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  1. Default Thanksgiving trip suggestions

    All right, I know this is very early to think about.

    I am in the DC area. I would like to go on a vacation for the full thanksgiving week, giving me 9 days. I prefer camping. However, it might get a bit chilly in certain parts of the country, which I want to avoid. I have camped when it was really chilly and it was quite unpleasant.

    Are there places I can drive to from the DC area, where I can camp and the weather will be cool, rather than chilly? I do nature photography, so would want to camp in state parks, national parks or national forests. The place should be at most 550 miles way from the DC area.

    I was also thinking of flying into TX, camp for a few days in Big Bend NP, then maybe visit other places and then fly back. But would prefer to make a road trip out it.


  2. #2


    Last november I camped on Long Island, near the hamptons. It was chilly, but I enjoy the cold weather.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Carolinas Come to Mind

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    550 miles from DC (a day's drive) will get you as far south as Charleston, SC which still has average overnight lows in the mid to high 50's in November, so that would seem to be a rough target. Too much farther east rather than south would start putting you in the Appalachians where overnight lows would be expected to be considerably chillier. Charleston makes a great base for exploring both a unique city and a fascinating area of the country. There are several state parks nearby as well as the Francis Marion National Forest for camping. Another good option would be the Outer Banks of North Carolina.


  4. Default

    Thanks AZBuck. Outerbanks was in my mind and I was planning to visit that during the week to avoid the crowds. Then During the thanksgiving weekend, I wanted to go to some remote forests and spend some time before heading back home. I still haven't figured out which place for those 4 holiday days yet.

  5. #5

    Default NC/SC National Forests + or - State Parks?

    Hello dinesh75-

    If you're considering the Outer Banks (OBX) for the "during the week" part, you might be interested in some camping and photography in the National Forest or State Park systems in NC and SC. I am rather more familiar with the NC side of things, being a lifelong resident, so here are some thoughts for you:

    Once you're done on the OBX, work your way down to Hatteras Village and hop the 45 minute ferry to Ocracoke. An 18 mile drive takes you to Ocracoke Village, where you can take one of two ferries: The Swanquarter or the Cedar Island. Each runs around 2.5 hours and reservations are highly recommended. The NC DOT runs them and has 800 phone numbers for reservations, schedules, and info.

    The former takes you to, well, Swanquarter, and US 264 on the north side of Pamlico Sound. At Swanquarter, you're close to Lake Mattamuskeet, Phelps Lake, Pocosin Lakes NWR, Alligator River, Scuppernong River, etc. Two caveats there: 1) As I type this, there is a HUGE forest/peat fire burning on the Pocosin Lakes NWR land and adjacent private property. There could be damages or restricted travel affecting your plans even though they're months out from the present. 2) Thanksgiving weekend is prime waterfowl hunting season and the motels and campgrounds in the Lake Mattamuskeet vicinity could be crawling with hunters. Plus, Swanquarter is REMOTE. As we say here in Raleigh, "Swanquarter isn't at the end of the world, but you can see it from there".

    The Cedar Island Ferry will take you over to Cedar Island, of course. There you'll connect to US 70 and pass through the "Down East" section of NC enroute to Beaufort and Morehead City. There's NC 101 which departs US 70 at Beaufort and bypasses the heavily-developed Morehead City and Atlantic Beach area. Don't think it won't be crowded at Thanksgiving, as going to the beach for Thanksgiving is a HUGE tradition here in NC. In the vicinity of Harlowe along 101, the Neusiok Trail crosses 101 (I think--I know it crosses the short spur to the north of 101 (306?) which leads to the Minnesott Beach ferry over the Neuse). In any event, the Neusiok Trail is a 20-some mile trail through savannah, glade, swamp (wooden walkways) and pine thicket. It is wholly or largely within the Croatan NF. On the other side of Havelock, there are some good-sized lakes and, I think, campgrounds in the Croatan NF.

    You could also turn off short of Beaufort at Atlantic, NC and take a ferry across Core Sound to Portsmouth Island and primitive camp there. Similar access to Core Banks can be had from Davis, NC. In each case, unless something has changed, you can take a 4WD vehicle over on the private ferry and therefore have free range to cruise the 20-25 mile long islands and set up your camp wherever you'd like. Caveat: Like Mattamuskeet, Portsmouth Island and Core Banks attract sportsmen, in this case surf fishermen. You must book the private ferries well in advance. Info can be found on the Cape Lookout National Seashore website, as well as a site called "Drumwagon dot com" and "Portsmouth Island Fishing dot com". Finally, there is a passenger-only ferry service out of Harker's Island, NC which takes you to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. Check ahead to see if it's still running then. Look for private ferry access to Shackleford Banks, too. It's part of the Cape Lookout Nat Seashore, too, and there is no vehicle access allowed, so as long as primitive camping is allowed then, it'd just be you, the wild horses, and whatever other private boaters who might choose to visit during the day. I'd be surprised if more than a handful camped overnight on Shackleford at that time of year.

    I am much less aware of the SC side of things, but the Francis Marion NF covers huge swaths of lower SC along I-95. There are a number of State Parks down that way, too.

    On the return side of things, stopping by Cliffs of the Neuse State Park in NC is nice. Check ahead for hours and to see if their campground is open at that time of year. Avoiding I-95 on the Holiday Weekend would be VERY high on my list, so I'd look at swinging through the Clarksville, VA area to see if Occaneechi State Park is still open (large campgrounds) and then ride up the "Jewel of Central VA", US 15. It's entirely rural, rolling countryside with many small towns and villages and crossroads communities. Staying on US 15can take you to US 29 near Gainsville, VA, at which point you re-enter the maelstrom of DC/Balto traffic, or you can continue north on US 15 to a point more convenient for you to enter Balto only, bypassing DC entirely.

    Have fun planning your trip!


  6. Default Thanks FOY!

    Thanks so much for your excellent suggestions. I shall definitely keep all these in mind when I am finalizing my trip.

  7. Default Thanksgiving is finally here

    Alright guys,

    I have sort of have modified my plan. I am planning to go down further south into GA. I am planning to visit the following two places:

    a) Cumberland islands national seashore
    b) Okeefeenokee swamp (will camp in foster state park).

    Now, I am not sure how to distribute my week between these two places. Which place is better to stay during the thanksgiving days? I prefer peace and quiet.

    I will be leaving on Saturday the 22nd and reach one of the places by 23rd afternoon. Plan to spend 3/4 days in each. So one visit to a park is definitely during the thanksgiving break. Any suggestions?

    I plan to start driving back on Saturday, the 29th.

    Anything else I can see while I am down in GA?


  8. Default Planned trip so far

    Hi guys,

    I have sort of finalized my trip. I have booked my campsites as well.

    I am visiting these two places:

    a) Little talbot Island state park - FL
    b) Foster state park - GA

    This is the plan. Start on Saturday, 22nd morning. Drive as much as I can the first day. Take a night halt somewhere. Reach the talbot state park by Sunday, 23rd afternoon and set up my tent. I will be staying there for two nights. Hike and take pics of all the local sites.

    Then move onto the Foster state park in GA on Tuesday, the 25th. Spend 4 nights there. Spend all the time hiking and taking pics in the Okefenokee national refuge. Start driving back on Saturday, the 29th and reach DC by Sunday, the 30th afternoon.

    How does this look? Any suggestions to the local sites I can see at these two places?


  9. Default Update

    Hi guys,

    I came back from my trip. I went to the following places:
    a) Little Talbot Island state park - FL (2 nights)
    b) Okefenokee wildlife refuge - GA (4 nights)

    I enjoyed my trip and it was fairly quiet most of the time. Things started getting a bit busy on the day after thanksgiving, but that's when I was starting back.

    I did not get as many good pictures as I hoped for. I did a lot of Kayaking in the swamp. Not many alligators as it was a bit chilly for this time of the year. But still had fun.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Kayaking with alligators?

    Quote Originally Posted by dinesh75 View Post
    I did a lot of Kayaking in the swamp. Not many alligators as it was a bit chilly for this time of the year. But still had fun.
    Kayaking with alligators? That would give me a bit of a thrill -- how was that?


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