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Cachuma Lake Campground – Santa Barbara, CA
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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.
Address

2225 Highway 154, Santa Barbara, CA 93105,

RV Sites

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.

Cabins

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.

Yurts
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.
Campground Amenities

Bathrooms and Hot Showers (coin-operated)
Playground
Lake Cruises
Nature Center
Fishing Pier
Hiking Trails
Marina (sells bait, tackle, fuel and licenses)
General Store & Gas Station
Dog Park
Boat Launch

 

See website for pricing and reservation information.

(805) 686-5054
Canyon de Chelly National Monument – Chinle, AZ
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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.

Directions

The Visitor Center is 3 miles (4.8 km) from Route 191 in Chinle, AZ.

http://www.nps.gov/cach/index.htm
928-674-5500
Cascade Springs Hike – Uinta National Forest, UT

A beautiful hike where there are a number of springs that bubble to the surface creating a series of pools and waterfalls. There are three easy loops to choose from. The Lower Loop takes you through cool forest and over bridges where you can look for brown trout in the crystal clear water. The Middle Loop crosses over a waterfall, then follows the tinkling streams towards the source. The Upper Loop takes you to the natural springs source where the water is seeping up through the ground.

This hike is on paved paths suitable for strollers. If you did all three loops it still would be under a mile. Plan an hour to hike and to soak in the beauty.

Directions: From I-15, take Orem 800 North Exit 272 and travel east on this road, Highway 52, until you reach the mouth of Provo Canyon. Make a left turn onto Provo Canyon Scenic Byway, Highway 189. Travel on this road past Sundance for approximately 7 miles onto the Alpine Loop Road, Highway 92. You can go to the website for more details.

Cliff Palace Tour – Mesa Verde National Park, CO

Tour Basics
Cliff Palace 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 tour is strenuous and involves climbing five, 8-10ft ladders, on a 100ft vertical climb. Total walking distance is about 1/4-mile round-trip. Is not suitable for young children.

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 Tips: Try to purchase your tickets up to two days before tour day as they sell out fast. On the tour, bring water and use sunscreen!

 

 

Dinosaur National Monument – Jenson, UT & Dinosaur, CO
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"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!

https://www.nps.gov/dino/index.htm
(435) 781-7700
Dreher Island State Park – Prosperity, SC
3677 State Park Road, Prosperity, SC
29127
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Located a half hour northwest of Columbia, SC, Dreher Island State Park is spectacular!   First, it's location cannot be beat.  The park consists of three islands that jut out into beautiful Lake Murray.  This provides excellent lake views just about any place you are hanging out.  There are two camping loops, both with many lakefront sites that can accommodate rigs up to 45 feet (trailers 30 feet).  Sites are roomy, scenic and the campground is well-maintained.  Lake Murray is one of the best-known largemouth and striped bass fishing destinations in the South.  Fish from shore. bring your boat from home or r rent one.  Boat delivery to your campsite is available from outside vendors.  Don't have an RV or tent?  Beautiful Island Villas are available for rent too.  Either way you decide to stay, there will be plenty of things to do or you can choose my favorite activity.... do nothing but relax!

Campground:

Ninety-Seven paved sites located on two loops may be used by both RVs and tents, while 15 sites are for tent campers only.  Each site has water and electrical hook-ups and a picnic table. Many sites accommodate RVs up to 45 feet, others up to 30 feet. There is a dump station available as well.   All sites are convenient to hot showers and restrooms.  Leashed pets are allowed!

Cabins:

Five lakeside villas include linens, basic cooking and eating utensils, heat, air conditioning, gas fire logs, microwave, satellite television, complimentary wi-fi, automatic coffee maker, screened porch, outside grill and picnic table.   A three-bedroom villa is user friendly for the physically impaired.

Pets are not permitted in villas or villa areas.

Please visit website for pricing, reservation information and more details.

Available Activities:

Bicycle Riding
Boat Launch & Ramp
Dump Stations (Camping & Marine)
Fuel (marine)
Hiking
Marina
Photography
Playground
Recreation Programs
Retail Store
Swimming

803-364-4152
Great Basin National Park – Baker, NV
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Hard to get to and hard to forget! Situated close to the border of Utah, this park rises from the desert floor to lush forest with lots of wildlife. The impressive Lehman Cave tour is a must. There is a Junior Ranger Program and the rangers offer other programs such as astronomy.

All Great Basin National Park Campsites are first come - first served. Reservations are not available for overnight camping. There is a choice of five campgrounds. We stayed at Wheeler Peak which is spectacular. To get to this campground, note that the road is closed to single vehicles or trailers in excess of 24 feet in length. The road is narrow, winding, and climbs an 8% grade in 12 miles.

Recommend the Alpine Lake Loop Trail (2.7 miles) which connects to the Bristlecone Trail that takes you to an ancient bristlecone pine grove.

Please note that having a pet with you will limit your activities in Great Basin National Park. Kennel services are not available in or around the park.

http://www.nps.gov/grba/index.htm
Hunting Island State Park – St. Helena, SC
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Hunting Island State Park is said to be the most popular of all the South Carolina State Parks. It is easy to see why. This semi-tropical barrier island offers 5 miles of beautiful sandy beach perfect for swimming, shore-fishing, sand castle building and long walks. You will see the most glorious sunrises from this stretch of beach so get up early!

Other activities available are the fishing and crabbing pier (they even have a loaner tackle program for free), hiking through maritime forests and along marshes, and relaxing in the campground or their fully-furnished cabin. The best activity is to climb up the only lighthouse in South Carolina that is open to the public. It's 167 steps to a grand view of the area!

Campground

Offers 178 standard sites that offer water and electric hook-ups. There are two dump-stations close by. There are restroom and shower buildings throughout the park. There is also a playground and multiple paths to the beach. You can even reach a hiking trail from within the campground. Pets are allowed on the beach and in the campground.

Ocean-backing sites: 39, 48, 47, 46, 45

Cabin

There is only one fully-furnished cabin for rent. Pets are not allowed in the cabin area.

(843) 838-2011
Indian Cove Campground – Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Indian Cove Campground lies among steep rock formations and open sandy desert.  Most sites are "tent only" but there are a handful of RV sites.  Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance.

Address

7299 Indian Cove Road, Twentynine Palms  CA  92277

RV Sites

There are only 25 RV sites in the park with a maximum vehicle length of 35'

Best sites: 002, 003, 021, 022, and 088 for max length 35' and oo6 (max 30')

Best sites if you are going with friends: Sites 043 and 044 are side by side which is perfect with camping with friends.  There is a 25' limit here.

Campground Notes:

There is no access into the main portion of the park from the campground except by hiking trails; entry at other entry points requires a park entrance fee separate from the campground fee.
No hook-ups
Pit bathrooms
Pets OK (but prohibited on trails)
Water is only available at Ranger Station at campground entrance
Hiking trails within campground
Great stargazing!

Pricing

See website for current pricing

Joshua Tree National Park – Twentynine Palms, CA
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"Joshua Tree National Park is immense, nearly 800,000 acres, and infinitely variable. It can seem unwelcoming, even brutal during the heat of summer when, in fact, it is delicate and extremely fragile. This is a land shaped by strong winds, sudden torrents of rain, and climatic extremes. Rainfall is sparse and unpredictable. Streambeds are usually dry and waterholes are few. Viewed in summer, this land may appear defeated and dead, but within this parched environment are intricate living systems waiting for the opportune moment to reproduce. The individuals, both plant and animal, that inhabit the park are not individualists. They depend on their entire ecosystem for survival." National Park Service Website

You really have to visit Joshua Tree National Park to truly appreciate its beauty.  The iconic Joshua Trees are everywhere, some have been around for a very long time.  You can tell by their multiple limbs casting strange shadows toward the end of the day.

There are many activities to partake here in this desert landscape including: *Backcountry Roads, Geology Motor Tour, Hiking, Nature Walks, Photography, Ranger & Junior Ranger programs, Rock Climbing and Stargazing.

We have done one hike in the park which is called Lost Palms Oasis which was a 7.3 mile out and back hike.  It is not recommended for small ones.   We have mostly down the Nature Walks.  Our favorites are:

Barker Dam, Cholla Cactus Garden (a must), Cottonwood Springs, Oasis of Mara, and Skull Rock.

Camping

There are 9 different campgrounds offering about 500 developed campsites.  Most campgrounds in Joshua Tree are first-come, first-served, throughout the year. Reservations are available for Black Rock and Indian Cove campgrounds during the busy season from October through May.

Bring water with you!! Water is available at only a few locations around the edges of the park:

Black Rock Campground
Cottonwood Campground
Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms
Indian Cove Ranger Station (no RV water access)
West Entrance (no RV water access)

Plan ahead and bring at least two gallons of water per person, per day for your trip to Joshua Tree.

There are no hookups for RVs at any campground in Joshua Tree. Black Rock and Cottonwood Campgrounds have RV-accessible potable water and dump stations. At Hidden Valley and White Tank Campgrounds, RVs and trailers may not exceed a combined maximum length of 25 feet.

https://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm
(760) 367-5500

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