This summer, forget the country's most frequented RV parks, and treat you and your family to the adventure and wonder of these five "best-kept secrets" when it comes to places to take your RV. From coastal beaches to natural waterfalls, these alternative destinations garnering extremely high ratings by both loyal patrons and surprise encounters alike are sure to provide memories of the outdoors to last a lifetime.
Rifle Falls State Park (CO)
With dense, rich greenery surrounding an incredible 80-foot triple waterfall, this awe-inspiring environment of limestone caves and picturesque picnicking spots offers an ideal destination for weddings, special events, and impromptu day trips alike. With only 13 drive-in spots, the falls can be extremely busy during the summer - so planning trips for the autumn months or early spring may be key when it comes to the most serene and untainted outdoor experience possible. A number of popular RV destinations have been known to offer scenic waterfall views - but three, and at the height of a multistory building? Don't waste your precious vacation time visiting other locations when you can treat yourself to the ultimate falls experience at Rifle Falls State Park!
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In the Tatoosh Wilderness Area of Washington's Cowlitz Valley River District sits the comfortable, easy-going La Wis Wis Campground. Perfectly situated in Gifford Pinchot National Forest at the intersection of three different waterways, this popular long-stay camping location provides a refreshing escape from the everyday.
With close proximity to Mt. Rainier and easy access to Purcell Falls and Blue Hole trails, this locale proves itself more than fitting for travelers looking for scenic place to overnight, or for those searching for a good home base to explore the surrounding natural areas.
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Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (WI)
Nicknamed the "Jewels of Lake Superior," this chain of 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland off Wisconsin's northern coast provide an incomparable outdoor experience. Cruise the crystal tides of the bays, hike the numerous nature trails, or try catching salmon and trout in the local waters. Meet locals and other adventure-seeking families by joining a variety of guided activities, ranging from lighthouse tours to fishing camps and more. What's more: who said you had to be in tropical waters to get an amazing scuba-diving adventure? Between abandoned quarries, shipwrecks, and numerous cliffs and sea caves, opportunities for exploration never end on the Apostle Islands!
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Jetty Fishery (OR)
Family run for over thirty years, this adored coastal gem has been hailed as one of the best locales for fishing, crabbing, and all around coastline-loving family trips. Comfortably nestled on the waters of Nehalem Bay, this destination is only feet from tide pools, classic cabled docks, and just a 2 minute boat ride from the great Nehalem State Park beaches. Take a peacefully scenic stroll on the Peninsula to grab an ice cream cone at the classic coastal town of Manzanita. Rent a boat and fish your heart out, as the infamously friendly staff will be waiting for you upon your return with buckets of boiling water to steam your catch in. Between the abundance of Dungeness crab and both natural and cultural sights to see, this place could never disappoint a family looking for a seaside retreat full of both adventure and relaxation!
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Manatee Springs State Park (FL)
Did someone say manatees? Yep, we did, and this full-facility campground with a first magnitude natural spring is a retreat and relaxation hotspot for both these marine mammals and outdoor travel enthusiasts! As this spring is able to produce 100 million gallons of crystal clean water a year, on average, West Indian manatees are known to navigate upriver during the Winter months to the comfortable temperatures of this state park's waters, making them perfect swimming companions.
Embraced by a canopy of red oaks, the worn, historic route of the old Atlantic Coastline Railroad in Nature Coast State Trail and Fanning Springs State Park is directly accessible from Manatee Springs, as is the well-loved Fanning Springs State Park on the Suwannee River. Snorkel, scuba-dive, or bicycle around this beautiful natural spring- and when you're tired and hungry at the end of the day, there's a full service takeout BBQ joint considerately placed on the waterfront!
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