Explore the guide to find some of the best in April camping across America
But where should you park your RV? With so many options out there you may be overwhelmed with the number of locales calling your name.
Here are 10 of the top locations to explore in April. RVing with Rex selected this list of campgrounds and RV resorts from parks personally visited.
Planning an RV trip for a different time of year? Check out my monthly RV park recommendations for the best places to camp in February and March. Also, check out my recommendations from April 2022 and May 2022.
Barnyard RV Park, Lexington, South Carolina
Barnyard RV Park offers 129 level and grassy sites with paved interior roads. All sites include water, sewer, electric (30 and 50 amp), and cable TV. Most sites are pull-through and can accommodate large units including a tow car. Amenities include bath and laundry facilities, Wi-Fi available at site, and a dog park. Barnyard RV Park is located 8 miles from downtown Columbia. From Interstate 20, take Exit 111 west on US-1 to the park. On weekends, experience Southern hospitality at the huge Barnyard Flea Market. The RV Park is located behind the Flea Market.
RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino and Resort, Corning, California
The RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino is an easy-on, easy-off (I-5; Exit 628) 96-space RV park with long pull-through sites (up to 75 feet in length) with 30/50 amp-electric service, water, and sewer conveniently located. All spaces are pull-through. Wi-Fi access is available over most of the park. The RV Park is within an easy walk of the Casino and golf course. Laundry facilities are available nearby at the Traveler’s Clubhouse. The site is safe and secure with the 24-hour patrol.
Two Rivers Landing RV Resort, Sevierville, Tennessee
Two Rivers Landing RV Resort is a luxury RV Resort nestled along the banks of the beautiful French Broad River. A 5-star resort with 25 riverfronts (drive-in sites) and 30 river views (back-in sites), Two Rivers Landing offers 30/50-amp electric service, water, sewer, and cable TV conveniently located centrally. Interior roads are paved; individual sites are concrete, 70 feet in length, and 22 feet wide. All sites are surrounded by beautiful landscaping. Our drive-in site faced the river. Wi-Fi worked well. A beautiful sunset looking out our front window. This is resort living at its best.
Portland Fairview RV Park, Portland, Oregon
This park is easy on, easy off, and on our route east on I-84 (Exit 14); also convenient for RVers continuing north on I-5 to Seattle and beyond. Although our pull-through site is just shy of 50 feet (requiring unhooking at the site) there are about 10 pull-through sites 60+ feet where unhooking is not required. 30/50-amp electric service, water, sewer, and cable TV are centrally located but some distance apart.
Lockhart State Park, Texas
Barbecue! The state legislature designated the city of Lockhart as the “Barbecue Capital of Texas” in 1999. Three miles southeast of Lockhart, Lockhart State Park offers 10 sites with water and electricity in the Clear Fork Camping Area and 10 full-hookup sites that will accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in the Fairway View Camping Area. Play golf at the nine-hole golf course built by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps over 80 years ago.
Pechanga RV Resort, Temecula, California
Award-winning wineries and scenic hiking and biking trails await you at Pechanga Casino. The newly expanded Pechanga RV Resort is a perfect destination to enjoy all the Temecula Valley has to offer. Providing a combination of scenic beauty and access to world-class dining, gaming, spa facilities, and golf, the Pechanga RV Resort offers 210 spacious sites that easily accommodate big rigs. The RV Resort welcomes you with a clubhouse, pool, ample picnic areas, and renovated dog park featuring soft eco-friendly turf with views of the Journey at Pechanga golf course and the surrounding hills. Pechanga RV Resort includes 22 buddy sites that allow friends to park next to each other and share a gazebo and picnic tables. Presidential sites bring you privacy with estate-style fencing, along with an oversized picnic area with outdoor pergolas and propane BBQs. And every site is Internet friendly with wireless access available.
Harvest Moon RV Park, Adairsville, Georgia
Easy-on, easy-off (Interstate 77, Exit 306) in Historic Adairsville, Harvest Moon RV Park is big-rig friendly with newer sites at the front of the park added in 2005. Our pull-through site was in the 85-90 foot range. 50/30-amp electric service, water, sewer, and cable TV are centrally located; a second sewer connection is towards the rear of the site. Interior roads and individual sites are gravel. For overnighters, no need to disconnect the toad/tow here. Wi-Fi works well and no problem locating the satellite.
Butterfield RV Resort and Observatory, Benson, Arizona
A 5-star park, Butterfield RV Resort and Observatory is a 55+ park with pull-through and back-in sites. Our back-in site (#120) is 55 feet in length and over 30 feet in width. 50/30-amp electric service, water, sewer, and cable TV are located near the rear of the site. The park is clean and well maintained. Interior roads are asphalt; back-in sites are gravel with pull-through sites asphalt. The park is easy-on easy-off (I-10 at Exit 304, south one-half mile on Ocotillo Avenue) and is conveniently located immediately behind Safeway and in close proximity to downtown. The highest rated park in Benson we’re pleased with Butterfield and would return.
Sunny Acres RV Park, Las Cruces, New Mexico
A 12-acre park, Sunny Acres RV Park offers big sites and lots of space in the heart of Las Cruces. The park is away from interstate noise with access to I-10, I-25, and US-70. Amenities include large 40-foot wide sites, wide gravel streets throughout the park, full hookups with 30 or 50-amp electric service, cable TV, free high-speed Internet, laundry facilities, and private restrooms and showers.
Grand Canyon Railway RV Park, Williams, Arizona
Set in the mountain community of Williams—Gateway to the Grand Canyon—the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park is the ideal place to unwind and relax. The park has three types of RV spaces: select from pull-through, buddy spaces, or back-in sites. All spaces are 50-amp and large enough for big rigs. Each space comes with high definition digital TV provided by DirecTV, wireless Internet, and access to the indoor swimming pool and hot tub at the adjacent Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. The property has coin-operated laundry machines and a common picnic area with gas grills and a fire pit. Take the historic train from Williams into Grand Canyon National Park. Adjacent to the historic train depot, Grand Canyon Railway RV Park is just two blocks away from Route 66 and downtown Williams.
Columbia Riverfront RV Park, Woodland, Washington
Developed in 2006 by the present owners who are former RVers, Columbia Riverfront RV Park is a 5-star resort. A quiet getaway on ten acres of beautifully maintained property right on the sandy beach of the Columbia River, Columbia Riverfront is big-rig friendly. With a view of the Columbia River out our windshield, our pull-in site was 45 feet in length with room for the toad. Utilities including 50/30/20-amp electric service, water, sewer, and cable are centrally located. Pull-through sites in the 85-95 foot range are also available. Wi-Fi works well. Interior roads are paved and sites are crushed gravel and level. Columbia Riverfront is located 22 miles north of Portland, Oregon, in Woodland off I-5 (Exit 22); west 3.25 miles on Dike Access and Dike roads.
Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.
Experience many of Arizona’s unique attractions with a road trip in Pinal County, the heart of Southern Arizona, between Phoenix and Tucson
At a sprawling 5,374 square miles, Pinal County has two distinct geographical regions. The eastern portion is mountainous with breathtaking views at elevations up to 6,000 feet while the western portion is primarily low valleys filled with gorgeous desert vegetation. You can find it all here in the heart of the desert.
You’re in Arizona, so slip into the saddle for a horseback riding adventure at Apache Junction’s Superstitions O.K. Corral Stables.
Then head up the Apache Trail (SR-88) into the Superstition Mountains to Goldfield Ghost Town, an 1890s gold mining town and Historic Goldfield Museum. Entrance is free with fees for some attractions including a zipline, narrow gauge railroad, mine tours, and gold panning with free gunfight shows.
The Superstition Mountain Museum is situated on a scenic 15-acre site just beneath the west end of Superstition Mountain. On the grounds is a restored 20-stamp ore mill, two historic buildings salvaged from Apacheland Movie Ranch, a labelled nature trail, Boot Hill, and an extensive model railroad display. The museum building itself boasts an exhibit gallery, a gift shop, and a bookstore.
Named after the fabled lost gold mine, Lost Dutchman State Park is located nearby. Several trails lead from the park into the Superstition Wilderness and surrounding Tonto National Forest. Take a stroll along the Native Plant Trail or hike the challenging Siphon Draw Trail to the top of the Flatiron.
The campground has 135 sites and three group camping areas: 68 sites with electric (50/30/20 amp service) and water and the remainder non-hookup sites on paved roads for tents or RVs. Every site has a picnic table and a fire pit with an adjustable grill gate. There are no size restrictions on RVs.
The San Tan Mountain Regional Park is a 10,000 acre rural/suburban park with picnicking and a well-equipped visitor center. The park ranges in elevation from about 1,400 feet to over 2,500 feet. The Park has over 20 miles of non-motorized trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
If you are looking for an easy, relatively short hike the Moonlight Trail is the perfect choice as it provides a scenic and rather mild hike for all to enjoy. The Moonlight Trail begins at the San Tan Trailhead near the Visitor Center and guides you along the base of a mountain located in the central valley of the park and connects to the San Tan Trail at the west end.
If you are looking for a longer more difficult hike try the 6.4-mile San Tan Trail. The trail starts at the San Tan Trailhead and encompasses a large portion of the park and intersects with other trails at various points. Enjoy scenic mountain views at the south end of the park near Rock Peak and the Malpais Hills or hike to the central valley of the park to explore its unique beauty.
Look for petroglyphs and Sonoran plants and animals from javelinas to Gila monsters. Special events include stargazing with provided telescopes.
Coolidge is home to the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, a true Arizona treasure. The four-story building was built in about 1350 by the Hohokam Indians and named Casa Grande (Big House) by Spanish Missionary Father Eusebio Kino in 1694.
Archeologists have discovered evidence that the ancestral Sonoran Desert people who built the Casa Grande also developed wide-scale irrigation farming and extensive trade connections which lasted over a thousand years until about 1450.
This was the first historic site to receive protected status by the United States Government in 1892.
The Museum of Casa Grande provides a detailed look at the area’s heritage. Explore the early days of Arizona with artifacts and exhibits from pre-history to modern day. Many special programs and events are scheduled throughout the year.
Don’t miss Skydive Arizona in Eloy, the world’s largest parachuting resort and frequent host of National and World Skydiving Championships! Check out the famous Bent Prop Saloon & Cookery.
The Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch in Picacho fills the need for something different and unusual on this road trip. The family-owned ostrich ranch and petting zoo has been featured on numerous television shows. There are many different critters to feed with an amusement park, outdoor recreational activities, and affordable family fun for all ages.
Discover the world in a 3.14-acre laboratory with active research systems spanning from ocean to desert environments at Biosphere 2 in Oracle now a University of Arizona Earth-Science research facility. Built to study living in an artificial environment, the 7.2 million cubic foot enclosed ecological system is the largest closed system ever built. Time-Life Books calls it “one of the 50 must-see wonders of the world.”
The Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior is Arizona’s largest and oldest botanical garden with 4.75 miles of trails. With over 3,900 plant species from around the world the riparian area attracts Sonoran Desert wildlife and over 270 migrating bird species.
Enjoy 4.7 miles of trails throughout the arboretum in gardens representing 11 different regions of the world. The trails provide many opportunities to stop and take beautiful landscape, fauna, and flora photos.
As an Audubon Important Bird Area, Boyce Thompson Arboretum and the adjacent Arnett and Queen Creeks are known for spectacular birding opportunities. Some 275 different species have been sighted. Guided bird walks take place between October and May.
The trip across Arizona is just one oasis after another. You can just throw anything out and it will grow there.
If you’re dreaming of where to travel to experience it all, here are my picks for the best places to RV in April
April, dressed in all his trim, hath put a spirit of youth in everything.
From time immemorial, spring’s awakening has signaled to humanity the promise of new beginnings. In William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 98, a love poem published in 1609, the prolific poet and playwright personifies the glorious month of April as the herald of youth, vitality, and hope. For the Bard, the coming of spring—the twittering birds, ambrosial flowers, and long-awaited sunny skies—brought with it all the delights of a fresh start.
We have made it to the fourth month of the year, the one we kick off by fooling acquaintances for sport. A warning to my readers: Watch out for tricksters in the RV travel realm.
Planning an RV trip for a different time of year? Check out my monthly travel recommendations for the best places to travel in February and March. Also, check out my recommendations from April 2022 and May 2022.
1. Earth’s greatest geological showcase
Go into the great wide open. I’m talking about the Grand Canyon. The weather’s warmer, but not too hot, and the bugs—and masses of tourists—have yet to make an appearance. I call that the perfect Grand Canyon weather. Take a trip this spring to one of the seven natural wonders of the world to finally see the famous gaping red rock chasm in person. At 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and one mile deep, it’s bigger than the state of Rhode Island and quite a bit more dramatic.
‘But hey,’ you say, ‘that thing’s pretty big. I wouldn’t know where to begin.’ Fear not, I’ve got a comprehensive guide from how to get around, how to snag the Grand Canyon National Park Pass, where to camp, and much more. Even the best cities to use as base camp. Choose Sedona two hours away and soak in the energy of the vortexes while making it a red rock-themed vacation. But if you’re more inclined to park your RV and ride the rails, I’ve got you covered there too.
All this, plus gorgeous spring weather?
2. Visit an often overlooked National Park
From one of the country’s most-visited national parks the Grand Canyon to one often overlooked. You might not even know it’s there: Theodore Roosevelt National Park appears as if out of nowhere where the plains meet the badlands, often inaccessible in the winter due to weather and unpredictable in the summer thanks to rainstorms. So, spring or early fall is your best bet. Broken into three parts: North, South, and Elkhorn Ranch come for the cabin where Roosevelt once lived and stay for the roaming bison and/, the Petrified Forest Loop.
And make sure you stop by Medora, the small Western town right outside the park which houses the visitor center. Every summer it produces a full-on open-air Broadway-style musical telling the history of Medora and the life of Theodore Roosevelt. But unlike Broadway, this one comes with deep fried things on sticks. This year the play runs from June 8 to September 10; tickets go on sale April 26.
3. Pick a perfect love at a tulip festival
Did you know tulips mean perfect love? The symbolism is derived from a Persian tale of deep romance. The name tulip is also derived from the Persian word for turban—because they kind of look like turbans. And all around the country there are festivals in their turban-esque honor.
In Washington, the Dutch have been planting tulips for over a century and the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival lasts all April with art shows, photo contests, brewery specials, petting zoos, cook-offs, and much more. Nearby in Woodburn, Oregon, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm runs through May 1 and includes tractor rides, wooden shoemaking demonstrations, hot air balloon rides, and farm wine tours.
Throughout the last 92 years, millions of people have gathered to enjoy Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan (Don’t fly to Holland, drive your RV to Holland!). The festival is an eight-day experience like none other with over six million tulips blooming throughout the city and area attractions. Tulip Time has been heralded as the nation’s Best Flower Festival, America’s Best Small Town Festival, and even the 2017 – 2018 Tulip Festival of the Year!
4. Red rock radiance in Sedona
Red Rock State Park, a Sedona-adjacent conservation park gives visitors a deeper look into the cultural and natural history of this popular area. Before you set out to explore the Oak Creek riparian zone or chase panoramic views from the trails stop by Red Rock’s Miller Visitor Center to gain a comprehensive understanding of the early human inhabitants of the area and the diverse birds and wildlife that call this park home. Hands-on exhibits are based on the theme of localized plant communities and help visitors understand the area before experiencing it.
You’ll find breathtaking trail experiences here that lead to popular iconic views of Sedona’s famous rust-covered peaks. The family-friendly trail network that meanders through Red Rock State Park will inspire thought and discussion about the world around you. This is a great park for anyone looking to gain first-hand cultural and natural knowledge through beautiful outdoor experiences.
5. Frogs love rain, but why does Rayne love frogs?
Out on the prairie in the heart of Acadiana sits the tiny old railroad town of Rayne. The little Cajun town has a population of about 8,000 as well as a big obsession with frogs.
Rayne loves frogs. Murals depicting the little amphibians are scattered throughout town from the interstate to the south side. Frogs grace the city’s official stationary and hang stylistically from the street lamps. Several businesses bear Frog City in their official names and little green figurines adorn coffee tables and bookshelves throughout the town. There is even an annually celebrated Frog Festival (51st annual; May 11-13, 2023).
Why does this love affair with the slimy, swamp-dwelling denizens exist?
This Louisiana town was once famous worldwide for supplying frogs to gourmet restaurants across the United States and even to the European continent. That bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana in scientific terms and ouaouaron in Cajun terms) inhabit the area around Rayne is no surprise since the amphibians thrive in bayous, rice fields, swamps, and ponds. What is surprising is that the Louisiana town was once famous worldwide for supplying frogs to gourmet restaurants across the United States and even to the European continent.
It seems natural that this bullfrog trade was initiated by Frenchmen and carried on by Acadians, two groups noted for their fondness for the tasty frog legs.
6. Born of Fire
Some 23 million years ago multiple volcanoes erupted, flowed, and slid to form what would become Pinnacles National Park. What remains is a unique landscape. Travelers journey through chaparral, oak woodlands, and canyon bottoms.
Rock climbers and the endangered California condor seem to love the spires of Pinnacles National Park, located about two hours south of San Francisco. The cliffs were shaped by multiple volcanic eruptions about 23 million years ago plus wind and water erosion over the millennia. But as old as all that is, Pinnacles is the newest national park in California joining the list in 2013.
A beautiful drive along Highway 101 or California State Route 25 gets you there past Big Sur, the coastal town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, and the wine region in Monterey County. Once there, canyon bottoms full of piney chaparral and oak woodlands provide over 30 miles of trails. The most popular hike is the High Peaks Loop. For other wildlife fanatics, the easy Balconies Cave loop to the Talus Caves includes sightings of 13 types of bats (including the endangered Townsend’s big-eared bat) and opens up to an incredible vista of pinnacles.
7. A fairytale destination
If walking through fields of blooming tulips isn’t on your bucket list, it certainly should be. Every April, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival turns the landscape of northwestern Washington into a rainbow. Whether or not you’re a flower fanatic, the region’s brilliant blooms and staggering peaks will make you feel like you’ve found the proverbial pot of gold. The festival hosts numerous fun events all month long from bike tours to barbecues to chili cook-offs. Popular farms to tour include RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town but be prepared for large crowds on the weekend.
Nashville may have country music and Memphis is home to Elvis but Chattanooga exudes a natural beauty that makes it a Tennessee gem. Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on the Tennessee River, Chattanooga effortlessly blends outdoor activities, art, history, and a vibrant restaurant scene guaranteed to indulge your inner foodie.
Ride the Incline Railway up Lookout Mountain to explore Civil War sites, grab a bikeshare to pedal along the 16.1 mile Riverwalk or check out the huge contemporary sculptures in Montague Park. At sunset, stroll the Walnut St. pedestrian bridge (one of the longest in the world) and take in the hip North Shore before settling down at one of Chattanooga’s many microbreweries.
9. A great basecamp
If you have been considering a trip to see some of the National Parks of Utah but don’t know where to start, consider Kanab. Located at the southern border of the state, Kanab is just a 35-minute drive to Zion and an hour and 20 minutes to Bryce Canyon. But, the tiny town is a gateway to even more than Utah’s most famous national parks. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park is only 30-minutes east where you can explore Utah’s world-renown slot canyons like Buckskin Gulch or scramble up the balanced rock formations at The Toadstools.
With a population of just under 5,000 people, there are a surprisingly large number of accommodations in Kanab including outstanding RV resorts. Consider visiting in the off season when the crowds are low and the experiences are unique compared to the warmer months.
Here’s a tip—Zion and Bryce are both open year round and neither is particularly treacherous in the winter. In fact, according to the U.S. National Parks Service, even after a winter storm, snow usually melts within a few hours at lower elevations in Zion.
10. Georgia State Parks
Whether you are a first-time camper or an experienced backpacker, Georgia’s state parks have a campsite for you. Forty-one parks offer more than 2,700 campsites including tent-only areas, RV pull-through sites, primitive camping, and group camping areas. Rates average around $30–$35 per night. Most state parks have laundry facilities and sell camping supplies. If you’ve never camped before, don’t let that stop you. Several parks offer glamping yurts (a cross between a tent and a cabin).
The developed sites offer electrical and water hookups, grills or fire rings, and picnic tables. Some are specially designed just for tents while others have curved pull-throughs for large RVs. Modern comfort stations with hot showers, flush toilets, and electrical outlets are conveniently located. All campgrounds have dump stations and several offer cable TV hookups.
My favorite Georgia State Parks include:
Vogel (Blairsville): 34 cottages, 90 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 18 walk-in campsites, and 1 pioneer campground. Plus, there is a general store on-site and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum is open seasonally. There are miniature golf and kayak, paddleboard, pedalboat, and aquacycle rentals available depending on the season. Read more from RVing with Rex on Vogel State Park.
Laura S. Walker (Waycross): 6 cottages, 44 tent, trailer, and RV campsites (site-specific), 4 group shelters (sleeps 75-165), 1 group camp (sleeps 142), and 1 pioneer campground. Read more from RVing with Rex on Laura S. Walker State Park.
Stephen C. Foster(Fargo): 9 cottages, 63 tent, trailer, and RV sites (some seasonal), and 1 pioneer campground. Read more from RVing with Rex on Stephen C. Foster State Park.
Spring is the time of the year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.
Love’s Travel Stops offer a number of convenient amenities to travelers. And in some locations that even includes RV hookups.
In May of 2021, Love’s Travel Stops introduced Love’s RV Hookups. But what exactly does this mean and what are the pros and cons of using them?
In this post, I’ll sort through the details and give you the scoop from my perspective as well as those of other RVers.
Let’s jump right in!
Can RVers stay overnight at truck stops?
RV travelers have long been able to spend the night at many truck stops across the country. But that usually means parking among the tractor-trailers especially if you’ve got a big RV like ours.
Have we done it? No. On long road trips, we appreciate the ability to pull off the highway and catch some shut-eye before hitting the road again in the morning.
So why no? Why aren’t truck stops a preferred place to stop for the night?
For one thing, parking overnight at a truck stop is usually noisy. Many trucks (especially refrigerated ones) must keep their cooling units running all night to prevent food from spoiling.
More importantly, though, I don’t relish potentially taking a space from a professional trucker who needs the space. They’re working for a living and may be tired or legally required by Hours of Service Regulations to take a break.
So, yes… RVers can park overnight at most truck stops. But I don’t mind paying a few bucks to have a spot to park our rig overnight in an area that won’t interfere with truckers. In exchange for doing that, we’d probably also get a better night’s rest.
So, let’s see what Love’s RV Hookups are all about.
About Love’s RV Hookups
In 2021, Love’s Travel Stops began the process of expanding its offerings by adding dedicated RV hookups at some of its travel stops.
Love’s RV Hookups and RV Stops offer RVers an opportunity to do more than fuel up, stretch their legs, or grab a snack. Love’s Travel Stops now offer more dedicated RV parking spots nationwide than any other truckstop.
And, RVers can take advantage of many amenities at Love’s Travel Stops network of over 500 off-highway locations:
Propane refill: Running low on propane? You can get a refill at Love’s en route to or from your next camping destination.
Dump station: If you’ve just completed a boondocking stint or you’ve been on the road for awhile and your tanks are getting full, Love’s offers dump stations so you can empty those tanks and stop carrying all that crud down the highway.
Private shower facilities: Love’s private shower facilities are great for RVers whose rigs either have wet baths, outside showers only… or no shower at all.
Laundry facilities: Traveling with the family and spending the night at a Love’s? You can take the opportunity to do some loads of laundry while you’re there.
Dog parks: New Love’s Travel Stops are being built with dog parks and Love’s is adding a dog park to some of their older locations as well. There are currently 350 Love’s dog parks nationwide.
Food, beverages, and other conveniences: All Love’s Travel Stops offer snacks and a variety of food and beverages for sale. They also offer many convenience items as well as some electronics, apparel, and Love’s merchandise.
RV hookups: And yes, some Love’s Travel Stops now offer RV hookups right there at the travel stop. In addition, Love’s has partnered with KOA to add full-sized RV parks at some locations. (Yes, we’re talking full-on RV parks right at the location of the travel stop.)
Do all Love’s Travel Stop locations offer RV hookups?
No. As of this writing, Love’s has 29 travel centers with sites specifically dedicated to RVs. Among those locations there are 357 hookup spots as Love’s terms them. But by the end of the year the big fuel stop company says they’ll add 30 locations to the list with an additional 1,000 RV-dedicated sites. That’s a 287 percent increase of available RV sites.
Typically these hookups are back-in sites. All of them provide a safe place to be off the road and 30/50-amp electrical service. Fortunately, most appear to be a fair distance from the truck parking areas so hearing the roar of a reefer truck is not likely to be an issue. Some locations include full hookups including water and sewer.
Other Love’s locations continue to offer lots of amenities and conveniences for all travelers. That includes some that are specifically for RVers even at the Love’s that don’t have hookups.
The current average rate for a back-in site across all Love’s locations is $36.70 per night including electric. Dialing it down to specifics, you could stay at the Drayton, North Dakota Love’s hookup and back in for $32 a night. Go whole hog at Love’s Normal, Illinois, RV Stop and you can get full hookups at a back-in site for $37.50. Make that a pull-though site for $41.50. Compare this to the nearest KOA, in Casey, Illinois, a couple of hours away. For a full-hookup site you’ll pay $52.95 for a back-in site and $69.95 for a pull-though. True, you won’t have the amenities like a swimming pool at Love’s but for those who are looking for economy and not frills, it’s something to think about.
What about discounts at Love’s?
The rates I talk about here are nightly. There are discounts by the week and for 28-day stays. At the Normal, Illinois RV Stop that night in a pull-through I referenced above for $41.50 translates down to $37 per night for a week’s stay and just $22.64 per day if you stay a full 28 days. Some of Love’s sites can be occupied for more than 28 days; it varies by location.
What are the disadvantages of Love’s RV hookups?
I don’t really see any disadvantages to the hookups themselves. They’re a great addition for all the reasons I’ve noted above especially because they offer convenience for RVers without taking space from truckers.
However, I try to share both pros and cons of things. I’ve heard a few grumblings here and there on a couple of issues.
Some travelers seem to feel that what they’ve been using for free will now cost them. But until now, there’s been no option for hookups. My take is that we prefer to avoid staying overnight in areas meant for truckers particularly in busy travel stops if we’ve got other options.
This can be more than an annoyance to truckers. If several big rig spaces are taken by RVers and a long-haul trucker can’t park for the night that can be a safety problem for them and other drivers on the road.
And it may be a problem that Love’s is trying to solve by giving RVers their own spaces. I see that as a good thing. More options, please!
Some see it as a way for Love’s to make more money. But, really, RVers have to pay for hookups anywhere they go. If you’d rather boondock, then just don’t reserve a Love’s RV Hookup.
However, if you arrive at a Love’s on a hot summer night and you want to run your air conditioner so you can get a good night’s sleep, now you’ve got the option to hook up your rig and relax.
Number of Available Spaces
Some RVers appreciate the opportunity to hook up the rig at a Love’s Travel Stop but note that most only have five or so hookups available.
Love’s is starting a new program and I think they’re probably testing the waters and they’ll expand as their marketing data suggests they should.
However, some Love’s have many more RV hookups than others. For example, Love’s RV Hookup in Winona, Texas (I-20, Exit 575) has 25 full hook-up campsites. Two of those are ADA accessible.
I’ve read comments about Love’s RV hookups not being big rig friendly especially for those of us with a toad. Some RVers also note that the spaces are so close together that slideouts can’t be used. Others have said that the lots are too open to the sun, too brightly lit at night, and too noisy due to trucks and interstate traffic.
Staying at a Love’s RV Hookups location isn’t your traditional camping experience nor should we expect it to be.
For a more traditional camping experience near a Love’s location, their RV parks designed in conjunction with KOA might fit the bill depending on your travel route.
How do I reserve an RV Hookup at a Love’s Travel Stop?
While you don’t need to make a reservation, if you want to ensure a spot at Love’s, their reservation system is simple. You can make a reservation by internet at LovesRVStops.com where the entry for each site has a Reserve link. Or you can phone Love’s customer service line at 1-800-OKLOVES (1-800-655-6837). Option 5 will get you to a representative who can take a reservation. You can also use an app like Campendium.
Love’s RV offerings certainly can’t be classified as resort quality. But if you’re looking for a place to spend the night and run your air conditioning with 1,000 more RV sites coming online this year, you may find one in your corner of the RV universe that works.
While this may not be a perfect solution to the problem of too few campgrounds for too many RVers it is an important step in the right direction. I commend Love’s for taking the lead on this. The company has recognized a problem (too few places to stay a night along the road with an RV) and done something about it.
The average full-hookup site is about $36 which is fair in today’s world where it’s hard to find full-hookups for less than $50.
This is not the solution to campground crowding, but it’s a logical step to help alleviate the crowding in existing RV parks and campgrounds.
Stay tuned: I’ll keep you posted on Love’s progress and whether any other big box stores get in on the action.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.
A whole new world of color opens up during springtime which makes it the perfect time to pack up the RV and explore somewhere new on a road trip or weekend getaway
Springtime can be a magical and refreshing time to travel. Maybe you’re coming out from winter hibernation for a quick road trip or you’re finally able to break in those new hiking boots you were gifted for Christmas. Personally, I look forward to blooms and greenery after nature wakes up from her winter slumber. Everything feels fresh, new, and exciting.
1. Attend a spring festival
When spring has sprung, the festivals are in full bloom! Festivals in spring are wonderful, inspiring experiences that help us celebrate the start of a new season. Which one of these takes your fancy?
International Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon, Georgia
Macon, Georgia, is the cherry blossom capital of the world? No, it’s not Japan or Washington, D.C. With 350,000 cherry trees blossoming each year at the end of March, Macon truly is the perfect place to see these beauties in bloom.
The second or third week of March is peak time to visit as the International Cherry Blossom Festival (March 17-26, 2023) happens. It’s known as the pinkest party of the year! Macon is full of history and is also surrounded by beautiful state parks for visitors who are looking to get outdoors.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, Woodburn, Oregon
Tulips are the main attraction in Woodburn, Oregon. The town is home to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Far which hosts a tulip festival from March to May. With 40 acres of tulips, over 200 acres of outdoor space, and activities, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is identified as one of the top spring attractions in the state of Oregon. The 38th Annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival runs March 17–April 30, 2023.
Springtime is also the best time to catch a ride on a hot air balloon to see the colorful blooms from above. Or stay on the ground and enjoy a sip of wine at any of the areas wineries while your pals fly high in the sky.
Rayne Frog Festival, Rayne, Louisiaa
Rayne is best known as the Frog Capital of the World. The Rayne Frog Festival was founded in 1973 and has grown by, um, leaps and bounds. At this annual fest, you can see the coronation of the Frog Festival Queens and the Mr. and Miss Tadpole contests.
The 51st Annual Rayne Frog Festival will be held on May 10-14, 2023 at the Frog Festival Pavilion. It’s slated with a full schedule including music, delicious food, a signature festival drink, and souvenir cup commemorating 51 years of tradition, arts and crafts show, carnival rides, frog cook-off, frog-eating contest, folklore tent, frog racing and jumping, and a few surprises along the way.
Festival of Houses and Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina
It’s no secret that Charleston is a hub for southern charm especially in the spring as dogwood trees and azaleas bloom all over the city. The weather is great during this time of year–hanging out around 60-70 degrees with low humidity―ideal weather for both carriage tours and walking tours of the main attractions of the city.
The premier event of its kind in the country, the 75th Annual Spring Festival of Houses and Gardens, March 15-April 16, 2023 offers guests rare access into some of Charleston’s finest private houses and gardens in the city’s renowned historic district during peak blooming season. The cornerstone of the spring Festival are the daily house and garden tours. The tours provide an opportunity for guests to go inside the private houses and gardens of some of America’s most beautiful residences, some dating to the 18th century.
Ostrich Festival, Chandler, Arizona
Grab your friends and family and get ready to shake your tail feather with our favorite feathered friends, the ostriches! The Ostrich Festival features live ostriches, national and local entertainment, stage shows, over 50 midway rides and games, classic festival food, interactive activities for all ages, meet and greets with your favorite mascots, ostrich-themed educational activities, exciting attractions, upscale arts and crafts and much more. The 33rd Annual Ostrich Festival will be held March 16-19, 2023 at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler, Arizona.
2. Plan a spring road trip
The weather is warming up and late winter rains have turned trees and grass green and encouraged wildflowers to bloom. It’s the right time to take a drive either to a favorite place or a new destination with unfamiliar landscapes and roads. Whether your preferred scenery is mountains, deserts, forests, plains, or coastal views, there’s a road trip for you. You can plan a journey around your interests if you enjoy historic sites, regional food, wineries, or nature, you can plan a journey around your interests.
Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina
You’ll love springtime in the Great Smoky Mountains as the gorgeous wildflowers are in bloom with over 1,500 types dazzling in mid to late March to June. You’ll find perfect picnic weather at this time of year and it’s an ideal time to explore the most visited national parks in the U.S. Enjoy the 800 square miles of untouched wilderness while you enjoy a scenic hike to a waterfall or beautiful overlook. Horseback riding, fishing, ranger-led programs, wildlife viewing, and biking are other popular activities in the park.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
One of my favorite things about visiting national parks is the transformation that occurs in the landscape around me as I enter a park. The distinctive flora and unique geological features create an atmosphere that makes me feel as if I’m entering another world. Joshua Tree National Park is one of those magical places. The sharp angles of the Joshua tree forests are the foreground of a wonderland of gigantic granite boulders and rock outcroppings. It’s an otherworldly landscape that takes you back thousands of years. You feel as if you might see a dinosaur step out from behind one of the jumbo rock piles at any moment.
Trail of the Ancients, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona
Experience the beautiful and diverse landscapes of the Colorado Plateau on the Trail of the Ancients, a scenic route that travels through Southeastern Utah, Southwestern Colorado, and Northeastern Arizona. It connects some of the nation’s richest archaeological, cultural, and historic sites in a remote region teeming with towering sandstone formations, deep canyons, and iconic red buttes.
The adventure can begin at any point on the trail but many choose to start at the famed Four Corners Monument and then travel in a counter-clockwise circle. Along the way, you’ll see the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park and the archaeological sites of the Hovenweep National Monument. You’ll white-knuckle it down the hairpin turns of the Moki Dugway and marvel at the sandstone monoliths and pinnacles of the Valley of the Gods.
Shenandoah National Park
Skyline Drive takes you 105 miles through the park along the crest of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. This route stretches through Shenandoah National Park where warm spring weather brings purple and yellow violets, masses of pink azaleas, and white dogwood flowers.
Skyline Drive features 75 overlooks including Spitler Knoll, Range View, and Hogback, all of which offer unobstructed views across the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Picacho Peak State Park, Arizona
Winter showers make February and March wildflowers in the desert parks and create yet another reason to explore this beautiful region. During years of average and above average precipitation, it seems every direction you look there is beautiful yellow, red, white, orange, blue, or purple flowers blanketing the landscape. Arizona had a good, rainy winter so far, so our hopes are up for a bright blanket of flowers soon!
The contrast of vibrant flowers against the backdrop of green is a sight to behold so get your camera, comfortable outdoor shoes, and plenty of water and enjoy the rich colors across the state.
Picacho Peak is arguably one of the best spots to see blooming wildflowers and cactus in Arizona with bushels of incredible golden blooms throughout the park. The desert wildflowers here offer a unique and beautiful contrast to the green and brown hues of this Sonoran Desert park.
3. Back to Nature
Time spent outdoors in nature can have many health benefits including reducing stress and increasing cardiovascular health.
Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
The most significant undeveloped barrier island in the world, Padre Island National Seashore offers more than 130,000 acres of dunes, grasslands, and beaches―a national park and a haven for all sorts of family-friendly activities. Immerse yourself in the fauna and flora that populate this marshland environment with a short stroll along the Grasslands Nature Trail. Away from the beach, this trail offers a glimpse of animals that live inland including coyotes, deer, kangaroo rats, ghost crabs, and many others.
Apart from the actual sands of Malaquite Beach, Padre Island’s Visitors Center holds a breathtaking observation deck for wildlife viewing. Along Malaquite Beach, visitors scavenge for small shells deposited by north currents at Little Shell Beach and comb through the sands of Big Shell Beach for larger shell discoveries. Whichever activity you partake in, it’s safe to say that Padre Island National Seashore is a beachside paradise for a gorgeous getaway.
Bernheim Arboretum and Forest, Kentucky
Are you looking to connect with nature? Bernheim is the place to do it. With 16,140 acres of land in Bullitt and Nelson Counties in Kentucky, there is an adventure waiting for everyone. Purchased by German immigrant Isaac W. Bernheim in 1929, the land was dedicated as a gift to the people of his new homeland.
Whether it’s hiking one of the many trails, fishing in Lake Nevin, enjoying public art, reading under a tree, or taking part in a scheduled program, Bernheim offers visitors unique opportunities to connect with nature. Over 40 miles of trails with varying degrees of ease and difficulty weave their way through the forest at Bernheim meaning no matter what level you are looking for, there’s a trail for you.
4. Take a culinary tour of America
Go in search of fresh flavors this spring on a culinary trip across America.
For foodies, warmer weather means one thing: a host of new food festivals to attend where you can eat and drink across the country. Here are seven food festivals to put on your travel list this spring.
SoCal Taco Fest, San Diego, California, April 29, 2023
Vidalia Onion Festival, Vidalia, Georgia, April 20-23, 2023
Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, May 5-7, 2023
Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, Des Moines, Iowa, February May 12-13, 2023
Nantucket Wine & Food Festival, Nantucket, Massachusetts, May 17-21, 2023
Cheese Curd Festival, Ellsworth, Wisconsin, June 23-24, 2023
5. Go hiking
In my mind, there are few things more rejuvenating than hiking or walking in nature. One of the biggest reasons I fell in love with the RV lifestyle is that beautiful nature is so accessible wherever you are. It seems like I am always just minutes away from a spectacular trailhead. Whether I am hiking in the mountains or traversing trails in the desert, nature is a refuge—it’s a change of pace from city life, from being stuck inside, from being sedentary.
Blue Mesa Loop, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
This mile-long trail takes you into a landscape brushed in blue where you will find cone-shaped hills banded in a variety of colors and intricately eroded into unique patterns. Descending from the mesa this alternately paved and gravel trail loop offers the unique experience of hiking among petrified wood as well as these badland hills.
Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, Gulf State Park, Alabama
Gulf State Park features 28 miles of paved trails or boardwalks including seven trails of the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail complex that inspire visitors to explore the nine distinct ecosystems within park boundaries.
Big Trees Trail, Sequoia National Park, California
Located next to the Giant Forest Museum, the Big Trees Trail is one of the best short and easy hikes you can do in Sequoia. This loop trail takes you completely around the meadow and provides impressive views of numerous massive sequoias as well as the beautiful meadow itself.
Park Avenue Trail, Arches National Park, Utah
The 4-mile out and back hike is easy and has minimal elevation gain. Walk down into the vast canyon, passing endless rows of mesmerizing conglomerates on your way to the memorable Courthouse Towers. Along the way, enjoy long-range views of the La Sal Mountains as you walk by iconic formations such as the Organ, Sheep Rock, and Three Gossips.
Getting out and traveling can sometimes be the best way to kick the winter blues especially if you live somewhere that gets very little sunshine. Enjoying the beauty of spring in any one of these destinations is sure to help you recharge and reset. Whether you want to get out and hit the trails or simply sit back and enjoy an afternoon of peace somewhere with warmer temperatures, you’re sure to find a great trip on this list.
Come with me into the woods. Where spring is advancing as it does no matter what, not being singular or particular, but one of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.
There is nothing in this world as wonderful as an RV road trip but nothing so terrible as having it ruined due to a safety issue
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, so it’s best to prevent tragedy before it has the opportunity to occur. RV owners need to be aware of this and other potential issues as they travel.
The recent tragic carbon-monoxide-related death of three friends vacationing in Mexico is a somber reminder for everyone to pay attention to safety. While this certainly applies to all of us in our daily lives, this article will address RV safety. RV owners must be constantly aware of several safety-related issues to help protect their units and their families on the road. Let’s start with combustible gas.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless and colorless gas often formed by incomplete combustion in propane and natural gas appliances. Since most RVs have several propane appliances on board, they are prime candidates for carbon monoxide to be present—thus the importance of annual propane system maintenance by an RV service professional.
During a yearly inspection, an RV technician will thoroughly examine the propane system and appliances for proper operation. This includes checking for leaks, proper pressure, and appliance condition.
At the very least, the RV’s furnace, water heater, and fridge (unless it’s a residential unit) all utilize combustion. If these appliances are not regularly checked and maintained, the burners may become damaged or drift out of adjustment and potentially result in incomplete combustion and CO emission.
For instance, a furnace burner operates inside a sealed combustion chamber that vents outside the RV. Heat inside the RV is generated by blowing air across the combustion chamber and into the living space. If the combustion chamber becomes damaged or is not completely sealed and the burner does not have the correct fuel or air mixture, carbon monoxide can result and leak into the RV. So, if the appliances are not regularly maintained, there is a risk of CO entering the living space. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer that is difficult to detect before it’s too late.
The best way to protect your family from the dangers of CO, both in your home and your RV, is to have working carbon monoxide alarms installed. If your CO alarms are battery operated, be sure to replace the batteries twice per year. If you live or travel in an area where daylight savings time is observed, I recommend replacing the batteries in your propane and CO alarms when you change your clocks. Otherwise, set yourself a reminder to replace the batteries.
If your detectors are wired into your RV’s 12-volt system, monitor the power LED on the alarm to make sure it is green. Test these devices regularly for proper operation; your CO alarm will have a button that should be pressed once a month or so for this purpose. Carbon monoxide mixes with air; therefore, CO alarms may be placed at any height from floor to ceiling.
Finally, be sure to replace your CO alarm every 10 to 15 years as indicated in the manufacturer’s documentation. The device should have a manufacture date stamped on the back.
I know it can be tempting to take the batteries out of your RV smoke alarm after it goes off for the tenth time when you are just making toast. Don’t do it. Working smoke detectors really do save lives. Test your smoke detector monthly and change the batteries twice a year around daylight savings time.
Like carbon monoxide, propane gas is odorless and colorless; however, ethyl mercaptan, an odorant that smells like rotten eggs, is added to propane and natural gas for safety reasons. A propane detector will sense the presence of propane in the air long before the ethyl mercaptan is smelled by humans.
Treat the propane detector the same as the CO alarm including regular testing. Propane gas is heavier than air; therefore, detectors must be placed near the floor in an RV. While propane is generally an extremely safe energy source, it is important to respect it to eliminate risk wherever possible. To this end, always make sure to turn your propane containers off during travel. It is illegal in some places to travel with open propane containers, but even if it’s legal, it doesn’t make it safe.
Make sure you have at least one working fire extinguisher in your RV, although I recommend owning at least two. Most RVs are sold with one 2-pound fire extinguisher. This is not large enough to handle a significant fire. I recommend installing at least one extra extinguisher (type A, B, C). One should be near the main entry door (likely the place where the factory-installed extinguisher will be located) and one in the rear especially if the bedroom is in the back.
You may opt to install additional extinguishers and/or a fire-suppression system in the engine bay and behind the fridge. The extinguishers should be at least 5 pounds in capacity. Have the extinguishers professionally inspected yearly and make sure you know how to use them. This is something RV dealerships don’t show you when they perform the walk-through on your new RV.
In other safety considerations, ensure all your exterior lights are in proper operating condition. This includes clearance lights and running, tail, brake, fog, and signal lights. Lights should be checked prior to each trip.
Whether you have a trailer or a motorhome, have the chassis serviced regularly and inspect the brakes and tires. RV tires tend to age out before they wear out. They often will not show signs of wear, even as they begin to reach the end of their life. It is important to have your tires regularly inspected by a professional tire technician. Tires last an average of five to seven years from date of manufacture. However, this varies widely and tire manufacturers recommend visual inspections by experts on a regular basis.
It is also important to run the correct tire pressures for your RV. This is not usually the tire pressure listed on the sidewall of the tire but based on the weight of your RV and each wheel position.
Trailer owners should ensure the towing systems are well maintained and operated properly, specifically the coupler, equalizer, safety chains, wiring harness, and breakaway cable. Motorhome owners who tow another vehicle also must be vigilant about inspecting their towing equipment on a regular basis.
Rayne loves frogs. Murals depicting the little amphibians are scattered throughout town from the interstate to the south side. Frogs grace the city’s official stationary and hang stylistically from the street lamps. Several businesses bear Frog City in their official names and little green figurines adorn coffee tables and bookshelves throughout the town. There is even an annually celebrated Frog Festival (51st annual; May 11-13, 2023).
Why does this love affair with the slimy, swamp-dwelling denizens exist? The answer surprises many people, even some of those born and raised in the town: Rayne sold and shipped hundreds of thousands of the little wetland beasts throughout its history.
That bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana in scientific terms and ouaouaron in Cajun terms) inhabit the area around Rayne is no surprise since the amphibians thrive in bayous, rice fields, swamps, and ponds. What is surprising is that the Louisiana town was once famous worldwide for supplying frogs to gourmet restaurants across the United States and even to the European continent.
It seems natural that this bullfrog trade was initiated by Frenchmen and carried on by Acadians, two groups noted for their fondness for the tasty frog legs.
Shortly after Rayne’s birth in the 1880s, there came to the prairie town a French-born saloon keeper named Donat Pucheu. Since the town had a direct link to New Orleans and Houston by way of the transcontinental Southern Pacific Railroad, a ready market for perishable produce like eggs, cabbage or tomatoes, quickly developed.
Barkeep Pucheu had connections with some of New Orleans’ finest restaurants and began shipping freshly killed ducks, quail, and snipe to them (which was legal to do in those days). These restaurants also served frog legs and Pucheu invented the Rayne frog shipping business.
For some reason, Donat Pucheu got out of the frog trade but his place in Rayne history was quickly taken over by a fellow countryman.
Jacques Maurice Weil, a Parisian by birth, was to make his name forever associated with Rayne and frogs. He arrived in America sometime in the late 1890s, first trying Jackson, Mississippi, before making the Frog City his home. His first business venture here was to manage the general store of Boudreaux, Leger and Weil.
Like every other general mercantile firm in Rayne, Boudreaux, Leger and Weil accepted produce in exchange for their wares. These items, such as eggs, live chickens, vegetables or butter were either sold in the store or shipped aboard the next train to larger cities like New Orleans.
Somehow, Weil’s store came to specialize in the exchange of wilder commodities like pecans, furs, and bullfrogs. While he didn’t invent the Rayne frog trade, Weil did perfect and promote it to the point where Rayne frogs were served on restaurant tables in St. Louis, Los Angeles, and even in Paris.
Behind his store, Weil built a large chicken-wire cage. This frog aquarium held up to 15,000 ouaouarons and kept a five-man cleaning crew busy. Bright lights above the cage attracted insects at night and fed the condemned amphibians their final meal before their fateful rendezvous with the skinning knife.
Jacques Weil did not believe in waste. Legend has it that when Weil’s skinners arrived at work and found that some of the caged frogs had suffocated overnight their employer urged them to “Kill the dead ones first!”
All across Acadia Parish, the springtime nights belonged to the intrepid lantern-toting men and boys searching the prairie darkness for the elusive Rana catesbeiana. The next morning, their full sacks were deposited at Jacques Weil’s in exchange for some necessary groceries or for some even more necessary bouré money.
Rayne became famous for its frogs. Not only were restaurants begging for the delectable amphibians’ legs but even the frog skins were sold to tanneries and converted into leather goods.
Jacques Weil was joined by his brothers Edmond and Gontran and his business empire grew. The J & E. Weil Operating Company owned cotton gins, a rice mill and a theater besides the frog shipping business and general store.
When World War I ended, war-driven high agricultural prices dropped precipitously ruining many investors and farm products brokers. One such loser was the J. & E. Weil Operating Company. The Hibernia Bank of New Orleans purchased the bankrupt Weil brothers’ assets—the frog business included—and operated them under the name of Rayne Farm Products, Inc. and under the direction of A. J. Carriere.
Jacques Weil jumped back into the frog business and competed directly with Rayne Farm Products until the latter firm folded during the Great Depression. Other shippers fought for a share of the frog trade including Jake Laughlin and Leon Meche of Rayne, John P. Hoyt of Estherwood, Ben Johnson of Redlich, and E. D. Fruge of Mermentau. In 1906, C. LeBlanc even attempted to farm frogs commercially in Estherwood. But these small shippers were only a slight business nuisance to the legendary Jacques Weil.
Far more worrisome was the Louisiana Frog Company established by Lionel Babineaux and Louis Baer in Mermentau and moved to Rayne in 1933. Lionel’s brothers David “Pete” and Desire joined the firm and after Baer’s death in 1941, the company became a Babineaux family enterprise.
Louisiana Frog eventually grew even larger than the Jacques Weil company. At one time they sold canned Frog a la Sauce Piquante under the brand name of Kajin.
The frog business was by then approaching its zenith. No longer could the rice fields around Rayne supply the demand.
Both Weil and Louisiana Frog trucked in unlucky ouaouarons from the Atchafalaya Basin, the swamps near New Orleans, the Sabine River bottoms, and even from as far away as Mississippi and Arkansas. Thousands of condemned bullfrogs left the now-famous Frog City every year to grace the gourmet tables of the world. Some even went to NASA for space experiments.
In 1951, a nationally syndicated cartoon called Strange As It Seems stated the following: “Didja know—Rayne, Louisiana—The Frog Center of the World—is the only U. S. city with a (train) carload rate on frogs?”
But all good things come to an end and the Rayne frog business’ days were numbered. Jacques Weil passed away in 1948 though his frog firm continued for years under the direction of W. J. Chatelain and Lionel Babineaux died in 1967.
By the 1970s, the frog shipping industry was doomed, killed by cheap frogs from overseas and habitat degradation at home. The once massive trade to restaurants around the world was replaced by a small time supplying of biology labs and schools with dissection specimens. Weil and Louisiana Frog became a part of history.
At about the same time that Rayne was in danger of losing its title as the Frog Capital of the World, the town embraced and forever enshrined the dying industry by establishing its first Frog Festival in 1973. And while fewer people will remember the thriving frog trade as time goes by, Rayne will forever be associated with the ouaouaron.
Jambalaya (On the Bayou)
Goodbye joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou My yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh my oh Son of a gun, well have good fun on the bayou
Here are a few film and television-themed trips and tips to consider for your Utah visit
Utah’s remarkable scenery has always inspired great storytelling. Stories are etched into the walls of the state’s red canyons, in the journals of its early explorers, and in the hearts of the locals and travelers as they road trip and recreate.
Cinephiles and explorers wandering some of Utah’s iconic landscapes for the first time may get the feeling that they’ve been here before. Discover what Hollywood already has: unique backdrops for your outdoor adventures like nowhere else. Whether hitting the Sundance Film Festival in Park City and Salt Lake City in January or visiting Utah throughout the year, you’ll find yourself near some of the most iconic and most filmed places.
Over the decades, the silver screen and television have featured Utah in thousands of films for the silver screen and television. While Utah’s striking, iconic, and diverse landscapes make it a go-to destination for filmmakers, the state is also a must-visit for road-tripping RVers and outdoor adventurers.
Add a touch of film history to your Utah itinerary or plan your trip around these iconic cinema locations.
1. Star-Studded: The Jeremiah Johnson Itinerary
Extend your stay in Utah and explore the cities and mountains of the Wasatch Front. You’ll find big-screen settings and attractions near Park City, the center of the world-famous Sundance Film Festival. Head 45 minutes south to experience the Sundance Mountain Resort where you can hit the slopes in winter or have family-friendly adventures in the warmer months.
Compared to its neighboring Utah resorts, Sundance has a cozy, nestled quality, yet there’s plenty of room. Its 50 runs across more than 500 acres still pack in 2,150 vertical feet and the spectacular snow of Utah. This mountain escape is rich in film history from the setting of Robert Redford’s Jeremiah Johnson or the annual filmmaker workshops and events hosted by the Sundance Institute.
2. Rugged Route: The Yellowstone Itinerary
Along the edge of Park City, you can drive by the 70,000-square-foot Utah Film Studios complex where productions like Hereditary and Yellowstone were filmed. Nearby you can explore the town of Kamas where you can hit the slopes in winter or have family-friendly adventures in the warmer months.
From there, until you venture off the road, it’s all scenic driving all the time on the 56-mile Mirror Lake Highway Scenic Byway. Between beautifully developed campgrounds and endless, rugged backcountry, you’ll find the perfect stop to park your RV or pitch your tent for a blissfully cool night with a view just flat out away from it all.
Or continue driving north through the rugged mountain terrain of small towns like Oakley and Coalville to see some filming locations used in seasons 1-3 of the critically acclaimed Yellowstone series. End your trip by strolling historic 25th Street in Ogden and visit The Outlaw Saloon or catch a rodeo at the Ogden Pioneer Stadium where Yellowstone filmed several scenes.
3. Worth Your Two Dollars: Better Off Dead
You know what the street value of these mountains is? It’s tough to put a number on The Greatest Snow on Earth but its just part of what makes skiing in Utah so special for the people who ski here. See, Salt Lake City isn’t your regular ski town. It’s the only Ski City. With big city, world-class amenities galore and 10 different resorts within an hour of Salt Lake City, Utah ski trips can satiate any skier’s or snowboarder’s lust for powder, quest for groomers, or race down the slope to determine who will be the captain of the ski team.
Follow the film’s tracks at Alta Ski Area (skiers only) and Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon or Brighton Ski Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
4. Cult-classic: The Galaxy Quest Itinerary
A visit to Goblin Valley State Park could be a quick day trip or an extended journey through the rugged and whimsical landscapes of Utah’s San Rafael Swell. Fans of Dean Parisot’s Galaxy Quest will recognize the setting for the Alien planet with a Beryllium sphere.
The park’s main attraction is located at its heart. Here there are three established trails which are suitable for almost anyone. The trails lead hikers to overlooks, views of the surroundings, and deep within the maze of weird sandstone formations. But the best thing about the valley is that you are allowed to hike freely, off trail, to explore the hoodoos, mushrooms, or goblins on your own offering up unlimited options for exploration.
5. In the Know: Westworld, the Western Fantasy Itinerary
When it came time to shoot the HBO futurist drama Westworld, the production team had one clear vision of the West: Castle Valley. As The Salt Lake Tribune reports, “there’s no way to mock up the vistas in Castle Valley. Shooting there wasn’t just like stepping back into old-time Hollywood it was like stepping back into the Old West.”
This is the destination that put Utah on the Hollywood map. John Ford fell in love with Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park but the big screen doesn’t do it full justice. In some ways, Monument Valley is the definitive West.
Ancestral spirits infuse the rugged landscapes that feel foreign yet distinctly familiar thanks to Hollywood’s long love affair with this land. Enjoy hiking, jeep tours, horseback riding, and stargazing in Monument Valley, some on your own, some escorted and narrated by local Navajo guides.
Forrest Gump Point (the location where the iconic movie character declared it was time to go home) is another popular visitor stop. Add this area to your itinerary if you love westerns but please be aware this iconic photo-op is located along a highly-trafficked road (Mile Marker 13 on SR 163). Due to the road’s traffic leading to past injuries and fatalities, I urge you to take your safety seriously and refrain from taking photos from the middle of the road. Visitors are welcome to pull off safely on the side of the road and take photos from the shoulder only.
7. The Western Outlaw: The Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Itinerary
Many travelers visit southwestern Utah to see the soaring cliffs of Zion National Park and to hike and mountain bike the incredible red rock landscapes. For movie buffs, this scenic corner of the state of Utah comes alive with nostalgia for Robert Redford’s iconic film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The complete list of filming locations includes the ghost town of Grafton, Snow Canyon State Park, the city of St. George, and Zion National Park.
8. See Firsthand the Vistas: Thelma & Louise Itinerary
This itinerary brings a whole new meaning to hitting the open road. Perfect for fans of the 1991 adventure drama, Thelma & Louise, tour the exact places where the movie was shot.
And while the story takes place on a road trip that’s supposedly from Arkansas to Arizona, much of the movie was actually filmed in Utah from the looming desert mountain in the opening credits to the epic Grand Canyon car scene at the end.
If there’s one scene of Thelma & Louise that viewers may never shake from their minds, it’s the soaring car flying above the Grand Canyon at the movie’s end. While the scene is arresting on many levels, this wasn’t filmed at the Grand Canyon at all. Rather, it was filmed at Fossil Point, visible from Dead Horse Point State Park outside Moab. You can get a sense of the river canyon’s sheer scope and splendor from Dead Horse State Park’s West Rim overlook trail.
9. Southern Wasatch to Monument Valley: Easy Rider Itinerary
Talking about freedom and living it are two different things. Utah’s iconic American West offers both the picture-perfect backdrops to freedom and the roads for living it. This itinerary follows the open-road inspiration of Easy Rider.
It launches with a history lesson in Harley-Davidson and two scenic loops, Alpine Loop and Mount Nebo National Scenic Byway, before making its way south. This itinerary opts for the winding La Sal Loop for high-elevation views over Westworld’s Castle Valley before heading south toward Bears Ears National Monument.
While there are many places to stop and take it all in, a focal point of this tour is Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Stop for the long, sweeping, panoramic views. Linger late. It is sunset. You are a silhouette against the horizon. Sound familiar? Easy Rider captures the moment but it’s just one of the dozens of films shot on location in Monument Valley. Director John Ford made it famous specifically in Stagecoach and The Searchers.
The trip then turns back north with options to tour the scenic drive around National Bridges National Monument and to take the spur into the North Lake Powell region. From there, it depends on your schedule and direction. If freedom calls, some of Utah’s best drives and parks are still ahead.
It’s breathtaking. You can’t believe it. It’s very photogenic; it has a kind of mythic feeling of age, of legend…You’ve seen it in the movies, but when you see it in life, it’s so epic in its proportions that it almost stands for the whole of the West.
Generally speaking, all aspects of your RV were designed to work properly as long as you follow a few basic maintenance steps. Unfortunately, over time, it’s easy to become complacent and allow those steps to fall by the wayside. This is how easily-avoided problems can become a day-long trouble-shooting adventure.
Like all plumbing systems, RV drains need some care and attention. When the shower starts to drain slowly or the kitchen sink takes on a weird smell, it’s time to find the best RV drain cleaner.
RV drains can be cleaned with a mix of vinegar and baking soda which is then washed down with boiling water. RV owners can also use enzyme cleaning fluids from brands such as Drainbo or Green Gobbler. Many household drain cleaners won’t work well in an RV. Avoid using caustic drain cleaners like regular Drano as they may damage the rubber seals on the dump valves or even the holding tanks themselves.
If the drains in your RV have started to plug up or smell bad, there are numerous options available to you. I’ll explore a few good drain cleaners below as well as some tips for how to prevent clogs in the future.
Complications of RV drains
First of all, it’s important to understand why RV drains are different from the ones in a regular house or apartment. It might be tempting to just grab your go-to drain cleaner and get to work but this could cause more harm than good.
Home drains and RV drains function in different ways and have different requirements. For one thing, the pipes in RVs are smaller. They need to be more compact and light so they can easily fit into a limited amount of space. However, this makes it easier for debris and bacteria to build up inside. They also can’t handle the same level of pressure as household drains which limits your cleaning options somewhat.
Most RVs also don’t have a built-in garbage disposal which means that it’s much easier for chunks of food to get caught in the system. Finally, RV water goes into a series of holding tanks once it has been used. These are often regulated by helpful bacteria so you can’t use a cleaner that is too harsh. Because of this delicate balance, enzyme cleaners and natural soaps are usually your best bet.
RV drain cleaners
As mentioned above, there are a few different solutions that can be used to clean your drains. The best ones are fairly gentle and won’t kill helpful bacteria in the plumbing system. Obviously, you’ll want to find something that can cut through the grime, remove blockages, and get rid of bad odors. Each of the options below will work well and you just might find your personal favorite RV drain cleaner on the list.
Vinegar and baking soda
No list of cleaning solutions would be complete without a shout-out to vinegar and baking soda. This miraculous duo can be used to clean almost anything so you should definitely have some on-hand.
If your drains smell bad or you just want to give them a bit of TLC pull out some vinegar and baking soda. Sprinkle about ½ cup of baking soda down your drain and then add ½ cup vinegar. This will need a bit of time to sit and fizz so cover the drain and leave it alone for at least 1 hour. Boil 1 gallon of water in the meantime.
After the time is up uncover the drain and pour in the boiling water. This will wash away the cleaning mixture as well as anything it was able to pull up from the sides of the drain.
Drainbo Drain Treatment and Cleaner
If you’d prefer a quicker and simpler solution, you can always turn to the wide lineup of Drainbo products. Each of their products is designed to be a gentle and effective RV drain cleaner.
Their cleaners are advertised as all-natural and RV owners have been happily using them for years. This brand also holds the honor of being the only drain cleaner that the Natural Products Association has labeled as safe and all-natural. If this is a priority for you, make sure you explore Drainbo as a possible new cleaner.
Green Gobbler Enzyme Drain Cleaner
This enzyme-based cleaner from Green Gobbler is another fantastic RV drain cleaner. As mentioned above, RV plumbing systems rely on a healthy batch of bacteria to break down waste in the holding tanks. Because of this system, you don’t want to completely kill everything with harsh soaps.
An enzyme cleaner is a perfect solution because it breaks through grime and bad smells but allows the natural processes to continue. This product from Green Gobbler is especially good at cutting through grease and food waste, so it can be ideal for treating kitchen sinks.
How to treat drain clogs
Cleaning your RV drains is all well and good but sometimes there are bigger issues that can’t be solved with a simple liquid fix. Drains can be sources of mold, fungus, and harmful bacteria growth. If they get clogged they can also become health hazards. Plus, it’s just not fun to deal with a backed-up drain.
Luckily, even physical clogs can be broken up with a drain snake then cleaned with one of the products above.
How to prevent drain clogs
The key is preventing these issues from developing in the first place. You can prevent buildups (or at least reduce their severity) by carefully monitoring your drains and doing all that you can to prevent foreign objects from getting stuck. This might include wiping off plates over the garbage before washing them and/or using drain covers in the shower. Hair and food are major causes of clogs, so taking preventative measures like these can be very helpful.
To keep your plumbing system in good condition it’s also a good idea to clean your RV drains after every long trip. Staying ahead of the problem will give you peace of mind in the future.
Keeping RV drains clean
The steps for keeping your RV drains flowing freely are quite simple:
Don’t dump grease or oils down your RV drains
Using Dawn Dish Detergent helps prevent grease and oil from building up in the drains and causing clogs
Treating all the drains monthly with your enzyme-based drain opener will also help keep the drains in tip-top shape
Spring in Georgia is the perfect time to bask in perfect weather at festivals celebrating music, art, food, and local traditions
Spring in Georgia brings blooming flowers, warmer days, and activities of all kinds. Spring is an undeniably beautiful time of year to visit Georgia. From March to May the average low of 65 degrees F and an average high of 80 degrees F is perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, camping, and strolling through the state’s many parks and botanical gardens. Spring break trips offer perfect opportunities to explore new places and attend events throughout the state.
From outdoor adventures that take advantage of the great weather to favorite events that only happen once a year, here are nine of the best things to do around the state this season.
1. Go to the beach
Georgia’s beaches are among its best resources. Plan a getaway to explore some of Georgia’s 15 barrier islands, including…
Nestled on the Georgia coast, midway between Savannah and Jacksonville lies the mainland city of Brunswick and its four barrier islands―St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island.
The port city of Brunswick is laid out in a formal grid similar to Savannah’s with city streets and squares still bearing their colonial names. Explore the historic area which is enjoying a renaissance and features shops, restaurants, and beautiful homes reflecting a variety of styles dating from 1819.
Drive to St. Simons Island. Check out Fort Frederica National Monument, the archaeological remnants of the island’s first European settlement or make your way to Neptune Park, an oceanfront park next to the St. Simons Island Lighthouse that offers a playground, picnic area, casino, and pool. Cannon’s Point Preserve features 660 acres of greenery and Late Archaic shell rings dating back to 2500 BCE.
Since 1928, Sea Island has been known as an exceptional destination featuring five miles of private beach, a Beach Club, tennis center, Yacht Club, and Shooting School as well as three championship golf courses including the home of the PGA TOUR’s RSM Classic.
With 10 miles of sandy beaches, four golf courses, a 250-acre Historic Landmark District and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Jekyll Island has been a family-favorite state park destination for 75 years.
In 1886, Jekyll Island was purchased to become an exclusive winter retreat known as the Jekyll Island Club. It soon became recognized as “the richest, most inaccessible club in the world.” Club members included such notable figures as J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, William K. Vanderbilt, and Marshall Field. Today, the former Club grounds comprise a 240-acre site with 34 historic structures. The Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark is one of the largest restoration projects in the southeastern United States.
Plan your trip with these guides to the Golden Isles and Jekyll Island:
Tybee Island is a family-friendly beach town 20 minutes from downtown Savannah. Rent a cute cottage, go on a dolphin tour, dig into fresh seafood, and much more. Those traveling with RVs and tents can stay at River’s End Campground and RV Park which is a few blocks from North Beach. There are more than 100 sites with full hookups, cozy cabins, and primitive sites. Campground guests will enjoy convenient amenities and comforts of home like a 24-hour laundry room, a fully equipped fitness center, the island’s largest swimming pool, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Cumberland Island National Seashore is the largest and southernmost barrier island in Georgia offering visitors more than 17 miles of secluded white, sandy beaches. Wild horses and other island wildlife roam freely throughout the ruins and along the beach. Glimpses of the Carnegie lifestyle can be easily imagined throughout the ruins of Dungeness, Plum Orchard, and Greyfield Inn.
Cumberland Island is accessible by ferry only. Reservations for the 45-minute ferry ride are recommended. Board the ferry to Cumberland Island in St. Marys, a historic small town located on the Georgia coast approximately midway between Jacksonville and Brunswick.
Plan your trip with these guides to Cumberland Island:
Just as daffodils, dogwoods, and azaleas flourish in the spring in Georgia so do outdoor arts and sports events. Pick any city and you’ll likely find a spring event to enjoy.
International Cherry Blossom Festival
Each March, Macon becomes a pink, cotton-spun paradise as over 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees bloom in all their glory.The International Cherry Blossom Festival is a perennial favorite held March 17-26, 2023 that features art exhibitions, rides, and performances.
The Creek Indians were the first inhabitants of the area that would later become known as Macon, settled by Europeans in 1809. Celebrate the Native American tribes that called the Macon area home at the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, a site dating back 17,000 years. The site has North America’s only reconstructed Earth Lodge with its original 1,000-year-old floor as well as the Great Temple Mound.
In the 1960s, Macon was ground zero for the music industry thanks to Capricorn Records and artists like the Allman Brothers Band and Otis Redding. Learn about the band that called Macon home at The Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House, the Tudor-style home that Berry, Duane, and Gregg lived in with their family and friends. It has a large collection of guitars and band memorabilia.
The Blessing of the Fleet
Each spring, Darien holds The Blessing of the Fleet Festival for the captains of local shrimp boats. The largest event of its kind on the East Coast, it’s also a great time to get some exercise with the 5K run, admire arts and crafts, watch fireworks, and salute seagoing ships during the maritime parade. The 55th Annual Blessing of the Fleet on the beautiful, historic Darien Waterfront is set for April 21-23, 2023.
Savannah Music Festival
The annual 17-day springtime festival (March 23-April 8, 2023) is Georgia’s largest musical arts event featuring up to 100 productions. Established in 1989, Savannah Music Festival features artists from all genres including classical, jazz, folk, country, and rock.
Savannah’s Historic District is sprinkled with 22 historic squares, stunning period architecture, and beautiful cobblestone streets, each with unique elements and stories. Take a walk down America’s Most Beautiful Street, Jones Street, take photos in front of the iconic Forsyth Fountain, and stop at places like Chippewa Square, best known as the site of the bench scene from the movie Forrest Gump.
Take in an Atlanta Braves game at Truist Park. The Braves open at home on April 6, 2023 against the San Diego Padres. The Braves’ first homestand of the season will continue with three more games against the Padres and a three-game set against the Cincinniti Reds.
The Braves baseball team was moved to Atlanta in 1966 from stints in Boston and Milwaukee. It’s the longest continuously operating franchise in Major League Baseball. In their years as an organization, the team has won four World Series (most recently in 2021). Legends like Hank Aaron helped make the team what it is today.
In March 2017, the Atlanta Braves officially moved to their new home at Truist Park (formerly SunTrust Park). It’s surrounded by The Battery, an entertainment complex with restaurants, stores, concert venues, and a hotel.
Tickets to the legendary golf tournament in Augusta are hard to come by but even if you don’t have tickets there is plenty to do off-course during Masters Week April 3-9, 2023.
Established along the Savannah River in 1736, Augusta was once home to cotton production which helped it become the state’s second largest city. These days, much of the city’s industry surrounds the medical fields and technology thanks in part to nearby Augusta University. The city is home to Augusta National and the Masters Golf Tournament as well as the birthplace of legends like James Brown. A thriving arts community, plentiful outdoor exploration, and locally owned restaurants only add to its appeal for travelers.
3. Delight in spring blooms
Spring color pops out early in Georgia especially sunny yellow daffodils and cheery pink cherry trees and tulip magnolias. Trace the season’s progression through the rainbow of colorful flowers, trees, and bushes that burst onto the scenery from their winter slumber. From the North Georgia Mountains to the coast you can explore a gorgeous array of gardens expertly created to showcase the season’s best.
See the largest daffodil display in the nation at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground in early March. More than 200 varieties of early, mid, and late bloomers cover 50 acres of hillsides and valleys.
Experience the beauty of 20,000 azaleas in bloom at Callaway Resort & Gardens in Pine Mountain during Spring FlowerFest March 25-May 7, 2023.
Celebrate Mother’s Day weekend at the 16th annual Picnic in the Garden in the Pecan Groove at Hills and Dales Estate in LaGrange on May 13, 2023 featuring a picnic spread contest, live music, pony rides, and yard games. Explore the historic Ferrell Gardens which are one of the best-preserved 19th-century gardens in America.
The Savannah Botanical Garden includes nature trails, a picturesque pond, and an archaeological exhibit among the formal and natural displays. Enjoy the Southern charm of the historic Reinhard House, the sweet sounds of songbirds, and wander along a path that explores camellias, ferns, and a children’s garden. Admission is free.
4. Take a culinary tour of the state
You can’t say we don’t eat well in Georgia! Go in search of fresh flavors this spring on a culinary trip across the state.
Georgia’s spring food festivals offer a huge menu of options. A few choices include:
Georgia Strawberry Festival, Reynolds, April 22, 2023
Vidalia Onion Festival, Vidalia, April 20-23, 2023
Hiawassee Highlands Wine Festival, Hiawassee, May 13, 2023
Taste of Alpharetta, Alpharetta, May 11, 2023
Grab a bucket and head to one of Georgia’s many pick-your-own farms for a true Southern springtime tradition. The whole family will have fun picking their favorite springtime treats fresh from farms throughout the state.
Springtime in Georgia means warmer temperatures, blooming flowers, and…strawberry season. The official strawberry season can stretch from late April to July 4th in Georgia with the best picking from May to mid June.
Eat your heart out in Georgia where restaurant and dining options range from casual to fine dining and you’ll find all types of cuisines—especially Southern. Dig in to the South’s best barbecue smoked to perfection and matched with mouthwatering sides like baked beans and macaroni and cheese. Peel and eat sweet, wild Georgia shrimp served with a basket of warm hush puppies while a sea breeze carries away the cares of the day.
Check out one of the many food tours like Atlanta Food Walks, Taste of Thomasville Food Tours, or Savannah Taste Experience.
The Taste of Thomasville is a three-hour progressive lunch though downtown Thomasville that starts in the courtyard of The Gift Shop. Participants and the tour guide walk to award-winning food establishments in the downtown area. Between the food establishments, the participants learn the history, culture and stories that make Thomasville a unique town.
Take a three-hour walking and tasting tour through the gardens and historic, cultural landmarks of the squares of Savannah, the Hostess City of the South. Savannah Taste Experience food tours will open your palate through bites and tastings at distinctive restaurants, extraordinary specialty food stores, and other notable eateries while providing a local’s perspective on culture, history, and architecture of Savannah.
5. Get out on the water
Enjoy the great outdoors around Georgia, especially the lakes, rivers, and ocean.
Georgia’s Lake Country boasts two expansive lakes with more than 15,000 acres of water (Oconee and Sinclair) and more than 10 golf courses nestled in the neighboring communities of Eatonton, Greensboro, Madison, and Milledgeville.
Closer to Atlanta, Lake Lanier welcomes boaters and fishermen. Lakes Burton, Rabun, Hartwell, and Blackshear are also worth exploring.
Exploring the Okefenokee Swamp
Take a walk on the wild side at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. This pristine 680-square-mile wilderness is an ecological wonder. The main entrance to the National Wildlife Refuge is located near Folkston.
Hike the Chesser Island Boardwalk to the Owl’s Roost Tower for an unparalleled view of the swamp prairies and the Okefenokee Wilderness. The Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center is a perfect place to begin your Okefenokee experience―talk to refuge staff and volunteers about recreational opportunities, recent wildlife sightings, and take a guided boat tour with knowledgeable naturalists or rent a canoe or kayak and set out on your own.
Take advantage of the discounts on multi-day, multi-entrance passes to Okefenokee Swamp Park in Waycross and Okefenokee Adventures in Folkston to experience boat tours, train rides, nature shows and the incredible scenery of the fascinating swamp environment.
6. Plan a road trip
What’s a better time to start planning a getaway by car or RV? Decide what you want to see whether it be coast or mountains, cities or small towns. Follow the 41-mile Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway through the mountains, drive along US-17 to coastal communities from Richmond Hill to Darien or taste your way through the state on Georgia Grown Trail 37.
Surrounded by the beauty of Chattahoochee National Forest, the 40.6-mile Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway winds through the valleys and mountain gaps of the southern Appalachians. From the vistas atop Brasstown Bald to the cooling mists of waterfalls, scenic wonders fill this region. Hike the Appalachian Trail or fish in a cool mountain stream. Enjoy spectacular views of the mountains and piedmont. Several scenic overlooks and interpretive signs are features of this route.
Georgia Grown Trail 37 is Georgia’s first officially branded agritourism highway created to spotlight the agricultural bounty and beauty found in Southern Georgia. Featuring over two dozen agritourism hotspots and out-of-the-way shopping adventures, Georgia Grown Trail 37 takes you on a tasty adventure through small towns and family farms. You will find olive farms, vineyards and wineries, U-Pick berries and produce, unique farm products, and specialty shops. Take I-75, Exit 39, East or West.
7. Hunt for murals
Looking for colorful walls to photograph? You’re in luck. Atlanta has hundreds of murals in every corner of the city especially around Cabbagetown and Old Fourth Ward. Savannah also has its own usually commissioned by art galleries and non-profits to beautify their buildings. Macon also has upped its game in terms of public art, with murals, sculptures, and Little Free Libraries around town. Don’t miss the mural in Dublin which honors the civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
8. Tour a brewery, cidery, or distillery
The Peach State has a thriving scene for craft beverages as new breweries and distilleries are opening every year in every corner of the state. No matter where you go, plan on having a designated driver.
They may be found in old warehouses where the grind of machinery has been replaced with liquid gold and the sound of good times or in new wide-open spaces.
Atlanta has the most craft breweries including big-name ones like Sweetwater and those with multiple locations like Monday Night. But there are many breweries in other cities and towns like Macon Beer Company, Creature Comforts in Athens, and Eagle Creek Brewing in Statesboro. Grab a bite with your pint at a brewpub, like Good Word Brewing and Public House in Duluth.
Located within walking distance of college dive bars, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. hangs out in a former car dealership and auto repair shop on the edge of downtown Athens. Try its Tropicalia and see why it’s considered one of the top IPAs in the country.
Downtown Macon has been making a resurgence thanks in part to breweries like the Macon Beer Company. This spot playfully uses the city’s name in the name of its beers such as Macon Love, Macon Plays and, of course, Macon Money.
Taking its name from the coastal Georgia Island, Jekyll Brewing has paved the way for craft breweries in the northern suburb of Alpharetta. And on the topic of branding you may be amused by the names of their beers such as Hop Dang Diggity, Southern Juice, Cooter Brown, and ‘Merican Amber.
The gluten-intolerant can rejoice as there are also cideries around the state. Urban Tree Cidery is located on Atlanta’s Westside with a taproom to sample their varieties. Treehorn in Marietta is another favorite as is Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge. If you’re looking for a low-alcohol option, Cultured South on Atlanta’s West End brews the popular Golda Kombucha.
Distilleries also are open to visitors to offer a glimpse into how your favorite spirits are made. Atlanta has the ASW Distillery, Old Fourth Distillery, and Independent Distilling distilleries. Dalton Distillery and Dawsonville Distillery both specialize in legal white lightning. Richland Rum in Richland and Brunswick crafts the only single-estate rum in the United States made from Georgia-grown sugar cane.
Whether you go all in and tour a moonshine maker’s distillery or you attend a local festival named after the famous drink, Georgia is a great place to start your moonshine journey.
In the summer, classic cars and their owners head to the Georgia mountain town of Hiawassee for the annual Georgia Mountain Moonshine Cruiz-In. The three-day event features live mountain music, a real moonshine still, arts and crafts vendors, automotive vendors, and hundreds of classic cars.
Visit Blairsville in September for the Moonshine Market Arts & Crafts Show featuring regional vendors, live music, food, beer and spirits, and distillery tours.
Georgia is more than just craft beer and moonshine. The Peach State has its fair share of wineries especially clustered around the North Georgia Mountains. Muscadine and fruit wines are produced as well as well-known varietals.
Kaya’s Winery and Tasting Room in Dahlonega are built atop a ridge that is 1,600 feet above elevation and offers panoramic mountain views in North Georgia. Enjoy wine made from estate-grown grapes with a view from the covered deck.
On the Helen side of the North Georgia Mountains are a number of wineries but Yonah Mountain Vineyards & Winery is frequently listed as a favorite. The namesake mountain rises into view from the tasting room inspiring the logo that makes the rounded peak look like a bear’s back. Experience their tastings which showcase chardonnay, merlot, malbec, pinot noir, and sauvignon blancs. The wine cave tour is what makes Yonah Mountain completely unique, the only known one in the state.
9. Bike the trails
Gear up with your helmet and two wheels to explore the state. There are plenty of paved bike paths for beginner or expert riders.
The Silver Comet Trail rails-to-trails path connects Atlanta to the Alabama state line and is accessible from the cities of downtown Rockmart and Cedartown. Bikers, runners, hikers, skaters, and horseback riders use the trail for recreation and commuting. The Silver Comet Trail begins at the intersection of South Cobb Drive and the East-West Connector in Smyrna and runs all the way to the Alabama border. There, it meets the Chief Ladiga trail in Alabama.
The Carrollton GreenBelt is the largest greenspace and greenway conservation project ever undertaken in the city of Carrollton’s almost 200-year history. The 18-mile long linear city park is the largest paved loop trail system in Georgia and provides residents and visitors a unique escape.
The Chattahoochee Riverwalk in Columbus runs 15 miles alongside the water offering views of the whitewater rapids and a connection to the National Infantry Museum. By foot or on bike, you will skirt the cityscape, examine historic monuments and markers, and take in the wild beauty of the rolling river and native wildlife. Geocachers can take on the RiverWalk GeoTour, the first of its kind in the world with 31 challenging geocaches with collector game pieces including three coins.
Come with me into the woods. Where spring is advancing as it does no matter what, not being singular or particular, but one of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.