It’s time for our yearly look back on where we’ve traveled over the past 12 months. In short, 2015 was dramatically different than 2014. We headed to the eastern side of the country where we spent more time than ever in campgrounds with at least partial hook-ups, did almost no boondocking, reconnected with lots of family and friends, battled tons of bugs and rain, visited a record number of states, enjoyed an extraordinary amount of time near the ocean, and explored more new places than we ever thought possible.
A few statistics for 2015…
Number of States Visited: 22
Number of Overnight Stops: 65
Where We Stayed: 20 State Parks, 11 Private Parks, 10 Parking Lots (5 Walmarts, 1 Cabela’s, 1 Camping World, 1 city visitor center, 1 city parking garage, 1 fair grounds), 7 Private Residences, 7 County Parks, 5 National Parks, 2 Army Corps of Engineers CGs, 1 City Park, 1 National Forest Campground, 1 Boondocking Location.
Free Vs. Paid: 50 paid locations and 15 free. Considering we only managed one actual boondocking spot (I don’t count driveway camping or parking lots as boondocking — too civilized) I’m surprised that we still managed to eek out 15 free camping spots. Half of those were generous friends and family members who allowed us to park in their driveways and yards, while the other half were quick overnight parking lot stops.
Monthly Average: $663.39
Daily Average: $21.81
As expected, our year on the eastern side of the country jacked our camping fees way up. We spent close to $3,000 more on camping fees this year and added a whole $7 per night to our average per night fee as compared to 2014. It was not unexpected, but still a bit of shock to learn just how much more expensive it is to RV in the east versus the west.
Palm Trees & Tropical Waters in Florida
We spent the first 11 weeks of the year enjoying the balmy weather and tropical waters of Florida. All of January and most of February we hung around the Florida Keys, driveway surfing at my dad’s house, enjoying ocean views at both Bahia Honda SP, and Long Key SP, eating and cooking lots of tropical treats, kayaking, snorkeling, and playing lots of bocce.
East Coast Beaches & Cities
After conquering Florida we spent two and half months slowly traveling up the east coast. We hit up Savannah and Charleston, enjoyed some family time on the North Carolina coast, put our house on a ferry for a rainy but gorgeous week in the Outer Banks, and camped in the dunes near Virginia Beach.
From there we turned inland, made a quick stop at a scenic and welcoming Highland Haven Airstream Park, had a blast at the Delfest Bluegrass Festival, spent a whirlwind weekend touring museums and monuments in Washington D.C., and met up with family in Delaware for some camping with kids.
Back in New England
The last half of the summer and into the fall we roamed around New England. First spending a few weeks in Tim’s home state of Connecticut where we scored a pretty sweet courtesy camping spot and then got a taste of the boating life. From there we drove north and celebrated the 4th of July on the coast of Massachusetts where we finally broke down and acquired ourselves some kayaks.
Next up was six weeks on the Maine coast where we gave our kayaks a good workout, found an incredible ocean view campground, feasted on lobster, ate, drank and got merry with a few full-time fun couples near Acadia National Park, met up with old friends for a week of beachside camping, and took a tour of all the lighthouses around Portland.
Finally, we left the coast and spent a week with family near Lake Winnipesaukee before heading into Vermont. It had been over three years since we left Vermont for our full-time traveling lifestyle. Returning “home” was both wonderful and weird. We got to park in the yard’s of some good friends, participated in an apple fest, and just generally had a blast catching back up with everyone and remembering why this is such a great state.
Fall Foliage, Bourbon & Tennesse State Parks
At the end of September, we reluctantly packed up and left Vermont. It would have been easy to stay longer, but winter comes early in the frozen north and we really wanted to stay ahead of it. We breezed through New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia only slowing down once we reached Kentucky where we spent the first week in a national forest campground surrounded by colorful fall foliage. Then it was onto the Kentucky Horse Park where we discovered a great dry camping spot away from the campground madness, learned a bit about horses, and toured and tasted our way through Bourbon Country.
Next up was a few weeks in Tennessee with a quick side trip to North Carolina so Tim could put in an appearance at the office. On the way to NC we stopped for a short, soggy tour of Asheville, and on the way back we squeezed in a single night and one hike in the Great Smokey Mountain N.P. Back in Tennessee, we managed to hit up four fantastic state parks — Standing Stone, Fall Creek Falls, Rock Island & Edgar Evins — and then ended our tour of the state with a few days in Nashville for the Thanksgiving holiday.
After Thanksgiving we made tracks west in a rather fast fashion with the goal of arriving in Tucson the week before Christmas. The trip began with a relaxing and scenic two-day drive on the Natchez Trace Scenic Parkway. From there we spent some time at a lovely lakeside campground in east Texas where we took the kayaks through a magical Cypress swamp. Then we quickly booked it through the rest of Texas making a few brief stops including an overnight at a private cave where we toured an amazing underground world filled with wondrous formations. Finally, we made it to Arizona where we spent a week at an Escapees Co-op in Benson (no blog post), before arriving in Tucson for our planned meet up with Tim’s mom to celebrate the holiday.
The last week of 2015 has been spent out in the California desert living it up with a large group of our fellow RVers. As of this morning, the count is up to 21 Airstreams, 1 truck camper, 3 vans, 1 orange Unimog, 1 aluminum 5th wheel, and 9 other assorted rigs. Yeah, that’s a party in the desert. What a way to end a truly fantastic year. Can’t wait to do it all again in 2016.
Happy New Year!