10 May

RVFTA #141 To Blog or Not to Blog: The RV Traveler’s Conundrum

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast episode, we are taking a cue from our listeners and talking about a question that we get asked all the time: Should I start my own travel blog to document my RV journey?

There is no easy answer to that question, but since we have gotten so much joy out of our own blog over the last seven years, we decided to tackle the issue in a podcast episode.

Not everything about blogging is easy or enjoyable, which is why many people who start blogs throw their hands up in frustration after just a short while. Having a good understanding of the challenges and rewards of travel blogging might help you make a decision about whether or not you should launch a blog before you hit the road for your RV adventures this season.

Segment One: The Pros, The Cons, and The Myths

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27 Apr

RVFTA #139 RVFTA Goes Tent Camping with Cabela’s

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are talking about our recent adventures in tent camping. Cabela’s just debuted an entire line of redesigned tents and we got to try a few of them out.

It has been at least ten years since we set up a tent, and this was a brand new experience for our boys, so listen to hear how we fared at the campground.

Segment One: The Tent Camping Experience

In the first segment, we chat about our prior tent camping experience, the aspects that we felt confident about, and the things that made us nervous. We also talk about how the boys felt about leaving behind the new toy hauler. Spoiler alert…they were not thrilled about the idea.

Well, their attitude changed pretty quickly once the tents were set up. These tents are nothing like the ones we grew up with, and the gear took comfort camping to a whole new level.

Our main takeaways:

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16 Feb

RVFTA #129 Greetings from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida

RVFTA #129: Greetings from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Florida

On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about our recent trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Harry Potter is a pretty big deal in our family right now, so we decided to cheat on Mickey and spend a day exploring Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

We will walk you through planning your trip to Universal Studios, plus discuss some strategies for enjoying a theme park known for long lines and expensive ticket prices.

Segment One: Planning and Preparation

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02 Feb

RVFTA #127 Greetings from the 2017 Florida RV SuperShow!

On this podcast episode we are reporting back from the Florida RV SuperShow, our very favorite RV show of the year. Two weeks ago, we fled the frigid temperatures of the northeast and hightailed it to sunny Tampa, where we enjoyed touring an amazing variety of RVs and shopping for camping accessories.

We also were lucky to meet tons of podcast listeners and enjoy the talented and quirky entertainment that visitors always find at the SuperShow.

Segment One

On this episode, we will chat about some of the podcast listeners that we spoke with, and share their unique and diverse RVing experience. We are still continually surprised at the wide variety of listeners this podcast has, and we will introduce you to the stories of young couples with Aliners, moms with Class As, and retired folks living the life in Class Bs.

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Then in the second segment, we compiled a list of things we learned about RVers from hanging out at the Florida RV SuperShow. In many ways this RV show is more like a festival, and we thought a lot of wonderful aspects of RV culture were evident during our visit. We came up with 6 things we can say for sure after the show:

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05 Jan

RVFTA #123 Kick Those RV Winterization Blues, 2017

On this RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast episode, we are back with more tips on how to treat (if not cure!) those winterization blues. Thousands of RVs across the country have been winterized and covered for the long, cold months ahead, so we came up with a brand new list of all the things you can do instead of crying quietly in your camper.

From books to projects to getting cozy in the traditional Danish style, we have something to keep you busy no matter how much you hate Mr. Jack Frost.


Segment One: 2016 Recap and Getting Hyggelig

In the first show segment, we have a quick recap of our favorite timeless tips from the Winterization Blues, 2016 podcast episode. If you missed it last year, you can check it out here:

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29 Dec

RVFTA #122 Top Travel Highlights of 2016

Episode #122: Top Travel Highlights of 2016

Special Announcement: Beginning January 6th, we will be hosting RVFTA Live, an interactive Facebook Live Chat on Friday afternoons, 3 pm ET. See you there!

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are reflecting back on our travel highlights of 2016. We spent over 70 nights in the RV, enjoying beaches and mountains, national parks and bustling cities. It was incredibly difficult to narrow down our top picks.

But we managed.

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In the first segment, we talk about the highlights that we both included on our lists (Links lead to other podcast episodes and blog posts with more details about activities and experiences):

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07 Dec

Spending the Holidays in Your RV: Tips and Tricks from RVFTA’s Facebook Live Chat

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Have you ever gazed longingly at your RV during the busy, stressful holiday season? We know that your RV is your happy place, and we believe it can help your family enjoy the holidays, or maybe even help you rediscover that joy you used to have back in the day.

Everyone’s holiday traditions are different. Some of us enjoy large family gatherings with tons of extended family. But many of us now live far away from family, or have work commitments that keep us from traveling during this time of the year. We believe your RV might be the ticket to opting out of the stress and embracing the true holiday spirit, which of course is all about the love of family and friends.

We recently hosted a Facebook Live Chat for Go RVing on surviving the holidays by embracing the fabulousness of your RV. You can watch the entire chat here:

We talk about the following topics…

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10 Nov

RVFTA #114 Holidays at the Campground

hol On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are gearing up for the season by talking about holidays at the campground. We spent last Thanksgiving in our RV and just can’t wait to do it again this year. Listen to hear why this might be a great option for your family.

And set a reminder for our next Go RVing Facebook Chat on November 17th at 4 pm Central Time all about RVing and the Holidays!!! We had so much fun doing a live Facebook event this past August and we can’t wait for round 2!

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If you want to read a bit more about our first foray into holiday camping, check out this post from last year. Stephanie wrote it after spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas away from home in 2015. It was definitely different…but it was also exhilarating!

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07 Oct

RVFTA #109 Ladies’ Day Out at Cabela’s with Kate Dunbar

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On this week’s episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are talking about Ladies Day Out, a bi annual event hosted by Cabela’s which celebrates women in the outdoors.

Our Texas Correspondent Kate Dunbar participated this past week at her local Cabela’s store, and she is here to tell us all about it. Kate describes the event from soup to nuts, and gives examples of all the outdoor organizations and learning opportunities.

Kate also spent the weekend boon docking in the Cabela’s parking lot in her super sweet Airstream. She learned a ton from the experience and is ready to pass along some lessons.

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25 Aug

RVFTA #103 Greetings from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Greetings from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and telling you all about the amazing Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in the great state of Michigan.

Voted one of America’s most beautiful places by Good Morning America, this truly is a magical destination that demonstrates why the National Parks might be our country’s greatest idea ever. We will talk about the best drives, hikes, swims, and even shopping in the Sleeping Bear Dunes park.

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This episode goes along with two different Campground of the Week episodes: #41 about Holiday Park in Traverse City and #42 about the Platte River Campground in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Both are amazing places to stay while visiting the region. We cover completely different activities and food options in the different episodes, so be sure to listen to all three if you are planning a visit of your own in the future!

Subcribe to Campground of the Week here…

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04 Aug

#NPS100: Yellowstone National Park with Kerri Cox

#NPS100Yellowstone National Park

On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are so excited to be joined by Kerri Cox of TravelswithBirdy.com.

Kerri and her family took Birdy (their Jayco travel trailer) on another epic road trip this summer, celebrating the National Park Service centennial. One of the trip’s highlights was Yellowstone National Park, where they were able to appreciate first hand why this place is basically on everyone’s bucket list.

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08 Mar

What are You Waiting For? The Scary Leap to RV Ownership

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I’ve refrained from writing this post for a long time because, contrary to what my husband and kids might tell you, I really do not like telling people what to do. And I hate writing posts that inevitably lead to the each to his own reactions, comments, and feedback. I respect that everyone has their own set of circumstances and reasoning behind life decisions.

But still.

We receive so many emails and messages on social media from people who are saying a version of the following:

I wish we could own an RV. One day we will get an RV. We are on the five-year plan. We are on the seven-year plan. When we retire, we look forward to buying our first RV.  Etc, etc.

And then the story of Driving Miss Norma went ripping around the internet over the last couple of weeks. I had two thoughts:

  1. That is amazing that Norma is living her life to the fullest.
  2. I don’t want to wait until I am 90 to have the time of my life.

In almost every single case, people who tell us they are waiting to get an RV cite financial reasons. It is not in the budget right now. They don’t want a payment. They are saving up.  On the surface, these statements seem completely reasonable and even downright responsible. In fact, I presented them all to my husband over the course of buying our first pop up.

However.

The arguments don’t really fly. Why?

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04 Mar

RVFTA #78: Camping with Family and Friends

Camping with Family and Friends

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about Camping with Family and Friends. RVs make it much easier to share vacations with loved ones since communal campfire areas and private family spaces would seem to be the perfect combination.

However, things can turn sour if everyone is not on the same page with planning, food, and activities. Listen to hear our top 5 tips for Camping with Family and Friends.

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31 Dec

RVFTA #69 Top 12 Travel Highlights of 2015

Top 12 Travel Highlights of 2015

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are sharing our top 12 RV Travel Highlights of 2015. And as an added bonus, we have lots of listener highlights to share as well!

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But before we get into that…we have our first big announcements of 2016! We will be attending the Florida RV Supershow in Tampa, Florida from January 13-17th. Stay tuned for more details about a scheduled meet and greet.

In 2015, we spent over 70 nights in the RV, staying in both public and private campgrounds, sometimes tucked away in the woods, other times sprawled out on souped-up patio sites.

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We hiked and biked and kayaked and swam. We rode roller coasters, ziplines, water taxis and ski lifts. It was almost impossible to narrow our picks down to just 12, but we managed.

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You might think that New Year’s is all about the resolutions. But we here at RVFTA believe in looking back and celebrating the best moments in our lives.

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You are listening to Episode #69: Top 12 Travel Highlights of 2015!

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12 Nov

RVFTA #62: Kick Those Winterization Blues!

Kick the Winterization Blues

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are helping you cope with the winterization blues. We saw your sad comments on social media and heard crickets chirping during camping role call last week.

So we came up with a list of 15 things you can do instead of crying quietly in your closed up camper. And then we added an extra one as a bonus at the end! We will help you wile away the winter in true RV enthusiast style.

We separated our tips into two categories: activities and products. Listen for our take on the things that can get you through until we launch that new campaign season next spring.

We also talk about our new article up on the Progressive Blog: 3 Classic Campfire Cooking Recipes. It’s the month of November so let’s talk food. Dutch oven food, to be exact. Check out three of the easiest treats you can make over the campfire the next time you get out in the RV.

You might think the RV season has come to a close. But we here at RVFTA never put that baby to bed. This is Episode #62: Kick Those Winterization Blues!

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03 Nov

RVFTA 2015 Fall Rally: Fun Times, New Friends!

A fantastic group of RVFTA podcast listeners gathered last weekend at the Philadelphia/West Chester KOA for our second go around at this whole rally thing.

Rallies aren’t so popular with our generation, so we felt like we were taking a risk last spring when we decided to host one for the first time. In short, it was a smashing success and everyone refused to wait an entire year to gather again.

Enter the RVFTA 2015 Fall Rally.

We are pretty convinced that the heart of a successful family camping rally is lots of free time for kids to run around and play together, while parents get to sit around and talk. Keeping the schedule loose and flexible worked like a charm once again, and while we offered plenty of suggestions for activities, families were free to figure it out as they went.

Some went fishing, while others walked the nature trails. And someone loved his afternoon canoe ride on the Brandywine.

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While some enjoyed the fine arts…

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Others appreciated life’s simpler pleasures.

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Rally attendees–and area locals–Bill and Karen led a class trip to The Market at Liberty Place in Kennett Square where we enjoyed ridiculously good fare at Buddy’s Burgers. The kids claimed a table for themselves and we were happy to oblige.


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Then there was coffee (of course) at the local craft roaster, Philter Coffee.

And the organized festivities…

We celebrated our podcast’s 1st birthday with an adorable craft organized by listeners Leslie and Philip.

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And then they put hats on our heads, lit candles, and sang Happy Birthday because our listeners are just that awesome.

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A White Elephant game followed with some serious trading and back room deals. The Toas Tite was a popular pick, but a dark horse favorite was a Camp Casual t-shirt that all the men seemed to want.

And Darryl won the grand prize of a two-night stay at any KOA by knowing virtually everything there is to know about our podcast.

Potluck dinner, our own special craft brew, movies under the stars, trick or treating, and (of course) roaring campfires.

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The activities were fun. The food was delicious. The weather was mostly spectacular. But ultimately, the magic is because of the people.

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Maybe we have just been super duper lucky to gather some of the chillest folks around who happen to dig camping podcasts. We left both rallies amazed at what a wonderful time we had with a bunch of families that barely knew each other and yet were united by a common commitment to venturing out and connecting with their kids in the great outdoors.

We have decided there is something to be said for this old-fashioned rally tradition. Social media may help us connect and find people who share similar interests and passions. But relationships really develop when you share a meal…and some s’mores.

We can’t wait to hang with old friends and new at the RVFTA 2016 Spring Rally at Lake in Wood Campground in Narvon, PA. Hope to see you at the potluck!

To hear more about our rally, and to hear some great interviews with rally attendees, listen to podcast episode #60: Fall Rally Roundup!

05 Oct

Falling in Love with the Adirondacks at the Lake Placid/Whiteface Mountain KOA

The Adirondack Park in New York State is our newest favorite place. Why?  Maybe because of its fragrant and thickly wooded forests of spruce, maple, beech, and birch.

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Maybe because of its sparkling lakes, winding rivers, and rocky streams.

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Maybe because of its charming lakefront towns such as Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.

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Or maybe because the region hosted the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980 and the sounds of supreme, almost mythological, athletic greatness still can be heard if you listen closely. “Do you believe in miracles?”  We sure do.

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The Lake Placid/Whiteface Mountain KOA is our newest favorite campground. Why? Maybe because we saw deer running through the campground during the Friday night hayride.

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Maybe because you can hike from your campsite down to the rushing waters of the Ausable River.

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Maybe because of the pancakes and hot coffee served up every morning in the warm and cozy lodge.

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Or maybe because this KOA serves as the perfect base-camp for exploring a magnificent region of our magnificent country.

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The Lake Placid/Whiteface Mountain KOA is a short, river and tree-lined drive into downtown Lake Placid, where we sampled some great food and culture, and more importantly where we started to learn about the region’s incredible Olympic history.  We highly recommend purchasing the Olympic Sites Passport which is a tremendous bargain at $35 and gives you access to the Olympic Museum, the Sports Complex, the Jumping Complex, the Whiteface Veteran’s Memorial Highway, and more.

We headed out early one morning for the drive on the Memorial Highway up to the castle at the top of Whiteface Mountain. There were numerous scenic overlooks on the way up and we stopped at each one to take in the sweeping views of the mountains.

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The view of Lake Placid from the top, looking down on the clouds, was nothing short of stunning.

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There was ice on the sides of the mountain that morning and it was windy and cold. The boys finagled three cups of hot chocolate from the cafeteria in the castle.  We sampled the coffee, of course.

Later that morning we headed over to the Olympic Jumping Complex.  We all loved taking the ski lift and the elevator up to the jump tower and looking out at the mountains around us and down at the jump below us.  If you are not in awe of our Olympic athletes, you should be.  Standing at the top of the jump tower brought their extreme skill and bravery into sharp focus for all of us. For Theo and Max it was the highlight of the trip.

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The Lake Placid/Whiteface Mountain KOA is surrounded on all sides by endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. If you love fly fishing, then this is the place. If you love kayaking or canoeing, then this is the place.  If you love skiing or snowmobiling, then this is the place.  If you love hiking–and our family loves hiking–then this is the place.

We decided to tackle nearby Mount Jo on our last full day, and it was wonderful.  Our AMC Guidebook called it an easy hike, but clearly the author didn’t do it with children.  Stephanie had Wesley on her back, which made the trail quite a challenge. But Max and Theo were in good spirits and practically raced up the mountain.  They love a hike with lots of rocks and water…this one didn’t disappoint.

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The “Short Trail” up and the “Long Trail” down were both lovely–like something out of a book of poetry by Wordsworth or Coleridge.  The summit view of Heart Lake surrounded by increasingly magnificent fall foliage was worth every single step.

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After a brief snack the boys got on their hands and knees and howled like wolves as the sun began to set.  It was getting late. We needed to double-time it down the mountain, and we did.

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We come home exhausted that night–but deeply satisfied.  Our time at the Lake Placid/Whiteface Mountain KOA was coming to an end. But our newfound love for the history, culture, and geography of the Adirondack Park was just beginning.

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04 Sep

RVFTA #51: Fall Camping Rocks

Fall Camping

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are celebrating the arrival of fall camping season!

Many people get a little bit mopey over Labor Day weekend as they say goodbye to the summer season.

But here at RVFTA, we are focusing on the positive and talking about all the reasons we think the fall just might be our favorite time of the year to hitch up and head out. After writing an article for KOA’s The Greater Outdoors, we were inspired to create a whole segment on the topic. Please chime in and tell us why you love fall camping!

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Plus for our recommendation of the week, these teachers are giving you one last summer reading assignment and demanding that you head over to Travelswithbirdy.com and read Kerry Cox’s amazing series of posts on Yosemite National Park.

You might have heard our interview with Kerri on Episode #48: Dispatches from Glacier and Yosemite. She gave a great description of her first time at one of America’s most popular national parks. But in her blog posts, Kerri dives a little deeper and talks about the good, the bad and the sublime of her family’s grand trip out west. Put aside a bit of time to dive into some great travel writing this week.

You may be crying into your potato salad about the shortening of the summer days. But here at RVFTA, we are breaking out the sweaters and the dutch oven chili recipe. This is Episode #51: Fall Camping Rocks!

Save the Dates:

We are delighted to have Go RVing as our RVFTA sponsor. Listen for a message from them in our show. To find your AWAY head over to GoRving.com.

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24 Jul

RVFTA #45: Great Smoky Mountains Wrap Up!

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about the third stop on our Great Smoky Mountains summer tour.

We left Townsend, Tennessee and headed to Cosby on the northern part of our country’s most visited national park. We stayed at one of our favorite campgrounds ever, the Great Smoky Mountains Jellystone. The combination of peaceful creek front sites and awesome kid-friendly amenities suited us just fine.

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And then there was Dollywood! It may be a bit pricey, but listen to hear why we think this theme park is worth every single penny. Oh, and you can’t miss Jeremy describing how he squealed like a small child during his first ride on an upside-down roller coaster…

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Plus you will hear an interview with Keith and Tia Sims of Soulful RV Family. Keith is a retired offensive lineman from the Miami Dolphins and 3-time Pro Bowler. He and his wife love traveling in their RV with their 3 young boys…and they also want to share their experiences with the growing number of African Americans entering the RV lifestyle.

And we are thrilled to welcome back GoRVing as our RVFTA sponsor. Listen for a special message from them just a bit later in our show. To find your AWAY head over to gorving.com/rvfta.

We are on the RVFTA summer road trip and you are listening to Episode #45: Great Smoky Mountains Wrap Up!

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10 Jul

RVFTA #43: Greetings from The Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina

North Carolina Great Smoky Mountains

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about the first stop on our Great Smoky Mountains Summer Tour. We started our explorations at the Cherokee KOA, on the North Carolina side of our country’s most visited national park.

Listen to hear about our favorite park attractions and hikes that are easily accessed from the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains. We will talk about…

  • The Oconaluftee Visitor Center
  • The Mountain Farm Community
  • The Oconaluftee River Trail
  • The Three Waterfalls Trail at Deep Creek Campground and Picnic Area (outside of Bryson City)
  • The Kephart Prong Trail (in the running for favorite family hike ever!)

We also talk about all the things that make Great Smoky Mountains National Park a great place for hiking with young kids.

And we give a complete review of the Cherokee KOA, which offers resort-like amenities with 360-degree views of the beautiful Smokies. It was a challenge to drag our boys away for even a short time from the pool, hot tub, water slide, tubing, and bounce pillow. It is a miracle we even made it into the National Park!

We are on the RVFTA Summer Road Trip and you are listening to Episode #43: Greetings from the Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina!

 

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