By Katherine Hunnicutt
The best time to start planning an RV trip for a holiday weekend is, well, yesterday. You can never start planning too soon. RV parks and campgrounds fill up fast for three day weekends, especially when it’s the holiday that kicks off summer- Memorial Day.
This year, Memorial Day is on May 29th and it’s coming up faster than we think. I already have our site reserved and paid for, and I have a rough idea of what we’re going to do.
Last year, we were lucky to snag an “overflow” site outside of Philadelphia, so we were able to camp in our brand new Big Lou (our 2016 Thor Motor Coach A.C.E. 30.2). This year, I was smarter and made plans early.
Memorial Day trips can be great! It may be the first vacation of the year, plus, it’s a three day weekend so you get that extra day to relax. But it’s also about remembering those who have fallen in the service of our country. Despite the somber and noble intentions of this holiday, many people forget about the purpose and forget to remember.
How do you have a great vacation and still honor America’s fallen heroes? Last year, I kind of stumbled upon a perfect way to do this. And I wish I could say I did it with incredible foresight and pure intentions, but I honestly planned our trip based on cool historic places I had never been to before: the Gettysburg National Military Park and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
It was a great experience and I recommend it to anyone who is planning a weekend trip for Memorial Day.
We started off driving up to Gettysburg Military National Park, which was a beautiful and relaxing drive through the Pennsylvania country side. The Park itself is incredible, and I recommend getting there early and plan on spending your entire day exploring.
You should take your time in the visitors’ center and view the video and Cyclorama. I also did the bus tour, which is necessary if you didn’t tow a car- the battlefield is extensive so unless you plan on walking for miles and miles, you’ll want to drive a tow car (not your RV) or take the bus tour. The bus tour had a park ranger narrating – he was knowledgeable and had amazing stories to tell of the different battalions- both Confederate and Union. If we had driven around the battlefield, I feel like we would have missed out on some amazing history.
Visiting Gettysburg is a sobering experience and I great way to remember the sacrifice that both men and women are willing to make for their country.
The next day we visited Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the many small museums in the historic area of Philadelphia. While getting tickets to Independence Hall can seem like a hassle, it’s worth it to take the tour. It’s another experience I wouldn’t trade. Independence Hall is actually a National Park. Our tour was led by a park ranger who really helped open our eyes to what independence is for a nation, the process by which it’s obtained, the risks involved for those who stand up for independence, and how far America has come since the first desire for independence struck the brave men and women centuries ago.
Even though the weekend’s focus was on remembering, it was fun, informative, and beautiful.
Katherine and her family love traveling, tasting new foods, and exploring our great nation. The Hunnicutts are on a mission to discover as much as they can on affordable, weekend trips in their RV. Follow her blog, The Paved Frontier to see their RV travels, advice and travel tips.