10 Amazing Places to RV in June 2023

If you’re dreaming of where to travel to experience it all, here are my picks for the best places to RV in June

It shows considerable wisdom to know what you want in life.

—P.D. James

English novelist Phyllis Dorothy James, writing as P.D. James, introduced Scotland Yard detective Adam Dalgliesh in her 1962 debut novel Cover Her Face. This insightful observation by a secondary character comes at the end of The Private Patient, the 14th and final novel in James’ popular series published nearly half a century later in 2008. The full quote notes that it takes wisdom to determine what you want, “and then to direct all your energies towards getting it.” James could very well have been reflecting on her own lengthy career as a successful novelist when she penned this scene which offers the reminder that achieving a happy life requires both thoughtful contemplation and focused sustained action. 

As a great thinker once said, “June is bustin’ out all over.” I’m certainly feeling this. The garden of life is ripe with new possibilities, new floral fragrances, and new reasons to be outside. It’s a great month to travel in an RV. Summer presents unlimited road trip possibilities, doesn’t it?

So put on some SPF (I admittedly never do) and live your best life.

If life is a highway, I’m going to drive it all day long—or at least for a few hours and then stop to get some rest. Sleep is so important.

Planning an RV trip for a different time of year? Check out my monthly travel recommendations for the best places to travel in April and May. Also, check out my recommendations from June 2022 and July 2022.

Sequoia National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Gawk at the biggest tree on Earth

Because it is the world’s largest tree in terms of volume, the General Sherman Tree is, without a doubt, one of the most well-known attractions in Sequoia National Park. The enormous Sequoia which now stands 275 feet in height but is constantly growing was given its name after the American army leader William Sherman. The width of the tree’s trunk at its base is an astonishing 36 feet and it continues to be wide as it rises above the earth.

General Sherman Tree © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The sequoia grove of Giant Forest, home of General Sherman, is also the headquarters of other large trees not seen in any other parts of the US. Meanwhile, Converse Basin Grove is home to the 269-foot Boole Tree, the sixth-largest in the country in terms of volume. Another famous tree in the park, albeit it’s already fallen, is the Tunnel Log, a tree that can be driven through.

>> Get more tips for visiting Sequoia National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. 300 limestone caves carved over 250 million years ago

If you’re worried about overheating in New Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert, rest assured: Things cool down quick inside the 100+ millennia-old limestone caves that make up Carlsbad Caverns National Park which you can explore on a self-guided tour or a ranger-led tour for an additional fee.

The 357,480-square-foot Big Room—the largest single cave chamber in the US—is the most popular cave drawing some 300,000 visitors each year. Other areas, like the Hall of the White Giant and the Spider Cave require crawling. If you’re visiting between May and October stick around for the Bat Flight Program when hundreds of thousands of Brazilian free-tailed bats exit the cave at dusk to forage for food.

Make a reservation online at a cost of $1 per ticket prior to your visit and purchase an entry pass upon arrival in the park. Kids under 16 get in free while adults must pay a fee of $15 per person. 

>> Get more tips for visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Lassen Peak, Lassen Volcanic National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Out of one beautiful form into another

Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to steaming fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. Jagged peaks tell the story of its eruptive past while hot water continues to shape the land.

Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northeastern California has the four types of volcanoes found on Earth—cinder cones, composite, lava, and shield volcanoes—with 300 active domes. Lassen has a fraction of Yosemite’s visitors but has many similar landscapes and geothermal sites. You’ll come across sulfur vents, fumaroles, mud pots, wildflower meadows, mountain lakes, waterfalls, lava tube caves, and boiling hot springs. Don’t miss the Bumpass Hell trail leading to the largest of the eight hydrothermal areas and the easy-to-reach Kings Creek Falls.

Lassen Volcanic National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are 150 miles of trails in the park, 700 flowering plants, and 250 vertebrates. Hike the Cinder Cone Volcano in the park’s Butte Lake section and you’ll see breathtaking 360-degree views of the Painted Dunes and the volcano’s crater. The most famous volcano in the park, Lassen Peak, also offers skiing in the winter.

>> Get more tips for visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park

Natural Bridges National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Kachina, Owachomo, and Sipapu natural bridges

Natural Bridges National Monument sits 6,500 feet above sea level, is home to a variety of plants and animals, and is the oldest National Park Service (NPS) site in the state of Utah. Offering the chance to explore three natural bridges, Kachina, Owachomo, and Sipapu were formed where streams eroded the canyon walls. The monument was established in 1908. This NPS site is a great out-of-the-way find. 

Natural bridges are different from arches in their formation; carved over streams that have eroded them as opposed to arches which are formed by seeping water and frost. Here, you have beautiful bridges over a stream bed which changes in appearance according to time of day, time of year, and viewpoint. Since the bridges are off the beaten path there is a better opportunity for an uncrowded, quiet tour of a unique landscape.

>> Get more tips for visiting Natural Bridges National Park

President Theodore Roosevelt © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Living history performance of President Theodore Roosevelt

On June 23, 2013, Grand Canyon National Park will host President Theodore Roosevelt Salutes the National Park Service. This special program is a living history portrayal of the 26th President of the United States as performed by Joe Wiegand at 8:30 pm, Sunday, June 23, 2013 at McKee Amphitheater located on the South Rim behind Park Headquarters near Parking Lot A. 

Joe Wiegand entertains audiences nationwide with his portrayal of President Theodore Roosevelt. As Theodore Roosevelt, Joe offers his audiences a unique, one-man show bursting with adventure, laughter, and inspiration. Enjoy Theodore Roosevelt’s adventures as rancher, Rough Rider, and father of six in the White House. Relive the establishment of America’s great national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife reserves. Hear the amazing stories of the frail young boy who built his body and dedicated himself to the Vigorous Life and the Square Deal. From bear hunts to the Panama Canal, from Africa to the Amazon, Theodore Roosevelt’s delightful stories come to life.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Theodore Roosevelt, considered by many to have been America’s Conservationist President, protected approximately 230 million acres of public land during his presidency. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt visited Grand Canyon and said, “The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison—beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world… Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness.”  

>> Get more tips for visiting Grand Canyon National Park

Jasper National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Jasper makes list of top national parks in the world

Jasper has been named one of the 30 best national parks across the globe. Outside, an online publication has included the picturesque spot on its list of must see destinations. Jasper is the only Canadian entry.

Jasper can sometimes be overshadowed by its cousin to the south, Banff, but the park is the definition of wild and scenic. It’s the largest park in the Canadian Rockies as it has one million-plus more acres than Banff.

Jasper is also host to a robust population of wildlife including black and grizzly bears, elk and moose, and big horn sheep and Rocky Mountain goats making it a popular tourist destination for travelers to explore.

Glacial Skywalk © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Jasper SkyTram gives you 50 miles of views from 7,472 feet up Whistlers Mountain. As a dark-sky preserve, the park strives to eliminate any light that could interfere with views of the universe at night making it a destination for stargazers and astronomers. It’s also a fantastic road trip destination: The Icefields Parkway, one of the world’s most scenic drives, features more than 100 ancient glaciers and a glass-floored observation walkway 920 feet above Sunwapta Canyon.

Fort Frederica National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Centuries old conflict decided on St. Simons Island

Wandering around Fort Frederica National Monument offers both a step back to the very beginnings of Georgia’s colonial history and the chance to absorb what continues to make this area magical—the river, the marsh, the tides, the uncompromising beauty of St. Simons Island. While the fort played a pivotal role in Georgia’s history—the 1742 victory of its British troops over Spanish soldiers ensured its future as a British colony—what remains is largely underground.

You’ll want to track down a ranger to get a real appreciation of the garrison and a sense of what makes this site special. It’s the stories of the people. Fort Fred was a military installation and a fort but it also was a village. There are always going to be stories of people’s lives—the adventures, the challenges, the drama.

>> Get more tips for visiting Fort Frederica National Monument

Jacksonville © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Historic gold rush town

Jacksonville is a historic Gold Rush town that earns the title, Heart of the Southern Oregon Wine Region. The Schmidt Family Vineyard is an excellent option with delicious wine and food as well as gorgeous gardens and vineyards.

Lining the main street are numerous independently-owned shops and restaurants that are just waiting for you to discover them. Antiquing is especially popular with plenty of unique furniture, decor, and clothing finds.

The town is also home to annual events each month. Enjoy the live music at the summer-long Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Jacksonville Wine Cruise in May, and the city-wide Garage Sale in September. There is also plenty to do in the great outdoors including jet boat adventures and hiking trails. 

>> Get more tips for visiting Jacksonville

Museum of Appalachia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Museum of Appalachia

Located in Clinton, Tennessee, 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.

>> Get more tips for visiting Museum of Appalachia

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Grand Canyon Star Party

Each summer, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona invites visitors to watch “an assortment of planets, double stars, star clusters, nebulae, and distant galaxies” dance above some of the oldest exposed rock on Earth during its Star Party which will take place from June 10 through June 17 in 2023.

Events begin on both the North and South Rims at 8 p.m. but according to the National Park Service (NPS) the best viewing is after 9 p.m.

“Skies will be starry and dark until the moon rises the first night. It rises progressively later throughout the week of the Star Party,” the NPS said on its website.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Each night of the event, park rangers on the South Rim will lead tours of the constellations at 9, 9:30, and 10 p.m. and will host a night sky photography workshop at 9:30 p.m. Throughout the week, various speakers are slated to hold nightly presentations at 8 p.m. starting with park ranger Ravis Henry who will discuss how the stars are seen through the Navajo culture lens. Other speakers include NASA scientist Julie McEnery who will speak about the next NASA flagship telescope, the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope which is scheduled to launch in May 2027 and Dr. Vishnu Reedy, professor of planetary sciences at the University of Arizona will lecture about how astronomers mitigate the threats of meteor impacts.

On the North Rim, the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix, Arizona will set up telescopes on the porch of the Grand Canyon Lodge and guide visitors in identifying constellations.

The 2023 Star Party is a free and open to the general public. The park entrance fee is good on both South and North rims for 7 days. No additional tickets or sign-up is required.

The event begins at sunset although the best viewing is after 9 pm and many telescopes come down after 11 pm; however, on nights with clear, calm skies, some astronomers continue sharing their telescopes into the night.

Worth Pondering…

It is the month of June, The month of leaves and roses, when pleasant sights salute the eyes and pleasant scents the noses.

—Nathaniel Parker Willis

How Theodore Roosevelt Saved the Grand Canyon

Theodore Roosevelt’s bold Grand Canyon move

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.

—Theodore Roosevelt

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What makes the United States special? Not everyone agrees. A growing number of people think that it is not special at all. But in at least one respect, they are dead wrong: America is home to unique land formations of unparalleled beauty. These sacred spaces used to embody the essence of what it means to be an American—and in the eyes of many, still do.

Most of the annual visitors to the Grand Canyon probably count themselves among this number. It is difficult to gaze into the seemingly limitless, mile-deep ravine and not feel a sense of awe mixed with pride. But were it not for Theodore Roosevelt, it is unlikely that millions of people would be able to have this experience.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Beginnings of Conservation

While the Grand Canyon has a long geological history, the political side of its story begins in 1872. In that year, two things happened: President Grant inaugurated Yellowstone as the first national park and he signed the General Mining Act declaring all mineral deposits on federal public land to be “free and open for exploration and purchase.” These two pieces of legislation set in play contradictory aims of conservation and economic extraction that, to this day, remain unresolved.

The Grand Canyon was one place where these competing ambitions clashed. Some gazers beholding its breathtaking rock strata reflected dollar signs in their eyes. In the 1880s, Senator Benjamin Harrison tried three separate times to introduce legislation naming the Grand Canyon a national park. On each occasion his bills were defeated by private interest groups. After becoming president, Harrison was able to name the site a forest reserve in 1893.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Establishing this was problematic, though, since the Canyon’s only forests were located on its rim. Furthermore, having Forest Reserve status did not offer sufficient protection against mining claims or even loggers or ranchers, all of whom simply ignored the new law.

Arizona politicians and businessmen had a vested interest in both extracting natural resources and developing the area around the canyon for tourism. Ironically, it was the encroachment of the railroad that aided the goal of furthering the site’s protection.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A New Champion

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt took a cross-country trip by train. One of his stops was the Grand Canyon. Peering over the edge of its rim, he fell silent with awe. Then in a speech, he delivered before a large crowd, he stated, “I shall not attempt to describe it, because I cannot.”

He admonished his audience to “Leave it as it is. Man cannot improve on it; not a bit. 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 and 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.”

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Roosevelt’s words carried weight. He had a reputation for being a great outdoorsman. Though asthmatic and frail as a child, Roosevelt cultivated athletic prowess and later explored the Dakota Badlands. He witnessed firsthand the closing of the frontier, the exploitation of the West for economic gain, and the disappearance of species (admittedly contributing to this latter effect through his own big game hunting).

In his chosen career as a politician and statesman, he developed a vision of promoting the public good over personal profit. While Harrison was president, Roosevelt played his part by founding a club dedicated to championing laws protecting America’s beautiful spaces. He even helped get the Forest Reserve Act of 1891 passed.

When Roosevelt accidentally became president after McKinley’s assassination in 1901, Big Business had a new enemy in the White House. Although Roosevelt was a part of the emerging progressive movement, this term had a somewhat different meaning than it does today.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Like the present-day conservative movement, the progressives saw the political philosopher Edmund Burke as their great precursor. Roosevelt went so far as to quote Burke in his Fifth Annual Message to Congress in 1905, to the effect that “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites.”

Roosevelt had a hard time reining in corporate appetites, though, despite his forceful personality. He created five new national parks but like Harrison failed to add the Grand Canyon to that number when he encountered the same entrenched opposition. Something more would be needed to safeguard it.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Antiquities Act

Conservation laws took a giant leap forward in 1906 when Roosevelt signed into law “An Act for the Preservation of American Antiquities.” It classified a new type of public land, the national monument. This classification was made necessary not only due to industrial exploitation but also because thieves were plundering ancient archeological sites in search of valuable relics. Local and state organizations were ineffective in their efforts to stop them.

The meat of the Antiquities Act is the clause opening Section 2 where it states that the president is authorized “to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments…the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Antiquities Act gave the president unprecedented domestic powers in a way that no other law has before or since. While he could designate national monuments without resort to Congress, it took an act of Congress to abolish the proclamation. He named Devil’s Tower the first such monument in September of that year. It did not extend far beyond the rock formation itself and clearly corresponded to the Act’s scope of keeping a designated space “confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management.”

Within the first six months of signing the act, Roosevelt designated four other monuments. Archaeological sites like the Gila Cliff Dwellings of New Mexico were unambiguous antiquities that could easily be classed as “objects of historic or scientific interest.”

The Grand Canyon was a different case entirely. Fortunately, it contained prehistoric ruins that were of historic interest. But the canyon itself, though, lent scientific interest by virtue of its unique geology and was much more than a mere archaeological site. The landscape was larger than the state of Rhode Island extending for nearly 2,000 square miles. How could such a vast area be managed?

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Under Roosevelt’s tenure, the Forest Service had been created in 1905 as a way of managing the 150 national forests he established. Another agency would be needed to manage national parks and monuments. For the time being, this function would be carried out by the Department of the Interior. But neither Gifford Pinchot, first chief of the Forest Service, nor any administrators of the Interior Department, had any clear idea of how to appropriately deal with these landmarks.

Roosevelt was not one to allow legal terms or procedures to get in the way of realizing his vision of America. Specific methods could be worked out later. He interpreted the vague scope of the clause in a loose manner when, on January 11, 1908, he declared the Grand Canyon a national monument.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consequences and Influence

Despite the far-reaching powers the Antiquities Act gave Roosevelt, his decision met with predictable opposition from the usual suspects. The most vehement enemy of Grand Canyon National Monument was Ralph Henry Cameron, a party boss and mining investor who became an Arizona Senator. Well into the 1920s, he filed lawsuits against the U.S. government to assert his supposed property rights. It was a blatant use of public office for private gain and fortunately, he was not successful.

Roosevelt’s expansive interpretation of the Antiquities Act was adopted by later presidents. They have used it almost a hundred times. Critics have pointed out that the Act concentrates power in the executive branch to a degree unintended by Congress, even claiming that it grants the president a level of authority approaching European monarchs. But though one may question some of the later selections for monumenthood, the early ones that Roosevelt established are uncontroversial public treasures. His use of the law as a tool of preservation has made it one of the most influential pieces of legislation in American history.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

After Roosevelt left office, the National Park Service was created in 1916 to provide competent management of America’s new landmarks. Then, only a month after Roosevelt’s own death in early 1919, Grand Canyon National Park became a reality. Although he did not live to see it receive full protection, his vigorous and shrewd actions made it possible.

In 1932, Herbert Hoover proclaimed a second Grand Canyon National Monument adjacent to the park. Following that, Lyndon Johnson established Marble Canyon National Monument in 1969. Both of these sites have since been merged into the current national park. Finally in 1979, the Grand Canyon was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As one of America’s foremost cultural icons, the Grand Canyon is a self-evident source of wonder and majesty. Less obvious but more profound was Roosevelt’s belief that this beauty was also a source of virtue—that beholding splendor could inspire one towards noble action. This is what he meant when he said, “keep it for your children.” A hundred years after his death, Americans have admirably upheld this aspect of Roosevelt’s vision.

Worth Pondering…

In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world.”

—Theodore Roosevelt