Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Camping

McKinney Campground

McKinney Campground at Allatoona Lake, Acworth, Georgia

Visiting Acworth, Georgia

We are back on the road! This is only our second camping trip of the year and it feels good to be camping again. Acworth, Georgia is not new to us. We lived in Kennesaw for two years and during that time, I came to love the Acworth area. It’s a beautiful, old town that’s located on Lake Allatoona. The old downtown area is so quaint! With the delicious food from Henry’s Louisiana Grill ( and a stroll around Cauble Park, you really can’t go wrong with a night out in Acworth!

Here is a map of the area:

McKinney Campground

Mckinney Campground is part of the Georgia State Park system. There are 150 campsites available at McKinney Campground. This is a large campground, but only a portion of it is open year round. In Winter, some of the sites are closed. Booking campsites for the weekend can prove challenging, as they can be reserved up to six months in advance. If you have a spontaneous weekday trip, like we usually do with travel for work, you will usually find last minute sites available only Monday-Friday morning. Having flexibility in our schedules makes these work trips a little less painful when we can still be together as a family. It’s definitely more effort than just staying in a hotel, but we prefer the camping life!

Here is the link to the campground map:

With 150 sites, there is a wide variety of campsites available at this park! You really have to be careful here, as most of the sites are NOT level. Depending on the length of your camper, it could be an issue when you get ready to level your unit. I try to look at pictures on the reservation site and check out reviews too. Even some of the pull through sites can be tricky! Just look at these photos of our current site here:

In the first photo you can see how close we parked to the right side of the pull through. The pull through is not very wide and has a steep drop off on the entrance side of the camper, so we had to park as far to the right as we could to be able to get into the camper. The steps just barely fit on the edge of the site, and they are right at the drop-off. It is not ideal, but it is just for two days so we will deal with it. If we had children with us, this site would not work. The step situation is not safe but we also can not open the bunk room slide. The reservation site photos and reviews did not mention any rv slide restrictions or limitations, so please be careful when reserving a campsite in an unfamiliar park. Because we have stayed here before, I knew to be careful but we still ended up with some issues. We will walk around the park and make a list of “good campsites” before we leave so that next time I make a reservation online, I will know which sites to look for.

Allatoona Lake

The lake here is beautiful! The campground is located beside a marina so boating is very common. The water is clear, so fishing and swimming here are both good.

Lakefront Campsites are always my first choice so here is our view from our campsite:

Our picnic area is located down a set of steps, and the water access is from a very short trail to the left of the picnic table. It is easily accessed. Some of the lake front sites don’t have good access for swimming because they have stabilized the shore with large rocks. These campsites have beautiful views but no swimming access. There are two “swimming beaches” here for campers to use that are roped off for safe swimming in the busy boating season.

Trains, planes, and boats!

Sometimes you will hear trains, planes and boats here because this is a busy little town!

If you want to check out the train museum in Kennesaw, look here for more information: For lots of Civil War history, I recommend a visit to Kennesaw Mountain National Park. The ranger led talk through the small museum was one of the best! Check out more here

Whether you are camping at McKinney Campground, or just looking for some fun things to do in this area north of Atlanta, Georgia, I highly recommend this beautiful part of Georgia!

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Camping · Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming · Sanctuary Ridge Faith Stories · Sanctuary Ridge Family Recipes

Big News from the Farm!

Just a dream…

Sanctuary Ridge Farm has reminded me of so many childhood dreams. I’ve always loved the outdoors, animals, working hard, writing and cooking. As I work, write, or cook, I truly hope that I am bringing glory to God. He has given me joy in the most mundane and joy in the most glorious moments too. Isn’t it amazing how HE can do that!

Psalms 118:24 NCV This is the day that the LORD has made. Let us rejoice and be glad today!


So many times, the most precious moments we share are as a family gathered together for a meal. I love sharing food with friends, whether it’s a simple loaf of bread or teaching someone to decorate a cake. Naturally, I love to share recipes too and it seemed fitting to share my recipes on our Sanctuary Ridge Farm blog. Last year I began considering publishing a cookbook, but does anyone even use cookbooks anymore? With all the online sources for recipes, is it even necessary? It certainly seemed like a foolish idea.

I love to look at recipes online- you should see my Pinterest! And I actually try to make everything I save! When I find something I like I will print it- that’s actually why I added printable recipe pages on my blog. If I end up reworking the recipe, I write it out in a little notebook. You should see all my scraps of paper with recipes scribbled down! Sometimes I share a picture of something I made for dinner and when a friend asks for the recipe I have to actually type it out because it’s just embarrassing to send a picture of my scribbled recipe!

The more I thought about it, the more I thought I would really like to publish a recipe book. So, I began researching how to publish one and while I was sick a few weeks ago, I actually completed it months ahead of my personal goal!

Heartwarming Recipes- Sanctuary Ridge Farm

I am so excited to present a collection of 115 of my favorite family recipes, including Breakfast, Soups, Salads, Vegetables, Main Dishes, Desserts and more! The books are being processed at my publisher. Expected arrival date by March 31, 2022! If you would like to purchase one, I am taking pre-orders. There is a shipping option ($23) or if you are local you may choose the local pickup ($18) and I will email you a time/place to pick up locally.

To order with shipping click here

To order for local pickup/ no shipping click here

Any recipes previously published on this blog will still be available. I will continue cooking and sharing recipes online, but this collection of recipes are my tried and true, go-to recipes that I wanted to preserve in a traditional cookbook format. I appreciate all the encouragement as I finalized the cookbook proof and submitted it for publication! Ya’ll are truly the best!

© Copyright 2020– or current year, The Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with  active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Camping

The Ark Encounter and More!

State Historic Site

Funny Name, Memorable Trip!

Big Bone Lick State Historic Site is located in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. As you can see from my photos, this place is located in a quaint county setting! The park is actually in far northern Kentucky, just below the Ohio border.

We chose this park because of the proximity to two museums we wanted to visit- The Ark Encounter and The Creation Museum. Big Bone Lick State Historic Site offers its own museum with rich history of the area dating back to Lewis and Clark’s expedition! You can visit the museum onsite that offers information about the bones found at this site including Mastodon, extinct elephants, and Mammoth.

The Creation Museum

The Creation Museum is full of history! “Bible history comes to life at the Creation Museum! This family-friendly attraction near Cincinnati explores creation science with stunning exhibits, dinosaur bones, fossils, botanical gardens, a planetarium, zoo, zip line course, and more.” Most people have studied history in school and studied the Bible at church, but have you ever considered how these two subjects are intertwined? The Creation Museum does a wonderful job of presenting the Biblical History of the World, with scientific studies and the proof to prove it all.

My favorite part of this museum was the beautiful gardens surrounding the property. I’m pretty sure we all fell in love with the adorable Alpacas too!

The Petting Zoo area hosts animal presentations throughout the day. We loved the presentation on Alpacas. Just look at those big brown eyes!


The Ark Encounter

What an experience! The Ark Encounter is amazing! We were blessed with a beautiful day to explore the grounds at this immaculately landscaped attraction. The attention to detail and historically accurate interior was truly something amazing to see first hand! To see how the animals were fed, how the waste was handled, how fresh air was continually introduced; even the collection of rainwater was considered! The engineering and ingenuity was truly inspiring! What an incredible task it must have been to recreate this enormously famous Ark! This was an experience we will never forget! For more information on planning a visit click this link:

I don’t want spoil anything for those who plan to visit so here are just a few of my favorite pictures from our visit!

© Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Camping

Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA

Hemlock Falls

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Whether you choose a day trip or an overnight stay here, you are guaranteed a refreshing getaway! Since we live within an hour of this park, we sometimes visit for the day just to hike the trails. The close proximity to Chattanooga is another great reason to visit this park! Chattanooga, Tennessee is a great small city to explore all that Tennessee has to offer- from mountain views, the local art district, diverse dining experiences, and the amazing Riverwalk. Visit for more information! Be sure to visit when you explore Cloudland Canyon State Park!

The gorgeous mountain views will wow you as you meander along the Overlook Trail.

With over 64 miles of trails, you are sure to find a hike that fits your expertise level! There are 7 main trails and you can find more information about them here : My favorite is the Hemlock Falls trail where you walk down man made steps and along mountainous boulders, finally following a flowing creek to the Hemlock Falls. It’s immensely peaceful just to sit here and listen to the sounds of the water in the forest. It’s such an amazing display of the diversity of this area!

If you choose to continue further on the trail, you can climb to the bottom of the canyon via multiple man made staircases. The beauty of this area is something to behold!

Camping at Cloudland Canyon

There are 72 tent/rv campsites available to camp overnight at Cloudland Canyon State Park. The sites are shady with playgrounds and bath houses furnished with shower facilities and bathrooms. The state park also offers yurts and cottages for those who don’t camp! Check out their website here:

Views from the Overlook Trail

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Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Camping

Victoria Campground, Georgia

Campfire at sunset on Lake Alatoona

Victoria Campground, GA

If you are looking for a great place to camp, this is it! This quaint little campground is near Woodstock, just north of Atlanta, Georgia. Most of the large sites are wooded and many of them are lakefront with beautiful views. Since my husband works near there a lot, this is our go-to place to camp when he has to be there for an extended period of time. The park is in great proximity to so many different activities in the area!

This park offers a lake swimming area, clean bath houses, and a playground. It is a wonderful spot to kayak too! Take an evening stroll around the campground and you are guaranteed to see some local wildlife! There are so many white tail deer!

For more information on park amenities, or to reserve a site, visit

Sunset over the Lake

Sight-seeing and Dining!

Just a short drive away, you will find fabulous Cajun Cuisine. Henry’s Louisiana Grill is located in the historic Downtown Acworth, Ga. The large, historic brick building beckons you with the aroma of delicious Cajun spices wafting through the downtown atmosphere. Featured on Atlanta Eats, this restaurant has won too many awards to list! Make sure to reserve for dinner because usually a line extends down the sidewalk to eat here. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is family friendly too! Visit for more information.

If shopping is on your to-do list, this area will not disappoint! I usually don’t like to go shopping, but the outlet mall in Woodstock is one of my favorites. Check out their website for directions and more information

Only 40 minutes from The Atlanta Zoo, IKEA, Six Flags Whitewater Park, and so much more, this is a great hopping-off point where you can relax and enjoy nature so close to the big city attractions.

Check it Out!

So, what are you waiting for? Take your family on a great adventure this weekend! There are memories just waiting to be made!

Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Camping

Cumberland Mountain State Park, TN

Kayaking the lake at Cumberland Mountain State Park

Cumberland Mountain State Park, TN

One of Tennessee’s best kept secrets is Cumberland Mountain State Park! Beauty abounds at this park! Take a stroll through the woods on a trail that winds beside a beautiful creek. Kayak or paddle boat on the lovely Lake Byrd and get a close up view of the stone arches located along the dam. Fishing, golfing, hiking and more await you at this secret getaway!

The campsites at Cumberland Mountain State Park are shady and most of them are pretty level. Only one loop in the campground has full hookups. The bath house facilities are clean and of course they offer a dump station. Playgrounds and picnic areas are located throughout the park. This park also offers Tennis, Basketball, and a pool for swimming in Summer. If you don’t want to camp, the park has cabins for rent too! You can even stay in one of the historic buildings on site! For more information check out their website at

Selah Farms B&B

I highly recommend a stay at this local Bed and Breakfast! My dear friends, John and Reina, will make your stay as comfortable as possible while you explore the parks that are so close to their doorstep! Their B&B offers privacy in the separate space. Reina is an amazing cook too! Their farm is absolutely breathtaking! If you aren’t camping, I would definitely stay at Selah Farms B&B! Check out their listing here

Crossville, Tennessee

Located in Crossville, Tennessee, this park has so much to offer for a weekend getaway. The small town of Crossville has a weekly flea market, local livestock sales, convenient grocery and fast food. If you are looking for local cuisine, the park offers a lodge style restaurant on the beautiful Lake Byrd. Trip Advisor has some great local suggestions too! Check those out here: Also located nearby is Fall Creek Falls State Park!

Cumberland County Playhouse

An ever popular pastime is attending one of the wonderful productions at Cumberland County Playhouse! When my grandparents used to camp at Cumberland Mountain State Park, they always made time for a show. Every season a new production is offered! Check out their website for more information:

Paved Trails

A wonderful, paved trail can be found across from the camping area that winds its way around Byrd Lake where you cross the wooden walking bridge that leads to the Paddle Boat and Kayak rental docks. You can explore the lake via kayak or paddle boat too!

The Walking Bridge at Cumberland Mountain State Park


What are you waiting for? It’s a wonderful time of year to get out and explore the beautiful state of Tennessee!

Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Camping

Brasstown Bald, GA

Brasstown Bald Overlook

Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains

“The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, and extends 550 miles southwest from southern Pennsylvania through Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia.”

They are called the Blue Ridge Mountains because from a distance, the mountains look blue in color. This is actually because of the isoprene released into the atmosphere from the trees!

Bald Mountain RV Resort

Bald Mountain RV Resort is a nice little resort, with both campsites and cabins for rent! Located near Lake Chatuge, it is a great jumping off point for sight seeing all around the area. The resort offers paddle boats, fishing, swimming pool, playgrounds, put-put, a camp store and a game room for the kids!

Most of the campsites are shady in this park! Our favorite campsite is by the creek where we can listen to the water rushing over the mountain stones. You really can’t go wrong in this resort! Make sure you plan ahead, as the park is closed for winter every year!

There are lots of hiking trails nearby to explore nature too!

Call the RV resort at 706-896-8896. Their website is currently down!

So Much To See!

There are many things to do within one hour of the campground! The Bell Mountain Historic Site is just a short drive with stunning views of Lake Chatuge. The graffiti covered rocks and walkways make for an interesting climb to see the view. You may want to shield little eyes from some of the artwork! It’s a steep climb- both in your vehicle and once you arrive, but the views are amazing!

Helen, Georgia is also a short drive! This quaint little town is loaded with German charm, a step back in time that you don’t want to miss! Authentic German cuisine is offered at several restaurants. Check out the beautiful river that runs through the town, the local glass blowing craftsman, or one of the many local artisans. This little town in the Blue Ridge Mountains is Georgia’s third most visited town in the state! For more information, visit

Brasstown Bald- Georgia’s Highest Peak

Towering near the RV resort is Georgia’s Brasstown Bald! A steep trail & shuttle access this peak, Georgia’s highest, offering panoramic views from 4,784-ft. A visit here on a clear day will grant you views of four states! A small museum tells of the local history. There is a small fee to visit the site because you must take a shuttle to the viewpoint. Here is the website for more information:

Brasstown Bald Overlook

Mercier Orchard

One of our favorite orchards is located nearby! Visiting Mercier Orchard is a real treat! The expansive orchard grows most everything onsite and offers U-Pick events throughout the year! We love to pick strawberries here! The store has a great variety of items from fresh baked goods, homemade fudge, jellies and produce to unique gift items. My favorite is the fresh baked pies! The onsite restaurant is really great too! Here is the website for more information:

This is the most beautiful time of year to visit this area with the colors of fall! Go on a great adventure this weekend!

© Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Camping

The Virginia Creeper Trail

Old Barns along the Virginia Creeper Trail

What is the Virginia Creeper Trail?

The Virginia Creeper Trail is a National Recreation Trail located between Abingdon, Virginia and Whitetop Station. The 34 mile rail-trail begins at Whitetop Station, part of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. The best way to ride the trail is from the top of the mountain down to Damascus, Virginia. This section of the trail is around 17 miles long. You must schedule a shuttle to carry your bikes to the top where you will unload and coast at 5% grade back to the city of Damascus. Most of the trail is downhill! With no stopping along the way, it only takes 3-4 hours to ride this section. There are so many beautiful places to stop along the way, including an old train station! Picnic areas, rolling farmland, trestle bridges and gorgeous streams grace the views along the trail. It is quite the adventure!

Tips to take Along the Trail

I highly recommend taking a good camera, lots of water, as well as snacks! If you are renting bikes from a local shop, they provide assistance if you have a flat along the way. If you are taking your own bike, take a tire pump and repair kit. Seventeen miles is a long way if you have any issues with your bike. You will want a comfy bike seat! I also recommend taking a first aid kit! On our first ride down the trail, my then 5 year old crashed only 3 miles into the ride. Thankfully he only scraped his knee! The trail is not dangerous unless you aren’t watching the people riding in front of you and they stop to take in the beautiful sight!

One additional recommendation is check the temperatures! In Fall and Spring- sometimes even in early Summer, it is quite cold at the top of the trail. You will need winter gloves for your hands, a wind breaker, and something to cover your ears if it is cold. We carried backpacks to put our gloves and things away when it warmed up outside. Backpacks are also great for carrying drinks, snack, and the first aid kit!

Take breaks and stop to enjoy the moment! There are wonderful places to stop along the way to skip rocks, listen to the babbling brook, and get some great family photos! I hope you will go visit this truly amazing place! It is such a great adventure!

The Historic Green Cove Train Station

Don’t miss stopping at the historic train station! Inside you will find an old store and even an old U.S. Post Office.

It’s easy to imagine what it was like back in the days when the train chugged it’s way through the mountains of Virginia as you ride along the trail!

Places to Stay

We stayed at the last time we traveled to Damascus, Virginia. It was a lovely spot, right on the creek. We did not spend much time at the campsite because we were only there for one full day, which is when we rode the trail. It was very convenient- within walking or bike riding distance to restaurants and the bike shuttle services.

There are other places to stay if camping is not your thing! Check out this website for more information on the area:

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Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Camping

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is located in South Carolina, just north of Savannah, Georgia. The quaint Island is lush with huge oaks laden in moss, marshes teeming with wildlife and it’s all surrounded by beautiful harbors and beaches. There are multiple resorts throughout the island, but only one RV resort!

The RV Resort at Hilton Head Harbor

This RV Resort is quite a gem! We loved our harbor front campsite where we watched beautiful sunsets! The harbor front sites are very limited and you are not allowed to walk on the marina boardwalks that connect to the campsites. The harbor front sites do have a deck area that overlooks the marina. We enjoyed watching the tide come and go as well as all the little crabs that were exposed when the water receded.

Jamey relaxing at our campsite!

The Resort Pool is surrounded by the harbor where you can watch boats, birds and other wildlife. There is another pool centrally located in the park, as well as a playground. It was a beautifully landscaped and maintained RV resort!

For more information on the RV resort visit

The Beach

There were several access points to the beach, but Coligny Park was our favorite! We found parking nearby. The beach access was wide, with easy access to snacks and restrooms. All the tidal pools on the beach made for fun exploring as we searched for sand dollars, horse shoe crabs, seashells and more!

Parks and Trails

The Island Discovery Museum is full of the Island’s rich history. With beautiful nature walks, a butterfly house, and marsh areas to explore, it was a wonderful way to see the beauty of preservation around the island.

Throughout Hilton Head Island, there are 108 miles of paved, shared use bike paths! Thankfully, we planned to bring our bikes. If you can’t take yours, there are many places to rent bikes on the island. With sweeping shade trees lining the paths, we enjoyed exploring the south end of the island on our bikes. We were amazed at how much there was to see!

Located on the south end of Hilton Head Island, Harbor Town hosts the best playground area! With trees to climb and surrounded with sand, your little ones are sure to have a grand time!

Other fun things to do on the island include golf, fishing, lighthouse tours, old plantations, shopping, and of course restaurants galore!

Fun Family Memories

This spontaneous trip was such a fun way to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary in 2013! Since this trip, two of our children have flown our nest. We are so grateful for the memories we made when we were all together! I’m so glad we cherished those moments! There is really nothing better than family time!

© Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

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