Girl Camper: Episode 116 Top Picks from 2017

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On this week’s show I am exercising that end of the year nostalgia and sentimentality and reviewing my favorite campgrounds and spots of my 2017 travels. This year I spent over 60 nights in my trailer, traveled over 10K miles and stayed in more than thirty different campgrounds. Along the way there were highs and lows and today I am sharing the highs along with some moments that I will savor for a long time after the year has passed.

FAVORITE CAMPGROUNDS OF 2017

A side stop near the Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park

One of my favorite campgrounds I visited this year was the one at Custer State Park. I stayed at the Blue Bell Campground there but it was not just the campground but the whole park that I loved.  I vowed to visit again and stay in one of the five beautiful lodges they have at the beautiful state park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. They have one lodge that is open during the winter and the park can be used for snow shoeing, cross country skiing and the wildlife loops are open to see the animals in winter.

Blue Bell Campground at Custer State Park

Sandy Pines Campground in Kennebunkport, Maine is a new campground that was founded by former hoteliers who applied their customer centered hospitality to the campground business. Every inch of the campground is manicured and pristine. The glamping tents are in an enclave that feels like it’s iwn little canvas village. They have a communal fire pit which is lit by an employee each night. The RV sites are level and narrow but quite long. The bathrooms are all brand new and spotlessly clean. Sandy Pines is situated on the salt marshes and a short drive to the beach and town of Kennebunkport. I enjoyed my trip there so much I plan to make it an annual pilgrimage.

The glamping tents at Sandy Pines Campground

The Luray KOA Campground in Luray, Virginia is at the base of the Shenandoah National Park. It’s a quiet little campground with beautiful views, sweeping lawns and VIP sites with large concrete pads, stone fire pits and Adirondack chairs. I particularly enjoyed the ping pong table available on the lawn for guests.

The beautiful views at the Luray KOA made stargazing and sunsets so enjoyable.

FAVORITE PLACES OF 2017

Glacier National Parks Going to the Sun Road was my absolute favorite stop of the year. It’s long been on my list and although I could only spend a few days at Glacier I knew I wanted to make the drive that tops so many tourist lists of must see places. I wrote a blog about it for Go RVing.

Going To The Sun Road

The cowboy town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a quintessential tourist town without the tacky souvenir shops. Its situated around a town square park with arched entrances on all four corners constructed of elk antlers. Every tourist is compelled to stop and take their photo there.  A favorite stop is the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar where you can literally saddle up to the bar on bar stools with Western Cowboy saddles on them. The town is full of art galleries, restaurants and shops. I loved all the galleries and the Pendleton Shop. In addition to being a great town it is surrounded by the best fly fishing in Wyoming . It’s fifty miles from Teton National Park with river rafting, kayaking, hiking and mountain climbing.

The Jackson Hole Wyoming arches.

Mount Rushmore was a place I felt I had to at least stop at and hit tag.  I had no real burning desire to see it but couldn’t pass it up when I was so nearby. It turned out to be one of my favorite places. I went in the early evening when they put on a beautiful and patriotic evening lighting ceremony. I loved learning more about the men who are carved in stone but also about the construction of the monument.  At the end of the presentation the lights are ceremoniously lit to illuminate the trailblazers memorialized above and all of the tourists stood for the national anthem. After that the veterans in the audience were asked to stand and be acknowledged and thanked for their service. In the current political environment it felt good to be united in respect for those who served.

Mt. Rushmore

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