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Caring for Canine Companions in Cold Weather

Dogs are not fair weather friends – they stand beside us in every type of weather.
This applies not only to the highs and lows of life, but to the various weather conditions that affect us all when we spend time outdoors.

Are you doing some winter camping or winter activities and have a dog along? Then you probably already have a pretty good idea of what you need to know about keeping your dog safe and warm; however, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on how to care for dogs when the weather turns cold. Even spring and fall have their share of finger numbing days.


Reserve Your Ideal Camping Spot

An RV vacation can be very relaxing and laid back. You get to go at your own pace and be closer to nature. Camping in Michigan definitely offers this experience. It’s one of the top states for RVers, both from in-state and out of state, particularly during the summer and fall months when the weather and scenery are at their utmost best. Its natural attractions are called “attractions” for a reason, beckoning visitors from across the nation.

Add to that, that there are more RV owners than ever before – in addition to those who choose to rent an RV for a week or two – and now you’ve got a mix that can make it difficult to find a spot to set up camp at your preferred destination. To help avoid this, follow these few tips:

RV Security: 5 Tips to Avoid Theft

As far as adventurous hobbies and lifestyles go, RVing is a relatively safe one. Aside from the occasional incident, most campers can feel carefree on their journey and while kicking back at the campsite.

But even so, RVers should be well apprised of any potential safety and security hazards... and the preventive measures to avoid them. Some things we’ve covered in previous articles: driving in windy weather, fire safety, unexpected Michigan weather, and maintaining your tires; this time, we’ll focus on ensuring your rig is safely secured while parked –for a night, for a quick stop-off, for a lengthy vacation at a campground.

Camping Friendly Chocolate Cake Recipes

You never need to find an excuse to enjoy a piece of moist chocolate cake, but today we’ll give you one. For instance, January 27 is National Chocolate Cake Day! But you don't need to wait around for January to enjoy one of these tempting recipes.

At the campsite, your Dutch oven and slow cooker are perfect candidates for making a delicious treat that everyone, including the neighbors, will surely enjoy. The ingredients are few and easy to pick up at the local market or grocery store. Here are four recipes to save and try this upcoming season (or now, if you so desire).


RV Storage and Organization Hacks

Motorhomes and travel trailers are designed to make the most use out of a tight space while still providing all the comforts and conveniences of life. From under the bed storage to smaller showers, space is at a premium, which is why there is always more that you can do to optimize this small living space.

Here are some valuable storage hacks that might be good to use. This isn't an exhaustive list, but it'll help you get started. Your own creativity and innovation are your best tools.

Things to Do in Northern Michigan: East Side

The west side of the state may get all the recognition, but it can get quite crowded due to that fame. If you really want to get away but don’t want to drive as far as the UP, visit northeast Michigan.

It’s more remote but just as picturesque, with a wide range of things to do if you love to spend time outdoors. The towns are typically small and full of local flavor.With a couple of exceptions, they aren’t “touristy.”  These are places where hardworking men and women have decided to make their livelihood, among the serene nature of northern Michigan. Shops and restaurants offer original wares, friendly faces, and home cooking.

Ice Fishing: A Michigan Winter Tradition

When you live in a state with more than 11,000 inland lakes and streams in addition to being surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, fishing is an inevitable activity.  When winter arrives and the lakes are covered by inches of ice, it’s time to bundle up and go ice fishing.

This longstanding traditional activity is a favorite for many Michigan outdoorsmen, women, and children… both for catching fresh food and for recreation.  Many visitors travel to Michigan just to go ice fishing. The most common species of fish are pike, perch, walleye, trout, musky, bluegill, and crappie. Your catch will depend on where you drop your line.

Private Campgrounds Q&A

There are options aplenty as to where to take the RV and set up camp. There are public campgrounds, such as those located in national forests and state parks, that are managed by federal, state, or local agencies. Counties and townships also manage public campgrounds.  Or you can also choose a privately operated campground or RV park. These are operated by private individuals or businesses.  

There are differences between public and private, from the size of the site to who can be admitted to the types of amenities, and there are plenty of options for every type of RV owner. Through experience and the recommendation of others, you may prefer one or the other, but we wanted to address some basic questions regarding private campgrounds to better help you make your travel plans. Either route, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy all that Michigan has to offer.

Snowmobile Michigan's Hills and Valleys
Whether you're bringing the RV or not, Michigan has some of the best snowmobile treks in the country.

Michigan is a snowmobiler's paradise, one that attracts winter enthusiasts from all over the country – especially to the Upper Peninsula. With more than 6,200 interconnected, maintained trails across the state, over diverse terrain and around scenic lakes and ponds, snowmobilers can ride to their hearts' content – and get a glimpse of Michigan few get a chance to see. About half of the trails are located on private land and the rest on federal, state, or public land.

RV Packing List: What Not to Bring

When it comes to packing the RV for upcoming travels, whether it’s for six days or six months, it’s important to make a packing list and check off items as they are gathered and stored in the RV. Each item should be considered for its usefulness and necessity, because our RVs have limited space – even the big ones. That space is filled in a hurry, especially if your time in the RV is of a longer duration or you’re a full-timer.

There are so many things you need to remember to bring, but there are also things you don’t need to take along because they aren’t necessary, useful, or you can manage as you go.

Fun and Inventive Hot Cocoa Recipes

‘Tis the season for hot cocoa! Another Michigan winter is underway, and it’s a guarantee that we’re in for some blustery, chilly days.

We all have fond memories of coming inside after a full day of building snowmen and challenging friends to snowball fights, to dethaw over a class of piping hot cocoa. And it’s hard to beat the classic recipe, homemade or instant, but us RVers are the adventurous type, taking the road less traveled; and the same should go for our cocoa. This winter, mix it up a bit and take a new hot cocoa for a test drive!

How to Maintain your New Year’s Resolution in your RV

Try one of these crockpot recipes, including beef vegetable soup!As we gear up to bring in the New Year, many are already taking into consideration what their New Year’s Resolution will be for 2016. And if you’re like most people, one of your goals will likely be to live a healthier lifestyle. Whether it’s making healthier choices at the dinner table or stepping up your daily exercise regimen, you can meet and maintain your New Year’s goals, without giving up your RV lifestyle.

Although it can be difficult to make healthy choices while traveling, it is definitely doable. So here are a few tips and tricks to guide you on your way to living your healthiest year yet – if you’re up for the challenge!

Essential RV Gadgets

Back in the early days of recreation vehicle development and production, none of these gadgets and technologies were available – the RVs themselves were revolutionary. In the new millennium, even though there are still innovative floor plans and designs being released today, the conveniences of emerging technology has given RVers plenty of options to travel and drive more safely… as well as provide entertainment. Choices and options abound, so it can be difficult to decide; however, you should be able to find what you need at virtually any price point.

Are these things necessary? Many would say yes. Many would say no. But since our RVs can accommodate these gadgets and technologies, it’s pretty hard not to make a purchase or two, as many offer peace of mind.

Make Your Plans: Michigan Winter Beer Festivals
Warm up with a cool pint.

Try one of these crockpot recipes, including beef vegetable soup!We have all grown accustomed to Michigan winters of whipping winds and heavy snowfalls. In years past, many children would’ve already experienced the joy of an unexpected, but anticipated, snow day. But this year has been quite mild compared to what we’re used to, and the National Weather Forecast predicts it will continue on this course. While this may hinder some snow bunnies’ plans to hit the slopes, trails, and icy ponds, beer enthusiasts can rejoice!

Michigan is one of the largest craft beer producing and consuming states in the country. To celebrate and spread the goodness of their beverages, cities around Michigan throughout the year host beer festivals and events. Some of these take place in the winter months, many of which are outdoors.

Winter Camping - Keeping Your RV Warm

If you’re into winter camping, full time or just for a getaway, here are some tips to make your experience more comfortable - plus six spots to visit!

The temperatures on cold Michigan winter nights can dip well below zero… without the wind chill factored in. This can make it difficult to keep our RVs warm during those dark hours, and difficult to warm up once daylight arrives.

Create Next Season's Bucket List

As the winter months bring a close to another exciting Michigan RV season, we reflect on all of the great memories a summer on the road can provide: connecting with family and friends over a campfire, swimming in the refreshing waters of our lakes and rivers, or blazing the trails of our exquisite forests.

But it is also during these times that we begin to realize all the activities, festivals, and adventures we just didn’t have time to pack in. So while your rig is nestled away for the winter, now’s the time to plan for next year. Make a Bucket List of places and activities you or members of your family would like to go, or formulate changes you’d like to make to your camping experience – while the ideas are still fresh in your mind. 

Decorating Your RV at Christmas: Three reasons why going simple is better – plus six easy decorating tips.

It’s unmistakable: the holidays are here. Stores are decked out in green and red, there’s a Santa waving on every corner, and once-barren trees along downtown streets are made resplendent with thousands of sparkling lights.

Bring some of that magic and cheerfulness to your RV, inside and out.

The Affordability of the RV Lifestyle

Have you been thinking about owning an RV? When you think of an RV, what comes to mind? A way to get away occasionally? An escape from the world? A house on wheels? Hopefully, “out of reach” doesn’t.

Though RVs are considered luxury items, it depends on how you intend to use your RV to make your choice to own – and your investment – worthwhile.

Visit Northern Michigan This Winter
We’ll give you the inside scoop on where to go and what to do when the snow flies.

Try one of these crockpot recipes, including beef vegetable soup!The Winter is one of Michigan’s longest “seasons,” but that doesn’t mean you need to stay bundled up inside the whole time. The cold and the snow give the landscape a brand new appearance, quite the contrast from the brightness of the fall.

When it comes to experiencing and enjoying a Michigan winter, almost everyone will say, go up north. We’ll focus on northwest Michigan, where there’s the highest concentration of ski resorts and towns. 

Holiday Gifts for an RVer

Whether you can believe it or not, the holiday season is right around the corner. And it’s a safe bet you’ll be purchasing something travel related for the RV enthusiast in your life.

However, when buying that perfect gift, there are few things to consider....


Traveling this Holiday Season? Preparation and Planning Tips

Whether your Have travel plans this holiday season? Or plans to go somewhere this winter? If it’s somewhere you’ve never been, or it’s been a long time, then you’ll need to prepare for your trip ahead of time so that you arrive to your final destination without incident.

Follow these few simple tips as you plan your routes and make your way to your destination.

Easy Camping Meals
The slow cooker can be a real time-saver in campsite meal preparation

Try one of these crockpot recipes, including beef vegetable soup!The crockpot is an essential appliance for many RVers to have on hand. During nice weather, it provides everyone with the flexibility to go outside and enjoy hiking, biking, walking, playing games, you name it – and a fully cooked meal is ready when you get back.

The winter brings back hearty appetites and the thoughts of hot food. A crockpot not only gives your RV a tantalizing smell, it can provide you with an alternative to being outside in poor weather checking a Dutch oven cooking over the fire or slaving over a stovetop while everyone else it out having fun.

With a slow cooker, you can spend more time with your loved ones doing the things you all like to do and have fewer pots to clean up.

Must-See Museums in the Upper Peninsula
Take a break from the questionable weather and explore Michigan’s rich history at one of these museums

Visit one of these hot indoor attractions in southeast Michigan.The UP is best known for its natural resources, expansive landscapes, and diverse ecology. Though not made by man, these natural wonders have impacted our human history and helped define it.

So if the weather is questionable or you want to see something new, these are the places to go. Many popular museums and indoor attractions, such as the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Paradise, are not included in this list because they are closed during the fall and winter, reopening in the spring. The museums below are open year-round or by appointment.

Go Play Inside in Southeast Michigan
Five indoor attractions you won't want to miss.

Visit one of these hot indoor attractions in southeast Michigan.Outdoor activities can be challenging to do in fall and winter, but there are plenty of interesting and fun activities for kids of all ages that take place indoors. Think about visiting one of these places in southeast Michigan next time it's too cold, rainy, or snowy outside.

1. Bayou Adventure, Joe Dumars’ Fieldhouse, Shelby Township
Monday-Friday 5-10, Saturday and Sunday 10-10

45300 Mound Road, (586) 731-3080

There’s plenty to do at the Bayou in Shelby Township. At 30,000 square feet, kids and families can enjoy activities such as mini golf, laser tag, a high ropes course, and a climbing wall. The 33 foot inflatable shark slide is a favorite and opens for a limited time each day. Those with lots of energy will love Bayou Adventure!

Pasties: It's That Time of Year!
A working man’s staple has become a defining cuisine of Michigan.

It's pasty time in Michigan.The Upper Peninsula is defined by a hard-working class of men and women who logged, mined, and farmed Michigan’s wilderness and resources. They were – and are – as much a part of the land as the natural resources they made their living on. Out of these folks came a defining cultural food: the pasty.

What used to be ethnic food – its origin is attributed to miners from Cornwall, England – became regionally defining over the decades as the many cultural groups in the UP worked together and eventually blended. But you’ll find that each pasty shop today has its own bend on things, similar to how each nationality – Polish, Finnish, Swedish, Irish, etc. – made the pasty their own back in the day.

RV Safety: Driving in Windy Weather

“…And every man knew, as the captain did too, ‘Twas the witch of November come stealin’…” goes the infamous Gordon Lightfoot tune about the freighter, the Edmund Fitzgerald. The storms and winds that overtake the Great Lakes in the fall months have been the cause of tragedy, but tragedies are rare, thankfully. Still, it’s a well-known fact -- and evident by the Great Lakes frothing with whitecaps -- that autumn and winter cause some very blustery weather. And if that wind is evident on the water, its strength is also felt on land.  

The large and typically boxy appearance of our RVs can be precarious when the wind gets high, especially if you’re traveling on the road. Even teardrop travel trailers with their curved design, and expandable travel trailers with their lower center of gravity, can still cause a white-knuckled ride in a fight with the wind.

It's Time to Winterize the RV - 10 Tips

The days of October are getting shorter and cooler, and Jack Frost may or may not have already made his first annual appearance (In Michigan, that’s a pretty safe bet.). Many RV campgrounds have closed for the season, while others have discounted late season rates and even winter camping availability. But if you’re a seasonal camper, the time has come to pack away the RV. 

It’s important to winterize your RV properly as well as employ some preventative measures. Don’t take the easy way when it comes to winterizing your RV. Doing things properly in the fall will help ensure that it’s in good operating condition and ready to travel when the season comes around again.

Fun Things to Do in November

Apple picking in Michigan is an event like no other.Mid-fall in Michigan can sometimes present a challenge to enjoying outdoor activities. The leaves have fallen, the weather is questionable, and there’s only the promise of snow. But that doesn’t mean there's nothing to do.

There are events taking place throughout Michigan during the month of November, both indoors and out. Full event listings are available through the Michigan Festivals & Events Association and Pure Michigan, but here are some of our top choices, ordered by when they take place.

5 Must-Haves for Your RV

Whether full-timers, weekend wanderers, or something in-between, we all enjoy the small luxuries and comforts provided by the traditional homes we’ve left behind. And just because we’re on four wheels doesn’t mean we need to abandon amenities we’re accustomed to.

With these five new additions to your coach, you’ll find the full-time lifestyle that much more tangible – if you haven’t converted already!

Sleeping Comfortably in Your RV

Apple picking in Michigan is an event like no other.If you’re a full-timer or even a seasonal RVer, you understand how important it is to have a comfortable bed to sleep on come nightfall.

This is your home, or your home away from home, for many weeks or months at a time, and the days just aren’t the same if you wake up sore, or tired from waking frequently during the night… all because of your mattress.

Road Trip: Michigan Landmarks Tour

Apple picking in Michigan is an event like no other.Michigan is full of unique - and sometimes unusual - attractions. Join us as we go on a road trip around the Mitten State in pursuit of some of these unique destinations. Many of them can be seen easily from the road, while others may require stopping for a little while. There are plenty of things to see, but this will give you a start.

How many of you seen? What other attractions have you visited that are not on this list?

Fire Safety and Prevention in Your RV

This week is Fire Prevention Week, which has been observed since 1922 in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire that ravaged the Windy City in 1871.
A fire in your RV – while obviously bringing with it tremendous risk of injury or death – can also be devastating financially.

Though most information is focused on how to be safe and prepared in the event of a fire in your home, those same practices are necessary for preventing fires in your RV – and there are many practices that are unique to RV coaches. Know the facts so that you, your family, and your RV can enjoy camping without experiencing a fire, and to be prepared in case one does break out.

Apple Orchards and Cider Mills

With the kids back in school, the weather getting cooler, and the leaves beginning to change, Michiganders have come to know this time of year simply as: apple season. Home to many great varieties of apples, ranging from sweet and juicy to tangy and tart, Michigan proudly reins as the nation’s third largest apple-producing state.

With hundreds of orchards to choose from, it may be hard to know where to begin. Featured below are five apple orchards, one from each region of the state, to help you get started.

Breakfast Recipes You Need to Try

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why? Studies show that eating breakfast regularly and soon after waking helps give your body a jumpstart at reaching its daily nutrient needs, helps facilitate weight loss, and improves cognitive function.

At the campsite, whether you’re cooking on the stovetop in your RV or over an open flame outside your pop-up camper, try one of these three recipes to get the day started. (Full disclosure, these recipes rank from healthy to downright outlandish yet irresistibly delicious.)


Michigan Wine and Beer Destinations That Deserve a Visit

RVers have another reason to make the trek to and across Michigan: local brews, wines, and spirits. Michigan has grown quite the reputation the past few years, and wineries and breweries have sprouted up across the state in rapid numbers.  Many of them also offer food, sometimes a full menu, so it’s possible to take the whole family.

Breweries and wineries don’t just offer delicious, locally crafted beverages, they offer a taste of local culture. A taste of Michigan.

So You’re Thinking About A Camper Van: Pros and Cons

When we mention camper vans, considered Class B motorhomes, the image that might come to mind is an olive colored VW van with flower power.

But camper vans come in a variety of colors, appearances, sizes, amenities, and floor plans. It seems a lot of people prefer them, too. Class B’s have built-in sleeping, eating, and bathroom amenities at a very condensed scale. According to an article by the Elkhart Truth, shipments of Class B motorhomes were up 35 percent in October 2014 compared to a year before.

But before you buy a new or used Class B motorhome, it’s important to know what you’re looking for, what amenities you’re willing to compromise on, and how much you’re willing to spend.

Going to An RV Show: 7 Best Tips

Think of an RV show as the “ultimate hands-on comparison shopping” experience – and the chance to learn more about all that the RV life can offer.

Some RV shows can be quite expansive, with hundreds of models on the floor plus dozens of other exhibitors. These shows can make it difficult to see everything in one day -- there’s so much that it can make your head spin. Even smaller shows with a couple hundred models are enough to keep any camper and potential buyer busy. To ensure that you get the most out of your time at an RV show, follow these few simple tips...

Michigan Weather: RVers Need to be Prepared

Weather can change abruptly in Michigan, at any time of year, so campers should have a game plan for when bad weather strikes.

It’s a joke among Michigan residents that the weatherman is right only 50 percent of the time. One day it can be 90 degrees, and the next day it’s stormy and 60. But the severe weather in early August that affected much of Michigan has shown all residents and tourists – including RVers – one thing: Despite all of our advancements in comfort, we are still at the mercy of the elements. Tornadoes, heavy rain, high winds, thunderstorms, flooding, blizzards, hail – all can have a physical impact on your RV, your safety, and when or how you travel. For campers, it’s essential to be prepared for what Michigan weather could bring.

RV Tires: Durability and Life

Our recreation vehicles are composed of a complex, engineered arrangement of parts that all together are comprised of substantial weight and size. But sometimes those parts don’t work together harmoniously, or something in particular goes awry.

The tires that get our RVs from Point A to Point B to Point C and so forth are essential for us to enjoy our RV lifestyle – and essential for you and your family’s safety on the road. They’re expensive, but they are a necessary part of your RV to monitor and replace as necessary. And sometimes, tires can age prematurely. So how can you help extend the life of your RV tires?


Hiking in Michigan: Tips to Get Started

Most RVers can agree: There’s nothing better than stretching their legs after a full day of traveling. Michigan is home to hundreds of beautiful hiking trails, near your favorite camping destinations, that really get the blood flowing and showcase the serenity of this magnificent state.

As it turns out, hiking is actually a favorite leisurely activity of many campers. According to Coleman’s 2014 American Camper Report, the majority of campers, 76 percent to be exact, find hiking to be their most enjoyable camping activity. For those who already hike regularly, this article is a simple reminder about health benefits of hiking, gear, and safety. But for those just starting out or expanding their horizons, this will provide some useful information before you hit the trails. 

Tailgating With Your RV: Football Season is Here!

With fall swiftly approaching, most of the country has one thing on their minds: football. This American pastime is the perfect opportunity to showcase your team spirit and host an unforgettable tailgate party in your RV.

The following Michigan football programs have designated oversized vehicle parking areas that are ready to accommodate you, your guests, and your RV. 

Choosing the Best Travel Trailer: Things to Consider

A towable, also commonly referred to as a travel trailer, is any recreation vehicle that can be pulled behind your van, SUV, or truck. It’s an exciting moment when you’re ready to purchase one. Maybe you're ready to upgrade. Maybe this is your first-ever purchase. But how do you choose the right model for you? Here are some things to keep in mind as you explore – and before you make your final purchase.

5 Reasons to Go RVing as a Family

RV camping offers families a special opportunity to grow and bond closer together, plus there are health benefits to getting away from it all and spending some time outdoors.

1. Sharing experiences leads to stronger bonds. It’s a well-known fact and a frequently recommended prescription for relationship building: doing things together, spending quality time, helps strengthen bonds.

Is the Full-time RV Lifestyle Right for You?

Traveling and living in an RV is a wonderful way for people to enjoy life, and a popular option for retirees. RVers can go just about anywhere, stop when they like, eat their own food and sleep in their own beds. Full time RVersThose who take the time to investigate the full time RV lifestyle are often shocked to learn that many full time RVers are living better than they are, and are also happier. Here are a few of the benefits to hitting the road full-time:
  • You can buy an RV for relatively little money, compared to the cost of purchasing a home.
  • You don't have to worry about paying property taxes or getting hit with huge home repair bills.
  • No lawn care ... so you avoid the work and expenses that go along with owning and maintaining a lawn.

Join Our Community...

You can find MARVAC on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest!

Follow us on Pinterest for camping recipes, activities, and great Michigan travel ideas. You can also get involved with our Pinterest Pinterest page by pinning on the MARVAC “We Love Camping!” community board.

Like, follow, share and pin with MARVAC anywhere you travel. Share your stories and love of the outdoors with other members, and join a community of like-minded RVers and campers from across the state of Michigan.
Plan to visit an upcoming

Detroit Camper & RV Show

February 10-14, 2016
Novi, Mich.

Battle Creek Camper & RV Show

February 25-28, 2016
Battle Creek, Mich.

Flint Camper & RV Show

March 17-20, 2016
Flint, Mich.

Northwest Michigan Camper & RV Show

April 1-3, 2016
Traverse City, Mich.

FAQs on RVs and RV Travel

Web video by MARVAC Director Bill Sheffer, answers some frequently asked questions about RVs and RV travel.

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Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC)
2222 Association Drive, Okemos Michigan 48864-5978
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