Want to get a different perspective of the New Bern area? Book a sailing with Captain Paul on the Adventure Ship Bolero! Captain Paul has over 35 years of sailing expertise and is a wonderful source of information and history of the area. He offers 1 1/2 hour day and sunset cruises on the Neuse River (we did a sunset cruise and it was lovely).
Captain Paul is wonderful with kids and before they even get on his ship, he gives them a safety speech. While on the water, he will let them have a turn at the helm and tells great pirate stories. It will be a kid-favorite activity!
Pricing & Hours
Check out the website for current pricing and tour hours.
Amicalola Falls is the tallest waterfall in the Southeast. Water cascades down 729 feet to the bottom of the falls where visitors get a magnificent view. There are other ways to see the falls including an accessible pathway (great for strollers), Falls Overlook or do a complete circuitous hike from the Visitors Center to see the many facets of the falls. There is a Visitor Center that offers maps, live animals, Appalachian Trail display and a gift shop. There is a mountain-top lodge which is home to Maple Restaurant, offering fantastic views and meals including a Sunday brunch buffet.
There are 24 wooded campsites accommodating RV’s. At the top of a 25% incline, you will find each site is an easy pull-in or back-in site with water, power, grill and fire ring. There is a comfort station laundry facilities, restrooms and clean showers.
Choose from 14 cabins available in two locations: Wooded Mountain Top or Creek Side Below the Falls. Cabins are equipped with a full kitchen, heating and air conditioning, decks, fireplaces and satellite TV, and are available in 1, 2, or 3 bedroom arrangements. There are two pet-friendly cabins available.
NOTE: Check in services for campsites, cabins and picnic shelters are located at the Lodge AND the road to the campground is on a 25% incline.
Hiking - 12 miles of trails & access to Appalachian Trail
Balcony House may only be accessed by guided tour. Cliff dwelling tours are offered from April 1 to November 1st. Park rangers lead all tours, explaining the history of the Ancient Puebloan people and the cliff dwellings.
This one-hour, ranger-guided tour involves climbing a 32 ft. ladder, crawling through a 12ft-long tunnel, and climbing up a 60ft open rock face with two 10ft ladders to exit the site. Not suitable for young children.
See website for current pricing.
Where to buy tickets: Colorado Welcome Center (I recommend here), Mesa Verde Visitor Research Center (right outside park), Morefield Ranger Station, and Chapin Mesa Archeological Center.
Tour Tip: Purchase tickets up to two days before tour day as tours tend to sell out in peak seasons. Bring sunscreen and water on your tour.
Bodie State Historic Park is truly a gem! If you are in Eastern California, you MUST go! Bodie is a genuine California gold-mining town and at one time, had a population of nearly 10,000 people. This boom town was quickly abandoned when the gold ran out leaving stores with goods still on shelves, homes with furniture and the school house still with writing on the chalkboard. The remains of this town have been preserved in their state of "arrested decay." It was seriously one of my most favorite places I have ever visited in my life.
There is no camping opportunities in the park. The road into Bodie is only paved part of the way, the rest is dirt and depending of the season, can be rutted. It is well worth the drive and once there, parking is ample. Don't forget to take the short walk to the town cemetery. It completes the picture of how hard life must have been in this remote town.
Set amidst acres of wilderness flanked by the picturesque Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains, lies glimmering Cachuma Lake. Here you will find practically everything you need for a relaxing getaway in the great outdoors. Mild temperatures, typically sunny skies, and celebrated fishing conditions.
Note: There is no swimming of any kind in the lake.
Located off scenic Highway 154 in the Santa Ynez Valley, Cachuma Lake is midway between Santa Barbara and the Danish Community of Solvang.
2225 Highway 154, Santa Barbara, CA 93105,
Cachuma Lake campground offers more than 400 campsites with 100 full electrical, water, and sewer hookup sites, and 30 electrical and water with no sewer (there is a dump station on-site). There are restrooms and coin operated showers available. There is a 2-night minimum stay for weekends (Friday and Saturday), and a 3-night minimum stay for holiday weekends.
There are four cabins available. Three six sleepers and one four sleeper (ADA). The three 6 sleeper cabins are located near the marina and offer views of the lake. These cabins are all equipped with electricity, full bathrooms, kitchenettes, living rooms, private porches, picnic tables and fire pits. Simply pack your sleeping bags/bedding, pillows, towels/toiletries and groceries.
There are 7 yurts (cross between a tent and tepee) which feature platform beds to sleep up to 6. There is a lockable door, lighting, heating and screened windows in the wood and fabric siding. Yurts are set on a bluff with access to the lake shore. There is a 2-night minimum stay for weekends (Friday and Saturday), and a 3-night minimum stay for holiday weekends.
Bathrooms and Hot Showers (coin-operated)
Marina (sells bait, tackle, fuel and licenses)
General Store & Gas Station
See website for pricing and reservation information.
Canyon de Chelly (d'SHAY) is a labyrinth of canyons where red rock walls range in height from 30' to over 1,000'. On the canyon floor there are streams, cottonwoods and small farms. It is a sacred place, inhabited for nearly 5,000 years. It's silence beckons you to stop and enjoy it's beauty.
The National Monument is comprised of two scenic drives: North Rim (good for morning photos and South Rim (good for afternoon photos). There are overlooks along both roads giving the visitor different perspectives and views. Look for ruins of civilizations past built within the eroded walls.
There is only one hike that is open to visitors without a guide: White House Ruin. It is a 2.5 mile round-trip hike. Allow two hours as you will be descending 600 feet to the canyon floor. Bring sunscreen, hat, and plenty of water.
NOTE: The best way to really appreciate the beauty of this place is to take a Navajo-guided tour. We were going to do this but honestly, I didn't think my kids were old enough to appreciate and understand the history and stories of the guide. After research, I had wanted to choose Beauty Way Jeep Tours, a family run operation that has been around for 60 years. If you are interested in a guided tour, please check out their website at: http://canyondechellybeautywayjeeptours.com/
Year round park hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
**Note: Navajo Nation observes Mountain DAYLIGHT SAVING Time from March through the end of October while the rest of Arizona observes Mountain STANDARD Time. When it is 1 p.m. in Flagstaff, Arizona it is 2 p.m. at Hubbell Trading Post.**
There is no entrance fee.
The Visitor Center is 3 miles (4.8 km) from Route 191 in Chinle, AZ.
Carolina Beach, NC
Carolina Beach State Park is known for its carnivorous plants. The Flytrap Trail is the most popular and very close to the campground. There is a marina located within the park where there is a boat launch and kayak/paddleboard/bicycle rentals.
This NC State Park does not have an admission fee!
Carolina Beach State Park offers 70 tent/trailer campsites and 9 RV/trailer campsites. This is pretty much dry camping as there is no water hook-ups and although there are a few sites that offer electrical, they are hard to come by. Summers (as we can attest) can be downright hot so if you can't secure an electrical site, you may want to look elsewhere.
Remember, possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.
The park also has four (4) camper cabins located in the family campground (one is ADA). These camping cabins sleep six (6) in two rooms with a double bed and two sets of bunk beds. Each cabin has electrical receptacles and a heating and air-conditioning unit. Outside cabin amenities include a picnic table, charcoal grill and a fire ring. Drinking water and restrooms with hot showers are located nearby.
Boat Launch Ramp
Boaters Lounge Area (with free wifi)
Located about 45-minutes from Huntsville, AL, this is a "must" if you are in the Northern Alabama area. Cathedral Caverns holds a few world records including one for its massive natural entrance. Take a tour of this immense cave and view "Goliath," a massive column that also holds a worlds record. Visit the beautiful stalagmite forest and the "Frozen Waterfall" formation. Paved trail is great for strollers or wheelchairs. Golf-cart rides are available for those in need.
This campground is limited to only 13 electric/water sites only. Contact park for any size restrictions or current conditions.
Gemstone Mining (fee)
This is a first-come, first serve basis campground. The park offers two designated campgrounds: Elk Flat Campground and the Lake View Campground (close to the lake). All sites are level and include a fire pit with grill (there was a fire ban when we were there), table and parking. There are no hook-ups but does offer flush toilets and showers.
Activities here include: excellent trout fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, camping and picnicking.
"Dinosaur National Monument contains famous fossil finds, dramatic river canyons, intriguing petroglyphs, and endless opportunities for adventure." We visited the Utah side of the park which is the only side that offers dinosaur fossils.
To Do: There is an easy driving tour called Tour of Tilted Rocks that winds through beautiful desert landscapes to a few stops that are easy accessible without a lot of effort. A couple of the best stops are to view some of the Fremont people petroglyphs, and the other is at the Josie Bassett Morris Homestead (one heck of a lady for her day).
The highlight of the park is the Quarry Exhibition Hall where you can view the wall of approximately 1,500 dinosaur bones! There are remains of different dinosaur species such as: Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Diplodicus, and Stegosaurus to name a few. There are places where you are encouraged to touch real 149 million year old dinosaur fossils! From here, we went on a Ranger-led walk along the Fossil Discovery Trail where the kids got to try their hand at discovering fossils since in the rocks!
Camping: There are six campgrounds located around the monument with three on the Utah side and another three on the Colorado side. We choose the Green River campground which was close to the river and the shortest distance to the Dinosaur Quarry. There was no hook-ups or showers but there was flush toilets. Not all campgrounds accommodate RV's so check their website for more information.
There is a Junior Ranger program so don't miss out!