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On the Road Again

May 11, 2016

By David Chesnick

Posted in: RV Travel Tips

From the magnificent Smokey Mountains to the sandy shores of Cape Cod – and points in between along the East Coast – Sun Resorts are busy making plans to fill your days and nights with great times sure to make this your most fun-filled summer ever. So get the RV ready to get back on the road to do some touring and exploring. And memory making.

Camper's Haven on Cape Cod

Camper's Haven is the only campground on Cape Cod with a private beach – the length of nearly two football fields – so it only stands to reason that many of our days and evenings happen where you can curl your toes in the sand and dangle your feet in the water. Bonfires and barbeques, live music and karaoke, and movie nights are only a sampling.

There's a jetty for fishing, a beach gazebo for picnics and of course basketball, Bocce ball, billiards, shuffleboard: all the activities you'd expect at a Sun resort. In short, there's always something happening here, and that includes special events every weekend.

There's a Mom's Margarita Party to celebrate that special lady on her special day in May. And a Tailgate Party with burgers and beer for Dad's day in June.

July 4th is a weekend-long event that includes sand sculpture and watermelon eating contests, a barbecue party and an evening of live music and toasting s'mores over a bonfire on the beach.

Pirates weekend in August is the time for the youngsters to dress up in their swashbuckling outfits and hunt for buried treasures on the beach. Great prizes and nobody has to walk the plank.

One of the real sweet spots at Camper's Haven for the kids is Candy Basket Bingo. They bring or buy candy bars. The night's big winner walks away with a treasure of chocolate. General Manager Rita Higley tells the story of one little lady who won nearly two hundred candy bars a couple of years ago. A guest asked if she wasn't worried about what eating all that candy would do to her teeth. "It doesn't matter," she answered. "My daddy's a dentist."

Not to be left out, the adults get to play Nip Bingo, where the prizes are single shot liquor bottles from which everyone get to take a little "nip." So all are insured a Sun time.

Away from the Resort, there are quaint towns like iconic Provincetown with its shops and theater. And a rich history to explore –Cape Cod is where the Pilgrims first set anchor. It all helps to make Cape Cod is a vacationer's dream. And there's no place better from which to discover it all than Camper's Haven.

Long Beach in New Jersey

Tucked away in the natural beauty of the New Jersey Pinelands, and only minutes away from Long Beach Island's pristine beaches, Sun's Long Beach Resort in Barnegat, between Tom's River and Atlantic City, seems a million miles away from it all.

And it is. But don't be fooled by its bucolic setting. Long Beach is the perfect spot for a family vacation because there's always something going on at Long Beach. Just ask the kids who take part in one of our most favorite pastimes, "wet" hayrides. What's a "wet" hayride? It's when the kids, armed with super soakers, bundle together in a trailer filled with hay. As they wind their way through the resort, folks along the trail are armed with their super soakers and hoses. The result, an epic water fight filled with laughter. When they dry off, the kids can spend some fun times in our arcade playing pinball, air hockey, and testing their skills with a claw machine.

Of course, we haven't forgotten the adults. There always seems to be an event happening that includes food, music and games. Whether it's a wine and cheese gathering, a barbeque cookout, or our Christmas in July celebration. You can wear your favorite Hawaiian shirt – or grass skirt if you want - to our Hawaiian Luau but you won't have to do the hula unless of course the spirit strikes. Another of our most favorite events is our annual Red Neck Party. That's when everyone dresses up as their favorite Beverly Hillbilly or Duck Dynasty character, takes part in the "special" red neck games and gets ready to do a little two-step and line dancing.

Regular Bingo and Horseshoe Tournaments provide their lucky winners with great prizes, from Corning Ware sets and coffee makers to camping tents. Our newly upgraded mini-golf course is a great way for families to start their own tournaments. There's a great jumping pillow in the heart of the resort for the young and young at heart.

You can bring or rent a boat and spend some time kayaking, fishing, or clamming in Barnegat Bay. Everything you need for the perfect family vacation. So get the family together, turn your cell phones and tablets off, and make plans to make memories.

Shady Pines in New Jersey

You'll find that Shady Pines is one of the very few campgrounds in New Jersey open all year round. And for good reason, there's just too much going on here and nearby to try and pack it all in at once.

Start with activities at the resort. Every Friday, we have a Tiki pool party and every other Friday a D.J. to keep the music going. There are always plenty of potluck munchies and beer and soda. Once a month we have a potluck dinner at the Clubhouse and every other week we light a bonfire where folks gather and toast s'mores. All this in addition to our weekly ice cream socials and monthly movie night.

Good news for all those folks who like to wiggle their toes in the sand or take a dip in the ocean – Shady Pines is only ten minutes from Atlantic City. That's ten minutes to the excitement of the casinos, the great people watching on the Boardwalk, and a front row seat at the Atlantic City Air Show the weekend of August 17th.

No trip to Shady Pines is complete without visits to some of the nearby historical sites. A couple of must-dos: a journey back in time to the Victorian village of Cape May. The entire town is a historical landmark. Also of historical significance is the Renault Winery, one of the oldest continuously operating wineries in the United States. In addition to taking the tour and enjoying a sampling in the tasting room, you might want to try the estate's gourmet restaurant while you're there.

Featured on the Food Channel's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, the Oyster Creek restaurant is worth your attention. Host Guy Fieri's tips for what to order are on the menu so it's nearly certain you'll leave with a satisfied smile.

You'll also want to check out the frozen-in-time village of Smithville. Its cobblestone walkways lead the way to sixty wonderful specialty shops and restaurants. The town also hosts 30 different weekend festivals through the year including Oktoberfest, car shows, and special events just for kids.

So if you’re an RVer that believes getting away from it all means doing it all, Shady Pines is a must. Any time of year.

Fort Tatham in North Carolina

The mist that gives the Great Smokey Mountains its name has always lent them a certain air of mystery, encouraging the many legends that surround them. But for RVers looking to explore these mountains, there is no mystery as to where to camp. Among those that love the open road, Fort Tatham is legendary and for good reason.

The resort is bordered by two streams overflowing with rainbow, brown, and brook trout that are so friendly you’ll have to fight to keep them off your hook.

Better still, if you make reservations soon, you can probably get a spot that enables you to back your RV right up to the water’s edge and do your fishing from a comfortable chair.

For young anglers, Fort Tatham also has a catch and release pond stocked with bass, catfish, and bream. It’s a place where youngsters can not only hone their skills with rod and reel but in telling those fish stories about the ones that got away.

Hiking or biking through the resort’s back roads offers challenges that are richly rewarded by nature’s gifts. And the Dragon’s Tail just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, America’s most scenic drive, is a must for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Friendships come easily made here. On the Saturday of every big summer holiday – Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day, we have a big cookout. We supply the hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, and watermelon. You supply the party.

The 4th is a particularly big day here. The local volunteer firefighters and their families join our guests. To the delight of the youngsters, they bring their fire engine with them and the kids have an opportunity to climb aboard. And while the kids can’t use the hose or run the siren, by the end of the day they all entertain that dream of growing up to be a firefighter.

Two of our neighboring towns, Sylva and Franklin, have free concerts every Friday and Saturday night. Friday it’s Sylva, Saturday Franklin; the music is rock n’ roll, gospel, and, of course, bluegrass.

Sylva and Dillsboro, another nearby community, are filled with quaint shops that feature the work of many of our local artisans and restaurants and breweries that feature the best in farm-to-table feasts.

Only thirty miles away in Cherokee, you can explore the culture of our indigenous Native Americans and see a play that runs nightly, Unto These Hills, which explores their history here. It’s also a place where you can enjoy the big name stars that entertain at the Reservation’s casino and, with a little luck, beat the dealer at 21.

And while warm days and cool evenings make this something of a paradise in summer, we offer this suggestion. Try and visit in October when it’s apple picking time the mountains are bursting with the colors of the changing season. It’s sure to be a legendary trip.

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