago and Santa Monica, California, the “Main Street of America” was made famous in part by the homey diners, colorful neon signs and quirky hotels that greeted motorists in every town. Albuquerque was no exception, and the stretch of Route 66 that runs through the city keeps this vibe alive. Along this corridor, which follows Central Avenue through town, several shops and restaurants celebrate the route that has guided motorists across North America since the 1930s. 

A neon overpass sign in Albuquerque.

An overpass sign made of neon in the shape of a highway sign with the numbers, 66.
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Make a New Mexico Escape to Bonnie & Clyde’s Getaway RV park

In 1932, outlaw couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow fled to Carlsbad, New Mexico, to find sanctuary from the cops. Granted, most of us would disapprove of how they made a living (robbing banks), but you have to admit: they had good taste when it came to picking a hideout.

Most visitors to the region would agree. The area surrounding Carlsbad, in particular, consists of scenic desert hills with legendary historic sites and state and national parks in every direction. Ninety years after Bonnie and Clyde’s visit, the small city, nicknamed the Pearl of the Pecos, continues to thrive as an oasis in the desert. The town has pleasant, treelined streets with friendly residents and the wide Pecos River flowing through it. Excellent restaurants, water recreation and microbreweries keep visitors busy.

Moon rising over the desert landscape near Carlsbad New Mexico. Getty Images

Bonnie & Clyde’s RV Getaway RV Park

Bonnie and Clyde’s RV Getaway RV Park, named after the infamous couple, puts travelers close to everything this region offers. Located eight miles north of Carlsbad and nestled in a 30-acre ranch, the park surrounds visitors with sweeping views of Southwest scenery. The 40-space park treats guests to roomy spaces that accommodate slideouts. Guests enjoy friendly service and ample picnic shelters, grills and tables. 

The park is kid-friendly, with a safe environment and a playground for burning off energy. Anglers can hone their skills in the park’s fishing pond. A coin-operated laundry is available, and full-hookup sites powered by 30- and 50-amp power keep RVers comfortable. The Wi-Fi supports streaming and is available for two devices per overnight site.

RVs parked in a campground with hookups and tables.
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53 New Good Sam Campgrounds Guide Travelers to Savings and Value

Good Sam has added 53 new Good Sam Campgrounds to its network, expanding your chances of finding savings and value on the road. Good Sam members can save big with the 10 percent discount, and while you’re exploring, discover all of the RV campgrounds in the Good Sam Network.

If you’re not a member, joining is simple: Purchase a membership at any Good Sam Campground, or sign up online. Check each campground’s link to determine seasonal availability and to make reservations.

Arizona

Grand Canyon Oasis RV Resort & Glampground, Flagstaff

Immerse yourself in the world of glamping, an approach to camping that seamlessly blends luxury with the great outdoors. Located near the east entrance of the Grand Canyon north of Flagstaff, this resort has ample RV spaces in an awe-inspiring setting.

Grand Canyon National Park. Getty Images

Village Camp Flagstaff, Flagstaff

Surrounded by national forests and beautiful views of Humphreys Peak — the highest mountain in Arizona — the 10-acre park offers an escape into cooler temperatures during the summer months or playtime in snow during winter days.

A group of RV travelers gathered around a campfire in front of an Airstream Motorhome.
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4 Southwest Dark Sky Destinations That Will Make You See Stars

What a relief that cooler temperatures are finally here. It’s a welcome change of seasons and a perfect chance to comfortably explore the best dark-sky destinations in the Southwest. Whether you’re headed to the sunny Southern California coast or gathering with winter Texans on the Gulf Coast, the most popular winter snowbird journeys are often filled with stargazing under crystal-clear skies.

A Short List of the Best Dark Sky Destinations in the Southwest

The Southwestern desert has inky-black starry skies all year. But if you’re a weather wimp like me, exploring them in fall and winter is much more appealing. As an astronomy fan, I enjoy planning our travels around the International Dark-Sky Association’s Dark Sky Site Directory. It’s a great resource for locating North America’s darkest skies and also includes a list of dozens of Dark Sky Parks near popular winter snowbird destinations. My favorite places in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas include:

Arizona: Saguaro National Park

The Milky Way over Saguaro National Park. Getty Images

If you hide from winter in Arizona, take a break from your usual spot and head south to Organ Pipe National Monument. Located two hours west of Tucson, Organ Pipe is not only an International Dark Sky Park, but is also an International Biosphere Reserve. The dual designation means that along with a peaceful stay underneath Southern Arizona’s darkest skies, you can also experience one of the few intact, undeveloped slices of the Sonoran Desert ecosystem. It’s a two-for-one deal that takes your breath away with the starriest skies at night and untouched desert scenery by day. There’s a rustic, RV-friendly campground inside the monument, but Ajo Heights RV Park offers full-hookup comforts just minutes from the park entrance.

alifornia: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Time-lapse photograph over Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Getty Images

Time laps shot of stars circling the sky over the desert.
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Camping in South Dakota: 5 Reasons to Go Beyond Mount Rushmore

Perhaps one of the most underrated states in the country, “The Land of Infinite Variety” affords visitors the chance to witness spectacular landscapes, Old West history, abundant wildlife, and Native American cultural sites. From the Black Hills and Badlands to the rolling plains and river valleys, South Dakota is the perfect spot to escape the crowds and enjoy nature’s solace.

National and State Parks

Bighorn sheep passing through camp.

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park, located near the town of Wall, comprises over 244,000 acres of colorful spires, striped buttes and expansive grasslands. It’s renowned not only for its otherworldly beauty but also as one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Long before the arid badlands were formed, the region was part of an inland sea. Beginning in the late Cretaceous Epoch, roughly 75 million years ago, the landscape evolved when the sea receded, leaving behind clay, silt and sand. Water flowing from the Black Hills eroded this changing landscape, carving out the valleys, canyons, buttes and spires you see today. The colorful stripes within these formations not only tell the tale of time, but they also hold the answers to the first inhabitants of this area. Although no dinosaurs have been found within the park, creatures like saber tooth cats, rhinoceroses, mammoths, three-toed horses, camels and giant marine predators called mosasaurs have been found.

Badlands National Park viewed from Yellow Mounds Overlook.

The park is also rich in human history, as evidence of early nomadic people dating back over 10,000 years. These Paleo Indians were big game hunters, and the valleys provided the perfect hunting grounds while the top of the badlands wall served as a lookout for enemies and wandering herds. In addition to oral traditions, further evidence of these early inhabitants has been found in the arrowheads and tools they left behind from hunts and the remnants of their campfires along stream banks. If you’ve wondered how the badlands got its name, you can credit the Lakota people who dubbed the area “mako sica,” which roughly translates to badlands. Later,  French trappers referred to the region as “les mauvaises terres a traverser” — bad lands to travel through, as they found the extreme temperatures, lack of water, and rough terrain hard to navigate.

A white SUV on a winding highway between rugged hills.
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10 Fall Fun Fall Events for Snowbird Travelers

Attention, snowbirds: Need a good reason to fly south sooner? How about ten reasons? Our list of the best fall festivals for snowbird RVers is a must-see during your southbound travels.

The 10 Best Fall Festivals for Snowbirds

Fall made a brief appearance yesterday at my campsite near Carson City, Nevada. A thin dusting of frost coated the RV rooftops, reminding me that it’s only a matter of time until it’s time to seek warmer accommodations. And when we do, we won’t be able to resist these incredible fall festivals in snowbird RVer destinations.

Alabama

Opelika Songwriters Festival

Folk and Americana music fans and musicians are headed to the 3rd annual Opelika Songwriters Festival. The mid-October showcases rising stars and world-renowned musicians from North America in a small, intimate setting around historic downtown Opelika music venues. The 2022 headliners include the Indigo Girls and Rickie Lee Jones. Park your rig at Lakeside RV Park and you’re just minutes from the three-day festival.

Arizona

Wintering at an Arizona RV park this season? Get there early for The Arizona Fall Fest. Held during the first weekend in November, it’s the largest event in the Valley of the Sun, featuring 200 of Arizona’s locally-grown businesses. From restaurants to wineries, artisans to adventure sherpas, it’s a family- and dog-friendly event that showcases all things uniquely Arizona. Best of all, it’s free! Stay at the Royal Palm RV Resort and you’re less than ten miles from the fun.

A group of people on a hayride.
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3 Fall Harvest Festivals to RV To

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — for RV enthusiasts anyway. While others start to turn their focus toward preparing for colder days ahead, the holiday season, and a new year, RVers aren’t clearing the roads just yet. In fact, fall is the gift that keeps on giving since it’s the best time to RV.

Before you start thinking about winterizing and storage during those colder months coming, there are quite a few fall harvest festivals to enjoy. The cooler fall weather is the perfect opportunity to wrap up your RVing adventures for the year.

So, throw on your favorite hoodie and grab your favorite fall beverage (you know, the pumpkin one) and check out some of our favorite fall harvest festivals to RV to.

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze — Hudson Valley, NY

September 16 – November 20

Image: Inspired by Maps / Shutterstock

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
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Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post: A Classic New Mexico Destination on Route 66

Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post blends the freewheeling spirit of Route 66’s heyday with all the comforts and amenities of a 21st-century RV resort. Surrounded by rugged desert scenery just 11 miles east of Albuquerque, the resort puts guests within reach of some of New Mexico’s most exciting attractions.

Blasts From the Past

Visitors will get a sense of the park’s nostalgic travel vibe the minute they pull into the park, located on U.S.Route 66 (Interstate 40). The Enchanted Trails office and Trading Post occupies a flat-roofed adobe-style building built in the late 1940s and was typical of the era’s architectural style. Visitors will find curios and memorabilia from the period in the clubhouse. Although the spacious laundry facility is fully equipped with modern washers and dryers, there’s also a ringer washer and mangle iron — for guests who fully want to commit to the old-time aesthetic. 

Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post

Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post

Travel further down memory lane with a tour of the park’s Vintage Trailer Exhibit, also known as the Vintage Court, with six classic RVs open for exploring. Step into Della, a 1959 Spartan trailer with a double bed and roomy kitchen; feel the Camelot aura in Dot, a 1963 Winnebago trailer that sleeps one; get groovy in Josephine, a 1969 airstream decorated with mod flower decals. Get a key for the vintage RV you would like to tour at the manager’s office.

A breezeway with wooden supports painted blue.
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October Regional Travel — Awaken to Autumn in the Mid-Atlantic States

America’s Mid-Atlantic region embraces autumn with gusto. Tour the countryside to see vibrant fall colors or drop into haunted houses in some of the big cities.

Delaware

See our Regional Travel Calendar for more year-round destinations.

The weather on Delaware’s coast is pretty nice during October, and a slew of local festivals give travelers great reasons to camp near the beach. Celebrate Halloween at the annual Sea Witch Festival in Rehoboth, including a costume parade, dog parade, trick or treating and hayrides. One of the event’s highlights is the Sea Witch Hunt, in which attendees try to find the dreaded witch for prizes.

Stay: Massey’s Landing, Millsboro

Baltimore skyline. Getty Images

Half shell shucked oysters on a bed of ice.
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Los Angeles RV Resort is Now Open as a Good Sam Campground

The Los Angeles RV Resort (formerly Acton / North LA KOA) is now open as a Good Sam Campground for guests in historical Acton’s beautiful Soledad Canyon. Located just 45 miles from Los Angeles, Action Camp has all you need for the ultimate camping getaway or as a base camp for your SoCal explorations. The fun family-friendly campground offers lots of amenities.

Los Angeles RV Resort

Enjoy the swimming pool, volleyball & basketball courts, convenience store, outdoor café-style area, indoor lounge and more. Perfect as a large group retreat center with wide open fields for family reunions, school groups, clubs and nonprofits. There are full hookup RV sites but if you don’t have an RV, reserve our Woody tents, cabins or teepees or maybe a deluxe tent site with power. Camp with a touch of glamour… Glamping! This lovely canyon area has limited cellular signal but there is Wi-Fi available for those times you do need to stay connected. There are plans to add educational programs and more, so checkout our website often for activities.

Los Angeles RV Resort Cabins

Local area attractions include Universal Studios, Hollywood, Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Dodgers Stadium, museums and more! Enjoy day trips to Santa Monica, Malibu and Venice Beach. AND it’s a must-stop base camp for hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. Stay for a night, a week, a month or more!

Cabins in a rustic setting.
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8 Reasons to Add Mesa-Apache Junction to Your Snowbird Itinerary

Attention, snowbirds: fall is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to start thinking about your next jaunt to the Sun Belt. Below are eight spots in Mesa-Apache Junction, Arizona, to include your upcoming snowbird plans.

Mesa and Apache Junction sit not far from Phoenix in the immense Arizona Desert. In these adjacent towns, you’ll find great museums, beautiful desert landscapes and plenty of chances to learn about—and celebrate—the history and culture of the Wild West. Mesa and Apache Junction are also ideal for art lovers, with over 200 outdoor sculptures scattered across public areas.

The Arizona Museum of Natural History

This Mesa museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in paleontology and features the largest dinosaur exhibit west of the Mississippi. Highlights include an animatronic exhibit — Dinosaur Mountain — complete with a three-story indoor waterfall and moving replicas of creatures that lived throughout the various periods of the Mesozoic Era. There’s also a hands-on Paleo Dig Pit for kids who want to play fossil hunter for the day, as well as real jail cells that date to Arizona’s early days as a U.S. territory. If you’re interested in indigenous culture, the Southwest Gallery is definitely worth checking out. It features a solid collection of indigenous art and artifacts from the region as well as replica dwellings of the Hohokam people, who lived in the area thousands of years ago.

Arizona Museum of Natural History. Photo:

Mesa Arts Center

Fans of the performing arts may end up finding themselves at the Mesa Arts Center, a gargantuan complex that’s home to four theaters, 14 classrooms, and the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum (MCA). The MCA is divided into four galleries: one hosting paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects from the permanent collection, a second exhibiting the works of Arizona artists, and two others that are used for everything from installations to curated exhibitions.

Old, delapidated buildings against rugged mountains
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Flying Flags Avila Beach — a California Central Coast Cliffside Escape

A stark cliffside coastline and a steady rush of Pacific waves make relaxation strikingly easy to find at Flying Flags at Avila Beach. Here, days are filled with whale watching, sea otter sightings and all kinds of active adventures. Nights are filled with campfires and camaraderie. Hikes through coastal shrub reveal an ecosystem rich in rare species, like burrowing owls and coast-horned lizards.

The ever-present history of the native Chumash people reveals a rich and storied past. The team at this resort goes to great lengths to ensure that every one of the cliffside cottages and spacious RV sites are outfitted with the creature comforts you need to relax and rest up — because they know that you’ll need plenty of energy to enjoy the extraordinary paddleboarding and wine tasting and wildlife spotting that have put this region on the map. Between ruby red sunrises on the water and cotton candy sunsets on the community bluff, you won’t find a more picture-perfect California Central Coast escape!

Flying Flags Avila Beach

Explore the area for adventures such as whale watching, visiting the Point San Luis Light Station, golfing, hiking or visiting the world-famous Hearst Castle in nearby San Simion. Every Friday evening beginning at 4 p.m. from April through September, you can enjoy strolling through the Avila Beach Farmers Market, where you can select fresh vegetables for your dinner or a bouquet of fresh flowers to add dreamy fragrances to your couple’s cottage or RV.

Flying Flags Avila Beach

Footsteps imprinted on a seashore as water laps the sand.
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