We had a bit of a mix up with booking, but when I arrived Andrea quickly saw that we had a reservation, made sure they had an accommodation and we were happily in our cabin not long after.
The cabin was quaint, full of historic charm and perfectly sized for our family of four. We were situated across from scenic Loon Lake where we could use their kayaks and canoes. It's really a gorgeous location along the Gunflint Trail.
Make sure you make at least a reservation for breakfast and dinner at the lodge. We only got the breakfast, but it was something Paul Bunyan would be proud of. The shore lunch potatoes and Swedish pancakes were the highlights.
Hopefully we can stop by again. We thought it would be awesome to stay at their cabin they keep open during winter. It would make for some amazing snowshoeing.
Bluff Hollow is just about a perfect camping experience just a short drive from Rochester and not too far from the Twin Cities. Secluded location. Outhouse on site. Sandy river. We had a rad weekend camping with friends, splashing around with the kids and fishing and canoeing on the North Branch of the Root River.
The land is located down a long minimum maintenance road (that's a bit rocky), but once on the land we had no problem getting our little hybrid in and out (even up and down the access road to the river sites). We setup camp near the river. There's a few sites you can setup down there or at the upper campground that would be ideal for RVers or tents. Both of your options have fire rings while the outhouse is situated near the upper site.
We camped at the end of a spit of sand while our friends setup camp in the adjacent woods where there's a big opening for a few tents. The river sites lie just across from the impressive sandstone bluff a stones throw across the Root. Most of the time we spent lounging about in the water and exploring the nooks and crannies of the river. I did a little fishing and caught a couple little bass (It looks like this would be an ideal location for trout fishing). There was the occasional visitor (maybe 3 times all weekend) from the county park across the river, but we didn't mind. One of our best Hipcamp experiences to date.
Star Field Campground at the Whiterock Conservancy offers some of the best aspects of state parks with the seclusion that we've come to expect from Hipcamp listings. Star Field is situated on the southern edge of the sprawling conservancy. We slept across from fields of clover and roving butterflies. In fact there were thousands of butterflies across the oak savanna landscape. On cloudless night you'll find your in star gazing country.
The campsite itself could have fit four or five tents (in fact they just charge per tent, so groups are welcome). It featured a big oak tree, a spacious picnic table and a fire ring set off to the other side of the camp. Each site was unique and was spaced far apart from any neighbors. The camp also has showers and indoor toilets along with nearby port-a-potties for when nature calls.
We were new to the conservancy, but almost all of the other campers had mountain bikes in tow. If that's your forte you'll find days worth of biking trails available. There's also kayak and canoe rentals to experience Whiterock from a different perspective. There's also miles of hiking trails to explore Whiterock's mission of synergizing conservancy and environmentally friendly farming practices.
Morningstar is tucked into the undulating Ozark landscape that makes up picturesque Eureka Springs. Camp host Kimberly allows campers to hike in and camp just about anywhere on the 13 acre woods. We choose to camp just beyond spring waterfall near a rock face. We were surrounded by towering trees above a deep ravine and below bluffs.
There's backcountry hiking throughout the acreage as well a few groomed paths. During a hot day you'll be sure to dip your feet in the cool spring pool next to the dripping waterfall. Kimberly says that the little waterfall keeps going no matter the time of year.
Be sure to spend time in quaint Eureka Springs, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The town is stuck in time and tucked into the valleys and ridges that make up the landscape. You'll have find tons of places to eat and shop between exploring the pristine wilderness of this northern Arkansas' Ozarks town.
Our stay at Erwin Estates High Point was one of the most memorable stops on a road trip that took us to Texas Hill Country, the deep south of Louisiana and western Arkansas. Susan's parents, brother and niece met us upon arrival and guided us up to the high point. On the way you up you'll pass the ranch, a fishing pond, that your welcome to use, and the woods that are perfect for hiking.
At the High Point you'll stay at one of the best views of the Ouachita Mountains. In all directions the elder Erwin pointed out nearby mountains peaks and destinations like nearby Hot Springs. They suggested we setup camp right on the lookout tower. So, we did! We ate, chilled out and slept above the landscape hiking around the area much of our stay. It was amazing to wake up to a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains in the morning.
If you're heading up to Hot Springs and beyond, the Erwin Estate High Point is a great place to start a journey through Arkansas mountain country.
I've always longed to camp in an urban setting. When we saw that there was a converted school bus in New Orleans along our recent road trip, we had to book.
The bus is tucked in a leafy driveway on a dead end street near Tulane University. It's a perfect location to explore the less traveled side of NOLA or bike over to all the destinations.
The magic school bus has a great bohemian vibe with comfort to spare. The windows are drapped with flags and tapestries offering you plenty of privacy. There's a big comfy bed for two and a bunk for a couple more, plus a comfy couch, fridge, toilet and shower...pretty much everything you'll need. We stayed in the heart of July and were thrilled that the bus even had AC.
Between the restaurants and New Orleans vernacular architecture, you'll find plenty to do and get to sleep in comfort. My urban camping dreams have finally been realized.
Horse Shoe Bend is a great place to experience southern Louisiana's unique river and bayou-shaped landscape. First, the drive-in to the Baton Rogue-area via the Afatchalaya Basin Bridge is something you can only experience in Louisiana. Do it.
Once you arrive you can camp near the pond next to Damon's stilt cabin or, as we did, near the fire pit at the entrance to the property. The site offers plenty of shade under the massive trees even in July. The lot is situated right next to a pond and a few hundred feet from an Amite River boat launch.
A walk along Horseshoe Bend will give you a tour of the unique architecture that allows residents to live near the wild rivers. Next time we come through we could see ourselves staying the night and then launching our canoe from the Amite landing toward Lake Maurepas and beyond.
Novo offers a simple place to camp just outside of Austin in the Del Valle. It would be perfect for a stopover, but is geared more towards RVers and is great place to find tiny house enthusiasts.
For tent camping there isn't much shade, but we could see ourselves pitching a tent on our way through Texas during a cooler time of year. There is a giant fire pit that would be a great place to meet with the other campers and tiny housers.
We can't forget to mention that camp host Ben pointed us towards 812 Outdoor Market. On a hot summer day this Mexican market was the perfect respite from the heat. You'll find plenty of shade, tons of goods for sale, live music, beer and plenty of authentic Mexican food just down the road from Novo.
This camp is a perfectly quiet retreat tucked into Texas Hill Country, a short 30 or so minute drive from Austin. After a drive down a steep hill you'll find your camp oasis. You'll find plenty of space to pitch a few tents amongst the Texan landscape. There are plenty of trees to find shade under during hot afternoons and a fire pit to sit around.
We met up with our friends from Leander, roasted marshmallows over the fire, drank a few brewskis and gazed up at the stars. The only downside was that the swimming pond was bone dry, but you can't really control rainfall in Texas. Despite that, our kids explored the dry pond, jumping from the exposed boulders more than a few times.
Back in town make sure to check out the food truck lot with shaved ice, bbq and damn good wings just to the west on 290.
Blue Mountain Peak Ranch offers a rare opportunity to see what Texas looked like before settlement. Camp host Richard has restored a piece of land that was little more than cedars and deer to a diverse ecosystem that runs wild with rare frogs and lizards and a healthy mix of grasses, cactus and conifers. Most importantly the process of returning to a balanced habitat has rejuvenated springs that had long run dry. It really is quite amazing to see fish and tadpoles swimming in a once-dry spring-fed creek.
Richard took us on an hour long tour to see just what he has done to restore this mountainous Texas landscape. This opportunity gives you a chance to be educated about land restoration and controlled burns, but you'll also get to choose the perfect place set up camp. We had countless options, but in the end picked a site above the main spring. It was a great place to peer up at the stars. When we got up in the morning we hiked the spring valley. Make sure you bring some waterproof shoes or wadding boots to experience this trek.
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