Follow the Flowers Along this New Campgrounds Trail

The new 13-stop Spacious Skies Campgrounds Spring Bloom Trail highlights the very best of springtime color, as the bloom of wildflowers progresses from the South to the North. The trail, which travels from campground to campground from Tennessee to Maine, encourages springtime travelers to celebrate the explosion of spring wildflower color with ideas for where and when to experience the bloom. The trail begins in central Tennessee, where the wildflowers can be viewed as early as late March. The last stop on the trail is in the Maine Highlands, where wildflowers begin emerging in the region’s vast wilderness areas in early May. The Spring Bloom Trail highlights a sampling of the wildflower species visitors to each location might see as well as the best spring-season activities such as festivals, fishing and farmers markets.

“Spring is a time of renewal, and when the first wildflowers begin popping up through sometimes still-frosty ground, we know that the warmth, sunshine and adventures of the season have finally arrived,” said Ali Rasmussen, CEO and creative director of Spacious Skies Campgrounds. “Our mission as a growing company is to not only offer fun and authentic campground experiences, but to also support local attractions, artists and other makers, and the Spring Bloom Trail is another way we encourage our guests to explore each region by day and relax and ‘camp on’ at night.”

Each campground features different offerings, such as catch-and-release ponds, UTV trails and other on-site recreation. In addition to RV sites, many campgrounds offer glamping options like retro campers and yurts. Additionally, Spacious Skies Campgrounds has partnered with RV Share, with options for delivery of RVs and trailers to campgrounds as well as for self-driving. Below, find the stops along the new Spring Blooms Trail.

Burgess Falls – courtesy of tn.gov

Located in the Cumberland Plateau in middle Tennessee, between Nashville and Knoxville, this campground is open year-round. More than 40 miles long, the Cumberland Plateau is the world’s longest plateau of hardwood forest. The plateau is home to nearly 60 threatened or endangered species.

Craggy Gardens – courtesy of Jim Ruff photo

This campground is open-year round and located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about 40 minutes from Asheville, in Buncombe county near the confluence of the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers. Since elevations along the Blue Ridge Mountains vary widely, visitors will find a huge array of wildflower species and a months-long, ever-changing wildflower bloom. The National Park Service reports that of all of the 1,600 plant species along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the north of the campground, 80 percent are wildflowers.

Next up, is an all-year campground in the upstate of South Carolina in the midst of farmland and rolling hills not far from Greenville. More than 680 species of wildflowers bloom in the state of South Carolina. The rare Oconee Bell is only found in a few places in the Southern Appalachians, and it only blooms for two or three weeks, from mid-March to early April. The wildflower even has its own festival – the Oconee Bell Fest at Devils Fork State Park. The poinsettia appeared for the first time in the United States in Greenville when Joel Roberts Poinsett, a minister and amateur botanist who kept greenhouses on his Greenville plantation, found the poinsettia plant on a trip to Mexico in 1828 and sent cuttings home.

The next stop on the trail takes tourists to the Carolina Sandhills in the heart of Cumberland County. The North Carolina Department of Transportation features a wildflower program that seeds roadside wildflowers, ensuring that any spring road-trip in the state will be a colorful one. The department offers a free booklet to help visitors identify the flowers. The Siberian Wall Flower is one of the first blooms to appear.

Hepatica blooms - courtesy of nps.gov

The 5th stop on the Spring Blooms Trail opens up in mid-March in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, near Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. There are more than 850 species of flowering plants in Shenandoah Valley, and the destination is considered one of the best places in the country to observe wildflowers. The region’s wildflower bloom lasts well into October (and the campground doesn’t close until November, so visitors have the entire season to enjoy the flowers). If you’re here in mid-May, you’ll want to participate in a Wildflower Weekend walk in the national park.

In mid-April, the Country Oaks campground opens up for the season in southern New Jersey, within an easy drive of Philadelphia and Atlantic City. Here, a wildflower called “Sea Rocket” grows in sand dunes along the Jersey shoreline.

  • Wildflowers begin to bloom in mid-April and include: Sea Rocket, Sea Lavender, Black-Eyed Susan, Purple Loosestrife, Crimson Eyed Rose Mallow.
  • Where to spot them: Warren E. Fox Nature Center, New Jersey shoreline.
  • What else to do: Sample wines from Balic Winery, where vineyards have been in operation since the early 1900s. Visit the Funny Farm Rescue and Sanctuary.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Woodland Hills. Drive time: 4 hours 59 minutes, 259 miles.

Located in the Taconic and Berkshire mountain ranges of upstate New York near the Massachusetts border, and close to Boston, New York City, Providence and Albany, this campground opens for the season in early May. One of the local flowers here, Wild Carrot—also known as Queen Anne’s Lace—is a medicinal herb that can be eaten when the plant is young.

Purple trillium in the Adirondacks – courtesy of adirondackcouncil.org

Located in the Adirondack Mountains, near Lake Champlain and the northern reaches of the Hudson River, this site opens up in mid-May. Wildflowers in heavily forested areas like the Adirondack Mountains emerge before the trees of the forests leaf out, and they provide an important food source for insects. Spring wildflower season coincides with mud season in the Adirondacks, and one of the great ways to avoid the mud – and enjoy wildflowers along the shoreline – is by paddling one of the region’s many ponds, lakes and rivers.

  • Wildflowers begin blooming in early April and include: Blue Flag, Cardinal Flower, Cottongrass, Pickerelweed, Northern Pipewort.
  • Where to spot them: Along walking trails at the campground, Hammond Pond Wild Forest.
  • What else to do: Rent a pedal bike. Visit the Adirondack Buffalo Company, a working buffalo farm. Explore Fort Ticonderoga on the edge of Lake Champlain. Learn about climate solutions at The Wild Center.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Minute Man. Drive time: 4 hours 9 minutes, 202 miles.
The Trail of Flowers – courtesy of trailofflowers.com

In eastern Massachusetts, close to the heart of Boson, this campground in Littleton opens to visitors in early May. This historic town was first settled in 1686 and nearly a century later, the minutemen and militia of the town fought at Concord. Be sure to check out the Trail of Flowers, where volunteers plant thousands of flowering bulbs along the Assabet River Rail Trail every spring.

  • Wildflowers begin blooming in late April and include: Wild Orchid, Foxglove, Rosebay Willowherb, Meadowsweet.
  • Where to spot them: Nashua River Rail Trail, hiking and biking trails at Oak Hill Park.
  • What else to do: Rent a canoe and paddle the Nashua River. Pick early season berries at Doe Orchards.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Seven Maples. Drive time: 1 hour 14 minutes, 44 miles.

Location: Located in southwestern New Hampshire in the Monadnock Region, known for hilly terrain and abundant outdoor recreational activities, this campground opens in early May. Some of the most incredible flowers of the region are the wild lupin, which feature purplish pea-like flowers on stems as much as two feet high.

The French Pond campground is open year-round, except for a brief period in February, and happens to be conveniently located right by the previous Spring Blooms Trail stop, also in southern New Hampshire. Henniker is situated between the Merrimack Valley and Dartmouth regions. Here, visitors can spot the pink lady’s slipper, the official state wildflower of New Hampshire.

  • Wildflowers begin blooming in early May: Lupine, Bluets, Pink Lady’s Slipper, Fringed Polygala, Blue Violets.
  • Where to spot them: Clough State Park, Mount Sunapee State Park, wooded areas and creek beds.
  • What else to do: Take a spring selfie at the Henniker Covered Bridge.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Walnut Grove. Drive time: 1 hour 36 minutes, 75 miles.
Walnut Grove campground – courtesy of spaciousskiescampgrounds.com

Located in central southern Maine, with easy access to coastal cities like Portland, Old Orchard Beach and Kennebunkport, this campground opens in early May and closes in late October. Purple violets bloom in early spring, and they can be found in meadows, woodlands and along the roadside.

  • Wildflowers begin blooming in late April and include: Purple Violets, Yellow Violets, Sweet White Violets, White Trillium.
  • Where to spot them: Wells Reserve. Marginal Way Coastal Walkway.
  • What else to do: The Maine coastal region celebrates spring with festivals like the May Day Festival in Kennebunk. Farmers markets open in May and sell early spring produce like strawberries. Lobsters come into season in spring too. Check out the historic Old Orchard Beach pier.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Balsam Woods. Drive time: 3 hours, 162 miles.

The final stop on the Spring Blooms Trail takes tourists to the heart of the Maine Highlands near Moosehead Lake and vast, unspoiled wilderness areas. This campground opens in mid-May, about when flowers first start blooming. The trout lily is one of the earliest wildflowers to bloom, and it can be found in ditches along the roads as soon as the ground thaws.

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