Roaming: Where Shall We Go?


In the Midwest, we winterize and put our campers in storage for the long winter months. However, that does not mean we stop camping. More camping trips are planned and booked during the winter than you can ever imagine! Campgrounds open reservations any where from one year to six months in advance, so if you want the prime spots, you have to plan early.

Here at Roam With Friends we have been dreaming and planning trips since last fall. Over the next four weeks we are going to share with you some of our dream locations. This should provide some insight into how the four of us select travel destinations.  We would love it if you have any insight into the places on our list. Maybe you have been there before and have some insider tips.  Maybe you have a camping spot recommendation or local activities for us to try. We welcome the feedback!

So, I am kicking things off! Here are my top destination spots.

10. Tulip Festival in Pella, Iowa. Okay, so it is not elaborate or exotic. But there is something about tulips in the spring that just feeds my jaded and calloused soul.  I have wanted to visit here for some time and hope we can make that happen in the next year or so.

9. Ozark National Scenic Riverways: Last year we visited this area during our fishing trip to Montauk State Park and I fell in love with the beautiful Ozark Mountains and the crisp clear waters. I am adding it to my list because I hope to return for a float trip down the Current or the Jack’s Fork Rivers, or maybe both!

8. Memphis TennesseeThe birth place of rock and roll, the home of the blues, plus Elvis Presley, and BBQ. Who would not want to visit? Memphis is too far away to be a weekend trip, but, then I wonder, is there enough to hold our attention for  a longer visit?

7. Nashville, Tennessee I grew up on country music. True story: when I was a little girl I wanted to be Barbara  Mandrell, never mind that I can’t sing a lick. I want to go and immerse myself in the culture of Nashville.

6.Jackson, Wyoming I made a brief stop here in 2013 and just got a taste of the area. I would love to visit again and linger. When we were there in 2013 we encountered two Moose on the way into town. I found myself wondering if the people of Jackson still stop in awe any time their paths cross an Elk or a Moose. I think I would like to find out.

5.Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Campground Okay, another confession: if I love anything as much as I do my family and RV camping, it is Disney. My husband says I have used up all my Disney vacations for the rest of my life, but I think he is just a bully. (Just kidding honey!) I have yet to visit the park during their Christmas celebration so I am thinking a December trip. Has anyone out there been during that time? We also heard a lot of negative feedback about the camping when we were there the last time. Does anyone have anything positive? Can a Disney campground surpass the Disney Resort?

4. Dauphin Island, Alabama My boss took her family to Dauphin Island a year or so ago. I googled it and fell in love with the photos. We have not ever had an RV beach vacation but I think I am up for the challenge. I am not one to just sit and relax on a beach for a week, I will need activities. Any suggestions?

3.Great Smokey Mountains National Park This national park is high on my list of places I want to visit. White water rafting, tubing down the river, Cades Cove, maybe even Tail of the Dragon. We actually have a week booked here this summer and I am excited. We have selected to stay in Townsend, close to the fly fishing.

2. Grand Canyon National Park I have started looking at visiting Grand Canyon. I learned there is a North Rim and a South Rim and even a West Rim. That is about the time I got overwhelmed and put it on the back burner. Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Pro’s and Con’s of each rim? Will I feel cheated if I select the North Rim. Will I be too crowded at the South Rim?  Any help for a newbie?

1.Yellowstone National Park  The number one destination on my list is Yellowstone National Park. We had talked about making this trip in 2016 but the Todd family needed a new tow vehicle to tackle the mountains so we pushed it back and made plans to visit the Smokey Mountains instead. I have been to Yellowstone twice, once as a teen with my family and then a few years ago.  I so want my children to experience this park and walk away with a whole new appreciation for conservation and preservation.  Due to my husband’s love of fly fishing, the only thing we know absolutely is that we hope to be staying at the Fishing Bridge.  Getting to Yellowstone seems to be half the fun. Do you have any suggestions on routes and stops?

There you have it, my top 10 camping destinations. We will have to wait and see what the others come up with before we settle on any course of action.  I know I have asked you lots of questions, so I should just say thank you for your advice in advance!





  1. Travels with Birdy

    Great list! I have a few contributions to each of your questions above.

    #8: If you make it to Memphis, be sure to check out Mud Island. It has a large map of the Mississippi River and is a great place for a short stop.

    #5: We stayed at Fort Wilderness 4 years ago, and it was terrific! So clean. Lots of greenery. Beautiful grounds. Amazing shower house. The only negative is learning to manage the park transportation, but I think you have that from every park. On our first day, we took a boat to Magic Kingdom, and that was a fun way to arrive at our first Disney park! You could stay in FW and never go to Disney and still have a fun vacation. (But, who would want to do that?)

    #1: That’s where we are heading this summer! I’m so excited.We are not staying in the park, though. I hope we don’t end up regretting that too much. We are making a grand loop and going up to Sioux Falls, across South Dakota to see the Badlands and Mt Rushmore then on to Wyoming to the Devils Tower. From there, we are going to Cody, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Thermopolis, and then back across Nebraska.


  2. RoamWithFriends

    Thank you for your suggestions! I will absolutely check out Mud Island.

    The last time I was at Yellowstone it was on a road trip from Portland to Denver We drove through to Gardiner Montana then out to Jackson. It was a quick 2 day trip but I am looking forward to a longer trip. Looking forward to hearing about your trip to Yellowstone this summer!


  3. April

    I live 1.5 hours from Nashville and 4-5 hours from Gatlinburg/Great Smokies. I’ve been to both several times. There is a Jellystone and KOA right in Nashville near Opryland Hotel, Grand Ol Opry and Opry Mills. I have heard there are some smaller private campgrounds off the main drag in Nashville too.

    We camped in Townsend, TN and it’s right at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It’s got a KOA and a couple of private campgrounds there. We stayed at the Tremont campground right on the river. It was great!! You will love that area but just be prepared to face some traffic in peak times and getting between things to do can take some time of driving. Cades Cove is beautiful! Also check out the Chimney Tops picnic area if you can (in the park). We always have to go eat at The Apple Barn, The Mill Restaurant and the Pottery House restaurant when we go up there. We also enjoyed eating at The Park Grill right in Gatlinburg the last time we were up there.


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