By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers
WHERE ARE YOU HEADING? I know you’ve waited with bated breath for the second episode in the saga of where the hippest RVers are. My second question posed via the Internet was “Where are you going?” By far, the No. 1 answer was Alaska, hands-down. My recommendation is that everyone should put the “Land of the Midnight Sun” as the mustest of the must-see places in North America. I mentioned the beauty of the trip up and the friendliness of the people. What you can’t grasp without being there is the immenseness (is that a word?), the variety of terrain, the diversity of animals, and the feeling of accomplishment from making the long drive. If there were ever one place to call a trip of a lifetime, Alaska is it!
The Screech-In was an absolute highlight of our visit to the Canadian Atlantic Provinces. Visitors toast the Province of Newfoundland/Labrador and are then subjected to the “kissing the cod” ceremony, which, along with other rituals, is what it takes to officially become a Newfie.
Going down the list of top destinations mentioned by blog readers after Alaska, we hit 2)
It’s like walking into a postcard. Touring Arches National Park in Southern Utah is an unforgettable experience.
the Maritime Provinces of eastern Canada, 3) Yellowstone, 4) the parks of Southern Utah, tie 5) Washington State and 5) Key West, Florida. What all these have in common is they can strain the budget. Utah being the most centrally located of the top choices, is probably the least expensive, depending on your starting point. On an Alaskan trip and to a lesser degree Washington, it’s the cost of fuel to get there; for the Maritimes,
Key West, Florida, may be the only place in the Continental U.S. where, no matter how long you stay, you still feel like you’re on vacation. It’s an island paradise connected to the mainland by causeways through “the Keys.”
the ferries and fuel; and for Key West, time, fuel and camping costs. On the other hand, if depleting the piggybank gets you nervous, think about them as ultimate places to see. Consider Washington and Idaho for a summer trip – beauty abounds.
This was all compiled before Monique and I went to the Atlantic Provinces of Canada in 2013. You, the readers, had listed it as second most desired place to visit. Now that we’ve been there, I can say New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland/Labrador and Prince Edward Island are special. It’s not just the sights, but the people, lifestyles, history and beauty that come at you from all directions. It’s among the top spots on my favorite places list.
As I tallied the votes, I wondered what happened to some other big-name national parks, primarily Yosemite in California. Yosemite has, to be sure, the most spectacular variety of views of any national park we have been to (we’ve been to 46 different ones). Our reason for avoiding one of naturalist John Muir’s favorite haunts more often is, to quote Yogi Berra, “It’s so crowded, nobody goes there anymore.” It is the second-most popular national park (after Smoky Mountain), which accounts for lots of visitors … and that convergence of tourists also afflicts the Grand Canyon. We’ve been told often that Yosemite is in its greatest glory in the winter when snow-covered. We might have to park the trailer in warmer climes and four-wheel in to check it out.
If you haven’t been on “The Road to the Sun” in Glacier N.P. in Montana you’ve missed one of the best touring roads in America, but hurry. The glaciers are melting. Acadia National Park in Maine is also considered to offer the most beautiful views of any of the parks except maybe Glacier. It is beautiful, but we felt it is more of a park to visit because it’s symbolic of the Maine Coast. Neither got the attention they deserve in the survey, but they are at least better known than another highly touted national park, Big Bend on the Texas-Mexico border.
The Olympic National Forest on the western peninsula of Washington State is a trip into a rainforest. The “Evergreen State” offers some of America’s most interesting and varied scenery.
Additional recommendation: Don’t miss the Black Hills of South Dakota. Hugging the coastline of Lake Superior is unforgettable. Sedona and Canyon de Chelly on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona are classics. Cajun Country in South Louisiana and New Orleans is like visiting a different, fun country. Another destination to consider: we spent a week last May parked outside of Washington, D.C., taking the Metro from our campground into the city almost everyday. We started with D.C. After Dark, enjoying a bus tour of the Capital under the lights, and then returned to visit the Smithsonian Institution, the traditional and newer monuments, memorials and sights. I’ve been there many times before, but doing it with our home-on-wheels as our base made it even better.
There were some surprising responses to the survey, which I’ll mention in the weeks ahead. I think for now, you’ve got enough ideas to chew on without those. We welcome your recommendations.
From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.
© All photos by Barry Zander. All rights reserved