Help Us Plan Our Summer Trip AND Do Some Good At The Same Time!

I’ve got $500 burning a hole in my pocket.  Can you help me with that?

I was planning to write up an article asking folks to send suggestions for our summer vacation, but a friend of mine popped an idea in my mind for a little twist.

In case you missed it, our family bought an RV last summer.  While we love to travel to far away places the COVID-19 pandemic definitely got in the way of that.  We started out by renting RVs, which I highly recommend before buying.  And, you’ll need to do plenty of research so you don’t end up buying two pickup trucks like we did.

We’re starting to get our travel groove back, but we don’t plan on getting on planes this summer.  I’ve been doing research on campsites across the country (and Canada, if those borders reopen).  The family is thinking about 2 or 3 weeks on the road, and we live near Washington, DC.  We may also take some shorter trips.

a truck with a large trailer on the back

Some of the areas we’re considering:

There are so many more areas in the US we haven’t explored, and that’s why I want your suggestions.  You don’t need to know anything about camping or campsites, though it’s a bonus if you happen to have a good recommendation for one near an area you think we should travel.

Now, About That $500

The pictures and stories coming out of Texas right now are quite horrible.  So many people without necessary supplies just to feed themselves or find a warm spot to sleep.  My friend Mommy Points (who’s been a frequent guest on my podcast) lives in Texas and has been keeping our family updated on the conditions.  It’s not pretty.  Our family is planning to donate to organizations in Texas who are helping people in need.  Summer (Mommy Points) recommended two local organizations if you’re looking to help at a local level from far away:

Montgomery County Food Bank

The Porch Drop Club

For every person who suggests a potential vacation spot for our upcoming family trip, we’ll donate $5 to a local TX charity helping people in need, up to a maximum donation of $500. It’s as simple as that, nothing else needed from you (though I hope you’ll consider a small donation to help folks in need).  I’d love it if people can come up with unique ideas for our trip.

Help me plan our summer vacation and do some good today!  Our family appreciates it and some folks in need down in Texas will benefit as well.

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  1. Can I see let’s meet at Ft. Wilderness again? I know, too easy, but also … let’s do that. Othersie, come meet us in Jackson, Rockies, Glacier or some point out west. 😉 Thx for helping TX.

  2. Love it all and happy to respond for a Lincoln.

    Near Mt Rushmore, visit/stay Custer State Park, Devils Tower, Badlands, and the cool town of Spearfish. Drive into Spearfish Canyon.

    Coast to coast Canada sounds epic. We are thinking of that also, then down the Pacific coast.

    See you on the road. Perhaps.

  3. Back when we used to stick a Winnebago pop-top camper to the back of the car and hit the road, one of the most memorable campgrounds of my childhood was in Nashville. The name’s changed since then and now it’s called Nashville Shores. It’s a lakefront property with an on-site waterpark and adventure course. Plenty to do if you just stay there and there’s the surrounding city and area to explore.

  4. We just finished the book Leave Only Footprints about a guy who visited all the national parks in a year, one of the highlights was Big Bend National park in Texas. It sounds like a part of the country that might have camping/RV spots available and could benefit from your tourism dollars.

    From a reader standpoint (still not listing to the podcast much) the coast to coast Canadian trip would be interesting.

  5. All Colorado State Park and County parks are fabulous to venture with RV, with flush toilet and dump service. Buy an inflatable kayak to enjoy lakes everywhere: Steamboat, Dillon, even some around Denver, and south in Durango. You can spend the whole summer here.

      1. If you stay at Great Sand Dunes, triple check you’ll fit in the campsite. We only have a 19′ bumper pull and barely fit in a site that said it was much bigger. I didnt see more than a handful of sites a 5er would fit it.

  6. Drive slowly to Glacier National Park. You’ll find gems all along the way including Mt Rushmore and or Yellowstone. Cross into the Canadian side of the park. Spectacular countryside.

  7. My vote is the “North Shore” of Minnesota (essentially all the state parks between Duluth and Grand Marais). If you end up taking all three weeks, you could do a giant loop…home -> Baraboo WI -> North Shore MN -> Teddy Roosevelt Natl Park ND -> Black Hills/Badlands SD -> Home.

    I agree with Charles’ recommendations for where to go in South Dakota if you do indeed end up in that state. Mount Rushmore was beyond underwhelming but the rest of that region is extraordinarily beautiful and the wildlife watching is incredible.

  8. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan! You can head west or go to Canada from there. Lots to see and do but Pictured Rocks is our family’s favorite and Mackinac Island is just something you have to do once if you haven’t.

  9. I’d say post up in Santa Fe for a few days if you’ve never visited. Such a cool city.

    We are finally thawing in Austin but a major clean water crisis continues / thanks for this Ed!

    1. J, glad to hear you guys are thawing out. I imagine it’ll be a rough road back to normal. I’ve been to Santa Fe briefly, twice. Loved it both times and agree it’s a great place to hang out. Last time, we were just up the road at Hyatt Regency Tamaya.

  10. I have no recommendations except make sure you hit all those doughnut shops along the way…. just wanted to put a comment in for a good cause

  11. Hi there. Great fundraiser!

    If Canada opens you should spend a couple of weeks in the Maritimes of Nova Scotia and PEI. Lovely, peaceful, wonderful people.

    Safe travels!

  12. On our list is the national parks in California in one long trip.Joshua Tree, Lassen Volcanic, Channel Islands, Sequoia,Kings Canyon, Death Valley, Redwood, Pinnacles. Already visited Yosemite. We are thinking one month so that might be beyond your limit. If so, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Arches loop is doable with a raft trip outside of Moab.

  13. My absolute favorite rv trip as a younger tween/teen was going from Missouri to South Dakota. I was just old enough to understand and appreciate the history but still young enough to have fun hunting for gold and doing the silly tourist activities. The monuments were cool and the Indian reservations and all the wildlife always sticks out in my mind. And road tripping it was the best part!

    Also have tons of fond memories of camping straight on the beach in Destin in the RV. Doesn’t get better than watching sunrise and sunset through the front RV windshield.

  14. Tour of some National parks – we had wanted to do the Utah parks, Bryce, Arches, Zion, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef. Then we started looking at a map and reading about those parks and decided we also wanted to see Yellowstone so we started looking at what airports to fly in and out of so our range expanded and to incorporate Mt Rushmore you get to see Black Hills National Forest and Badlands. You can easily connect a loop of the US stopping at different national parks along the way and enjoying some awesome scenery. Our trip never happened but hopefully will one day.
    Also if either of your kids are in the 4th grade you can get an annual pass for free to get into all national parks.

    1. cnmaz, we do have a 4th grader and want to take advantage of the free pass! That was our plan for this past year, sigh…..

      I haven’t heard of Capitol Reef. Adding it to the research list.

  15. I would head north for sure! Maybe a mountain tour of the Pacific Northwest? Lots of great outdoor places to explore and it will be nice and cool.

  16. We had the best time in Bar Harbor Maine last summer. We stayed in a small campground across the bay in sorrento. Arcadia National Park was amazing. Cadillac mountain, day cruise to see the puffins, kayaking in the ocean. #familytime

  17. What about trying to find the entrance to Area 51? That would be a great memory. Also Joshua Tree out in California is beautiful or Manchester, VT? The town is amazing and there is a really cool falconry school there.

  18. For a 2-3 week trip, I would suggest a Mountain Time Zone adventure. I see from an earlier comment that Mount Rushmore might be in the cards. You could do a grand loop, going by Devils Tower in Wyoming, then driving up to the other corner of the state to see Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, then start the loop back through Montana – possibly making it up to Glacier National Park – or just continuing through the state to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park, then make your way back to Virginia.

  19. Suggestion: no destination. Start driving west from DC and just go where the road takes you. Maybe you’ll wind up in Iowa corn fields. Or Nebraska. Or Wisconsin. Or Oklahoma. Just go. Let someone in the family pick a direction each morning snd just go that direction and wing it.

    1. Yeah, I don’t think we’ll lock the entire trip down ahead of time. However, with the popularity of RV travel right now, we probably do need to book at least some sites so we don’t get shut out in more popular destinations.

  20. What about like northwoods of Wisconsin, UP of Michigan, or on the lake shore somewhere up there? Gorgeous forests, trees, lakes, hiking, and tons of state parks that look amazing!!! And less of a haul for you than Colorado or S Dakota.

  21. I’ll second Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s a hidden gem with tons of outdoor activities. Tahquamenon Falls is beautiful and the Soo Locks is an engineering marvel. You could spend weeks there!

  22. Antelope canyon is in bucket list. They extended the free National Park pass for 20/21 5th grader because of limited used last summer.

  23. If you’re ever in North Texas, there are some great state parks worth visiting. Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Caprock Canyon State Park, and Copper Breaks State Park are all along 287 between Amarillo & Fort Worth.

  24. Hot Springs S.Dakota,Evans Plunge Pool. Crazy Horse Monument June 5-6 2021 has a Volksmarch ,you can hike up to the face of the monument.
    Minnesota North Shore Jay Cooke Park.
    Canada, Banff to Jasper and every place in between the two towns!!Adventure and beauty at it’s finest!

  25. I definitely recommend hitting Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches) which really do line up well for a trip to the Grand Canyon or further west

  26. If you go to Florida, I recommend Manatee Hammock Campground near Titusville for a launch from Kennedy Space Center. Blue Spring State Park just north of Orlando is also great for seeing the manatees in the winter (and swimming in the spring in the summer).

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