Traveling is always so much sweeter when it doesn’t break the bank. With higher than usual gas prices you might be wanting to drift away from road trip plans, but before you do, let’s explore a few different ways you can hit the road and keep your savings. Our best solution? RVing! With RVshare, you can rent an RV from a neighbor and head out to explore the open road. Having your accommodation and transportation covered in the same bill won’t only save you money, but also unlock all sorts of new adventures. On the RVshare platform there are 100,000 different vehicle options to choose from across the US, from luxury driveable Class As to towable trailers. Many owners even offer delivery and will bring your RV directly to your location.
The savings and adventure doesn’t stop there, here are 5 of our favorite ways to take an affordable RV road trip!
1. Have your RV delivered or search for a stationary option
Truth is we all want those unique accommodation experiences that make for an unforgettable trip. Renting an RV offers exactly that and a bit more. If you’ve been wanting to try out #rvlife, or simply want the comforts you are used to like a bathroom, TV and kitchen but don’t want to deal with logistics, have your RV delivered! Owners will deliver the RV straight to your destination, whether it’s a campground, RV resort, or even your own driveway!
Another fun alternative is renting a stationary RV. Meaning you get to stay in an RV wherever it’s parked! Usually this is a cool piece of land or nearby a popular event, like a music festival or fair. A great way to ease your planning and give you more time to do what matters…enjoying!
2. Stay local: Don’t miss out on state parks
So many of us get caught up in dreaming of big travels in distant places that we sleep on local gems. Using an RV to explore your area is a great way to get in some adventure time without spending hours (or all of your budget) on the road. You’ll be surprised by how far it feels like you’ve traveled once you immerse yourself in a new place.
Not sure where to go? Choose a landmark in your state you’ve never visited before! We bet your state has some pretty amazing places that you haven’t even heard of yet. There are some truly stunning state parks and campgrounds out there — some that even rival National Parks.
And don’t even get us started on how much easier it is to plan a local trip, the additional conveniences of being close to home and the opportunity to save hundreds of dollars!
3. If you do decide to drive, use a gas app!
When the road calls, don’t let the price of gas stop you! Check out mobile apps like GetUpside, that offer cashback on different gas stations across the country. Another great resource is GasBuddy, where you can search for the cheapest gas along your route. RVs are not the most fuel efficient vehicles, saving a few cents at the pump or going one block further for the best deal really adds up your savings! Afterall, an RV trip is not really complete without some driving.
4. Bring friends!
Did you know some luxury driveable Class A RVs can sleep up to 10 people? There is really no better way to spend quality time with the ones we love than taking on adventures together. Cooking meals, sharing stories around a campfire, going on walks around camp or simply relaxing by the river together. These memories of quality time together will last a lifetime. Not only will the road trip be much more fun with friends, you also win on savings by splitting up the bill. A true win win for everyone!
5. It’s all about the campground
It’s not every day you get the opportunity to bring along a home and all of its amenities with you on your travels. Make the most out of your time in an RV by picking the best campground for your budget and needs!
If you are looking for the most cost effective adventure check out public lands near you in the Bureau of Land Management. Most of these campgrounds are off-grid sites immersed in nature and free! It’s the best way to get an adventure, spend some time unplugged and keep within a budget! Want a few more amenities? Book a campground or an RV resort! If your group or family enjoy having access to pools, hiking trails, lakes, community areas or restaurants, choosing to stay in an established campground is the smartest way to travel. You can even pick a resort that will make you think you’re on a luxury all inclusive vacation! You will save money and make everyone happy having access to all of these perks right from your doorstep!
Renting an RV to visit places close to home is a great way to still capture the magic of an adventure without traveling far. While high gas prices may deter you from taking an extensive road trip, exploring your own backyard in an RV doesn’t have to break the bank. RVing offers a safe and secure way to travel, with all of the amenities you enjoy along for the ride, including a kitchen, bathroom and comfy bed to sleep in. Make an ordinary trip a little more special renting an RV with RVshare!
Content by RVshare, the world’s first and largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace with more than 100,000 RVs to rent nationwide. RVshare brings RV renters and RV owners together by providing the safest and most secure platform for booking an RV rental.
With 2022 lining up to be the busiest travel season ever, those who haven’t booked a summer vacation yet may already feel they are missing out. For those still undecided on where to go this summer (or hesitant to travel too far from home) we have compiled a list of biking tour destinations that explore the natural wonders and culture of America. Family Tours Adventure Cycling Association is offering its Family Adventure tours in summer 2022, with two departures of the new Cape Cod Family Adventure and one departure of the Idaho Trails Family Adventure. Family Adventure tours are designed to help introduce parents and their children to the transformative power of bike travel with the support of tour leaders, catered meals, accommodations, luggage transport, and more. Departures are available in July, starting at $699 per adult and $499 per child. On Adventure Cycling’s Family Adventure tours, children must be accompanied by adults, and adults must be accompanied by children – parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and groups of friends with their children are all welcome. Children must be between the ages of 8 and 17 years old at the time of the tour. Tour highlights include: Cape Cod Family Adventure (new), July 9-12 and July 14-17: Experience four action-packed days while exploring beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts, from Provincetown, at its northern tip, to Upper Mill Pond, near Brewster. At the core of the trip is nearly 100 miles of great cycling, including traffic-free paved trails such as the Cape Cod Rail Trail and the Head of the Meadow Trail. Participants can even take some time off the bike to go swimming and hiking, and try stand-up paddleboarding. Starts at $699 per adult and $499 per child. Idaho Trails Family Adventure, July 17-22: On this six-day tour, ride through the gentle terrain and gorgeous scenery of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes as it follows an abandoned Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way past lakes between the Silver Valley, near the Montana border, and Plummer, not far from the Washington border. Also spend a day on the Route of the Hiawatha, which originates in Montana and then crosses the state line into Idaho in the middle of the 1.7-mile-long Taft Tunnel. Starts at $1,099 per adult and $799 per child. To find out more about Adventure Cycling’s Family Adventure tours, read their full descriptions and register, visit their site. Courtesy of VBT Bicycling Vacations Tour operator VBT Bicycling Vacations has compiled a list of their legendary biking destinations in the US. Some of these destinations have been driven by and flown over for decades, which means fewer crowds exploring the road less traveled. If biking isn't your thing check out their sister company Country Walkers which offers walking tours. E-bikes are available on all VBT itineraries, and an added bonus: since VBT take care of all the logistics, there’s less stress involved when it comes to planning (in case the past two years have left one a little rusty in that department!). Mississippi: The Natchez Trace (VBT, Guided) – ponder the legacy of the Civil War at the ruins of the Windsor Plantation, relive the Siege of Vicksburg with a local historian on a guided tour of Vicksbury National Military Park, visit one of the largest Native American ceremonial sites Emerald Mound, and marvel at stately antebellum homes. Maine: Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park (VBT, Self-Guided) – explore Acadia National Park, browse Bar Harbor’s shops and art galleries, ride through unspoiled landscape of rugged coastline, forested coves and idyllic fishing harbors, and sample mouth-watering dishes infused with Maine blueberries. California: Wine Country & the Pacific Coast (VBT, Guided) – enjoy private tastings at some of the most renowned wineries in the region, bike along the Pacific coastline and into the rolling countryside blanketed with grapevines, explore Healdsburg and some of the most charming Spanish Colonial towns in the West, cycle the Napa Valley Trail, and more. Arizona: Saguaro National Park & the Sonora Desert (VBT, Guided) – soak in sprawling desert landscapes and ride across vast, versatile ranges. Enjoy picnics and tastings in winery row, bike among the cacti of Saguaro National Park and Tumacácori National Historical Park, and savor local cuisine infused with Native American, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo-American influences
Travel Tips on Getting to (and Around) Martha's Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts that has become the preferred summer destination to hundreds of families for decades. For those of you visiting us for the first time, you might be a little confused as to how to get to the island and eventually, how to get around island during your visit. We’re here to tackle all your questions, concerns, and overall comments - so here are our top travel tips to getting to (and around) Martha’s Vineyard: 1.There are only TWO ways to get to Martha’s Vineyard: you can fly into the MVY Airport or take one of the many ferries from the mainland. Check out Vineyard Ferries for details on all the ferries you can take to Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re flying, carrier options include Cape Air, JetBlue, Delta, and American Airlines - more details on getting to MV by plane. 2. If you want to bring your car on island, you must take the Steamship Authority ferry from Woods Hole on Cape Cod. The good news is that the Steamship Authority ferry operates many times a day, every day of the year. The bad news is that, while you can walk onto any of their ferries without a reservations, all car reservations must be made in advance, and space on ferries in July and August can fill up quickly. 3. If you still want to fly in and need a car, there are many car rental businesses on island ready to rent you a car, SUV, Jeep, or van. Car renting is common for visitors spending a few weeks on island at a time! 4. Rent a bicycle! There are so many locally owned bicycle shops on island and you can’t go wrong with any of them! Renting a bike will cost you between $25-45 a day - check out bike rental rates and ride safely! The island has more than 35 miles of paved, off-road bike paths, so it’s the perfect way to explore.5. Don’t want to rent a bicycle? Buy a Vineyard Transit Authority Bus Pass! The VTA public buses are a clean, safe and reliable way to travel around the Vineyard. The daily bus pass cost is $8, on/off as much as you like. Children under 6 ride for free, and seniors 65+ get a reduced rate of $5. Bus passes can be bought at the Steamship Authority terminal, and, if you have exact change in cash, right from the bus driver. 6. Don’t want to ride the bus? Walk/run! There are great walking trails and running paths in every town, and it’s a great way to work up an appetite for lobster rolls and ice cream cones! 7. Take a tour of the island! Whether you're here for the day or for the season, don't miss anything Martha's Vineyard has to offer and take a tour. From tour buses and vans, walking tours, food tours, lighthouse tours, and on-the-water tours, there's a tour for all guests.8. Don’t want to do any of the above? You’re in luck, because ride share, such as Uber and Lift are both available, as are local taxi companies. CARD WIDGET HERESponsored by Martha's Vineyard
A few things might wake you up in the middle of the night the first time you climb under the covers inside an RV. Fearing that you forgot to engage the parking brake and are in danger of rolling down the hill to your death, for one. (You did, and you are.) Thinking someone left the light on in the bathroom and wondering whether that will drain the RV's battery by morning. (They did, but it didn't.) Hearing campers breaking the sacred "quiet after 9 p.m." rule and imagining they'll get busted. (They did.) Wondering if the bacon and eggs you bought for tomorrow morning's breakfast are now, effectively, toast, because you'd been told that the fridge will mysteriously stop working if the RV is parked on even the slightest incline. (They are.) Funny, I'd spent half my life dreaming about setting off in an RV for parts unknown and maintaining perfectly level appliances never once figured into the fantasy. To me, RVing was simply the ultimate escape route. Maybe that's because my early family vacations revolved around campgrounds and car trips. Or maybe because buying an RV is the landlocked states' version of saving up for a sailboat. It's a vacation home wherever you want it, whenever you want it. It's freedom and security in equal measure. It's Lewis and Clark with a V-8 engine. "I studied online forums for RV enthusiasts, campground-review sites, and the orientation video on the RV-rental website." Still, in the weeks leading to my maiden RV voyage, my anxiety was rising almost as fast as gasoline prices. The sheer size of the vehicle—and the fact that it would be filled with cutlery and combustible fuels—grew scarier by the minute. To quell the panic, I studied online forums for RV enthusiasts, campground-review sites, and the orientation video on the RV-rental website (twice). And I brought backup: Lindsay and Lola, a couple of friends I've known since college who have a generous way of seeing disasters as adventures. They tried to distract me by focusing on our packing priorities: hiking gear vs. lawn games, SPF 15 or 30. Not that it helped. ROAD-TESTED TIP #1: "Use an RV-specific route planner on a GPS. It'll factor in overhead clearance and other restrictions, such as which roads, bridges, and tunnels won't allow propane tanks through." —Richard Coon, former President, Recreational Vehicle Industry Association And yet, when we arrived at the rental lot in Durham, N.C., I started to calm down, in part because a petite 20-something gal handed me the keys, and I figured that if she could pilot a big rig, then maybe I could, too. We got a few simple pointers from the RV folks: Pull far into intersections before making a turn. Leave lots of room for braking. Always use a spotter when you back up. Drive-through restaurants are just not worth the risk. We learned when to use battery power, propane, shoreline electricity, and our generator; how to restart a dead battery; the necessity of turning off the propane tank before refueling; how to heat water for showers and how to tell when the water supply is nearly depleted; and how to level out the rig with a pair of two-by-four boards if our campsite is on a slant. And we learned the finer points of emptying the holding tanks—a polite way of saying draining the toilet—a task that quickly supplanted merging onto the highway as my most dreaded challenge. "Once you get the hose screwed on—and make sure you screw it on really tight—then open the valves and walk away," said Tommy, our orientation instructor. "Or run. I've gotten wet feet more times than I like to recall." The girls and I made a pact to use the campgrounds' rest areas whenever possible and added latex gloves to the top of our shopping list. Then we took a few trial spins around the parking lot, and with Lindsay in the navigator's seat and Lola on loose-objects duty in the back, we headed into the great wide open. "We quickly learned that RV trips are all-hands-on-deck endeavors." First came the rattle. With every bump in the road, each cup, dish, and saucepan in our kitchen cabinets shuddered like a beat-up shopping cart being pushed down a gravel road. (I learned later that putting paper towels between the plates helps immensely.) Then came the thuds. Turn left, and one set of drawers would slide open with a thwak. Turn right, and another drawer would do the same. We were already learning that RV trips are all-hands-on-deck endeavors. In addition to navigating, Lindsay was my second set of eyes for lane changes and would become my second-in-command for ticking off setup and breakdown duties. Lola wrangled drawers and cabinets, stood lookout at the rear window for minor back-up missions, and became galley chef for the length of the trip. "This is like a ropes course," Lindsay said after our first refueling stop, with its propane-off, propane-on, secure-all-items drill. "Maybe we should do some trust falls at the beach." Six hours, three pit stops, and one possible bird collision (none of us wanted to check the grille for confirmation) later, we arrived at Frisco Campground, one of four in the area run by the National Park Service. We had just enough time to practice back-in parking before nightfall. That's when I realized my first RV mistake: Anywhere we wanted to go, we'd have to take the RV, repositioning it each time we returned. (The pros either bring bikes or tow a regular car—often referred to as a dinghy—behind the RV.) So we strapped ourselves back in to fetch dinner in Hatteras Village, five miles away, and performed the parking routine again an hour later—this time in the dark, with the girls wielding flashlights like traffic batons. ROAD-TESTED TIP #2: "We try to bring or rent bicycles to visit nearby areas while camping. It beats packing up the RV to move it to a trailhead for hiking, only to find out there is no room to park a larger vehicle! Many times, you can access a 'bikes only' trail or (at the Grand Canyon, for example) trails for shuttle buses and bikes only." —Debby Schlesinger, BT reader, Grenada Hills, Calif. To celebrate—not just the parking but surviving the first day—we split a bottle of convenience-store wine around the RV's dinette, the only spot where all three of us could sit facing each other. "I've had worse apartments than this," I said, looking around. "Definitely worse kitchens." The furnishings were surprisingly modern—navy fabric upholstery and matching window coverings, new-looking appliances and cabinets. And even though I assumed we'd overpacked, there was plenty of unused storage space in the RV's dozen cabinets. More impressive to me was the fact that I could walk around the whole cabin standing at full height, without crouching or hitting my head on anything. That was, until bedtime. I called the bunk over the cab—possibly an unconscious compulsion to stay near the driver's seat. Maneuvering my limbs into the crawl-space-size cubby guaranteed a bumped elbow, knee, or forehead with every entrance and exit. The girls shared the double bed in back, since converting the dinette to a third bed would have required clearing the piles of maps, snack-food containers, and bug repellent cans that had already accumulated on the tabletop. Calling out our good nights and cracking jokes in the dark, it was the closest thing to an adult sleepover I could imagine—more intimate than sharing a hotel room, and sillier, too. "Orchestrating our morning routines was easier than I'd thought." Seeing the Frisco campground in daylight—just after sunrise, in fact, thanks to the chatter of the campground's early risers—provided a fresh perspective after that fitful first night's sleep. Orchestrating our morning routines was easier than I'd thought. The toilet and the shower—one of those flimsy jobs with a handheld sprayer that tumbles readily from its mount—were bundled in one closet-size room, about four feet by four feet, tops. (Its door was inches away from where Lindsay and Lola slept, another reason to make sparing use of its facilities.) Still, the teensy bathroom sink was just outside the shower/toilet stall; at the slightly larger kitchen sink a few feet away, two people could brush their teeth simultaneously. Lindsay was the first one out, conferring with the park ranger and plotting the day's activities (hit the beach, visit a lighthouse, find lunch). The ocean's proximity redeemed the transportation issue. After all, who needs a car when you can walk to the beach? The geography of the Outer Banks—a 130-mile stretch of narrow barrier islands, less than a mile wide for much if its length—was the primary reason I'd chosen this spot for my trial run. There are 20-plus campgrounds along the strip, none much more than a mile away from the Atlantic Ocean or Pamlico Sound. At Frisco, $28 a night buys you peace, quiet, and your own little slice of unlandscaped beachfront real estate. What that $28 doesn't buy you: heated campground showers or any way to charge a cell phone. Hence, one night would be our limit. ROAD-TESTED TIP #3: "If you're exhausted and not near a campground, Walmart stores sometimes allow campers to use their parking lots. Just check to make sure there's not a no overnight parking sign, and choose a spot near one of the lot's outer edges." —Kevin Broom, former Director of Media Relations, Recreational Vehicle Industry Association Courtesy RVshare The 30 miles of road between Frisco and Rodanthe, where we'd camp next, passes through a series of near-identical hamlets with dreamy names: Avon, Salvo, Waves. The longer we drove, the less I worried about all the folks in my rearview mirror who clearly wanted to pass me on the two-lane highway. Rolling down the windows and turning on the radio helped distract me. So did focusing on our next stop, an oasis where water and electricity flow freely and quiet hours don't start until a wild-and-crazy 10 p.m. As much as I'd been obsessing about life inside an RV, pulling into the Cape Hatteras KOA was a revelation. Here, everyone was living outside their vehicles. All around us, colorful awnings, canvas camp chairs, outdoor carpets, wind chimes, string lights shaped like Airstream trailers, plastic gingham tablecloths, tiki torches, and dream catchers marked off each site's would-be front lawn. We envied our neighbors, a retired duo from Farmville, N.C., for their old-school, beige-striped Winnebago (our RV was plastered with rental ads) and simple setup: an AstroTurf swatch just big enough for their two folding chairs and a small table. ROAD-TESTED TIP #4: "If you're staying parked in one spot for a while, run the RV engine for a few minutes each day to recharge the battery." —Tommy Summey, Cruise America rental agent, Hillsborough, N.C. We'd brought nothing—and I mean nothing—to make the outside of our RV feel like home. Alas, the homiest thing we could muster was to try out the RV kitchen. "Grilled cheese sandwiches, everybody?" Lola asked. With no real counter space, she spread plates across the stovetop to prep the ingredients, then shifted the plates to a little sliver of awkward space behind the sink. As the stove (and, soon after, the RV) heated up, she had a change of heart. "Cold cheese sandwiches, everybody?" she asked. The plan abandoned, we carried our sandwiches out to the nearest picnic table. And never turned on the stove again. "Having a place to spread out is crucial." Having a place to spread out is crucial—especially when you've crammed a family of four or five into a usable living space the size of a large toolshed. But it would also be a shame to stay inside; an RV park is a voyeur's paradise—people watching at its most reciprocal. Several times, I passed a man with a white ponytail sitting shirtless outside his RV, shelling peas. He asked how I was doing, and when I replied in kind, he said, "I'm just making do, trying to enjoy myself...it's not too difficult." He didn't need to wink—but I think he did anyway. Our favorite acquaintance at the camp was Kilo, a nervous but friendly tan-and-white Chihuahua that accompanied John, a KOA staffer, on all his rounds—showing new arrivals to their sites and helping campers set up. (The explanation for his name? "He's from Mexico." Roger that.) Judging from all the group activities at the campground, it's safe to say that RVers are very social. Even those campers who'd rather spend their afternoons at the beach—as we did, most days—have ample opportunity for mingling after sundown. One evening, we caught the opening number at karaoke night—Cee Lo Green's expletive-free radio hit "Forget You," performed by a teenage staffer; the next, we watched an outdoor screening of Kung Fu Panda. We even organized some social events of our own, enlisting a couple of 30-something Texan guys to help us start a fire to make s'mores. Another snafu: not knowing the proper way to extinguish a fire when you're done with dessert. We poured panfuls of water from our kitchen onto the flames, sending out smoke signals to the whole campground that we were clueless. "Just as we were leaving, I was getting the hang of it." The author with her Class C RV. Credit: Brent Humphreys By the last day, we'd had more than our share of screwups, most easy enough to laugh off. But there was one RV task I really couldn't afford to botch. It was time for the Holding Tank. Lindsay followed me outside to offer moral support—and to remind me to run. Fortunately, I didn't get my feet wet, though I did leave a small trail of blue chemicals between our site's dump station and the RV (and hoped no one would notice). ROAD-TESTED TIP #5: "Be sure to get a tutorial on how to empty the holding tanks. One time, we forgot to add chemicals to the black-water tank after emptying it—the smell was terrible, and we quickly learned our lesson." —Laurie Huhndorf, BT reader, San Antonio The payoff for that 5 a.m. waste disposal came when we finally hit the empty road pointing north toward Nags Head, the sky slowly brightening with each mile. The only other travelers out were sea birds and jackrabbits, and I'd long since stopped fretting over every lane change, left turn, or loose kitchen drawer rattling with dishes. Even shutting off the propane at our last gas-station stop was second nature. Finally, just as we were leaving, I was getting the hang of it. Next time, I may even get up the nerve to grill a cheese sandwich or two. Content Presented by RVshare, the world’s first and largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace with more than 100,000 RVs to rent nationwide. RVshare brings RV renters and RV owners together by providing the safest and most secure platform for booking an RV rental. 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Unique History and Culture Activities Around South Carolina
As America opens up again, many of us are ready to explore. Road trips are a great American pastime that everyone loves, but if you feel like you’ve already seen what South Carolina has to offer, think again. This unique itinerary of activities you might never have heard of can be done on a ladies’ trip, a couples’ trip or with the entire family. So, grab the snacks and get packed because we’re going to discover some of the prettiest scenery, the best art, and the most important history that the American South has to offer. Columbia South Carolina State House / Erica Chatman We’ll start our cool quest in the capitol city of Columbia. Make your first stop the South Carolina State House at the corner of Gervais Street and Assembly Street. The sculpture garden is a respectful attempt to acknowledge history in a balanced way. Yes, there is a huge monument to controversial politician Strom Thurmond and several oversized horse-and-rider statues to Civil War participants. However, there is also an intricate bronze monument to the women of South Carolina. This commemorates their role in rearing children and operating farms and businesses when the men were off at war. There is a corner of the park dedicated to law enforcement. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Memorial has curved walls engraved with the names of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty throughout South Carolina history. Most importantly, in 2001, the city dedicated an African American History monument on the grounds. This puts them nearly two decades ahead of the current nationwide movement for equality. Visitors will find an entire area dedicated to this portion of South Carolina history. Bonus Stop: Visit the historic riverfront park and walk the trail with the manmade canal from 1824 on one side and the Broad River on the other side. Myrtle Beach Franklin G. Burroughs – Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum / Erica Chatman Head three hours southeast of Columbia to the coast. Myrtle Beach is a tourist hotspot during certain seasons. After you’ve braved the crowds on the beach or along the boardwalk, seek some peace and quiet at the Franklin G. Burroughs – Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum. This facility is located at 3100 South Ocean Blvd. in a historic home. The museum displays local, regional, and even national, artists in 11 different galleries. Exhibits rotate throughout the year so, there is always something new to see. Additionally, the museum maintains four permanent collections. This free museum (donations accepted, of course) is a hidden gem in Myrtle Beach. Perhaps the best bonus of a museum that displays regional and local work is that you have a chance of meeting the artist. As I leaned closer to a J. Hoffman sketch based on an Andrew Wyeth painting, I heard a gentleman behind me attempt to get my attention. He introduced himself to me as “Joe” and proudly proclaimed that I was inspecting his art. If I visit the Museum of Modern Art in New York, it isn’t likely that David Hockney is going to stroll up to me and chat about his process. Joe Hoffman did. He told me which piece was his favorite and allowed me take his picture next to it. Bonus Stop: This town is mini-golf heaven. There are dozens of elaborate courses to choose from, so pick the one with your favorite theme and get putting! Murrells Inlet Brookgreen Gardens / Erica Chatman On a sunny (but not hot) day, Murrells Inlet is the perfect day trip from Myrtle Beach. A quick 30-minute drive will deliver you to Brookgreen Gardens. The motto for this attraction is: “Ever Changing. Simply Amazing.” It really is. Brookgreen Gardens is a National Historic Landmark property of over 9,000 acres. The property is home to the largest and most comprehensive collection of American figurative sculpture in the United States. There is also a small zoo and a butterfly enclosure. The botanical gardens have dozens of varieties of trees, shrubs and perennials blooming and growing all year round. The $18/adult ticket price gives visitors access to the sculpture gardens, the indoor galleries and the zoo. The tickets are also good for seven whole days! If you don’t get to see everything in one day, you can go back. How clever is that? Bonus Stop: Murrells Inlet is famous for two things. The other thing is fresh seafood. Make time to each a lunch that was caught that morning. Charleston MacLeod Plantation Historic Site / Erica Chatman Continuing this epic road trip, we travel south down the coast for less than two hours to arrive in Charleston. This is one of America’s great culinary and historical cities and warrants its own itinerary, of course. However, if you only have a day or two, my suggestion is to start with a half-day visit to the MacLeod Plantation Historic Site. The Charleston area is full of restored plantations that offer tours, but his park is run by Charleston County and is a decidedly different experience. The park sits just 15 minutes outside the historic district. The admission fee for adults is $20 and includes a docent-led tour. Everywhere you look, the signage at MacLeod Plantation Historic Site reminds the visitor that the plantation’s story isn’t a “whites only” story. It is a story of Caucasian and black families. All the inhabitants of this land are given equal time. I noticed that many of the interpretive panels presented factual information, as I was used to seeing, but many also asked questions. These were weighty questions intended for discussion. It is not a practice that I’ve seen at many historical or cultural sites. When I asked a staff member, I was told, “We are teaching empathy.” Each tour guide is given the flexibility to present the information how they see fit. For example, my guide, John, was of Gullah Geechee descent. The Gullah Geechee people were from the coastal areas of western Africa and comprised the majority of the enslaved people in the Lowcountry. John’s Gullah heritage meant that, for him, telling the story of the enslaved people at MacLeod Plantation was of special importance and there was a focus on this during his tour. Deftly handled with an even treatment, he also discussed the details of the MacLeod family’s history, business life, and family life. Before you leave, make sure to stop by the gift shop and pick up a reading list, which contains titles for adults and children. Bonus Stop: Take a stroll down the tiny paths of the Unitarian churchyard on Archdale Street and see if you can figure out which grave belongs to the woman who inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, Annabel Lee. If you want to end your travels where they began, then Columbia is only a two-hour drive north. Regardless of where you begin or end your road trip, there are amazing memories to be made. Play a little, learn a little and eat a lot. That’s sounds like the perfect vacation to me. Erica Chatman - is a freelance writer whose work often focuses on the art and culture that she finds in various destinations. She used to reside full-time in North Florida, but is currently traveling around the American southeast with her husband, whose profession requires full-time travel. Her unusual lifestyle in documented on her blog, MrsHomeFree.com.