Roughly 42.3 million people will travel 50 or more miles from home this Memorial Day weekend, a 7 percent increase over 2022. This year, 2.7 million more people will travel for the unofficial start of summer compared to last year, a sign of what’s to come in the months ahead.
“This is expected to be the third busiest Memorial Day weekend since 2000 when AAA started tracking holiday travel,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. “More Americans are planning trips and booking them earlier despite inflation. This summer travel season could be one for the record books especially at airports.”
Memorial Day road trips are up 6 percent over last year. 37.1 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of more than 2 million. Fuel prices are lower this holiday compared to last year when the national average was more than $4 a gallon. Despite the lower prices at the pump, car and RV travel travel this holiday will be shy of pre-pandemic numbers by about 500,000 travelers.
Nearly 3.4 million travelers are expected to fly to their destinations this Memorial Day, that’s an increase of 11 percent over last year. Air travel over the holiday weekend is projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels with 170,000 more passengers—or 5.4 percent more—than in 2019. Despite high ticket prices, demand for flights is skyrocketing. This Memorial Day weekend could be the busiest at airports since 2005.
More people this holiday are taking other modes of transportation like buses and trains. These travelers are expected to total 1.85 million, an increase of 20.6 percent over 2022.
Best/worst times to travel and peak congestion by metro
INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights expects Friday, May 26 to be the busiest day on the roads during the long Memorial Day weekend. The best times to travel by car or RV are in the morning or evening after 6 p.m. The lightest traffic days will be Saturday and Sunday. Major metro areas like Boston, New York, Seattle, and Tampa will likely see travel times double compared to normal.
AAA booking data for the Memorial Day weekend shows tourist hotspots like Orlando, New York City, and Las Vegas are top domestic destinations. Cruise port cities in Florida and Alaska as well as Seattle are high on the list given the 50 percent increase in domestic cruise bookings compared to last year. Other popular U.S. cities this Memorial Day include Denver, Boston, Anaheim, and Canton (Ohio), home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
For purposes of this forecast, the Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29. The five-day holiday length is consistent with previous holiday periods.
Welcome summer with a Memorial Day getaway
As the weather warms up and the days get longer, the urge to book vacations is heating up too. And what better way to start the summer than with an easy-to-get-to destination in the United States—but where to go for Memorial Day 2023? Experts suggest that the ideal roadtrip would take place within three hours of your home.
I’ve rounded up some of the best spots in the country that either have opportunities to celebrate America’s heroes with parades or special events or have great ways to kick off the summer with outdoor adventures.
Immerse yourselves in the performing arts in Charleston
Beginning over Memorial Day weekend, Spoleto Festival USA brings two weeks of theater, opera, jazz, and symphonic and choral music performances to charming Charleston, South Carolina. The festival fills Charleston’s historic theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Esperanza Spalding as well as emerging performers.
Local highlights include:
Walk along Charleston Waterfront Park for lovely views of the Cooper River
Stroll along King Street
Dine on Southern cuisine
Get your motor running in Indianapolis
“Gentlemen, start your engines.” Who hasn’t heard the immortal words that launch the Indy 500 race every year? So why not take a trip to Indianapolis to spend Memorial Day weekend finding out what all the excitement is about? Other than the actual race, Motor Speedway mania will be revved up with 500 Festival celebrations that include road races, parades, and activities for kids.
Local highlights include:
Wander through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum
Chase after your kids at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Walk in the steps of heroes in Newport
Newport, Rhode Island, will host the dramatic and acclaimed Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial which is on display for the public during Memorial Day at Fort Adams. The moving memorial features nearly 7,000 military boots each affixed with an American flag and bearing the name of an American service member killed in action in the Global War on Terror. The historic fort that dates back to 1799 is also open for self-guided tours for visitors looking to explore one of the most complex fortresses in the country.
Local highlights include:
Visit The Breakers and other historic mansions
Take a sailboat along the Atlantic Coast
Explore the Newport Cliff Walk
Explore the Secret Coast of Mississippi
Bursting with southern hospitality and charm, Mississippi’s Secret Coast boasts 62 miles of scenic shoreline and welcomes families and visitors with warm weather and sunny skies. Another draw: the annual Sounds by the Sea, an open-air Memorial Day concert featuring patriotic selections and fireworks presented by the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra. Bring your picnic basket, blanket, and lounge chairs and enjoy the music and show, all overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
Local highlights include:
Visit the Biloxi Lighthouse
Dine on Gulf seafood, including oysters
Tour Bay St. Louis, a historic beach community with a quaint and funky Old Town
Keep your eye on the sky in Palm Springs
On May 29, Palm Springs Air Museum in California hosts Flower Drop & Air Fair, an annual Memorial Day ceremony. Throughout the day, visitors can watch air shows, visit flight exhibitions, and see a World War II reenactment. The ceremony culminates with the Flower Drop Memorial Service, a fly-by with planes in “missing man formation” (a salute to fallen military members) followed by a B-25 Mitchell Bomber that drops 3,000 red and white carnations on spectators below.
The Grand Canyon is one of Earth’s most beautiful and mysterious places. Its depths stretch seemingly forever and its sheer size can be breathtaking.
The Grand Canyon attracts millions of visitors to northern Arizona each year all hoping to snap an amazing photo of the canyon’s vast landscape. The mile-deep gorge is the centerpiece of such an expansive view that it can’t all be seen at once; at 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide the Grand Canyon is so large it creates its own weather. Deep canyons and rough terrain strongly influence solar heating and air circulation. Consequently, many different microclimates are found throughout the canyon. In fact, getting a view from its two most popular rims (aka tops) requires nearly five hours of driving time.
The Grand Canyon is under the care of the National Park Service yet the park boundaries don’t contain it entirely; the portion protected by Grand Canyon National Park totals 1,904 square miles, a span larger than the smallest U.S. state. In comparison, the tiny East Coast state of Rhode Island contains just 1,214 square miles.
The Grand Canyon was one of the first North American natural wonders to be discovered by Europeans. In 1541, a party of the Coronado expedition under Captain García López de Cardenas stood on the South Rim, 138 years before explorers found Niagara Falls, 167 before Yellowstone, and almost 300 before Yosemite. A group scrambled down toward the river but failed to reach it and returned to announce that the buttes were much taller than the great tower of Seville. Then nothing! Some Coronado chroniclers did not even mention this side trip in their accounts.
Francisco Tomas Garcés, a Franciscan friar traced tribes up the Colorado River then visited the rim in 1776, discovered the Havasupai tribe, and departed. Fur trappers based in Taos knew of the great gorge which they called the Big Cañon and shunned it. When they guided exploring parties of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographic Engineers in search of transportation routes they steered the expeditions away from the canyon which offered no passage by water or land.
Then in 1857, Lt. Joseph C. Ives led a steamboat up the Colorado River in explicit quest of the Big Cañon. After the steamboat struck a rock and sank near Black Canyon, Ives traveled down Diamond Creek to the inner gorge, briefly touched at the South Rim and in 1861 concluded with one of the most infamous proclamations to ever emerge from an American explorer: The region is, of course, altogether valueless … after entering it there is nothing to do but leave. Ours has been the first and will doubtless be the last party of whites to visit this profitless locality.
Eight years later Major John Wesley Powell descended the Colorado River through its gorges renamed the Big Cañon as the Grand Canyon and wrote a classic account of the view from the river. In 1882 Captain Clarence Dutton in the first monograph published by the new U.S. Geological Survey wrote an equally classic account, this time from the rim.
Something had changed. Mostly it was the advent of geology as a science with broad cultural appeal. The Grand Canyon might be valueless as a corridor of transport but it was a wonderland for the new science. It helped enormously that artists were drawn to landscapes of which the canyon seemed both unique and dramatic. Urged by Powell and Dutton, Thomas Moran and William Henry Holmes transformed a supremely visual scene into paint and ink.
Before Powell and Dutton, the Grand Canyon was a place to avoid. Now it was a marvel to admire. Twenty years later Teddy Roosevelt stepped off a train at the South Rim and added nationalism to the mix by declaring it “a natural wonder … absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world.”
It was an astonishing reversal of perception. The geologic mystery of the canyon is how the south-trending Colorado River made a sudden turn westward to carve its way, cross-grained, through four plateaus.
Unlike most great features, the Grand Canyon is invisible until you stand on its rim. You aren’t drawn to it as to a river’s source or a mountain’s peak. You have to seek it out and then cope with its visual revelation. It simply and suddenly is.
President Benjamin Harrison first moved to protect the area in 1893 as a forest reserve; President Theodore Roosevelt designated it a national monument in 1908. It would take a third President—Woodrow Wilson—and 11 more years for the Grand Canyon to become the awe-inspiring national park it is today.
Numbers don’t lie
1,000: Estimated number of caves within the Grand Canyon
5: Species of rattlesnakes found in Grand Canyon National Park (including the pink Grand Canyon rattlesnake, only found there)
278: Miles of the Colorado River that run through the Grand Canyon
4.7 million: Visitors to Grand Canyon National Park in 2022
Mail is delivered to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
Got mules? The most unusual mode of delivery used by the Postal Service is the mule train.
Most visitors to the Grand Canyon admire the landscape from overlooks never venturing to the gorge’s bottom. Yet mail-carrying mules trek 3,000 feet down to the floor of the canyon three hours down but five hours back up, five days a week delivering packages, food, and supplies every day to the Supai village where the Indigenous Havasupai people have lived for nearly 1,000 years.
It’s unclear how long mail has been delivered this way but mule postal deliveries were first documented in 1938. Up to 22 mules are part of the all-weather mail train carrying up to 200 pounds of goods each and traveling 9 miles down into the canyon outside the national park’s boundaries. The trip takes three hours down and five hours on the return and according to the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum is the last official mail-by-mule route in the country and possibly, the world.
The mail supplies the Havasupai people with a multitude of modern amenities from packaged food to medicine to small appliances. The village could not sustain itself without the mail.
Insulated by its own remoteness and towering red cliffs, this village of a few hundred people is a step back in time: no paved streets, no cars, and no streetlights.
One of the mule train’s last stops before the canyon is in Peach Springs, Arizona. It’s the only post office in the country with a walk-in freezer to keep frozen food as cold as possible before the next leg in its journey.
For the Havasupai Indians, the mule train is a lifeline; the nearest supermarket is 120 miles from the top of the canyon.
From there a contractor picks up the mail and drives it an hour on a rough road to the top of the canyon. It’s then handed over to the mule team. According to Daniel Piazza, chief curator of philately (the study of stamps) at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, the same person has held the contract with the Postal Service for more than 25 years and chances are good his son will inherit it when he retires—there aren’t many people clamoring to run the mule mail.
Another unofficial route carries mail to a tourist lodge called Phantom Ranch—it’s not through a U.S. Postal Service contract but the mail that comes and goes as a courtesy to guests does get a special marking that it was mailed by mule.
These areas are not accessible by road. There are only three ways to reach them: by hiking (mule optional) down the canyon, rafting down the Colorado River, or by helicopter.
Since the 1930s, mules have been carrying mail and goods to the Havasupai people located inside the Grand Canyon:
10-22 mules are used daily along with one wrangler on horseback, 5 days a week, traveling 9 miles down into the canyon to the Supai Post Office
It takes 3 hours to get down and 5 hours to get back up
On the way back up, the wrangler untethers the mules and sends them back up on their own
Each mule can carry up to 200 pounds and the weight is loaded equally on each side for balance
The Supai Post Office has a special Mule Train postmark
Leave it as it is. You can not improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American if he can travel at all should see.
RVing is so much easier when you have the right gear
Congratulations! You just purchased your first RV. That sense of accomplishment, excitement, and joy is mixed in with “What the heck did I just do?” Now it’s time to get those 15 things you have to buy after getting a new trailer or motorhome.
The call of the road is stronger than ever and you’re ready to hit the gas pedal. You bought a camper, now you need to prepare for the road.
Your wallet may feel like it’s smoking from the large amount of money you just spent on your RV, but now you have some essential gear you’ll need to purchase. The good part is the amount of money you need to complete your travel trailer supply checklist is like adding a few sticks to the fire, not another gas can.
To make this as painless as possible, I’ve put together an organized list for first-time RV owners on what you should keep in your recreational vehicle of choice. You don’t need to wait until you have your RV this is what you need to know before buying an RV concerning essential gear.
What comes with a new RV
If your sales representative was good at their job, they did a complete walkthrough of your new RV. We hope you came prepared with your own version of an RV checklist to make sure everything is in proper working order. You may be asking yourself, “Do new RVs come with sewer hoses?” or other questions about essential gear.
RV dealerships may have a “new owner’s kit” or some other goodies they give to their customers but there’s no such requirement. If they do offer basic hoses, they may be too short or poorly made.
You’ll either want to walk into their parts department, take a ride over to a camping supply store, or go home and jump on Amazon to find the best RV gadgets.
Essential supplies checklists
There are a few different hoses you’ll need. If you’ve seen that movie with Robin Williams, we promise the real versions are a lot more sanitary.
Sewer hose: A high-quality sewer hose is essential to avoid any unpleasant leaks or malfunctions. I prefer the Camco RhinoFLEX kit that includes a 15-foot hose, a fitting that connects to your RV sewer outlet, an adapter that fits any sewer connection, and storage caps for each end. The durable hose is reinforced with steel wire so you can shape it as needed. Also, carry a 10-foot extension—you’ll be glad you did.
Sewer hose attachments: There are various attachments that make the draining process easier. One type connects to the end of the hose to create a good seal to the dump station. Another is a clear plastic elbow that lets you monitor the flow.
Protective gloves: There are two schools of thought to keep your hands clean. Some like to use rubber gloves that can be washed while others prefer disposable latex gloves they can throw out after each use.
Water hose: RV potable water hoses are lead and BPA-free. I recommend traveling with two hoses since you never know how far your RV will be parked from a city water connection. This hose looks like a garden hose but it’s white in color instead of green. The interior of the hose is lined to keep it sanitary for drinking.
Heated water hose: A heated RV water hose is required for winter camping. This product will give you safe drinking water even when temperatures dip below freezing. These hoses cost $100 or more depending mostly on length but will save you a lot in frozen pipes. A heated hose has a heat strip along the side of the hose that heats up when plugged into a 110-volt electrical connection. Some brands are rated to keep water flowing at minus 40 degrees.
Water pressure guage: This brass attachment connects between the campground’s shore connection and your water hose. It protects your RV’s plumbing system from receiving too much water pressure. It only takes one situation for your water lines to blow.
Water filters: RV water filters probably aren’t the first thing to leap to mind when you’re contemplating everything you need before you hit the road in an RV. But water flavor and quality can be variable when you’re camping. The goal of an RV water filter is to remove sediment (like dirt and sand) and other unwanted contaminants from your RV’s water supply.
Campground water quality is all over the map and that goes double if you’re getting your water elsewhere like an unknown water tap at a truck stop. There are two main categories of RV water filters you can use. One is an exterior RV water filter that goes between the spigot and the RV’s fresh water tank. The other is an interior drinking water filter that goes between the fresh water tank and the faucet used for drinking water.
Most RVs come with electric cords that plug directly into shore power. There are additional things you’ll need to hook in correctly.
Electrical protectors: There are four electrical issues an RVer can encounter while traveling: surges, miswired pedestals, high/low voltage, and wiring issues inside the RV.
What exactly are you protecting your RV from when you use an electrical protection device? It’s much more than power surges which we typically associate surge protectors with. Surges are actually the least common problem with RV electricity. An RV typically has a lot of sensitive electronic circuitry in it and having steady power is crucial to keeping these components from having an early funeral. Failure of components like AC units, refrigerators, washer/dryer, and computers plugged into a wall outlet can be very expensive to replace. You can use one of the Progressive Electric Management Systems or Surge Guard portable or hardwired units.
Extention cord: Sometimes you may have to park your RV further away from the utility box than your cord can reach. You’ll want the same amp extension cord that your unit comes with (30 or 50 amp).
Power adapters: Every RVer needs to carry a few power adapters often referred to as dogbones to make sure that they can connect to whatever power is available to them. These power adapters will have a smaller, lower amperage plug (male blades) on one end and a larger/higher-amperage receptacle (female terminals). Look for UL-listed versions of these adapters preferably with rigid grab handles. They do not change the power output.
Recommended electric adapters include:
50-amp RV plugged into the 30-amp source
50-amp RV plugged into the 15-amp source
30-amp RV plugged into the 15-amp source
Fuse kit: Pickup a set of fuses that handle different amperages. Each color represents a different level of current. They’ll work for your automotive and coach systems.
3. RV jacks
Using your jacks on grass or dirt can be problematic. You may start out level but as you move around in your RV they may start to sink into the ground.
Stablilizer jack pads: Prevent hydraulic or electric jacks from sinking into the ground by using RV stabilizer jack pads. Available in sets of four they are solidly constructed of durable polypropylene with UV inhibitors.
Jack blocks: Jack blocks work like Lego to give your jacks a higher surface to sit on. They are useful if your jacks can’t reach the ground. Interlocking for convenient storage they are available with a handy strap.
Tire chocks: If you’re on an incline, tire chocks prevent your RV from rolling. Use these first, and of course make sure your brakes are set. Always use with travel and fifth-wheel trailers.
Bubble levels: Putting bubble levels on your trailer will help you with the leveling process. Higher-end travel trailers and motorhomes use auto-leveling systems that won’t require the use of bubble levels.
Your RV’s bathroom doesn’t need to smell like a state fair’s port-a-john. Using the proper tools can keep your RV bathroom smelling fresh and toilet clog-free. Preventive maintenance isn’t that difficult but you do want to keep up with it.
Black tank chemical: This chemical comes in your choice of liquid, powder, and packets. A weekly treatment poured down your toilet is all you need to prevent odors and proper breakdown of waste. An an alternative to commercial products you can use Dawn dish soap.
RV toilet paper: Toilet paper designed for RVs are designed to breakdown in black holding tanks. Most residential toilet papers are too thick and will create clogs.
5. Emergency kit
Nobody wants to think about it, but emergency kits are one of those items you want stocked and ready to go. There are still places take hours or days for emergency services to reach. Making sure you’re safe if a disaster strikes is essential.
Road Side Kit: A good quality kit will have hazard signs, flares, jumper cables, and tow cables. You may not find an all-in-one kit with everything you need, so you’ll probably have to piece it together yourself.
First Aid and Survival Kit: You’ll want more than just band-aids and gauze. Good quality first aid kits have everything you need for almost any situation. You’ll also want survival items like matches (waterproof matches if possible) and freeze-dried food for a couple of days. Your freshwater tank will be your source of water, so use it sparingly.
6. Tool kit
Every RVer should have a basic knowledge of D.I.Y. repair. A couple of quick YouTube videos will show you travel trailer dos and don’ts in basic RV repair. Your tool kit should have the following items:
Set of screwdrivers with flat and Phillips heads
Set of Allen wrenches
Drill (if it’s cordless, have at least two batteries where one is fully charged)
Drill bits, screwdriver bits, and bits that fit your jacks
Heavy duty tire gauge
Two (or more) flashlights (preferably one wearable one to keep your hands free)
Small tube of silicone caulk
Rhino, duct, electrical, and masking tape (If you don’t know why, watch a couple of episodes of the Original Macgyver)
If your RV doesn’t have a factory-installed generator, it’s always a good idea to invest in a good one. There are many affordable options that are relatively quiet. This way you’ll have a power source when you’re dry camping or in a power outage.
8. Pet supplies
If you’re one of the over 65 percent of RVers that bring your pet with you having separate pet supplies just for the RV is a great way to avoid forgetting something. Outside safety equipment like leashes, latching devices, and outside toys will make their RV adventure a fun time. If your coach doesn’t have a built-in dog station I recommend a dog dish with a collar to prevent messes.
9. Back up camera
If you have a motorhome, you’ll already have a backup camera. Most towables now come prepped and wired with backup camera brackets. This camera makes traveling and parking easier.
10. Kitchen supplies
RV kitchen must-haves are essential. Having cookware, dishware, cutlery, and other kitchen items separate from your home make it less complicated when you’re getting ready to leave for your camping trip. Camping accessory manufacturers make these items specifically for camping to hold up to the conditions of camping.
RV mattress sizes can be different than residential sizes. Queen mattresses come in short, three-quarters, and other near residential measurements. Sheets, towels, and a portable laundry basket designated for your RV will keep your home linens from degrading too quickly.
12. Outdoor furniture
Picnic tables are good to use but they aren’t that relaxing. Having a mat at your entry will help you keep the dirt outside. Folding tables, folding lounge chairs, and other outdoor furniture will help you make the most of the outdoor camping experience.
13. Cleaning supplies
Camping and dirt go hand-in-hand. Vacuums, laundry detergent, and cleaning wipes should always be in a cabinet. Many veteran RVers like to use Dawn dish soap because of its many uses to clean other items besides dishes.
14. Internet service
Pretty much everything we do these days, we do online—so if you’re going to be spending significant time in an RV, internet is an essential. The bad news is, there’s no one easy answer to this question. Staying connected will depend on where and how you camp and what kind of surfer you are. But that bad news is also good news because it means there are plenty of ways to secure internet for your RV, which means you’re bound to find an option that will work for you. Here are the basic options for RV internet:
The last and most important thing is RV Insurance. RV insurance is different than car insurance. That’s why motorhomes, travel trailers, and campers need custom coverage. RV insurance gives you many of the same benefits you get with car insurance coverage but includes more protection based on the unique risks that RVs face.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.
The South holds its own in terms of small towns packing more than their weight in charm—but Helen, Georgia, really hammers that point home. With around 550 residents and only 2.1 square miles, it’s undoubtedly tiny. But the steeply pitched roofs, quaint cross-gables, and colorful half-timbering make the authentic Bavarian village enchanting. It looks straight out of our fairytale dreams and sits in the mountains of northern Georgia.
The Bavarian options go beyond golden German brews and bratwurst. (Though, that duo never disappoints.) You’ll find the most noticeable among the many cultural spots in the center of town.
Though reborn into its German style in the late 1960s, Helen was originally the home of the Cherokee Native Americans before its time as a gold rush town, then logging town.
Camping around Helen means you’re close to the best spots. Just a few minutes away you might find yourself hiking to the top of Yonah Mountain, tubing down the Chattahoochee River, or witnessing the geographical peculiarity of Raven Cliff Falls.
2. Roswell, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico, is famous for being the location of an alleged UFO crash in 1947. There are many things to do in Roswell including the International UFO Museum & Research Center, the Roswell UFO Spacewalk and Gallery, and the annual UFO Festival (June 30-July2, 2013). If alien-themed activities aren’t your jam, check out attractions like the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, Roswell Museum and Arts Center, Pecos Flavors Winery, and Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Be prepared for hot weather in the summer while winters tend to be short, snowy, windy, and chilly. There are several RV parks to choose from in the area.
A visit to Tombstone, Arizona is like stepping back into history. Otherwise known as the Town Too Tough to Die, Tombstone is the home of the infamous Gunfight at the OK Corral, Bird Cage Theater, Boothill Graveyard, Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Site, and the World’s Largest Rose Bush. Tombstone boasts a mild year-round climate, many wonderful shops, gunfight shows, re-enactments, and museums.
Tombstone is a living town with a colorful past that is celebrated throughout the year with many different events that bring Tombstone’s unique history to life. There are several RV parks in the area and boondocking is also popular in this region.
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a collection of bourbon whiskey distilleries located in Kentucky. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail began in 1999 as a way to bring tourism to Kentucky. Touring the Bourbon Trail gives visitors an up-close look at how bourbon is distilled, the history behind the crafting of bourbon, and the art behind the perfect bourbon tasting.
Currently, there are eighteen bourbon labels that are a part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Each of these bourbon distilleries must be a member of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association which requires paying a fee. Our favorite bourbon distillers include Woodford Reserve, Makers Mark, Wild Turkey, Jim Beam, and Heaven Hill.
There are many more distilleries you can visit in Kentucky that are not part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. One of these is the famous Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, the state capital.
Whispering Hills RV Park in Georgetown and My Old Kentucky Home State Park campground will position you at either end of the trail and give you easy day trip access.
5. Castle in the Clouds, Moultonborough, New Hampshire
Castle in the Clouds is home to Lucknow, an Arts and Crafts-style 16-room mansion built in the Ossipee Mountains in 1914. The 135-acre estate provides one of the most stunning views of Lake Winnipesauke, surrounding mountains, and over 5,500 acres of conserved land.
Enjoy self-guided tours of the mansion and guided tours of its basement. The on-site Carriage House offers dining in its highly-acclaimed restaurant in vintage horse stalls and amidst panoramic lakeside views on the terrace. You can also spend time walking or hiking along 28 miles of trail managed by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust taking in the beauty while weaving along brooks and streams and exploring seven different waterfalls. For those that prefer horseback, Riding in the Clouds offers trail rides, carriage rides, and pony rides.
6. Cabot’s Pueblo Museum, Desert Hot Springs, California
Nestled in the scenic hills of Desert Hot Springs, a Hopi-inspired pueblo sits against a hillside. Not just any pueblo but one built with natural materials collected throughout the desert. Yerxa’s pueblo is a four-story, 5,000 square foot structure. It has 160 windows, 65 doors, 30 rooflines, and 35 rooms. When homesteader Yerxa Cabot settled in Desert Hot Springs, he used re-purposed materials and a little ingenuity to build a home so unique it remains a preserved museum to this day.
New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns welcomes visitors with a unique spectacle: the Bat Flight Program where thousands of bats swarm the night sky. The free event begins in the evening with ranger-led narration about the science behind the spectacle. During the program, visitors watch the park’s large colony of Brazilian free-tailed bats exit the caverns to hunt for insects.
No reservations are required for this program that occurs every evening from Memorial Day weekend through October. The program takes place at the Bat Flight Amphitheater located at the Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Cavern. The start time for the program changes as the summer progresses and sunset times change.
To explore the cavern visitors can choose between the steep paved trail making its way down into the cave or the elevator directly down to the Big Room Trail. The 1.25-mile long Natural Entrance Trail is steep (it gains or loses) around 750 feet in elevation. This is equivalent to walking up a 75-story building. It takes about an hour to complete. Once down in the caves, the Big Room Trail is leading to the popular Big Room.
The Museum of Appalachia is a living history museum, a unique collection of historic pioneer buildings and artifacts assembled for over a half-century. The Museum portrays an authentic mountain farm and pioneer village with some three dozen historic log structures, several exhibit buildings filled with thousands of authentic Appalachian artifacts, multiple gardens, and free-range farm animals, all set in a picturesque venue and surrounded by split-rail fences.
Strolling through the village, it’s easy to imagine we’re living in Appalachia of yesteryear cutting firewood, tending livestock, mending a quilt, or simply rocking on the porch, enjoying the glorious views.
Looking for something corny to do? The Corn Palace’s multi-purpose building in Mitchell, South Dakota is redecorated every year with fresh murals made of corn, native grasses, and other grains.
Mitchell built its first Corn Palace in 1892, then a replacement in 1905. The current Palace opened in 1921. Onion domes and cone-topped castle turrets were added in 1937 then updated to sleeker, LED-enhanced towers in 2015. Through all of its iterations, pennants and flags have fluttered from multiple poles on the roof.
Don’t miss the Corn Palace Festival from August 23-27, 2023. This annual event celebrates the redecorating of the building and features a carnival, musical entertainment, specialty vendors, and more. There are over half a dozen RV parks in the area including Dakota Campground.
In downtown La Grange, quilts are doing what quilts have always done. They’re bringing people together. But instead of women huddling for a quilting bee or gathering at a quilt guild or children snuggling under a grandmother’s creation, visitors—quilters and non-quilters alike—come to the Texas Quilt Museum to view the common and uncommon artistry of handmade quilts from around the world.
The museum opened in November 2011 in adjacent 19th-century buildings that had been extensively renovated into three galleries totaling more than 10,000 square feet. Rotating displays are assembled every several months.
As you take in the sights in your RV this summer, consider adding one or more of these unusual—and sometimes quirky—attractions to your itinerary.
Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.
Bring these 20 healthy snacks on your next road trip
Who doesn’t love good travel snacks? While fuel stops can provide you with a convenient, on-the-go snack, you’ll want to be careful with what you choose to eat while on the road.
As tempting as it may be to grab that Snickers bar when you stop to fill up on fuel for your road trip, you may regret that decision. Not only does a Snickers bar have absolutely no nutritional value to help your body get what it needs, it will actually put harmful chemicals in your body such as high fructose corn syrup.
By packing good, healthy snacks for your road trip, you’ll find that you won’t be tempted to grab that Snickers bar because you know something better is waiting for you in your RV.
If you eat healthy snacks and limit the unhealthy ones you should be more alert while driving. You might also feel good and have more energy to set up camp once you arrive at your destination.
What makes a good snack for a road trip?
Have you ever been on a road trip where you picked up a sweet treat at a fuel stop only to feel hungry again twenty minutes later? That’s because there is a significant difference between healthy snacks that will stave your hunger for a long time and not-so-healthy snacks that will make you feel hungrier in the long run.
So, what makes the healthiest, best road trip snacks?
Balance and measure
One thing you might want to try to do is to choose food that balances your blood sugar. If you eat fresh fruit like an apple pair it with protein. Have a handful of nuts, a smear of peanut butter, meat slices, or cheese.
Just be careful to watch your protein serving size, as nuts, cheese, and meats can pack a lot of calories. It is a good idea to measure out your snacks before driving. Otherwise, you might open a large bag of trail mix and mindlessly eat as you go which can result in an unhealthy calorie intake.
Taste the rainbow
Another suggested way to eat healthy on the road is to pack a rainbow of snacks. It is as simple as having natural foods that are different colors. For example, you can pack orange carrots, red apples, yellow bell peppers, green broccoli, and tan hummus.
Some people say the brighter your natural food color, the healthier it is (usually). Many white or brown foods indicate that they have been processed such as crackers. Limit those foods and avoid foods made bright from food dye.
When looking for a healthy snack, you also want to consider what contains healthy fats. Our bodies need fat but we want to have more healthy ones that come from natural foods. For example, consider making a sandwich with avocado instead of mayonnaise.
If you crave salty or sweet travel snacks while on the road, then treat yourself! Just limit road trip food that makes you feel groggy while driving your rig.
Favorite road trip snacks
The following are ideas for healthy road trip snacks that can be modified for you and your family.
Here, then, are my top picks for healthy road trip snacks.
1. Good ol’ fresh fruit
Many people like to munch on road trips, which is why chips and jerky and other stereotypical road trip snacks are popular. But, fresh fruit is an excellent alternative munchy! Living off chips leaves you feeling groggy and hungry.
It’s a good idea to pair fruit with some protein to help prevent your blood sugar from spiking which can cause tiredness and hunger once the fruit’s sugar wears off. Consider pairing all your fresh fruit snacks with protein like a handful of nuts, a hard-boiled egg, or string cheese.
Grapes are a great, healthy snack for those with a sweet tooth and those who like to munch to pass the time! Apple slices with peanut butter are also a great way to satisfy that need for a crunchy snack.
2. Protein bars
Protein bars can stick with you to keep hunger at bay until you arrive at your destination. Be careful, though with your choice of protein bars. There are countless protein bars out there that are full of nothing but sugar and crazy additives and preservatives that you’ve never heard of.
Instead, look for a protein bar with natural ingredients that will give you the nutrients your body needs and wants without the sugar crash. Be sure to read the nutrients table.
Or consider a meat-bar. Yes. That’s a thing. There’s Bison Bacon Cranberry Bar, Chicken Sriracha Strips, and Oven Baked Pork Rinds.
3. Meat, cheese, and crackers
Meat, cheese, and crackers are a favorite snack. Not only does this delicious combination taste great but it packs a big punch of protein to help tie you over during a long drive.
Though they are more expensive than making your own, you can buy premade packs from the grocery store that are quite yummy.
Consider bringing summer sausage, salami, pepperoni, or your favorite lunch meat. You can also include whatever type of cheese you love. Some folks like to buy blocks of Pepper Jack or Swiss and cut them into bite-size cubes. Cheese Snack Sticks and Babybel cheeses are two easy on-the-go kinds of cheese you can take. They both come with self-contained packages which help keep them fresh until you are ready to nosh.
4. String cheese
You’re never too old to eat string cheese especially when you know the nutritional benefits it provides. Pair your string cheese with apple slices and you’ll have a snack that perfectly covers healthy fat, good protein, and complex carbs. With this trio of nutrients, you won’t be hungry again for a while and you’ll also feel your energy levels increase.
5. Hard-boiled eggs
I have to admit that hard-boiled eggs are not my favorite but they do make a great snack. They are a great source of protein and come with their nature packaging. These little eggs are not only easy to prepare, they are easy to store and easy to eat on the road. You can add a little salt or paprika to spice it up a bit. Just remember, easy on the salt!
For some extra crunch and the perks of some quality complex carbs, add some whole wheat crackers to your egg snack for the perfect pick-me-up.
6. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds pack a lot of excellent nutrients. You can choose the unshelled roasted seeds for an easy-to-eat snack. These are easy to pick up at a convenience or grocery store.
Some people love opening the seeds themselves. It helps pass the time and can also help you eat less. Shelling them can help you feel fuller since it will take longer to eat your snack.
Just be sure to check the serving size since nuts and seeds can have a lot of calories. Plus, opt for salt-free sunflower seeds.
7. Granola bars
Granola and energy bars are convenient road snacks. Bars come in different flavors and can be healthy food but they are not all created equal. Some bars are packed with nutrients while others are just empty calories like a candy bar. You can also find bars with less sugar that will also be likely to have fewer calories.
8. Trail mix
Trail mix is one of the easiest healthy snacks for a road trip and it will fill you up for hours. One serving of a nuts and seeds trail mix has 336 calories, 25 grams of fat (only 6 grams of saturated fat), 4 grams of fiber, 11 grams of protein, and no cholesterol. Plus, this is one of the best road trip snacks for kids.
Trail mix is a great way to get healthy protein and fats into your road trip day. Trail mix takes a while for your body to process making you feel full and energized for a long drive. You want to watch your serving size and choose trail mix that limits candy in the mix.
Consider taking along baby carrots or celery sticks as a healthy snack while driving on travel days. This is an easy way to get your veggies in a while on the road. If you are not a huge vegetable fan, consider bringing a small tub of dip for the veggies.
Hummus is another healthy snack that can be paired with vegetables. You can even buy a lower-fat ranch or make your own using plain Greek yogurt and Ranch seasoning to keep it as healthy as possible. Or, if Ranch is your go-to vegetable dip, bring some along.
10. Beef jerky
This road trip snack is packed full of protein which is one of the best ways to satisfy your hunger. However, don’t opt for jerky from the gas station that comes loaded with preservatives and whose sodium levels are off the charts. Instead, pick up an organic, grass-fed one from your local natural foods store.
Popcorn is a great source of fiber and complex carbs that will help your body stay regular and provide you with energy while on the road. Make sure you’re not getting the microwave popcorn that is filled with chemicals. Instead, grab one from the natural foods store that has ingredients of just corn, salt, and oil. Even better yet, pop some on the stove at home using olive oil or butter and just salt. That way, you know exactly what you’re getting.
The protein from these nuts is plant-based and they’re also packed full of unsaturated fats and fiber. Not to mention, they’re much lower in terms of calories than other nuts. Pistachios weigh in at just 4 calories per nut while Brazil nuts are 33 calories each.
Pistachios aren’t the only great nuts on the block—walnuts are great for their own reasons. They have the highest amount of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids when compared with all other nuts which will help you feel full for a longer amount of time.
Though carrots do have fiber in them and other great nutritional value, one of the reasons I suggest this as a road trip snack is because oftentimes when on the road, you find yourself wanting to eat simply because you’re bored. So, rather than fill that boredom with unhealthy snacks, munch on some carrots that will take you a while to eat and will keep you busy without making a mess.
Similar to carrots, grapes are a great option for when you’re bored and want to eat something on the road. Healthy, clean, and easy to eat, grapes will help stave off the boredom. Just don’t go overboard with the grapes—they do have a lot of sugar in them.
16. Hummus and celery
Hummus is another great protein-packed snack that will help keep your belly full and happy. In addition, hummus is full of B vitamins. And celery is the perfect dipping stick. Low in calories, but high in water content, your body will love this hummus-celery combo.
17. Greek yogurt
It’s protein all the way with Greek yogurt. This little snack is full of it and will help keep you full until your next meal. Top your Greek yogurt with some nuts or fruit for some added fiber and energy.
18. PB sandwich (skip the J)
Though I love jelly, it usually doesn’t offer up anything but loads of added sugar. Instead, grab for quality peanut butter (be sure to check your ingredients and say no to peanut butter with sugar added to it for a healthy dose of protein and fat.
Slather that peanut butter on some whole wheat bread and you’ve covered your complex carbs, your protein, and your fat. If you’re feeling extra hungry, grab a banana, slice it up, and throw it in between the bread and have yourself a PB&B.
19. Dried fruits
Before you buy any dried fruits, be sure you check the label. You do not want to get any that have added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Find the ones that simply have ingredients listed as just the fruit and nothing else. Better yet, make your own.
20. Dark chocolate
Yes, you read that right: dark chocolate. While I don’t recommend chowing down an entire bar in one sitting (and you probably wouldn’t want to with the really dark stuff), there are some benefits from eating a bit of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is known to lower the risk of heart disease while also increasing brain function. As if we weren’t on board already!
The most important thing is to snack on things that are filled with real food and nourishing ingredients that will leave you feeling energised and happy.
From authentic dishes and Mardi Gras to adventures into nature, these are just a few of the reasons why I love Louisiana
There are infinite opportunities to get to know Louisiana, a state known for some of the nation’s (if not the world’s) friendliest folks, plus the kind of cuisine, music, and culture that are found nowhere else.
Here are a few of my favorites but by no means is this list complete—there’s simply too much to see and do! Add these to your Louisiana must-experience list.
1. Creole Nature Trail All-American Road
Starting on the outskirts of Lake Charles and ending at the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is a network of byways where you’ll find more than 400 bird species, alligators galore, and 26 miles of Gulf of Mexico beaches. Also called America’s Outback, the Creole Nature Trail takes visitors through 180 miles of southwest Louisiana’s backroads.
You’ll pass through small fishing villages, National Wildlife Refuges to reach the little-visited, remote Holly and Cameron beaches. Take a side trip down to Sabine Lake or drive onto a ferry that takes visitors across Calcasieu Pass. Throughout the trip, expect to see exotic birds; this area is part of the migratory Mississippi Flyway.
Louisiana serves up a lot more memorable experiences than just bowls of its famed gumbo.
To experience an indelible part of the state’s past, present, and future visit the mysterious and exquisite swamps throughout south Louisiana, home to one of the planet’s richest and most diverse ecosystems. Perceived as beautiful and menacing, south Louisiana’s ancient swamps have long captivated writers, historians, and travelers.
Just the name Louisiana brings to mind images of moss-draped oak trees, bald cypresses with massive, bottle-like trunks, and flat-bottom boats effortlessly gliding through waters populated with alligators. On a south Louisiana swamp tour, you’re likely to see all of those plus some unexpected surprises.
There are many outfitters who can get you deep into the waters of the Honey Island Swamp (on Louisiana’s Northshore) the Manchac Swamp (between Baton Rouge and New Orleans), Barataria Bay (south of New Orleans), and the massive Atchafalaya Basin between Baton Rouge and Lafayette. All swamps have their own stories to tell and with the help of expert local guides you’re guaranteed to have the kind of adventure you’ll only find in Louisiana.
3. Bayou Teche
The definition of a bayou is “a slow-moving body of water” and South Louisiana is full of them. But my favorite is Bayou Teche which meanders for 125 miles through charming towns like New Iberia, Breaux Bridge, and St. Martinville offering lovely vistas all along the way.
Bayou Teche was the Mississippi River’s main course when it developed a delta about 2,800 to 4,500 years ago. From its southernmost point in Morgan City to its northern end in Arnaudville, the byway crosses beautiful marshes and fields of sugar cane connecting lovely towns that have well-preserved historic districts.
Sample Acadian culture in cafés and dance halls serve up Cajun and zydeco music along with boiled crawfish and étouffée. Stately mansions along with the bayou exhibit the lifestyles of sugar barons from the past. The cuisine, customs, and architecture reflect the influences of Native Americans, Europeans, Africans, the Caribbean, and other peoples who settled the area.
New Iberia’s Conrad Rice Mill is the oldest rice mill in America and is also one of the leading tourist attractions in the Bayou Teche area. At this National Register of Historic Places site, you can watch an introductory video about the history of rice farming in Louisiana, tour the mill itself, and shop at the KONRIKO Company Store for some truly unique local souvenirs.
P.A. Conrad founded the Conrad Rice Mill and Planting Company in 1912. He would cut the rice by hand and let it sun-dry on the levees before putting the rice in the threshers. The rice was poured into 100-pound bags and taken to the mill. At that time, the mill operated only three to four months out of the year. Conrad would sell his rice from inventory waiting for the next crop to harvest.
Tours are Monday to Saturday at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm. The admission fee for the tour is $5/adult with a discounted rate for seniors and children. The tour consists of a slide presentation about the area and a guided walk tour of the mill.
5. Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras is just one of many reasons Louisiana has gained a reputation for being the nation’s most festive state. Mardi Gras isn’t just a day (also known as Fat Tuesday)—it’s also a season running from Twelfth Night (also known as Epiphany) to Ash Wednesday.
Visitors can also get a feel for the festivities anytime of the year. Check out the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu in Lake Charles, home to a stellar collection of Carnival costumes and artifacts from past decades. Or see the Mardi Gras: It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana exhibit at Louisiana State Museum’s The Presbytère in New Orleans to learn about the state’s rich Mardi Gras history. You can see Mardi Gras being built year-round at Mardi Gras World in New Orleans where some of the biggest and best parade floats are being constructed.
Louisiana’s food is steeped with historical influences including Cajun and Creole cuisines which are relatively similar to each other. Cajun and Creole are two distinct cultures that over the years have continued to blend.
If you’re versed on Louisiana history and culture then all you really need to know is that Creole cuisine uses tomatoes and proper Cajun food does not. That’s how you tell a Cajun vs. Creole gumbo or jambalaya. Other popular dishes include étouffée (a seafood stew) and beignets (fried doughnuts).
A vastly simplified way to describe the two cuisines is to deem Creole cuisine as city food while Cajun cuisine is often referred to as country food. Cajun is a style of cooking that has its roots in the French-Canadian settlers who arrived in the area in the 18th century. Cajun dishes are typically very spicy and full of flavor and they often include seafood, rice, and beans.
Be sure to try some of the delicious Cajun and Creole food on offer. You can find it in restaurants all over the state but for a truly authentic experience head to the bayous of southwest Louisiana.
7. Avery Island
The McIlhenny family introduced Tabasco pepper sauce in 1868. Experience the history and production of the world-famous hot sauce during your visit to Avery Island. The Avery Island Fan Experience includes a self-guided tour of the TABASCO Museum, Pepper Greenhouse, Barrel Warehouse, Avery Island Conservation, Salt Mine diorama, TABASCO Country Store, TABASCO Restaurant 1868! and the 170-acre natural beauty of Jungle Gardens. Admission is $15.50/adult, $12.50/child, and $15.95/senior and veteran.
E.A. McIlhenny created the 170-acre Jungle Garden in 1935 and opened it to the public to enjoy his collection of camellias, azaleas, and other imported plants. You may see wildlife such as alligators, bears, bobcats, deer, and other wildlife as you walk or drive along man-made lagoons that trail Bayou Petit Anse. The over 900-year-old Buddha sits in the Temple he created. And visit Bird City, home to thousands of egrets, herons, and other birds!
If the pelican wasn’t on Louisiana’s state flag, the crawfish might as well be. It’s just that important to the state’s identity, economy, and cuisine. The little red crustacean is found in Cajun and Creole food throughout Louisiana cooked every which way imaginable.
Crawfish are part of Louisiana’s history. The Houma Indian tribe has used the crawfish as its emblem for centuries. Today, Louisiana leads the nation in crawfish production.
What makes crawfish even more of a precious resource is the fact that it’s so seasonal. February to mid-May is the prime time to find fresh, live crawfish.
Jeff Davis Parish offers crawfish farm tours which give visitors an inside glimpse of crawfish ecology and the business of farming them. The tours operate from March to May (the crawfish harvest season) on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings. Spectators will experience the habitat, harvest, calculation, distribution, and consumption of Louisiana’s #1 crustacean.
The Louisiana Legislature named Breaux Bridge the Crawfish Capital of the World in 1959 and the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival was born in 1960. Replete with music, food, and fun this festival personifies the Cajun culture like no other.
Trying boudin is a must when visiting Louisiana. Though the recipe is uncomplicated—pork, rice, seasonings, and spice stuffed into an edible casing—each and every boudin is unique in texture and taste. Vendors are known for their distinct links. Boudin is a roughly half-pound, half-foot length of sausage available for purchase in most every local meat market, grocery store, and gas station. A perfect way to explore the region is to try one boudin after another, link after steaming hot link, to form a chain that connects, or literally links, the Cajun prairie towns to the Creole bayou communities.
Whether it’s smoked, fried as a boudin ball, or made from seafood rather than pork, there are many worthy variations. The best versions are found at gas stations and markets, like Best Stop or Billy’s, both in the town of Scott. Specialty meat markets like Don’s in Carencro offer a heart-stopping range of other meaty treats. And of course you’ll find high-end versions in restaurants like Cochon in New Orleans but do yourself a favor and check out the real deal at some of the old-school joints throughout Cajun Country.
10. Atchafalaya National Heritage Area
The Atchafalaya National Heritage Area known as America’s Foreign Country is full of opportunities to take advantage of the great outdoors. Whether it’s paddling on the sparkling waters, hiking through the lush greenery, biking on winding paths, or keeping an eye out for that elusive bird you’ve been looking for—the Atchafalaya National Heritage area has everything to offer.
An American-Indian word, Atchafalaya (think of a sneeze: uh-CHA-fuh-lie-uh) means long river. Established in 2006, the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area stretches across 14 parishes in south-central Louisiana. It is among the most culturally rich and ecologically varied regions in the United States, home to the Cajun culture as well as a diverse population of European, African, Caribbean, and Native-American descent.
Wondering where to travel in June? Why not opt for a nature getaway and visit one of America’s National Parks in June!
The national parks are a treasure—beautiful, wild, and full of wonders to see. But there’s more to experience than taking in gorgeous scenery from your vehicle or lookout points. National parks are natural playgrounds, full of possible adventures.
The most famous offerings of the National Park Service (NPS) are the 63 national parks including Arches, Great Smoky Mountains, and Grand Canyon. But there are 424 NPS units across the country that also includes national monuments, national seashores, national recreation areas, national battlefields, and national memorials. These sites are outside the main focus of this guide.
In this guide, I cover six great parks to visit plus four bonus parks.
About this National Park series
This article is part of a series about the best national parks to visit each month. In this series, every national park is listed at least once and many are listed multiple times. It is a series of 12 articles, one for each month of the year.
These articles take into account weather, crowd levels, the best time to go hiking, special events, road closures, and my personal experiences in the parks. Based on these factors, I picked out what I think are the optimal times to visit each park. Since I haven’t been to all of the national parks I include only the parks we have visited on at lease one occasion.
For an overview of the best time to visit each national park, check out my Best National Parks by Season guide. This guide will cover the best time to visit each national park based on these factors. First are the links to my posts about the best parks to visit, month-by-month. This is followed by a list that illustrates the best time to visit each national park based on weather and crowd levels. Please note this overview will be posted following the completion of this 12 month guide in February 2024.
And at the end of this article, I have links to the other guides in my Best National Parks by Month series.
Visiting the National Parks in June
From the end of May into June, numerous parks fully open their roads. In June, the weather is warm and the days are the longest of the year giving you plenty of time to explore the parks.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The information I provide for each national park does not include temporary road closures, since these dates are constantly changing. Roads can close in the national parks at any time, so I recommend getting updates on the NPS website while planning your trip.
Best National Parks in June
1 & 2. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks sit side by side in central California. Filled with alpine peaks, deep canyons, and the largest trees in the world, you should spend several days here.
Kings Canyon preserves a glacially carved valley (named Kings Canyon) and Grant Grove which is home to General Grant, the second largest tree in the world.
Sitting right beside Kings Canyon is Sequoia National Park. It is here that you will walk among towering sequoia trees and see the largest tree in the world, the General Sherman.
Why Visit Kings Canyon & Sequoia in June: The weather is pretty much perfect and crowd levels aren’t yet at their peak levels (that usually occurs in July and August).
Weather: The average high is 71°F and the average low is 46°F. Rainfall is very low.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is 5:30 am and sunset is 8:15 pm.
Top experiences: Visit Grant Grove and drive Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, visit Zumwalt Meadows, see the General Sherman Tree, hike Moro Rock, and visit Crescent Meadows.
Ultimate experience: Explore the backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park. 77 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail/John Muir Trail runs through Kings Canyon National Park making this a top backpacking destination in the U.S.
How Many Days Do You Need? Spend a minimum of one day in each park.
Awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, extraordinary…these are all words that describe the Grand Canyon. But in all honesty, words, and even photos, cannot quite capture what it is like to stand on the rim and gaze out across the canyon.
This massive national park has several sections to it. Most visitors spend their time on the South Rim where roads and hiking trails lead to stunning viewpoints of the Grand Canyon. This is also the place to hike the South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails.
In mid-May, the road to the North Rim opens. If you visit the Grand Canyon in June, you have the option to add on the North Rim and it’s worth it. Be aware that the travel distance between the North Rim and the South Rim is 210 miles.
Why visit the Grand Canyon in June: To visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon which opens in mid-May. Now that the North Rim is open it’s also possible to hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim but just be aware that temperatures in the canyon will be very hot. A better time to do this hike is September into October when the temperatures are cooler and the North Rim is still open.
Weather: On the South Rim, the average high is 82°F and the average low is 63°F. The high temperature can climb up to 100°F on unusually hot days. Below the rim, temperatures are much hotter. Down by the Colorado River, the temperature can easily be over 110°F.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 5 am and sunset is at 7:40 pm.
Top experiences: Visit the South Rim viewpoints, enjoy the view of the Grand Canyon at sunrise and/or sunset, hike below the rim on the Bright Angel or South Kaibab Trail, and take a flightseeing tour by airplane or helicopter.
Ultimate adventure: Hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim. This is a massive day hike and should only be attempted by those with excellent fitness and lots of hiking experience.
How much time do you need? I recommend spending two to three days on the South Rim to visit the highlights. Three days gives you enough time to visit the best overlooks on the South Rim, go on a helicopter ride, and spend some time hiking below the rim.
This national park protects Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world. In some ways, it’s like a combination of Yellowstone + Mount Rainer just on a smaller scale. At Lassen Volcanic, you’ll see steaming fumaroles, pretty lakes, colorful landscapes, and Lassen Peak.
Cool fact: Lassen Volcanic National Park one of the few places in the world where you can see all four types of volcanoes: shield, stratovolcano, cinder cone, and plug.
Why visit Lassen Volcanic in June: In May and June, the snow is melting in the park and many of the roads are cleared of snow. By June, many of the roads and trails around Manzanita Lake are open. However, some roads and trails at the higher elevation (for example, Lassen Peak), may not open until July. If you want full access to the park, delay your visit for the second half of July into August. However, crowds are also at their peak in July so if you want good weather and fewer crowds, June is a nice time to visit Lassen Volcanic.
Weather: In June, the average high is 71°F and the average low is 36°F. Rainfall is low.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 5:30 am and sunset is at 8:40 pm.
Top experiences: Walk Bumpass Hell Trail (isn’t that the best name for a hiking trail?), capture the reflection of Lassen Peak in Manzanita Lake, go for a scenic drive on Lassen Park Highway, visit Kings Creek Falls and Mill Creek Falls, visit Devils Kitchen, and hike to the top of Lassen Peak.
Ultimate adventure: Hike to the summit of Brokeoff Mountain for panoramic views of the park. Note, this hike is best attempted in late summer to early fall when the trail is free of snow.
How many days do you need? One day is just enough time to drive through the park and see the highlights but plan on spending two to three days here to hike several more trails and thoroughly explore the park.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a picturesque wilderness of grasslands and badlands. Bison, feral horses, pronghorns, and elk roam the landscapes, hiking trails meander through the colorful bentonite hills, and scenic roads take visitors to numerous stunning overlooks.
This national park is made up of three separate units: the South Unit, the North Unit, and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit. Of the three, the South Unit is the more popular. In the North Unit, the views of the badlands are beautiful, there are several short, fun trails to hike, and there is a very good chance you will spot bison and other wildlife right from your car.
Why visit Theodore Roosevelt in June: Unless you are here during a heat wave, the weather is warm and fantastic. June is the beginning of the busy summer season but crowds are lower in June than the rest of the summer and the weather is cooler.
Weather: The average high is 64°F and the average low is 53°F. On hotter than average days the temperature can get up into the 80s. This is one of the wettest months of the year however rainfall is still relatively low with about 3 inches of rain falling in June.
Sunrise & sunset (South Unit): Sunrise is at 5 am and sunset is at 8:50 pm. The South Unit is in the Mountain Time Zone and the North Unit is in the Central Time Zone.
Top experiences: Hike the Caprock Coulee Trail, enjoy the view from Sperati Point and the Wind Canyon Trail, drive the Scenic Drive in both units, visit the Petrified Forest, hike the Ekblom and Big Plateau Loop, and visit River Bend Overlook.
How many days do you need? If you want to explore both the North and South Units, you will need at least two days in Theodore Roosevelt National Park (one day for each unit).
For millions of years, the New River has been carving out a 73,000 acre gorge in West Virginia. The sandstone cliffs and whitewater rapids create world-class rock climbing and whitewater rafting destinations. Hiking and mountain biking trails wind through the forests leading to overlooks and historic settlements.
This is a newcomer to the US national parks list. New River Gorge officially became a national park in 2020 but it has long been a whitewater rafting destination in the United States.
Why visit New River Gorge in June: With warm weather this is a great time to go hiking and biking in New River Gorge National Park. The water temperature is also warming up so this also becomes a good time to go whitewater rafting.
Weather: The average high is 78°F and the average low is 60°F. June is one of the wettest months of the year.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 6:00 am and sunset is at 8:50 pm.
Top experiences: Do the Bridge Walk, hike the Long Point Trail, drive Fayette Station Road, go mountain biking and rock climbing, enjoy the view from Grandview Overlook, hike the Castle Rock Trail, and visit Sandstone Falls.
Ultimate adventure: Go white water rafting on the New River (rafting season is April through October).
How many days do you need? If you want to visit the three main areas of New River Gorge National Park (Canyon Rim, Grandview, and Sandstone) and have enough time to go whitewater rafting, you will need three to four days. However, with less time, you can visit the highlights and hike a few of the trails.
National park-like amenities tell the story of America’s most infamous active volcano. Gorgeous wildflower-packed views of the volcano can be enjoyed in spots like Bear Meadows while those seeking a closer view of the crater rim may drive to the Windy Ridge viewpoint or even summit the rim of the 8,365-foot volcano with a permit.
At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking this is Bryce Canyon National Park. It looks almost identical to its more famous national park cousin which is located about an hour to the east. Yet with less than a quarter of the annual visitation of Bryce, this small but mighty national monument makes a worthy alternative for those seeking color-packed canyon views stretching across three miles at an elevation of around 10,000 feet.
Colonial National Historical Park
Want to go way back in American history? Then you’ll head to some of the first colonies in the New World. The Colonial National Historical Park in Virginia covers Historic Jamestowne (the first permanent English settlement in North America) and Yorktown Battlefield (site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War).
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
The Vanderbilt Mansion is a symbol of a country in the grip of change after the Civil War. Visitors to the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site will learn about the architecture and landscaping of the grounds as well as the influence of the Vanderbilt family.
January: Best National Parks to Visit in January (to be posted mid-December) February: Best National Parks to Visit in February (to be posted mid-January) March: Best National Parks to Visit in March (to be posted mid-February) April:Best National Parks to Visit in April May:Best National Parks to Visit in May June: Best National Parks to Visit in June July: Best National Parks to Visit in July (to be posted mid-June) August: Best National Parks to Visit in August (to be posted mid-July) September: Best National Parks to Visit in September (to be posted mid-August) October: Best National Parks to Visit in October (to be posted mid-September) November: Best National Parks to Visit in November (to be posted mid-October) December: Best National Parks to Visit in December (to be posted mid-November)
However one reaches the parks, the main thing is to slow down and absorb the natural wonders at leisure.
Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip cookie dough pops…the possibilities are endless for tasty, irresistible treats on National Chocolate Chip Day
Today is National Chocolate Chip Day! Chocolate chips are an essential ingredient in dozens of delicious baked goods—chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip pancakes, chocolate chip muffins, chocolate chip brownies, chocolate chip bagels, and many more. You can even find chili recipes that call for these sweet morsels!
We might not know which came first—the chicken, or the egg—but when it comes to chocolate chips and their namesake cookie, the history is well-documented and it might not be what you think. Chocolate chips actually came after the chocolate chip cookie and despite their presence everywhere are likely younger than your grandmother.
The recipe spread like wildfire and after a few years of selling their semi-sweet chocolate bars with a chopping tool (for easy chunking of the bar), Nestlé went one step further by introducing chocolate morsels to the world. With such a history and with so much mass appeal it’s no surprise that this kitchen delight deserves celebration and that’s why on May 15, we have National Chocolate Chip Day.
Have you ever wondered how a single ingredient would change a recipe? If it weren’t for one curious baker, it would be hard to imagine where we would be without the invention of chocolate chips.
In 1937, Ruth Graves Wakefield and her husband, Kenneth, owned the popular Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. While mulling new desserts to serve at the inn’s restaurant, she decided to make a batch of Butter Drop Do pecan cookies (a thin butterscotch treat) with an alteration using semisweet chocolate instead of baker’s chocolate.
Rather than melting in the baker’s chocolate, she used an ice pick to cut the semisweet chocolate into tiny pieces. Upon removing the cookies from the oven, Wakefield found that the semisweet chocolate had held its shape much better than baker’s chocolate which tended to spread throughout the dough during baking to create a chocolate-flavored cookie. These cookies instead had sweet little nuggets of chocolate studded throughout. The recipe for the treats—known as Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies—was included in a late 1930s edition of her cookbook, Ruth Wakefield’s Tried and True Recipes.
Nestle initially included a small chopping tool with the chocolate bars, too.
Starting in 1941, Nestle and other competitors started selling the chocolate in chip or morsel form. For the first time, bakers began making chocolate chip cookies without chopping up the chocolate bar first.
Chocolate chips originally came in semi-sweet. Later, chocolate producers began offering bittersweet, mint, white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white and dark swirled. Today, chips also come in a variety of other flavors that bakers and candy makers use creatively in their kitchens.
While cookies may be the first treat to come to mind, imagination is really the only thing limiting how chocolate chips can be used in baking and candy making. Even savory dishes feature chocolate chips in a variety of ways, too. Had Ruth Graves Wakefield never wondered what a few chopped up chunks of chocolate would be like in her baking, we wouldn’t even have chocolate chip cookies.
National Chocolate Chip Day timeline
1937: Ruth Graves Wakefield creates the chocolate-chip cookie
1963: Chips Ahoy! hits the shelves in U.S. supermarkets
1991: Ben and Jerry’s creates Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
1997: The chocolate-chip cookie is named and recognized as the official state cookie of Massachusetts
Why I love National Chocolate Chip Day
Chocolate chips are everywhere: They might have been created with one purpose in mind but chocolate chips have branched out since their early days as cookie-fillers. Nowadays, it’s hard to think up a confection that hasn’t donned a chocolate chip cap whether its pancakes, muffins, or ice cream sundaes.
The choices … oh, so many choices: The chocolate chips that eventually found their way into the classic chocolate chip cookie are made of semi-sweet chocolate but they now come in a plethora of options ranging from white chocolate to dark chocolate and all the way to caramel ensuring that no matter what you’re baking there’s a place for a chip!
Big or small—I’ll eat them all: Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies, no matter the size. They could be small (so long as there’s enough to have more than one!) or they could be massive as in the case of Immaculate Baking’s 40,000 pound Guinness Record breaker but regardless of size, they’re sure to draw a crowd. The fact that chocolate chips were used to break the record of world’s largest cookie is only a testament to their universality and it’s safe to say that they’ll always have a space on the shelf of any baker.
National Chocolate Chip Day activities
Hack the kitchen: Chocolate for dinner
Most chefs know how to use tried-and-true flavor combinations to great effect but the best chefs create new combinations altogether. Try using chocolate chips in a dinner recipe for a real challenge. If you’re looking for a place to start, you might consider trying a Mexican mole (pronounced moh-lay) sauce recipe. Mole sauce tastes fantastic with chicken, tostadas, chicken or veggie enchiladas, tacos, and burritos.
How big can you bake it?
You probably won’t approach the world record but National Chocolate Chip Day is the perfect occasion to try your hand at baking the biggest chocolate chip cookie possible.
Art you can eat
With a mix of chocolate chips, M&Ms, and some other similarly-sized chocolate candies you’re well on your way to a kid-friendly edible art project!
The landscapes across America’s Southwest are some of the most spectacular to be found anywhere on the planet
A Southwest road trip is America at its best. Picture yourself driving along desert roads sometimes for hours on end. Highways snake between burnt red canyons, beside acres of geological anomalies you can’t quite imagine until you’ve seen them for yourself. Your Southwest road trip itinerary may have you passing through tiny towns with names like Tropic and Beaver and diners slinging Navajo tacos alongside more classic greasy spoon fare.
A road trip is a perfect way to explore special spots in the Southwest—Nevada, Utah, and Arizona—where you can see ghost towns, hoodoos, natural arches, sandstone spectacles, dark-sky stars, and a huge hole in the ground.
But, the real reason to undertake a road trip through Utah, Arizona, and the rest of the American Southwest is the National Parks. Legendary parks include the Grand Canyon and Utah’s The Big Five—Zion, Bryce, Arches, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands. The Southwest is a quintessential part of any US National Parks road trip.
On top of that, there are tons of national monuments (Bears Ears, Dinosaur, Hovenweep, Natural Bridges, Rainbow Bridge, Cedar Breaks, and Grand Staircase-Escalante, to name a few) and plenty more state parks and federal lands worth checking out. It goes without saying that you might not see everything in the American Southwest in one sweep. While fully customizable, I’d recommend at least a two-week itinerary to get the most out of your Nevada, Utah, and Arizona road trip.
Before you begin, consider purchasing an annual national parks pass at the first park you enter. That $80 pass gets everyone in your car into every national park for a full year. You don’t have to be an American citizen to buy an annual pass but if you are and you’re age 62-plus buy your lifetime pass for $80 and never again pay to enter a U.S. national park. (Considering that Zion National Park’s entry fee is $35 per car, getting the annual pass is something of a no-brainer.)
Nevada: Ghosts, gold and Red Rock
While the lure of Sin City in Nevada is strong, there’s more to the Vegas environs than casinos and outlet malls. So sleep in Las Vegas to start your adventure, if you’d like, perhaps at Las Vegas RV Resort where we have stayed on several occasions.
Start with an easy ride to Red Rock Canyon Park where you’ll need a timed reservation to enter between October and May. It’s just 15 minutes west of the Strip but transports you to a completely different world of massive striated red rocks where easy walking trails lead to ancient Native American petroglyphs.
Red Rock is lovely but a favorite Nevada stop is Rhyolite, a gold-rush ghost town northwest of Vegas. Founded in 1904, it grew to a city of 5,000 residents—and was abandoned by 1916. Today it is a delightful mix of art installations (begun in 1981) known as the Goldwell Open Air Museum and the ghost town’s abandoned brick homes, banks, railroad depot, and a house built of glass bottles. The combination is absolutely fascinating and well worth the drive into what seems to be the middle of nowhere.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is located on the Colorado River about 25 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. With 1.5 million acres of mountains and valleys there are plenty of activities visitors can enjoy at and around Lake Mead. Bicyclists are welcome to ride on park roads, on routes designated for bicycle use, and hikers can enjoy beautiful trails with impeccable views.
Utah: Hoodoos, arches and more
Rolling north into southern Utah transports you into a world of contrasts from vast arid deserts to densely wooded mountains, massive sandstone cliffs, amazing natural-stone arches, and seriously wacky rock formations.
Begin in Zion, Utah’s first national park where most months you’ll need to park your car and ride the free shuttle from the visitor center into the park. This park and its famous sites—Zion Canyon, Kolob Arch, the Narrows, Great White Throne, and Angels Landing—are so popular that massive crowds form especially during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Jump on and off the shuttle as often as you’d like but don’t miss the last one as you’ll be walking nine miles to get out of the park if you do!
Bryce Canyon National Park is probably the most eye-popping, mind-boggling place you will ever see with its hoodoos (to call them irregular rock formations is just inadequate) of every shape and size. It’s the largest concentration of these magical forms anywhere in the world and a true must-see.
Set up camp at one of Ruby’s beautiful campsites nestled in the pines. Located ½-mile from the entrance to Bryce Canyon, Ruby’s Campground & RV Park offers RV spaces with full hookups.
Make your way up the road to see all of the incredible sights, hike down into the canyon for a closer look, and don’t miss the Milky Way stargazing led by a park ranger. Much of the Southwest is toasty in summer but you’ll need a warm coat for this park where the night (and early morning) temps can be seriously chilly at any time of year.
Moving on to the northwest, Capitol Reef National Park is the true undiscovered gem of Utah. You’ll be gobsmacked at the huge cliffs of bright, rainbow-colored sandstone looming high above you with peculiarly shaped hoodoos hanging at perilous angles. Find hidden arches and petroglyphs, take a horseback ride or a hike and be sure to spot the iconic white sandstone dome, shaped like the U.S. Capitol building.
Approaching the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park on the Utah/Arizona border brings a strange sense of deja vu if you’re a film fan. Turns out those iconic landscapes are real, not cinematic sets. Monument Valley served as the spectacular setting of numerous famous movies. Think Stagecoach, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and Fort Apache for this is the place that John Wayne and John Ford turned into the world’s ultimate vision of the Wild West; later, Forrest Gump cemented it as an Instagram hotspot.
Monument Valley is owned by the Navajo Nation so book a camping site at The View RV Park and then drive in, paying $8 per person to see the Mittens, Elephant Butte, John Ford’s Point, Artist’s Point and more on the 17-mile loop drive within the park. Taking a Navajo-guided tour is an incredible way to learn more about this sacred place and the indigenous people who still call it home.
Arizona: Sunrise, sunset, and a flyover at the Big Hole
The last stop on our Wild West road trip is Arizona’s big hole in the ground also known as the Grand Canyon. One of the world’s truly astonishing natural wonders, the canyon is the longest on the planet but not the deepest despite being more than a mile down. The Colorado River began eroding away this sandstone and limestone eons ago to create this eye-popping place.
Book way ahead to stay at the iconic El Tovar Hotel inside the park for it’s the best way to see the sun rise and set right out your front door as the canyon changes hues. Alternately book a camping site at Mather Campground (no hookups) or Trailer Village (full hookups) in the South Rim Village.
Hike down into the canyon as far as you can go to see it up close but do remember that climbing back out is a lot harder to do. For an once-in-a-lifetime thrill, hop on a helicopter via Grand Canyon Helicopters at the airport just outside the south rim entrance, soar over the edge and swoop down into the canyon—a perfect ending to a Wild West journey filled with adventure.
If you just toss a bunch of random items into your recreational vehicle with no organization and then head down the road, you are bound to have problems during your trip.
It is vital to know how to properly load your RV safely based on its weight ratings. You need a strategy that will reduce swaying, bouncing, tire blowouts, and a host of other problems.
RV weight distribution is something not a lot of RV owners think about. This is unfortunate because ensuring that the weight in your RV is evenly distributed is incredibly important for safety reasons.
Trailers with cargo that haven’t been distributed across the rig evenly are more likely to sway. Additionally, all RVs that are loaded unevenly (or overloaded) can suffer from suspension issues, problems with tires, and in some cases, issues with steering.
Clearly, these are not things you want to have trouble with while driving down the road. Fortunately, this is a problem that can be easy to avoid. The solution lies in the way you load RV.
Here are my tips for packing your motorhome or trailer with RV weight distribution in mind.
Why can’t you just throw everything in?
It is extremely important to learn how to load and pack your recreational vehicle both from comfort and safety standpoints.
People often forget that an RV is basically just a vehicle and as such it needs to be well balanced if it is to move safely along roads and highways. Lopsided coaches don’t hold up well to slippery roads nor do they do well in areas where there is road construction. Furthermore, a poorly packed coach makes finding things difficult and leaves travelers doing without items they couldn’t readily locate.
This is why you must pack and load your camper, travel trailer, or motorhome carefully. Comfort and safety are everything when you are on the road and only you can take steps to make sure things are set up and done right.
Why proper loading and packing matters
When coaches are not balanced, they are dangerous and difficult to drive safely.
When they are not properly packed, they also can make travelers miserable.
You do not want to find yourself standing on the side of the road beside your overturned coach and you certainly do not want to use your commode only to find you have forgotten your toilet paper!
If you learn the correct method to prepare your motorhome or camper for travel, these types of situations become non issues. With careful organization and planning, you should never have to worry.
How to balance your RV load
The keys to good loading are to keep your unit bottom-heavy and make sure that the items you pack are distributed over your coach’s axles. Here are the most important basics:
Check your manuals to find out the maximum weight each axle can carry
Weigh the empty coach on a certified scale at a truck stop
Pack it, making sure that the heavier items are low and are spread out evenly along its entire length
Weigh it again
Make adjustments as needed
The heaviest weight in a travel unit is in the appliances, slide rooms, engine, generator, and fuel and water tanks so weighing lets you know which axles are carrying the most weight.
Once you have this information you can pack light where the weight is heaviest and pack heavy where the weight is lightest. You should also pack light items high and heavy items low.
When you do this, your unit will be less likely to sway out of control or to flip over since you will be able to maintain better control.
Know your limits
First and foremost, you need to know the limits of your rig. This includes the cargo-carrying capacity of your RV and the towing capacity of your truck (if applicable) as well as the gross axle weight rating (the amount that can be put on any given axle).
Knowing these numbers and ensuring you stay within the given boundaries is the first step in properly loading your RV and staying safe on the road.
Pick and choose
Once you know the limits of your RV you can decide what you will take and what you’ll have to leave behind in order to stay within those limits. Packing light is the name of the game! Versatile items that can serve multiple purposes and small lightweight options are ideal.
Obviously, you will only want to take the essentials. Leave unnecessary items at home. But taking some toys or outdoor gear is probably fine. Just do so in moderation and keep those weight limits in mind.
Keep things balanced
Once you know the basic parameters you are working with and what you can pack, the next thing to do is actually move the items into your RV. Remember to keep things as balanced as possible—both side-to-side and front-to-back.
Take note of where appliances and slides are. They are heavy and should be taken into consideration as you decide where items should be stored. Use all storage bays and spread things out evenly between them. If most of your cabinets are on one side of the RV, try to put heavy items on the opposite side to balance out what you store in the cabinets.
Heavy items low and centered
Have some especially heavy items you need to pack? Those should be kept on the floor and on top of an axle. This will help prevent the heavy item from putting too much weight on the front or back. Storing on the floor also ensures the item doesn’t fall, break things, and/or hurt people while the RV is in transit.
When possible, pack an item of similar weight on the opposite side. Or pack the heavy item opposite your main kitchen appliances in order to even things out from side to side.
How to load drawers and cabinets
Another thing to keep in mind as you’re loading up the RV is how to load the drawers and cabinets.
You want to make sure only lightweight things are in the overhead cabinets in order to help keep things balanced and keep your passengers safe if you’re in a motorhome. Meanwhile, the drawers should not be overloaded as this can break them—and if all of your drawers are on one side of the RV (as is often the case) you’ll be putting a lot of weight in one area and throwing off the balance of the rig.
Keep tank locations in mind
Water is heavy. It weighs in at 8.34 pounds per gallon meaning a 40-gallon tank weighs over 333 pounds when full. That’s a lot of weight and it can easily put you over your cargo-carrying capacity and out of balance.
If you plan to drive with a full fresh or waste water tank make sure you know where that particular tank is located and try to pack everything in such a way that the extra weight is balanced out and you aren’t over your RV’s weight limit.
Observe before you drive
Once everything is loaded into the RV, it’s time for a visual inspection. Head outside and look at the rig. Make sure it isn’t obviously leaning to one side or the other. If you pull a trailer, make sure the trailer isn’t weighing down the truck and make sure the bottom of the trailer is parallel with the ground.
Essentially, you are looking for any signs that you’ve overloaded the RV or that the weight inside isn’t balanced. You will want to add this visual inspection to your pre-trip walk-around every time you drive.
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to know whether you’re overloaded and almost impossible to know whether one axle is taking the brunt of the work without getting properly weighed. Even if everything looks good from the outside you could still be totally out of balance. For this reason, it’s best to head to a nearby truck scale to be weighed after you’ve loaded the RV.
RV weight distribution is incredibly important. With this knowledge you can take the needed steps to avoid dangerous situations caused by uneven weight distribution from becoming an issue dring your RV travels.
I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.