Where Will You RV in 2016?

Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco and as RVers we also get to fall in love with attractive destinations and off-beat attractions. No matter where you love to roam, the U.S. and Canada have many spectacular road trips and terrific destinations including those on our own personal list of the top four RV destinations for 2016.

San Antonio

The San Antonio River Walk © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The San Antonio River Walk © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

San Antonio has much to offer. Fantastic museums, San Antonio River Walk, La Villita, HemisFair Park, Tower of the Americas, El Mercado, King William Historic District, and, of course, The Alamo. And if you like the Alamo, you’ll love the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, a string of several 15th- and 16th-century Spanish missions around the city.

Without the modern skyline of Houston or Dallas, attractive and festive San Antonio looks nothing like the stereotypical image of Texas, despite being pivotal in the state’s history. Standing at a geographical crossroads, it encases the complex social and ethnic mixes of all Texas. Although the Germans, among others, have made strong cultural contributions, San Antonio’s heritage is Hispanic.

Though now the seventh largest city in the U.S., it retains a relaxing feel and is one of my favorite places to spend a few days or a week or more.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One of the most iconic and enduring landmarks of the American Wild West, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park has isolated sandstone mesas, buttes, and a sandy desert that has been photographed and filmed countless times.

Monument Valley boasts crimson mesas, surreal sandstone towers which range in height from 400 to 1,000 feet. Made of de Chelly sandstone, which is 215 million years old, the towers are the remnants of mesas, or flat-topped mountains. Mesas erode first into buttes like the Elephant, which typically are as high as they are wide, then into slender spires like the Three Sisters.

The angle of the sun accents these graceful formations, providing scenery that is simply spellbinding. It is one of those sights that takes your breath away and makes you speechless.

Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Santa Fe

There is no place like Santa Fe.

You’ve never seen anything like this before. A combination of altitude, desert, and pueblos has produced a magical city that bears little resemblance to nearby Albuquerque or anywhere else for that matter.

Santa Fe is the most exotic place you can visit without crossing an ocean. The secret is in its history, the blending of three cultures—Pueblo Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo.

Santa Fe is referred to as “the city different,” a city that honors its Pueblo Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo heritages and embraces its natural environment unlike any other in the United States. A city whose beautiful, brown adobe architecture blends with the high desert landscape and a city that is, at the same time, one of America’s great art and culinary capitals.

National Parks System

Bristlecone pine growing in a high elevation area of Bryce Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bristlecone pine growing in a high elevation area of Bryce Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And last, but certainly far from least, we urge RV travelers to help celebrate the U.S. National Park’s 100th birthday in the best way possible—by enjoying one or more parks yourself. With 409 parks in the system—and the parks range from historic sits to nature areas to monuments, and more—there’s likely a park closer to you than you’d imagine.

On May 21 and 22, it’s the “BioBlitz,” a hands-on census of sorts in which average citizens like you (including a lot of kids) help scientists track biodiversity by going into parks across the nation and counting every living thing they see. And throughout the 2015–16 school year, fourth graders and their families will get free admission to all the parks.

Many happy returns, National Parks! You are a cornerstone of RV travel in the United States, and may you thrive forevermore.

You never know where you’ll leave your heart as you travel the highways and byways, but as an RVer at least you always have the option of returning for more fun in places you love most. Don’t let this year go by without packing up your RV and hitting the road at least a few times.

Please Note: This is part of an on-going series on America’s National Parks Centennial

Worth Pondering…

The open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself.

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