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Follow Wildlife to Your Next Campground
Think you’ve seen all the great campsites? How about trying something new as part of your Great American Campout? Rather than following your normal camping route, mix it up and travel along with wildlife!
As National Wildlife Federation’s new book Migration Nation explains, migrating wildlife are on the move in various parts of the country throughout the year. On their migrations, wildlife often stop and “make camp” along the way, resting for a day or two to find food and water sources. Wildlife may not use tents or RVs to camp, but their routines may not be all that different from ours.
Here are a few of the migrating wildlife and places you can spot them while camping:
Grey whales migrate up and down the Pacific Ocean along the west coast of the United States. They travel about 10,000 miles from Alaska to Mexico round trip each year. To catch up with gray whales, visit these camping sites:
- Hike or boat into the backcountry campgrounds of Point Reyes National Seashore in California to see migrating gray whales in January, late March, and April.
- See gray whales almost year-round in Oregon’s Depoe Bay. Since there are is no camping at Whale Watching Center, consider camping nearby then making day trips to search for whales:
Sandhill Cranes migrate from Mexico to Canada, up to 5,000 miles. Migration Nation recommends Rowe Sanctuary in Gibbon, Nebraska and Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Little Falls, Minnesota as two ideal places to spot the cranes during their migration. Since these areas do not offer camping for people, here are some nearby places to camp while making day trips to see the cranes:
- Windmill State Recreation Area, Nebraska where you can camp in their improved campgrounds. This is about four miles to Rowe Sanctuary.
- Charles A. Lindbergh State Park, Minnesota where you can reserve campgrounds. This is about eleven miles to Crane Meadows national Wildlife Refuge.
Herptiles is a term used to describe reptiles and amphibians together. Herptiles have various migration routes and distances depending on the species. Migration Nation mentions that you may see herptiles such as snakes and frogs along Snake Road in Illinois. The best times to see migrating herptiles are during the evenings in the spring and fall. To catch up with herptiles consider these camping sites:
- Giant City State Park where you can camp in a tent or book one of the park’s lodges.
- Shawnee National Forest where you can camp in a primitive or developed campground.
Which wildlife are you going to follow?