Vacation with the Chimps in Chimp Haven, Louisiana

JUST A TWENTY MINUTE DRIVE FROM SHREVEPORT LOUISIANA, SITS THE MAGICAL CHIMP HAVEN.
Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, is a non-profit facility in the U.S. providing a home for chimpanzees retired from laboratory research, formerly kept as pets, and used in entertainment.

 

If you love animals, you might try to squeeze in trips to local zoos when you travel. But another option to see and support the animals you love is to visit wildlife sanctuaries that emphasize education and conservation. While some sanctuaries aren’t open to the public, there are many others that welcome guests. These are some of the best animal sanctuaries that you can visit in the U.S.

Located just southwest of Shreveport, Louisiana, Chimp Haven is dedicated to the care of chimpanzees, many of which that have been used for research. The facility is located on 200 acres of forested land and has about 50 people on staff to help care for around 300 chimpanzees. The chimps have lots of room to make sleeping nests, climb trees, and play on large structures. You can visit Chimp Haven on Chimpanzee Discovery Days, which happen about three times per year.

 

The admission fee is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages six to 12, and free for kids under five years old. These events typically run from 9am to noon. Chip Chat & Chew Events give visitors a more intimate look into the chimps’ lives and includes breakfast or lunch. These popular events are $50 for adults and $25 for children.

Chimpanzee Discovery Day events are designed to offer the public an opportunity to visit the Chimp Haven sanctuary, which is not normally open to the public. 2015 Chimpanzee Discovery Days Dates are March 21, April 18, May 16, June 20, October 17 and November 21.

Discovery Days are held from 9 a.m. to noon except for festival events, which are held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Festivals will be held on April 18 and October 17. Admission prices are $6 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for children ages 5 and under.

“This year’s Discovery Day events and festivals promise to be exciting and fun for the entire family,” Chimp Haven President and CEO Cathy Willis Spraetz said. “As we celebrate the 20th year of our founding, we invite the public to visit the sanctuary to see its remarkable work and growth.”

Guests are encouraged to bring a contribution for the chimpanzees. Among the items needed are fresh or canned fruits and vegetables, unshelled nuts, peanut butter, sugar-free cereals, pretzels, sugar-free gelatin, pudding mixes, juice, syrup and Flintstones multivitamins.

Visitors, separated by a water moat from Chimp Haven’s residents, are able to view more than 50 chimpanzees, including seven youngsters, in natural wooded habitats.

Staff members are available as interpreters to help guests identify the chimpanzees and their behaviors as they forage for food and interact with one another. Other activities during Chimpanzee Discovery Days are:

Creative Station – Children are invited to make and take home a craft highlighting the theme for the event as a souvenir.

Enrichment Station – Discover what enrichment means for a chimpanzee. Enrichment could be in the form of a novel fruit or something more unique like the rhythms of an African drum group. Individuals can help staff and volunteers make the day’s enrichment.

Greenhouse Exhibit – Learn about Chimp Haven’s sustainability efforts and the chimpanzee diet by taking a tour of the sanctuary’s greenhouse.

Behind-the-Scenes Hayride – Explore Chimp Haven on a 30-minute, staff-led tour.

The tour offers two in-depth demonstrations and presentations and allows riders to see parts of the sanctuary that normally are not open to the public. Cost to take part in the tour is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Following Chimpanzee Discovery Days, visitors are invited to attend Chimp Chat and Chew. This event includes lunch, a behind-the-scenes tour of the sanctuary and a presentation by a staff member.

The 2021 Chimp Chat and Chew dates are May 16, June 20, September 19 and November 21, beginning at noon. Prices are $50 for adults and $25 for children. Reservations are required.

To RSVP for Chimp Chat and Chew or for sanctuary directions, call (318) 925-9575. For more information on Chimp Haven, please visit http://www.chimphaven.org. For more information on things to do in Shreveport-Bossier, visit http://www.sbfunguide.com.

 

 

 

Cherry Blossom

Birthday: 3/2/1993 | Member of Slim’s Family

We love a strong, bossy lady, and Cherry Blossom is one of the best. She uses her big, boisterous personality to live life to the fullest. Food is one of her great passions in life, and she always makes sure she gets the bananas she’s entitled to.

Jeff Lebowski

Birth Month: September

Jeff Lebowski is known around the sanctuary for his handsome good looks. Since arriving at Chimp Haven in 2014, he’s charmed staff and chimps alike with his funny, laid-back personality. He tends to move around friend groups, hanging out with whoever seems to need a pal that day.

Mason

Birth Month: October

If Mason had a nickname, it would probably be “squirrel.” He’s always on the move but is easily distracted by the opportunity to prank someone – human or chimp. His most distinguishing feature (his solid light brown face) has darkened with age, but it doesn’t take too long to recognize him: he’s the guy who’s always looking for a good time.

Marcus

Birth Month: November

Flora was named “Chimp You’d Most like to Have as a Mom” and it’s no mystery why: She’s a wonderful, nurturing mother and group mate. She’s very in-tune with her daughter, Valentina Rose, and never likes to be too far away from her. She’s attentive, smart, and a great teacher during enrichment, but she’s also quick to discipline when Rosie gets out of line!

Flora

Birth Month: May

Flora was named “Chimp You’d Most like to Have as a Mom” and it’s no mystery why: She’s a wonderful, nurturing mother and group mate. She’s very in-tune with her daughter, Valentina Rose, and never likes to be too far away from her. She’s attentive, smart, and a great teacher during enrichment, but she’s also quick to discipline when Rosie gets out of line!

Cherry Blossom

Birth Month: March

We love a strong, bossy lady, and Cherry Blossom is one of the best. She uses her big, boisterous personality to live life to the fullest. Food is one of her great passions in life, and she always makes sure she gets the bananas she’s entitled to.

Visiting Chimp Haven

As a sanctuary, Chimp Haven is primarily focused on providing an enriching life at sanctuary for the chimps, therefore we are not open to the public year-round. However, throughout the year, Chimp Haven holds special events and opportunities for visitors to experience the sanctuary.

Learn more below and plan your visit today!

 

Chimpanzee Discovery Days

 

Chimpanzee Discovery Days take place four Saturdays each year from 9 a.m. – noon

No need to RSVP in advance, but tickets may be purchased online

Accessible and fun for all ages!

 

 

Chimp Chat & Chew

Chimp Chat & Chew is a special tour for an exclusive group of chimp lovers, with a behind-the-scenes look at life at the sanctuary and in-depth conversation with the experts on the Chimp Haven staff.

Exclusive behind-the-scenes experience for ages 8+

Spots are limited and fill quickly, RSVP in advance!

 

 

Sanctuary Tours

Chimp Haven offers exclusive opportunities for private sanctuary tours on a limited basis throughout the year.

Tours are booked by request only

Brunch in the Wild

New for 2020, Brunch in the Wild is an unforgettable way to experience life at Chimp Haven.

 

In addition to behind-the-scenes sanctuary access, guests will enjoy a beautiful seated brunch with views of Chimp Haven’s forested habitats and the chimps who call them home.

Chimp Life Photography Experience

Join us for a one-of-a-kind photography experience at Chimp Haven’s beautiful 200-acre sanctuary!

This experience, led by Chimp Haven’s resident photographer, is open to professional and amateur photographers interested in photographing the chimps.

TJ

Birth Month: July

TJ is a sweet boy who loves a good game of chase. He’s also a master nest-builder, and especially likes using plastic toys to make himself a nice nest. He’s very fond of his caregivers, specifically the ones he knows well. If you’re new, TJ needs a little time to feel you out, and if you try to get familiar too quickly he’s been known to throw a little poo to let you know he’s not feeling it. (However, he’s very careful with his aim so as not to accidentally get anything on his friends!)

Onyx

Birth Month: July

Rambunctious adolescent Onyx likes to act rough-and-tumble, but she’s also a total mama’s girl. She loves to play out in the rain (which makes her hair curl, so cute!), and likes even more to play pranks on her group (she once grabbed up a whole stack of fresh, dry blankets and took them all out in the rain!). Her brow ridge makes her look mischievous, but really she’s just a funny little sweetheart.

Carlee

Birth Month: January

As Chimp Haven’s youngest resident, Carlee brings the fun wherever she goes. Her growing independence has her climbing up high in the trees and getting into new adventures every day. She has plenty of adolescent cousins to play with, but she still loves to spend lots of time with mom, Passion, and her favorite auntie, Sara Soda.

Ladybird

Birth Month: January

Ladybird retired to Chimp Haven in 2011 and is well-known for her sweet face and compassionate personality. A goofy smile from Ladybird could brighten anyone’s day! She and the other “golden oldies” in her group can often be found patrolling their habitat or exploring the forest.

Henry

Birth Month: January

Chimp Haven’s only former pet, Henry was found inside a garage where he had lived in deplorable conditions for 15 years, severely underweight and almost completely bald due to malnutrition. Today, he’s healthy and has overcome many of the struggles that came with transitioning from life as a pet to greater freedoms that Chimp Haven can provide. Not only has Henry adjusted well to living among other chimps, he’s flourished in his group with Donovan and other friends. He loves interacting with care staff, attempting (unsuccessfully) to gain Barbara’s affections, and rough-and-tumble play sessions with his boy pals.

Jacob

Birth Month: January

Jacob is like the wise-cracking elder in his group of friends, and these days he’s soaking in all that life has to offer. He doesn’t get caught up in the latest batch of bananas. A nice warm bed, his favorite foods, and plenty of winks at the ladies next door are all he needs to be happy. He loves to climb up to the top of the play structures to enjoy grooming sessions and nice views with his groupmates, and he’s all all-around easygoing and loyal friend.

Valentina Rose

Birth Month: February

Valentina Rose brings a fun, playful personality to her group. She loves a good game of chase with Mason or Jimmy, and she’s a great tree climber. She usually grabs her morning produce and takes it straight up into the trees to eat. As she grows, her mom (Flora) still remains close by to keep a watchful eye.

Chimp Haven was founded in 1995 in order to respond to the need for long term chimpanzee care. The need for care extended to those chimpanzees no longer used in biomedical research, the entertainment industry or the pet trade.

Genetically, chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than any other species. Because of their physiological and behavioral similarities, chimpanzees have been an attractive animal model for many researchers. In the 1980s the U.S. government launched an intensive breeding program. The resulting offspring were the intended research subjects for hepatitis and HIV studies; however, with new research models and developing technologies, the use of chimpanzees in human disease research declined in the 1990s.

In 2000, the CHIMP Act (Chimpanzee Health Improvement Maintenance Protection Act) was signed into law, establishing the Federal Sanctuary System. In that same year, The Parish of Caddo, Louisiana provided 200 acres of forested land, nestled in the Eddie D. Jones Nature Park, in which to build the sanctuary. Chimp Haven was awarded the federal contract to create a sanctuary where its residents could live in large social groups in spacious, outdoor habitats and where they could live out their lives in a setting that afforded them greater freedoms and self-determination.

In 2005, the first two chimpanzee residents, Rita and Teresa, came to live at Chimp Haven. In 2007, the Chimp Haven is Home Act was passed. This law closed a loophole in the CHIMP Act and prohibited chimpanzees retired from biomedical research to be returned to laboratories.

In a landmark decision on June 22, 2013, the National Institutes of Health announced that all but 50 federally owned chimpanzees were officially retired, paving the way for more than 300 additional chimpanzees to make their way to Chimp Haven in the future.

 

Currently there are 60 employees who are responsible for the overall care of the chimpanzees. The organization includes administrative support; husbandry and veterinary care; chimpanzee behavior, observational research and enrichment; education and facilities and grounds maintenance.

Since our inception, we have cared for more than 400 chimpanzees and are currently home to more than 300.

Hugo

Birth Month: February

Shortly after boisterous Hugo was introduced to his social group, he began rising in the ranks. Despite being younger than the more established males, his confidence and poise helped him reach alpha status. Sometimes he likes to cause a ruckus, but his sheepish grin always gives away his playful intentions.

Akeem

Birth Month: December

Akeem might look like a tough guy, but he’s really an easy going soul with a cool, collected temperament. He’s always there for your friends, and knows how to enjoy the little things in life: like a fresh delivery of his favorite fruits and his prized outdoor napping spot.

Taffy

Birth Month: August

Taffy is a strong girl who’s not afraid to stand her ground around rough-and-tumble boys. She’s a great friend to her groupmates, but she can rival any chimp in the sass department. If a groupmate decides to show off with a loud display a little too closely? She might toss a plastic toy shovel at their head. But then she’ll invite some pals to go on a nice patrol walk.

Queenie B

Birth Month: August

Queenie B is known as the sanctuary’s “nosy neighbor.” She always knows what’s going on with everyone in her group. She’s a master at catching fruit, and often demands rather than ask when she sees a caregiver with goodies. She extends her arm high in the air, signaling she’s ready for them to throw her a treat. If she receives something she doesn’t like, she’ll let it sail right past her, or even catch it and throw it back!

Hope

Birth Month: April

The first time Hope was introduced to her new pals, it was clear she was going to be Miss Popularity, making friends quickly and putting the whole crew at ease. She’s also a bit of a ham and loves fishing for attention from the care staff. On a nice day, you can find Hope sunbathing on her favorite platform, forever “working on her tan.”

Marie

Birth Month: April

Sweet Marie is a loyal friend to the end – her caring nature has been known to win over chimps with a tough exterior. While she’s naturally a bit reserved, if someone is messing with her buddies they better watch out! When she’s not showering her besties with affection, Marie enjoys spending quiet time outside.

THE FAMILY WILL LOVE THIS MAGICAL PLACE, ACTUALLY ANYONE WOULD.   MAKE SURE TO ADOPT A CHIMP, YOU’RE HEART WILL SING!
CHRIS

Isolate the Family on a Working Farm Vacation

Give the Family and Kids an Experience to last a Lifetime!

Vacation this year on a real working farm. educational and heart warming. An amazing and affordable vacation option.

 

Some Of Our Top Choices To Visit

What is a Farm Vacation or Vacation Farm

 

Farm vacations are well known around the world but not so for many Americans. ‘Know your farmer. Know your food.’ is a current rallying cry in the U.S. as urbanites look for connections to their food and to the countryside, and farmers look for avenues to sustainability.

While farmers markets bring fresh food to the city, farm stays invite guests to stay overnight in the country and experience the lifestyle – for a night, for a weekend, or more.

Where else can you milk a goat, hold a lamb, drive cattle, see the stars, or hear a rooster crow?

 

But we are not all the same. Lodging ranges from rustic to luxury and from farm houses to tents. Breakfast may be prepared for you or the ingredients provided.

Some farms offer classes in cheese making, spinning, gardening, cooking, even animal photography! Most are unstructured to allow you your own discovery. None are boring.

What a farm stay is not is a bed on a non-working farm or ranch. Rather it’s about the rural experience and putting a personal face and story to farming. It’s about meeting in the middle – farmer and guest.

 You Will Love It!

Where to Rent a Camper

 

 

 

Everyone benefits.

 

 

What to Expect

What’s going to happen when you get to your farm or ranch? Will it be boring? Will it be dirty? Will you have to ‘work for your supper’?

 

Will you be out of your comfort zone? No – no- no – and maybe at the beginning, in that order.

Following is a quick overview of the basics to this type of experiential vacation, recognizing that what you will find at each location is as varied as the farms and hosts that provide them.

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The good news – that variety allows you to find a vacation that perfectly suits your group.

ARRIVAL

Some farms you can view from the main road; others are down dirt tracks, even behind closed gates.

Usually but not always there is a farm sign. Make sure you have directions before you leave your home since you can’t always rely on a satellite to get you there. So, come on in!

Hint: if the gate is closed, once you enter, close it behind you. The rule on most farms and ranches is to leave the gate how you found it because, when you don’t, it’s inevitable the livestock escape…which is why it’s never boring on a working operation.

Checking in won’t necessarily be a formal process like a hotel. If you have prearranged an arrival time, there will likely be someone to greet you and get you settled in.

If not, prior communications should include where to go and what to do for your own check-in. As many farmers rise early and go to bed early, late arrival may mean you get your welcome and tour in the morning.

SMELLS

 

The smells on a farm are unique, but we don’t think they’re offensive. No, not even the smell of manure.

Depending on when and where you go, you might also smell fresh-cut hay; fruit tree blossoms; and maybe even apple pie cooling in the farm kitchen window.

CLOTHING & SHOES

 

Best to check what is recommended for footwear and clothing before you arrive. At the very least, closed-toe shoes around livestock and if you intend to help with chores clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.

Ask if there are guest boots to borrow. And at ranches, how about cowboy hats so you don’t have to worry if yours will fit in the plane’s overhead rack?

Layers are always good and it seems kids get dirtier than grownups so extra changes of clothes.

You might ask if there are laundry facilities available for your use if you are staying multiple days.

FOOD

Food is handled differently by most farms so best to again check before you arrive.

It can also vary by season in terms of what you might be able to purchase onsite. Ranch stays often include three meals, while farms may provide breakfast only. You are your own with access to a kitchen for the rest of your meals.

Your hosts should give you the full run-down on what you’ll want to bring and what you can obtain at the farm or nearby. Most of us have chickens so farm-fresh eggs will likely be available and you may even get to collect them yourself.

CHORES

 

To work, or not to work? Unless expressly indicated as part of your stay agreement, chores are a choice, not a requirement.

We are delighted for you to show an interest in our daily work and many of us allow help with chores, such as collecting eggs, feeding chickens, brushing horses, spreading hay, milking goats, or possibly harvesting crops.

Insurance liability has a lot to do with what you are allowed to do, so driving the tractor tends to  be off limits.

While many ranch operations allow guests to ride and help with cattle, many farms aren’t able to get insurance coverage for riding. They are often just as disappointed as you.

Your hosts mostly want you to relax and have fun, so it’ll be up to you how much or how little you want to pitch in!

If you’d rather sit on the porch with a book, play in the creek or go for a hike, that’s absolutely fine too.

TIME ON THE FARM

 

Don’t be surprised if you are left alone for much of your stay – these are working operations and your hosts will be busy.

That said, we likely have a routine and are available for guests who want to participate in our lifestyle.

 

With all the activities, sights, sounds and new experiences to be had on our farms and ranches – there’s lots to do.  Often with all the fresh air, naps are part of a stay!

ALLERGIES, HEALTH CARE

 

This is where you will find out if you are allergic to hay and sometimes horses. It’s not an unlikely occurrence so bring along some antihistamine medicine just the same (and it’s a good idea not to rub your eyes after being in the barn until you have washed your hands).

 

 You Will Love It!

Where to Rent a Camper

 

 

Make sure everyone is up on their tetanus shots just in case. Most of us have a first aid kit for minor scrapes and cuts, also tweezers for splinters.

Generally listen on your farm tour for the specifics of the flora and fauna (what stings, what bites, what to do, etc.). It’s no different than learning about traffic and city pests.

PETS

 

While there are quite a few farm stays where you can bring pets, it’s best to double check and be sure that this is appropriate for you and your pet.

There may be other dogs on site; large livestock; and various hazards around the property. Follow all rules laid out by the farm for safety’s sake.

On a similar note, remember that many farm dogs are working guard or herding dogs and may not behave the same way a family pet would. Best to greet with caution, a hand down first and never a face.

Youngsters used to jumping on the family dog should be monitored closely as this is a serious worry for your hosts. And, the reality is that most barn cats will run and hide.

Traveler FAQs

What does a farm stay cost?

 

Costs can vary widely depending on what you are paying for with a low of $20 for camping to a high of $400 for 5-star lodging. 

An average rate for double occupancy on the Farm Stay U.S. site looks to be around $125/night, which may or may not include breakfast.  We think this is a smokin’ deal for what you get!

How can I find what dates are available for a specific farm stay?

 

Similar to the online booking, many farms and ranches have availability calendars linked to their websites. 

 

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We recommend, except for the sites with online booking (handled in real time), that you check directly with the farms as sometimes it is hard to keep these calendars up-to-date when farm chores are calling.

Can I book my reservation online?

If our farms offer online booking or access to their booking calendar, we link to this through the Book It button on their Farm Stay U.S. listing. You will be dealing directly with the farm and not with us at this point…which is a good thing.

Due to these existing systems, we do not expect to offer our own booking engine anytime soon, but, please consider our Book It button to work like any other travel site’s.

How do I contact farms or ranches for a farm stay?

 

You can message farms directly through the ‘Contact’ tab on each farm’s listing page.  You have other options as well: phone, email, and their personal website (also listed under the Contact tab). Caveat: if the farm is a complimentary member, you best solution is to use the Contact form for further information.

Please mention where you found their listing as we would dearly love to have all our farms well represented with full information about what they offer.

Ask about children before you reserve

 

Not all farms and ranches allow kids. Check under the ‘Allowed’ heading to see whether children are welcome.  It is best to ask as well since sometimes there is a specific age restriction that may be less or more than 12 years old .

OUR TOP RANCH/FARM CHOICES

 

Sevier River Ranch & Cattle Company

Farm Stay in Hatch

216 South Sevier River Ranch Lane, Hatch, UT 84735, United States 

9.2 Superb 269 reviews

Located in Hatch, 45 km from Bryce Canyon, Sevier River Ranch & Cattle Company provides a garden and free WiFi.

The farm stay offers a terrace.

A barbecue is available on site and both hiking and fishing can be enjoyed within close proximity of Sevier River Ranch & Cattle Company.

Ranch il Sole

Farm Stay in Miami

22900 Southwest 157th Avenue, Miami, FL 33170, United States

9.0 Superb 5 reviews

Located in Miami, within 32 km of University of Miami and 33 km of Cocowalk Shopping Center, Ranch il Sole offers accommodation with free WiFi, air conditioning, a bar and a garden. Featuring free private parking, the farm stay is in an area where guests can engage in activities such as hiking and cycling.

Z Ranch

Farm Stay in Templeton

350 Vaquero Road, Templeton, CA 93465, United States

9.7 Exceptional 16 reviews

Set in Templeton, 39 km from San Luis Obispo, Z Ranch offers barbecue facilities and free WiFi.

Cambria is 43 km from the farm stay, while Morro Bay is 40 km from the property. The nearest airport is San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, 50 km from Z Ranch.

Panther Valley Ranch

Farm Stay in Morning Star

1942 Millcreek Road, Morning Star, AR 71901, United States

9.7 Exceptional 26 reviews

Situated in Morning Star, 11 km from Hot Springs, Panther Valley Ranch features barbecue facilities and free WiFi. The accommodation has a spa bath.

The farm stay offers a hot tub. Panther Valley Ranch also provides a business centre and free private parking.

The Britton Farmstead

Farm Stay in Gettysburg

573 Spangler School Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325, United States

9.5 Exceptional 33 reviews

Located 10 km from Little Round Top Gettysburg, The Britton Farmstead offers a garden, and air-conditioned accommodation with a patio and free WiFi.

The farm stay offers a hot tub.

Guests at The Britton Farmstead can enjoy skiing nearby, or benefit from the sun terrace.

Orr Family Farm & RR, LLC

Farm Stay in Oklahoma City

14400 S. Western Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73170, United States

9.3 Superb 19 reviews

Located in Oklahoma City in the Oklahoma region, Orr Family Farm & RR, LLC provides accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking, as well as access to an indoor swimming pool.

A barbecue is available on site and fishing can be enjoyed within close proximity of the farm stay.

Kokomo Farms

Farm Stay in Live Oak

19378 Northwest County Road 250, Live Oak, FL 32060, United States

9.5 Exceptional 79 reviews

Set 19 km from Peacock Springs State Park, Kokomo Farms offers free bikes, a shared lounge and air-conditioned accommodation with a patio and free WiFi. The accommodation has a hot tub.

The farm stay offers a hot tub.

The Old Sindelar Farm

Farm Stay in East Haddam

61 Petticoat Lane, East Haddam, CT 06423, United States

9.3 Superb 37 reviews

Boasting a DVD player, the farm stay has a kitchen with a dishwasher, a microwave and a fridge, a living room with a seating area and a dining area, 3 bedrooms, and 1 bathroom with a shower and a bath. A flat-screen TV with cable channels is offered.

Grand Canyon Western Ranch

Farm Stay in Meadview

61 Petticoat Lane, East Haddam, CT 06423, United States

8.5 Very good 728 reviews

Set on an active ranch featuring horseback riding and wagon rides, these cottages include rusticfurnishings and private entrances. Guests can book a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.

Featuring authentic western home-style cooking, the Ranch House is located at Grand Canyon Ranch. Guests can dine at a candle-lit table by an open fire. After dinner, live cowboy entertainment is featured at the Diamond Bar, which offers a full bar.

 You Will Love It!

Where to Rent a Camper

THE KIDS WILL REMEMBER THIS FOREVER!
ENJOY, CHRIS

Can you Lift your Wife

“Wife-Carrying”  It’s a thing in Finland.

Every year a small town of Sonkajaervi in Finland hosts the International Wife Carrying Championships. During this competition, husbands have to carry their wives along the track with various obstacles.

Finland is no stranger to strange sports: it has also given the world the world boot throwing, air guitar and mobile phone throwing competitions

SIGN UP FOR MORE NEWS ABOUT WIFE CARRYING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2021

VIDEO EXPLANATION – “PLAY”

 

Buy tickets

You can buy spectator tickets on the day at the venue. Competitors can sign up via their online portal on the official championship website. Meet the friendly faces at the registration desk on the day to pay your 50 Euro fee. 

 

 

If the designated ‘wife’ is lighter, she must carry a weighted rucksack, given to her by officials. For this great feat of strength, the world champions win the equivalent of the wife’s weight in beer, a bag full of wife-carrying merchandise and an official logo statue

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The prize for winning the race is the wife’s weight in beer.  It’s really all very civilized. The sport — yes, it’s a sport — originated in Finland, and was most likely inspired by a duo of historical tales.

CHECK OUT SOME LIVE ACTION HERE

“PLAY”

 

A 19th century legend has it that men stole wives from neighboring villages.

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The wife clamps onto her partner, upside-down, with her front against the man’s back. She wraps her arms around his waist and her legs around his head and neck area.
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This means the woman must get up close and personal with her partner’s rear end. How does one train for wife carrying?
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The first modern day wife carrying event was held in Finland in 1992 and foreign contestants were admitted in 1995. This event is now held annually in Sonkajärvi, Finland as the World Championship. A North American Championship was started in 1989.
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According to the rules, the participants can carry their wives or the neighbors. The wife should be at least 17 years old and weight minimum 49 kilos.

CHECK OUT SOME LIVE ACTION HERE

“PLAY

 

 

The only equipment is a helmet and a belt. Two couples start simultaneously and run as fast as they can. The winning couple is the one that completes the course in the shortest time. In addition to the main prize, the most entertaining couple, the strongest carrier, and the best costumes are awarded as well.

 

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Wife-carrying Contest Rules and Regulations
This wife-carrying contest participant is using the Estonian carry technique to wield his load.
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 If the wife is lighter, she should carry an additional rucksack. There are different types of carrying: piggyback, over the shoulder, or Estonian-style when a wife hangs upside-down with the legs around her husband’s shoulders and holds his waist.
Naturally, wife-carrying contest rules may vary from event to event, from country to country. But Finnish wife-carrying race officials assign the following rules and regulations to their wife-carrying championships: First of all, everyone involved must have fun.
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No worries, unmarried men — competitors don’t have to carry their own wives. Rules state that a part icipant may carry his own wife, his neighbor’s wife or someone he found “further afield.”
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The onl y stipulation is that the wife must be more than 17 years of age and weigh a minimum o f 108 pounds (49 kg). If the wife weighs less than that, she must carry a weighted rucksack to make up the difference.
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The official length of the track is 831 feet (253.5 meters). The surface of the track includes sections of sand, grass and gravel. There are two obstacles to climb over, as well as a 1-meter- (3.2-feet-) deep water obstacle to wade through.

If a contestant drops his wife, he incurs a 15-second penalty. Indeed, wives are dropped all the time — that’s why they wear helmets. Officials also award special prizes for best costumes, which adds a festive element to the event.

 

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In addition to the standard wife-carrying race, couples have the option to participate in the official wife-carrying sprint, which is only 100 meters (328 feet) but includes similar obstacles.

 

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The Wife Carrying World Championships also features a team competition, which has the same rules as the wife-carrying contest, but the three men on each team take turns carrying one wife. The twist? Before handing off his “wife” to the next contestant, each man must chug a drink.

 

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You’re probably wondering if, in the interest of equal rights, a wife is allowed to carry her husband, or, if two women or two men can enter the contest. Finnish rules prohibit any team that isn’t strictly male/female, and with the man as the carrier.

 

BEST TOURS AND ACTIVITIES  IN SONKAJAERVI, FINLAND

 

Some consider this rule strange, considering the country of Finland prides itself on becoming the first parliament in the world to adopt full gender equality [source: Korpela]. But the sport is all in good fun. Even feminist Finn leader Pirjo Ala-Kapee believes the event isn’t demeaning to women, calling the wife-carrying contest “uplifting” and “authentic” [source: Mattox].

 

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With any sport comes technique, and wife carrying is no exception. There are several different tried-and-true styles for carrying a wife. Although participants are encouraged to employ any technique they choose, most wives either: ride piggyback, sit on the man’s shoulders, lay around the man’s shoulders like a snake or a boa (fireman-style), or they climb on their partner for what is dubbed the Estonian carry.

 

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The most popular style, the Estonian carry, was named for the country that’s won the last 11 Wife Carrying World Championships. The technique works well because it distributes the wife’s weight evenly and helps the carrier to retain optimum balance while he races. But it’s a tricky move to pull off. And, some people think it looks ridiculous. The wife clamps onto her partner, upside-down, with her front against the man’s back. She wraps her arms around his waist and her legs around his head and neck area. This means the woman must get up close and personal with her partn er’s rear end.

 

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How does one train for wife carrying? The Finns humorously advise incorporating training into daily routine, of course — carry your wife around in the bath, the supermarket, the playground or the gym. But in all seriousness, John Farra, 2006 winner of the North American Wife Carrying Championship, trained by running around his yard with an 80-pound (36-kg) bag of cement on his back.

Vytautas Kirkliauskas of Lithuania carries his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene as they compete during the Wife Carrying World Championships 2018 in Sonkajarvi, Finland. Photo: Reuters

Fifty-three men slung their wives or partners over their shoulders and hurtled off on an hour-long race in the small Finnish town of Sonkajarvi on Saturday, as thousands of fans cheered from the stands.

The World Wife-Carrying Championship, now in its 23rd year, draws thousands of visitors to the town of 4,200 and has gained followers across the world.

There are official qualifying competitions in countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Estonia. On Saturday, 53 couples from 13 countries joined the competition, organisers said.

The idea of wife-carrying as a sport was inspired by the 19th century legend of Ronkainen the Robber, who tested aspiring members of his gang by forcing them to carry sacks of grain or live pigs over a similar course.

The championship is also said to stem from an even earlier practice of wife-stealing – leading many present-day contestants to compete with someone else’s wife.
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Vacation Like a Millionaire

VACATION ON A HOUSEBOAT

For a unique escape, put a Houseboat Vacation Rentals at the top of your plans.

Vacations on the water are the ideal choice for everyone from couples to families to groups of friends — the type of vacation where life drifts along at a tranquil pace.

Also houseboats can be a better vacation value as many of then come at prices well less than fancy, stuffy hotel rooms.

Simply a cheap, fun magical experience.

But what’s a houseboat vacation really like? And where should you go?

 

OUR FAVORITE PLACE TO GO IS LAKE POWELL, UTAH

Beautiful Lake Powell, Utah

BEAUTIFUL LAKE POWELL, UTAH

  Lake Powell belongs to both Utah and Arizona, and a paddle through the …

 

Read on for a quick guide to houseboat vacation rentals and the best places to find them.

What to expect from houseboat vacation rentals

 

If you’re a first-time boater, you might be wondering what the fuss is about. Don’t worry, though, you won’t be on the water long before you get the picture.

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A quick lesson in boating is all you’ll need to earn those all-important captain’s credentials — along with your driver’s license, of course. In the meantime, you can explore why choosing a houseboat vacation rental for your next getaway will earn you serious brownie points from your whole gang.

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What are houseboat vacations like?

 

That depends on where you go. A houseboat vacation rental on a lake offers a different experience to one spent cruising along a meandering river.

Sometimes, the term houseboat is also used to include floating homes and barges. In all cases, though, a stay on the water is exactly what you make it. Want to relax? Sure thing. Head to the boat’s deck for sunbathing, fishing, and gazing at starry skies. Craving adventure? In many of the most popular houseboat rental destinations in the USA, you can tag a jet ski onto your rental agreement.

WHERE TO RENT HOUSEBOATS

Typical features of houseboat vacation rentals

We whether you opt for a cozy boat for two or rent a multi-tiered party boat with room for 20 friends, you can be sure that your houseboat will offer comfy sleeping and living spaces, as well as an outdoor deck area and cooking facilities.

 

 

Larger houseboats have more of the same, along with extras like covered captain’s flying bridges, gas grills, and water slides. And if you’re up for a bit of pampering, luxury houseboat vacation rentals often come with a personal hot tub or, at least, the option to add one to your booking.

How and when to rent a houseboat

You can check out the houseboat vacation rentals available in your chosen destination by searching online.

 

Keep in mind that some rentals require a minimum stay, which, in some cases, can be a month or longer, though there are plenty of short-term rental choices as well. When you enjoy your vacation will depend on your destination.

Spots like Kentucky Lake are best for summer rentals, while those lakes in steamy Arizona, and in much of California too, remain open for business all year round.

Top destinations for houseboat vacations in the USA

 

 

FLORIDA RENTALS

 

162 Florida  Houseboat Rentals

 

Enjoy, nothing quite like it!

Chris

Would You Enjoy A Swim With Aligators

 

VACATION HOMES, CONDOS AND CABINS RENTALS

 

 

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Where to Rent A Camper

 

 

 

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This is an absolutely amazing experience that will put you in the water behind a protective net barrier to swim with alligators in a 30,000 gallon aquatic habitat and view how this top predator maneuvers through the water.

It is thrilling to be in the water with alligators, yet somehow becomes a surreal and serene experience when you see how calm and effortlessly they glide through the water.

You  meet at the Everglades Outpost Wildlife Rescue(35601 SW 192nd Ave, Homestead, FL 33034) at 10am unless otherwise discussed. Tours are done by booking only(no walk ins), click the big red button to book!

 

 

Best Day Tour in Homestead, Florida

Full-Day Everglades Naturalist-Led Adventure: Cruise, Hike, and Airboat

 

Safety first!!

The experience is hands off and you are separated from the alligator by a net barrier. This is not a gator wrestling class, you will be able to be very close to the animal and observe and record it’s behavior, you can have photos of you near the gator, we just can’t allow guests to touch the animal for safety and legal reasons.

Must be 16yrs or older to participate. This experience is all done under the Everglades Outpost. Chris Gillette is with you at all times, and only one guest in the water at a time with Chris. This makes the experience very personal and safe.

 

MORE AFFORDABLE HOTEL OPTIONS – HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA

 

Chris has been a professional crocodilian handler for over a decade and has worked with everything from gators to 16ft crocs in the wild. He will give a full safety briefing before entering the water and also provide information on alligator natural history and behavior. The briefing is extensive and educational.

You’re welcome to bring cameras/gopros to document your experience, just make sure they’re waterproof! Strobes and video lights are OK to use too. If you get cold easily we recommend that you wear a wetsuit as it can get pretty chilly pretty quickly in there, the water is just regular water from the hose and not chilled, but under the shade of a large tree and it can be considered chilly by some. 

The wetsuit is not required and many guests go in just their bathing suits, it is your choice. You’ll also need a mask, snorkel, and weight belt. If you have your own gear that’s great, but if you don’t have your own we have spare mask/snorkel/weight belts you can use. We do not have wetsuits available.

In participating in the experience you will be signing up as an official volunteer of the Everglades Outpost! We will start off with a long talk about the background of the gators, why they are here, what a nuisance gator is and how YOU can help us raise awareness about the nuisance gator issue in Florida!

 

 

MAJOR HOTEL SALES IN HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA

 

 

 

We want you to walk away from the experience as an alligator advocate and to use your photos and experience to teach your friends and family about alligators! Help dispel common alligator myths, teach about their behavior, and most importantly you can teach people to not be the nuisance people that create nuisance gators!

There may be several alligators in the pond but we will be focusing on the largest individual, his name is Casper. Chris has worked with Casper for over 12 years and understands him very well. Casper is between 9-10ft and around 250lbs and is an amazingly gentle ambassador for alligators. This is also the only experience in the world that allows people to be so close with alligators in the water, truly a once in a lifetime experience.

SWIM WITH THE GATORS

 

THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE – IS A COMPLETE THRILL RUSH

 

BEST AIRPORT TO GET TOHOMESTEAD, FLORIDA
Miami International
The nearest airport to Homestead is Miami (MIA) Airport which is 25.9 miles away. Other nearby airports include Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL) (46.8 miles), West Palm Beach/Palm Beach (PBI) (88.2 miles), Key West (EYW) (102.5 miles) and Ft.
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RENT A CAMPER TODAY

Where to Rent A Camper

 

When I stuck my my foot in the water Mr gator looked at me and I chickened out!

ENJOY YOU BRAVE TRAVELERS!

CHRIS

Miami to Key West

MIAMI TO KEY WEST – By Car or  RV

A Must For Everyone!

The Overseas Highway is a 113-mile (181.9 km) highway carrying U.S. Route 1 (US 1) through the Florida Keys to Key West.

A Fun and Inexpensive Vacation for the Entire Family!

The Florida Keys are a perfect place for a short trip (think 3-5 days) so for lucky Americans it would make a great weekend.  If planned correctly can make for  a very affordable  family vacation.

The Overseas Highway, Route 1, leads you from Miami south through the Florida Keys.

The route is 113-miles long and takes you from beautiful savanna lands to the tropical islands with the largest area of coral reefs in the United States.

Since the road is connecting a chain of islands, you will pass over countless bridges that have you floating above the water, and you’ll feel like a boat coasting through, including one bridge that is nearly seven miles long.

You can drive to the southernmost point in the USA near Key West, which sits closer to Cuba than to Miami,
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and you can visit the Ernest Hemingway Museum and the descendants of his six-toed cats. But even beyond the overseas highway, there is still plenty to see and do on a Florida road trip.
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Detour: Take a trip into Everglades National Park to explore the largest wilderness east of the Mississippi River.
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Classic American road trip.

 

Key West is the Southernmost city in the United States, just a 4-hour drive from Miami on the scenic coastal Overseas Highway.

No visit to South Florida is complete without road-tripping from Miami to Key West for a few days. Especially if you like pirates, key lime pie, water-sports, and music!

 

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Where to Rent A Camper

The first tropical paradise you will encounter when leaving Miami is  Biscayne Bay

 

Biscayne Bay is a Florida town on a barrier island across the Rickenbacker Causeway from Miami. It lies between 2 large parks—Crandon Park and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park—each with long, sheltered beaches, mangroves and tropical forest inhabited by birdlife, butterflies and loggerhead turtles.

THINGS TO DO IN BISCAYNE BAY

HOTELS AND CONDOS IN BISCAYNE BAY

VACATION RENTALS IN BISCAYNE BAY

 

EXTREME ACTIVITIES IN BISCAYNE BAY

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Enjoy The Beautiful Florida Keys!

The next Florida Key you will encounter on your quest to Key West is the famous “Key Largo”

Key Largo

Key Largo is the first of the fabulous Florida Keys and is the self-proclaimed Dive Capital of the World.

It is home to the world’s largest artificial reef, the 510-foot USS Spiegel Grove, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

About John Pennenkamp Coral Reef State Park

Established in 1963, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was the first undersea park in the United States. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and the adjacent Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, cover approximately 178 nautical square miles of coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove swamps.

The park extends 3 miles into the Atlantic Ocean and is approximately 25 miles in length. These areas were established to protect and preserve a portion of the only living coral reef in the continental United States. The park was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 14, 1972.

The park named for the late John D. Pennekamp, a Miami newspaper editor, whose efforts contributed to the establishments of Everglades National Park and the preservation of what would become John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

The park contains a wide variety of tropical vegetation, shore birds and marine life. While the mangrove swamps and tropical hammocks offer visitors a unique and interesting experience, it is the coral formations and associated marine life that most park visitors come to enjoy. The coral reef at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park are among the most beautiful and diverse of all living communities.

and the African Queen.

Everglades National Park is just a short trip away from Key Largo.

Diving, snorkeling and glass-bottom boating in the clear waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are fantastic experiences.

 

KEY LARGO WATER SPORT RENTALS

Watersport activities in Key Largo are plentiful, including fishing, kayaking and swimming with the dolphins.

Or  just relax with a tropical beverage and watch the beautiful sunsets.

THINGS TO DO IN KEY LARGO

HOTELS AND CONDOS IN KEY LARGO

VACATION RENTALS IN KEY LARGO

 

EXTREME ACTIVITIES IN KEY LARGO

Next Island on the way to Key West

PLANTATION KEY

Big Adventures on a Small Island

The island of Plantation Key is located just 20 miles south of Key Largo, along the stretch of US Highway 1 that winds through the Florida Keys.

According to the 2000 census, the population of this small tropical island doesn’t exceed 3,500. The majority of the accommodations on Plantation Key are through waterfront vacation rentals. Additional accommodations can be found on Islamorada, about 7 miles away.

WATER SPORT OUTFITTERS AND RENTALS – 5 STAR

Half Day Snorkel Trip on Reefs in the Florida Keys

Getting around Plantation Key is quite easy. 

 

 In  fact a number of the main activities and attractions are clustered closely enough together to form an easy walking distance.

Plantation may be one of the smaller Key islands, however there is still plenty to see and do. Visitors and tourists interested in the treasures found among sunken vessels off the coast of Florida will not want to miss a trip to see the McKee castle.

The landmark site was built in the late Forties, in honor of Art McKee, Jr; the Navy diver who discovered the remains of a Spanish Fleet, lost in 1733. After his discovery he brought up numerous treasures including silver coins and bars as well as cannons and many other invaluable items. Mr. McKee is considered by many to be “the father of modern treasure diving” and today the castle can be seen at Treasure Village.

THINGS TO DO IN PLANTATION KEY

HOTELS AND CONDOS IN PLANTATION KEY

VACATION RENTALS IN PLANTATION KEY

 

EXTREME ACTIVITIES IN PLANTATION KEY

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Enjoy The Beautiful Florida Keys!

Next Stop – ISLAMORADA KEY

Islamorada on the map

 

Islamorada is a village encompassing 6 of the Florida Keys, known for their coral reefs. The Theater of the Sea features dolphin encounters. Exhibits at the History of Diving Museum include a 16th-century treasure chest.

Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park is a former quarry. Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park has tropical forest. Indian Key Historic State Park is a tiny island with 1800s ruins.

Welcome to Islamorada!

 

Situated between the saltwater wilderness of Everglades National Park and the deep blue waters of the Florida Strait is Islamorada, made up of six islands: Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key and the offshore islands of Indian Key and Lignumvitae Key.

Perhaps the world’s highest density of professional offshore charter boats with tournament-grade captains can be found in Islamorada, a village of islands where backcountry sport fishing and saltwater fly fishing were pioneered.

 

Highly skilled recreational fishing guides ply their trade here, in the style of legendary fishing figures Ted Williams, Jimmy Albright and Cecil Keith.

 

Islamorada may be the only place on Earth where it is possible to catch a sailfish offshore and pursue bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook and redfish in just inches of water in the backcountry, all in the same day.

While in Islamorada, or driving through make it a point to get a bite to eat at Robbies’

 

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Enjoy The Beautiful Florida Keys!

 

THINGS TO DO IN ISLAMORADO

HOTELS AND CONDOS IN ISLAMORADA

VACATION RENTALS IN ISLAMORADO

 

EXTREME ACTIVITIES IN ISLAMORADA

 

SEE THE FLORIDA KEYS CLOSE-UP AND PERSONAL RENT A CAMPER TODAY

Where to Rent A Camper

Welcome to Long Key State Park

Historically a favorite tourist spot for the rich and well-to-do, Long Key now serves as a tranquil haven for bird-watching, swimming, kayaking or relaxing on the shoreline as you gaze across the Atlantic Ocean.

Park Admission - Online Payment

In the early 20th century, Henry Flagler’s Long Key Fishing Camp was a popular luxury destination along his railroad to Key West.

 

Celebrities and many of the world’s best-known salt water anglers of the time fished here, including U.S. presidents and author Zane Grey. The entire facility was destroyed by the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and never reopened.

Long Key sustained significant damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017. Efforts still continue to restore the 60 ocean-front campsites.

The full-facility campsites were known for their views overlooking the aqua blue waters of the Florida Keys. Please contact the park for the most up-to-date information regarding restoration efforts.

THINGS TO DO IN LONG  KEY

HOTELS AND CONDOS IN LONG KEY

VACATION RENTALS IN LONG KEY

EXTREME ACTIVITIES IN LONG  KEY

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Enjoy The Beautiful Florida Keys!

Next Destination – The GRASSY KEY 

 

Local lore has it that this sleepy little key was named not for its vegetation—mostly native trees and shrubs—but for an early settler by the name of Grassy.

A few families operating small fishing camps and roadside motels primarily inhabit the key.

There’s no marked definition between it and Marathon, so it feels sort of like a suburb of its much larger neighbor to the south.

Grassy Key’s sights tend toward the natural, including a worthwhile dolphin attraction and a small state park.

THINGS TO DO IN GRASY KEY

HOTELS AND CONDOS IN GRASSY KEY

VACATION RENTALS IN GRASSY KEY

EXTREME ACTIVITIES IN GRASSY  KEY

 

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Enjoy The Beautiful Florida Keys!

 

THINGS TO DO IN BAHIA HONDA

HOTELS AND CONDOS IN BAHIA HONDA

VACATION RENTALS IN BAHIA HONDA

EXTREME ACTIVITIES IN BAHIA HONDA

 

Now – BIG PINE KEY

 

Big Pine Key is a census-designated place and unincorporated community in Monroe County, Florida, United States, on an island of the same name in the Florida Keys.

As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 5,032

If you’re looking for a low-key vacation, Big Pine Key is the place for you. In Big Pine Key, about 100 miles south of Miami and 30 miles north of Key West.  

You’ll find relaxing, water-borne activities such as boating, fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling.

Some travelers actually prefer Big Pine Key to Key West

 

Lobster Hunting Anyone? – The Florida Keys

LOBSTER HUNTING ANYONE? – THE FLORIDA KEYS

LOBSTER DIVING IN FLORIDA – Fun for the whole family…      Yes, Lobster .

 

Key West – Florida – With The Kids and Grandkids

WHILE VISITING KEY WEST TAKE A DAY TRIP TO THESE AMAZING DESTINATIONS
Dry Tortugas National Park

DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK

Discover Dry Tortugas National Park & Fort Jefferson in the Florida Keys   While just …
SWIM WITH PIGS IN PARADISE

SWIM WITH PIGS IN PARADISE

 Swim With The Pigs in The Amazing Bahamas   You float across the shimmering waters of Exuma� …
FISHING THE FLORIDA KEYS
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Enjoy The Beautiful Florida Keys!
Chris

Nude Beaches

What Are You Thinking!

Nude Beaches in the U.S.

Topless sunbathing and nude beaches are popular in Europe, South America, South Africa, the Caribbean, Belize, Santorini, etc…

In the U.S., however, nude beaches can, well, raise a few eyebrows.

Clothing Optiona beaches aren’t what you may think—they’re not lewd or indecent places. They tend to be more relaxed and the beachgoers, more respectful,  everyone’s in the buff.

This anti-nude attitude wasn’t always the case. Did you know in 1860, Queen Victoria of England outlawed nude swimming.

Before this the only thing people were wearing in the water was was nothing.

Soon after the law was passed, swimsuits were invented and people became more “clothes-minded.” The rest is history.

But there is something freeing about taking it all off and letting the sun beat down on your back(side).

For those who want to strip so there’s nothing between yourself and the sand, here’s everything you need to know about the top nude beaches in America.

RELATED: The 26 Worst Decisions You Can Make on a Nude Beach

This two-mile-long sandy strip is the oldest nude beach in the United States, dating back to 1967.

Besides the soft sand, it also features a lagoon, tide pools, and a lava tube. It is particularly popular with the Bay Area gay community, who tend to flock to the northern side while other visitors tend to head south.

Try to stay late enough to watch the sunset. It’s glorious from these shores.

Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, New Jersey

 

A former U.S. Army outpost, Sandy Hook is now part of the Gateway National Recreation Area and home to the only legal nude beach in New Jersey. Considered the best nude beach on the East Coast, it’s clean, supersafe, and community-supported. Just one caveat:

 

HOTELS AT GUNNISON BEACH FROM $65 PER NIGHT

 

Collins Beach, Sauvie Island, Oregon

 

Located along Oregon‘s Columbia River, Sauvie Island is one of the only noncoastal nude beaches in the U.S. The calm river reflects the “relaxed and unwind” vibe here.

 

HOTELS AT COLLINS BEACH, SAUVIE ISLAND, OREGON

 

While the beach next door is family-friendly, the two respectfully coexist. About 75 percent of visitors to Collins feel free to show off what their mamas gave them. And with Portland not that far away, Sauvie is one place to see hipsters without their flannels.

Baker Beach, San Francisco

 

The best thing about this beach, set below the Presidio and shielded by rocky crags, is that you don’t have to worry about creepy gawkers because everyone’s too busy checking out the awe-inspiring views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

HOTELS AT BAKER BEACH, SAN FRANCISCO

 

Be aware before heading here: This is mostly a layabout beach—the Pacific surf is too dangerous and cold for swimming.

Nestled below the 300-foot, mansion-topped bluffs of Torrey Pines is this secluded gem. While nude beaches are illegal in San Diego, authorities tend to turn a blind eye to Black’s because it’s so difficult to access.

 

HOTELS NEAR BLACK’S BEACH, SAN DIAGO

 

 

Enthusiastic sunbathers have to hike down a rugged, steep path to reach the sand or take a 20-minute walk along the beach from La Jolla Shore (an almost impossible fete during high tide). But it’s worth the trek. There’s nothing quite like seeing the naked surfers.

Little Beach, Maui, Hawaii

 

While this is not officially a clothing-optional beach, that hasn’t stopped sunbathers from going native here on the reg.

 

HOTELS AT LITTLE BEACH, MAUI, HAWAII

 

 

Getting there requires a short trek from Makena State Park’s Big Beach to quiet, secluded Little Beach.

This spot is a favorite among famous naturalists, including nude recreation expert and artist Dr. Leisure, who has been painting this landscape for more than a decade.

 

Sunday nights are the time to go. Right before sunset, bathers form a drum circle and break into song and dance.

Haulover Beach, Miami

 

Just north of Miami is one of the few government-run nudist beaches in America. Located a stone’s throw from the tony town of Bal Harbour, this secluded beach is just as luxurious.

 

HOTELS NEAR HAULOVER BEACH, FLORIDA

 

 

White sand, sky-blue water, and no looky-loos make it “one of the greatest success stories in North American nudism.”

According to the American Association of Nude Recreation. With certified lifeguards and organized group activities such as swimming and volleyball, it’s no wonder the place attracts more than 1.4 million visitors a year.

 

Moshup Beach, Massachusetts

 

Off the coast of Massachusetts lies the island of Martha’s Vineyard—a vacation spot to presidents and old-moneyed aristocrats. While MV tends to be a conservative, preppy type of town, there is one place that is a bit more, well, liberal. Moshup Beach, located on the island’s southwestern tip, has been a naturalist hot spot since the 1960s.

 

HOTELS AT MOSHUP BEACH, MASSACHUSETTS

 

 

It’s a 10-minute walk from the parking lot on a clear trail. There is a $15 fee in summer.

Hippie Hollow, Austin, Texas

 

The lake scene is where it’s at in Austin. So it makes perfect sense that there would be at least one lakefront beach dedicated to birthday-suit bathers. Lake Travis, a 109-acre recreation park located 30 minutes from downtown, is that spot. For those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life—and their clothes—this is the best beach to do just that.

HOTELS NEAR HIPPI HOLLOW, AUSTIN

Jackson Hole, Wyoming on the Cheap

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

“There’s Gold in them there hills”

As you get close to Yellowstone National Park things can tend to get a bit expensive, but they need not be. I have listed various ways to make for a fun, exciting, affordable vacation in and around Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 

Snuggled at the base of the mighty Teton Mountain Range in Northwest Wyoming, the valley of Jackson Hole offers an exhilarating taste of the Wild Wild West in more ways than one.

At the southern edge of the valley, the little town of Jackson (population 9,577) is an authentic Old West town, where moose and mule deer roam the streets, and ranchers rub shoulders with ski bums and jet-setters from around the globe.

The valley is also home to Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest, with some of the most spectacular alpine scenery in the world, as well as an impressive array of wildlife, from marmots and mountain lions to elk, bison, and grizzly bears.

Horseback Riding Tours in the Bridger-Teton National Forest

Reserve in Advance – This Fills Up Fast

 

Vacation Rentals, Homes, Condos and Cabins Jackson Hole

 

And if all this isn’t wild enough, skiers and snowboarders can carve up the slopes of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, frequently voted North America’s number one ski resort thanks to its more than 2,500 acres of precipitous and often powder-packed ski terrain.

Everything there is to do in Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole Water Fun

 

Whether it’s the excitement of a whitewater trip or the solitude of paddling a mountain lake, there are plenty of ways to enjoy some Jackson Hole water fun.

White Water Small Raft Tours

Reserve and Get Tickets Here

Time for H2O

Though Jackson Hole is world-famous for epic ski terrain and the “Cowboy powder” that falls from the sky each winter, the area gets quite hot and arid during the summer months.  

The alpine desert climate would be downright hostile were it not for a serpentine waterway churning through the Hole.

 

Take an ATV TOUR

Reserve Here

 

 Born in the trickles of melting snow high in the Teton Wilderness, the Snake River is America’s 10th-longest river, running roughly 1,000 miles from its origins in the Wyoming high country to its confluence with the Columbia River near Pasco, Washington. 

Vacation Rentals in Jackson Hole

 

The Snake’s whispering riffles and roaring rapids provide a haven for wildlife and recreation and the 69 miles that wind through Jackson Hole comprise one of the most scenic and pristine stretches of river in America.

Close to 300,000 folks float, fish, and paddle the Snake each summer. 

 

Floating on the Snake River can begin at the northern end of Grand Teton National Park, just below Jackson Lake. From here, there are more than 70 navigable river miles, offering something for everyone.

 The first 60-plus miles consist of swift yet smooth water and one fun, eight mile whitewater stretch for the finale.  Not many rivers flow from a valley to a canyon and head north on the continent before merging with an ocean—yet another testament to the uniqueness of Wyoming’s Snake River.  

 

Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Jackson Hole

Pan for Gold in Wyoming and Montana

 

Across the border in Wyoming, gold prospectors can be found hard at work panning for gold during the summer. Most days you can see them along public stretches of creeks and streams in the South Pass Area near Lander.

During South Pass City State Historic Site’s Gold Rush Days, held every year in mid-July, you can take gold-panning lessons along the banks of Willow Creek. For more information: www.windriver.org

Travelers who are interested in gold panning should stop at local sporting goods or hardware stores along their route to purchase gold-panning supplies. When you find them, it’s a good bet there’s gold to be found nearby.

In Montana, you can see gold panning demonstrations in several locations.

At the Kootenai National Forest near Libby, an entire area has been dedicated for gold panning. You can also try your luck at Alder Gulch, in Nevada City. For more information:www.virginiacitymt.com.

 

Grand Teton National Park

 

Spanning more than 310,000 acres, Grand Teton National Park is one of the most beautiful mountain wilderness areas in the world. Tourists arriving in Jackson Hole for the first time often gape in awe at the jagged peaks of the park’s towering Teton Mountain Range (Grand Teton is the highest peak at more than 13,770 feet.)

If you arrive into the valley on a commercial flight, you’ll actually land in Grand Teton National Park at Jackson Hole airport — one of the few airports in the world within the borders of a national park.

Nature lovers and photographers will be in heaven here with more than 200 miles of hiking trails and breathtaking vistas that range from dense pine forests and fields of colorful wildflowers, to sparkling lakes, and the winding Snake River. Among the diversity of flora and fauna are more than 900 species of flowering plants, 300 species of birds, and 60 species of mammals including moose, black bears, and grizzly bear.

 

Hotel Deals in Jackson Hole

 

 

A great place to begin a tour of the park is the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, which provides an excellent overview of the park’s ecology. The popular Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve serves as the starting point for one of Jackson Hole’s best hiking trails.

Other trail highlights include hikes to Signal Mountain, Taggart Lake, String Lake, and Leigh Lake, and the boat trip on Jenny Lake is also a favorite.

Photographers and anyone who loves gorgeous scenery should take the scenic drive to Antelope Flats between Moose and Kelly. Along the way, you can photograph the Mormon Row historic homes, one of the iconic images of Jackson Hole, as well as herds of bison and pronghorn antelope.

After exploring the park, stop by Dornans in Moose for a delicious lunch or snack on the outdoor deck with magnificent mountain views.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Teton Village

 

Frequently voted the number one ski resort in North America, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is legendary among powder hounds for its long runs and challenging in-bounds and backcountry terrain.

The resort boasts a reputation as the birthplace of extreme skiing, however beginners and intermediate skiers will also find plenty of suitable terrain.

 

Book a Snow Mobile Tour

Reserve here

In the winter, skiers and snowboarders can carve up more than 2,500 acres of ski trails on two mountains, and expert skiers can take the plunge into the spine-tingling Corbet’s Couloir, a steep and narrow chute with a 10 to 20-foot drop-in (depending on snow conditions) from the cornice above.

But the fun doesn’t stop when the snow melts. In summer, you can ride the 100-person Jackson Hole Aerial Tram to 10,450 feet for incredible views and high alpine hiking trails, or hop aboard the high-speed gondola and enjoy a meal with panoramic views over the entire valley.

Other fun things to do in the summer include mountain biking, hiking, frisbee golf, and a ropes course catering to climbers of all abilities.

Teton Village, at the base of the ski mountains, offers excellent resort amenities including shops selling outdoor gear and clothing, as well as popular Jackson Hole restaurants and hotels. The free summer concert series staged here is a hit with locals and tourists alike.

 

Cheap Hotels in Jackson Hole

 

 

Get Tickets Here

 

 

For the best fares and routes use  the AIRFAREWATCHDOG link below. You can even punch in desired flight cost and it will search for you and even alert you if price drops before you depart.

Catch a cheap flight to Jackson Hole, Wy

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Enjoy Beautiful Jackson Hole!
Chris

Camping For Free – Coast to Coast

2020 – BLAH!

LET’S GO CAMPING FOR FREE

Hows That for a Affordable Family Vacation

Who could have thought a year ago today our lives as we knew them would play out so differently.    2020 will definitely go down into the record books.  

 For most of us these days, the magical, tropical, wow factor destinations still feels so far away.

With things easing up a bit, gas prices at rates our kids have never seen, more than two thirds of Americans are taking to the  US highways.  

If you are waking up at home the first thing you see is waking up at home,   wakeup in a camper,   it’s up to you. 

 

Ever felt like a balloon gently deflating when leaving the city in the rear view mirror

It’s all Science baby!

“We know that being surrounded by nature reduces our blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.

PROOF

.

Whether it be the rivers of the Lone Star State calling your name,

.

With a little imagination and a Camper or Camper Rental these and many other magical destinations are available to to all at very affordable vacation rates that many will find exciting and refreshing!

 

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Where to Rent A Camper

Free Campgrounds in the US!

What’s better than RV camping?

That’s right: free RV camping. RVing has long been seen as a way to travel cheaply, but with private resorts charing per-night rental prices as high as $100 (or even more), the cost of being on the road can add up quickly. Free campgrounds allow you to save money on your accommodations, which gives you extra cash to spend where it matters: fuel, food, and fun!

Why spend insane amounts of cash just to park your RV when you’re not even going to be there for most of your vacation? Free campgrounds are a great way to lower your overall travel budget and focus on the experiences you really value.

So why not try to find a cost-free option no matter where you’re planning to spend your next vacation.

Craggy Wash – Lake Havasu, Arizona

 

Many full-time RVers retreat to Lake Havasu during the harsh winter months, and even if you’re just a weekender, a quick trip will show you why the spot is so popular. Nestled along the California border with access to hiking, biking, and water-based outdoor activity opportunities, Lake Havasu is an amazing desert destination.

There are a variety of free campgrounds for boondockers in the area — which is one reason it’s such a popular winter spot. But perhaps the best is the stretch of BLM-owned land known as Craggy Wash, which is located an easy drive from the city and offers clean, gravel-lined spaces and decent data coverage for Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint users.

 Havasu Falls, Arizona – A One Of A Kind Adventure

 HAVASU FALLS, ARIZONA – A ONE OF A KIND ADVENTURE

 Havasu Falls – An Adventure Like No Other What is Havasu Falls and why does everyone want …

Although the access road is a bit rough, RVers traveling with rigs up to 42 feet in length have successfully accessed the campground.

The Main Drag 525 – Sedona, Arizona

 

Sedona may be a popular hiking destination, but it’s as well-known for its expense as its expansive views. Good thing there’s a great free campground in the area nestled right along National Forest Road 525, also known as The Main Drag.

Along with its proximity to all the Sedona attractions that drew you to the area in the first place, this campground is also quite expansive, offering space for up to 15 rigs or more according to some campers’ estimates. However, keep in mind that as you progress deeper into the campsite, the access road becomes rougher, so if you’re traveling with a large or burdensome rig, you’d do well to find a spot as close to the highway entrance as possible.

Incredible Airbnbs in Sedona

INCREDIBLE AIRBNBS IN SEDONA

Incredible  Sedona, Arizona   Sedona boasts some of the most stunning landscapes in the …

U.S. Naval Observatory – Flagstaff, Arizona

 

If the Grand Canyon is on your travel bucket list — and let’s be honest, it probably is — you definitely don’t want to skip a trip to Flagstaff.

The Grand Canyon

THE GRAND CANYON

The Grand Canyon What is it about the Grand Canyon that causes people to visit by the tens of …

Although it’s a bit of a hike from the national park gates, this northern Arizona town offers a charm all its own, including lots of shopping, restaurants, and live music thanks to its collegiate vibe.

Flagstaff also offers close proximity to Sedona, home to some of the very best hiking opportunities in the southwest. And the U.S. Naval Observatory campground is a great free camping option, offering beautiful forested paths, tree cover for shade and temperature control, and close proximity to all the attractions of town. Many campers who have stayed there report finding good data connectivity with their devices, though your mileage may vary depending on the type of service you have. Of course, with all the beauty of the natural landscape in this area, you may find yourself wanting to disconnect completely, regardless!

 

 

American Girl Mine Road – Winterhaven, California

 

Formerly known as Karmack, Winterhaven is a small town in California situated just across the state line from Arizona and only a few minutes from the Mexican border. It’s an expansive desert vista and a great place to camp if you’re looking for a free boondocking site that makes international travel easy.

As if its great location weren’t already enough of a draw, the free campground along American Girl Mine Road has the additional benefit of being a great beginner boondocking site. It’s easy to access even for larger RVs, and just 15 miles away from the city of Yuma, where you can stock up on supplies if you forgot anything.

Sacred White Shell Mountain – Great Sand Dunes, Colorado

 

You might first think of Florida or Hawaii when you think “sand dunes.” But the southwest has some amazing mounds of its own, and Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park is the place to see them.

 

Colorado Beaches? With Real Waves?

COLORADO BEACHES? WITH REAL WAVES?

GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO A sandbox of epic proportions, the entire dune field …

Located in a surreal and remote landscape in the south-central section of the state, this national park is a hidden gem, and certainly one you’ll be glad you took the time to get to.

If you’re looking for free camping in this part of Colorado, one great option is the BLM campground at Sacred White Shell Mountain. Campers rate it five stars overall, citing its stunning views, solitude and great location. It also has decent data coverage from all of the major service providers and can accommodate even large rigs, like a 39-foot fifth wheel trailer.

Jackson Mountain Road – Pagosa Springs, Colorado

 

Looking to enjoy all Colorful Colorado has to offer? Pagosa Springs is a Rocky Mountain paradise, complete with hot springs and a river perfect for tubing. And although the free campground at Jackson Mountain Road doesn’t have many amenities, it does offer totally free camping in close proximity to this well-loved destination.

Given the elevation, this campground is only open seasonally, and some larger RVs may have difficulty navigating the access road. Those who make it will find a beautiful and clean campground with lovely surrounding views, forest cover, low noise levels, and even passable data connectivity for those who need to get work done even when they’re off-grid.

Cherry Creek Road – San Juan National Forest, Colorado

 

Another southwestern gem off the beaten path, Durango, Colorado is a destination worth adding to your list, even if it’s not there yet. The town itself has an array of shopping and dining options to offer, and San Juan National Forest is easily one of the most beautiful places on earth, with snow-capped mountains in the distance year round over a foot of dense, green trees and alpine lakes.

As far as free camp grounds go in the area, the location on Cherry Creek Road is hard to beat. Although it’s not right in town, you get all the silence and solitude of one of the most beautiful landscapes in America while still having access to the urban adventures of Durango. Some connectivity is available, depending on your carrier, though if you’re serious about staying connected, a cell booster may be helpful.

 

Where to Rent A Camper

 

Deep Creek Preserve – Arcadia, Florida

 

Miami Beach may get all the glory, but the southwestern portion of Florida is, by our account, a whole lot nicer. You’ll notice a more laid-back pace and quieter waterfronts less ravaged by rampant tourism, nestled into woodland communities where southern hospitality is still a thing. Deep Creek Preserve is a campground offered by the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and it’s free to camp in for up to seven days.

Because the campground is immediately adjacent to the highway, there is some noise, according to Campendium reviewers… but given the price and the fact that it’s less than a half hour’s drive to the gulf, we feel like it might be a worthy trade! (Please keep in mind that reservations are still required, even though the accommodations are free.)

Hickory Hammock Campground – Lorida, Florida

 

Another campground offered by Florida’s Wastewater Management District, Hickory Hammock offers free camp sites just outside of Sebring, Florida, making it the perfect home base for your central Florida adventures. It’s dry camping, so you may want to plan your travels for fall or winter so as to avoid the hottest portion of Florida’s calendar year… but no matter when you come, it’s a convenient location with spacious campsites for rigs of up to 36 feet in length or so, with vault toilets, wooded walking trails, and fire rings available.

(Please keep in mind that reservations are still required, even though the accommodations are free.)

Blackwell Horsecamp – Hoosier National Forest, Indiana

 

It’s a lot harder to come by free campsites in the midwest than it is in the far west. But still, if you do a little digging, you can occasionally find a hidden gem — which is exactly how we’d characterise Blackwell Horsecamp. This green spot in the Hoosier National Forest looks like something out of a magazine ad, with rolling green hills and picturesque fences, and yet it’s totally free to camp in and even offers pit toilets. The location is convenient to the city of Bloomington, so you can easily get to town if you need to — but given the solitude, silence, and scenery in the forest, chances are you’re going to want to stay put.

Reversing Falls Park – Pembroke, Maine

 

Maine’s coast the kind of place you have to see to believe — all waves crashing against granite rock faces, punctuated by lighthouses. Located just outside of Eastport along the Canadian border, Reversing Falls is a great home base for those looking to make serious inroads in their northeastern explorations.

The campground offers generously-sized spots with waterfront views and a secluded locale for quiet camping filled with solitude. Moose Island is the center of life in this area, so be sure to take the toad out for a visit and to discover some new shops, restaurants, and neighborhoods.

French Farm Lake Campground – Mackinaw City, Michigan

 

Just on the south side of the epic bridge into Michigan’s famed Upper Peninsula, French Farm Lake Campground gives you easy access to all of Michigan’s attractions, including Mackinaw City itself, for free. According to Campendium reviewers, there are 6 marked sites and approximately 6-8 unmarked sites to choose from, and the access road is a little rocky, so beware if you’re driving a large or sensitive motorhome or travel trailer

Middle Fork Flathead River – Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park is one of those places that’s so freaking pretty, it doesn’t even look real. It honestly feels like walking into a desktop background.

That said, it’s not surprising that the word’s out on exactly how gorgeous this location is… and given its very short window of opportunity (thanks to its extreme northern location), the nearby campgrounds can get very crowded — and very expensive — during the short Montana summer.

In most cases, there aren’t many ways around these problems. In all honesty, we recommend you make reservations well ahead of time and don’t make last-minute plans to visit Glacier. But if you do find yourself in the area with a few days to spare and you’re driving a very small RV or sleeper van, there is an option that we couldn’t resist putting on this list: a free camp site right outside of the gateway town of West Glacier on the Middle Fork Flathead River, right off of Blankenship Road.

Although it’s free and the views are generous, access to this campground is quite limited. Campers have reported success with trailers of up to 20 feet in length, but generally, the smaller and spryer your RV, the better your chances are of getting to this location.

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Where to Rent A Camper

Telephone Cove Road – Searchlight, Nevada

 

Lake Mead is considered an outdoor playground for those who call this part of the desert southwest home, and even if you’re from further afield, one visit will show you why it’s so popular. Nevada is home to lots of wide open spaces, making it a great place to find BLM-owned land that’s friendly to dispersed campers, but Telephone Cove takes the cake when it comes to location and cleanliness.

The access road is more than four miles of dirt, and it can be a bit of a bumpy ride, but Campendium reviewers say that even larger motorhomes and fifth wheels can make it with patience. Just take it slow and don’t rush… which shouldn’t be a difficult task, given the beautiful surroundings.

Cebolla Mesa Campground – Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, New Mexico

 

Northern New Mexico is simply stunning — and the word is out. Maybe it’s partially Breaking Bad tourism or maybe it’s just plain old word of mouth, but no matter how you slice it, Taos, Santa Fe, and even Albuquerque are experiencing an influx of visitors.

Particularly around Santa Fe and the resort destination of Taos, prices can get pretty steep for campsites. Which is why we recommend the Cebolla Mesa Campground, where you’ll get all the stunning New Mexico skies and easy access to nearby attractions like the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, and the ski slopes (and in summer, hiking trails!) of Taos.

Cebolla Mesa is located in a small town called Questa which is on the Enchanted Circle, an 80-mile scenic drive you absolutely have to take while in New Mexico.

Sugar Hill Fire Tower – Watkins Glen, New York

 

Watkins Glen is a stunning segment of the Finger Lake area of upstate New York, home to what is sometimes referred to as the Grand Canyon of the east. And while the campgrounds in the state park fill up fast (and do still come with a nightly fee attached, even if it’s not as much as you’d pay at a resort), there is a free camping option in the area that’s so nice, Campendium reviewers agree that it’s hard to believe it’s actually free.

The free campsites under the Sugar Hill Fire Tower offer bathrooms and water spigots throughout the property, and while there are no showers, there is a designated area for dish washing. Reviewers say the campground is sparkling clean and the on-site staff are courteous and helpful, making this free campsite a no-brainer if you get there in time to find a spot.

 

Rufus Landing Recreation Area – Rufus, Oregon

 

Portland may be the best-known part of Oregon these days, but there’s so much stunning countryside to see outside of the city — including the alien-looking landscape outside of the Rufus Landing Recreation Area in the town of the same name. A couple hours east of the state’s major city, this smaller town offers outdoor recreational opportunities as well as much-needed solitude along with its epic scenery. Campendium reviewers say the site is easy to access and offers data connectivity for Verizon and AT&T users, and it’s nestled right along the mighty Columbia River. Stay for free for up to 14 nights!

Nomad View – Buffalo Gap National Grassland, South Dakota

 

 

If you think South Dakota is nothing but long, flat stretches, think again. This state is home to a wild diversity of sights and denizens, including Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore National Monument, and roaming herds of buffalo along its rippling grasslands — which, even if they are flat, are certainly not boring.

The Nomad View dispersed camping area is aptly named; it offers some of the most stunning and surreal views in the entire country completely free of charge. RVers with rigs of up to 44 feet in length have reported success in accessing the campground, where you can set up for up to 14 days without paying a dime.

Magnolia Beach County Park – Port Lavaca, Texas

 

Beachfront camping… for free??

Yes, it does exist. These stunning waterfront sites in Port Lavaca, Texas will make you feel like you’ve taken an epic, tropical vacation without ever leaving the states — and you’re just a short drive from southern Texas comforts like barbecue as well as all the things to do and see in Houston and San Antonio.

This campground’s high camper ratings are thanks to its location, ease of access, and straight up beauty. Plus, it’s got data coverage with all major carriers, so you can stay connected while you disconnect from reality.

North Beach – Padre Island National Seashore, Texas

 

Padre Island is a popular vacation spot for Texans as well as folks from further afield, boasting a diversity of sea and avian life it’s hard to come across anywhere else in the country. It’s a barrier island about as close to a Mexican beach town as you can get without crossing the border… and if you stay at North Beach, you’ll get access to all of it without paying a dime in campground accommodation fees. Almost sounds too good to be true, right?

Although there’s very little cell phone service (which you may just consider a benefit rather than a drawback), North Beach does have dump station and water access, and it’s right on the water, close enough for the sounds of the surf to sing you to sleep. And it’s easy to access, which means that even big rigs can camp out in style, totally free of charge.

Where to Rent A Camper

Wedge Overlook – Little Grand Canyon, Utah

 

With five national parks and far more state parks, national monuments, and other sites of interest, Utah is a veritable dreamscape for the outdoorsperson — and as such, yes, it can be very expensive to camp there. That’s especially true during the most popular travel seasons in spring and fall, when the weather is just gorgeous and the crowds are flocking in.

Fortunately, all that empty space Utah boasts does equate to some great free campground options, including Wedge Overlook just outside of the community of Emery. In fact, the campsite is directly adjacent to a beautiful stretch of land that’s sometimes called the Little Grand Canyon of Utah — you might be able to camp right on the rim, in fact!

Separated from the highway entrance by 20 miles of dirt road, this free campground offers scenery and solitude in spades, which is probably why it’s earned five stars in almost every Campendium category. Stay for up to two weeks in this dreamlike vista completely free of charge — but there’s no water access, so be sure to bring in what you need.

Willow Springs Trail – Moab, Utah

 

This just in: Moab is awesome. Awesome enough that staying there can be pretty  pricy, especially during the high season.

Which makes sense. This quirky Utah mountain town is the gateway to not one but two stunning national parks: Canyonlands and Arches.

Although it’s a little hard to find, the free campground at Willow Springs Trail is a total Easter egg. You’ll get quiet, star-filled nights and an incredible proximity to Arches (which helps you get in the gates early enough to actually enjoy your day) — and yes, it’s entirely free of charge. However, that kind of deal doesn’t stay a secret, which means that this free campground gets pretty crowded. You’ll want to roll up early to have the best shot of actually getting a site, and be sure you have a backup plan in place just in case.

 

North Creek BLM – Virgin, Utah

 

Looking for a home base from which to explore Zion National Park

Zion National Park Utah

ZION  NATIONAL PARK UTAH

Utah’s First National Park – Bucket List!  –
Zion National Park without a doubt is a …

 

– or the southwestern Utah towns of Hurricane or St. George? The BLM’s North Creek dispersed campground is a great retreat, with beautiful views and the wide-open southwestern skies that make this area so special.

RVs of up to 38 feet in length have successfully navigated into this free campground, which also boasts workable cell service for users of Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

The site is also popular with tent campers, so if you are planning on running your generator, please be courteous to your neighbors!

 Forest Road 29 – Sappho, Washington

 

If you haven’t been to the Olympic Peninsula yet, boy, are you in for a treat. Within one (admittedly gigantic) landmass, you can travel from snow-capped alpine mountains to dense rainforest to coastal beaches lined with haystack rocks, all within the same day — if you’re dedicated.

You’ll find plenty of camping options along the way, but most of them will charge you a good deal for their services. But the campground off Forest Road 29 in the small village of Sappho, Washington is free for up to 14 days for the lucky few who get there in time… there are only three campsites!

The good news is, this location remains unknown to most, and some campers say they had the space entirely to themselves for nights on end. 

Lake Hattie Public Access Area – Laramie, Wyoming

 

An easy drive to the Bamforth National Wildlife Refuge, Curt Gowdy State Park, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and so many other destinations, Laramie, Wyoming is a great spot to set up camp while you’re wandering around the mountain west — and if you’d like to do so for free, don’t miss the Lake Hattie Public Access Area. Clean, level campsites are available right along the Lake Hattie waterfront, giving you great access for boating, fishing, or just plain drinking in the view.

While nights are quiet and starry-skied, the campground can fill up during the daytime, when visitors use the area’s boat launch to take to the waters. Keep in mind also that this boondocking site is quite remote, so you definitely need to pack in all the things you need for your adventure… and pack them back out afterwards, of course!

Snake River – South of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is the absolute tip-top of many RVers’ to-travel-to lists — and we certainly understand why. After all, this landscape is so stunning and special it inspired legislators at the time to name it the first national park not only in America, but in the entire world.

 

HIT THE ROAD JACK!

 

PARTY IN THE SWAMP – The Louisiana Wetlands

Beautiful Autumn Adventures in the Swamp

– Fun, One of a Kind, Inexpensive Family Vacation –

The Louisiana Wetlands

 

Ditch your pumpkin spice latte.

 

And experience the wilder side of this colorful season. 

 

VACATION RENTAL HOMES, APARTMENTS AND CONDOS

 

A sinking state, rising seas, and eroded land

For years, scientists have known that the Mississippi River Delta, a region that includes most of south Louisiana and part of Mississippi, is sinking.

The region consists of a vast area of dams and levees that, when working, keep the Mississippi River from flooding into places it shouldn’t. Those same dams and levees also prevent the river from replenishing itself by dumping the sediment it’s naturally dumped into the delta for centuries.

This, combined with the oil and gas pumped out of the ground, is causing the area to subside into the Gulf of Mexico.

Why so swampy?

 

Louisiana’s wetlands comprise about 40% of the U.S.’s continental wetlands and include the largest contiguous wetland system in the lower 48 states.

The state’s wetlands include swamps and marshes. Swamps are areas that hold water and have woody vegetation. In many Louisiana swamps, Cypress (Taxodium spp.)

Where are the wetland you may ask?

The Louisiana Coastal Wetlands extend along 300 km of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and reach as far as 130 km inland from the barrier islands to upland swamps.

Louisiana’s wetlands have defined its natural character and rich culture. Over the centuries, Louisiana has lost significant portions of it wetlands due to farming, development, oil and gas exploration and hurricanes.

Public and private preserves are working to protect and restore Louisiana’s wetlands. Remaining wetlands continue to attract tourists for birdwatching, nature exploration, photography, hunting, fishing and environmental education.

BELOW YOU WILL FIND THE MOST POPULAR WETLAND AREAS EACH DESERVING A HATS OFF IN THEIR OWN SPECIAL WAY! 

The Terrebonne Basin

 

The Terrebonne Basin contains nearly 730,000 acres of marsh and swamp, including nearly 200 square miles of cypress forests. Visitors to the area enjoy hunting, fishing and birdwatching.

Cajun Man’s Swamp Tours and Adventures leads boat tours through Terrebonne Basin at Bayou Black. Tours embark from Gibson, located a few miles from Houma, and take passengers through cypress swamps, where they can see alligators, red-tail hawks and blue herons.

During fall and winter, visitors can see migratory birds, including bald eagles, geese and ducks. Tours cost around $25 for adults and $15 for children ages 2-11.

Plaquemines Parish

 

 

Plaquemines Parish has more than 1,500 square miles of water, including swamps, marshes and lakes.

The parish lies at the southernmost point in the state and attracts hordes of anglers casting for freshwater and saltwater fish. Freshwater species include catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and sunfish.

April through June are the best months to fish in Plaquemines Parish.

 

HOTELS NEAR THE SWAMP

Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Area

 

Located 25 miles west of New Orleans, the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area encompasses nearly 100 square miles. Most of the refuge consists of cypress swampland, home to white-tailed deer, alligators, raccoons, nutria and rabbits.
The park’s waters provide a habitat for crappie, largemouth bass and perch. From late autumn to early spring, the refuge also hosts bald eagles.

Louisiana Lost Lands Environmental Tours conduct kayak tours through the Maurepas swamps.

Tours begin in New Orleans with a presentation about Louisiana’s threatened wetlands. Afterwards, passengers travel to Maurepas, where they paddle through the swamps for about 3-4 hours. Tours cost around $95-175 per person, depending on group size.

 

CATCH A CHEAP FLIGHT TO NEW ORLEANS

 

 

Atchafalaya Basin Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Area

 

 

The Atchafalaya Basin, America’s largest swamp, is located 30 miles northeast of Lafayette.

Each year, commercial fishers harvest more than 20 million pounds of crawfish from the area, which also is home to roseate spoonbills, alligators and water moccasins.

Atchafalaya Basin Landing and Marina in Henderson offers airboat tours of the swampland seven days per week. Tours cost around $50 for adults and $35 for kids five years of age and younger.

Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve: Barataria Preserve

The Barataria Preserve, located 25 minutes south of New Orleans, encompasses 36 square miles of wetlands that are home to hundreds of bird species, wildflowers and alligators.

The park offers a cellphone tour, which guides visitors along trails and boardwalks.

Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours conducts pontoon boat tours of the preserve, which run just under two hours. Tours start at around $29 for adults and $12 for kids 3-12 years of age.

Pearl River Wildlife Area

Located just a few miles from Slidell, the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area is home to wild boars, turkeys, minks, bobcats, nutria and deer. The preserve covers more than 30,000 acres and is a nesting ground for golden and bald eagles.

The park allows fishing, boating and canoeing in its ponds, streams and bayous and has several boat ramps.

Dr. Wagner’s Honey Island Swamp Tours offers boat tours of the preserve for around $25 for adults and $15 for children.

 

Swamp & Bayou Tour w/ Transportation from New Orleans

 

RESERVE NOW, FILLS UP FAST!

 

 

Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge

 

Located just outside New Orleans, Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge is a habitat for hundreds of bird species.

The area sits behind levees designed to withstand hurricanes, which helps to protect the marshland and the animals that make their home in the refuge.

The refuge allows sport fishing, for species such as catfish, crappie, largemouth bass and bluegill.

White Lake Wetlands Conservations Area

White Lake Wetlands Conservations Area is located in Vermilion Parish, about one hour southwest of Lafayette. About 80 square miles of marshland occupy the preserve, which is home to a large population of black-crowned herons and other bird species.

The park also is home to a flock of the endangered whooping crane.

White Lake Wetlands is open year round and has a 2-mile trail that meanders through the bird sanctuary.

Biloxi State Wildlife Management Area

 

Situated between the Chandeleur Sound and Lake Borgne, the Biloxi State Wildlife Management Area is home to waterfowl, fish, crabs and shrimp.

The park lies 40 miles east of New Orleans on 36,000 acres of sloughs and bayous, covered with widgeon grass, black rush and salt grass.

The park is a popular spot for commercial and sport fishing, as well as hunting. Wildlife in the area include snipe, ducks, rabbits and deer, and the area’s waters are home to crabs, shrimp, flounder, redfish and speckled trout.

Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge

The Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 57 acres of sloughs, lakes, swamps and bayous along the Louisiana-Mississippi state line. The topography of the park changes throughout the year, as the river floods and subsides with the seasons.