In Northeast Texas you'll find the state's third-largest city, Dallas. This city is rich in diversity with a broad range of family-friendly attractions. One of the major draws here is The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. This museum is housed in the old School Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots the killed President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The museum is on the sixth floor of the building and includes excellent exhibits covering Kennedy's presidency, the events on the day of the assassination, the post-assassination investigations, and Kennedy's legacy. The area from which the shots were fired is preserved and you can see the view of the street essentially as Oswald did. You can also walk outside through the plaza where you'll see markings on the road indicating where Kennedy's limo was when the shots hit as well as the infamous “grassy knoll”. This is a very popular tour and people are admitted to the museum in half-hour increments. It's best to buy your tickets online for a specific date and time in advance. If you don't you may wait a long time, or not get in at all.
For more presidential history, try the George W. Bush Presidential Library which covers the life and presidency of our 43rd president. It includes excellent exhibits covering the events of 9/11/2001 and beyond which was the defining event of his presidency.
There are also several great museums and animal attractions in the city. The Dallas World Aquarium is an outstanding attraction which is more like a rain forest tour than a typical aquarium. Not far from the Aquarium is the Perot Museum of Nature and Science complex. Here you will find a broad range of exhibits and films covering all sorts of topics in nature and science.
Plantation Place RV Park provides a solid place to stay while visiting Dallas. Located on the east side of the city it provides both a quiet place to stay and convenient access to our route to Jacksonville.
The trip to Jacksonville starts by heading east on I-20 out of Dallas to Jackson, MS. From Jackson, head south on US-49 to Hattiesburg, MS. From there, take US-98 to Mobile, AL, then I-10 east to Jacksonville, FL.
Just an hour and forty-five minutes east of Dallas, just south of I-20 you'll find Tyler, TX. This is home to the Tyler Rose Garden, which is one of the largest rose gardens in the United States. Spread over a sprawling 14-acre park, the Tyler Rose Garden houses over 35,000 rose bushes covering over 500 varieties. Even if you are the most dedicated fan of roses you're likely to see something new and exciting here. The peak time to visit is in the fall around October, but there is generally something blooming here year-round.
The truly amazing part of visiting this garden is that it open from dawn until dusk and it is completely free. There is also a great museum that gives the history of the park and a gift shop to pick up some things to commemorate your stop.
The Texas Rose RV Park is a great place to stay in the area. It's located just off I-20 so it is convenient to our route and less than 20 minutes from the rose gardens and other attractions in downtown Tyler.
The Shreveport Farmers Market is Louisiana's largest farmers market and it makes for a great stop to grab fresh local supplies for the remainder of your trip. Here, you'll find a large number of local vendors selling everything from locally grown fruits and vegetables to hand made art, food and live music. This event runs every Saturday from June through August from 7 am to noon. The Saturday market is large enough to encompass several pavilions and tents. These include the main market, the market cafe tent with food and live music, and the live demonstration pavilion. In the demonstration pavilion, you can learn a broad range of skills ranging from fly fishing to belly dancing. There is always something interesting going on here.
Shreveport / Bossier City KOA Journey is located right off of I-20 just west of the city. It's a convenient place to stop and visit the Farmer's Market and other attractions in the area.
The Siege of Vicksburg occurred at the site of the Vicksburg National Military Park from May of 1863 until July of 1863. Vicksburg was considered key to controlling the Mississippi River by both sides of the war, and that control was key to victory. The area is now a sprawling site under the control of the National Park System which operates the park and the visitors center. Due to its size visiting, this park is easily an all-day affair. To cover it all well, plan on spending six or more hours here. To help with your tour, you can get information at the visitors center when you arrive. Make sure you take a look at the exhibits they have here to get a good overview of the events which occurred here.
Once you leave the visitor's center there are several ways to tour the area. You can follow the National Park Services Published car tour route. You can also purchase a CD at the visitor's center bookstore which will guide you along the way. There are also apps available that can guide you via your phone. The most interesting way to visit the park may be to hire a personal licensed park guide. While this may be pricey in comparison to the other options, it will also give you the most in-depth experience you can have here. Finally, you can ditch the car and hike the park.
The Rivertown Rose RV Park is located on the river just a few miles south of the Vicksburg National Military Park. This highly rated campground provides the perfect place to stay while visiting the area.
LeFleur's Bluff State Park is an outstanding state park located on the northeast side of Jackson, MS. There is a great campground here that can accommodate both primitive campers as well as RVs. At around 350 acres, this is a large park with a lot of things to do including hiking, golf, fishing, boating, and disc golf. It is also home to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science which offers an outstanding blend of temporary and permanent exhibits that deal with science topics as they relate to Mississippi. This includes over 100,000 gallons of aquarium features and two and a half miles of outdoor nature trails that wind through the park.
While the park provides great camping and plenty of entertainment and educational opportunities, it also provides a great base location to visit the many other attractions in Jackson.
One of the most popular places to visit in Mobile, AL is Battleship Memorial Park. This park is broken down into five sections. When you first enter, the outdoor section surrounding the parking lot houses some of the larger pieces of the park's military hardware collection. Here you'll find tanks, troop carriers, helicopters, and other large aircraft.
Next is the visitor's center/gift shop where you can get your tickets to enter the main part of the park and/or pick up some momentous of your visit. The third section is aircraft collection which is housed in a large steel building. This collection includes examples of military aircraft from WW1 to the present day including a P51 Mustang, F16, F14, F15, SR-71 and many more.
While the aircraft displays are impressive, the real stars of the show here are the fourth and fifth sections of the park. These include the USS Alabama Battleship and the USS Drum diesel/electric submarine. The USS Alabama is open for self-guided tours and you can tour everything from the upper engine room to the top of the command tower. It is a meticulously maintained example of a WWII battleship and a truly impressive piece of history. The USS Drum is a WWII vintage sub and is also very impressive.
This park is an easy day trip from Gulf State Park listed below, or you can stay locally at Shady Acres RV Campground which is located nearby.
Gulf State Park and the associated campground is one of the best RV friendly state parks in the country, and a must-visit. The campground itself is huge, with over 500 sites in all sorts of sizes there is surely a place to park your rig for a stay here. Unlike many state parks, most of the sites here are also full hookup.
The facilities within the park are first rate. There is a great nature center that houses some rescued live animals which they bring out for nature discovery demonstrations several times a week. There are also beautiful tennis courts and a giant swimming facility for those staying here to enjoy. The roads are all paved and the sites have plenty of space to enjoy a true camping experience. The park also has a couple of miles of beach access across the main road and a fishing pier where they rent gear and give fishing lessons. Back in the park, there are over 25 miles of paved hike/bike trails which are directly accessible from the campground. The trails are fairly flat, easy to ride and provide some stunning views of the local wildlife habitats.
A trip to the Gulf Coast would hardly be complete without a stop to what many consider the most beautiful beach in the continental US. Here, you'll find clear turquoise blue waters reminiscent of the Caribbean which warm up quickly in the spring and stay warm late into the fall. Those waters are bordered by beautiful white sand which has a powdered sugar-like consistency. The sand is so fine here your bare feet will squeak on it as you walk through it, a truly unique beach experience. The areas surrounding the beach have that classical coastal resort feel and there is plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities here for the whole family.
Emerald Coast RV Resort is a beautiful park in the heart of the action. It can be a bit on the busy side, but the area is known to be quite lively anyways. It's also a little on the pricey side, but you can't beat the location or facilities.
Jacksonville, FL is the largest city in Florida and by square miles is actually the largest city in the US. The city is an interesting mix of beach town and big city while acting as a gateway between the deep south state of Georgia and Florida. Yes, Florida is further south than Georgia but it is culturally quite different then the “Southern States” to its north.
One of the best attractions here is the Jacksonville Jacksonville Farmer's Market. This is the largest farmer's market in Florida with up to 20,000 visitors per day. Unlike most smaller farmer's markets, this one is open daily and makes for a great place to shop for local food items that you can take with you on your adventures around town or to the beach.
Of course, while in Florida you have to visit the beach and Jacksonville has their share of good ones. These are all going to be Atlantic Coast beaches so don't expect the turquoise waters or powdery sands of Panama City Beach. However, these beaches do have other great features going for them. Directly east of the city are Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Fort Clinch State Park. Just to the northeast of the city is the beautiful Amelia Island. This historic island makes for a great day trip and visiting the beaches here (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fort Clinch Beach, American Beach, and Peter’s Point Beach) makes the day even better. This is also the site of the annual Amelia Island Concours D'Elegance. This upscale car show features some of the finest examples of historical automobiles in the world.
Downtown you can stroll the riverwalks, there are two on opposing sides of the river. The south side is shorter at about one and a quarter miles and has more restaurants, bars, shops and things to do. Either will provide a good view of the city and river where you can frequently see dolphins and manatees playing in the water nearby.
The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve provides a historical perspective for the area. Located just northeast of the city, this area is a National Park Service facility preserving nearly 6,000 years of human history. It is also one of the most pristine coastal wetland regions in the US and it includes the Fort Caroline National Memorial, the Ribault Club, and the Kingsly Plantation. The wetland surrounding these places has numerous hiking trails and there are places where you can rent canoes or kayaks to explore the inland waterways.
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is a great place to camp here. It's located in the wetlands along the coast and is not far from the city or the nearby beaches. The park itself has its own one and a half-mile stretch of beach and like most Florida Parks of its type, it provides a unique coastal camping environment.