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Open Roads Forum  >  RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions

 > 2010 Summer Vacation Suggestions Wanted

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Dripping Springs, TX - just West of Weird

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Posted: 09/15/09 11:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In July this year, with a lot of input from RV.Net, we did a 3000 mile 2 week trip to SD, WY and CO from the Austin Texas area. Stayed in County, State and National Parg CGs for all expect a couple of nights. The trip was the 2 of us, our son and his cousin, both 11.

So I am looking for suggestions for our vacation next year. The 3K round trip distance is OK maybe up to 3500. Beyond that it's just too much time in the truck. This time it will most likely be just the 3 of us. We like to have a lot of outdoor activities and also try to go to at least one event. Last year we did a rock climbing class, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, caving, biking, and hiking. We also went to the Black Hills Playhouse and to the Frontier Days rodeo.

The trip will be in July as that is when I can get the time off. So if we are going to camp where it is hot at night then hook ups would be nice. Otherwise they are not necessary. We would perfer to go North or to higher elevations to get out of the Texas summer heat.

Possilbe options are:
- White Sands NM, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion and loop back through Az.
- Mamomouth Cave, Corvette factory, Big South Fork, St. Louis Arch, maybe Ozark National Scenic Riverway.

We went to Yellowstone and Glacier, not in the TT, last year so rather not do that in 2010.

We would love to hear your ideas.


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* This post was edited 09/15/09 01:42pm by an administrator/moderator *

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Green River, WY

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Posted: 09/15/09 12:29pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've realized in the last couple years that I'm always in such a hurry to go see other places that I neglect what I've got right in my back yard. I live 20 minutes from Flaming Gorge didn't even get out there this summer, I've got the Wind River Range 1.5 hours away and didn't get there. I haven't been to Jackson in quite a few years. Like you I've got a LOT of windshield time trying to get to other places like Louisiana, Rapid City, Denver, Glacier, etc. All beautiful trips and I'm glad that my kids got to see them, but I think that from now on I'm going to start looking at what I've got right here at my own doorstep for travel opportunities.

The tales told on this forum about traveling west has reminded me that Wyoming has some really great places to visit. So instead of putting so much effort into going somewhere else, I'm going to start staying here at home. My point is that I'll bet if you stop and think for a moment, you'll surely remember that your local part of Texas has probably got some beautiful, fun, and unique places too. Perhaps you don't need any "cool ideas", just look locally for places you haven't been in quite a few years and go there. Who knows, you might have fun not being stuck behind the windshield for a major percentage of your vacation.

My $0.02

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Cook County Il

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Posted: 09/15/09 12:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

White sands NM will be hot in July, and your other National parks will require reservations, as they are usually FULL during the summer. We were there this March, and Bryce was having a snow storm, Zion, we got the last non reserved spot by 1 or 2 minutes, Arches was full, so we stayed outside of the park, and why not check out the NORTH rim of the Grand Canyon when in AZ. Also check out Lake Powell ( by the dam ) it offers raft rides that go down the Colorado river, about 3 or 4 hrs long, with a bus ride back, interesting. There is also a camp ground Page AZ. Houseboats on lake Powell are neat but cost quite a bit of $$$. We did that in 2000 with 3 other couples. You have to reserve these boats very early, as they usually fill up. You should have been in Illinois this summer, as we had like 4, 90 degreed days, all summer, The rest were like 70 to mid 80, but some were even in the 60 degree range. Quite a few records were set this year.
Just my thoughts.

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Middle Georgia

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Posted: 09/15/09 03:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DW and I really enjoyed our July 07 trip to Big South Fork. They have a lot of hiking if you are in to that. The park has electric hookups in case it is hot, but we were pleasantly surprised that it was not that hot. Good luck with you plans. We are thinking about a trip to Big Bend in the fall next year.

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Dripping Springs, TX - just West of Weird

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Posted: 09/15/09 03:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your comments about staying close to home are good. We are failry new to Texas, 3 years, and we make it a point to visit our state and national parks as much as possible. It seems that we have been to more state parks than people we meet that have lived here all of their lives. We will be going back to Big Bend for Thanksgiving.

That said Texas in the July can be really hot. We have had something like 65 days above 100 this year. So we are really looking to get away.

Yup we know the NPs will be full. That is one reason that we are starting to look at the plan now. We will reserve way ahead. This year we booked most of the trip on Jan 1 and 2 or as soon as the reservations opened up at each location. Yes the North side of GC sounds nice. And your idea of short rafting trips out of Lake Powell is also good. I was not aware they were offered. We did a 5 day trip many years ago but the price to do that now is a bit steep.



Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Posted: 09/15/09 04:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Someone was asking about areas with fall colors. I suggested some sites in New Mexico. These same sites would be very nice in July as well.

As for White Sands Nat'l Monument, it could be hot in July, how hot would depend on the weather at the time. As for having to have reservations at the Nat'l Parks, I have found you do not have to have them. They still have some first come, first served sites at them. Or there is camping outside the park, not too far off. As for White Sands N'l M't, there really isn't a campground at all. Only camping is to hike back into one area, can't remember how far of a hike. Not real close to the road at any rate. As for Lake Powell, it can be as hot as White Sands, maybe hotter & with humidy. At least it was the summer we tried it, some years ago.

I will add a few other links to New Mexico camping & Attractions, hopefully not too many repeats will appear.
Alamogordo & White Sands

For a state park in the Las Cruces area, Leasburg would be the one with camping and Fort Selden State Monument is just next door as well. Fort Selden History.

If you are looking for things New Mexico, just to the west of Las Cruces is Historic Old Mesilla. If you will be looking for Indian jewelry or other crafts, Mesilla may have better buys than up north, mostly the same stuff. Old Mesilla

Mesilla has a couple of restaurants, the Double Eagle ( DoubleEagle ) and La Posta ( La Posta ), both with more atmosphere than the ones I listed above. Not sure if the food is any better. Mesilla **** Mesilla were Billy the Kid was tried & convicted. More listings of eating places.

For really spooky, no just joking, but some do claim there are Ghosts in Mesilla: Hauntings and More Ghosts I had many high school students who claimed encounters with them there as well as a fellow teacher who told of working on sets at the Fountain Theater late at night. When the lights would all keep going off, a Hispanic member of the cast cursed the spirit out in Spanish and afterwards the lights did not turn off again. ?

More places in New Mexico
The Cloudcroft area as well as the Ruidoso area are nice places. Many mt. bike trails in the Lincoln Nat'l Forest by Cloudcroft (I am not as familar with Ruidoso) and a neat Museum by Ruidoso. Also the Peter Hurd Gallery in La Rinconada Lane off Hwy 70 at mm 281 in San Patricio, NM near turn off to Linclon on Hwy to Ruidoso. Cloudcroft is near White Sands. Lincoln National Forest - from personal experience, the camping around Cloudcroft is very good. We have mainly used the campgrounds or dispersed camping area by the Silver, Apache & Saddle Campgrounds on the Hwy going to Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation on NM 244. Sacramento Ranger District.
Bluff Springs - This popular dispersed area has a small waterfall, with springs located 200 yards above. Access to T113 (Willie White) can be found here. There are some bike trails in the area as well & motorcycles ones as well. Other trails Rails to Trails and Camping and Ruidoso Trails and Trail listings

If you happen to go to Carlsbad to see the Caverns. Sitting Bull Falls is really neat with a small cave behind the falls with formations. Also the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park Zoo is neat. Beside the main tour of the Caverns, we liked the Slaughter Canyon Cave Tour. Ranger-guided tours of Slaughter Canyon Cave take you into an underground wilderness without electricity, paved walkways, or modern conveniences. In this wild cave, darkness is broken only by the flashlights and headlamps of rangers and tour members. I believe I would stay at Brantley State Park to base to see the area by Carlsbad.

We really like Heron Lake State Park, there are no FULL hookups but they do have electric/water sites. Heron Lake
There are many things to do & see in that area, such as the The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Chama, a drive up into the high country either up from Chama or up from Tierra Amarilla to Taos, besides the hikes in the state park, and if time allows check out the wool weavers workshop Tierra Wools in Los Ojos near the turn off to Heron Lake SP.
Tierra Wools

There is a lot to see in Santa Fe as well. As is the area by Eagle Nest: Cimarron Canyon State Park is three miles east of Eagle Nest along US 64. Cimarron
It is a very scenic area, with a nice trout stream running along. We enjoyed our stay there, some years ago.

Eagle Nest is a neat area as well. Eagle Nest Lake is very pretty, with a just opened primative campground. The drive from Eagle Nest (a neat little town) to Raton you would see Cimarron Canyon SP. You would be driving along or in the Cimarron Canyon much of the way. The village of Cimarron is a neat historic place. Village
If you do make it to the Eagle Nest Area, be sure to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, one of the first Memorials of its kind in the United States dedicated to Vietnam Veterans. A very moving place. It is in Angle Fire.
Angel Fire Memorial

By driving 30 miles from Eagle Nest, one could go to Taos a very historic area. The neat Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is near Taos as well on the way to Chama. Taos
Rio Gorge
Bridge & Gorge

A Veterinarian in Raton told us to drive SR476 to see wildlife. It was fun. We saw deer, elk, turkeys and a bear.

We also did a day trip to see Capulin Volcano National Monument from Raton area. Cone

When we woke up to snow one morning in June at Sugarite Canyon State Park, we also drove over to see Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site in La Junta, CO to find a warmer area for the day. Bent's Fort Both were neat to see, but Capulin was the neatest. But our young children at the time liked Bent's Old Fort. Capulin seems to be closer to Raton. We also did a drive to the Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge. But this would be better in winter to see more birds. Refuge
We made thes day trips from Sugarite State Park near Raton. Sugarite

In the Grants area, El Morro Nat'l Monument is worth a visit. Things to Do It has a very small campground, but there is a private campground near by. Campground and RV Park The El Malpais Nat'l Conservation Area is also near featuring Grants Lava Flows.

We spent a few days in the Telluride area of Colorado, camping at a National Forest Campground on the Dolores River. It must have been West Dolores Campground.

On our way to Creede from the north via Hwy 149, we stayed over night at Silver Thread Campground along the Rio Grande. Camping A very lovely area.

We then spend a night at the Great Sand Dunes Nat'l Park which has the tallest sand dunes in North America at the Park's campground. Pinyon Flats Campground

Fenton Lake State Park is a small out to the way Park surrounded by beautiful ponderosa pine forests. We camped there for 2 or 3 once, a very nice place. Fenton

Carson National Forest - my only personal experience has been camping up by Taos on the Hwy going to Eagle Nest such as La Sombra 8 miles east of Taos along US Highway 64 at 7,800 ft. elevation or Capulin & Las Petacas. One of these can serve as a base to visiting Taos. Find near Taos


I would recomment a stop at Balmorhea State Park which is located in the foothills of the Davis Mountains southwest of Balmorhea and nearby Davis Mountains State Park on your way to New Mexico or Arizona if you decide on coming out this way. They are very nice places and one could spend a long time at each. I have not been to Davis SP, but it is nice areas, be sure to visit the old Ft. Davis a nice place to see. Balmorhea SP has a great pool, fed with fresh spring water, full of fish from very small minnoes to some pretty big boys in the very deep area in which one can skin dive as well as snorkle. Very relaxing as well as fun.

* This post was last edited 11/29/09 09:26pm by DesertHawk *   View edit history

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San Diego

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Posted: 09/15/09 04:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Utah has 14 national parks and I would recommend Zion River Resort(b/c of the pool for your son and you can take trips into the park--9 mile drive--and many great hikes. He would love the Narrows and so would you if hikers--and sounds like you are.

Bryce Canyon for a couple of days-Rubys RV also great hiking and scenery.

Moab is another park along the Colorado river and you can drive through Arches--a must-- for great hikes and scenery. We stayed at Portal Rv Resort--again, pool for kids.

Take a river float and the jeep rentals and jeep trails are plenty.

You can also check out Durango and the train ride. Telluride is great and you will enjoy the ski lift rides.

You can probably route a nice loop to all depending on your wants.

Good luck


Cleveland TX

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Posted: 09/16/09 08:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you've never spent time @ Garner SP in Concan, TX. you need to go. Your son will love it!! High rope swings to swing into the river, huge trees to climb & jump off of, paddle boats & kayaks to rent, river to float down and at night, THE DANCE going on @ the Pavillion. Mini-golf, trails, a mini-cave to explore -- oh, all sorts of things. We go every year.

For adults, just floating in the river with a cool beverage of choice is good.

We went on a cruise out of Galveston this summer, as well as a week @ Garner. At the end of the summer I asked DS what his favorite part was & he said "Garner". He admitted that while the cruise was neat, he'd just as soon spend a week or two @ Garner!!

If you end up in NM, don't forget a trip to Roswell -- home of the aliens. Also Marfa -- where you can see the 'ghost lights' @ night.

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Dripping Springs, TX - just West of Weird

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Posted: 09/17/09 07:38am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We had booked a spot at Garner SP for Labor Dya but cancelled due to the river being almost dry. We are looking foward to going next year if we are out of the drought.

Done the Roswell trip. But have not made it to Marfa. Our son spent a week at a dude ranch in Ft. Davis this summer so we were out in Alpine and Ft Davis. Both very nice but did not get down to Marfa. Maybe we will swing up there on the way back from Big Bend this Thanksgiving.

Thanks for the ideas.

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