South Carolina


South Carolina!!! State line sign #34 for us.  This sign is apparently a big “hit”.  Not sure what happened but I am assuming someone didn’t see it and ran right into it??  This sign was at the Landrum Welcome Center on I-26 South and let’s hope it is fixed by now.

We did several things while in South Carolina and we loved it!  What a great state to spend part of our Spring Break in!

National Park Service sites visited:

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

Fort Moultrie

Fort Sumter National Monument

I think the most entertaining thing we did was to book a charter through Absolute Reel Screamer Charters. We booked the Private dolphin watch, lighthouse and ecological boat tour and there were no disappointments. What a fun day we all had.  I can’t believe how much we learned. We met our guide Gresh at Folly Beach.  He warned us it was going to be a cool one so we dressed in layers.

Gresh was awesome, he was really laid back and answered the million questions my husband had for him.  First stop was showing us how the oysters grew on the shore.  Being from Iowa we were clueless on this so it was very cool to us.  We wouldn’t have even know it was oysters by looking at it. Check it out.

We then headed out to Morris Island, this is where the movie Glory was filmed for the Fort Wagner events that took place.  Our oldest was just watching that movie in American History class and loved this part of the tour.  We were able to get out and walk on the beach where Gresh showed us that you can still find shells, bullets found from the Civil war, jellyfish that have washed up and lots of other good things. See below for the goodies Gunnar found.

Hunter in front of “Fort Wagner” from the movie Glory

We walked the island looking for finds and Gunnar made out the best.  He found a shark tooth and a sloth claw from the ice age.  Needless to say he was excited about this.


Gresh took our photo in front of the Morris Island lighthouse and did a fabulous job.  What a great guy.


All the while on the boat we had a spectacular display of dolphins.  I have so many videos it is unreal, they were right next to us.  This was my highlight.


I cannot recommend this tour enough. If you are in the Charleston area, it is a great half day adventure.

We headed back to Charleston and grabbed some dinner at a fantastic restaurant, Fleet Landing.  While we waited, the kids played bags and we had some interesting conversations with some really fun people in town from North Carolina.  Food was great!

We hit the City Market for some shopping, it was super packed and I just couldn’t find anything that I couldn’t live without,  except for a shot glass and a magnet. The best part of the trip to City market was the bike taxi we took to get back to our car.  What a great idea, we loved this!


We then wandered down the road and hit Waterfront park with its beautiful water fountains and went down the way to Rainbow Row.


We did everything we wanted to do on this trip to Charleston.  What an amazing place to be. So much history and beauty. This is going on my list of places to revisit. We loved it.  Have you been to Charleston?  What did you love about it? I would love to hear of more things to do.

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site


Visited: March 2019

Duration: 1/2 day

Accommodations: Charleston, South Carolina


The last stop we have in Charleston was to Charles Pinckney National Historic Site.  What a beautiful place.  We enjoyed this short stop and had a great time working on the Junior Ranger books on the back porch of the house, so peaceful.



Charles Pinckney was important to the state of South Carolina because he served as the governor, as a US senator and was Thomas Jefferson’s South Carolina campaign manager. He was also one of the delegates that signed the Constitution. This site is a small portion of the property know as the Snee farm, that Charles inherited from his father.


Here at the site you can sign your own name to the Constitution 🙂


After finishing up we walked the path that leads around the farm. It is gorgeous.

Back in to the Visitor Center to earn our badges and get our passports stamped.

What a fantastic stop.  We are off to Savannah, Georgia.  Check back for more updates from our National Park Trip Season 4 Spring Break Trip! Thanks for stopping by.

Fort Sumter National Monument


Visited: March 2019

Duration: 1/2 day

Accommodations: Charleston, SC

Civil War stop #2 on our Spring Break Civil War Expedition was Fort Sumter. What a great place.  We stopped in the visitor center in downtown Charleston and signed up for the last ferry ride of the day.  On the ferry the kids worked on their Junior Rangers (just about all of the answers are in the talk during the ride out to the island. (FYI)

When arriving at the island we did a self guided tour (remember to grab a guide).  We also were able to witness and volunteer for the lowering of the flag. Here we listened to a talk about all of the flags that have flown over Fort Sumter; The 33 star, The 35 star, the Flag of the Palmetto Guard, the South Carolina state flag and The Stars and Bars.  If you can I suggest doing the last tour of the day, you don’t want to miss this.

We walked around the rest of the fort looking at the cannons and enjoying the displays inside the visitor center.


The kids earned their Junior Rangers at the island and that was a wrap! What a great day!

Another Civil war site down and much more to go.  Junior Ranger badges earned and Passport Stamp received.

Until the next time, join us tomorrow when we visit Charles Pinckney and find out how he fits in to South Carolina history. Thanks for visiting.


Fort Moultrie National Monument


Visited: March 2019

Duration: 1/2 day

Accommodations: Downtown Charleston

National Park Trip Season 4- Spring Break Edition is on!  The first half will be a Civil War Expedition and will end with the Spanish Inquisition of Florida. Lets hope for some warm weather for these frigid Iowans along our route.

First stop was Fort Moultrie National Monument located in Sullivan’s Island, SC. This place was small but great.  We lucked out as well, they are teaming up with Fort Sumter and the Junior Ranger badges for this place will be non-existent soon.  We grabbed some Junior Ranger booklets and headed out to the fort for a self guided tour.

There are 10 stops along the self-guided tour. Fort Moultrie has been built 3 times; once in 1776 to protect Charleston from the British, once in 1794 then destroyed by a hurricane in 1804 and the final time in 1809 serving as a fort up to the Civil War.

1st stop is World War 2.


This is the Harbor Entrance Control Post, completed in 1944 it coordinated all of the harbor defenses around Charleston.

Stop #2 Harbor Defense 1898-1939


Battery Bingham and Battery McCorkie were designed to protect the mine field at the entrance to Charleston harbor and to act in conjunction with other batteries on Sullivans island and at Fort Sumter.

Stop #3

1870’s Modernization- after the Civil War the fort was renovated applying concepts learned during that conflict. These weapons located here represent Fort Moultrie in the period from 1873-1898.


Stop #4 Civil War

Great technological changes in coastal defense weapons occurred during this era. Canons at this site represent the alterations made here.

Stop #5 Fort Moultrie III

From 1809-1860 the fort changed little. This section represents the 3rd fort from its construction to the eve of the Civil War.

Stop #6 Fort Moultrie II

1794-1801 the fort was built in response to disagreements with France. It was an important as a part of the First American System of seacoast defenses.

Stop #7 Fort Moultrie I

This site represents the beginnings of harbor defense in the United States.

Stop #8 and Stop #9 Cannon Walk and Battery Jasper

Cannon walk has artillery pieces form Civil War and after. Battery Jasper, this battery integrated heavy artillery, mine fields and rapid fire guns.


Beautiful Visitor Center as seen from the fort

We headed back to the Visitor Center because there were some difficult questions to answer in our Jr. Ranger booklet.  We spent about an hour watching the film and looking through the exhibits.  Great Visitor Center with lots of educational experiences.

Kids received their Jr. Rangers and we were off to the next site 🙂

Junior Ranger badges and Passport Stamps! Also on this trip we earned our Junior Ranger Civil war Historian for earning 3 Civil War area Junior Rangers. Pretty sweet!

Join us on our next stops Charles Pinckney National Historical Park and Fort Sumter!









State line sign #21 of 50 for us, obviously we aren’t blogging these in order.  This was a fun one to get, lots of honking and waving at us. We got this one going out on I-90 heading east, Indiana was on the North side of the road and we ran over and got that one in the same stop.  Ohio is a tough one to get, most of the signs are up in the air overhead. We lucked out when we got this one.

National Park Service sites we visited in Ohio on this trip are as follows:

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

We will be back for lots more on other trips, so check out the link above and of course always check back for updates.

This is officially the end to National Park Trip Season 3 Summer edition.  Come on back to see our trip down south on our Civil War Expedition, I will start on that as soon as I can, we had a blast!



Cuyahoga Valley National Park


Visited: August 2018

Duration: 1/2 day (could have been 2 days)

Accommodations: Baymont by Wyndham Boston Heights

Cuyahoga Valley National Park was our final destination on National Park Trip Season 3.  We are making the trek back towards home.  I had planned about a day and a half here but we are getting worn out so we finished off an afternoon and evening here and called it good.  There are many things here to do at this park and we missed out on them. This park can easily be revisited by us because it is on the way out east.  If I do venture back I would love to come in the fall and I will definitely add a train ride to the mix.  We saw lots of people that rented bikes and looked miserable, we might even try that too.

Our trip to this wonderful park started out at the Boston Visitor Center, we grabbed our Junior Rangers and headed to work.  We watched the short film upstairs. There is a hike here we had to do in the book and also a letter box scavenger hunt that was centered around the visitor center.  It is a beautiful area and a fun junior ranger.

Boston Store Visitor Center
Listening for sounds on our hike.
Antique Garage next to the VC
We found the letterbox!

 We also stopped in across from the visitor center and enjoyed some ice cream, we sat outside chatting with other park goers while the kids did some of their books.  Lots of people on bikes coming and going.  Once done with the Boston Store area we headed out to see Brandywine Falls.  Short little drive up there and not a long hike to the falls.  It was getting later in the day so we ran into zero people on this hike. Easy hike to see some great falls.

Brandywine Falls


Trail on the way to the falls

We went out next to find a Park sign to get the family photo next to. This took us quite awhile and we finally found one at the corner of Valley View Road and Chaffee Road. After our long journey here today and the few hours we spent we are hungry and tired.  We ventured into town for the evening and called it a day.

The next morning we headed back to Visitor Center to get our Junior Ranger badges and patches.  Bought our magnets, stickers and did the cancellation thing.  I can’t believe it but we are National Parked out for the summer, ready to head home to sleep in our own beds, see our dogs and plan next years trip 🙂


That’s it for National Park Trip Season 3.  Stop back for National Park Trip Season 4 Spring Break edition where we will be going on a Civil War Expedition.

New Jersey


State line sign #30. New Jersey!  Lucky for us on this trip we visited a National Park Service site right on the border of 2 states.  We ventured over to New Jersey from Delaware Water Gap to get this State photo.  It was really easy!  This state line sign in on Highway 206 just across from Pennsylvania. Low traffic and easy to get to.

We haven’t had the chance to spend much time in New Jersey but check back for updates for future park visits.



State line #31 was Pennsylvania.  We are getting good at these now 🙂  This one was a real easy one to get to. Right off of an exit.  Heading on I80 North from New Jersey (heading past the exit for Delaware River National Rec Area)  take exit 310 and park on the left side of the exit.  It turned out pretty good.


National Park Service Sites we visited in the state:

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

(Click the link above to read all about it.)


This was more or less a drive through state to get to our next park.  We didn’t do much this trip.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area


Visited: August 2018

Duration: 1 full day (spend more if the trails are open)

Accommodations: AirBNB cabin, Bushkill, PA.

Delaware Water Gap NRA was a beautiful place to be, unfortunately the year we decided to visit they had very bad storms.  No trails were open and the Dingman Falls visitor Center was closed.  In fact we had a hard time trying to find the make shift visitor center.  From start to finish at this park was a mild storm.  On our way from Iowa I recieved a phone call from the hotel we had booked a year in advance in Bushkill, they were cancelling our reservation because a group had decided to stay there and rent the whole place out, we were out of luck.  I scrambled to find a decent hotel in the area and came up short.  I went to AirBNB and found a cabin in the woods that would work.  The outdoors around it was the best part, the cabin could use some work.  We did get to enjoy some of nature while at the cabin but zero at the park, unfortunately.

We rested in our hammocks and enjoyed the view above.

We eventually found the make shift Visitor Center and grabbed some Junior Ranger books and an extra Angler Junior Ranger which was even more fun.  We sat on the steps of the Visitor Center and filled them out.  Dad even filled out an Angler one it was so much fun.  First of many of his Junior Rangers to come.


We had as much fun as we could even though most of the park was closed.  In the morning we drove out and around the park on a gravel road that took us along the river.  We pulled in to Kittatinny Point Visitor Center to have a look around and most of that area was flooded as well, along with a train/oil spill that was heading that way that morning.  What a wreck, pun intended!  We left Pennsylvania and headed for greener pastures.


Received our Junior Ranger badges and got our cancellations.  At least there is that 🙂


The next stop will be better I promise.  Also we will need to stop back here and check out the falls after damage clean up, it does look like a beautiful place to be.




State line sign #29 for us!  Collecting them fast on this trip.

This was fun state, we are definitely coming back to enjoy its beautiful sites.  On this trip we only stayed one night but it was amazing.  Great time with some great friends.  We met up with a travel buddy of mine that I met in Vietnam, Glen.  Had dinner with him and some of his friends that I later traveled to Morocco with.  It was fabulous.

National Park Service Sites we visited:

Weir Farms National Historic Site

Also, no trip would be complete to this state without stopping at Mystic Pizza in the beautiful town of Mystic, Connecticut.  One of my favorite movies growing up.  I was very excited about this. Even got myself a t-shirt to celebrate.


If you have any great stops or places in Connecticut we would love to hear about them in the comments.  We are adding this state to the list of returns.  Stop back to see our next adventure.

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