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Recommended Tent Camping Sites for 2011 - VT, VA, WA
Vermont Tent Camping Trip
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Vermont’s US-7 starts in the state’s southwest corner and winds its way northwards through some of the finest landscape in New England. Rolling hills and bucolic farmland mark the southern reaches as the terrain changes to lush evergreen forests of the Green Mountains and northwards into the White Mountains.
Begin your Vermont tent camping trip in the historic town of Bennington. Coming into town you’ll pass the Bennington Battle Monument, a large obelisk reminiscent of the Washington Monument, commemorating the Bennington Battle. This was one of the first and most important Colonial victories over the British in the War for Independence. Poet Robert Frost spent a good portion of his life here and you can tour the Robert Frost Stone House to learn more about the life of this important American figure. And what do you imagine when someone says “Vermont”? Covered bridges of course! Here in town you can visit the Vermont Covered Bridge Museum to learn about haunted bridges and battlegrounds through interactive exhibits, dioramas, and other displays. Make a pitstop at Woodford State Park, one of the great Vermont tent campgrounds to stay at in this area.
Continuing north on US-7 you’ll eventually end up in Arlington where you can experience nostalgia in art form at the Norman Rockwell Exhibition. Fans of the quintessential American artist’s work can view more than 500 of the master’s Saturday Evening Post covers on display.
Up the road a piece you’ll find Manchester Center, the quintessential Vermont village, loaded with quaint shops, great eateries, and wonderful scenery. The village is located near the historic Battenkill River, the capital of trout fishing in the northeast. Try your own hand at fly fishing at the impressive Orvis flagship store. Manchester Center could also be an excellent ”base camp” for you to tour the nearby Green Mountain National Forest, a natural retreat loaded with campgrounds in picturesque New England mountains.
Migrating north on US-7 you’ll enter the state’s highlands, within range of the Northeast’s premier ski resort, Killington. If you end up here during the off-season, don’t freak out. You’re still in mountainous Vermont where there are plenty of opportunities to hike, fish, and just enjoy the beautiful scenery around the resort.
Stay on Hwy. 7 and soon you’ll enter the majestic Lake Champlain Valley. The first town within this region is Rutland where you can find seven covered bridges in the immediate area, each one more picturesque than the next. Rutland, like so many others in the state, is a quaint town with a charming town centre to explore on foot. One favorite stop is the New England Maple Museum where visitors can learn about the history and industry of maple syrup in New England. Also in town is the Norman Rockwell Museum, with even more examples of the master artist’s depictions of early-20th century American life on display.
Like many other Vermont villages, Middlebury offers excellent opportunities to exercise the legs a bit, and the imagination, with a walk through its historic district. Visit the courthouse, the Middlebury Inn, and see the roaring Otter Falls in the midst of the downtown area. There are a couple Vermont tent campgrounds to check out in the area here.
Further north, stop in the town of Shelburne. There you’ll find one of the most impressive little museums in the Northeast at the Shelburne Museum, showcasing fine local folk art as well as works by Degas, Monet, and Rembrandt. Also, be sure to visit the impressive Shelburne Farms, a 3,800-acre property landscaped by the great Frederick Law Olmsted. Today the farm hosts many educational exhibits, plus provides a petting zoo and hay rides for the young ones to enjoy. A family favorite in Shelburne is a tour of the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory. This is where the world- famous custom teddy bears are ”born”, and for many it’s almost like venturing into a cute, cuddly version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
Your final stop on this Vermont tent camping trip along US-7 is going to be in the capital city of Burlington, located along the banks of chilly Lake Champlain. North Beach Campground is one of choice Vermont tent campgrounds to check out in the area. The town now features a wonderful waterfront with shops and art exhibits in a public space. The newest addition to the waterfront area is ECHO at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain. (ECHO stands for ecology, culture, history, and opportunity, FYI.) This is without a doubt, a unique and world-class science center and aquarium with constantly changing exhibits that the whole family can enjoy and learn about the environment. Also in town, visit the Ethan Allen Homestead where the Revolutionary War patriot, the state’s most popular hero, spent the final years of his life. Hwy 7 continues north through St. Albans, along the shores of Lake Champlain to the Canada border.
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Virginia Tent Camping Trip
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History buffs, thoroughly modern shoppers- amusement park devotees, Virginia tent camping fans and folks who’d rather go caving find a common ground for fun in the "Old Dominion" state.
Today’s Virginia offers lots and lots of shopping options, so plan your travel itinerary accordingly. Here are a few suggestions to warm up your consumer instincts.
Home of the Great Strasburg Emporium with more than 100 active dealers, the town of Strasburg earns converts as the “Antique Capital of Virginia.”
Dayton’s Old Farmers Market contains 20 gift shops and food booths that reflect the simple, traditional Mennonite lifestyle.
Alexandria, Occoquan, and Fredericksburg
Look for downtown boutiques selling arts, handicrafts and unusual bric-a-brac.
Giant malls with trendy shops carrying everything under the Virginian sun may be found at Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria in McLean.
Merchant’s Square in Colonial Williamsburg encompasses more than 40 shops and restaurants in a vintage village atmosphere where most goods on display are colonial reproductions. Williamsburg, also known as the “Outlet Store Capital,” hosts an impressive list of outlet centers. Beth Page Camp-Resort and Newport News Park Campground are two Virginia tent campgrounds located near Williamsburg.
For genuine handicrafts from the Blue Ridge Mountains, visit the Cave House Craft Shop, an inviting place stocked with homespun wares such as baskets and quilts from Holston Mountain Crafts Guild.
Thrills, chills, water wonders, crazy coasters and European flair are all part of the trip to Virginia’s amusement park scene.
Paramount’s Kings Dominion is a family-friendly recreation center with a notable collection of 12 themed roller coasters, an on-site WaterWorks park and special amusement areas designed for children.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg certainly earns its long-standing title as “World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park.” With it’s old world Euro-style accents, rousing rides, quality stage shows, shops, and restaurants, Busch Gardens offers something appealing for everyone. The vintage surf-themed Water Country USA, also a Williamsburg attraction, treats guests to cool rides, slides and free-form river float trips with geyser action and speeding toboggans, plus a radical surf shop and a good selection of food-stuffs. Grey's Point Camp is another Virginia tent camping location not too far away from Williamsburg.
Practically everyone’s heard about the exquisite natural beauty of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but did you know that the area’s underground cave systems are every bit as engaging as the above-ground scenery? Shenandoah National Park is one of the great Virginia tent camping sites located in the city of Elkton.
Luray Caverns is the largest, most-visited cave system in the eastern United States. Colossal chambers, colorful formations, winding tunnels, underground pools and the music from the one and only “Great Stalacpipe Organ” make a trip here unforgettable. Nearby, the History of transportation in America comes alive at an exhibit that includes 140 items ranging from carriages to coaches.
Endless Caverns may be found on the side of Massanutten Mountain. After your underground cave adventure, come up to the surface to take in sweeping views of the Shenandoah Valley.
Explore the visual wonders of the caves at Dixie Caverns, purchase antiques or pottery, and browse through the extensive Rock and Mineral Shop, all in one friendly location.
Experience more of the Shenadoah’s Valley underground attractions with a visit to the remarkable Shenandoah’s Caverns, located just off I-81.
For more information, contact (800) VISIT-VA;
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Washington Tent Camping Trip
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Like the rest of the Pacific Northwest, Washington’s biggest draw is its breathtaking coastline. If this is your cup of tea, too, consider taking US-12 around the Olympic Peninsula as it travels from Aberdeen east to Olympia. In Aberdeen, enjoy the life along Gray’s Harbor. There you’ll find the Lady Washington, the state’s largest and finest tall ship. Keeping heading east towards Olympia, where you’ll navigate your rig through several charming towns. We highly recommend the town of Montesano, a little village well-known for its heritage and food, especially their razorback clams. Olympic National Forest has Washington tent camping sites available between May and September. Be sure to call ahead for more information.
US-12 ultimately delivers travelers to Olympia, simply one of Washington’s finest cities. A great place to start exploring Olympia is the area around the Capital, an historic and beautiful area for great walking and sight-seeing opportunities. Don’t miss the Tivoli Fountain reconstruction on the Capital lawn. Strongly consider a tour of the impressive Governor’s Mansion. Millersylvania State Park is one of the Washington tent campgrounds to stay at while in in Olympia. While in the area, a visit to the Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument is a thoughtful diversion. Observe the effect of nature’s awe-inspiring power on the landscape as the site is still recovering from when the mountain blew its top in the early 1980s.
But Washington is hardly all craggy cliffs and pounding Pacific waves. The state is home to many treasures inland. One way to explore those wonders is to pick up US-97 near the town of Goldendale, in the lower-central part of the state near the Oregon border. This spirited route runs through some wonderfully diverse landscape as it heads north. Past Yakima, a major hub in this part of the state, stop by Thompson’s Fruit Farm. This centuries-old farm remains family-owned and operated (applause!). And yes, visitors can still sample a wide variety of natural treats or help themselves by picking some of the farm’s produce. After a stop to the fruit farm, get lost in downtown Yakima, a city full of old world charm and antique stores. Find your way to the impressive Capitol Theater. Erected in 1920 this art deco building was once the largest such venue in the Pacific Northwest. Today, it is home to the Yakima Symphony Orchestra. Also, don’t miss the charming Museum Soda Fountain, an art deco display that commemorates those fantastic soda shops of a bygone era. The Yakima Cultural Center is a great place to start when exploring this northwest treasure. Then pull over for a great bite to eat at the Heritage Inn, where you can sample some modern and traditional Native American fare.
After Yakima, US-97 north merges into Interstate 82. Just north of Ellensburg you can pick up US-97 once again and continue your adventure, straight towards the outskirts of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Not only is this an excellent place for just about any recreational pursuit, but it’s also the nexus of US-97 and US-2 at the town of Leavenworth. One worthwhile stop here is the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery, an impressive facility used to protect salmon populations otherwise affected by the Grand Coulee Dam operations. If you’d prefer an alternative route from Ellensburg to take you back to the coast, follow US-90 west to Seattle/Tacoma and US-5 north to Everett and Bellingham.
Heading east on US-97, consider a visit to Pioneer Village in the town of Cashmere. The town is home to a stunning recreation of frontier life during the 1800s. Today, the town attracts kayakers who brave the waters of the Columbia River. Speaking of which, follow the river to the town of Wenatchee, one of the most authentic period towns in central Washington. Straight out of the past, you and your RVing crew will discover several historic inns, an old-time ice cream parlor (make mine a double!), and an impressive cultural center, all surrounded by marvelous landscape.
For another inland route, take US-395 to Spokane in the eastern region of the state near the Idaho border. A Spokane adventure requires a visit to the rather unusual Carr’s One of a Kind Museum. It’s a little nostalgic, a little historic, a little kitschy, and a lot weird. The museum is an odd mix, but the main attraction is an impressive collection of celebrity cars, including JFK’s 1962 Lincoln and Jackie Gleason’s 1968 limo. Riverside State Park is one of the Washington tent camping locations in the area that is open year round.
Are you a cat person? Don’t miss Spokane’s Cat Tales Zoological Park, an impressive zoo dedicated to the big cats, including jaguars, bobcats, tigers, and even a lion raised by a dog. Also while in town, don’t miss the Arbor Crest Winery, situated on one of the many hills that encircle Spokane.
From Spokane, continue north on US-395 until you reach the town of Colville, a little slice of Americana hidden away in Northeast Washington. If you decide to stop in town, check out the Keller Heritage Center which features old-time pioneer machinery, farmstead, blacksmith shop, lookout tower, and an impressive museum. Colville can also act as an excellent base camp as you prepare to explore the nearby Roosevelt Lake and Colville National Forest. Colville Fairgrounds RV Park is one of great the Washington tent campgrounds to check out in the area.
As you head north, stop at the town of Kettle Falls. In town you’ll find a sign that reads “1,225 Friendly people. 1 Grouch.” The grouch in question is elected each year in a town vote, and for just a quarter you can cast your own vote, beginning on April 1. The last leg along this route won’t disappoint, slowly elevating you to the highest point in the state at Sherman Pass at 5,575 feet.
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