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The oldest city in Texas is known for far more than its colorful history. This is also the place to get the colorful berries that are ideal for blueberry pie, pancakes, cobbler, and ice cream..
With all the recent reports touting the healthful qualities of blueberries, the Nacogdoches’ Texas Blueberry Festival is more popular than ever. The June festival offers tons of fresh blueberries, plus old-fashioned fun with pie-eating contests, blueberry treats and art vendors, ice-cream making contests, and tours of local blueberry farms. There are also plenty of fun activities for the kids, from the bounce house to the petting zoo.
After you’ve done the festival, head into Nacogdoches for a fun day of antiquing or nature hikes. You can stroll down the red-brick streets, admiring the historic downtown, or stop in the 100-year-old hardware store. Historic sites include the Stone Fort Museum, the 1830 Sterne-Hoya House Museum, and the 1835 Durst-Taylor Historic House. At the Oak Grove Cemetery you can see the graves of a number of famous Texans, including four signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Be sure not to miss the Old University Building, an 1845 university hall that was chartered by the Republic of Texas.
Nature lovers will find plenty to do in Nacogdoches, from hikes along the Lanana Creek Trail to bird watching for woodpeckers, nuthatches, and sparrows. You can tour the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, admiring the colorful blooms at this largest azalea garden in Texas, or head to the SFA Interpretive Trail and Arboretum. More than 150 species of birds and 80 species of butterflies live in this section of the Angelina National Forest. The Arboretum spreads over nineteen beautiful acres on the University of Texas campus.
- Category: Hot Spots
The picturesque Lake Champlain area is a magical world to explore, whether you’re looking through a pair of binoculars or exploring in a kayak or canoe. Nestled on the border of Vermont and upstate New York, the Lake Champlain region was dubbed “glimmerglass country” by James Fenimore Cooper, author of Last of the Mohicans. This gorgeous waterway is home to thousands of migrating birds that travel the eastern corridor to and from Canada each year. This year, you can travel the 300 mile route of the Lake Champlain Birding Trail, exploring the walkways and natural vistas along the way—and taking in a charming part of New England..
The Lake Champlain Birding Trail is a highway-based trail that links together 88 bird-watching sites along the shores of the lake and upland areas. Every stop along the trail is marked with interpretive signs, and some stops include boardwalks, bird-viewing blinds, and viewing platforms. A network of volunteers keeps an eye on the species that visit the various sites around the lake, publishing up-to-date information on bird sightings and migrations.
You can explore the southern stretches of the trail by starting in Burlington, Vermont, a charming farm and college town on Interstate 89. With its old-fashioned clapboard houses, fresh fruit and vegetable markets, and specialty shops, Burlington is a great place to stroll around. Be sure to sample some Vermont delicacies like locally-made cheddar cheese or ice cream. You can arrange to take a boating cruise on the lake, where the kids can look for Champ, the Lake Champlain monster. Fishing tours are also popular.
At the southern end of the lake lies historic Fort Ticonderoga, a fort that played a pivotal role in the American Revolution and in the French and Indian War. This strategic site has been occupied for thousands of year. There is evidence that Native Americans have lived in this area since 8000 BC, more than 6,000 years before Samuel de Champlain explored and charted the region. You can take a tour of the fort, stroll through the King’s Garden, and watch a re-enactment of one of the fort’s great battles. The fort offers special children’s activities and events in July and August, and family programs all year long.
West of the lake, the charming town of Lake Placid has a great history in sports. Lake Placid was the site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. With its amazing natural beauty and sporting facilities, this is a great place to play in any season. The nearby Adirondack Park offers more than 200 miles of trails, rushing rivers for white-water rafting, and coves and bays for canoeing, kayaking, boating, and fishing. Winter sports abound at nearby Whiteface, Algonquin, and Marcy Mountains. Take your pick from downhill skiing and ski jumping to luge, bobsledding, and ice skating. The town also has terrific dining, shopping, and family entertainment.
Farther north along the lake, you’ll find the yawning natural cavern of Ausable Chasm, a geologic wonder in the heart of a primeval forest. With natural stone walkways leading visitors down into the chasm, it’s no wonder that more than 10 million visitors have flocked here. You can hike to Rainbow Falls, view the Elephant’s head, see Column Rock, or explore Hyde’s Cave and Mystic Gorge. Guests enjoy rafting and inner tubing down the Ausable River, admiring views of the canyon up above. Don’t miss the chance to do the Rim Walk, taking in the views, or to pan for gemstones. This is a great way to get to know the Adirondack Mountains, an area known as the “Home of the High Peaks.”
- Category: Hot Spots
Chicago is famous for a number of things—its baseball teams, the Magnificent Mile, the windy weather—but for some, the only fame that matters is that of its hot dogs. Chicago has its own unique hot dog style, serving up all-beef hot dogs on poppy seed buns, topped with mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish, dill pickle, tomato, peppers, and celery salt. Chicago dogs never include ketchup (many vendors in the windy city don’t even stock ketchup). Some say Chicago hot dogs have been “dragged through the garden” because of the variety of condiments. .
You’ll find terrific dogs all over the city, but you can start your feasting tour at Hot Doug’s, Portillo’s, Superdawg Drive In, Harry’s, Byron’s, or Johnny Rockets. Head to a Cubs or White Sox game and enjoy a hot dog the old-fashioned way, served by a vendor right at your seat. Afterward, you can take in the Chicago Baseball Museum or visit the Navy Pier with its 150-foot Ferris wheel, boardwalk, and restaurants. The kids can enjoy a trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo or to Millennium Park with its ice-skating rink, giant sculptures, and the splashing, playful Crown Fountain.
For a spectacular, bird’s eye view of the city, ride up to the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower and stroll along the skydeck. You’ll have great views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago lakeshore. Then head back down to ground level and take a stroll along the lakeshore, walking or biking along the 29 miles of paved trail. Chicago is an avid sports town, so this is also a great place to see championship teams like the NFL Bears or the NBA Chicago Bulls.
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The nation’s capital is so jam-packed with attractions; it’s hardly a site that can be covered in a few days. With so many outstanding museums, cultural centers, and political destinations to visit – not to mention outstanding side trips into Maryland and Virginia – you’ll want to take at least a week to experience it all. Whether you’re after a sumptuous dining experience, a political celebrity sighting, or a tour of the White House, you’ll find it in beautiful Washington, D.C..
Start your trip to the District of Columbia by heading for the major highlights of this historic city. Visiting popular attractions like the gleaming Washington Monument with its reflection pool and milling crowds will help you get your bearings in the city. Take time to visit the awe-inspiring Lincoln Memorial, the territory, honing in on the sites that have strong relevance for you.
You may want to take a tour of the White House, admiring rooms that were decorated by Jackie Kennedy and taking in the presidential portraits and the famous rose garden. Georgetown University, with its stunning architecture and student spirit, is a fun place to visit for a campus tour or a picnic lunch.
And of course Washington, D.C. is known for its museums. You’ll have plenty to choose from, starting with the eighteen museums and nine research centers of the Smithsonian Institution. Pay a visit to the National Portrait Gallery, the National Air and Space Museum, and the incredible National Museum of American History. After all this history and art, the kids will love a stop to see the animals at the National Zoo.
If you have a few days left in your visit, consider a day trip into Virginia. This gorgeous state is home to sites like Arlington National Cemetery and Prince William Forest Park, a great place to enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing, bird watching, and wildlife viewing. You can pay a visit to the Manassas National Battle Park, site of the first and second battles of Bull Run, or make a longer trip to the famous Fredericksburg Battlefield or the Stratford Hall Plantation, birthplace of General Robert E. Lee.
Maryland, with its crab cakes and gardens, is another terrific family destination. The state capital, Annapolis, is home to the historic United States Naval Academy. You can take a self-guided walking tour of nineteen historic campus attractions, following an audiotape recorded by Walter Cronkite.
To get into the great outdoors, head to Calvert Cliffs State Park for a day of hiking, birding, beach combing, and fossil hunting. You’ll find more excellent bird watching in the wetlands at the Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary, home of the rare albino turtle. If you’re ready for even closer under-water action, head to Baltimore for a day at the outstanding National Aquarium.
You’ll find plenty of special events going on in the Washington, D.C. area, from the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and National Cherry Blossom Festival to the Washington, DC International Film Festival and Smithsonian Folklife Festival. And of course the capital city puts on a special show for all-American holidays like the Fourth of July. You won’t want to miss the fireworks on the National Mall, patriotic concerts at the National Cathedral, and more music in the evenings on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. From parades to special events at the National Archives, this is a fabulous place to spend the grand old Fourth.
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Natural beauty abounds in Burlington, a quiet college town that has plenty going on. Among other delights, it’s a terrific place to come for ice cream! This home of Ben & Jerry’s specialty ice cream is famous for dairy products of all kinds, from cheese and cream to flavored milk. But ice cream reigns supreme in Burlington, where Ben and Jerry opened their first ice cream shop in 1978 at the corner of St. Paul and College Streets. Today Ben & Jerry’s is a world-wide phenomenon, known for its unique flavors like Phish Food, Cherry Garcia, and Chunky Monkey..
When you visit, be sure to take in a Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour, so you can learn all about ice-cream making and sample new flavors and products. If you visit in the summer, check the dates for the annual One World One Heart Festival, put on by Ben & Jerry’s, and the Vermont Maple Festival. You’ll go home with plenty of real maple syrup and candies to share as gifts all year long.
While you lick your ice cream cone, you can explore the area around Burlington. Set on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, Burlington is nestled between the Adirondack and Green Mountains, giving the town lovely views in all directions. You can visit the Burlington Coat Factory, head along the Lake Champlain Birding Trail, or enjoy the lovely restaurants and shops. Burlington is known as Vermont’s Queen City, in part because of its historic architecture, fountains, and brick-paved town center.
A number of events keeps Burlington’s social calendar lively. You can take in the annual First Night Celebration, visit in March for the Magic Hat Mardi Gras Parade, or come in summer for the Chew Chew Fest: A Celebration of Local Farming and Fresh Food. Later in the summer months, take in the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival and the annual Marketplace Sidewalk Sale.
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Islands, hamlets, and the incomparable Acadia National Park make this region a treasure for campers. Head to Maine’s “Down East” area and wander the rocky and sandy beaches, touring the islands, mountains, and lakes. You can shop for antiques in the coastal villages or take a ferry to a scenic island. This area is known for its amazing wildlife, so don’t forget to watch for moose, foxes, beavers, and shorebirds like puffins, eiders, gulls, and terns.
Begin your visit by setting out on Highway 1, a route that traces the coastline of Penobscot Bay. The Highway is easily accessible from Portland or from Interstate 95 cities like Augusta and Bangor. You’ll trace along the craggy outcroppings that Maine is so famous for, admiring views of rocky islands in the distance. Head north through Rockport, Belfast, and Bucksport to beautiful Bar Harbor, a town that sits adjacent to Acadia National Park.
In the 19th century, picturesque Bar Harbor was new England’s premier summer resort destination. It was home to Millionaires’ Row, a line of opulent summer estates that belonged to America’s most powerful families: the Rockefellers, the Fords, Vanderbilts, Carnegies, Astors, and Morgans. With its stunning fall foliage and charming old-fashioned inns, Bar Harbor is a popular romantic get-away spot. Take a stroll through town and admire the remarkable architecture of these historic buildings.
Bar Harbor has plenty of family activities, from the oceanarium and zoo to the family nature camp. You can take in a lumberjack show or head to the newly-expanded Abbe Museum to admire artifacts from the Wabenaki Indians. The town features of a number of top-notch boutiques and galleries that showcase works by Maine artists and sculptors.
The Bar Harbor area is also known for its great outdoors activities. Aside from hiking the Mount Desert Island forests, you can head to the Holbrook Island Sanctuary on Penobscot Bay for a day of fishing, bird watching, beach combing, and cross-country skiing in the winter. Throughout the area you’ll find places to go snow-shoeing and skiing in the snowy months or horseback riding and rock climbing in the spring and summer.
Just south of Bar Harbor lies Acadia National Park, home to 1,532-foot Mount Cadillac. The summit of this peak is the first part of the United States to greet the sun each day. That’s a fitting theme for Acadia National Park, since special views abound here. You can hike the sea cliffs, taking in the mountains, lakes, and islands, or take the scenic auto loop. 125 miles of trails in the park are closed to cars, making them perfect for walks and hikes. The park also offers rock climbing, sailing, and canoeing.
Farther northeast on Highway 1 is the pretty town of Calais, a perfect place to escape the crowds. Calais lies just across the St. Croix River from new Brunswick, close enough for side trips to Nova Scotia highlights like Halifax, Moncton, and the Cape Breton Highlands Park. In the 1800s, Calais was a major shipping port for the U.S. Today it’s the home of historic sites like Whitlock’s Mill Lighthouse, the northernmost lighthouse in Maine. This lighthouse is still in operation, guiding ships in from Passamaquoddy Bay.
Calais has a charming waterfront and walkway to explore. Natural attractions abound in this area that boasts the greatest tidal change in the continental U.S. There are 40 lakes in the Calais area, a region that’s known as one of the best fly-fishing spots for land-locked salmon. You’ll find plenty of fishing camps, outfitters, and guide services in Calais. Not far away, the 23,000-acre Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to head for a day of wildlife viewing. Watch for moose, deer, bear, eagles, beaver, mink, goose, and woodcocks.
With its craggy coast, lively tidepools, and dramatic views, Maine truly has something for everyone. So pack your hiking boots, your camera, and your fishing pole and come to Arcadia! You’ll go home with a knapsack full of great memories.
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Just thirty miles north of San Francisco off Highway 1 is a magnificent stretch of natural wilderness. The 70,000-acre Point Reyes National Seashore offers breathtaking ocean views, miles of natural coastline, and plenty of wilderness and wildlife. With 150 miles of hiking trails, you’ll never run out of terrain to explore at Point Reyes..
Picture yourself riding your mountain bike (or horse) through pastoral grasslands to the Inverness Ridge or the Bear Valley Visitor’s Center, getting the lay of the land and forming a plan for your visit. You’ll find plenty of scenic drives and trails to stroll along, but you'll also encounter dairy cows and a thriving dairy industry situated on NPS land. As a matter of fact the Bear Valley visitor center used to be the “W” or Bear Valley Ranch and was then designated as the new National Seashore’s headquarters. There are six working dairies and cattle ranches operating in the park. Some of the best cheese in the country and maybe the world comes from this area. Stop in at Cowgirl Creamery for delicious artesian cheeses and take home an unusual souvenir.
Many visitors enjoy taking a whale watching trip off the coast. Between January and April, visitors flock to the Point Reyes headlands to look for migrating gray whales and seabirds. Gray whales make one of the longest migrations in the world. Every year, they travel over 10,000 miles from the cold feeding waters of Alaska to the warmer seas of Baja and Southern California. In fact, a gray whales spends a third of its life migrating! Mid-January is the best time to see these giants of the ocean heading south to their traditional breeding grounds. Around mid-March, they’ll make the trek northward again. A little later in the season (April and May), mother whales and calves can be seen heading north at a slower pace, closer to shore.
You’ll also want to visit the grassland terrain of Bear Valley, home to kinglets, thrushes, hummingbirds, and owls, and the Limantour, a marsh, pond, and shore area that’s favored by wading birds and waterfowl. At the Bolinas Lagoon, pelicans, cormorants, kingfishers, and other waterfowl flock to the rookeries. Five Brooks Pond is where you’ll see green-backed herons, mergansers, and grebes. Ducks and raptors like the terrain of Abbotts Lagoon, and long-eared and great-horned owls nest along the Estero Trail.
Point Reyes is known for the marine wildlife that relies on the safety of the seashore for resting and mating. While you’re there, watch for Elephant Seals, sea lions, and several species of seals. In fact, every year, 7,000 harbor seals (20% of the California breeding population) haul out at Point Reyes.
Other wildlife are attracted to the abundance of Point Reyes. Tomales Point and the Elephant Seal Overlook are great places to watch for the resident tule elk ranging on the grasslands below. Nearly forty species of mammals, including bobcats, mountain beavers, deer, and long-tailed weasels, reside in the park.
With all its natural beauty and abundant wildlife, Point Reyes is an amazing place to explore. You can take a kayak trip around the coves and shallows, discover the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, or take your time getting to know this amazing piece of coastline.
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Nothing beats a day in the snow with your dog. Watching that bounding ball of joy hop through the snow banks puts all the fun back into winter. But how do you know when the cold is too cold? Frostbite and hypothermia are nothing to sneeze at in pets or humans so it's important to know the warning signs and be prepared.
The most important thing you can do to protect your dog or cat is to know your pet. Pay attention to your dog. Watch your cat when she's out in the winter to see if she shivers and when ñ on days you would call cool? Cold? Freezing? Or maybe just shady? Knowing how your pet, with its distinctive coat, manages the cold, will help you be better able to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.
Dog and cat coats are like the coats we wear in many ways. They both trap body heat close to the skin. Since the air we breathe is usually so much cooler than our 98.6-degree body temperature, this layer of extra-warm air right next to the body is critical to keeping our internal heat up. This is why dressing in layers is so important, and it also explains why thick, breathable garments like sweaters work so well.
When a dog or cat starts to get cold, its hairs stand up, almost on end. In the same way that we get goose-bumps on our skin, dog and cat skin reacts by stiffening the hairs to thicken the coat.
If the animal's core temperature continues to fall, it will start shivering involuntarily, just like we do when we're cold. Our bodies shiver by reflex in an attempt to heat us up and raise that core temperature. If an animal keeps getting colder still, even after it starts to shiver, the body could restrict blood flow to the extremities (ear tips, face, tail, feet, etc.) in an effort to keep warm blood in the core organs. When this happens, frostbite sets in - tissues freezes and then damage to skin can occur. Many animals with frostbite also suffer from hypothermia.
Any pet that's outdoors in bitterly cold or sub-zero temperatures could develop hypothermia, a condition that can lead to shock, loss of consciousness, and even death. Symptoms include unresponsiveness, a blue tinge to the skin, and ice or snow on the extremities.
To prevent these conditions, it's important again to know your pet. Is your dog a big, hairy beast that can loll in the snow for hours without one sign of discomfort? Or do you have a small, short-haired dog that shivers on a cloudy day? A temperature-sensitive dog would surely appreciate a coat or parka and maybe even foot-gear in the height of winter, to ward off shivers. Dogs with thick coats are often able to play in the snow and ice without ever suffering from the cold. As we've seen, the key is to watch for shivering, the first sign that the animal's body temperature is too low and that it needs to be taken inside or warmed up right away.
If you think your pet has frostbite or hypothermia, call a veterinarian right away. In the case of frostbite, do not rub snow on your pet. Instead, get your pet inside right away. Once inside, get a bowl of warm water to soak the affected paw or ear in. Wrap your dog in a blanket and try to keep it warm and calm - it can be painful as the skin warms up. Avoid rubbing or touching the frost-bitten area.
The reaction to hypothermia is essentially the same ñ keep your pet as warm and dry as possible and call your veterinarian. In addition to wrapping the dog in blankets, you might heat a massage bag or a ziplock full of raw rice in the microwave, wrap it in a towel, and place it next to your pet. Be careful not to put anything too warm on a dog or cat's skin, in their exhausted state, they might not react and could end up with burns.
Once you have these heating devices in place, get your pet to a veterinarian. Since it's also important not to overheat an animal, it's vital that you see a professional who has the tools to monitor your pet's temperature.Looking for more information and other great articles about camping with pets? Visit PetCamping.com
- Category: Fur Kids
Hit the Road and Camp America!
Hit the Road -
Ready to answer the call of the open road? Then you've come to the right place. Here you'll find great ideas for finding the best camping and RVing road trips. We'll show you which routes to take, which exits have a "don't miss attraction and profile great campgrounds along the way. So grab your gear, pack the car or the RV and get ready to hit the road.
Camp Cuisine - Camping Recipes
Inspire your inner camp chef with recipes for camping trips. It doesn’t matter if it’s shared around a campfire, cooked in your RV's gourmet kitchen, or take-out from the local deli, food just tastes better on a camping vacation!
Find and share more great camping recipes at CampingCafe.com
RV Road Trips
Join Steve and Sally as they pack their bags and hit the open road to live their camping dreams. They’ve chosen their top 100 camping destinations and have set out to make their camping dreams a reality. Come along as they camp across the country. Share the journey.
Camping Hot Spots
Find great places to camp and gain insights into activities to make the most of the top camping hot spots. Get the scoop on where to go next. Discover destinations that offer unique opportunities for you to experience the great outdoors through recreation activities, wildlife viewing, and unforgettable vistas.
Find those fun and funky “special” places across the country. Hit the road and discover all the odd roadside attractions that make getting there more than half the fun. Road tripping gives you an excuse to search out hidden gems along your route. Look inside for suggested trips and inspiration to plan your own camping gem journey.
Fur Kids -
Camping with Pets
Hiking the Appalachian Trail with your mastiff, Max, or RV'ing across the country with your poodle, Polly - we all love our pets and want to find ways to share our passion for camping with them. We'll share stories of camping pets and tips for keeping your pets safe, comfortable, and happy - on the road and in the outdoors.
Find more great information about camping and RVing with pets at PetCamping.com
Outdoor Sport Spotlight
Wild or mild outdoor sports and recreation are a passion of the camping.com editors. Here we profile different sports and outdoor recreation activities. We'll give you tips on getting started, tell you about the great places for outdoor sports and show you what gear you need to be comfortable in all conditions. So whether you're a seasoned outdoor sports enthusiast or a enthusiastic beginner we have tips and advice to make the most of your outdoor recreation passion.
Camping with kids can be very rewarding. Find ideas about teaching children to love and respect the outdoors and camping. Find ways to keep the kids busy on the way to cam, plus games and other fun ideas to keep kids stimulated and engaged while at camp. Keep kids safe outdoors and teach them wilderness skills.
Find more great ideas for camping with kids of all ages. Visit KidsCamping.com
New To Do
New To Do
Try something different. As the saying goes, Ïf you're not learning you're not living. Get out there and try something new! Never been fond of mud season? Learn to love it! Never took the time to learn your constellations? Well, now is the time! Get ideas for expanding your camping horizons.
You can never be too prepared for your camping trip. Look through and use our checklists to ensure that you have a safe and happy camping vacation! You never know what you might forget - that tool that you needed, or the proper gear to go on the most beautiful hike of your life - be prepared by planning ahead!
Every camper has his or her own style. For some, the perfect camping trip means strapping on a backpack and heading for the backcountry. For others, it’s a way to spend time with family and friends in a natural surrounding away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. For others, it is a way of life – camping full time in an RV. Many people camp to be close to recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, water sports, and ATVing. Find your camp style.
- Top Picks
Get in shape for your camping adventure. Whether your camping vacation involves a wilderness hike, a month on the road in your RV, or just a family camping road trip, get fitness advice to get and stay in shape. Being fit and healthy makes camping and outdoor activities more enjoyable. Get tips for making fitness fun.
Camping Gear Guides
Confused about wicking? Baffled by sleeping bag ratings? We’ll help you wade through the techno speak of high performance camping and outdoor gear. Having the perfect camp clothes makes camping and participating in outdoor sports fun and comfortable no matter what Mother Nature dishes out.
Snap Shots - Outdoor Photography Tips
Find tips for taking great camping and travel photos. Capture your precious camping memories and learn to take perfect family portraits, amazing wildlife photos, and awesome landscape pictures. You'll be transported back to your favorite camping trip ever time you share your photos.