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Most Haunted Campgrounds in America, Part 2

Prepared to be scared if you spend a night in one of these campgrounds.

In case you missed it, or would like a refresher, check out more haunted campgrounds featured in the article we did last year.

Continuing with our annual tradition of finding the scariest and most haunted campgrounds to spend your Halloween (or any other time); our ghost-camp hunters have spent the last several months researching campgrounds that might give you the best chance of encountering an incorporeal being. Without further adieu, here's a few you may want to consider…if you dare.

Montgomery Bell State Park, Tennessee

Montgomery Bell State Park is our first stop along the haunted camp trail and is located in Dickinson County, Tennessee. The park includes 3,782 acres of spooky forests, lakes, meadows and 21 miles of trails to explore. The campground (also known as 4-Mile Creek Camp) has 111 campsites, most of which have electric hookups. The campground also has a laundry, flush toilets and hot showers.

Montgomery-Bell-State-Park-4-Mile-Creek Montgomery-Bell_1769-1855

Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of recreational activities and there are also some historic sites to check out including the site of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (built in 1810). Oh, and lets not forget about the 19th century cemetery that conveniently sites on a hill above 4-Mile Creek Camp.

Montgomery-Bell-State-Park-Cemetery

The cemetery is one of the locations in the park where some have experienced paranormal activity. On moonless nights, visitors have reported seeing ghosts and hearing disembodied voices among the trees surrounding the graves. However, the cemetery is not the main (ghost) attraction at the Park. Rather, it's the wildlife - as in the "Wild Men of Borneo".

The story starts in 1856, when a circus train passing through the area jumped the tracks. Fortunately none of the people or animals were injured, but several of the circus animals did escape into the forest of what is now part of Montgomery Bell State Park. Over the next several days the handlers were able to capture all of the animals except two – billed as the "Wild Men of Borneo". Expert trackers were brought in to help find the Wild Men, but it seemed as if they had disappeared into thin air.

Montgomery-Bell_054

Several days later people began hearing strange howls during the night. As time passed, they also started losing livestock. Some went missing and others were found brutally killed and dismembered. The locals feared they might have a Werewolf on their hands so they called in another professional hunter. The hunter did manage to shoot a large wolf like animal, but it escaped into the forest without a trace.

Today, campers and visitors report hearing howling and primordial screams during the night around the area of Werewolf Springs (also known as Hall Springs). Others have seen large bear-like footprints in the area. You can access the area via a trailhead starting at the end of Halls Cemetery road. There is a path leading from the cemetery into the woods and toward Werewolf Springs. The springs are said to have other mystical powers and may also been one of the hangouts of the infamous Bell Witch (of which the Blair Witch Project was loosely based).

Keep in mind that it is always a good thing to hike with a partner, especially at night in a haunted forest. Local police have documented dozens of mysterious disappearances in the area, as well as finding over 20 mutilated human carcasses and over 500 animal carcasses. It might be best to hike to the springs during the day. The last thing you want to have happen during your camping trip is end up as a human carcass.

Anza Borrego State Park, California

Anza Borrego State Park has been described as the jewel of the California State Park system and it also may be one with the most paranormal activity.

Anza-Borrego-State-Park-View

Even before it was a state park, Anza Borrego was known for things that go bump in the camp. Mysterious "ghost lights" were first reported in the mid 1800s by Butterfield Stage drivers. Over the years the ghost lights have been spotted by prospectors, soldiers, explorers and modern-day visitors. Most of the recent activity seems to occur near Oriflamme Mountain. Fireballs or orbs have also been spotted near Grapevine Canyon at the entrance to the Narrows.

Scientists have attempted to determine an explanation for the ghost or "phantom lights", with some suggesting they may be caused by blowing sand striking quartz outcroppings, creating static electricity or sparks during the night. Others believe they are the departed souls of the Kumeyaay people.

The ghost or phantom lights of Anza Borrego are pale in comparison to the hauntings at and near a county campground located in the park. The Vallecito County Park Campground may just be one of the most haunted campgrounds in the California.

Vallecito-County-Park-Campsite_011

Vallecito County Park includes 71 acres around the reconstruction of the historic Butterfield stage station. Vallecito ("little valley", as the Spanish name is translated) has been used as a campsite for a hundred years, beginning with the native Kumeyaay people. Explorers and prospectors have also used the oasis as a water source and campsite. Today, there are 41 campsites located around the Butterfield stage station and cemetery. That's right, there's an old cemetery located smack dab in the middle of the Vallecito campground. Campsites 14 and 15 are closest to the cemetery and offer prime locations for listening to the ghost whispers that many have heard over the years.

Vallecito-County-Park-Cemetery

The "Lady in White" has also been known to make an appearance now and then. The young lady first arrived (in the flesh) in the 1850s while traveling on a Butterfield stagecoach heading west to meet up with her future husband in Sacramento. Unfortunately the journey was hard on her and her frail condition was no match for the harsh desert environment. She was helped from the stage to a back bedroom of the station but didn't last the night.

The next morning her baggage was examined and a new white wedding dress was found. She was dressed in this and buried in the small Campo Santo (Spanish for cemetery) a few hundred feet from the station. Her spirit does not rest though and has been seen walking about the station, apparently waiting for the next stagecoach to take her to Sacramento.

Vallecito-Stagecoach-Station

Campers have heard footsteps, a woman crying and seen a ghostly apparition of a woman in a white dress. The activity seems to be more prominent during windy nights when the moon is mostly full. Campsites 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are closest to the station and offer the best chance of hearing or seeing her from your campfire chair. Take care to keep your campfire low because she apparently doesn't like large campfires. More than a few campers have sworn that an unseen hand poked, tugged or grabbed their shoulders as they sat around their roaring campfire.

If you don't happen to see the Lady in White, you may chance upon seeing a ghost of a white horse, as well as a phantom stage passing through the Carrizo Wash near the mud ruins of the original stagecoach station. Both the ghost horse and phantom stage are related to a robbery that occurred here.

In the 1860s, a stage from El Paso was headed for San Diego with a payroll of coins estimated at the time to be worth $65,000. The stage had no passengers, but did have a driver and one guard. Some reports say that the guard fell ill in Yuma, leaving only the driver to continue on to San Diego. Unfortunately, before the driver could reach his destination, the stage was held up by bandits in Carrizo Wash. The driver was shot during the robbery and the bandits hid the coins somewhere in the vicinity. After hiding their loot, the bandits made their way to the Vallecito stage station to resupply and have a few drinks. Soon the bandits began arguing and one of the robbers left saying he was going to check on his mount. A short time later he busted through the doors of the station on his large white horse, guns blazing and shot the other bandits. Before he could ride away, one of the bandits managed to fire off a few rounds killing the horse and rider.

Butterfield-Stagecoach

Although rare, campers have reported hearing the phantom stage in the dead of night in the nearby Carrizo Wash. Others have said they've actually seen the phantom stage with a lone driver slumped over as a team of mules pull it through the wash. The spirit of the white horse has also been seen, appearing from nowhere, galloping through the sand and disappearing without a trace.

Lake Morena County Park Campground, California

About 42 miles east of San Diego and close to the Mexican border, Lake Morena County Park & Campground has been a hotbed of ghostly activity.

The park is located southwest of the Laguna Mountains and includes 3,250 acres of chaparral, oak woods and grassland. The campground has approximately 86 mixed-used campsites for RVs, trailers and tents. There are also walk/bike-in sites; a youth group camp and cabins available for rent. Outdoor recreation includes fishing and boating in the reservoir, hiking and wildlife watching.

Lake-Morena-County-Park-Campsite_037

In addition to viewing some wildlife, you may also experience an honest to goodness apparition. One of the hauntings is none other than a young lady in a white dress. Not sure if she's the same one that haunts the stage station at Vallecito, but she does seem to get around.

Your best chances of seeing her is in the wooded area across from the campsites. On a warm summer night this July a man ventured over to the trees to do his business and upon looking up he saw a ghostly figure of a lady in white staring back at him. This gave him quite a fright and he quickly turned away to skip on back to the campground. Before he got too far he glanced back and she had vanished, but he could still feel her presence. Other campers who have visited the woods have felt a cold and eerie presence near some boulders that are close to the trees. On other occasions, campers have heard footsteps around their tents, as well as the voice of a woman laughing and singing. Photos have captured strange orbs floating through the campground.

Perhaps the creepiest paranormal activity at Lake Morena County Park is the often-reported sightings of levitating bodies. These floating ghosts are mostly seen in groups and about 10 feet above the ground. Usually they are seen at night, but some people have seen ghostly bodies levitating during the early morning hours just after sunrise. A possible explanation may be related to when San Diego hired conman Charles Hatfield to produce rain in order too fill up the Morena Reservoir in 1916. Coincidentally, epic storms did hit the area and filled up the reservoir, but they also caused a devastating flood.

Lake-Morena-View

The flood killed more than 50 people in the area, many of whom were never found and presumed to have sunk to the bottom of the murky reservoir. It seems the levitating ghosts have been seen more often this year – perhaps coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of the tragedy.

Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina

Hunting Island State Park is South Carolina's most visited State Park and for good reason. The 5,000 acres include a beautiful coastal ecosystem with white sandy beaches, marshes, a wildlife preserve and many outdoor recreational activities to enjoy. The campground is located at the northern end of the park near the ocean. It is first rate and has 171 campsites, each with water and electrical hookups. Cabins, tent camping and group campsites are also available.

It is also home to a haunted lighthouse that was built in 1873. The lighthouse has been featured in paranormal investigation shows over the years and they usually have captured some pretty compelling evidence of hauntings. Many other visitors to the lighthouse have seen apparitions, and heard ghostly voices.

Hunting-Island-Lighthouse

Several stories surround the Hunting Island lighthouse. One tells of a lighthouse keeper who failed to save a drowning boy, and in his grief, still walks the beaches a hundred years later searching the water for the boy's cries. Another says a lighthouse keeper's daughter (she was not dressed in white) threw herself from the lighthouse, and her moans can be heard coming from the spiral staircase that climbs the spire.

The campground is not void of ghostly encounters either. More than a few campers have experienced high-strangeness like loud bangs or knocks on their RVs in the middle of the night. Others have reported seeing orbs floating in the woods, heavy footsteps around their tents and hearing disembodied singing. Ghostly figures have also been known to haunt some of the old rental cabins.

Hunting-Island-State-Park-Trail

If you're up for a good scare, give Hunting Island State Park a try. Just don't get fooled by all those pesky raccoons that like to prowl the campground during the night.

China Camp State Park, California

China Camp State Park is located in a very quiet and scenic spot along the shores of San Francisco Bay. It was once home to the Miwok people before it became a small fishing village and outpost of the Bay Area's Chinese immigrant population in the mid 1800s. In its heyday, there were more than 500 people living there, a few general stores, a post office and many homes.

Today, the Park seems to offer the perfect setting for a scary movie. There's a ghost town, creepy trails through forests, a campground set in a wooded area along a creek and a spooky old guy that's been seen walking on the trails in the middle of the night. The weather often adds to the spooky factor with fog and drizzle.

China-Camp-State-Park-Historic-Area-2

But don't let the peaceful and idyllic setting lull you to sleep because this place is very haunted. Many campers and daytime visitors who hike and bike at the Park report an overwhelming feeling of dread and being watched by unseen entities. The feeling is especially prevalent up by the radio towers closer to Glenwood. There are also plenty of other ghost-encounters throughout the park including seeing demonic-like beings in the woods and misty apparitions by the old buildings. Campers have also heard disembodied voices and screams echoing through the hills during the night.

China-Camp-State-Park_019

The hauntings could be traced to a number of sources including cult murders in 1975 (the "barbecue murders") with the victims bodies being burned in a campfire at China Camp, Chinese immigrants killed in a racially fueled fight in 1956, and the hundreds of Miwok who died from disease…just to name a few.

And if you happen to be on an evening stroll and see an old man (some of said he looks Chinese, others have described him as being a Native American) walking by himself along the Gold Hill Fire Road, it might be best to keep any friendly how-de-dos to yourself. I'm just saying…

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Happy Halloween and Happy Camping!

Regards, Park Ranger

Camping with ticks? No thanks! We're off to New Mexico!

We bailed out. Skedaddled. Vamoosed.

Through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The heat and humidity were bad, but even worse were the ticks.

A relatively mild winter combined with a wet spring brought out the ticks in groves.

Now don't get me wrong. The midwest does have some positives, one being that they are at the forefront in the technology race.

True.

At one campground I discovered they offered a nifty way to make a phone call from inside your own vehicle. Crazy, huh? Check it out.

Hi-Tech

You simply park next to the phone, stretch out your arm, grab the handset and make a call. Hopefully you don't drop any quarters...

Anyway, we decided to take a break in New Mexico and let the dry air heal our tick bites.

New Mexico offers an annual state park camping pass for $225 for non residents, about the cost of a week at a California state park.

Just over the Oklahoma border is Clayton Lake.

Clayton-Lake-Sign Clayton-Lake-View Clayton-1

Freddy approved.

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The park offers both standard and electric sites. We liked site 6 in Cove Loop for the former and site 7 in North Point for the latter.

Clayton-Lake-Cove-Loop_006 Clayton-Lake-Electric-Loop_007

We only stayed one night, but that was plenty of time to whip up a batch of tasty burritos using locally produced salsa and tortillas. The beef might have been local as well for all I know.

Burritos-1 Burritos-2

Having them ready to just heat up greatly reduces cleanup time after each meal.

Burritos-3

From there we bounded northwest to Sugarite Canyon near Raton and the Colorado border.

Sugarite-Sign

There are two campgrounds here, Lake Alice and Soda Pocket.

Lake-Alice-Sign Lake-Alice-View

Lake Alice offers electrical hookups but is near the road. Site 3 is a typical example.

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Soda Pocket is up a two mile well graded dirt road.

Soda-Pocket-Sign Sugarite-3 Soda-Pocket-View

We stayed in site 1, my favorite.

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Plenty of room to toss a tennis ball for Freddy.

Currently there is no water here but it is available at Lake Alice. Several hiking trails leave the campground towards Lake Maloya which stradles the NM/CO border.

Lake-Maloya-View Sugarite-1 Sugarite-2

100 miles southwest near the town of Las Vegas is Storrie Lake.

Storrie-Lake-Sign

That is Las Vegas New Mexico for the geographically challenged.

There are plenty of sites like number 12 that offer a shade shelter, some with electricity.

Storrie-Lake_012

But if you get lucky, like we did, you can nab one of four spots in the Gallinas River loop.

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They offer three sided stone shelters and a full bathroom with showers along with electricity. We are still here, charging up batteries before heading out tomorrow.

New Mexico charges very reasonable daily rates for it's campgrounds.

$10 for a standard site, $14 for power, $18 for power and sewer. Subtract $10 if you have an annual pass.

Then there are primitive sites for $8. Usually an open area and a short walk to the poopers.

Freddy pointed out how popular these were over Father's Day weekend.

Storrie-4

You can literally put your wheels in the water.

Storrie-2

The folks on the far left did just that.

We left Storrie Lake and headed north to Cimarron Canyon State Park, my favorite in New Mexico during the summer.

Cimarron-Sign

It is about 40 miles east of Taos along US 64. The elevation and location keep the temperatures down, a welcome respite from the 90's we had been experiencing.

There are four campgrounds in the park located alongside a nifty trout filled river, but only Maverick has a lake as well.

Some of the reservable sites are right on the shore, like numbers 36, 37, and 39.

Cimarron-Canyon-Maverick_036 Cimarron-Canyon-Maverick_037 Cimarron-Canyon-Maverick_039

We ended up staying for two weeks, leaving the 5th of July.

Regards and happy camping, Park Ranger

CampsitePhotos.com Photographer Photographs Huge Fireball Over Eastern Sierra

On Wednesday night (July 27th), while camping at Tuttle Creek Campground in the Eastern Sierra, Greg was able to get some really great photos of the huge fireball that lite up the night sky. Officials are pretty sure it was a Chinese rocket that was breaking up and re-entering the atmosphere. Way to go Greg!

Missile-1 Missile-2 Missile-3 Missile-4 Tuttle-Creek-Campsite

Regards, Park Ranger

The Great Mystery Campfire Challenge Solved!

Mystery-Campfire-Solved

Congratulations Greg M. – you've won a $100 Cabela's Gift Card!

The campfire shown in this photo is an example of a Dakota Fire Hole. It dates back to ancient times and was used as a way to provide warmth without attracting others to the fire's location because it produced very little smoke.

Thank you to all who participated in our campfire challenge!

Regards, Park Ranger

The Great Mystery Campfire Challenge!

Do you know what type of campfire (pictured below) this is called?

If so, go to http://www.campsitephotos.com/contact and send us your answer. If you answer correctly, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 Cabela's gift card! One winner will be chosen and notified on July 13! We'll also let you know the answer on that date. Oh – and please don't post your answer below in the comments or on Facebook. Good luck!

Mystery-Campfire Cabelas-Gift-Card

Regards, Park Ranger

Virginia's Goose Point Park - one of the best we've visited!

We headed across the border into Virginia. Into one of the best campgrounds I have ever visited.

Goose-Point-Sign

Goose Point is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The parkway is a dozen miles away. Within an hour or so are the cities of Roanoke and Richmond in Virginia and the cigarette cities in North Carolina.

The lake offers 4 campgrounds consisting of 3 COE spots and one state park, Fairystone.

Goose Point is the best of the bunch and site number 6 is the best one.

Guess where I stayed?

I don't normally make reservations in the off-season because I am cheap, but this was the week after Easter, and some schools were on spring break.

About a dozen of the sites here are right on the lake and I managed to snag one for Monday through Wednesday. The price is $25 which includes water and power. Sites 35 – 44 are dry sites for $20. The kicker is that there is NO RESERVATION FEE!

So just go ahead and make a reservation, otherwise you are only guaranteed one night in an empty site.

Freddy and I took a walk early Tuesday morning.

Goose-Point-View-1 Goose-Point-View-2

We found a path that led to a fishing pier and an amphitheater. It might be easier to understand by referencing a map.

Goose-Point-Map

If you look straight down from the "G" in Goose you can see the path.

Fun-Sign

Fishing, hiking, and friendly wi-fi.

Goose-Point-Trail Goose-Point-Fishing-Pier Goose-Point-Amphitheater

Walking back to our site we passed the boat ramp and dock.

Goose-Point-Boat-Ramp Goose-Point-Dock

Freddy checked out a boat.

Goose-Point-Boat

I need to get another canoe. Places like this are meant to be paddled.

Next to our campsite was the pavilion. You can barely see my trailer on the left. Below the pavilion is the beach.

Goose-Point-Pavilion Goose-Point-Beach

Turning 180 degrees gives you this view.

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Oh Yeah! Freddy approved of our spot.

My-Site-2 My-Site-3

OK, back to the campground itself. There are 63 sites broken up into 3 seperate loops.

Sites 1 – 34 are in the lower loop closest to the lake. Of those, 5 – 9 are on the south shore.

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On the east side of the point, sites 13, 15, 16, and 17 have lake views but are on a bank above the water.

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In the non-hookup loop we liked sites 37 and 39.

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In the upper loop, we prefered sites 45 and 47.

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We didn't want to leave this wonderful campground. But we had to as our site was reserved for the next week by some other lucky campers.

Go here if you have a chance. Bring a boat or canoe and some fishing poles. There is a grocery store and gas station just 6 miles away for supplies.

Regards and happy camping, Park Ranger

Attention campers! San Elijo State Beach campsite photos have all been updated!

In our ongoing effort to maintain current, high-quality campsite photos for all campgrounds, CampsitePhotos.com recently photographed all of the campsites at San Elijo State Beach. We even have a new photo of the "Cardiff Kook"! It doesn't get any better than that.

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We updated the San Elijo campground photos because of the many changes to the campsites. View the latest San Elijo State Beach campsite photos and see exactly what your campsite will look like!

San-Elijo-State-Beach_Cardiff-Kook

And check back later this summer for a special page dedicated to photos of the Cardiff Kook! CampsitePhotos.com fans will be able to post their own photos of the iconic mascot at California's best beach campground.

Regards, Park Ranger

Virginia's Audra State Park and Other Wonders

Before heading west on our 2016 campground tour, we stopped at a regional campground near the western border of Virginia called Natural Chimneys.

NT-Sign

Yes, those are jousting poles. The park is close to several annual renaissance fairs and you can practice your jousting skills on the track next to the campground.

The campsites themselves were a big letdown.

NT-Campsite

Just a pair of big fields with no privacy.

NT-Campground

The river offered up small trout to a couple of boys fishing.

NT-River

And then there were the namesake chimneys.

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If you look closely at the sketch below, drawn in 1871, you can see two ladies, one in the hole.

NT-Sign-2

Figuring that meant it was ok, Freddy and I went inside to check it out. Then a ranger stopped by.

"You can't be in there."

"There isn't any sign", I said

"See that fence? That is as close as you can go."

"I thought that fence was to keep the jousting horses out. And those other people went inside," I replied.

"What other people?"

"The ones in that sketch over there," I said.

He mumbled something about that being 145 years ago and made us get out.

So we walked around a bit more.

NT-4 NT-5

And then Freddy dragged me back in.

NT-6 NT-7 NT-8 NT-10

And then we left.

West Virginia comprises a big chunk of the Appalachian Mountains. We crossed over several of those on the way to our next campground. Nestled in the valleys between the hills (I say hills because the highest pass we crested was 3500 feet) are several locations that were scenes of fighting during the civil war.

Like German Valley.

German-Valley-1

Last Union Raid Sign

We stayed at a wonderful campground in the north-central part of the state.

Audra-Sign

The 67 sites include a handful with electric hookups and about a dozen right on the Middle Fork River, such as numbers 4, 6, 19, 22, and 29. Costs range from $20 to $26.

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Freddy liked site 29 because it had a high water beach.

RD-2 RD-3 RD-4

We were there in the first week of May with the river flow still high from all the rains. Come summer, the river calms down and is extremely popular for swimming and tubing.

Audra-View-2

We stayed in site 21, an electric spot next to the bathroom and store.

Audra-State-Park_021 Audra Bathroom and Laundry Audra-Store

They offer laundry facilities in the bathhouse so I put a load in. Apparently I was the first to do so since the campground opened in mid-april because my clothes came out, umm, muddy.

Near the day use area, below the bridge, is a swimming spot.

Flowers-2 Audra-View-1 Audra-Beach-Area

Sandy in the summer. Freddy showed off his ballerina pose.

Fast-Dog

There are several trails to explore.

Audra-Trail-Sign Audra-Trail

A wonderful campground, but it does have some animal issues. Turns out the local deer were having parties and then heading into the nearby town of Buckhannon to whoop it up with cows of questionable morals. Residents even called the police.

Loose-Cows

Park Rangers addressed the issue by banning the deer parties.

Deer-Sign

I was told that things have quieted down, but they are bringing in additional rangers for the summer to make sure campers are not bothered by the wildlife's wild life.

Regards and happy camping, Park Ranger

How To Find The Perfect RV Rental For Your First Camping Trip

Renting an RV might sound daunting for your first camping trip but it can honestly make your life so much easier.

For starters, think about how much time goes into packing for a camping trip. If you plan to visit several locations, you would have to go through that whole laborious process several times over whether you intended to stay in tents, cabins or even hotels. Take note: one of the most beautiful things about camping with an RV is that you only have to pack once.

Besides the time you save by packing only once, renting an RV means you also benefit from having all the comforts of home right there with you: food, toys, bikes, etc. You also won't have to be concerned about what you will be sleeping on or the quality of your pillows and bed linens. You won't have to worry about bed bugs or even bed mates! You will know exactly what your sleeping arrangements are from the outset!

Getting Started

So, where do you start? First of all, you should make a plan and include the following: How many people are traveling? Where do you plan to visit and how long will you be away for? These questions are important for selecting the right vehicle.

How much space do you need?

Just like when choosing a tent or a hotel room, the number of travelers is an important factor in deciding what size vehicle will be right for you. The general rule of thumb with camping is to choose a vehicle that sleeps more than your number of travelers because you will find matching like for like is a bit of a squeeze. So, for a family of four, you would be more comfortable in an RV that sleeps six or seven.

How many miles will you travel?

Besides sleeping, your family will want to explore. Knowing your travel itinerary at the outset is vital in determining your expected mileage. RV rental companies usually specify a daily mileage allowance that is included in the rental fee and charge per mile for any additional mileage. To budget accordingly, it is also helpful to assess your fuel costs at the outset. You will get the best mpg from trailers and small motor homes (up to 15 mpg). Class A and Class C motorhomes are not as fuel efficient, so presume 7-10 mpg when estimating fuel costs.

How big is your budget?

If you are on a tight budget, you may have to make some sacrifices. Comfort is important but the duration of your trip can help determine the size of vehicle you really need. In order to save a few dollars, it may be prudent to make do with a smaller vehicle for short trips. For longer trips, a bigger RV may be more appropriate so you would need to look for other ways to economize. For example, you could spend some nights in the parking lot of a big box store, or you could cook more and eat out less.

The food supplies you take with you can help you budget. Obviously, unless you're planning on driving through the desert, you will never be too far from a store. However, if you stock up on non-perishables at the outset, you won't be stung by sticker shock in some far-flung destination.

Choose from different types of RVs

Wherever you are in the country, renting an RV is easy Once you have made your plan, check out the different RVs available nationwide. Websites like RVshare.com make this process easy. Browse at your leisure and choose a vehicle from either a private owner or a dealership.

Class A motorhomes are available in a range of sizes and may be fueled by diesel or gas. They generally include large living spaces and quality fixtures and fittings.

1_Class-A-Motorhome_Atlatl-Campground_043

Class C motorhomes are medium-sized and are easily recognized by the sleeping area over the driver's cab. This design creates a more spacious living area. Although not as big as the Class A, the living quarters, kitchens and bathrooms are adequate. Depending on the make and model of your car, it is possible to tow a vehicle behind these motorhomes. This is a great idea for sightseeing once you reach your desired location. However, check with your car manufacturer before attempting this.

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Class B motorhomes are much smaller and the vehicle is more like a converted van. Passengers are able to stand up in a Class B motorhome but the facilities are much more compact. The kitchens are small and the bathrooms are designed as three-in-one facilities that include a toilet, a washbasin, and a shower. On the plus side, Class B motorhomes are easy to drive and park (removing the need to tow a car), and are much more fuel efficient than Class A or C.

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Opt for the best of both worlds

If you already have a fuel-efficient vehicle and prefer to retain the flexibility of having your own car without towing it, you may be more interested in a travel trailer, a truck camper or a fifth wheel. Travel trailers are non-motorized RVs that you tow behind your car. This kind of RV is available in a variety of sizes and designs and can include all the luxuries of a small condominium. To rent a truck camper, you need to have a truck because these RVs, that have all the required amenities, are quite literally loaded onto the back of a truck. A fifth wheel is a larger variation of a truck camper so you would also need a truck to rent one of these.

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Overall, renting an RV couldn't be simpler. Booking through a reputable company like RVshare.com gives you the added benefit of roadside assistance and 24-hr travel concierge. You also have peace of mind that you only pay for the time you use the RV and your booking is backed by a $10,000 guarantee. With thousands of RVs to choose from for as little as $100 per day, what are you waiting for it's time for you to go and find the perfect RV rental for your first camping trip.

Regards, Park Ranger

RiSE Lantern Festival Camping Guide

This years RiSE Lantern Festival is scheduled for October 7th and October 8th on the Moapa River Reservation 32 miles northeast of Las Vegas. If you've never been to one, it's something you should experience. Thousands attend the festival to light paper lanterns and send them (along with their wishes and dreams) into the Nevada sky at nightfall.

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The festival will also have live music from various local artists and over a dozen food vendors. Parking is available on site with the purchase of a $25 parking pass. Shuttles are also available from Paris Las Vegas for $39 per person.

Valley of Fire State Park

October is one of the best months to camp out in the Nevada desert and Valley of Fire State Park offers two spectacular campgrounds just 18 miles from the festival.

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Valley of Fire is the oldest and largest state park in Nevada and includes 45,000 acres, two campgrounds, a visitor center, historic sites, petrified trees and a variety of geological wonders. Outdoor activities include biking, hiking, star gazing, exploring the historic sites and wildlife viewing.

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Valley of Fire's two campgrounds (Atlatl Rock and Arch Rock) have 72 campsites equipped with shaded tables and grills. RV sites are available at Atlatl Rock campground with electric and water hookups. The campgrounds have restrooms (with flush toilets and showers) and an RV dump station. There are three group camping areas that can accommodate 45 campers, though parking is limited.

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Since camping is first-come, first-serve at Valley of Fire, you should try and secure a campsite a few days before the festival to improve your chances of getting a campsite throughout the festival. Click HERE to view photos of all Valley of Fire campsites and to learn more about the park. Visit the RiSE Festival website for more information about the festival and to purchase tickets.

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Regards, Park Ranger