Gale Straub on her website She-Explores has a thing for landcape and she knows how to capture beautiful sceneries that will only make your bucketlist longer! We really love what she does so we thought we would ask her to recommend 5 places to drive your van this spring. Enjoy!
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Make sure to head to Joshua Tree before the desert is hit with the intense summer sun. It’ll be crowded but it’s worth it to see some beautiful wild flowers and enjoy the mild temperatures. To avoid scrounging for campsites, camp in Bureau of Land Management land North or South of the park. There are no facilities, but they’re free and close to the park.
Cape Lookout, Tillamook, Oregon
Cape Lookout is one of my favorite places in the country. I stumbled upon it on a road trip in 2013 and spent the next year dreaming about returning. The light is amazing and it overlooks the ocean. You can camp at the state campground for $17 if you don’t need hook-ups. Not bad for oceanside camping. There are even yurts to rent if you want to get closer to nature. There are more than eight miles of hiking trails through the forest, complete with ocean views. If you want to keep it simple, walk the beach, take a deep breath and enjoy the ever-changing light.
Cape Kiwanda, Cloverdale, Oregon
Just a 20 minute drive South of Cape Lookout, Cape Kiwanda is a stellar park overlooking the Pacific. You can scramble up rocks to see the tide coming in and creating huge waves. It’s right next to Pacific City, a small surf town full of amenities. Stop by Pelican Pub & Brewery for a beer and watch the sun set behind Haystack rock.
Belknap Mountain, Gilford, New Hampshire
Spring hiking can be tricky for New Englanders. The White Mountains are still subject to extreme weather and snow. You have to look to the shorter mountain ranges of the South for quality hikes. The Belknap range in the Lakes Region is a great place to start. You can stretch winter your legs, pull off a quick 1000 feet of elevation gain, and climb a fire tower. It’s also fun to summit three mountains in one morning! Good head start to the day.
Barataria Preserve, Jean Lafitte National Historic Park, Louisiana
If you’re in the New Orleans area, the Barataria Preserve is a great way to escape the city and check out the bayou. Spring is the perfect time to see wildflowers and diverse wildlife, including alligators. Pack a picnic lunch, go for a walk, and peruse the visitor center. There’s an interesting exhibit on the erosion of the Gulf coast and the environmental impact levees have on the shoreline.