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Our family was camping before camping was COVID cool.

Families are jumping in RVs and heading to campgrounds this summer in record numbers.

Six years ago our family spent seven months in an RV journeying around the United States. We needed to stop the chaos that was our everyday life, slow down, and enjoy one another and our lives for a little while.

Isn’t that exactly what the pandemic is making us do right now, whether we like it or not?

No matter if camping is part of your 2020 plan or it’s something you are considering in the future for your family, you will want to get this new book- See you at the Campground.

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The Authors Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi interviewed me about our RV Family Sabbatical on their podcast and when I saw they released another book, I had to check it out!

Whether you’re new to camping or a seasoned pro, See You at the Campground is an awesome resource containing everything you need to know from hiking with infants to navigating RV dealerships to mixing the perfect campfire cocktails. No seriously, anything and everything you want to know about camping is in this book!

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4 Ways to Choose Your Own Camping Adventure this Summer and Beyond

1. RV Camping Adventures

Are you an RV camper? Would you like to be?

As I said, we lived in this motorhome for nearly seven months of 2014. You don’t have to buy an RV to camp with your family, but it’s definitely not a shabby way to go. If you don’t have an interest in buying, you can certainly rent one on Outdoorsy and try it out for a little while.

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2. Cabin Camping Adventures

Now that we no longer own an RV, our family camping preference is staying in cabins. To learn more about these types of camping accommodations you can check out my post from the San Diego, California KOA, and the Williams, Arizona KOA. Both locations even have fun alternate accommodations such as safari tents and teepees too!

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3. Tent Camping Adventures

I’m not going to pretend that I am in the least bit a tent camper. I am not. But, the few times I have done it, have been awesome. I can’t imagine doing it with kids, but maybe you have more patience and tolerance than I do!

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4. Glamping Adventures

Lastly, Keith and I love taking “Glamping Getaways” such as this one we did last summer at Autocamp near Yosemite. Getting to stay in a fully equipped Airstream in the middle of the great outdoors is heaven to us.

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For your chance to win a signed copy of the book, See You at the Campground, comment which of the 4 Camping Adventurers you are and WHY you need this book!

One winner will be randomly selected on July 28, 2020, and notified by email. Must be a US Resident for shipping purposes.

 

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What’s summer break without a little camping action? We have such a fondness for our KOA brand after their sponsorship of our RV Family Sabbatical in 2014! KOA put us up for a couple of nights at their Branson, Missouri location after picking up our foursome from Kanakuk Summer Camp. It felt good to be back with the yellow shirts we know and love!

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Manager Angie Dickerson with new Branson KOA owners Greg and Karen Wright.

At the Branson KOA, you can expect super friendly staff who are there to help you from the moment you check in to the park. They will also be in the convention center serving up free pancakes every summer morning. This perk is a huge bonus for our large breakfast loving family!

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Not only did we love going for our complimentary morning pancakes, but our commute to breakfast was quite short. This was the view after walking out the door after stuffing ourselves- our home sweet home on wheels, Ally B.

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Our premium RV site was just perfect and we had a lot of room outside to sort through all of the kids’ trunks and bags after picking them up from camp.

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The Branson KOA is in a beautiful location just half a mile from all of the action on the main street. The pool was a well-loved spot during our days there. Adjacent to the pool was the beloved laundry room that I spent lots of time in getting all of the kids camp laundry done. I don’t know what I would’ve done if we were in a hotel with all of the stinky and wet clothes that they brought back with them! The KOA was the perfect place for us to regroup and unwind together before heading back home to Arizona.

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The Branson Main Street traffic is crazy! It is always bumper to bumper like this as most of the live shows, attractions, and restaurants lie along this road. Remember patience is a virtue and there are plenty of shortcuts from the KOA to keep you off this road! Branson is a unique family vacation destination known as the “Live Music Show Capital of the World.” I’m sorry to say that our family didn’t actually head to any of the shows this visit. KOA will recommend their favorites and can get you discounted tickets right there at the campground. Our family headed to Silver Dollar City Theme Park as well as did some go-karting at the Track and mini-golfing at the coolest Hollywood themed course we’ve ever been to! Check out my posts on the not to be missed Sunday brunch at College of the Ozarks and the tour of Top of the Rock as well.

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Camping season is upon us! More people than ever are taking off to the great outdoors and enjoying time in nature with their loved ones.

Whether you’re out there enjoying the great outdoors in your RV or dreaming of doing so, here are some tips I learned along our journey traveling around the USA!

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1. Bring along hotel shower caps

Most campgrounds, unfortunately, come with bugs. Bring along hotel shower caps to cover your dishes for your outdoor meals! Don’t forget your cute, water-stain resistant table cloth too.

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2. Use old comforter bags to store kids shoes

We used old comforter plastic zippered bags to store our dirty shoes while we were driving to keep dirt out of the motorhome.

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3. Buy (or make your own) shower lanyards

These shower lanyards were a lifesaver for our kids to take to the campground showers!

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4. Get plastic baskets for each individual

Keep your RV bathroom clean and toughen up the kids by sending them to those campground showers! Get plastic baskets for each child to take with them containing their own shower lanyard, pajamas, and towel. Be sure to get a different colored towel for each kid too.

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5. Bring along the crockpot 

Long day on the road? Put dinner in the crockpot to cook in the sink while you’re driving, so it’s all ready for when you arrive.

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6. Use a foam pool noodle in your closet

Forget buying the expensive RV hangers! Cut a pool noodle in half and wedge it on top of your hangers so that clothes don’t fall off in your closet while you’re driving.

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7. Make a clothesline out of rubber bands

Make a simple clothesline to dry clothes outdoors or inside your RV. This clothesline is amazing because it’s flexible and takes up no room to store!

Want to make one? Check out how HERE!

Happy Summer! Happy Camping!

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What are some of your favorite tips when traveling by RV?

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“Where was the favorite place you visited?”

It’s everyone’s first question when talking about our epic adventure around the USA. It’s almost an impossible question to answer as there are so many wonderful parts of our country.

Here are our family’s top 10 adventures, listed in no particular order. Be sure you click on the highlighted city name if you want to read the blog post from the actual time we were in that area.

JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING

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Jackson Hole is full of beautiful scenery and things for families to do. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are accessible from here. This tram up the Tetons is popular as well as the local Rodeo and Alpine Slide.

GULF SHORES, ALABAMA

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Gulf Shores, AL was quite the surprise. The beach is beautiful and clean with gorgeous sunsets. There are tons of fun family-friendly restaurants like this one (The Gulf). There is a lot to keep families busy here. This was one of the kids top picks!

ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

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Asheville, NC has been on my list to visit for a while. There is so much to do here and coming here for the October fall foliage was awesome! There are many beautiful places to hike including this one at Chimney Rock State Park. Gorgeous Great Smoky National Park and the famous Blue Ridge Parkway drive is close as well.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

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Ahhh… Seattle. We definitely love our big cities and Seattle is just so beautiful in the summer. Isn’t the skyline perfect at sunset from Alki Beach? Don’t forget to take the kids to the Gum Wall at Pikes Place Market and take a ride on the popular Duck Boat tour.

COEUR D’ALENE, IDAHO

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Coeur d’Alene is a beautiful city with lots to do. Hiking and jumping off the rocks at Tubbs Hill was the kids’ favorite!


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ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

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St. Louis was a fun stop. Not only was seeing the famous Gateway Arch beautiful, but the kids loved going to the City Museum as well! Six Flags is here and nearby Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park was one of our trip favorites too.

MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA

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Myrtle Beach was the perfect family-friendly coastal town! We loved riding our bikes from the KOA here to everything and the boys loved golfing, while us girls hit the outlet mall. We ate breakfast every day at the restaurant on this pier. There are amusement and water parks here, which were closed when we were in town, so there’s even more to experience when you visit Myrtle in the summer.

QUECHEE, VERMONT

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Quechee is on here because it was one of my absolute favorites. It is such a beautiful area and there are several fun things to do! The kids learned to fly fish and loved watching the glassblowers at Simon Pearce, where we enjoyed a wonderful dinner too! We went to Sugarbush Farms to learn how maple syrup is made and went to King Arthur Flour for some yummy baked goods.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

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New Orleans was awesome and full of life and culture. We all loved our first time here to the Big Easy and ate more beignets than we should’ve. Listening to live Zydeco music while bowling at Rock N’Bowl was a blast! Be sure to read the post to see what else kept us busy here.

ZION NATIONAL PARK, UTAH

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Zion National Park was one of our very first stops along our cross country journey. Zion is stunning and filled with amazing family hikes! We were surprised at how gorgeous the state of Utah was and this park in general.

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

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OK, if you’re counting this is actually #11, so I’m cheating. I had to include New York City because any time anyone asks my kids where their favorite place was, they all say the Big Apple. It confuses me, even though I’m a big lover of the city myself. I forgot what Times Square and the hustle and bustle looks like through a child’s eyes. Very exciting stuff!

What are your family favorite spots around the USA?

These reflections are from our family seven-month motorhome journey around the entire USA in 2014. 

1. Tenacity

It takes a lot of determination to follow through with a journey such as ours.

If you decide to take off on a journey like ours, people will think you are crazy and will tell you to your face. Others will be so intrigued and look at you with googly eyes. They will make bets on how long you will last and some will give you advice on how they think it should be done.

Whatever. Do your thing. It’s your heart. Your family. Your dream. God will bless you through it all if you have the tenacity to make your family sabbatical happen. Just remember you’re talking about a very small portion of your life here. What can feel like an eternity definitely comes to an end. I know because I’m home now. Don’t give up.

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2. Flexibility

Obviously, you can plan and plot away and things will happen to alter your course. Weather, breakdowns, sickness, and the list goes on. If you aren’t ready to go with the flow, then you’d better stay put.

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Living as a family of six in basically two rooms for half a year is not what I would call easy. By no means were we roughing it, but by no means was it living as usual. Flexibility is the key to staying sane and happy.

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Rainy nights meant eating dinner inside sharing a tv tray.

3. A sense of adventure

If you’re going to take a family sabbatical, you might as well get out of your comfort zone once in a while. I was apprehensive to go ziplining, caving, or doing anything with heights, but I put myself in all those situations and survived.

I figured if I’m out here doing this family trip, then I’d do it to the best of my ability and amuse my kids in the process. I still wouldn’t say I will seek out ziplining excursions in the future but I can at least say I’ve done it. Our kids are adventure junkies so this piece came easy to them!

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At Whitefish Aerial Adventures in Montana!

4. A nest egg

Yes, you will need some money in the bank if you plan to take off around the country in an RV with your loved ones.

Things will happen that cause you to spend outside of your planned gas, food, lodging, and entertainment budget. We had minor things break on the rig that had to be fixed immediately, causing us repair costs and hotel stays as well.

You do not want to be in these situations and then stressed about the money going out to fix the problems either. You’re already tenacious, flexible, and adventurous, right? You will make it through anything, but it will just be easier to do so if you have a nest egg set aside for unforeseen mishaps.

Do not let money stop you from taking your dream sabbatical though. We met many a family out there living life together with little in their pocket!

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We got hit by a trailer coming out of St. Louis and lost our passenger mirror!
Thank God this was the only time something like this happened as it was very minor.

5. Willingness to be a team player

This sabbatical is not about you or any individual bearing your same last name. It’s about unity.

Yes, you will have to put yourself on the back burner for a bit in the name of the family sabbatical. It’s the point, right? You will wake up some days and look around you and “they” will all still be there. No one is going off to school or work. Your days and nights are spent together. It is a definite adjustment and some days feel amazing while others cause you to want to run screaming into the hills.

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Luckily, when you are surrounded by nature in the campgrounds it’s always easy to clear your mind and regroup. Many times I had to have talks with myself. “Amy, you’ve got this. This isn’t forever. Embrace the day and the moments you have with your kids as it will be gone tomorrow.” My inner coach really got me through and most likely you’ll have to have talks with yourself too.

Your personal time awaits you when you get home. Don’t worry “your stuff” will be there. My yoga mat still functions and my nail tech is still accepting appointments.

6. A sense of humor

You had better be able to laugh if you take on a family adventure like this.

The best times we had were when we were all cracking up about something together. Hearing the kids laughing amongst themselves, in between their quarrels, made it all worthwhile. Laughter is always the best medicine and you will definitely need that prescription along the way!

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Enjoying some zydeco music in New Orleans!

What are you worried about when it comes to traveling around the country with your family?

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I can’t even begin to list all that I am thankful for on this Thanksgiving holiday. Our family has traveled by motorhome over 13,000 miles in 6 months to be here in San Antonio, Texas. My blessings overflow each and every day and I thank our Lord above for all of them. As we find ourselves away from home, family and friends this holiday at the San Antonio KOA, I am grateful for…..

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1. The Simplicity of Camping…

Never has life been so simple for me. Never have I shown up for Thanksgiving dinner in a ponytail, jeans, and flip flops with a bowl of heated up mashed potatoes to share. I am the one who makes all of the homemade dishes for this holiday, that we host at our home every year, so this is quite the change!

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Today I got to walk over to this luncheon with just this dish that I heated up in the microwave. Yep. That’s the way we roll at the campground. I did like that I had a KOA yellow bowl to put them in at least!

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2. Prepackaged yummy food

I found out yesterday when we pulled in here to San Antonio that we needed to bring a dish to the Thanksgiving potluck today. Thank goodness Costco has kept our fridge and freezer stocked with all of their yummy prepackaged dishes, as they have been my lifesaver along this trip. I never, ever buy these types of foods when we are at home and I have never served pre-made mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving before. But, I guess there’s a first time for everything!

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3. Our stay at the 2015 KOA campground of the year

For over 30 years, the staff and owners of this KOA have graciously served all their campers a delicious Thanksgiving feast! We are so grateful, as I had no idea how I was going to cook a turkey in this RV microwave or over a campfire! They let me off the hook as they provided turkey, stuffing, gravy and the campers chipped in for the rest.

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4. The blessing of togetherness!

If we were home right now, our family would be split into two. Half of us would be in California at a soccer tournament and half of us would be in Arizona for a hockey one. I know that is the reality that is just around the corner of return for us, but today I am thankful our family is enjoying downtime and Thanksgiving together…. as it should be celebrated!

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5. An after lunch bike ride on the path running alongside the campground and

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6. Watching my happy and healthy kids be active together on the KOA playground!

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7. Knocking off another spot from my Bucket List – the San Antonio River Walk

 This bus stop is just outside the gated entrance to the San Antonio KOA. We hopped on here and took it into the city to see what we came here for… The Alamo and River Walk. It is always nice when we can get on public transportation right from our campground after driving hours to get here in the first place!

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The Alamo… in all it’s glory and history!

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We strolled all along the River Walk enjoying the scenery, shops, and restaurants. The San Antonio Riverwalk has been a spot I’ve always wanted to visit and I would love to come back with just my hubby one day for sure. 

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Thank you to the San Antonio/Alamo KOA for letting us celebrate Thanksgiving with you! We can see why you were chosen as KOA’s 2015 Campground of the Year and we are so thankful for the time that we have here!

The past couple of weeks have definitely felt like winter in the south as we traveled through Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. Brrr! I’m not going to complain though because we could most certainly be stuck in northern New York right now. Those poor people! But, that’s why we went through that area in August and not November.

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When we planned our route to Arkansas, we decided to go through Hot Springs and check out the National Park. This urban park is like no other that we’ve experienced in the National Park Service system. It is comprised of a series of old-time American spas lined up along what is called Bathhouse Row. You really have to see it, to believe it.

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The Fordyce Bath House is where the Visitor Center is housed and it is just gorgeous. You can take a self guided tour inside to see what an old time american fancy spa used to be like. The kids can also earn a junior ranger badge here and it’s a good way for them to learn the history behind these spas.

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Outside the Visitor Center you can feel the scalding hot thermal mineral waters!

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We were bummed that there is no actual pool that we could sit outside, like the other hot springs that we’d visited in Montana and Idaho. In order to experience the waters, you have to go to one of two spas that are still in operation. The Buckstaff Bathhouse has been in continuous operation since 1912 and remains the only bathhouse providing the traditional bathing experience in Hot Springs National Park.

The minimum age is only 10 to soak in a thermal water tub here. The downside is that it costs $33 and our kids weren’t too keen on the idea of relaxing in a private room by themselves! We weren’t keen on the idea of paying for them to do it either!

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You must be 14 years of age to go to Quapaw, which excluded our family. Of course, if the kids weren’t with us, we would’ve probably checked both of these out. So sorry, I can’t report on what they’re like inside! They are all beautiful from the outside though I know!

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There are several nice trails above Bathhouse Row. The Grand Promenade is really pretty and it’s fun just to wander around the town. Cute shops and restaurants line the other side of the Row as well. We loved the feel of the town even if we didn’t get to go to the spa!

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We loved watching the locals show up to these public fountains with all of their huge water jugs to fill. Nobody is buying bottled water around these parts! We took the few items we had in the RV to fill up with the spring water and we were laughing the whole time because we really looked ridiculous with our Tupperware and Aladdin pitchers as well as our tea kettle. But we had a good time and we wanted to grab what water we could while we were there too!

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Our home base was the Hot Springs National Park KOA and we couldn’t have been happier! We hadn’t been to a KOA since we were in Florida, so it was nice to be back to the yellow sign we know and love! This KOA was just a few miles from downtown and the National Park/Bathhouse Row.

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Our spot by the pond was just perfect. I loved that the Arkansas trees still had color, despite the cooler temperatures.

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Tortillas proved to be good bait for our sons at this pond, as they were able to fish right outside our front door once again! Thanks to the friendly staff and owners of the Hot Springs KOA for hosting our family for our Arkansas stay!

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New Orleans, Louisiana is one place that had been on my bucket list for a while. I was so excited to finally get here to check out the Crescent City. New Orleans isn’t necessarily known as a family spot, but I beg to differ.

Here are 9 ways to enjoy NOLA with kids in tow!

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1. Hang out in Jackson Square

This popular square is a perfect starting point. There is so much to see in just this little area. You can also take a carriage ride tour from here around the French Quarter. Be sure to go into the St. Louis Cathedral. Not only is the architecture gorgeous but this is the oldest cathedral in the United States still in use.

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Musicians, street performers, and other local artists surround this beautiful square. Make sure to have plenty of low bills on hand to tip these fun entertainers!

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2. Beignets at Cafe Du Monde

Grab a table on the busy patio at this iconic spot and indulge in the city’s infamous French donuts. They come in orders of 3 for under $3. Be sure to indulge in a Cafe au lait or Coffee and Chickory as well. Yes, we made our way here a couple of times.

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3. Eat more beignets at Cafe Beignet

We decided to become beignet connoisseurs during our three days here.  Unfortunately, the day we were here was freezing and rainy, so we didn’t get the live music that normally would accompany your experience here but a few of us did rate these beignets higher than Cafe Du Monde. You try them and let us know what you think!

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4. Eat Debris Poboys, Gumbo and Jambalaya at Mother’s on Poydras

 It does seem like all we did while visiting New Orleans was eat! There are so many great restaurants and new dishes to try here that you just can’t help yourself. We loved this local eatery for an authentic Creole lunch.

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5. Enjoy a night at Rock’n’Bowl

This was my favorite thing that we did while visiting New Orleans. We listened to some live Zydeco music as we bowled. Rock’n’Bowl was such a unique place and so much fun! We wanted to find a family friendly spot to listen to some local music and this was just perfect. Admission was $10 per person.

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The fun energy here helped my bowling for sure as I was victorious in our family’s game. It is $24 to rent the lane for up to 6 bowlers for the hour. Shoe rental is just $1.

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6. New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park

Who knew this little National Park was tucked in the French Market? Be sure to visit it and have the kids earn a junior ranger badge while learning about the history of Jazz music in NOLA. Then you can continue to shop at all the booths in the French Market.

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7. Louis Armstrong Park/Congo Square

While on the subject of Jazz music, make sure to take a stroll through this park which is on the edge of the French Quarter in the Tremé neighborhood. The beautiful park is dedicated to one of the City’s most celebrated native sons and to the tradition of jazz in the City. It is also very close to the Basin Street Station Visitor Center, which you will want to hit as well.

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This poor area suffered so much devastation at the hands of Hurricane Katrina that it’s no wonder they celebrate the end of hurricane season with concerts and other festivities. They were just setting up for this one in Armstrong Park as we were getting ready to leave.

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8. Ride a historic streetcar

Riding one of the streetcars here is a unique and inexpensive way to get around certain areas of New Orleans. We took the St. Charles green streetcar out to see the Garden District, Uptown, and the Tulane University campus. It is only $3 for an all-day pass to hop on and off the cars.

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9. If you’re brave, stroll Bourbon Street

We had been warned to stay off this famous street with the kids. There isn’t any point in purposely waltzing the children along Bourbon Street to witness insanity. We did have to walk along there to go to Cafe Beignet but it was very tame in the morning rain, so there was no action that day thank goodness.

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BUT, we were walking from Armstrong Park to Jackson Square on our last morning and happened to cross Bourbon Street. This was our view at 9 am. At least it provided us with some last-minute laughs. I guess it wouldn’t be New Orleans without a little crazy.

What are your New Orleans family favorites?

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This was our view as soon as we pulled into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park! Elk everywhere! We later learned that this was really rare to see them out like this, so we felt even more blessed for their wonderful welcome into the Park!

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We loved hiking in the Great Smokies and you can see why! We got to hike a few more miles along the Appalachian Trail that runs through here. Our first AT miles hiked were when we were in Harpers Ferry, WV so it was fun to jump on the trail again for a few more miles.

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Our home base while visiting the area was the Cherokee/Great Smokies KOA. We were fortunate enough to be here during their first Halloween weekend celebration! This meant pumpkin decorating contests for the kids… How cute that they came up with a KOA theme on their own.

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After a costume contest, the kids all went around the park trick or treating in the afternoon. It was so fun! My big kids were hesitant, but luckily we’d purchased some new costumes from the Goodwill in Mt. Pleasant, SC so we were all ready.

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This KOA had the first indoor pool that we’ve come across yet! The kids loved coming back after hiking all day in the park to jump in for a warm swim.

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The grounds are just beautiful here!

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This fishing pond at the front of the property is quite popular. You have to get a fishing license though, so it’s a little more serious than the fishing we’ve been doing.

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We even extended our stay here in Cherokee one more night so we could enjoy some whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River. We chose a guided excursion with Adventurous Fast Rivers Rafting and loved it! It was the companies last day of the season so we lucked out!

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Now it’s time to talk laundry. There has certainly been no escaping this task while on the road. It has been very interesting acclimating to keeping up with the dirty laundry along the trip. We do have a stackable washer and dryer in our motorhome, Ally B, that I am so very thankful for. But, with a family of six, it’s sometimes way too much and is just easier to head to the laundry mat.

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The positive thing is that every KOA has one. The downside is that they can be busy and sometimes not too appealing. Doing laundry side by side with strangers is not my idea of a good time, but you do what ya gotta do when you are living at the campground. In Cherokee, I spent my Saturday night right here. I planned my laundry time right in the heart of the Halloween festivities at this KOA as I figured I’d be the only one in here and I was right.

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These washers were only $1 for a load too, which is the cheapest I’ve come across! It’s usually $2. It’s the little things people! I am now a laundry mat connoisseur. Who would’ve thought? I used to collect quarters for my parking meters in downtown Chicago and now I gather them just to get the clothes clean. Gotta love life’s journey!

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Hope you are enjoying your October and all that Fall has brought your way!

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Fall is definitely in the air here in Asheville, NC! This mailbox made me smile and made me present to the fact that we are a long way from home y’all! This area has been on my list to visit for a while, so it was exciting that we were able to get to North Carolina on this RV trip at the perfect time to see Fall in all its glory.

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Our first stop when arriving in Asheville, was Sliding Rock in the Pisgah National Forest!

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This was not a warm day, nor was this water anywhere close to being warm. But, my family members embrace any time to get wet and wild in nature. This spot was amazing!

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It was so fun to watch the kids go up and down this natural waterslide until their poor bodies were too cold to go on. Here’s Sliding Rock from the top…

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All of the tourists bundled up in their fall attire enjoyed watching my crew as they were the only ones crazy enough to do Sliding Rock at this time! I, of course, had to take photos and couldn’t partake in the fun (glad for the excuse.) In the summertime, the lines are long for this, so if you get a chance to come in the fall, do it!

During the weekdays in October, admission is free. If you come on the weekend or anytime in summer the cost is $2 per person to enter the recreation area.

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After Sliding Rock, we took the Blue Ridge Parkway back to our campground.  This was pretty much our view along the famous Parkway. Crazy fog but a fun experience nonetheless. We did end up on the Parkway at various other times and it is as gorgeous as everyone says! Glad we were driving our car and not the RV for this adventure though.

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Chimney Rock State Park was our next day’s destination and I was highly impressed with all that we found to do here! We did several of the hiking trails, including the main one up to Chimney Rock itself.

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There is a $15 adult and $7 “child” admission but it is totally worth it! I wanted to upgrade to an annual pass actually because I loved it here so much. Then the reality hit that we are a long way from home and most likely won’t get here again. It was wishful thinking anyway….

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The view of Lake Lure below is worth the hike up!  You can even take an elevator to the top if you aren’t up for the climb. It is very doable though and there are pretty views all the way. There is also a cafe and shop at the top where you can sit and relax to reward yourself after.

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Apple picking at a local orchard was high on the kids’ list, so we headed to Justus Orchard to do just that.

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The last time the boys picked apples was when they were in kindergarten and we were living in Minnesota.

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This was the view of leaving our Asheville West KOA. So gorgeous! I know I will make my way back to Asheville, NC hopefully sooner than later. For now, it’s off to Cherokee and the Great Smoky Mountains we go!

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