-----> Plan your RV trip with our NEW State By State Guide To State And National Park Campgrounds. <-----

Monday, September 7, 2020

State By State Guide To State And National Park Campgrounds



We hope you will use our guide as reference for where to stop as you venture along your next road trip.  We like to stay at state parks just off the highway we are traveling on and we have found so many that we would love to go back to one day.  Then there are a few that we will want to avoid.

As a feature of this guide, we have rated state, and a couple of national, park campgrounds by using a 1(low) - 5 (high) rating.  We take into consideration the cleanliness of the park, especially the bathrooms (which all have handicap facilities except where noted), the helpfulness and friendliness of the staff, the facilities, amenities and the size of the campsites.

In addition, will have pictures of our campsites and surroundings to give you an idea of what to expect if you go.  We hope it will be a useful guide for you as you make your plans for your next RV road trip.


State By State Guide To State And National Park Campgrounds



As we go on more camping trips, we will update this state by state guide to state and national park campgrounds. Make sure you bookmark this page so you can remember to come back and see the updates!

Alabama

Coming soon!

Alaska

Coming soon!  (Maybe!)

Arizona

Coming soon!

Arkansas


Click to see all the Arkansas State and National Park campgrounds on our list.  

California

Coming soon!

Colorado

Coming soon!

Connecticut

Coming soon!

Delaware

Coming soon!

Florida


Click here to find Florida State and National Park campgrounds.

Georgia


Check out Stone Mountain Park on your visit to Georgia if you are planning to spend time a Weekend In Atlanta.  If you are going to Savannah, check out Savannah, Georgia here.

Hawaii

Coming soon!  (Maybe!)

Idaho

Coming soon!

Illinois

Coming soon!

Indiana

Coming soon!

Iowa

Coming soon!

Kansas

Coming soon!

Kentucky

Coming soon!

Louisiana

Click here to find Louisiana State and National Park campgrounds

Maine

Coming soon!

Maryland

Click here to find Maryland State and National Park campgrounds.

Massachusetts

Coming soon!

Michigan

Coming soon!

Minnesota

Coming soon!

Mississippi

Coming soon!

Missouri

Coming soon!

Montana

Coming soon!

Nebraska

Coming soon!

Nevada

Coming soon!  Is your vacation to Nevada including a trip to Las Vegas?  Check this post out before you go - Things To Do In And Around Las Vegas.

New Hampshire

Coming soon!

New Jersey

Coming soon!

New Mexico


We visited 2 national parks when we were here.  Find out all about Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Guadalupe Mountains State Park here - Carlsbad, New Mexico.

New York

Coming soon!  Are planning a trip to the New York City area?  If you get a chance to venture into Astoria, Queens, we highly recommend a visit to the Museum Of The Moving Image!

North Carolina


Wilmington, where we live half of the year, is only one of the many fun cities in NC.  Check out these posts before you make your plans to take a vacation here.  Cherokee, Asheville, Fayetteville,

North Dakota

Coming soon!

Ohio

Coming soon!

Oklahoma

Coming soon!

Oregon

Coming soon!

Pennsylvania

Coming soon!

Rhode Island

Coming soon!

South Carolina

Coming soon!  But for now, check out our post about Charleston, South Carolina.

South Dakota

Coming soon!

Tennessee

Coming soon!  One of our favorite states.  Read all about our adventures in this amazing state.  In And Around Gatlinburg, Hiking The Great Smoky Mountains, Nashville, TN.

Texas

Click here to find Texas State and National Park campgrounds.

Utah

Coming soon!

Vermont

Coming soon!

Virginia

Coming soon!

Washington

Coming soon!

West Virginia

Coming soon!

Wisconsin

Coming soon!

Wyoming

Coming soon!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Nashville, TN - FL To NM Road Trip - Stop 8


Nashville, TN has been one of the top destinations on our bucket list for a very long time.   This was the last stop of our Florida to New Mexico and back road trip, besides for a quick overnight in Georgia.  Did we save the best for last?  We would soon find out.  

Cedars of Lebanon State Park would be where we would park our trailer and ourselves for the next three nights.  It was conveniently located 12 minutes off of I-40, the highway we traveled 6 hours on to get from Arkansas to Tennessee.

(Please read more about this campground in our State Park Camping Guide coming soon!)

It was raining when we pulled into our campsite but we were able to set up our trailer.  The internet worked well here so we watched TV and relaxed our first night in Tennessee.

It was still raining the next morning, our first full day in Nashville,  The "must-see" for the day was the Grand Ole Opry.  You can't think of Nashville without thinking about the Opry!  We decided a good way to get out of rain for awhile would be to spend the $34.00 each to do the Opry Daytime Backstage Tour.   It was definitely worth the price of admission!  We are so glad we did it!  We walked away from the tour with a great understanding of why this place is so respected and how important it is for country music.  


The tour started off with us and our group being led into a theater.   We were shown a documentary hosted by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.  The clips of country music stars being surprised by a peer and member of the Opry and asked if they themselves would like to be a member brought tears to my eyes.  The new members were so honored to be asked and most of them ended up crying.


After the presentation, our tour guide led us around to see what goes on backstage at the Opry. There were lots of pictures and huge posters of some of the biggest stars throughout.  


It was fun to see the themed dressing rooms.  Our tour guide told us how some stars will ask for a particular room every time they come to perform but most performers just get assigned a random room.


There was a wall of small plaques with the names of each member of the Opry.  We were surprised that we recognized a lot of them since we are not fans of country music.  But that changed a bit while we were in Nashville.  I decided that we needed to listen to country music while we were here so that when we heard the tunes as we walked along Broadway in downtown Nashville, we might recognize a few of the songs.  Because of that, one of my favorite songs right now is More Hearts Than Mine by Ingrid Andress!


And finally, the highlight of the tour was when we walked onto the stage and got to stand on the "X" and have our picture taken.  It was a pretty amazing feeling after hearing about how people dream their whole lives about being on that "X" and singing in front of the Opry audience.  


The next time we pass this way again, we will definitely be buying tickets to see a concert here.  Even now that months have passed since we visited, every once in awhile we put on our local country music station. This tour, and Nashville, made us fans!

Our second stop of the day was Marathon Village.  Our friend from NY, Justin, who has been calling Nashville home for the past couple of years, mentioned that his Dad liked going to the former Marathon Motor Works factory when he is in town.  You will see plenty of tools and automobile parts, saved from the days when this factory produced cars, on display throughout the halls of this building that now is filled with event spaces, work studios and unique shops. 


One of the most unique shops here is Antique Archaeology.  This is where the American Pickers sell their finds.   Their store was full of stuff that  reminded me of things you would find in someones (or my) messy garage or shed but we could only imagine the joy, from watching the show, that Mike and Frank would experience from finding this junk...I mean treasures!


Next on our list was to take a very quick visit to Broadway, Nashville's lively area of bars and honky tonks. We would be going back the following day to really have a look around but thought we would run into the Goo Goo shop to get some chocolate souvenirs.  It was only a 20 minute walk from Marathon Village and the restaurant we wanted to have dinner at was right in between the two stops.  We decided to leave the car and walk.  This turned out to be a very bad idea.  Between getting lost, walking next to major roads on narrow sidewalks and in isolated areas in the dark...let's just say I am thankful that we made it back safe and sound!  We did make it to the Goo Goo shop, though, which sells Nashville's unique chocolate and bought a bunch to take home.   


And we found Central BBQ easily because we passed it on our way to the candy store.


We decided to eat dinner here because of a recommendation made by son Joe and DIL Nicole.  Central BBQ calls their barbeque slow smoked Memphis style.  Lucky for us, this Nashville location is their first restaurant outside of Memphis.   Soko ordered the meat platter and selected pulled pork, beef brisket and smoked turkey.  The chef came out to tell Soko that they ran out of the smoked turkey and asked if he could substitute pulled chicken.  When we were almost finished eating the chef came out again with a plate full of smoked turkey and apologized for not seeing it.   The service was as good as the food was.


I had the ribs sampler which was fall off the bone tender.  The fun part, for me, of the experience at Central BBQ was the condiment bar where you helped yourself to four kinds of barbeque sauce.  The choices were mustard, vinegar, mild or hot.  I got the mild which was a not too thick, sweet and slightly vinegary sauce which I really enjoyed.


By the time we finished eating, it was just starting to get dark.  By the time we got back to Marathon Village and our car, it was very dark out!  We were so relieved when we finally got back to our car and headed back to the campground.  


We had another fun day planned for our second full day in Nashville.  Our first stop would be for lunch.  Princes Hot Chicken was where Nashville's hot chicken originated.  There are a few restaurants that serve this staple of Nashville, but we decided on Princes, mostly because it was recommended by our son Joe and DIL Nicole but also because it is where hot chicken was born.


Justin, who has a couple of years of experience eating hot chicken, warned us to get one degree of heat lower than what we usually order when we get spicy chicken.  I usually get mild so there was no lower to go.  It was hot!  I needed to cool down my chicken with ranch dressing and then it was delicious.  The crunchy texture of the light coating on the chicken was amazing and the chicken was moist and cooked perfectly.


We were glad we had Cheekwood Estates and Gardens next on our list of things to do because we needed to work off the big lunch we just had and a walk around the gardens would help.


The timing of our trip to these gardens was not the best as there were renovations going on all over the park.  The highlight here was the Cheekwood Estates anyway.  We were able to get into these gardens with our pass but the $20 fee to get to see gardens and tour the gorgeous mansion was worth it and will be a bargain when the gardens are finished.


The art gallery on the top floor of the estates include paintings and other art collected by the Cheeks and art added to the collection since Cheekwood Estates opened to the public in 1960.


This was the fourth and final gardens we visited during our road trip.  We were glad to know that our Bok Tower Garden annual membership was well worth the $75.00 we paid for it.

After the gardens it was time to go to Broadway, to check out the bars, music and everything else we envisioned when we dreamed about going to Nashville one day.   The Walk of Fame Park was just a couple of blocks away from Broadway so we went there first.  It was fun looking for names we recognized on the stars that lined the street.


We were really surprised to see Peter Frampton's star here.  We had no idea that his genre of music was country.  Maybe we have been country music fans after all!


Broadway was pretty much what we pictured it would be.  Bar after bar of live music streaming out of almost every one of them.   We were surprised to hear music other than country though but would say if we were hearing not hearing country we were hearing rock.  


We enjoyed the music of a band as we passed by a bar and listened until we walked too far and their sound faded away but by then we were in front of the next bar listening to the band in that one.  We did have to stop in front of Kid Rock's bar when I heard their band belting out one of my favorite songs of all time, Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns and Roses.


Our last stop in Nashville was Nashville Underground where we were meeting Justin for a couple of drinks and snacks and more importantly to catch up with him. 


The stage behind Soko didn't stay empty too long and was soon occupied by a really good band.  We found out from Justin that the bands that play in the bars on Broadway don't get paid by the bars they play at but perform in hopes to get a following and get noticed.  Before we left the bar we made a donation to the band's tip jar.


It was great seeing Justin and we had a wonderful time in Nashville.  We definitely want to go back one day.   By the time we get back there Justin will be married to his beautiful fiance Kristen!


After enjoying great drinks, food and company, it was time to call it a night and get ready for our last stop, Jackson, Georgia.


We stayed at High Falls State Park hoping to see some high falls and we did.

(Please read more about this campground in our State Park Camping Guide coming soon!)

We were only staying one day here just because we needed to stop because we couldn't make it all the way from Nashville to Florida in one trip.  We didn't have any plans for our day here, except to relax, until I discovered that there were outlets only 10 minutes from the campground.

                    

If you ask me, this was a perfect way to end a perfect road trip.  If you ask Soko, he might have a different opinion!!

Monday, July 6, 2020

How To Easily Protect Your Property While Traveling



This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.

Do you bring half your household with you when you travel?  Well that's a exaggeration, unless you are traveling with an infant, then yes, you have a lot to pack.  I am sure, though, like us, you have lots of valuables with you when you travel.   Your phones and laptops are probably the first things you pack.  Then there is your tablet because you will want to read or play games on the plane or at the beach.   How about your a camera?  You will want to take pictures of the fun times you are having.

You might think that your valuables are safe in your carry-on that you make sure will never leave your side, but you never know what could happen.  My mom was once suckered into watching a stranger's bag at the airport.  She lost focus of her own bag when she became focused on the stranger's bag.  Her bag, with some of her most favorite and expensive jewelry, was then easily stolen from her.

How about the things you leave in your home, unattended, when you are traveling or at your vacation home?  We are snowbirds and are always leaving one home empty for months at a time.  It's not impossible, but makes more sense for us to have a television in each house so that we don't have to lug a huge 55 inch TV back and forth from house to house.  And our televisions are not the only items we leave behind that would be expensive for us to replace.  Of course, we leave someone in charge to "mind" our home when we are away but they are not in our home 24/7 so our homes are more vulnerable to break ins.

Maybe your property is not stolen.  Maybe you lost it.  How many times have you asked someone to call your phone so that the ringing will lead you to it?  But what happens if you leave your phone out of earshot like the young visitor from Japan that we had staying with us not too long ago.   She didn't have a choice but to buy a new phone to keep in touch with her family when she lost hers.  If there was a way for a Good Samaritan to get her phone back to her, she could have saved the huge expense of buying one.

So how can you easily protect your belongings?  Get yourself the MyPropertyID kit like we did. 

 

What is MyPropertyID and how does it work?  MyPropertyID gives you access to a private database where you record the make, model and serial number of your valuables.  This information is linked to an ID number located on the ID tag that you have attached to your valuable.  When your property is lost or stolen the Good Samaritan or the police can contact MyPropertyID by using the information on the tag.  MyPropertyID can then notify you that your property has been found without revealing any of your personal information to anyone.  There is no cost for storing your information here.


What is included in the MyPropertyID kit?  Besides for the private database, you will receive tamper resistant id tags for your property, warning signs to place in your home, car, etc. and a system for recovering lost or stolen items.


What do we love about the MyPropertyID kit?  First of all, I like organization in our lives and having a record of the serial numbers of our valuables in one easily accessible place makes me feel very comfortable and secure.  Secondly, because we are snowbirds, and frequent travelers, we are constantly leaving our valuables in an empty house.  Now those valuables are safely labeled and recorded which gives us peace of mind whenever we leave the house. Third, we own a travel trailer and go on lots of road trips with it.   Now that we have the My Property ID kit and have put up the warning signs on our trailer and car, we feel a lot less stressed about leaving our valuables in them.  In fact, we feel confident that the warning signs will make someone think twice about entering our vehicles.


How can you get your MyPropertyID kit?  Life of 2 Snowbirds would love for you to feel as safe and secure as we do.  Go to  https://mypropertyidregistry.com/buy and enter coupon code SNOWBIRDS50%OFF 
to get a Life of 2 Snowbirds readers discount of 50% off your kit.


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Monday, June 22, 2020

Hot Springs, AK - FL To NM Road Trip - Stop 7




Stop 7 of our Florida to New Mexico And Back road trip was Hot Springs, Arkansas.  We had an opportunity to visit one more national park as we headed back to Florida.  We were excited about seeing the hot springs at Hot Springs National Park.  But first we needed to find the campground we would be spending the next three nights in.  

We reserved a site at Lake Catherine State Park not only because of the special name of the lake, lol, but because it was only 12 miles from I-30, the highway that brought us all the way from Dallas to Arkansas and it was only 20 minutes away from Hot Springs National Park.

(Please read more about this campground in a post coming soon!)

The next thing we needed to do, after we checked into the campground and set up our trailer, was to find a laundromat.  We are finding out that most state park campgrounds don't have washer and dryers.  It was not a problem finding a place near the park to do our laundry though.  


After we worked together to get this chore done quickly, we headed back to the campground to have dinner and continue our 500 Rummy tournament.


The plan for our first full day in Arkansas was to visit Hot Springs National Park. We thought our GPS got confused when it brought us to a city street lined with parking meters and not to a parking lot in the middle of a forest. We parked our car, luckily we had a few quarters on us, and went to find the visitors center to get directions to the park.

On the way to the visitors center we passed the Hot Springs National Park sign. We were getting even more confused now!

The visitors center was located, just around the corner, on Bathhouse Row in what was the Fordyce Bathhouse. This bathhouse now houses the visitor center and has been turned into a museum. We took the self-guided tour of the museum since we were there. We walked through most of the 23 furnished rooms that gave us a good idea of what the bathhouse looked liked in it's heyday.


We bumped into a group on a tour with a guide and stayed in one room with them and learned about the workings of the bathhouse. The tour takes place daily.


Now that we had our map, we could find our way into the park. It was exactly where our GPS led us. The entrance was right where we parked our car and we missed it completely. On our walk back to the car, we passed the Hot Water Cascade at the Arlington Lawn, a park just past the bathhouses on Bathhouse Row. This is what the area looked like 200 years ago before there were bathhouses.


Before we ventured into the park we stopped at one of the jug fountains to fill our water bottles with fresh spring water.


We got back to the car with a little time to spare on the meter and headed to the park entrance. The park was small enough that we could see most of it on our drive along Hot Springs Mountain Trail Drive.


We made a pit stop to have lunch near the entrance of the Hot Springs Mountain Trail and after lunch we hiked the 1-1/2 mile trail.



One highlight of this hike was a gazebo perched high on a hill that offered a great view of the park and surrounding city.




We didn't see any springs on our hike because most of the 47 springs throughout the park are covered to prevent contamination.  We did see a small trickle of water here and there though.


After our hike we got back in the car and did the rest of the Hot Springs Mountain Drive. It took us around and then out of the park. We found a free parking lot in the middle of the town and then went to check out the rest of Bathhouse Row.


Just like the Fordyce Bathhouse, the Ozark Bathhouse has been renovated from it's former bathhouse state. It is now the Ozark Cultural Center. You can find a a collection of artist-in-resident artwork on display here and can also find the national park sticker if you are collecting them for your national park passport!


This bathhouse, the Buckstaff, is the only one that has remained opened, since they started being built in 1877, when the others all closed down by 1985 and is still an active bathhouse along with the Quapaw bathhouse.


Across the street from the bathhouses were lots of souvenir, specialty shops and restaurants.   We stopped in a few of the shops and found a couple of souvenirs to bring home.


On our walk around the town we noticed that Hot Springs was pretty proud of how popular they once were with Al Capone and other well-known gangsters.


But this town is definitely more proud to be the hometown of their most famous former resident and we found that out shortly after we got into Hot Springs!


After a fun day in Hot Springs, it was time to go back to our trailer for dinner and our 500 Rummy competition.  Did I mention that I was ahead in the tournament by almost double the wins of Soko?

We were not in any hurry to start our day 2 in Arkansas as we were not going too far.  In fact, our plan was to spend the day hiking on the trails here in Lake Catherine State Park.  So we spent most of the morning cooking enough breakfast to last us the rest of our trip.  It makes it easy on traveling days to put together egg sandwiches or pancake roll-ups to eat in the car when everything is made already and just needs to be put together and popped into the microwave.


Then I needed to pose for some pictures near the lake that shares my name!


We had a nice morning and after lunch set off to find the park's trails.  We walked about 10 minutes from our campsite to the trails.  There were three trails but our plan was to hike the Falls Branch Trail which went by The Falls Creek Waterfall.  It was 2 miles and the easiest of the three with the terrain being only steep and rugged in places unlike the other two that were described as Steep and Rugged!  


We really enjoyed this gorgeous trail.  There were so many beautiful little waterfalls throughout this entire trail.  I was loving this hike which was mostly easy but I was very glad to have my hiking stick with me as it got very tricky in spots.



And then we got to The Falls Creek Waterfall.  It wasn't the biggest waterfall we have ever seen but bigger than we expected.  We thought it was spectacular and amazing and we had it all to ourselves.  We spent a good amount of time enjoying the view and taking plenty of pictures.


At the end of the trail we were treated to a special surprise.  This rickety bridge swayed with every step we took but that made it so much fun to cross and we made it safely to the other side. 


We will definitely be highlighting this campground on our list of state park campgrounds and will probably  stop here on our next road trip out west even if we have to go out of our way a bit to get to it.

We had enough time, when we finished our hike, to shower and get ready for a Saturday evening mass at the Catholic Church of St. John The Baptist.  This was a pretty big church and a very popular mass.  It was packed with parishioners.  

The church was near the Oaklawn Race Track that we kept seeing ads for so we took a quick stop to see it and then called it a night.  We had time, when we got back to the campsite, to play one hand of cards, which I won!  Soko did catch up when we played later in our journey, but I ended up winning the tournament in the end.  It could have been because Soko let me win, though, because he knows I'm not a happy loser!!

Next stop, Nashville, TN!

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