16 Aug

RVFTA #155 Greetings from the Redwoods National and State Parks in California!

The Redwoods have such a mythical, magical beauty and most people would place them high on the RV travel bucket list. Personally, we’ve been dreaming about hugging a Redwood tree for as long as memory serves. Well, we finally got our chance to visit, and this week’s podcast is all about the highlights and recommendations from our time spend in the Redwoods National and State Parks.

This podcast episode is paired with Campground of the Week #94, and our complete review of the Crescent City/ Redwoods KOA can be heard on that podcast.

Segment One: Learning about the Redwoods

We are nerdy teachers who love to RV, so we have some great recommendations for you if you would like to bone up on your tree facts before a visit. We also share the resources that helped us out the most during our stay.

Segment Two: Hiking in the Redwoods

We hiked almost every day during our stay, and in this segment we talk about our favorites. Listen to hear our learning curve on appropriate clothing and foot wear, timing, and where to eat that picnic lunch.

  • The Hiouchi Trail to Stout Grove
  • Ladybird Johnson Grove Trail

Segment Three: The Coast

After oohing and aahing over the trees for a couple of days, we appreciated the variety of scenery found along the coast in Redwoods National Park. In fact, some of our favorite experience were in the coastal areas of the Redwoods.

  • Yurok Trail to Hidden Beach
  • Fern Canyon
  • Crescent City

If the Redwoods are on your RV destination bucket list, make sure you take a listen to RVFTA episode #155: Greetings from Redwoods National and State Parks!

A big thanks to our sponsors who support weekly content for all our RV fools…

koa logo

See you at the campground!

Stephanie + Jeremy

Play
08 Aug

RVFTA #154 Greetings from the Oregon Coast

We spent almost a month touring Washington, Oregon, and northern California, and on this podcast episode we are bringing you all the highlights and recommendations from our magical stay along the southern Oregon Coast.

We camped at the Oceanside Beachfront RV Resort, just south of Coos Bay and the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. This is a paired podcast episode, so to hear a complete review of the campground, check out our Campground of the Week…

Segment One: Hikes, Lighthouses, and Beaches

During our stay, we explored the southern part of the Oregon Coast from the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area down to the Bandon. We spend the majority of our time in the Coos Bay/Charleston area, and if you want to escape the crowds and enjoy some of the best coastal scenery out there, this is a great place to go.

The highlights of our stay included:

Listen to hear all the details of our hike along the Oregon Coast Trail and the fantastic views of Simpson Reef and Cape Arago. You can also find more information (and a great map!) about lighthouses along the Oregon Coast at the Oregon State Parks website.

Segment Two: Regional Activities

The locals in this area did a fantastic job at guiding us to the best gems in the area. We arrived with little on the agenda besides clocking in some serious beach time, and everyday ended up being a great adventure on account of recommendations we received from camp workers and local business owners. Our favorite past times included…

Segment Three: Seriously Good Eats

The good news is that if you are staying at the Oceanside Beachfront RV Resort, you don’t have to go far for an AMAZING seafood meal. The Coos Bay Crab Co. is located right on site at the campground and offers delicious fish and chips, crab, and clam chowder bread bowls.

Other great dining options include…

This was a very special stop on our trip, and we know that we will remember the magical stay in the glamping tent forever. On this episode, we also chat about some other important family moments, including our struggles to hike with a toddler and traveling without the RV kitchen. Tune in to hear the good, the bad, and the downright ridiculous.

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our camping and RV fools…

koa logo

We will see you at the campground!

Stephanie + Jeremy

Play
02 Aug

RVFTA #153 Greetings from Mount St. Helens in Washington

On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are bringing you the next travel installment from our epic Pacific Northwest adventure. On this leg of our trip, we stayed at the Silver Cove RV Resort which was the perfect basecamp for exploring Mount St. Helens.

You can listen to the entire Mount St. Helens episode here…

And you can check out our complete review of Silver Cove RV Resort here…

Segment One: Crash Course on Mount St. Helens

Sure, you remember that Mount St. Helens is a volcano somewhere in Washington that erupted back when hair was big and jeans were acid washed. But we are going to be completely honest–we were shocked by how much we didn’t know about this volcanic eruption that happened in our lifetime.

So in the first segment, we are giving you a crash course on the “most economically destructive event in US history.” You’ll have to listen for the other nine interesting facts…

Segment Two: Exploring the West Side

There was far more to do in the area around Mount St. Helens than we initially realized. In fact, we assumed this would be one of those day trips where you drive up, take a few pics, and go find some lunch.

Couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In this segment we talk about…

  • Mount St. Helens Visitor Center in Silver Lake
  • The Forest Learning Center
  • The Hummocks Trail Hike
  • Johnston Ridge Observatory

Plus, all this hiking and learning is exhausting, so you are going to want to perk up by eating at the Fire Mountain Grill on your way back down the mountain!

Segment Three: Exploring the South Side

Our boys saw Jack and Colton explore the Ape Caves on their favorite show, Rock the Park. So we knew this was on their must-do list during our visit. It was worth the drive for sure, considering they say the caves were the VERY BEST THING on our entire trip. In this segment we chat about…

  • Lower Cave
  • Upper Cave
  • Area Reservoirs with day use beaches and water access
  • Lone Fir Cafe

Thanks so much to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV fools…

koa logo

Play
31 Jul

Which RV is Right For Me: RVFTA Quick Guide

If you are shopping for your first (or next!) RV, the good news is that there are a ton of great choices out there right now. However, the number of options can be quite overwhelming.

On this special episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, developed exclusively for Go RVing, we are helping you find your perfect RV, starting with a break down of each RV ‘type’.

From towables to motorized units, we will describe each major type of RV, plus give some of the reasons it may or may not be the right fit for you.

We wrap up the episode by adding a few of our own tips for smart RV shopping.

You can take a look at the pictures below while listening to get a better idea of the RV features that we discuss. We also highly recommend checking out Go RVing’s Compare RVs page, where you can learn more about each RV type and also get some personalized feedback using the Find My RV tool.

 

 

We believe the perfect RV is out there just waiting for you to bring it on some amazing adventures. But for now, enjoy the shopping part of your RV journey!

And soon enough, we’ll see you at the campground.

Stephanie + Jeremy

Pop Up Camper

Hybrid Travel Trailer

Conventional Travel Trailer

Fifth Wheel

Class B

Class C

Class A

Play
26 Jul

RVFTA #152 Greetings from Olympic National Park in Washington

Let’s get the important information out of the way first: Olympic National Park is knock-your-socks-off beautiful and has shot to the top of our list for favorite NPS sites. We still love you, Acadia…but you may have slipped to #2.

We visited Olympic National Park on the first stop of our 25-day Pacific Northwest adventure, and it was a pretty epic way to kick off the trip. On this RVFTA podcast episode, we devote the entire episode to sharing all the hiking, boating, and eating recommendations from our visit.

This is one of our paired podcast travel episodes, so to hear a complete review of the campground we stayed at during our visit, Elwah Dam RV Park, listen to Episode #91 of our Campground of the Week Podcast.

Segment One: Planning Your Stay

Olympic National Park is not one of the easiest NPS sites to visit mostly on account of its size. Many National Parks have ‘loop roads’ or ‘scenic drives’ that can give day visitor’s a quick glimpse of the park highlights. Not so with Olympic. The most popular areas of the park are quite dispersed, so planning your stay will involve a bit more research and strategy.

In the first segment of this episode, we give our tips for navigating the park including picking a location for your basecamp. We chose Port Angeles, but there are other spots that may be a better fit for you.

We also chat about…

  • Various Visitor Centers
  • Areas of the Park: Coast, Rainforest, and Alpine regions
  • Planning an itinerary

And we wrap up the segment by sharing the resources that ended up being our favorites, including…

  • Moon Guide Pacific Northwest Trip by Allison Williams
  • Best Easy Day Hikes: Olympic National Park, Falcon Guides by Eric Molvar
  • Olympic National Park: A Natural History by Tim McNulty {Jeremy’s Nerd Pick}

Segment Two: Port Angeles and Hurricane Ridge

We decided to use the Port Angeles area as our basecamp and were very happy with the choice. It placed us in close proximity to Hurricane Ridge, Sol Duc Falls, Crescent Lake, and the Port Angeles downtown area, which offered fun eating and shopping options.

We highly recommend beginning at the main Visitor Center here and chatting with a ranger about your visit. Skip the movie, which unfortunately offers little to no useful or interesting information about the park. You can also stretch your legs by enjoying two short but lovely hikes that leave right from the center: Living Forest Trail (.4) and Peabody Creek Trail (.5).

The Hurricane Hill trail ended up being our favorite hike of the entire trip. About three miles round trip, this ridge hike offers magnificent views for the entire length of the trail. In our opinion, this is a must-do when visiting Olympic National Park.

Our favorite food and drink joints were…

  • Little Devil’s Lunchbox
  • Next Door Gastropub
  • Easy Street Coffee and Tea House
  • BADA NW Coffee Shop
  • Country Aire Natural Foods

And some fun shopping options include…

  • Swains General Store
  • Lefties Team Store

Segment Three: Lake Crescent and Sol Duc Falls

Sol Duc Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the park. We did the Sol Duc Falls hike, and had a great time splashing in the smaller falls that you cross on the trail. We combined the hike with a visit to the Sol Duc Hot Springs, which was a HUGE hit with our kids. Beware…the hot springs really just look like pools/hot tubs and they do smell like sulfur. But nonetheless, it was a highlight for our boys who begged to go back every day during our visit.

Other great waterfalls nearby:

  • Marymere Falls
  • Madison Falls

There are a few places to rent boats on Crescent Lake. We felt the most scenic was at the Lake Crescent Log Cabin Resort, which has paddle boat, kayak, SUP, and canoe rentals at reasonable prices. There are lovely Adirondack chairs positioned along the waterfront, and you can buy ice cream and beer in the store to enjoy outside. Our boys took very quick dips in the chilly, but pristine, lake.

Our favorite food picks from nearby:

  • Blackberry Cafe
  • Granny’s Cafe

Segment Four: Ruby Beach and the Hoh Rainforest

Since we stayed near Port Angeles, both Ruby Beach and Hoh Rainforest were a long drive (1.5-2 hours). Based on local recommendations, we decided to combine the two stops and visited Ruby Beach in the morning and then headed out to Hoh Rainforest in the afternoon. You will want to check the tides before planning your day, as the coastal areas are best visited during low tide. Rangers at the visitor centers have tide charts for reference.

At the Hoh Rainforest, there are two loop trails with trail heads right at the Visitor Center: Hall of Moses (.8 miles) and Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 miles). These trails are an awesome way to experience the wonder of the temperate rain forest.

On the way back to basecamp, we ate dinner at Taqueria Santa Ana, a very authentic Mexico joint with delicious food and NO bells and whistles.

Our 5-day trip to Olympic National Park was truly phenomenal, and we are thrilled to share our best tips for visiting this natural treasure. Listen to the episode to hear complete details on all the above destinations, hikes, and restaurants! And don’t forget to check out Campground of the Week to hear our review of Elwah Dam RV Park in Port Angeles, Washington.

Thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV fools…

koa logo

 

 

 

Play
20 Jul

RVFTA #151 The Rise of the Park Model

Say goodbye to the yesterday’s manufactured home! Today’s seasonal-centric campgrounds are often comfortable and well-appointed RV resorts, filled with residential park models that are packed with creature comforts at affordable price points. Seasonal camping has become more popular than ever. So after you have pulled the trigger on that perfect campground retreat, a park model may not be too far in the future.

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas we are going to take a closer look at this growing segment of RV sales.  Our special guest is Amy Duthie, senior director of product development for Jayco. We invited Amy onto the podcast to educate us about her “Bungalow” line of park models, and this segment of the industry in general. (To learn even more about Amy, click here!)

Amy will answer questions about:

Read More

Play
13 Jul

RVFTA #150: Tents for Troops and the Healing Power of the Campground

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas , we are sharing an update on RVFTA’s fundraising initiative for the Tents for Troops RV Loaner Program. Last fall we announced our goal of raising 10,000 dollars to purchase a travel trailer which would be permanently housed at a campground and available exclusively to active duty military. Check out that podcast episode for more details about the charity and our RVFTA podcast network initiative!

Well, you all came through!!!! On account of the generosity of RVFTA listeners, we can now announce the awesome details of this charitable project. Listen to this week’s show to hear about the rig being purchased and the campground where it will be located.

Read More

Play
06 Jul

Episode #149 Pros and Cons of a Fifth Wheel

It’s been a long time coming, but now its finally here! Our EXTRA HUGE Pros and Cons of a Fifth Wheel episode! If you have ever wondered if a fabulous fiver might be right for your family, then this episode is for you.

We will talk about the best aspects of the fifth wheel, such as:

Read More

Play
29 Jun

RVFTA #148 Smokin’ and Grillin’ 101 With Casita Dean!

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas we are taking you to summer school and diving into the yummy world of smokin’ and grillin’. This is truly one of America’s greatest pastimes, and the way many of us feed our families in the summer both at home and on the road.

So we invited Campground of the Week correspondent (and international egg camping superstar) Casita Dean May onto the show to coach us through the process of smokin’ and grillin’ in the backyard and at the campground. He’ll tell us about ALL of the basic gear and cookbooks we need, the most important steps in the process, and then–most important of all–his favorite recipes.

Gear:

Read More

Play
22 Jun

RVFTA #147 Planning a Trip to the Pacific Northwest

We can’t wait to end the day with this view at the Oceanside Beachfront RV Resort in Oregon! We are only days away from our bucket-list trip to the Pacific Northwest that will include visits to 3 states, 5 campgrounds, and at least 5 national and state parks. On this week’s podcast episode, we wanted to share details about the planning that went into this very special adventure.

Segment One: The Trip Details

Our sticks and bricks home is in New Jersey, and we decided NOT to haul our RV all the way across the country to visit the Pacific Northwest. We’ll discuss some of the reasons for this decision as well as the resulting pros and cons . In this segment, we’ll also give a sneak peak at the campgrounds, cities, and parks we’ll be visiting.

Segment Two: The Trip Planning

Read More

Play
15 Jun

RVFTA #146 RV Road Trip Tips 2017

It’s that time of year, and many folks are hitting the road for the summer travel season. On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about some ways to stay happy and healthy while getting from point A to point B.

We could all use some fresh ideas to make the journey a little better, so we have compiled tips for staying safe and having a bit more fun, even if you are a prisoner to your kids’ 99th round of 21 Questions.

You might want to throw on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and try to teleport to the next destination, but we want you to know that the journey really can be a great part of the adventure. So here are some fresh ideas for enjoying the ride…

Segment One: Staying Safe

It’s way more fun to talk about trip planning than safety, but the bottom line is that an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Take these precautions to make sure you arrive safe and sound at your epic destination…

Read More

Play
08 Jun

RVFTA #145 Craft Beer 101 with Scott Elias

On this week’s episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are taking you to school and diving into the trending world of craft brewing. There are more and more location-based craft breweries, which offer a great chance to experience regional culture during an RV vacation.

So we invited Campground of the Week correspondent Scott Elias onto the show to coach us through the process of finding and enjoying amazing craft beer. He helps us sort out the difference between an IPA and a Belgian beer, plus offers some great resources for keeping track of those favorite pints once we find them.

Segment One: The Basics of Craft Beer

This is basically the everything you want to know but are too embarrassed to ask segment. We are never embarrassed to ask the most basic questions, and luckily Scott is very patient and has great answers. We discuss..

  • IPAs
  • Belgians
  • Pilsners and Lagers
  • Porters and Stouts
  • Wheats
  • Sours

Then Scott gives some really good advice for figuring out what you like and what time of the year you might want to drink it.

Segment Two: The Basics of the Craft Brewery

We all want to have a great experience when visiting a brewery, but to be honest it can be a bit overwhelming if you consider yourself a craft beer novice. Scott give us actionable advice for making a trip to the brewery a success, like downloading the app Untappd, which can help you keep track of the beers you like and also get recommendations from other users.

Scott also shares some of his favorite breweries from around the country.

Segment Three: Recommendations from the RVFTA Community

We asked our RVFTA craft beer fans for their favorite recommendations, and boy did they come through. Check out the post with all of these great brewery and campground picks from the real experts by heading over to our RVFTA Facebook group.

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV fools…

See you at the campground!

Play
25 May

RVFTA #143 Tips for Buying a Used Pop Up Camper with the Pop Up Princess

Photos courtesy of The Pop Up Princess

For many folks buying a used pop up camper is the easiest and most affordable way to jump into the RV lifestyle. There are many reasons why a pop up camper is a great way to get your feet wet, since they are so easy to tow and super easy to store.

However, the process of shopping for a used pop up camper can be a bit overwhelming. Inexperienced shoppers often make mistakes that end up costing a ton of money and a ton of time.

Lucky for us the Pop Up Princess came onto the podcast to guide us through the exciting but daunting experience of searching for the perfect used pop up camper. Larissa Richardson has seen a ton of pop up camper remodels, and she knows what she is talking about.

The Hunt for a Used Pop Up Camper

In the first segment, Larissa talks about all the things you need to research and decide before shopping for a used pop up camper. Important points include:

  • Current tow capacity
  • desired features
  • budget
  • deal breakers

Inspecting a Used Pop Up Camper before Purchase

In the second segment, Larissa walks us through her amazing checklist of all the things you should inspect before purchasing a used pop up camper. Seriously, everyone should be armed with this PDF checklist before going to check a rig out. We discuss:

  • roof
  • flooring
  • lift systems
  • canvas
  • electric
  • appliances
  • AND MORE!!!

Words of Experience

Folks who have been following the RVFTA story for a while know that we started out with a pop up camper and made a lot of very common mistakes in our RV journey. In the last segment of the show, we discuss some of our best advice for making sure you don’t wind up with a camper (or tow vehicle!) that doesn’t suit your family or your budget.

We still believe that a used pop up camper is an amazing way to begin your family’s RV adventure. If fact, our number one piece of advice to people sitting on the fence is to find an inexpensive used pop up camper and just give it a try. Even if you HATE it (which you won’t) you will probably be able to sell the camper at the end of the season for at least what you paid.

To see more of our advice on pop up campers, check out:

You can also visit our RVFTA Facebook Group, where lots of friendly folks will answer any questions you have about looking for that perfect pop up camper.

Thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RVing fools:

Play
18 May

RVFTA #142 Hiking 101 with Andrew Skurka

Hiking 101 with Andrew Skurka

As new parents, it was difficult for us to imagine how we were ever again going to enjoy outdoor adventures. Thank goodness we discovered the magic off hiking. Hiking has been the perfect family activity since we can vary the level of difficulty while still exploring the natural beauty of a destination.

We know a lot of our listeners would like to try hiking for the first time, or just do a bit more  of it over the course of the travel season. So we invited hiking expert Andrew Skurka, author of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools and Techniques to Hit the Trail.

Andrew Skurka was named “Adventurer of the Year” by Outside Magazine and National Geographic, so this guy clearly has some serious hiking chops. However, he can also bring it down to a beginner’s level, and he does that very well in the introduction to his book…and on this episode of the RVFTA podcast.

Finding Your Why

Andrew starts off by talking about the three most important questions that any hiker needs to ask:

Read More

Play
04 May

RVFTA #140 Kate Gets Her Kicks on Route 66: RVing the Mother Road from Ventura, California to Amarillo, Texas

On this podcast episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, Kate Dunbar of KatesCuriousKitchen.com gives us a fabulous trip planner for one of the most popular stretches of Route 66. Kate traveled 1,862 miles over the course of 7 days with her 1962 Shasta SC and stayed in 6 campgrounds as a solo woman traveler. We get to hear all the great details on the show.

Kate started her adventure in Ventura, California and journeyed on the Mother Road all the way to Amarillo, Texas. Listen to hear reviews of the campgrounds she stayed in, stops she enjoyed along the way, and restaurants that met her very high standards!

All of the places she reviews are linked below…

Read More

Play
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:

Read More

Play
19 Apr

RVFTA #138 Finding your Campfire Mojo: Everything You Need to Create the Perfect Campfire Experience

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are going back to the basics and talking about the classic campfire experience.

Most of us crave our campfires more than any other part of RV travel, so we started to wonder…exactly what does it take to create the perfect campfire mojo? We have talked about campfires, and recommended our favorite products in many different episodes over the last few years, but never in one comprehensive episode.

So here it is. The RVFTA campfire episode. The rope lights, the Cabela’s camp chairs, the Toas-Tites…everything that people ask about after every social media post. All in one place.

Segment One: Rules of Campfire Etiquette

Read More

Play
13 Apr

RVFTA #137 Meet the 2017 North American Camper

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are diving into the North American Camping Report, an annual independent study supported by Kampgrounds of America.

If you want to take a more in depth look, or follow along while listening to the podcast, you can find the entire report here. You can also check out our episodes on the 2015 North American Camping Report and the 2016 North American Camping Report.

Yeah, it’s kind of a tradition…

Segment One

Read More

Play
06 Apr

RVFTA #136 Spring Camping Resolutions 2017

On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are having fun with one of our favorite RVFTA traditions: talking about our resolutions for the upcoming 2017 camping season. What do we want to do more of? What do we want to do less of? And what do we want to try for the very first time?

Setting goals for our family’s time in the RV and at the campground helps us think about what works in the past and what we want to change. It has become a fantastic way to kick off a season of travel.

In case you missed them, check out our Spring Camping Resolution episodes from 2016 and 2015, also!

Read More

Play
30 Mar

RVFTA Episode #135: Ready, Set, Road Food!

RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast Episode #135:

Ready, Set, Road Food!

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast, we are checking off a bucket list item and interviewing Micheal Stern, co-author of Road Food: An Eater’s Guide to More than 1,000 of the Best Local Hot Spots and Hidden Gems Across America. The 10th edition of this classic book was just released, and we asked Michael to come on the show and talk about his forty years of traveling around the country and reporting on the best road food joints out there.

We have personally traveled with Road Food in each of our campers since day one, and it has led us to some of the best BBQ joints and lobster shacks in America. If you don’t have a copy yet, we don’t know what you are waiting for.

In Segment One, we chat with Michael Stern about the evolution of food writing over the last forty years. He takes us back to the beginning, when they struggled to get publishers to buy into the idea that readers would be interested in ‘regular’ food.

Read More

Play