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Don’t let rising fuel prices keep you grounded this summer. There are plenty of places to travel, right in your own “backyard”. And if you find yourself on 1-10 in Crestview (FL) or in the Destin/Fort Walton region, then you’re just a short distance from the Air Force Armament Museum.

The museum is free and open every day except Sunday and federal holidays. If you find yourself arriving early, don’t worry! There are over 20 planes to view outside the museum.

For more information and directions, visit their website at: http://www.afarmamentmuseum.com

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We recently signed up for a day casino trip from Florida to Mississippi. We were with forty people on a tour bus for 4 hours (one way) heading down 1-10.

Now being full-time RVers, it was nice not to have to worry about driving for a change… or so I thought…Someone (and I won’t tattle) started counting how many semi-trucks the bus driver was passing! ūüėČ

About two hours into the trip, I realized my legs were both numb. At the next stop I was happy to get out and stretch. Unfortuantely, that’s when I¬†noticed my knees were hurting. Apparently they were shoved into the seat ahead of me so hard, I didn’t realize I had bruised them. After arriving at the casino, I was glad to walk around and regain the use of my limbs.

The return trip was the same and the three of us stumbled out of the bus toward our Chevy Silverado. After we climbed in, there was a moment of silence before the first¬†“ahh” cried out. Then and there we made it official – no more traveling unless it’s in a Chevy. ūüėČ

For those smart enough not to cancel their reservation along the Florida Gulf this summer Рthey were in for a treat. Most of the summer saw warm temps, sunny days and plenty to do without a lot of crowds!

One of the things we enjoyed doing the last several weeks is visit some of the “forgotten” lighthouses along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Within an 80-mile stretch off of Highway 98, you can visit four spectacular lighthouses. Starting westward at Port St. Joe, there is Cape San Blas lighthouse. There is a fee if you would like to climb it.

After returning to Highway 98 and heading eastward, you are in for a treat on your journey to Cape St. George lighthouse on St. George Island. This lighthouse is visible from the bridge and has a wonderful park and keeper’s cottage. There is also a fee to climb this lighthouse.

Heading eastward on Highway 98 once again (okay, maybe after we had ice cream cones across the street from the Cape St. George lighthouse), we found ourselves enjoying the view so much we actually drove by the Crooked River lighthouse just west of Carrabelle. So make sure you pay attention to the historic signs and banners as you approach Carrabelle. This lighthouse has a cute little museum and a wonderful gift shop. There is a fee to climb it, however you can only climb it on certain days.

After Crooked River lighthouse, continue eastward to the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. The lighthouse is actually inside the refuge and the main road actually dead-ends at the lighthouse. There is day-use fee for admission through the refuge. You can only climb the lighthouse during special events. However, there is an observation deck which gives you an amazing view of the area and great photos ops (like the photo I took above).

If planning to visit all these amazing lighthouses in one day, I recommend you leave early in the morning so you have ample time to visit the lighthouse gift shops and museums. If you intend to climb, wear sturdy walking shoes or sneakers. Most lighthouses have strict policies regarding open-toed shoes and sandals.

This is Florida and even folks in the best shape will find themselves breathless on a lighthouse climb. Take your time and if anyone in your party is not climbing, give them your purse or backpack to help lighten your load. Stopping at windows (especially open ones), can give you a nice rest stop. Just be mindful of the rules regarding right-of-way for stairwell traffic.

If you are staying west of Port. St. Joe, don’t forget that all these lighthouses are in the Eastern Standard Time Zone.

PLEASE NOTE: There is no parking at any of these locations to handle a RV. You could take a smaller motorhome to St. Marks and Cape St. George, however, you may find parking and turn-around space limited during busy times.

Detailed information and driving directions to these lighthouses can be found at a great website called Lighthouse Friends. http://www.lighthousefriends.com/

 Despite the poor economic conditions and many uncertain of the times ahead, the outdoor hospitality business (RV parks, resorts and campgrounds) are staying filled this summer.

Many folks have re-discovered the fun in camping, while others are exploring their “own backyard” – just travelling a few hours away from home.

With limited vacation time or funds, many Campers have figured how to make the most of both. Many are either taking one day off a week and taking their scheduled days off  Рsuch as the weekend Рto make a nice 3-4 day camping trip each month or every two weeks. This not only breaks up the summer, but stretches out the vacation time all summer.

Multiple stays at the same campground doesn’t have to be boring. Take advantage of local sites and attractions and make a series of day-trips. Driving an hour or so from your campground can be like a mini-vacation in itself!

The Blue Ridge Parkway makes for a wonderful day-trip!

The Blue Ridge Parkway makes for a wonderful day-trip!

If you stay at the same campground or RV resort, you may find yourself eligible for a “repeat” or “multiple stay” discount. Some campgrounds offer 10% or more off on their regular Campers. And many campgrounds offer discounts for extended stays that could save you hundreds of dollars!

If you have family and friends that enjoy camping, see if the campground offers group discounts and family camping areas. If they have family or group areas (for multiple families), you may find it cheaper to divide the cost among the families than to each rent a campsite individually.

If you have children, finding family campgrounds or RV parks that offer activities will benefit both you and your children. Parks such as Jellystone offer many free activities – from wagon rides and movies to crafts and dances. Low-cost activities such as bingo, mini-golf, water slides and ceramics are available at most family-friendly parks.

Make the most of your summer vacation, despite limited time and funds. Go camping… again and again! ūüôā

King Kong in VA

Never know what you'll see on a day-trip!

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