Northwest Zone

Cultus Lake - Lindell Beach, BC

Cultus Lake – Lindell Beach, BC

Read on to see what’s to learn, see and do in the Northwest Zone:

Celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with your friends at Cultus Lake (BC) on September 27.  While the Canadian Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated on the second Monday of October, Cultus Lake is bringing out the turkey and fixings a bit early to not only celebrate the year’s harvest and blessings, but to also say thanks for a wonderful summer camping season.

If you’re planning to visit our Seaside Preserve (OR) the last weekend in September, make sure to keep September 27 open to receive free admission to the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum.  As part of Museum Day Live, sponsored by Smithsonian Magazine, visitors who have downloaded a free ticket from the website at receive free admission for two to the museum that features historical exhibits of the area.

Learn how the pioneers lived and work at Washington’s Duvall Heritage Festival, September 27. Located less than 10 miles from the Thunderbird Preserve (WA), the event will have blacksmith demonstrations, antique tractors, butter churning and folk music. Tour a restored loggers’ bunk house or dance to the music of Tinker’s Dram, a contra and square dance group. For more information visit


Southeast Zone

Lake Conroe RV - Willis, TX

Lake Conroe RV – Willis, TX

Read on to see what’s to learn, see and do in the Southeast Zone:

Come learn Native American symbols as well as how to make a dream catcher at Lake Conroe (TX) on September 27.

Plan ahead for the long Columbus Day Weekend and plan to learn a thing or two about the man who sailed the ocean blue. Bay Landing (TX) will host a Columbus Day Celebration October 10-12.

It has been 150 years since the Battle of Cedar Creek was fought during the Civil War. Visit the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historic Park, in Middleton, Virginia just an hour’s drive or so from Virginia Landing. The battle, fought October 19, 1864, was a decisive Union victory. Events are planned October 17-20 to commemorate the 150 year anniversary. For more information visit


Southwest Zone

Verde Valley - Cottonwood, AZ

Verde Valley – Cottonwood, AZ

Read on to see what’s to learn, see and do in the Southwest Zone:

Learn about the people that were indigenous to the area surrounding our Russian River Preserve (CA) when you stay with us on September 20. An informational event will be presented.

Try this two-fer: Take the Red Rock Loop History Tour offered by the Sedona Heritage Museum in Sedona, Arizona, just 40 minutes from our Verde Valley Preserve (AZ). Not only can you enjoy the breathtaking scenery as you follow the Red Rock Loop road, but you will also learn the history of the area and visit historic home sites, homesteads and buildings. Tours are scheduled for October 2, 3 and 4. For more information visit

The history and culture of the Hawaiian Islands will be celebrated at the 23rd Annual Ho’olaule’a Pacific Island Festival September 13-14 in Las Vegas.  Stay at the Las Vegas Preserve (NV) and enjoy three days of island offerings including food, vendors and entertainment. For more information visit


Midwest Zone

Bear Cave - Buchanan, MI

Bear Cave – Buchanan, MI

Read on to see what’s to learn, see and do in the Midwest Zone:

See if you can solve the mystery at Pine Country’s (IL) Who Done It Mystery Weekend, scheduled for September 19-21. Participate in the performance by the Stage Coach Players and watch and listen closely for the clues to find out who the culprits are.  Don’t forget to bring your reasoning skills and tools of deduction for this fun weekend.

Spend a weekend at Bear Cave (MI) and learn all about the rich history of the land on which the campground is located. It played a significant part in the history of the Underground Railroad and even has a bit of Hollywood trivia attached to it. Sign up for the History of Bear Cave Weekend, September 26-28 and learn all about this fabled campground.

Plan a visit to Kenisee Lake (OH) and you can double your learning fun.  With a day trip to Canton, less than two hours from the campground, you can learn the history of America’s favorite fall pastime at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Artifacts, archives and more are featured at this history stop. Also in Canton are the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum and the McKinley Monument, a Canton landmark and the final resting place of our 25th president.


Northeast Zone

Gettysburg Farm - Dover, PA

Gettysburg Farm – Dover, PA

Read on to see what’s to learn, see and do in the Northeast Zone:

Take a course in another culture and learn all about Italy at Rondout Valley’s (NY) Italian Festival Weekend. Italian events and food promise to give you insider’s knowledge of the country also known at Lo Stivale (The Boot.) Events are planned for the weekend of September 12-14.

Learn some fancy footwork and swing your partner at Gettysburg Farm (PA) when they host their Square Dance Weekend, September 26-28.  Allemande left, right, chasse and swing all weekend long at guaranteed fun time.

Are you an oenophile? Or do you just like to drink wine! Come sample some favorites of other campers at the Wine & Cheese Weekend hosted by PA Dutch (PA) the weekend of September 26-28. Make new friends and find a new favorite wine to keep your warm this winter.

If you’ve never tried lobster, clams or mussels, don’t miss Moody Beach’s (ME) Second Annual Twin Lobster and Clambake scheduled for September 26. To say thanks for a wonderful season, the preserve is throwing an old-fashioned clambake. Just $25 per couple gets you two lobsters, homemade clam chowder, steamed clams and mussels, corn and more.


August 31: National Trail Mix Day!

Is it just us, or are there a ton of amazing camping food days in the month of August? August 31st celebrates Thousand Trails’ favorite snack: trail mix! Trail mix, or gorp (said to stand for good old raisins and peanuts), is thought to be the best snack for camping and hiking. The snack is light weight, portable, and packs a lot of energy into a little snack. Trail mix has changed since it was first made in the mid 1900s; then, it was strictly raisins and peanuts. Now there are a variety of delicious options, so this National Trail Mix Day, grab a bag and hit the trails. These delicious trail mix options will leave you wanting more, and they are perfect for any snack time.


Spicy Honey Mustard Trail Mix

Trail Mix_Honey Mustard



2 cups spicy peanuts
2 cups salted soy nuts
1 cup raw almonds
2 cups grape nuts or other firm cereal
1 cup peanut roasted chickpeas
2 cups pretzel nugget pieces (honey mustard & onion flavor)
1  1/2 cups chopped dates

Place all ingredients in a plastic bag and shake well until mixed. Grape nuts tend to sink to the bottom, so shake well before eating.

Make sure to pace yourself, measure out a small bowl or napkin or you may end up eating this addictive snack in one sitting!



Teddy Graham Trail Mix

Trail Mix_Teddy Grahams


1 box Peanut Butter Multi Grain Cheerios
1 box Chocolate Teddy Grahams
2 cups mini pretzels
1 bag M&M’s
1 1/2 cups yogurt covered raisins
1 box Raisinets

Mix ingredients in a large bowl and store in an air tight container.



Healthy Trail Mix

Ingredients Trail Mix_Healthy

1 cup almonds

1 cup cashew nuts

1 cup pistachio nuts

½ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup dried goji berries

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and store in the fridge. Divide into servings.

This tasty trail mix is surprisingly good for you, and will cause you to swap a bag of chips for a few handfuls.



If you love the trail mix taste, but want to try something new, check out this new spin on traditional trail mix!


Trail Mix Cookies

Trail Mix_Cookies


2/3 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 tbsp vanilla1- 1/2 cups quick cooking oats

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 TBSP shredded unsweetened coconut flakes

1 cup add ins – ex: 1/2 cup raisins, 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 1/4 cup peanut M&M’s


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Then, beat in egg and vanilla until incorporated.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients; oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, coconut, and add ins.

4. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture in 4 additions until blended. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Shape dough using a heaping tablespoon into balls (about 24) placing them at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake in top and bottom thirds of the oven, switching them halfway through the baking time which is 12-15 minutes total. Cookies should be golden, with crisp edges and soft centers

6. Transfer to racks, and let cool.



Trail mix can be prepared in your favorite way, so if none of these recipes tickle your fancy, mix together your favorite nuts, dried fruits, candy bits, and pretzels, and celebrate National Trail Mix Day on August 31st.


August 30: Toasted Marshmallow Day!

Every camper has a favorite way to eat marshmallows, whether that be plain, golden brown, or sandwiched between chocolate and graham cracker. August 30th is the day to celebrate this tasty treat, and TT would like to help! This National Toasted Marshmallow day, be adventurous and try a little something different. These tasty marshmallow treats are sure to make you think twice about your choice campfire snack.


White Chocolate Marshmallow Cookie Bars

Roasted Marshmallow - White Chocolate Bars


1 and 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

dash salt

1/4 cup apple butter

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg white

1 tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup mini marshmallows


1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9×9 pan with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together apple butter, sugar, egg white, Greek yogurt, and vanilla until well combined. Slowly, add in flour mixture and continue beating until incorporated.

3. Transfer dough to prepared pan and use a greased piece of parchment paper to gently and evenly press dough into the pan.

4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and set in the center. Evenly sprinkle white chocolate chips on top, followed by marshmallows.

5. Broil for 2-3 minutes until marshmallows are browned and puffy. Pay close attention during this step–they can burn quickly if left in too long. Cool completely, and serve.



Toasted Marshmallow Cupcakes


¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

1 ½ cups all purpose flower Roasted Marshmallow - Cupsake

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

¾ cup warm water

½ cup whole milk

¼ cup sour cream

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

18 cupcake liners

1 bag jumbo marshmallows


1. Whisk cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in eggs, warm water, milk, sour cream, butter, and vanilla, mixing until smooth.

2. Fill each muffin cup halfway (about 2 ounces each). Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean (15 to 18 minutes).

3. Let cake cool slightly and change the oven to broil.

4. Place one marshmallow vertically in the center of each cupcake. Put the cupcakes back into the oven (careful not to knock any marshmallows off) and watch them closely, as the marshmallows will roast in a matter of seconds.

5. When the marshmallows appear golden brown on top and puffed slightly, take the cupcakes out of the oven and carefully press the marshmallows down, using your hand or a spoon, to cover the whole top of the cupcake.



Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Marshmallow - Sweet Potato


3-5 medium sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

dash of cinnamon

mini marshmallows


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse each sweet potato, scrub clean (if you plan on eating the skin), pat dry and poke each potato with a fork.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Place potatoes on the baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until soft.

2. While your potatoes are baking, combine melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a small mixing bowl.

3. After your potatoes are finished baking, remove them from the oven.  Carefully slice open each cooked sweet potato lengthwise.  Fill the open gap of each potato with a handful mini marshmallows.  Pour some of the butter/sugar mixture on top of each sweet potato.  Top with another handful of mini marshmallows.

4. Turn your oven to the broiler setting.  After it is heated up, place your baking pan with your sweet potatoes in the oven for 30 seconds, or until your marshmallows are golden brown.  Be sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.  Sprinkle your potatoes with a dash of cinnamon and serve.


When we think roasted marshmallow, we think s’more. While s’mores are great, this tasty treat deserves to shine in its own way. Give toasted marshmallows the spotlight they deserve on August 30th!


We don’t care how you do it, just Get Out and Camp!

Thousand Trails knows there are many different ways to get out and camp, so we provide options for various types of campers. We hope to give each camper the best experience possible and our variety of great lodging options make that possible. From tent camping to the more eclectic covered wagon, we have your preference covered.


3.19.14 - Verde Valley

Verde Valley – Cottonwood, AZ

If your ideal camping trip involves your house on wheels, we have sites for you! Depending on the site chosen, hooking up at TT could include full water and electrical service, sewer access and possible cable service. Many campsites come with a grill and a picnic table. TT RV sites are first-come, first-served, so if you want a particular site, be one of the first to the park!


4.14.14 - Idyllwild

Idyllwild – Idyllwild, CA

Tents are the most traditional way to camp. Sleeping under the stars, cooking dinner over an open fire, and crawling into sleeping bags are images most see when they think of camping. Thousand Trails is keeping that tradition alive! Our campsites vary from very simple, just your tent and the open sky, to coming equipped with water and electrical service. All the campsites are within close proximity to bathrooms and showers for guests’ convenience.

Travel Trailers

Our travel trailers sit on clean, spacious sites, and are outfitted with electrical service and water. Many have a picnic table and grill, but most amenities depend on the specific travel trailer booked and the preserve it resides on. They include a combination of queen beds, full beds, twin or full sized sleeper sofa, and bunk beds. Travel trailers hold up to four adults and are a great place to rest your head on your next family vacation!


Thousand Trails provides a variety of rental accommodations for the outdoor enthusiast. Our cabins and cottages, including Rancho Oso’s western cabins, are a great way to enjoy the comfort of home in the great outdoors. They range in size, from cabins comfortably holding four to six people. Depending on your rental selection, the sleeping arrangements may include a queen bed, double bed, bunk beds, a pull out queen couch, and/or a futon. Both cottages and cabins have personal bathrooms equipped with a shower. Many have separate sleeping areas, but some are a single large living area. All have their own kitchens, including everything except an oven. Please bring your own linens, unless otherwise specified.

Tired of the more common place forms of camping, or just looking for a new adventure? Thousand Trails has accommodations that will put a new spin on your next camping trip.

Covered Wagons

7.14.14 - Rancho Oso

Rancho Oso – Santa Barbara, CA

Thousand Trails’ Rancho Oso preserve offers a special form of lodging: covered wagons! These structures are stationary covered wagons, holding up to four campers per wagon.  Each camper should bring their own bedding, four cots are provided. The wagons circle around the bonfire and grilling area, with space for private food preparation. The covered wagons and western cabins provided at Rancho Oso were developed by John Staton, the manager at the site until 1995. He “wanted to offer something unique for campers, so they could wake up and experience the animals.” Rancho Oso’s Lil Rosen said, “The covered wagons are great for any large grouping of people because they hold up to 40 people all together. They’re especially attractive to scout troops.” The covered wagons capture the heart of Rancho Oso so completely. Staying in one is a different, exciting experience.


Yurts are another fantastic form of lodging offered at Thousand Trails’ Bend-Sunriver, Mt. Vernon, Yosemite Lakes, and Encore’s Mt. Hood. To learn more about these unique forms of lodging, check out our yurt post!

Safari Tents

3.28.14 - Morgan Hill

Morgan Hill – Morgan Hill, CA

Don’t own your own tent? Not a problem! Thousand Trails also offers the chance to stay in a luxury tent! These accommodations are available at Rancho Oso and Morgan Hill, and come complete with beds, windows, lighting, and ceiling fans. Safari tents hold from four to six people, and pet friendly sites are available. No private bathrooms, but the sites are in close proximity to bathrooms and showers.



Preserve & Local Events: August 2014

Theme Weekends

Theme Weekends

The Dog Days of Summer just mean more fun is on tap at our preserves. From luaus to county fairs, with some retro trips back to the decades of the past, the definition of fun is personified across our preserves. Check out our Theme Weekend Directory at to see what’s on tap at your favorite preserve.

Here are just a few highlights:

Bend Preserve (OR) hosts a Scavenger Hunt Weekend August 23-24 that will have everyone sc0uring the preserve for a whole laundry list of things. Chehalis (WA) goes all pirate during their “We Be Pirates” Weekend that will feature a pirate ship craft, slip ‘n slide fun and an outdoor pirate-themed movie. All that fun is set for August 22-24. More pirate fun is scheduled at Oakzanita (CA) during their Pirate Weekend August 23-24.

Lake Minden (CA) says farewell to summer during their End of the Summer Block Party Weekend scheduled for August 22-24. Potluck, bingo, and all kinds of Block Party fun are on the menu.  Lake Gaston (NC) has the same idea when they host their Grand Finale Weekend August 29-September 1 as they enjoy their last bash of the summer.

If you’re feeling tropical, don’t miss Bay Landing’s (TX) Hawaiian Luau scheduled during the weekend of August 29-31. Gateway to Cape Cod (MA) will also bring out the grass skirts during their Luau Weekend August 23-24.

And of course, Labor Day events scheduled for the last long weekend of summer are guaranteed to bring the perfect summer of camping to a perfect end. Labor Day weekend fun is set for August 29-September 1.


Big Time RV

Big Time RV

Big Time RV

If you can’t seem to get enough of the RVing lifestyle, consider tuning in to the Travel Channel’s Big Time RV. The show provides RV enthusiasts an all-access pass inside America’s largest and most prestigious RV dealership located in Tampa, FL. While touring and testing every make and model of RV available, the expert sales force and first-rate service center work together to satisfy the demands of RV lovers looking to buy or rent the biggest, most over-the-top RVs in the business.