What to do at George Washington National Forest While Staying on Budget!

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Traveling you know is our favorite part of life and our dream adventure.  We are going to do these posts more often to share our RV tiny living travels.  We will share what we love to inspire you to travel and enjoy the life you have on this earth. Here are the 6 things we loved at George Washington National Forest and hope you find yourself adventuring here too! 

Staying at Elizabeth Furnace Recreational Area
Site 5 is two levels

This campground is a diamond – it was only $20 per night and allows you to park your RV in a prime location. This site allows you to stay up to 21 nights, which is another bonus if you want to check out Skyline Dr. in the Shenandoah Mountains, which is an easy drive over to it. Another bonus is that it is open year round and the hand water pump is available year round in the mountains! 

You must be strategic with your food when you are boondocking, so you are not throwing away food. Many people learn this the hard way, and we don’t want this to be you. Meal planning is definitely a priority when you do go on the road and boondock.  This helps you save money in two places where you are staying and with your food budget. You want to make sure you have plenty of shelf stable foods rather than a fridge and freezer full of food to throw away because it got ruined if you don’t end up running your generator 24 hours or have solar panels on your RV.  You know you can use dry ice, but that gets pricey! We learned the hard way.

Since this recreational area was a boondocking site, it allows you to learn how to sanitize your fresh water tank too and this is important while traveling.  You can sanitize your water tank in 5 simple steps with ¼ cup of bleach for every 16 gallons of water in your freshwater tank. Make sure to dilute the bleach before adding it to the water tank! 

Free showers if you were only tent camping or decided not to fill up your freshwater tank is a plus! Many places charge a dollar to five dollars for a shower at a campground. 

A perfect way to get disconnected in this park, because it has no service for T-Mobile. Just the way many people like it.  However, if service is needed all you need is a mobile booster and can easily get access to service.  Sprint and AT&T has service in certain areas of the park.  The prime reason for staying at a national park like Elizabeth Furnace wasn’t the service though, it was a new place to discover. 

Learning the History of Iron Making

The park had amazing hikes for kids, and if you are home schooling this would be even better place to go!  We learned all about how pig iron was made on the hike.   It was pretty cool to learn they produced 3 tons of iron a day in 1836. They used the creek to transport the iron to nearby places. I am not much a of history person, but when you put history with an outdoor activity like hiking. I can stop to read a sign for a minute! 

Though the suspension bridge over the Passage Creek was built later, it was still awesome!  It was bouncy, which is a kid favorite but not for the dogs! The bridge was actually built to allow the campground guest to go visit the picnic area which leads to the trails for the learning adventure. 

Camp Hosts

Always be friendly to the camp host for they know all the secrets of the area.  The camp host in the George Washington National Park had keys to the historic cabin onsite, and being able to see how they lived in the 1800’s with the stove, pots and pans was pretty cool.  The cabin was made out of trees from around the area and all the tools they used were there too. We even got free goodies – BONUS!  

Unfortunately, one thing bad happened to us during this adventure, but luckily my husband wasn’t allergic and he got stung and not me!  My husband got a nasty hornet sting, but since we got to know the camp host, we let them know and it was down the very next day we went exploring! That is customer service right there and they are volunteers!  Volunteering their time to help the outdoor community to get a good deal on living more frugally or in a bind to stretch your money.

Another thing about learning your camp host, they will be able to give you recommendations on the best site for your RV or trailer size.  We are glad we took the camp host recommendation, we stayed at site 5!  It had this cool high/low level and allowed our toddler to get her energy out on the man-made stairs instead of wondering out on the road or to another campsite. 

The Views

The views of nature are priceless. It cost nothing to just enjoy the scenery around you and listen to it.  We are so thankful for this!  We were able to drive down the road for about 5 miles and just see the mountains full of leaves and the homes off the road with the amazing views.  We always just imagine ourselves in these homes. Waking up with a cup of coffee, and coming out on the front porch during the fall season or just after a snow storm to view the new atmosphere feeling. It is a blessing and of course we are lucky because God created it all! When we give more to this earth than take we receive so many more blessings too.

While you travel, you will learn all the different views and creations that are made, but each area has their own beauty.  It is similar to all of us as humans, we all have our own unique talents, skills, and reason for being here at the time we are here. We all have our own purpose! Plus, the true fresh air the mountains have is breath-taking.

Water Activities

The river had trout in it so if you are a fisherman, this is an added bonus.  You do need your licenses to fish at this park, but it is just a hop, skip away from the campground.  People love running down the trail to get to the water.  Personally, we had to be careful with our toddler otherwise she would have been down river!

In the area, you can drive to a public boat launch, Front Royal Boat Launch only 20 minutes away and get into one of the rivers to go boating or swimming.  It is a great place for kids, dogs, and fun! 

The river is all around so there are so many swimming holes you can find. The water near the campground tends to be slower here and a little warmer since it is not a huge river and does not have the cold mountain water coming down as quickly like other swimming holes in the area.

If you are looking to go tubing down the river here, then definitely check out front royal outdoors or skyline canoe in Front Royal Area. $25 to $30 per tube is affordable for most budgets, and if you go during the weekday you can find an even better deal! 

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Gas Prices

Tell us that you are feeling the price of gas inflation right now?  Yes, us too! Especially in a big RV!  Wait until you are up here to fill up your gas tanks!  It is .20 cents cheaper up here than in Richmond, VA!  We paid $2.73 per gallon and in Richmond, VA it is currently $2.97! Say, hello to friendly people and gas prices! We will be back again, and we encourage you to go stay a visit too!

A clean, friendly park, and the price is just right at this campground!  You do not want to over spend on your budget, but want the entire experience of the great outdoors.  Make sure you get to this place and enjoy the best! 

Whether you want to stay at Elizabeth Furnace Recreational Area, learn the history of iron making, get to know the camp host, enjoy all the views, cool down at the river, or fill up on gas just passing through.  You will love George Washington National Forest just as much as we did! 

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