This month, we shine the spotlight on state parks — thousands of facilities across the United States established and operated at the state level. They’ve been preserved for their natural beauty, historic interest, or recreational features — often all three in one location. In contrast to many iconic U.S. national parks, state parks just might be the unsung heroes of outdoor recreation.
State-operated facilities have much to offer. For working folks with minimal travel time, a nearby state park can make a great weekend destination. FMCA chapters whose members are based in a specific geographic area can enjoy a fun-filled rally at a state park campground within a reasonable distance for most attendees.
Whether you’re looking for a scenic area to visit for a day, a relaxing spot to spend a weekend, or a place to stay for an entire season, consider a state park. In Canada, the equivalent would be a provincial park, of which there are many great options. For inspiration, peruse the info below – plus read about some great FMCA benefits and updates while you’re at it.
Whether you’re RVing this month, or armchair traveling, we wish you a great trip!
The FMCA Team
FMCAssist Member Testimonial
Cynthia Sogomonian, F493704
Coverage under the FMCAssist Medical Emergency and Travel Assistance Program is automatically included in FMCA family membership dues — no additional fees or enrollment required. Learn more here.
Find A State Park
There’s nothing better than being out in nature enjoying its beauty; many would even say it is healing to the soul. Depending on where you live, this can be a beautiful time of year to take in the scenery, hike, fish, camp, leaf peep, or simply enjoy the noises of nature. And what better place to do it than in a state park?
According to stateparks.org, there are 10,366 state park areas across the United States. They include 241,255 campsites and 9,457 cabins, with over 40,000 miles of trails, as well as countless waterways and rivers — all covering 18.6 million acres of land. That means RV travelers and others have numerous opportunities to explore in a variety of places.
This interactive map provided by America’s State Parks can help you to easily discover all of the parks each state has to offer. Or you can use the America’s State Parks website to search by state and find each state’s social media accounts listed, too.
So, you may be asking yourself, “Where do I even begin to start exploring over 10,000 park areas?” For starters, we found a couple state-park-specific blogs you might find useful: the 10 best state parks for camping and the best state parks for RVers.
And let’s not forget Canada, also brimming with natural beauty and a vast number of provincial parks — nearly 1,200, as estimated in this blog that spotlights 10 of the best Canadian provincial parks. Campendium’s recent blog, Your Guide to Canada's Provincial Park Campgrounds, highlights a few more must-see provincial parks. Perhaps the best way to find more information on Canada's provincial parks to check the individual website for each province.
Benefits of State Parks
Many RVers have a national park bucket list. If you’re one of them, have you also considered state parks, some of which could be in your backyard? State parks make great places to get outside and explore, and they typically are less crowded than national parks. Even if state parks are smaller, you still can find stunning views, great camping options, and fun activities. You also can learn more about local history while supporting the surrounding community.
State parks are not operated by the federal government as national parks are, so they rely on entrance and camping fees to maintain the land and facilities. By RVing at a state park, or even purchasing a day pass, you are helping to preserve the park for other visitors to continue to enjoy. These camping and entrance fees also may be less expensive than national park fees or those charged at a private campground.
If you are planning your next camping trip, don’t forget to look at state parks. You just might find your new favorite camping spot!
This video from Campendium has more information on what to know before camping at a state park. State park camping options near you can also be found on their website.
Plan For Perry
Here’s something to look forward to next year: FMCA’s 106th International Convention & RV Expo, March 15-18, 2023. Once again, the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry will host the greatest RV gathering in the land. In fact, this event, nicknamed “Lucky 13,” will be the 13th FMCA convention to take place there. Will you join us?
Read It From Cover to Cover
Each month, Family RVing magazine entertains and informs readers with RV-oriented tech topics, travel destinations, association news, and more. You can choose to receive the print edition, the digital edition, or both. Update your preferences here in the About Me section (member login required). Visit FamilyRVingmag.com for more magazine-related content, including the November issue.
Visit State & National Parks In The Western Area!
Discover magnificent parks on three stunning routes designed exclusively for FMCA members by Fantasy RV Tours. Each caravan visits a unique set of state parks, such as Custer, Goblin Valley, Dead Horse Point, and Goosenecks. Plus, explore famous national parks, including Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Zion, Arches, Bryce, Badlands, and Grand Teton. Fantasy RV Tours handles the planning, so all you need to do is show up! To learn more, click here.
Save On Fuel At Circle K
It’s time to fuel your next big adventure! FMCA members can save 10 cents per gallon on prepaid fuel at any of Circle K’s 3,600 locations across the United States. Learn more here.
Florida Campgrounds Open For Business
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the Florida RV Parks and Campground Association is reporting that many of the campgrounds and RV parks in southwest Florida are now back up and running. However, a number of facilities in the hardest-hit Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach area remained closed. Here’s a list published by RVIA back in October.
As we begin RV snowbirding season, you may be wondering what parks currently are open for business. The Florida RV Parks and Campground Association said that park updates will be posted on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/campflorida. For a complete list of RV parks and campgrounds in the state, visit https://www.campflorida.com.
FMCA members receive a discounted rate at many FMCA commercial member campgrounds. To find more locations along your route, check out our RV Marketplace!
Check It Off Your List
Commemorate your favorite camping trip or pay homage to your home state with these state park checklist posters. The handmade canvases from VannerVentures include each park in your desired state. Stay motivated to visit all of them and fuel your wanderlust.
RV Sticker Trading
Want to connect with RVers internationally? Join the RV Sticker Club — a community of travelers and camping enthusiasts who trade RV stickers by using the hashtag #RVStickerClub on Instagram. If you are a sticker collector, this is the perfect group for you. Don’t have a sticker or logo specific to your RV? RV Sticker Club has a team of designers they love who are willing to work with you so you can start trading. Learn more on RV Sticker Club’s website or Instagram.
Fall Camping Tips From KOA
While many RVers have packed up after the long summer season, others are enjoying camping during the last moments of fall. If you are a full-timer or haven’t winterized your RV yet, check out KOA’s Fall Camping Tips. This list includes fun fall camping activities, a packing checklist, meal ideas, and more!
Preparing A Feast In Your RV
Yes, it is possible to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal while traveling. Perhaps the biggest hurdle is how to cook a turkey in the confines of an RV kitchen. Admittedly, you may have to get creative, depending on what your setup is like. But, as they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
If you need ideas for whipping up a full spread – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie – yum! – check out these tips from the folks at Harvest Hosts for cooking a Thanksgiving dinner in your RV.
If you’d rather let someone else do the cooking, and the cleaning up afterward (ugh!), you might consider looking for a state park lodge, or even a national park restaurant, that hosts a Thanksgiving meal. For instance, several Tennessee state parks will be serving Thanksgiving meals this year, as will select Kentucky state parks. And Skyland at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia is one example of a national park restaurant that will welcome guests on Thanksgiving day. Or, a nearby campground may host a meal. Ruby’s Inn, located in Bryce Canyon City, Utah, near Bryce Canyon National Park, will provide turkey and all the trimmings during its annual Thanksgiving buffet on November 24. (Note that reservations may be recommended or required.) One bonus is that dinner likely will come with a fantastic view. Just one more reason to be thankful for our parks!
FMCA Area Rally Schedule
Western Area Rally — January 11-15 — Indio, California
Great Lakes Area Rally — June 7-11 — Greenville, Ohio
Northwest Area Rally — June 7-11 — Albany, Oregon
Midwest Area Rally — June 13-16 — Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Northeast Area Rally — August 3-5 — Herkimer, New York
South Central Area Rally — September 13-16 — Shawnee, Oklahoma
Eastern Area Rally — October 4-8 — Lewisburg, West Virginia
Rocky Mountain Area Rally — October 24-28 — Tucson, Arizona
Did you know that you don't have to be an FMCA member to attend our area rallies? That's right; you can join us at any FMCA rally or International Convention & RV Expo. Click here to find our complete list of area rallies and conventions.
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