Image via Flickr/H. Micheal Miley



Go to Space Camp. Rocket scientist Dr. Wernher von Braun wanted a place to inspire kids about space travel, and the result was Space Camp, where kids participate in simulated missions, experience what gravity feels like on the moon, and spin themselves silly on the multi-axis trainer.



Go dogsledding. Whether you want to see the northern lights, explore Denali National Park or visit a glacier, get there by dogsled. The cold air in your face as you glide across the snow…there’s nothing else like it. Mush!



Camp out in the Grand Canyon. But don’t stare at it for five minutes and then wonder, “Now what?” There are plenty of wonders waiting to be discovered inside the canyon. Climb down and explore, then spend the night under the stars at Mather Campground.



Dig for diamonds. Visit Crater of Diamonds State Park to find your own gemstones. It’s the only diamond-producing site in the world that is open to the public, so start digging!




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Part of the romance of camping is the chance to sleep under the stars. But due to the ever-growing light pollution in this country, campgrounds with really stellar stargazing are rare. On average, city residents can only see a handful of stars. People living in really rural areas may be able to see a couple thousand. But there are a few spots left in the country where you’ll be able to see up to 10,000 stars (and maybe even some planets!) with just the naked eye. It can hardly be surprising that the best sites can be found within our national parks, where civilization is kept at bay. One of best ways to choose a stargazing destination is to find a Dark Sky Park. Parks can be certified a Dark Sky Park on a national and international level. With that in mind, here are a few of the best spots in the US to see the stars:


Pennsylvania’s Cherry Springs State Park


Image Courtesy here


This Pennsylvania State Park is the darkest and most remote spot east of the Mississippi. The high elevation and the fact that the viewing field is on a plateau means that you’ll have a 360-degree view of the skies around you– perfect for stellar stargazing! It was the first park to be certified as Dark Sky in the US and the second in the world. On a clear night, you’ll be able to see ten thousand stars and have a vivid view of the Milky Way. There are easily accessible viewing areas if you only want to visit for a few hours, or you could spend the night in one of the park’s campsites. One of the most popular events is the Black Forest Star Party, which attracts hundreds of astronomers every year.


California’s Death Valley National Park


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National Parks such as YellowstoneYosemite, or the Grand Canyon are rightfully some of the most famous destinations in the U.S. They’re iconic and beautiful, and deserving of their formidable reputations. But there are more than 400 parks, preserves, reserves, seashores and other units under the protection of the National Park System. Iconic park sights such as Old Faithful are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the natural beauty of the United States. Here are eight other national parks you don’t want to miss.
Great Basin National Park, Nevada


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Best known as home to the stunning Lehman Caves, Great Basin National Park is a glacier-carved natural wonder. Take the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive 10,000 feet up, then hike to the summit to see the only glacier in Nevada, the Wheeler Peak Glacier​. While you’re there, be sure to examine the bristlecone pines, some of the world’s oldest trees, the last remnants of a Pleistocene forest… some of the trees are 3,000 years old, before Rome was even established as a city! Once you’ve admired the views, head underground to see Lehman Caves, a marble cavern ornately decorated with cave formations and 1.5 miles of underground passages. The park averages about 80,000 visitors a year and is a must-visit on a southwest road trip.


Congaree National Park, South Carolina


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Carole with her snowbird parents!


At the age of 6 weeks Carole Steinberg went on her first camping trip. Her British parents took her tent camping in Wales and she has been camping ever since. She and her younger sister Jeanette lived an outdoor life camping all over England and Wales with their parents. When Carole was seven the family boarded the Queen Mary and, landing in northeast Pennsylvania, continued their active outdoor life there. Carole became a US citizen when she was 16.  When Carole married a military man and set out to make a life, camping was in the cards. Together she and her husband, Eric, moved wherever the next deployment took them. They lived in the Azores and Japan and camped there with their sons. Once stateside again they moved every few years. Raising their two boys and a foster son who became their own, they all enjoyed the outdoor life.


Carole in her Sprinter before it went in for customization.

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It’s safe to say that we love our RV. R’Velle has become a beloved member of our family, often confusing others when we refer to the RV as ‘she’.

Though we don’t RV full time, we travel with her as much as possible, relying on her to get us to and from our pleasure trips while also offering a home away from home.

And while I think of R’Velle as our vacation home, I hadn’t really expected to use her as our actual home for an extended period. And I definitely didn’t think about this situation popping up in the middle of our fall trip to Florida, where R’Velle winters in the warm temps while we return to the cold Iowa plains.

A Trip to Florida Becomes a Trip to Texas


We were just a day and a half into our 4 day trip. Fun stops had been made at Lamberts Café in Ozark, Missouri- where R’Velle met another 4 Winds bunkhouse in the parking lot.


RVelle meets another 4 Winds Type C Bunkhouse in the parking lot at Lamberts Cafe in Ozark MO.


We followed that with a visit to Mansfield and tour of the homes of our favorite Pioneer author, Laura Ingalls Wilder.


The two homes of Laura Ingalls Wilder at Rocky Ridge Farm near Mansfield Missouri.

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