Last year we marked the end of 2015 with a special post that highlighted 15 moments from the year. This year we thought it would be fun to continue the tradition of highlighting the most memorable moments of the year. We spent our first New Year’s Eve in the camper this weekend, and as we dined on one of our go-to crock pot meals, we reminisced with the kids about all the fun we had camping and touring this year. We all had different favorite moments, but the consensus was clear: 2016 was quite a year.
Favorite national park: Steamtown National Historic Site
We visited 10 National Park Service sites this year and each was special and unique, but Steamtown National Historic Site was a favorite with our boys (Jarrett included!). It’s the kind of place we’d like to go back to and explore some more. If you love trains, this place needs to be on your bucket list!
Favorite state park: Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas
This stop came in the final few days of 2016, but it was the fulfillment of our kids’ young dreams to be able to visit Crater of Diamonds and dig for those elusive gemstones. (Jarrett and I have concluded it’s really just a great excuse to act like a kid and play in the dirt!) Although we found no diamonds–the day before our digging expedition a sixth grader found a 2.10 carat diamond!–we walked away with priceless memories. And we have discovered that the Arkansas State Park system is quite impressive!
Favorite historic stop: Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell
Our camping adventures this past year included many historical adventures, like Kitty Hawk and Gettysburg. But our favorite historic stop was our trip to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. To stand in the places where history was made is a humbling experience, and to be able to show the kids where history took place adds another incredible dimension to their education.
Best scenic drive: Pennsylvania’s Route 6
Our camping adventures throughout Pennsylvania this year included a lot of time along historic Route 6. Stops along the way feature scenic vistas (Pennsylvania Grand Canyon) and slower paces (Wellsboro). The region is also rich with history (PA Lumber Museum) and natural wonders (Cherry Springs). (To learn more about these cool locations along Route 6, check out our other post here.)
Favorite ocean view: Outer Banks, North Carolina
We started our 2016 camping season with a March trip to the Outer Banks. Although the temperatures were still too chilly to do any ocean dipping, we stayed busy exploring and uncovering a wealth of family-friendly opportunities. We loved that the region offers a full spectrum of activities, so no matter what your travel style, you will find your perfect “away.”
Favorite roadside attraction: Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
We discovered this National Park Service site by accident when we took a wrong turn en route to Crater of Diamonds State Park. But we were so charmed by what we saw that we knew we needed to come back and explore. The walk along Bathhouse Row is a fascinating trip back in time.
Favorite wildlife: Wild ponies of Assateague State Park
We made reservations for our fall trip to Assateague months in advance, so it seemed to our daughter that this trip would never come. She is a big fan of Marguerite Henry’s horse books, and getting to see the wild ponies of Assateague and Chincoteague was the highlight of her year.
Best road food: Duck Donuts
What can I say? We love a good donut–and these made-to-order treats didn’t disappoint. It’s probably a good thing we don’t have one near our home. 🙂
Most useful camper modification: Pet gate
Last year’s under-the-bed, rolling shoe rack continues to be a huge asset in the camper, and this year Jarrett installed a handy pet gate to keep the dogs out from under foot and safely contained. As Martha Stewart would say, “it’s a good thing.”
Most expensive moment: Camper axle repair
Oy! Most definitely not what we had intended spending money on this year, but we are very thankful to the folks over at Boyer RV for getting us back on the road. And at least now we know why our camper tires were wearing so unevenly.
Favorite camping photo:
Jarrett snapped this shot while we were camping at Assateague State Park–it was one of those epic moments where you’re so glad your phone has a camera to capture it.
So those were our memorable moments from 2016. What were some of your favorite or most memorable moments? Be sure to share in the comments below!