Things To Do in Your RV Before the New Year

While many people make New Year resolutions, what’s to stop someone from making some “Old Year” resolutions instead? Why wait for a new year to have fun? Ring out 2017 in style by adding some items to your end of the year RVing bucket list and hit the road today! Here are some great ways to do that:

Go Somewhere New

While every RVer has their favorite destinations that they return to time and time again, why not view the end of 2017 as the time to go somewhere you’ve always thought about seeing, but have never gotten around to going there? Whether it’s heading up into the Rockies, seeing the West Coast, visiting Niagara Falls, or finally checking out the Grand Canyon, there’s got to be somewhere you wish you can go. Stop wishing and make it happen!

Make Some New Friends

Stopping in at an RV park is a great way to make new friends. After all, you know right off the bat that you share some similar interests: travel and RVing! Use those interests to break the ice and get to know your temporary neighbors better. While you’re at the park, you can enjoy your time more fully with new friends. And who knows? When it comes time for you or them to leave, your friendship could carry on if you exchange information. It’s a big open road out there, but your paths could cross again!

Do Some End of Year Cleaning

Spring is the classic season for all things cleaning, but why wait? If your RV is beginning to feel flooded to the brim with clutter, go ahead and make plans to start anew. If you get it done before the new year, you can enter 2018 feeling refreshed and ready to take on whatever the upcoming year may throw your way.

Visit RV Connections

Stop by RV Connections this winter to shop for a new or used motorhome or travel trailer. If you’re not looking to upgrade your rig, you can still make sure that your RV is ready to travel with our service department at RV Connections in Panama City.

Explore Econfina Creek

Located in Florida’s northwest panhandle between Panama City and Marianna, Econfina Creek offers paddlers and other watercrafters an at times languid and at other times harrowing route full of scenery and pristine springs.

Part of the route is great for beginners or those looking to enjoy a languid trip while the rest of the creek is extremely difficult and fast-moving and only suitable for experienced water-goers.

Stretching about 26 miles starting near Panama City and heading to Deer Point Reservoir and the Gulf of Mexico, there are a number of pullovers to enter the river or to picnic along its side.

There are a total of 11 springs along the creek’s length and very little human development to spoil the natural beauty. You can snorkel in the gentle parts of the creek or in the springs themselves. The creek is also good for tubing.

There’s one canoe outfitter situated on the creek just north of the Hwy 20 bridge. They can provide canoe, kayak, or tube rentals and will even shuttle visitors to and from access points along the creek. Even if you’re not renting watercraft from them, they still offer the shuttle service.

Vegetation along the creek isn’t typical Florida foliage, and includes mountain laurels, magnolia, beech, cypress, sweetgum, and white oak, among others.

Visit RV Connections Super Center

Stop by RV Connections Super Center before you visit Econfina Creek to find your perfect summer RV or to schedule service for your current RV.

How to Conquer Any Solo Hike

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Hiking is generally best done in groups or with at least a buddy. This is, besides the company, done purely for the fact that having a buddy is a safeguard against mishap. If one of you has an accident, your hiking partner can offer immediate assistance or flag down aid.

If, however, you’re traveling alone, you shouldn’t let that stop you from enjoying the numerous hiking opportunities you’re bound to encounter. Simply follow these tips to conquer any hiking trail by yourself.

Know Your Limits

Extra important when you’re alone, knowing your limits and abiding by them will keep you fresh and alert. Knowing what you can and can’t handle will keep you safe. If you think scrambling up a hill will save you time and you know you can do it, go ahead. If you’re not confident in doing it, no pressure. Find another route.

Be Extra Aware of Your Surroundings

Two pairs of eyes are better than one, but you won’t have that benefit. Make sure that you’re aware of your surroundings and that you note any potential hazards. This includes uneven terrain that might trip you up (like hidden potholes or exposed roots) and local wildlife. Wildlife, specifically, is something you should familiarize yourself with. Know the local species and know which ones pose danger to a single person.

Have a Well-Stocked Kit

Be prepared for anything by having a well-stocked pack. Make sure that you have a poncho for rain, an extra pair of clothes in case something happens and you need to change, more water than you think you’ll need, non-perishable high protein snacks, a flashlight, and an extra layer of clothing in case the weather turns cold or you have to spend a night outdoors.

Let Someone Know Where You’re Going

Let someone know where you’re going, how you plan to get there, and how long you expect you’ll be out. Just because you don’t have a buddy along with you on the hike itself doesn’t mean you can’t have someone watching your back. This person can be a neighbor at your campsite, a park ranger, or even a family member or friend back home. Tell them you’ll check in with them by a certain time and that, if you fail to do so, to take steps to find you.

Visit RV Connections Super Center

Before you hit the road in search of hiking trails to conquer, be sure to stop by RV Connections to schedule service and have a technician check your rig for any problems that may cause you problems on your trip. RV Connections can also help you find your next RV if it’s time to upgrade or if you’re just getting into the RV lifestyle.

Free Entry to National Parks in 2016

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The American National Parks Service turns 100 years old this year, and that means you enjoy tons of benefits. All National Park Service sites will offer free admission to everyone for 16 days throughout the year. With 409 National Parks Service sites across the country, there are more unique places to visit than you’ll even have time to see on those special, fee-free dates.

What are the dates?

The fee-free dates for 2016 are spread throughout the year. They are as follows:

  • January 18 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • April 16-24 — National Park Week
  • August 25-28 — National Park Service Birthday
  • September 24 — National Public Lands Day
  • November 11 — Veterans Day

What do fee-free days include?

Fee-free days are some of the best days to visit National Parks Service sites. The fee waiver means you do not have to pay entrance fees, transportation entrance fees or commercial tour fees. Reservation fees, concessions, tours, camping fees and fees collected by third parties are not included in the waiver unless otherwise stated by the park.

Fee-free days make America’s best national parks available to everyone. Park entrance fees range anywhere from $3 to $30 per vehicle for some of the most famous parks. These 16 days encourage everyone to experience America’s best natural wonders without having to worry about the budget.

Other Affordable Options

If you’re unable to take advantage of the National Parks Service fee-free days, there are a number of other ways to enjoy reduced admission fees. All fourth grade students are welcome to a free annual pass through the NPS “Every Kid in the Park” program. Active duty military personnel and those with permanent disabilities are also allowed free access to the parks. Even more, families can buy an annual pass to the parks for one low monthly fee.

Don’t forget to stop and see us at RV Connections in Panama City when you’re out traveling to all of America’s favorite National Parks in your RV this year.

September Events in Florida

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USFWS/Flickr Creative Commons

September is one of the best months of the year to be in Florida. The crowds are gone, the weather is still warm and there are tons of exciting outdoor festivals and events still on schedule. So fire up your RV and cruise down to the Sunshine State for some warm-weather fall fun.

Flavor Palm Beach

The entire month of September is reserved for the celebration of Flavor Palm Beach. A number of the best restaurants throughout Palm Beach County will be offering three-course meals at lunch and dinner times for unbelievably low prices. Foodies who love enjoying a five-star meal, but don’t like the five-star prices will appreciate the Flavor Palm Beach festival Sept. 1-30.

Florida Scallop and Music Festival

Seafood and music pair perfectly together, and the 18th Annual Florida Scallop and Music Festival is the best place to enjoy them together. This food fest is dedicated to scallops, but tons of mouthwatering Florida treats will be available for festival-goers. The kids zone and tons of live music make this an ideal event for the entire family.

Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival

An RV trip to the Florida Keys can make you feel like you’re in another country. And there’s no better time to visit than for the Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival. The tail end of September is the best time for bird watching in the Keys, but this 16-year-old festival offers far more than just sightseeing. Workshops, boating , kayaking, eco tours and field trips are just a few of the outdoor events you can take part in. The festival takes place Sept. 23-28 this year, so start planning your RV adventure to the Keys today.

Start Your Fall Adventures at RV Connections

Fall is one of our favorite RV seasons here at RV Connections in Panama City, and we’ve got all of the fall RV supplies you need. Whether you’re looking for a new or used RV to start the season off right or a few new camping supplies for the season, we’ve got everything you need at our two locations in Panama City and North Panama City, Fla.

5 Reasons Georgia Should be on Your Mind

The weather is warm, the oak trees are thriving and the old southern charm is still intact. With everything from stunning outdoor scenery to quaint beach towns and tourist attractions the whole family can enjoy, there’s no doubt that Georgia should be on your mind this summer. Fire up your RV and cruise up to the Peach State to visit these five must-visit Georgia attractions.

Jekyll Island

Admire the mansions, cruise the cozy streets or sit in the shade under a magnolia tree — Jekyll Island is known for its Georgian luxury, but it’s also the perfect place to sink your toes into the sand and relax.

The Georgia Aquarium

Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium is the largest in the world, and the building’s 10 million gallons of water are home to stingrays, jellyfish, gators, sharks and countless other underwater species. Your kids will love the touch pool where they can learn about, and even feel, live sea creatures.

Historic Savannah

Carriage rides, ghost tours and some of the best southern eats in the country are just a few staples of downtown Savannah. Spend your days exploring the historic city, then indulge in the fine foods and happening bars at night.

Pebble Hill Plantation

Get a true taste of southern history at the Pebble Hill Pantation in Thomasville, Ga. Enjoy a picnic under the oak trees and admire the horses roaming about the estate. Book your tour of the main house ahead of time, because the Pebble Hill Plantation is a popular destination in summertime.

Stone Mountain Park

Just 15 minutes from downtown Atlanta is the exciting family-fun center of Stone Mountain Park. With rides, ropes courses, nature trails, a cable car and plenty of other outdoor activities sprawled across the park’s 3,200 acres, your entire family can run wild and blow off some steam away from the city.

Get Your Road Trip Supplies Here

At RV Connections in Panama City, we’re more than your go-to Florida RV dealer, we’re your No. 1 spot for finding all of the RV and camping supplies you need to enjoy the Georgia road trip of a lifetime.

North Carolina is a Great Place to Travel This Summer

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From the undeveloped beaches of the Outer Banks to historic Wilmington and the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina offers vacation destinations for beach-combers and mountain-lovers alike. Check out these three amazing destinations throughout the Tarheel State this summer, and you’ll quickly realize why North Carolina is such a great place to RV.

The Outer Banks

North Carolina’s Outer Banks are unlike anywhere else in the world. This 200-mile-long strand of barrier islands floats out to sea offering pristine ocean views on one side and the mild waters of the Pamlico, Albermarle and Currituck sounds on the other. RV-friendly campgrounds dot the entire coast of the Outer Banks, and finding a convenient and scenic spot to park your RV is actually easier than finding a hotel.

Historic Wilmington

Still on the North Carolina coast but only about one hour from the South Carolina border is the historic city of Wilmington. Wilmington offers five-star eateries, quaint shops and art galleries, plenty of pubs and historic tours in the downtown area as well as family beach towns (Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach are closest) on the outskirts. Winner’s RV Park is just steps from the shops, ocean and boardwalk in Carolina Beach and the Wilmington KOA will put you on Market Street just moments from the city’s historic downtown riverfront.

Mountainous Asheville

You don’t have to be a beach-lover to fall in love with North Carolina. Asheville is Western North Carolina’s biggest city, but it’s not just the incredible dining, music scene and countless craft breweries that bring tourists to Asheville in droves — it’s the area’s breathtaking scenery. Check out downtown Asheville then cruise the famous Blue Ridge Parkway 45 minutes southwest to Mount Pisgah Campground — the highest and most serene campground on the entire Blue Ridge Parkway.

Stop and See Us First

Before you make the road trip from Panama City to North Carolina, stop and see us at RV Connections — your local Florida RV dealer. Whether you’re in the market for a new or used RV or just need a little service done on your existing vehicle, we’re here to ensure you enjoy the road trip of a lifetime.

Image by Matthew Paulson via Flickr Creative Commons

5 Must-Visit Summer Events in Florida

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Here at RV Connections in Panama City, we think there’s no better place to be in the summertime than Florida. And with so many amazing events happening throughout the state this summer, we think you’ll definitely agree.

Fire up your RV and cruise down to Florida for these five must-visit summer events, and you’ll see why the Sunshine State is not just for snowbirds anymore.

Downtown Lakeland Food Truck Rally

Reserve the second Thursday of each month for the delicious Downtown Lakeland Food Truck Rally. Sample some of the best food in Lakeland from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the exciting downtown, outdoor atmosphere.

Bonita Springs Country Music Barbeque

Kick off summer a little bit early on June 1st and 2nd at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa for an unforgettable concert by the J.J. McCoy Band, a massive barbeque buffet, full bar and tons of cowboy-themed fun.

The 24th Annual Harvest Festival

Explore one of Florida’s most anticipated events of the season at the Lakeridge Winery in Clermont June 20-22. With tons of live music, over 80 craft and art vendors, plenty of wine and beer and the popular grape-stomping competition, you don’t have to be a wine-lover to have a blast at the Harvest Festival.

Panama City Beach Fourth of July Spectacular

Celebrate the Fourth of July right here in Panama City Beach at the annual Fourth of July Spectacular. With a wide variety of live music, free events, kids activities, food, drinks and so much more, you may just enjoy the best Fourth of July ever right here in Panama City.

Yogi Bear’s Beach Party Weekend

There’s no better way to enjoy summer with your kids than Yogi Bear’s Beach Party Weekend from July 11 to 13. Camp at the Jellystone Park in Madison all weekend and experience endless family fun including beach music, karaoke, beach volleyball, sand castle building and tons more.

Make a Stop At RV Connections

When you’re cruising throughout Florida this summer, don’t forget to pay us a visit right here at RV Connections in Panama City. As your local Florida RV dealer, we’ve got everything you need to enjoy the best summer camping season yet.

Image by sunsurfr via Flickr Creative Commons

Great Travel Apps to Make Your Next Road Trip Easier Than Ever

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While RV travel often means going off the grid and trading our everyday technological lives for a breath of fresh air, there’s no denying that smartphones can be extremely handy on those long days on the road. From apps to help us get to our destination to those that help us enjoy the journey, these travel apps are must-haves for your next RV adventure.

GPS CoPilot

Although Google Maps may already be downloaded on your phone, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t download the GPS CoPilot app too. What’s so great about CoPilot? It’s an offline map program that works when you do decide to travel off the grid to places where cell phone service isn’t available. It’s ideal for travelers with limited data plans, poor cell phone service and those who cross borders in their RVs, and even better, paid upgrades are available to give you live traffic and map updates as well as turn-by-turn navigation in a wide variety of countries.

Camp and RV — Campgrounds Plus

Sometimes it’s worthwhile to shell out a few bucks for an app, and that proves true with Camp and RV Campgrounds Plus application. This app will help you locate any stopping place from luxury RV resorts to parking lots for those late night naps, and the straight-forward, easy-to-find information without any advertisements makes it well worth $9.99.

RV Checklist

Have you been using a pad and paper to list everything you need to do to prepare for a long RV adventure? Download the RV Checklist app, which is free for Androids and only $.99 for Apple products, and you’ll finally be able to leave home without a worry. With reminders ranging from your stabilizing jacks to your bocce ball set, you can customize your list, and the app will track your progress for you.

Before you hit the road for your first RV adventure of spring, don’t forget to stop by RV Connections in Panama City for all of your RV lifestyle needs from outdoor accessories to new and used RV sales. We’re your one-stop shop for RV sales and service in Florida, so come make RV Connections your go-to RV dealer today.

Photo by Steve Rhodes (Flickr Creative Commons)

Spring Break Trip Ideas Along the East Coast

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Here in Panama City, we know that spring break is all about fun in the sun, and while Panama City is certainly a spring break hot spot, we hope you’ll check out these awesome East Coast RV destinations that are guaranteed to make this spring break the best one ever.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

March is the month it really starts to heat up in North Carolina, and that means it’s the perfect time to visit the Outer Banks. Whether you’re seeking sun-bathing, surf, shopping or seafood — the Outer Banks is an uncrowded East Coast gem that boasts some of the most beautiful untouched coastal scenery in the country. If you’ve got a four-wheel-drive RV, you’re welcome to camp right on the sand in certain areas of the Outer Banks. And if not, there are a variety of RV parks stretching from Kitty Hawk all the way down to Ocracoke Island.

Charleston, South Carolina

If you’re looking for a spring break destination that combines culture and nightlife with the serenity of East Coast beaches, you’ll love Charleston. Spend your days exploring historic downtown Charleston and indulging in some of the nation’s best dining and shopping or just kick back and relax at a scenic campground near the beach. The Oak Plantation Campground on John’s Island is just moments from all of the action, and the James Island County Park gives easy access to the quaint and serene town of Folly Beach as well.

Cocoa Beach, Florida

You don’t have to venture out of our home state to find some of the best spring break destinations in the country. Cruise over to Cocoa Beach, and you’ll be relaxing on the beach with a cocktail in no time. Stay at the Jetty Park Campground and enjoy all of your favorite amenities from bathhouses to laundry facilities, a convenience store and a playground — all just steps from the Atlantic Ocean.

RV Connections

Before you hit the road, don’t forget to stop by RV Connections here in Panama City. We’re your local Florida RV dealer, and we’re here to help with all of your RV lifestyle needs from sales to parts, accessories, advice and so much more.

Photo by Dave Coleman (Flickr Creative Commons)