Who goes SOUTH in the Summer??
If you’re going to be in the south in the summer, you should really be on a lake. Lake Texoma has made it to our Top 5 Summer Lakes list. The warm temperature of the water makes it ideal for swimming, boating, paddle boarding, tubing, or any other water activity. Most full-time RVers head north in the summer months to chase the cooler weather. We, on the other hand, scooted south in late August. We knew it was going to be warm, but our friends reached out and said they had a boat and some time off and invited us down to come play on the lake. They don’t call Lake Texoma “The Playground of the Southwest” for nothing. Boy, are we glad we went just in time to catch the tail-end of summer. We spent most of our time out on the water with perfect weather, great friends, and made memories to last a lifetime.
What about Lake Texoma??
Lake Texoma is situated only about 75 miles north of Dallas, Texas and about 120 miles south of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Nearly 80% of the reservoir resides on the Oklahoma side, while the other 20% resides in Texas; hence the name “Texoma”. The close proximity to both the Dallas-Metro area and Oklahoma City has made this lake a premier tourist destination, hosting more than 6 million visitors each year. The impressive 89,000 acre lake is warm in the summer months, making it easy to enjoy any water activity. It is also one of the nation’s largest water reservoirs with nearly 580 miles of beaches and shoreline. Fishing is also known to be a popular and attractive sport on Lake Texoma with several coveted species available for catching and is open year round for the enthusiasts. Lake Texoma is also known to be a great boating and sailing lake, given its vast shoreline and acres of open water. There are also many coves and islands to anchor out on and explore along with great places to enjoy a spectacular sunset.
You Camped Where???
There are numerous ways to camp if you are visiting Lake Texoma. The beautiful Army Corps of Engineers parks offer 15 different campgrounds around the lake and according to recreation.gov, they offer more than 800 individual campsites. There are state parks, private resorts and campgrounds, and membership parks to choose from too. All provide a little something for everyone.
During our time there, we camped with our Grand Design 312BHTS at Burns Run West Campground which is run by the Army Corps of Engineers near Cartwright, Oklahoma. This park is right on the water with spectacular views and direct access to swim beaches and boat ramps. The sites were beautifully maintained and large enough for most RVs. This campground also offers full-hook-up sites, partial hook-up sites, tent sites, clean restrooms, and three dump stations. The easy access to the lake and the spacious RV sites are what we loved most about this campground.
While visiting the area, we also spent 10 days at Lake Texoma RV Campground Thousand Trails in Gordonville, Texas. We are members of Thousand Trails but non-members can also book reservations if they are looking to stay on the south side of the lake. This RV campground offers 285 sites, has full-hookups, two swimming pools, an 18 hole mini-golf course, a clubhouse, a boat ramp/dock, and many weekend activities. We had a great time relaxing and soaking up the sun at this perfectly located Thousand Trails campground.
Some other great options for camping around the lake include:
What Else Is There To Do??
Among the amazing water activities that there are to do on Lake Texoma, there are also a plethora of fun and exciting things to do around it as well. We are lucky enough to share a few of the “locals” favorite places.
Ole Reds: The Doghouse in Tishomingo, Oklahoma is Blake Shelton’s entertaining grounds and offers some great scratch-made food that pairs well with live music. Most every night, there are rising talents on stage and is a local’s favorite place to eat and be entertained.
The Island Bar and Grill has become our personal favorite place to stop in for music, food, and drinks. We rode the boat out there, docked it at the marina, and danced up to the grill for several great nights overlooking the water with spectacular sunsets. If you don’t have a boat, that’s fine too. You can drive over and enjoy the atmosphere just the same.
A few other places that the locals recommend include:
If you are a hiker or have horses, there are many miles of hiking trails and over 25 miles of equestrian trails to explore all around the lake.
The wildlife is also abundant and bird watching and photography attract hundreds of bird enthusiasts each year.
If you enjoy golfing with stunning views, Texoma offers several excellent golf courses. They are suitable for all skill levels and your time near the lake will surely be memorable.
If you are interested in learning more about the culture and history of the area around Lake Texoma, there are museums, historical markers, and picturesque views to get an up close and personal perspective of the area.
See For Yourself
Lake Texoma has become one of our favorite summer lakes. We spent enough time on and off the water to confidently say that it is in fact, a must-do attraction. The lake itself offers more than enough fun for everyone, but to add the entertainment options when you are off the water is enough to land Lake Texoma on our Top 5 Summer Lakes list. If you need more convincing, we will show you around ourselves; check out the link below.
If you haven’t heard about Quartzsite, Arizona, you aren’t alone. Let me paint you a picture.
“Thousands of acres of wide-open desert, towering Saguaro cacti dotting the land, tall, ridged mountains looking down on the valley floor, the most gorgeous sunrises and sunsets; each one completely different than the last”. That’s just the beginning. Every November, a sleepy tiny town comes alive with RVers, van-dwellers, schoolie conversions, and off-road vehicles for the next 5 months.
Each winter, Quartzsite becomes home to one of the nation’s largest Sports, Vacation, & RV Shows, which draws crowds in the hundreds of thousands. That, coupled with a massive Rock and Gem Show, Quartzsite hosts more than 2 million visitors each year. RVers from all walks of life gather in the Arizona desert during the winter months to escape the cold temperatures of the North. During the peak of the RV show, there have been well over a million RVers scattered across the desert at one time. It sounds a bit unordinary, but until you see it for yourself, this picture will have to do.
When we made our first trip out there, we hadn’t dry camped for more than a day here and there. We didn’t think we would make it a week. We met up with our friend who invited us out and we were quickly thrown head-first into “real boondocking”. We like to say this is where we earned our “boondocking stripes”. Some say that it’s a right-of-passage for fulltime RVers. We didn’t know what the heck we got ourselves into, but we do know that we fell in love with the freedom of boondocking, and we did that in Quartzsite, Arizona.
If you are thinking about making the trip, be sure to check out all the tips and lessons learned below. I will let you in on all the little details to help you get the most out of your visit. And if you aren’t into boondocking, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered there as well.
Where is Quartzsite?
The town of Quartzsite falls in La Paz County in the southwestern part of Arizona. The winters are typically mild, which draws RV and van dwellers from around November to March. By March, you will want to have moved on due to the region’s extreme heat. It’s actually recorded as one of the hottest places in the U.S. in the summer.
Where Can You Park? Is It Free? How Long Can You Stay?
BLM Camping Areas
What Resources are Available?
If you are an experienced boondocker or looking to dip your toes in, you will need to know how to get water, where to dump trash, where to get propane, and where to dump your waste. Not to worry, they’ve thought of everything.
Quartzsite is one of those places that you just have to experience, especially if you are an RVer. The sunrises and sunsets feel like they are from a painting and the weather in the winter months is mild enough to spend at least a couple of weeks out there. If you can’t stay, the RV and Gem show are still worth the drive to check out. Quartzsite, Arizona may be a small dot on the map but it definitely leaves a big impact on the heart.
Jodi & Corey Foreman
We often get asked how we afford to travel as much as we do and have all of these neat experiences. Camping memberships are key. We have several different camping memberships that allows us to stay in campgrounds and other places relatively cheap or at a discounted rate. Our Harvest Hosts membership has quickly become one of our FAVORITES that we use.
If you don't know what Harvest Hosts is, it is an annual membership that you can purchase that allows you to stay in your self-contained RV at brewery's, wineries, museums, golf courses, farms, and much more. These businesses can become hosts that allow you to stay overnight in your RV on their property. All they ask is that you partake in their business when you stay. There are thousands of hosts all over the country and they are adding more all the time to make your membership that much more enjoyable and accessible. Each location has different amenities so be sure to read through each host description to be sure it meets your needs.
Our favorite part about Harvest Hosts stops is meeting the owners and employees who make these businesses thrive. They are typically family owned or small businesses and they each have a unique story. We have met families who knew nothing about wine and decided to take on a new venture and purchase a winery. We have met distillers who have mastered their craft through family generations, and have toured museums that have brought history to life. We are continually humbled by the American small businesses and farms that open their doors to RVers and travelers. We have been able to witness the heart of America through these Harvest Hosts experiences and are proud members.
There are other memberships that we are apart of and utilize to help bring costs down but Harvest Hosts is something special that we truly believe in and love to use. The experiences we have had and the connections we have made are worth every penny.
If you would like to learn more about Harvest Hosts, click the link below. We will also provide a 15% off discount if you decide you want to join the Harvest Hosts membership.
15 % Off Harvest Hosts Membership
South Dakota completely rocked us!! We first rolled in to South Dakota in early summer of 2020 and had zero expectations of what it would be like. We didn't even have an image in our minds of what to expect. I think that's what made it so memorable and exciting. I remember rolling in to the Black Hills getting goosebumps and feeling like I could NOT wait to get out and explore. The rolling green hills and the huge dark green forests that give off an almost black color from afar were like open arms waving us in to welcome us. That was our first impression. And it kept getting better and better.
We spent close to four weeks in the Black Hills exploring Rapid City, Sturgis, Deadwood, Spearfish, Keystone, and much more. We were blown away by how much there is to do there. We are a family with two kids, ages six and eight at the time, and there was more than enough to keep them entertained. Though we did a lot, we didn't even come close to doing it all.
Here is a LIST of the things we were lucky enough to be able to do while in the Black Hills:
We had a great time exploring all of these places but there is still so much that we didn't get to check out. We fully plan a return to the Black Hills to check these places out.
During our travels, we try to document as much as we can on our YouTube channel (Road Ventures) as well as on Instagram. If you would like to see and follow along on our journey to these amazing places, we would welcome you to subscribe to our channel or Instagram (@road_ventures). We love connecting with you so let us know that you subscribed by dropping a comment and we will be sure to greet you.
Have you been to the Black Hills? Is it a bucket list place to visit? Drop us a comment and let us know.
Corey, myself, and the kids have been on the road since January 2020 and we are just now feeling like we are getting the hang of it. But I wanted to take a small step back and talk about how we got to this place of living full time on the road in an RV. This life-style is definitely unconventional compared to societies' standards, so let's get real and talk about it.
Before we had our kiddos, Corey served 7 years in the U.S. Navy and completed his service in 2009. When he got out, it was right as the housing recession was in full effect and jobs were harder to come by. Corey struggled to find employment during that time so between jobs here and there, he impressively decided to go back to school and not only get his bachelors degree, but his masters degree as well. While he was in school, I worked full time. During those years is when we had our kiddos, but the struggles never seemed to let up, even with all the hard work we were both putting in. We kept our heads down and pushed through.
Around 2017, Corey was volunteering at the local V.A. hospital and started applying for internal jobs with them. He landed a great job out of Reno, Nevada and things were looking up for us. It was around that time that we decided to leave our hometown and move to northern Nevada for our new life. We bought our first home, which we loved so much, I was able to go back to school and stay home with our littlest boy, and life was good. We had everything we worked so hard for, but we were still stuck in the cycle of being married to a mortgage, car payments, jobs, obligations to others, and life. This wasn't a bad thing, but our hearts were still stirring for something more; something different. At times we felt selfish and ungrateful because we had everything we thought we wanted. But our hearts still desired something different. Some adventure and some exploration.
It was around 2019 when Corey started looking at the idea of buying us a weekend camping trailer because we lived only about 45 minutes from beautiful Lake Tahoe. We figured that would satisfy our desire for some adventure. This was the beginning of life as we know it. Corey stumbled upon a YouTube channel (Keep Your Daydream) while researching tow weights for our truck at the time. He learned a lot from that particular video and he let the channel play as he worked. Corey became intrigued as the videos from this channel kept playing in the background and he soon realized that there was this awesome little family that LIVED in their travel trailer while exploring and adventuring around the country. This prompted us to go back to the beginning of their journey and we started watching it all. If you don't know who they are, they are worth following on Youtube.
Anyway, to make a long story short, we binged watched KYD and many other channels and really started researching to see if we could pull something like this off. Turns out, we could. For me, I am not naturally a risk taker so I was not on board with quitting jobs, selling our house and everything we owned to leave our comfort zone. It took many months of power point presentations, spreadsheets, and late night conversations from Corey to convince me to take the risk. Once I said, "lets do it", we were full steam ahead. We decided that taking the risk was worth the reward and we were all in. We purchased our Grand Design 312BHTS and did a few trips up to the lake to "get to know" our new home. Soon, we started selling everything, put the house on the market, and 5 months later we let the tears flow as we said goodbye to our close friends and the house we once made into a home. That was much tougher than we thought it would be. Luckily, we have amazing friends and our friendships haven't skipped a beat since we left. We miss them dearly but they have been a solid support system for us.
Fast forward to our first year on the road, and lets just say there is a HUGE learning curve to full-time RVing. The planning and researching never end. We thought we had a good grasp of what we were doing...until we didn't. Figuring out how to have reliable internet was a challenge, as was route planning and making sure the places we were going had the necessities we needed. And then, about 45 days into our new life full of dreams and adventures, COVID hit like a freight train and de-railed all of our plans. We were scared, confused, mad, sad, and had all the same feelings everyone else had. We had everything planned, everything set up to make it the best year possible, and then everything went sideways. Campgrounds were closing, RV parks were canceling reservations, and we didn't have a home base to go back to. We seriously thought we might have to sleep in a Walmart parking lot at one point. You might be thinking, "did they regret selling the house?". Truthfully, at times, yes. But mostly, no. As scary as it was, we came together to figure one step out at time. We took each challenge and just figured them out. Through all of that, we made the decision to sit tight for a month, re-group, make a plan and then head back out. Thats exactly what we did. What we did that first year on the road was absolutely not what we had planned, but I think it ended up better. Funny how that happens sometimes. We saw things that I truly never thought I would see in my lifetime. We visited Mount Rushmore, met family in Wyoming that we've never met before, the kids caught their first fish, we met new friends all over the country, visited several national monuments and parks, met up with cousins in Montana, played all over the Oregon beaches, and made memories that will last a lifetime. We did all of that through the unexpected chaos of 2020's pandemic. So the answer to that thought is, no. We one thousand percent don't regret selling the house for the experiences we have made this first year on the road.
We don't have any expectations for how long this adventure will last. We told ourselves that we will give it at least a year and then see if we want to keep going. Well, we are at the year and half mark on our journey at the time this blog is published and we feel like we are just starting to get the hang of this lifestyle. We don't know how long we will be blessed enough to keep going but we will take what we can get and live life our way for as long as we can.
We don't take any of this for granted and are humbled daily that we get to call this adventure our life. We know that our lives are unconventional and a little crazy, but that's what we asked for. It's all part of the adventure.
We Visited Deadwood, South Dakota during a time that places had been starting to reopen. There was a lot of small shop opening back up and we enjoyed taking a walk down the street. During this day, we stumbled upon an Old West Reenactment. We enjoyed it and wish we could have stuck around to see more. We did see 2 shows though. Deadwood Alive puts on these shows. You can go to their website at https://www.deadwoodalive.com/. The shows on the streets are free but you can pay to see their other shows such as The Trial of Jack McCall. We will be definitely doing that next time we are in the area. There was other things we wanted to do, but unfortunately we had been dealing with some weather. We look forward to retuning to the black hills in the near future. Also to note that there is an RV back at the edge of town. So if your traveling in an RV, it may be worth staying there for a few days to get a good feel for the town.
ROAD VENTURES USA
After over 10 years of marriage, 0 vacations, we decided to sell it all and hit the road fulltime with our Two kids and our dog Bailey. We enjoy sharing full-time RV Life with others and hope to inspire others to Venture out and Get out and Explore.