Ships and Shores

After a wonderful time in Connecticut and Rhode Island, we were really looking forward to Massachusetts. Our first stop in the state was Cape Cod. Like all the National Seashores, Cape Cod was beautiful and we loved spending time at the beach. Traffic was kinda crazy because of a large rotary plus the primary road switches from two lanes in each direction down to a single lane in each direction.  So every time we drove anywhere there was lots of traffic and it took longer than we expected. After visiting the cape, I quickly realized why so many people brave the traffic to find a parking spot near the beach.  We loved building sandcastles, watching the seals swim by, and seeing the sailboats. The kids were also able to earn another Junior Ranger Badge and we all learned about the local wildlife at a ranger program about the areas birds.

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The Most Dangerous Trail in the White Mountains

Yes we took the Ridge Hike, which is the most dangerous hike in the White Mountains. No one was injured and we got to see some amazing waterfalls on our hike. We are going to be posting more videos, so please let us know what you think of this one.

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Mountains to Mansions

Seeing New York from the mountains to the history.

We have gotten to see some wonderful things on our adventure like National Parks and magnificent capitol buildings. Each place has its own history and natural features, none of these places are the best.  Each one is just different from the other.

The first place we visited in the state was New York City and it was impressive to say the least. The rest of our New York experience was great though and we enjoyed seeing some of the rural areas.

After leaving New Jersey we decided to head into the forest and visit Catskill Mountain, where we thought we could camp for free. Well we towed up into the mountains and down a dead end, where we had to do some tricky maneuvering to get out! So the camp wasn’t free and apparently only backpackers can camp for free. The North/South Lake Campground was lovely and we enjoyed hiking around and visiting the lakes.

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You Win Some, You Lose Some

Trouble Right From The Start

I was so excited to see New Jersey the garden state and had high expectations for our visit. It probably didn’t help to have the governor shut down all the state parks right when we arrived at our camp in Jersey city, but like always we just tried to make the best of it. So some of our Jersey experiences were not so good and others were great. It is just like we always tell the kids, ‘life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react’. So we took the bad in stride and tried to make the best of our Jersey experiences.

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Washington DC on a Budget: How a Family of Five Toured our Nations Capital City for Under $80 a Day

Our family is on an educational tour of the United States and we have visited many state capitals, so of course we had to include a stop in our nations capital. Washington DC is an amazing city. It is also a very family friendly city with so many things to see and do with kids. The amount of choices available can be a little overwhelming especially because it all sounds not only fun, but educational too.

This was our first time in Washington DC and we weren’t quite sure what to expect. The costs can really start to add up sometimes when visiting a metropolitan area, but we managed to spend less than $80 a day while exploring this exciting new place.

We are a very budget oriented family as we are trying to take our children to see every state so saving money is important to us. Traveling with our travel trailer makes our lodging different than some peoples, since we can prepare our meals and our grocery bill is about the same no matter where we are. I realize that not everyone is interested in traveling the way we do, but if you are interested in how we manged to spend 6 days exploring Washington DC area for less than $80 a day please read on.

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An Urban Oasis

Visiting state capital’s and national parks has become a huge part of our lives in the last year.  So what could be better for us than combining these two things into one great experience? While visiting the capital city of Maryland we stayed in Greenbelt National Park, which has an awesome location.  It is also a great place to camp right near the city.  We are still amazed at how many cool places there are to go and see in this country, no matter where we go there seems to be an endless amount of places we want to check out.  State capitol buildings provide opportunities to learn about history while national parks provide us with experiences in nature.  What I like about these places is that they are free or very inexpensive to visit.  So read on and I will tell you about our family’s adventure to the wonderful capital city of Maryland.

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The First State

I can honestly say that I never thought I would go to Delaware and wasn’t even sure what we would do while visiting the state. Well like every other state we have visited so far, Delaware didn’t disappoint us and we had a blast while visiting the nation’s very first state. We decided to stay at a state park that was south of Dover, since we knew we would be heading to Annapolis when we left. Killen’s Pond was almost full when we arrived and we took the last spot in the camp that our trailer could fit into. I was a bit worried over the camp because it was so full and the campsites were pretty close, but the next day was a Monday and we quickly had the entire loop to ourselves. The camp ground was not the best we have stayed out, which is ironic since they have signs saying Delaware state parks are the best in the United States. There was quite a lot of trash in our site though and we never saw anyone picking up the sites the entire time we stayed there. Every time I needed help at the entrance station it was a fiasco and the workers were struggling. The bathrooms were decent, but were operated with push buttons and anyone who has used this style of shower knows how annoying they are (especially when you have three kids to shower off). The location for seeing the capitol was very convenient being just a twenty minute trip into the city.

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Olympia

Our little Photographer

We decided to stay down the highway from Olympia since the city didn’t have a good inexpensive campground. Sarah found a nice camp at Chehalis and we found a cool park in the town for the kids to play at. We always try to find nice playgrounds for the kids to get their energy out at because when your house is less than 300 square feet you don’t want three kids wrestling inside. The campground was a Good Samimg_4580member, so we finally joined a camping club and saved a little money. It will only take five nights of using the membership for it to pay for itself. The kids liked the camp too, since they found a secret forest clearing behind our trailer to play in.

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Des Moines

Des Moines was a great capital to visit.

 

After our city camping experience in Madison, we decided to camp a little way outside of Des Moines. We had good experiences just winging it and getting camp sites, but our luck ran out in Des Moines. The place that we picked was filled up or reserved by the time we arrived. It looked great and we wished we could have stayed, but instead we had to drive further on  to a different park. Cherry Glen Campground was run by the Conservation Corp and It was amazing.  I am glad we ended up there, so lady luck was with us all along. The sites were spaced out and we were able to pick the one we wanted at the back of the camp ground. It was an extremely difficult back in (I have heard it called a blind back in). We worked as a team and made it in without a problem.

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Madison

There was good and bad with our Madison trip.

IMAG0494 (1)The choices for camping near Madison are not abundant and mainly in county parks.  We chose one close to the capitol building knowing this was to be one of our destinations.  Unfortunately, it was on a very busy, noisy road with only a chain-link fence between us and the road.  Other than the noise (which basically lasted all night) it was fine, although the showers were not clean and to be avoided.  Fortunately, it was close to town and a laundry mat, which we were desperately in need of.  The roads in Wisconsin are pretty rough, I guess due to the cold weather, so it was a pretty bumpy ride especially with the trailer hitched up.

I would also warn people to beware of the parking situation in this city, because (at least so far) it was probably the worst city parking ever.  There was no free public parking near the capital building. Also the parking garages require you to pay up front, meaning you have to guess how long you will be there and hope whatever you are doing doesn’t take longer than you expected.  It was just so unlike any other parking garage I have ever parked in.  I am sure this will not be the strangest thing that occurs in our travels.

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