Must-Know Tips for Vanlife

Vanlife…where do we even begin?  I must admit vanlife was the furthest thing from MY DREAM.  After moving to California, Kevin became obsessed with the idea of living in a van, quitting his job, and traveling the country!  I, on the other hand, needed convincing!  But after two years of Kevin’s constant nagging, I finally caved and I must say, it’s one of the best decisions we ever made!  That being said, getting into vanlife can be quite a challenge which is why we want to share with you some of our must-know tips for vanlife!  We hope that this post helps newbie vanlifers, like we were, find free camping, potable drinking water, new destinations, and so much more!

Disclosure: This is post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running! Thank you for your support! 

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Must-Know Tips for Vanlife

3 Phone Applications You Can't Hit the Road Without

Have you ever been to the beach only to notice you forgot your towel, chair, and sunscreen?  Well starting vanlife without a few must-have phone applications is kind of the same thing!

There are tons of apps that can be downloaded to help vanlifers/RVers.  Apps such as The Dyrt, FreeRoam, Recreation.gov, Campendium, and more.  Though all of these are great, they are not necessarily our favorites.  A few apps we definitely recommend downloading for vanlife are Harvest Host, iOverlander, and Google Maps. 

3 Must Have Vanlife Tips. Harvest Hosts. Harvest Hosts Memberships.

1. Harvest Host

Though the Harvest Host application is free the membership is not.  That being said, we still recommend becoming a member.  Members of Harvest Host have access to a network of wineries, breweries, golf courses, farms, distilleries, museums, and other attractions that invite self-contained vanlifers/RVers to visit and stay on their property overnight.  This allows campers a unique place to stay while hosts hope to receive support from guests in the form of a wine/beer tasting, farm purchase, museum tickets, etc.

Harvest Host is something Kevin and I recommend because let’s face it, sleeping in the local Wal-Mart and Cracker Barrel gets old!  Not only that, supporting local businesses and meeting like-minded people are some of our favorite experiences while out on the road, so it’s pretty much a win-win!  

3 Must Have Vanlife Tips. iOverlander. Helpful Vanlife Phone Applications.

2. iOverlander

THIS APP IS A MUST!

We cannot stress the need for this app enough!  Not only does it provide users with both free and paid campgrounds, but it also shares dump stations, tourist attractions, laundromats, water fill stations, mechanic shops, and more!  It’s literally like a one-stop shop for all things vanlife and overlanding! 

Kevin and I found this app to be super useful while exploring the US but this app was also our go-to in Baja, Mexico!  We always used it while looking for campsites, laundry services, and purified water and it rarely steered us wrong!  

3. Google Maps

Google Maps is another app we 100% recommend downloading.  This app is great because you can download “offline maps” ahead of time so you’ll always know where you’re going!  

We found that having the downloaded maps was critical while in Baja because there were a number of times when we did not have service but needed to figure out where we were going.

Google Maps is also great because it allows users to save places to “lists.”  We love this feature because we can save places that we really liked so we can recommend them to others or visit again ourselves!

Super Helpful Must Know Tips for Vanlife. Water Tips for Vanlife. Three Must Have Vanlife Apps. Vanlife. Vanlife Tips. Best Vanlife Locations.

Water Tips for Vanlife

This is one of those things that all vanlifers feel a little differently about.  For us, water is a must…drinking water, shower water, sink water, just about all the water you can think of, HA!  However, some vanlifers do well with way less water than what Kevin and I carry.  It really comes down to personal preference and how good you are at conserving.  

For me, a shower and sink were must-have requirements for the van.  This also meant that installing a large water tank was a must as well.  That being said our van carries around 41 gallons of water.  We have a 33-gallon water tank that expanded to about 35 gallons (long story, HA) and a 6-gallon jerry-can. 

How long does this last?  41 gallons usually lasts us about 4-7 days depending on our location and what we are doing.  For instance in Baja this much water lasted about 4 days due to showering daily, cooking the majority of our food, and hydrating adequately on the beach.  However, when we were on our winter snowboard adventure, 41 gallons of water typically lasted us a week maybe a little more because we ate out more, showered less, etc. 

As we said above, we recommend using iOverlander to find potable safe water.  iOverlander shares an unlimited number of water fill-up stations with users that are both free and paid.   

Water Safety Must Haves

Vanlife Dumping & Trash Tips

Vanlife dumping and trash tips are pretty self-explanatory and don’t differ much from traditional tent camping.  For the most part, pack out what you pack in unless you are lucky enough that your campsite has proper receptacles for your trash/recycling.

While on the road Kevin and I always utilized public trash/recycling bins whenever necessary.  Unfortunately, through our travels, we have found that sometimes it is easier to find trash cans over recycle bins, and therefore more times than not we had to hold on to our recycling until we found the proper place for it.  

As for black and grey water, we found iOverlander and a website called, Sanidumps, to be very useful!   

Super Helpful Must Know Tips for Vanlife. Three Must Have Vanlife Apps. Vanlife. Vanlife Tips. Best Vanlife Locations. Camping & Campsite Tips for Successful Vanlife Adventures. Where to go in your van. Best Vanlife Destinations.

Camping & Campsite Tips for Successful Vanlife Adventures

Finding campsites and places to stay can be one of the most challenging tasks while living in your van/RV.  For Kevin and me, finding a place we both liked always seemed to be a bit problematic.  Though, there is always the option of staying at the local Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrel, or Cabelas. Finding off-grid campsites can be a little more difficult.  That being said we 100% recommend downloading iOverlander and becoming a member of Harvest Host.  These apps will make finding a campsite much easier and help find free places to stay in addition to established campgrounds which can fill up quickly. 

Harvest Host allows you to say at local, family-owned, unique businesses rather than chains like Wal-Mart and Cracker Barrel which is why we personally like this option. 

Throughout our travels, our favorite places to camp have been BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land, state parks, and breweries/wineries we have found through our Harvest Host membership! 

Must Haves for Living on the Road

Our Experiences on the Road

From the beginning, Kevin has loved vanlife much like he knew he would.  For me, I’m surprised how much I’ve enjoyed our time on the road together. 

We frequently get asked what it’s like living in such a small space and if we get tired of each other.  The truth is, prior to vanlife Kevin worked from home, so really not much has changed for us.  We have constantly been together, other than while I’m at work or Kevin is surfing, for years now and we wouldn’t have it any other way!  Sure on rainy days, the van starts to get a little tight but I’m sure that’s everyone’s experience and not just ours.  

Super Helpful Must Know Tips for Vanlife. Three Must Have Vanlife Apps. Vanlife. Vanlife Tips. Best Vanlife Locations. Vanlife Dumping and Trash Tips. Camping & Campsite Tips for Successful Vanlife Adventures.

Vanlife Overall

What we didn’t realize prior to starting vanlife is how many decisions need to be made on a daily basis.  Decisions like where to sleep, where to get water, when to do laundry, how many miles to drive in a single day, what we want to see in a given location, etc.  For Kevin and I, we’ve found that you either have to go with the flow or you need a plan because figuring it out on the road is sometimes difficult. 

Since we err more on the side of planning, Kevin and I try to plan how far we drive in a day and find a few campsites in that area prior to getting on the road.  We also agree that for us it is helpful to discuss what “chores” we need to accomplish that day.  For example, food shopping, laundry, getting water, etc.  

Things We Couldn't Live Without in the Van

Nice to Haves for Our Vanlife Adventures

Our Favorite Vanlife Locations

Super Helpful Must Know Tips for Vanlife. Vanlife. Vanlife Tips. Best Vanlife Locations. Camping & Campsite Tips for Successful Vanlife Adventures. iOverlander. Google Maps. Harvest Host. Best Vanlife Destinations. Baja Vanlife. Best Vanlife Locations.

Baja, Mexico

To date, we have traveled the entire east coast from Maine to Key West and across the country while visiting some of the best mountains in the US.  Most recently we traveled to Baja, Mexico!

Baja is by far our favorite van life destination!  Like most, we had reservations about crossing the border into Mexico but it was honestly one of the best decisions we have made.  We love everything about vanlife Baja.  The beaches, the culture, the people, the weather, it was all absolutely amazing! 

Though I’m sure some of the horror stories about Mexico are true, Kevin and I can honestly say that there was never a time we felt unsafe while traveling through Baja.  So we definitely recommend it to anyone thinking about Baja!

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U.S. Locations

Other vanlife destinations we’ve enjoyed are:

  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Colorado
  • Northern California
  • Rhode Island
  • Maine
  • Utah

Though these are just a few of the places we’ve visited in our van, they are some of our favorites!  

The DEETS

Charleston was great for vanlife while we were there!  We actually parked in the city without being bothered, which allowed us to spend a lot of time exploring all the beautiful little streets/alleys and enjoy the city’s history.  However, I’m not sure if parking in the city is still allowed. 

As for Colorado, there is so much to do there regardless of the season.  Whether you enjoy hiking, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, etc. there is a little something for everyone.  Not to mention the beautiful scenery that will surround you! 

We definitely recommend checking out Northern California on your vanlife adventures as well.  Not only is it full of hiking and skiing/snowboarding opportunities, but there are a number of natural hot springs to check out! 

Rhode Island and Maine are two additional states we loved visiting in the van.  Both states are stunning all year, but in the fall the foliage is absolutely breathtaking.  There are also a number of cute towns and cities along both coasts that are worth a visit.  For example, Maine’s coastline is incredible with towns such as Bar Harbor, Camden, Stonington, and more.  In Rhode Island, we recommend visiting Newport, Providence, Narragansett, and Watch Hill! 

Lastly, we recommend checking out UTAH.  Utah is absolutely amazing with so much to see and do and so many awesome places to FREE camp!  In our experience, the free camping in Utah is so of the best and it is home to a few of our favorite campsites ever!

That's All

Well, that’s all for now!  We hope that these must-know tips for vanlife help you while out on the road and/or help you prepare for your upcoming vanlife adventures.

Looking for more vanlife content? Check out our previous posts:

Still building your van and looking for some assistance?  Check out our Van Build Journey for some van build tips!

Eight Best Things to Do Near Cabo

Oh… Mexico, where do we even begin.  Like most places, Mexico has a lot to offer!  Whether you enjoy desert landscapes, lush jungles, or miles of pristine beaches there is literally something for everyone!  Though we could go on and on about Baja, we want to share with you the eight best things to do near Cabo!  Whether you are visiting Cabo for a weekend, week, or more, Kevin and I definitely recommend putting some of these activities on your Baja bucklist!  You won’t be disappointed!

Disclosure: This is post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running! Thank you for your support! 

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Where to Stay Near Cabo

The Cape, A Thompson Hotel

Non All-Inclusive Hotel
5/5

Located along what is known as the Los Cabos Corridor, is The Cape, A Thompson Hotel. 

This hotel is seriously one of a kind.  Not only is it home to one of the only rooftop bars in Cabo San Lucas, but it is also located right in front of Monuments Point Beach Break and right across from the El Arco.  In addition, The Cape is simply stunning with 161 rooms and suites, two pools, a state-of-the-art spa, and five beautiful restaurants on-site there is a little something for everyone. 

I highly recommend this hotel. This was probably one of my favorite hotels that Kevin and I have ever stayed in. The service was wonderful, the views were beautiful, and the all-around experence was one I'll cherish for years to come.
Taylor Mathers
Author
Eight Best Things To Do Near Cabo

Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos

All-Inclusive Hotel

Looking for an all-inclusive in Baja California Sur, we recommend checking out Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos! 

Overlooking the Sea of Cortez from every room/suite, the Hyatt Ziva offers two pools and seven different restaurants on-site; and don’t forget all food and beverages are included in your room rate! 

The Hyatt Ziva also offers guests a spa, fitness center, free parking, and much more!  Additionally, it is also only a short walk to San Jose del Cabo which is full of great shopping and delicious eats!

Kevin and I definitely recommend this resort, however, it is a much different experience from The Cape.  With a bit more of a party scene, this is definitely where you’ll want to stay if you’re looking to party and hang out with friends or family during your vacation! 

Eight Best Things To Do Near Cabo

The Need to Know Basics for Baja

The Language:  The official language of Mexico is Spanish.  However, the Mexican government recognizes 68 languages, 63 of which are indigenous.  English is also commonly spoken in southern Baja such as Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. 

Currency:  The official currency of Mexico is the peso.  Today $1 USD is equivalent to 20.15 pesos.  However, in southern Baja, the USD is also generally accepted as well!

The Climate:  The climate in Baja California Sur is what some refer to as perfect all year.  For example, Cabo San Lucas has an average temperature ranging from 66.2 to 84.2 degrees Fahrenheit.  Further north in Guerrero Negro the average temperature ranges from 59.7 to 77  degrees Fahrenheit.  So really, as we said before, wherever you go you are bound to have good weather!

Credit Cards vs. Cash:  Both credit cards and cash are widely accepted in Mexico.  However, if you travel to smaller towns and cities cash is preferred by local shop owners.

Eight Best Things to Do Near Cabo

Dine at Flora Farms

This is an absolute MUST if are you are in southern Baja!

Flora Farms is a 25-acre organic farm and restaurant located on the eastern side of San Jose del Cabo.  In addition to the farm and restaurant, Flora Farms also hosts a bar, grocery store, event space, multiple culinary cottages, several shops, a spa, and more, making this farm perfect for just about any occasion!  Along with serving up some amazing food, Flora Farms is also known for its exquisite live music daily and top-notch drinks!

Flora Farms is open Tuesday through Saturday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and on Sundays for brunch!

Kevin and I enjoyed Flora Farms so much we actually visited twice while exploring Baja California Sur.  Both dinner and Sunday brunch were simply delectable and we totally recommend checking this place out!

Our Recommendations: The homemade burrata is fantastic as an appetizer for dinner and for brunch we definitely recommend the lemon-ricotta pancakes, they are to die for!
Taylor Mathers
Author
Eight Best Things To Do Near Cabo
Eight Best Things To Do Near Cabo

Go Surfing

Southern Baja is known for its surfing!  Like California, Hawaii, and various other places there are surf beaches scattered about southern Baja.  These beaches include Nine Palms, Punta Abreojos, Scorpion Bay, La Pastora, Monuments, and so much more. 

Some of our favorite spots include Monuments, one of the only lefts in Southern Baja, La Pastora, and Nine Palms.  The beauty of Nine Palms and La Pastora is that you can park right on the beach for days while enjoying the surf. 

Monuments, however, can be easily accessed by guests of The Cape or those who want to enjoy a day trip.  Parking is tight around this beach though, so make sure to arrive early!

Eight Best Things To Do Near Cabo

Eat Tres Leches Cake in La Ribera

Tres leches cake is a must when visiting Baja California Sur or honestly Mexico in general!  What is tres leches cake?  Tres leches, also known as pan tres leches, is a sponge or butter cake soaked in evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream.  These three kinds of milk help keep the cake moist and simply delicious!

Though you can get tres leches cake almost anywhere in Baja our favorite was from a small local bakery in La Ribera.  The bakery we bought ours from is called Panaderia y Alta Reposteria Las Lagunas and we totally recommend it if you’re in the area, you won’t be disappointed. 

Sail to The Arch of Cabo San Lucas

Though this is a pretty touristy thing to do, we totally recommend sailing to The Arch.  Being in the crystal clear waters of the Sea of Cortez surrounded by the mountains of Baja and Cabo San Lucas is simply magical.  

Though there are plenty of company’s that offer this service Kevin and I recommend Cabo Sailing.  Cabo Sailing offers a two-hour sunset cruise to The Arch of Cabo San Lucas that includes bottomless cocktails, wonderful snacks, and breathtaking views.  In addition, the Cabo Sailing crew is amazing!  Not only are they extremely educated in the water and area they are super nice and truly want to give guests an experience of a lifetime!

Eight Best Things To Do Near Cabo
Eight Best Things To Do Near Cabo
Eight Best Things To Do Near Cabo

Eat Fresh Fish & Shrimp Tacos

This is pretty self-explanatory, I mean who wouldn’t try fresh fish and shrimp tacos in Baja they are absolutely amazing!  

Tacos can be found around just about any corner but there are definitely some places we recommend.  In Cabo San Lucas we loved Tacos May.  Located right in the center of town, Tacos May is easy to find, affordable, and delicious.  In Santa Rosaliita, Kevin and I recommend El Cactus!  This spot served up some of our favorite fresh fish tacos in Baja!  Not only were the tacos amazing but Nydia and Antonio were super nice and so welcoming.  In Guerrero Negro we recommend checking out Tacos El Muelle, a local taco food truck that serves up some crispy, amazing tacos, our favorite was the shrimp tacos but both the shrimp and fish were really good.  In La Ribera, check out Tacos Memo, they are great! 

Eight Best Things To Do Near Cabo
Eight Best Things To Do Near Cabo

Drink Local

There are plenty of great bars and restaurants in Baja California Sur but one of our favorites is Baja Brewing!  Located on the roof of Cabo Villas Beach Resort & Spa and overlooking the Sea of Cortez, Baja Brewing not only serves up some great food and drinks but also offers patrons some amazing views!

Founded in 2006, we think Baja Brewing has a beer for everyone.  They have a blonde ale, IPA, black ale, lager, and more!

Our Recommendations: We recommend trying the blonde ale and mango wheat. As for food, the green pizza and the shrimp tacos are delicious!
Taylor Mathers
Author
Eight Best Things To Do Near Cabo
Eight Best Things To Do Near Cabo

Enjoy a Tequila Tasting

In addition to amazing shrimp and fish tacos, Baja is known for its tequila!  This is why we recommend enjoying a tequila tasting while visiting!

Kevin and I actually enjoyed a tasting right in downtown Cabo that was awesome.  The owner was very knowledgeable and served us some delicious caramel, plain, and coffee-flavored tequila! 

Try the Paletas

Paletas are officially one of Kevin’s favorite snacks, I can’t even tell you how many he had during our time in Baja! 

I’m sure you’re wondering what a paleta is, well, it is a frozen treat made from fresh natural fruits like strawberry, mango, Kevin’s favorite Kiwi, and more.  Paletas can also be made from other ingredients like chocolate and pistachio!  

From our experience, these are good just about anywhere so we don’t recommend trying one from a specific spot we just recommend trying one in general.  You’ll be hooked! 

Eight Best Things To Do Near Cabo

Packing Recommendations for Cabo

That's All

Well, that’s all folks!  Those are the eight best things to do near Cabo, in our opinion.  We hope that this post not only got you excited for your upcoming adventure but helped you plan some fun outings around Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo!

For those of you going by van… check out our post on The Best Free Camping Beaches in Baja, Mexico

The Best Free Camping Beaches in Baja, Mexico

Van life is awesome, but I must say, van life in Baja is something else!  Both Kevin and I can agree that Baja, Mexico is our favorite van life destination to date!  In addition to having so many things to see and do, Baja has plenty of delicious food for every palate, lots of free overlanding beaches, and so many water fill-up locations called Aqua Purificada.  We are not going to get into where to eat or where to find water in this post, buuut we are going to tell you the best free camping beaches in Baja, Mexico, in our opinion!!

Disclosure: This is post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running! Thank you for your support! 

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The Best Free Camping Beaches in Baja

Eight Greatest Overlanding Spots in Baja, Mexico

1. Nine Palms

Nine Palms is easily one of our favorite beaches on this list!  Perfect for both sunbathing and surfing, this beach is any overlander’s dream!  Nine Palms is located about one hour northeast of San Jose del Cabo, just far enough for the cell service to be non-existent but close enough to get anything you need without wasting the entire day!

No worries if you do run out of food though, The White Lodge is just up the road and serves up some AMAZING flatbreads and fish tacos.  They also have WIFI for patrons and guests!

Want to see for yourself?  Check out our YouTube video in Nine Palms!

Eight Greatest Overlanding Spots in Baja, Mexico

2. La Ventana

La Ventana is located north of Nine Palms on the eastern side of Baja along the Sea of Cortez.  Here windsurfing, snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing are all common, and if you are lucky, maybe you’ll even get to enjoy the hot springs!  That’s right!  When the tide gets low enough folks can relax in the warm spring. 

This was one of my favorite camping spots.  There is nothing quite like waking up on the beach to the waves crashing on the sand!

However, do note that this beach is popular among both locals and overlanders, so it fills up pretty quickly on the weekends!

Want to see for yourself?  Check out our YouTube video in La Ventana!

Eight Greatest Overlanding Spots in Baja, Mexico

3. Playa El Tecolote

Playa El Tecolote is easily one of the most beautiful beaches on this list; though in the evening it does get quite windy! 

Kevin and I spent one night here and I can honestly say the view alone could have kept me there for a full week!  Located just outside of La Paz, Playa El Tecolote is one of the best beaches on this list for snorkeling and water sports.  While here we spotted lots of people jet skiing, swimming, and spearfishing.

Want to see for yourself?  Check out our YouTube video at Playa El Tecolote!

Eight Greatest Overlanding Spots in Baja, Mexico

4. La Pastora

La Pastora was honestly our home away from home.  Kevin and I spent weeks waking up at sunrise, enjoying the surf, and sipping on sunset cocktails here.  It’s safe to say it is our favorite of the best free camping beaches in Baja, Mexico for sure!  

Located just outside of Todos Santos, La Pastora has plenty of cell service and is close enough to town to get just about anything you need or to be able to enjoy a lovely meal at a beautiful sit-down restaurant! 

Want to see for yourself?  Check out our YouTube video at La Pastora!

Eight Greatest Overlanding Spots in Baja, Mexico

5. La Ribera

Located just north of Nine Palms is La Ribera, home to our favorite tres leches cake in Baja, Mexico!  La Ribera is a large beach with plenty of palapas for beachgoers and plenty of places to park for overlanders!  

In addition to wonderful tres leches cake, La Ribera is also home to some amazing family-owned restaurants!  We had some of the best fish tacos at Tacos Memo, right around the corner from this beautiful beach!  For that reason, we can’t recommend checking out this town enough!

Want to see for yourself?  Check out our YouTube video in La Ribera!

Eight Greatest Overlanding Spots in Baja, Mexico

6. Bahía de Concepción

One of our favorite beaches on our way to Baja California Sur was along the Bahia Conception.  Though this beach was not sandy, being along the bay was so peaceful.  We woke up and went to bed listening to the small waves crash on the rocks and it was absolutely perfect after a day full of driving. 

Want to see for yourself?  Check out our YouTube video at the Bay of Conception!

Eight Greatest Overlanding Spots in Baja, Mexico

7. Punta Abreojos

Located on the Pacific Ocean is another great overlanding beach on your way to or from Baja California Sur.  Punta Abreojos is another great place for surfing and relaxing, however, it does get quite windy in the evenings here!

Though this beach does not have cell service it is close to town where you can purchase a WIFI code at the local grocery store. 

Want to see for yourself?  Check out our YouTube video in Punta Abreojos!

Eight Greatest Overlanding Spots in Baja, Mexico

8. Santa Rosaliíta

Last but certainly not least is Santa Rosaliita!  Santa Rosaliita is a small Pacific fishing village known for its fantastic surf in the winter months.  It is during these months that this little town gets most of its visitors, however, we’d argue it’s worth the trip regardless of the time of the year!

There is no cell service in Santa Rosaliita but WIFI is available at the best and only restaurant, El Cactus,  and I must say it is totally worth the trip.  The owners, Antonio and Nidia, are absolutely incredible and their fish tacos are seriously the best!  Oh and don’t forget to try the homemade Pina Coladas too! 

Want to see for yourself?  Check out our YouTube video in Santa Rosaliita!

What To Bring

That's All For Now

Well, that’s all folks!  Those are, in our opinion, the best free camping beaches in Baja, Mexico.  I hope this post not only got you excited about overlanding in Baja but helped you find your home in Baja for a few nights at least!

Thinking about checking out mainland Mexico?  Head over to our review and itinerary for Vidanta in Nuevo Vallarta!

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit

During our road trip south along the East Coast, Kevin and I stopped at what soon became our favorite beach town, Wrightsville Beach.  While here, we spent time with friends, checked out the neighboring coastal towns, and explored downtown Wilmington.  In addition, we also enjoyed a self-made tour of the most memorable One Tree Hill locations that every fan can and should visit.

About One Tree Hill

For those who need a ‘refresher,’ One Tree Hill was an American drama that first aired on September 23, 2003.  This WB series was about two half brothers, Lucas and Nathan Scott, who competed for a spot on the Tree Hill High basketball team.  Though Lucas and Nathan were half brothers, until high school, they led very separate lives and essentially hated each other.  The series continued for nine seasons while showcasing the brother’s rivalry, romances, complex family dynamics, and struggles to figure out where and how they fit into each other’s lives.

Now enough about the show let’s get into the most memorable One Tree Hill locations every fan can visit!

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit
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13 Most Memorable "One Tree Hill" Filming Locations

The Rivercourt

USS Battleship Park, 1 Battleship Road, Wilmington, NC 28401

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC

Located in Battleship Park next to Battleship North Carolina is the iconic site of The Rivercourt.  The Rivercourt was where Lucas Scott and his friends Marvin McFadden (Mouth), Antwon Tanner (Skills), Jimmy Edwards, and more frequently hung out and played basketball.  Here Lucas and his friends were able to escape the jocks and other pressures of high school and just enjoy each other’s company!

Though The Rivercourt was dismantled after filming and production of One Tree Hill was completed, the site and the views of Wilmington from that side of the river should still appear very familiar to fans. 

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
onetreehill.fandom.com
Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
hollywoodreporter.com

Karen & Lucas Scott's Home

1829 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington, NC 28403

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC

Not far from downtown Wilmington is Karen and Lucas Scott’s home.  During the first few seasons of One Tree Hill, Karen and Lucas lived here together until she ultimately gave the house to Lucas in season five.

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
onetreehill.fandom.com
Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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Karen's Cafe & Clothes Over Bros

Corner of Grace St. and N Front St., Wilmington, NC 28401

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC

Located in downtown Wilmington is the site for Karen’s Cafe.  Karen’s Cafe was a popular filming location during the first four seasons of One Tree Hill.  This cafe is where Haley worked part-time, where Haley and Lucas built their rooftop mini-golf course, the home of Haley and Lucas’s time capsule, and where Deb and Karen’s relationship really blossomed.   

In season five, Karen’s Cafe was turned into ‘Clothes over Bros,’ Brooke’s high-end fashion line, until season eight when Brooke and Haley restored the building back to its former glory, Karen’s Cafe.

Much like The Rivercourt, Karen’s Cafe is one of the filming locations that was continuously used throughout the series!  So you won’t want to miss it!

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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Tric & Red Bedroom Records

1121 South Front Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC

Now it wouldn’t be a One Tree Hill tour without visiting Tric, would it?  I mean a nightclub that hosted live bands for high school students, how cool was that?

In season two of One Tree Hill, Lucas finds a spacious building where he hosts a party for Nathan and Haley to celebrate their marriage.  Once the party is over Karen sees the potential of the space and decides to open her own nightclub, Tric.  Throughout the series, Tric hosts high-profile talent such as The Wreckers, Fall Out Boy, Jimmy Eat World,  Nada Surf, Jack’s Mannequin, and more! 

Though Tric continues to thrive, Lucas, Peyton, Brooke, Haley, and Nathan stop attending the nightclub as often until season five.  In season five, Peyton pursues her dream of owning her own record label when she opens Red Bedroom Records in the back room of Tric!

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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Haley's Childhood Home

1811 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28405

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC

Located to the left of Peyton Sawyer’s house you will find the James home.  This is where Haley lived with her parents before moving in with Nathan in season two.  Though the outside of this house is rarely seen throughout the series, it is included in the scene where Haley and Nathan share their first kiss!

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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Naley Table

Along The Riverwalk in downtown Wilmington

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC

Much like The Rivercourt, Naley Table is high up on the most memorable One Tree Hill locations every fan can visit tour!  I mean this is where Haley and Nathan’s relationship started and where Nathan gave Haley the bracelet out of the Cracker Jack box and said “don’t say I never gave you anything.”

When Kevin and I visited, the riverwalk had some serious construction going on but luckily after a few minutes, we finally found it!  And being there was every bit as cool as I thought it would be!

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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The Scott's House

1621 Country Club Rd, Wilmington, NC 28403

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC

This house is beautiful and honestly, it still looks exactly like it did in 2003 when it made its One Tree Hill debut. 

The Scott’s House is Nathan’s childhood home where he learned to play basketball, Lucas and Peyton kissed for the first time, Nathan and Brooke’s sex tape was released, and so much more!  Though this home is not as memorable as The Rivercourt or Tric it was definitely the setting for some of the show’s most dramatic scenes!

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit
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116 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401

Although The Dixie Grill is not an original One Tree Hill filming location it was still awesome to see it in person.

The Dixie Grill served as the diner where Sam, Brooke’s foster child, hung out with her boyfriend Jack Daniels.  Later in the season, this is also where Sam spent time with Julian Baker, Brookes’s boyfriend turned husband by the end of the series.

For those wanting to experience The Dixie Grill first hand, Kevin and I heard amazing things about their food!

Tree Hill High

610 N. Front St, Wilmington, NC 28401

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC

As I said earlier, One Tree Hill was a WB series about five high school teenagers growing up in Tree Hill, NC.  That being said your One Tree Hill tour has to include Tree Hill High, right!  The filming location for Tree Hill High is located in downtown Wilmington at Cape Fear Community College, specifically the CFCC Joe and Barbara Schwartz Center!

For fans, Tree Hill High holds so many good and bad memories.  Take winning the state championship and the school shooting for example both are scenes that I will always remember!

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC. One Tree Hill tour.
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The Beach

Johnnie Mercer Fishing Pier, Wrightsville Beach, NC 

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC

Though the beach was not featured on One Tree Hill that much, it was featured nonetheless.  Wrightsville Beach and Johnnie Mercer Fishing Pier were locations used for Brooke and Lucas’s iconic picture kissing on the beach and the beach party in the third season. 

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC. One Tree Hill tour.
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Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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The Bridge

6th Street Bridge, N. 6th St & Hanover St

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC

This was one of our last stops on the most memorable One Tree Hill locations every fan can visit tour and I was very sad to see that it was under construction. 

Prior to pulling up, I was already envisioning my jumping, “I’ve made it to the One Tree Hill bridge” pose that I was planning on taking.  So it was a huge bummer that I couldn’t actually get on it.  That being said I was happy to see that they were repairing it rather than removing it.

For those confused about the importance of the bridge, it is the bridge in the opening credits that Lucas is dribbling his basketball across while Gavin DeGraw sings ‘I don’t wanna be’ in the background!

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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Brooke Davis's Home

2314 Tattersalls Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC

And this is the reason every girl in the early 2000s wanted to be “the girl behind the red door.”  Located close to Nathan’s home, Brooke Davis grew up in this beautiful two-story white brick home with THE red door.   Though she moved a lot during the series, this home will forever be burned in all of our memories!

Luckily for us enjoying the most memorable One Tree Hill locations every fan can visit tour, the brick is still beautifully white and the front door is still painted that Rosey shade of red!

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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Peyton Saywer's Home

1901 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28405

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC

Finally to conclude this tour Kevin and I are taking you to Peyton Sawyer’s house!  In my opinion, if you decide not to see any other characters’ home that’s fine, but Peyton’s house is a must!  So many pivotal moments in the series happened in or outside of her home.  For example, this is where Peyton was attacked and held hostage with Brooke on Prom night by Ian, where Peyton and Ellie were able to spend time together before her death, where Brooke and Peyton lived together, and where Peyton and Lucas enjoyed that huge food fight!

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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Disclosure: We do not own the rights to any of the One Tree Hill photos found in this post.  Photos were found on Google.com and were originally posted by the sites located below each photo. 

What to Bring!

That's All

And there you have it!  Those are the most memorable One Tree Hill locations that every fan can visit in Wilmington, NC.  Of course, there are additional locations including Black Cat Shoppe, Edge of Urge, Blue Post Billards, and more but the locations above are spots we believe everyone will remember from the series!

We hope this post got you excited and helped you plan for your own One Tree Hill walking tour! 

As always, Happy & Safe Travels!

Looking for other things to do along the east coast?  Check out our posts on the five most beautiful towns along Maine’s coast, things to do in Atlantic City in the winter, and the greatest spots to eat and drink in the Keys.

Most Memorable “One Tree Hill” Locations Every Fan Can Visit. Places to visit in Wilmington, NC
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Greatest Spots To Eat And Drink In The Keys

Planning a getaway to one of Florida’s most beautiful and popular destinations? You won’t regret it! Whether you’re interested in thrilling water sports, relaxing sunset cruises, or trying delicious seafood, Key West has something for everyone. Unfortunately, for those looking to dabble in water sports and sunset cruises, this is not the post for you. This post is for those in search of the greatest spots to eat and drink in the Keys!

Greatest Spots To Eat And Drink In The Keys. Best Places to Eat in Key West, Florida. Where to go in Key West Florida.
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Happy reading & safe travels!

Disclosure: This is post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running! Thank you for your support!

96 Madeira Rd, Islamorada, FL 33036

5/5

Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar is a must when searching for a place to eat on your way to Key West, Florida.  Kevin and I stopped here for breakfast and it did not disappoint!  Not only did they offer great food, but the staff was super sweet and the views of the water were incredible!  

Lorelei’s is open daily from 7 am until 10 pm.  Breakfast is served from 7 am until 10:45 am and daily Happy Hour is offered from 4 pm until 6 pm.  Although breakfast was delicious, Kevin and I have heard wonderful things about lunch and dinner as well.  This means there is never a bad time to go! 

Spoiler Alert: If you go to Lorelei’s Restaurant & Cabana Bar for lunch or dinner you’re in for an awesome surprise, this bar hosts live music daily from 11 am until 9 pm!

Our Recommendations"Locals Favorite" Breakfast Burrito & Vegetable Omelette
Taylor Mathers
Where to eat in the Keys. Where to eat on your way to Key West. Where to get breakfast on the water. Best breakfast along the water.

77522 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036

On the way to the Keys, you won’t want to miss Robbie’s!  “Voted the number one place in the Keys that every tourist should visit,” Robbie’s truly has something for everyone!  At Robbie’s, you can grab a bite at Hungry Tarpon Restaurant, enjoy a refreshing cocktail at Thirsty Tarpon Bar, feed the famous tarpons, shop for some souvenirs, or become a thrillseeker with some water sports.

Hungry Tarpon Restaurant is open daily from 6:30 am until 9 pm and offers great food and beautiful water views.  Here there is truly something for every palate.  Whether you are craving sliders, seafood, salad, sandwiches, Mexican food, you name it they got it.  And as a bonus, Hungry Tarpon Restaurant will even “cook your catch!”

7 Knights Key Blvd, Marathon, FL 33050

5/5
Sunset Grille and Raw Bar. Where to eat before the 7-Mile Bridge. Where to eat and drink on your way to Key West. Best bar in Marathon.

Home of the best views in Marathon, or at least Kevin and I think so!

Imagine sitting outside, sun in your face, cold beer in your hand, Jimmy Buffet on the radio with views of the 7-Mile Bridge and clear blue waters of the Keys, that’s what you get a Sunset Grille & Raw Bar.  This is hands down one of our favorite stops on the way to Key West.  Not only is the vibe incredible, but the staff here is also amazing, so what’s not to love!

Whether you visit in the morning or later in the day, Sunset Grille has something for everyone.  Cold drinks and ‘bloodys’ for the parents, a refreshing inground pool to keep the kids occupied, and something on the menu for even the pickiest eaters!

Since Kevin and I had already eaten we just enjoyed some drinks in the Florida sun while taking in the views, but we definitely recommend coming hungry!  Sunset Grille & Raw Bar is open daily from 8 am until 10 pm with Happy Hour each day from 3 pm until 6 pm.

Sunset Grille and Raw Bar. Where to eat before the 7-Mile Bridge. Where to eat and drink on your way to Key West. Best bar in Marathon.
Sunset Grille and Raw Bar. Where to eat before the 7-Mile Bridge. Where to eat and drink on your way to Key West. Best bar in Marathon.

6810 Front St, Stock Island, FL 33040

5/5

This place is AMAZING!  Hands down Kevin and I would recommend this restaurant to anyone searching for a low-key place with awesome food! 

Hogfish Bar & Grill is located on the water in Stock Island less than five miles from Key West.  Here patrons will get delicious fresh seafood and strong drinks all while experiencing the Florida Keys like they used to be!  The menu includes everything from killer tuna nachos to grilled hogfish filet and blackened sea scallops.  Don’t like anything on the menu, no problem!  Hoggish Bar & Grill would love to cook up YOUR CATCH.  I mean how cool is that!

Hogfish Bar & Grill is open Monday through Saturday from 11 am until 12 am and on Sundays from 9 am until 12 am.

Our Recommendations: Hogfish Sliders, Hogfish & Chips, and two local beers!
Taylor Mathers
Hogfish Bar & Grill. Where to eat in Stock Island. Best seafood in Stock Island. Best bar in Stock Island. Hogfish and chips. Hogfish sliders.

631 Greene St, Key West, FL 33040

Though there are so many great bars and restaurants in Key West, not all have great Happy Hours like Conch Republic Seafood Company.  Here Happy Hour is served daily from 4 pm until 7 pm and includes 2 for 1 domestic/imported/craft beer, house wines, and premium liquor well drinks.  If that’s not a great way to start your night I don’t know what is!  Additionally, Conch Republic Seafood Company is located right on the water offering patrons great views with their great drinks!

Conch Republic Seafood Company is open daily from 11:30 am until 12 am and offers a full menu (11:30 am – 10 pm), lunch menu (11:30 am – 3:45 pm), and a late-night menu (10 pm – 12 am). 

202 William St, Key West, FL 33040

5/5

Located on the historic harbor walk is Schooner Wharf Bar, a little piece of Old Key West!  Here guests can enjoy a cold, refreshing drink with their toes in the sand all while listening to some of Key West’s best talent!

When I first visited Key West in 2016, my dad and I went to Schooner Wharf Bar while waiting for our family to arrive from Dry Tortugas.  Originally, my dad and I thought we would go for a drink or two before moving on to another bar, but boy were we wrong!  We sat there all day enjoying mouth-watering apps, crisp and cold Bud Light Limes, and listening to amazing live music!  Needless to say, when Kevin and I returned this year, this bar was a must and as I suspected he would, Kevin loved it! 

Schooner Wharf Bar is the place to be during the day.  Offering live music and a relaxing and chill atmosphere, there’s not another bar like it.  And if that’s not good enough Schooner Wharf offers three Happy Hours throughout the day!  Schooner Wharf is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 am until 2 pm and Friday through Sunday from 8 am until 2 am.

Our Recommendations: Mahi Melt & Coconut Dipped Shrimp
Taylor Mathers

0 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040

5/5

Looking for a great place to enjoy a perfect Key West sunset.  Look no further than Sunset Pier.  Located at 0 Duval Street, Sunset Pier has hands down the best views of the sunset while offering guests delicious beverages.  In addition to great views and drinks, Sunset Pier cooks up some of the best apps and snacks while offering guests great music to sing along to all night long!

Our Recommendations: Yucca Fries & 2 Local Draft Beers
Taylor Mathers
Sunset Pier. Best sunset location in Key West. Where to see the sunset in Key West. Sunset bars in Key West.
Sunset Pier. Best sunset location in Key West. Where to see the sunset in Key West. Sunset bars in Key West.

832 Caroline St, Key West, FL 33040

Harpoon Harry’s is a local favorite for sure.  How do we know this, well on the morning Kevin and I went to the Southernmost Point we met a local who educated us on the history of Key West in addition to recommending his favorite restaurant, Harpoon Harry’s!  His favorite meal?  The ‘Harry’s Special,’ 2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 sausages, ham, and toast with your choice of home fries or grits all for $10.95.  “The most food you can get in Key West for your money and damn good, I’ll be there at 9 maybe I’ll see you there!”  He said to us.  

Though Kevin and I were already on our way to Blue Heaven for breakfast, I assure you that next time we are in Key West we will be heading to Harpoon Harry’s for the ‘Harry’s Special!’

Breakfast at Harpoon Harry’s is served from 6:30 am until 3 pm.  However, this restaurant is open daily from 6:30 am until 9 pm.

400 Front St, Key West, FL 33040

5/5

Planning a Key West bar crawl with all the best bars, don’t forget to add Hog’s Breath Saloon to your list!  Hog’s Breath has been a popular “watering hole” for both locals and tourists for the last 25 years and has hosted some exceptional musical talent over the years including Kenny Chesney.  With daily live entertainment and a variety of crisp cold drinks, Hog’s Breath is not a bar you are going to want to miss!

Hog’s Breath Saloon is open daily from 10 am until 1 pm with live entertainment from 12 pm until roughly closing time.

231 Margaret St, Key West, FL 33040

5/5

MUST, MUST, MUST…well if you like seafood that is and good prices, and great views!

Kevin and I cannot recommend this place enough!  We loved it so much that during our 3-day stay in Key West we went there for Happy Hour twice!  In our opinion, it honestly has the best Happy Hour in all of Key West and is 100% worth the trip! 

Located only a few steps from Schooner Wharf Bar, Half Shell Raw Bar is the place to be for all of your favorite seafood apps.  Not only is their Happy Hour cheap, but the food is amazing!  I think Kevin and I tried everything on the menu at least once!  In addition to great food, Half Shell Raw Bar offers 50% off all well drinks, beers, and house wines.  You know what that means…$2.75 Bud Light Limes, Rolling Rocks, Landsharks, you name it!

Half Shell is open every day from 12 pm until 9 pm while Happy Hour is served daily from 4:30 pm until 6:30 pm.  Make sure to get there early, the seats fill up quick!

Our Recommendations: Buffalo Shrimp, Calamari Rings, Raw Oysters on The Half Shell, & Hot Lips...& your favorite beers of course!
Taylor Mathers
Half Shell Raw Bar Happy Hour. Where to eat in Key West. Best Happy Hour in Key West, Florida.
Half Shell Raw Bar Happy Hour. Where to eat in Key West. Best Happy Hour in Key West, Florida.

211 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040

Imagine being back in college, drinking to your heart’s content, listening to awesome music, and dancing your head off, that’s Irish Kevin’s!  Located pretty much across the street from Hog’s Breath Saloon and next to Sloppy Joes, Irish Kevin’s is every bit your neighborhood go-to bar!  

Irish Kevin’s was started in 1998 by you guessed it, Irish Kevin.  Being a singer, songwriter, and entertainer himself Irish Kevin wanted to create a place where people could enjoy live music, delicious drinks, and a great time. 

Open daily from 10:30 am until 3:30 am, Irish Kevin’s offers live music throughout the entire day and if you’re lucky like us, you’ll even be able to hear Irish Kevin entertain the crowd!

525 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040

5/5

Located in the middle of Duval Street is Willie T’s.  Willie T’s offers daily drink specials, great food, and continuous live music from 11 am until 1:30 am.  

This was honestly one of Kevin and my favorite daytime bars.  Not only was the music amazing, but the atmosphere and staff made it just an all-around great time.  We’ll definitely be going back in the future!

Our Recommendations: Get NACHOS, because when aren't nachos a good idea!
Taylor Mathers

Daily Drink Specials

729 Thomas Street, Key West Florida 33040

5/5
Blue Heaven. Best breakfast in Key West. Highly recommended breakfast in Key West. Blue Heaven Key West. Omelets at Blue Heaven.

By far the best breakfast joint in Key West, Blue Heaven has something for everyone!  Whether you enjoy the typical eggs and potatoes breakfast, something a little sweeter, or if you want to try your breakfast with a side of seafood, Blue Heaven has it all.  And on top of all that, this restaurant even makes homemade banana and sourdough bread for you to choose from as a side for whatever you order!  We definitely recommend the banana bread for sure!

Though breakfast here is more expensive than Harpoon Harry’s and not nearly as big the atmosphere, sweet staff, and live music will make your experience one to remember…or forget depending on how many tasty drinks you enjoy with your breakfast!

Blue Heaven is open daily from 8 am until 2:30 pm and then again from 5 pm until 10 pm.  Even though their dinner is probably just as delicious as their breakfast, we definitely recommend checking out Blue Heaven for breakfast or lunch when the sun is out, the band is playing, and the drinks are flowing!

Our Recommendations: Kevin and I both ordered omelettes that were delicious with a piece of banana bread and a side of home fries!  As for drinks we recommend the Mango Fandango and the Cold Glazed Coffee!
Taylor Mathers
Blue Heaven. Best breakfast in Key West. Highly recommended breakfast in Key West. Blue Heaven Key West. Omelets at Blue Heaven.
Blue Heaven. Best breakfast in Key West. Highly recommended breakfast in Key West. Blue Heaven Key West. Omelets at Blue Heaven.

601 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040

5/5

Lastly, you haven’t done your trip to Key West justice if you don’t head over to Green Parrot Bar.  Located only three blocks from Blue Heaven, Green Parrot is a Key West icon!  The Parrot is a place of understated kindness filled with tunes that will knock your socks off and it has truly been a staple in Key West since it originated.  Like the other bars, Green Parrot hosts live entertainment every day as well as daily Happy Hour.

Happy Hour at the Green Parrot ranges due to the day of the week.  Monday through Thursday Happy Hour is held from 4 pm until 7 pm and on Fridays from 4 pm until 5:30 pm.

What To Bring

That's All!

Well, that’s all folks!  Those are, in our opinion, the greatest spots to eat and drink in the Keys.  I hope this post got your mouth-watering and helped you decided where you’re headed for lunch, dinner, and of course Happy Hour each and every day of your Key West vacation!  Enjoy!

Curious about our favorite places to eat in states other than Florida?  Check out our favorite places to eat and drink in Portland, Maine , and 20 of the best Happy Hour locations in Atlantic City, New Jersey!

Greatest Spots To Eat And Drink In The Keys. Best Places to Eat in Key West, Florida. Where to go in Key West Florida.
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The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Portland

Planning a getaway to one of Maine’s most popular and populated cities?  You won’t regret it!  Portland, Maine is a beautiful coastal city that has a little something for everyone including some of the best places to eat and drink!

Portland is known to travelers today for quite a few things.  One, it was Maine’s first capital.  However, it was changed after seven years when Augusta, a more centrally-located city, was created.  Two, it was home to the first chewing-gum factory ever!  Three, in addition to chewing-gum, Portland, Maine is home to the original “Italian sandwich!”  Four, it has the closest transatlantic port to Europe.  Five, well I guess while chewing-gum and Italian hoagies were being made locals got thirsty because Portland now has an impressive amount of microbreweries, 155 to be exact!  But in addition to all of that, Portland is also known for its fresh and delicious local food.  Here we have outlined the best places to eat and drink in Portland, Maine.

BEST PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK IN PORTLAND
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Happy reading & safe travels!

Disclosure: This is post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running! Thank you for your support! 

The Holy Donut

5/5
The Holy Donut Portland, Maine

Where do I even begin!  Unless you absolutely HATE donuts, you cannot visit Portland without making a trip to The Holy Donut.  The Holy Donut came to life after the owner/creator was craving a donut but wanted one made with “fresh ingredients that he could feel good about eating.”  After much trial and error, he found the perfect not-so-secret anymore ingredient, fresh Maine potatoes!  Now with three different locations, he is making and selling over two million donuts each year!  I’d say that is one good recipe! 

The Holy Donut
Caramel Apple Donut from The Holy Donut

But let’s get into what to eat…the SALTED CARAMEL is my absolute favorite!  Though I have not tried them all, I’m sure they are all delicious, I personally love the salted caramel.  Other flavors offered at The Holy Donut include fresh lemon, maple bacon, triple berry glaze, the holy cannoli, blueberry with lemon glaze, and that’s not even all of them!

For those planning on making a trip, most locations are open from 8 am to 3 pm daily.  The earlier the better though, there will be a line!

Chai Latte from The Holy Donut

Portland Lobster Co.

5/5
Portland Lobster Co. Portland, Maine

Portland Lobster Co. is located on Commercial Street right along the water in downtown Portland.  That being said, not only does it have excellent food but great views of the harbor as well.  So if you are looking for a restaurant that offers a variety of fresh seafood and a casual dining experience, Portland Lobster Company is the place for you.  

Here Kevin and I taste-tested the lobster roll as well as the scallop roll.  Both were delicious, the lobster roll was served cold, brushed with sweet butter, and served on a toasted bun while the scallop roll consisted of hot fried scallops on a bun.  Both were served with crispy french fries!

Portland Lobster Co. food in Portland, Maine

For those who do not like seafood, there are plenty of options on the menu for you as well.  Those options include burgers (both veggie and Angus beef), lemon chicken sandwiches, a number of salads, and more!

Additionally, Portland Lobster Co. is open daily from 11 am until 9 pm so patrons can enjoy a bite to eat for either lunch, dinner, or both!

The Standard Baking Co.

The Standard Baking Co. Portland, Maine

Founded in 1995, The Standard Baking Co. is a staple in downtown Portland.  The Standard Baking Co is family owned and operated and known for its traditional French baguettes and other artisanal breads as well as hand-rolled croissants, scones, and cookies. 

Though everything at The Standard Baking Co. looks and smells amazing, Kevin and I recommend trying the bag of molasses cookies.  The molasses cookies are simply delicious with just the right amount of crisp and chewy goodness.  Fun fact about the molasses cookies is that the recipe is actually from a former baker’s grandmother, a perfect recipe that will stand the test of time!

The Standard Baking Co. Portland, Maine

The Stand Baking Co. is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8 am until 2:30 pm.  We recommend going early in the day!

Central Provisions

Central Provisions from Wharf Street
Central Provisions Portland, Maine

Central Provisions is another must-visit.  Known for their mouth-watering food and historic ambiance, Central Provisions will leave you with a full belly and memories that will last a lifetime.  The building itself has been standing for over 150 years with only minor renovations to preserve the history.  Today owners take pride in the history and the city by supporting local farms and businesses in a way strengthening the community in Portland and who doesn’t love that!

Though all of their food is wonderful and comes highly recommended, Kevin and I recommend heading to Central Provisions for brunch.  You won’t be disappointed!  Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11 am until 2 pm.

Allagash Brewing Company

If you are a beer drinker it’s not a trip to Portland without visiting arguably Maine’s most well-known brewery, Allagash.  Though Allagash White is their signature beer, Allagash Brewing Company offers a variety of beers from sours to stouts, to IPAs so there is honestly something for every palate. 

Unfortunately, when we visited their tasting room was closed to the public and they were only offering to-go beverages.  Since Kevin and I wanted to try a flight or a variety of beers, we chose the Mix Of Six.  The Mix Of Six includes Allagash White, North Sky, Sixteen Counties, River Trip, Allagash Tripel, and the Moselle Lager.  We also tried the Coolship Red which is a sour beer aged on local raspberries.  It was delicious, especially if you like a good sour!

Allagash Brewery Portland, Maine
Inside Allagash Brewery Portland

Allagash Brewing Company is typically open daily from 11 am until 6:30 pm.  Always remember to drink responsibly. 

Bite into Maine

5/5
Bite Into Maine Portland

MUST TRY…enough said.  No, seriously you have to try it!  Bite Into Maine was started in 2011 and has been expanding ever since.  Now with three locations throughout Portland, you can try Bite Into Maine while enjoying the views at Portland Head Lighthouse (their original location), while sipping on some local beers at Allagash Brewing Company, or at their 12-seat takeout location in Scarborough, Maine.  Although Kevin and I ate at the airstream at Allagash I believe they are all just as scrumptious as the others. 

Bite Into Maine Lobster Roll Flight

Since we could not decide on what roll to try, Kevin and I decided to get the “flight of three minis.”  I mean how perfect and cool is that!  The flight included the Maine roll, with homemade mayo and chives, the Connecticut roll, with warm butter, and the Picnic roll, with coleslaw, butter, and celery salt!  YUM.  For those who just want to try one big roll my personal favorite was the Picnic, something about the coleslaw made it stand out from the others! 

If you in search of your favorite lobster roll in Portland, we definitely recommend trying Bite Into Maine. 

Shipyard Brewery

Looking for the perfect fall beer in Portland, head over to Shipyard Brewery.  Shipyard Brewery is family-owned and has been around since 1992.  So needless to say, they have had quite a few years to perfect their brews. 

For those hoping to enjoy a tasting, Shipyard Brewery is located in downtown Portland and offers both indoor and outdoor seating to guests.  This means not only do you get to enjoy amazing beers but if you choose to sit outside you can enjoy awesome views of the city too!

Our personal favorite beer is Pumpkinhead.  Pumpkinhead is a refreshing wheat ale full of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors that will leave your taste buds wanting more!  

For those hoping to try a variety, no worries.  Shipyard offers beer flights as well as single 10 oz pours! 

Packing Essentials for the Fall in Portland, Maine

That's All!

Well that’s all folks, those are the best places to eat and drink in Portland, Maine.  I hope this post got your mouth-watering and helped you decided where your headed for lunch and dinner each and every day of your getaway!  Enjoy!

Want to visit some other locations in Maine but not sure where to go?  Check out our post on the five most beautiful towns in Maine along the coast!  

BEST PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK IN PORTLAND
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Five Most Beautiful Towns Along Maine’s Coast

There are few places in the world where tourists and locals can really let their hair down, relax, and take in the moments.  Maine is one of those places.  Regardless of where you end up along the coast, there is something about Maine that causes you to slow down and really enjoy each and every moment.  Although every town in Maine is unique in its own perfect way, here are, in our opinion, five of the most beautiful towns along Maine’s coast.  Happy reading & traveling!

Looking for more recommendations regarding US travel.  Check out some of our other posts A Weekend in Lake Placid NY, A Winter Visit in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, Oregon’s Best Waterfalls, Not in The Columbia River Gorge, and Must Do’s in Seattle

Now back to the post…!

5 of the most beautiful towns along Maine's coast pin 1
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Disclosure: This is post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running! Thank you for your support! 

Five Coastal Towns You Cannot Miss

1. Kennebunkport, Maine

Found in southern Maine is the quaint coastal town of Kennebunkport.  Kennebunkport is commonly known as “the place to be all year,” after becoming a resort destination over 100 years ago. 

Kennebunkport Maine Harbor

This small town is known for its charming downtown, sandy beaches, and for being one of Maine’s shipbuilding meccas.  In addition to having a bustling downtown, Kennebunkport is also known for its Ocean Avenue drive.  Much like Newport’s Ocean Drive, Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport is a MUST DO!  Not only are the views of the ocean and waves crashing on the rocky shoreline calming and serene but the homes built on this road are simply breathtaking.  Here you will even stumble upon former President George W. Bush’s summer home…or compound!  You won’t want to miss that!

Kennebunkport Maine
Kennebunkport Harbor

2. Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine…where do we even start!  Not only is Bar Harbor super charming it is surrounded by the stunning Acadia National Park, so this is not a town you’ll want to skip over!  Bar Harbor is in my opinion ADORABLE.  It is full of amazing local shops, delicious restaurants, and well-stocked bars.  Don’t like any of those options?  No problem, Bar Harbor is also built around a quaint park where tourists and residents can sit and enjoy the views as boats enter and exit the harbor.  This is also a great place to people-watch and/or enjoy a picnic along the coast. 

Bar Harbor Maine

Some of our favorite things to do and places to go to in Bar Harbor include Galyn’sAtlantic Brewing Company, Shore Path, and Sea Bags.  Sea Bags is a local boutique that sells beautiful totes and accessories.  However, these goods aren’t just your ordinary goods.  What makes Sea Bags so special is that the creator of the shop actually transforms beautiful old sailboat sails into nautically inspired handbags, totes, and accessories.  I mean how cool is that!

Sea Bags

Of course, if you are visiting Bar Harbor don’t forget to explore and do some hiking around Acadia National Park.  Acadia has some of the best views along the east coast! 

3. Portland, Maine

Portland is easily one of Maine’s most visited cities and for good reason!  It is jam-packed with great food and even better local craft beer!  

The city of Portland is located on a small peninsula that extends into the Casco Bay.  Much like the other coastal towns in Maine, Portland is built around the fishing industry.  That being said there are numerous fishing wharves as well as fishing and lobster tours available to tourists and residents of the area.  Needless to say, if you have time Kevin and I definitely recommend experiencing one of these tours, you won’t regret it!

Although Portland has grown a lot over the years the history of the city is still very present.  Many upscale restaurants and bars found along the water are located inside historic converted warehouses only adding to the charm and ambiance.  Additionally, the shops and boutiques are commonly found in older restored buildings.  

As for what to do in Portland, check out The Holy Donut, Portland Lobster Company, Allagash Brewery & Bite Into Maine, Portland Head Light, Shipyard Brewing Company, and much more!  Kevin and I also recommend taking a walk down Wharf Street if you are looking for a good local restaurant, you’ll be sure to find one there!

Portland Lobster Co in Portland Maine

4. Stonington, Maine

If you are interested in what Maine was like prior to becoming a popular vacation getaway, I encourage you to visit Stonington.  Stonington is a very small town located in Hancock County just south of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.  Here tourists will experience what we believe to be an authentic Maine town.

Stonington Maine

Not only is Stonington the largest lobster port in the state it is also, in my opinion, the “town where everyone knows your name.”  While visiting Stonington Kevin and I witnessed handfuls of local fishermen working in the harbor and town residents visiting with local shop owners as if they were family.  If I were to describe Stonington in one sentence it is, the place where you can run errands while leaving your keys in the ignition and wallet on the center console without a worry in the world!  And for us it was very refreshing to visit a place like that!

Stonington Maine Harbor

Though the town of Stonington is small, I definitely recommend visiting 44 North Coffee, for some of the best pour-over coffee you’ll ever taste, Stonington Ice Cream Company, for one of the most delicious lobster rolls ever, and Dockside Books and Gifts, because the owner is one of the sweetest people we met while exploring Maine!

Dockside Books and Gifts Stonington Maine

5. Camden, Maine

Picture the most beautiful coastal town you can think of.  Now picture it with a harbor full of large New England sailboats, cafes/local eateries lining the rocky shore,  local businesses full of authentic Maine goods, all surrounded by acres of trees of every color.  That’s Camden, Maine, and that is why it might be my favorite town along Maine’s already beautiful coast. 

Camden is a small town located in Knox County with a population of of 3,442 people.  However, during the spring and summer months this number triples due to summer residents and tourists who come to enjoy the beautiful weather and picturesque town. 

Camden, Maine

Though Camden is a small town there is something to do for everyone.  If shopping is your thing there is no shortage of authentic Maine shops.  If happy hour or dinner along the water is what you enjoy there are plenty of beautiful restaurants and bars overlooking the harbor.  Want to hike?  No problem, feel free to hike up Mount Battie for some breathtaking views of the town or head over to Camden Hills State Park.  Camden also offers a number of boat tours for those looking to enjoy the views from the water.  Finally, if you enjoy getting your hands a little dirty you can even go out lobstering with some locals.

Camden, Maine Public Library
The Smiling Cow Camden, Maine

What to Bring

Our Camper Van’s DIY Electrical System

A camper van’s electrical system is the life blood of the tiny home.  It comes in all shapes and sizes and is completely customizable based on each individual needs.  In this post, we provide a complete overview of our camper van’s electrical system.

If you’re new here, welcome!  I highly recommend you check out of Van Build Journey page for more information on our entire van build.  

Also, check out of YouTube Channel to see our entire van build series covering over 40+ episodes showcasing every step of the build!

Our Van's Electrical System

Our van consists of four main electrical components.  

  1. Batteries
  2. Solar Panels
  3. Inverter/Charger
  4. Battery Isolation Manager

Now your system doesn’t need to have all four of these components in fact you can get away with just a single battery if you really wanted too.  However, we really wanted to have the feeling of home in our Sprinter Van so we went all out.  

Below are the 4 core components we use in our van today.  

Our DIY Converted Sprinter Van Camper Van Electrical Systeem

1. Batteries

When it comes to batteries, there are a few different types.

  1. Lithium Batteries
  2. AGM Batteries
  3. Lead Acid Batteries
  4. Gel

Unfortunately I do not know much about batteries however I do know for a FACT that Lithium Batteries are usually the best!  But they also come with a higher price tag.

Lithium Batteries let you drain the battery level to well below 50% before damaging the battery, unlike the other battery types.  This makes me feel more confident when using our power. 

So if you wanted a similar battery bank of Lithium Batteries you basically need to double it to match.  For example, a 100 Amp Hour Battery Bank of Lithium Batteries will match 200 Amp hours of AGM, Lead Acid, and Gel Batteries. 

Batteries We Use

In our build, we have 3, 100-Amp Hour Battle Born Batteries.  Like I mentioned above these batteries can be drained beyond 50% without risk of damaging the batteries and they have a built in Battery Management System (BMS).  

From Battle Born’s website: “The BMS protects the cells against excessively high or low voltages, high currents, short circuits, and excessive heat or cold. These are the most common causes of battery failures, and we have taken every precaution to mitigate these risks in all of our batteries.”

This let’s me sleep at night knowing that the BMS is protecting us at all times!

With a 300Amp Hour Lithium Battery Bank we have plenty of power our van like a tiny home, meaning we can have running water, power a hot water heater, charge all our accessories, power lights, and even power household items like a blender and a hair dryer!  

If you think you’re going to live in the van full time we highly recommend at least a 300Amp hour battery bank of lithium batteries if it’s in budget, especially if you want to make your van feel like home without making too many electrical sacrifices.   

 

2. Solar Panels

Solar panels are an essential component of your electrical system in any diy converted van.  They help charge your batteries and keep your batteries full of energy.  Once solar is installed, you are able to charge your batteries for FREE directly from the sun.  It’s a pretty cool feeling knowing you’re using natural sources to power your house.  

Solar panels come in different shapes and sizes and with every solar panel install, you will need 5 main things.

  1. Solar Panels
  2. Solar Charge Controller
  3. Wires 
  4. MC4 Connectors
  5. Entry Gland from the Ceiling of your van
 
If you’re new to the world of solar, I recommend getting a Solar Kit from Renogy.  We got the 400 Monocrystalline premium solar kit and were not disappointed. 

Types of Solar Panels

There are two different types of panels, Monocrystalline solar panels and Polycrystalline solar panels.  Monocrystalline panels are more efficient and more reliable but are also more expensive.  We recommend monocrystalline panels due to their reliability and ability to charge your batteries faster.  
 
There are also two different shapes of panels, rigid framed and flexible panels.  Rigid framed are usually bolted down to a roof rack or something similar while flexible panels are usually glued down to a roof.  We went with rigid frame panels since we are traveling at high speeds and I want to have confidence in my system knowing my panels are tightly bolted down, not going anywhere! 
 
There are two different types of panels, Monocrystalline solar panels and Polycrystalline solar panels.  Monocrystalline panels are more efficient and more reliable but are also more expensive.  We recommend monocrystalline panels due to their reliability and ability to charge your batteries faster.  
 
There are also two different shapes of panels, rigid framed and flexible panels.  Rigid framed are usually bolted down to a roof rack or something similar while flexible panels are usually glued down to a roof.  We went with rigid frame panels since we are traveling at high speeds and I want to have confidence in my system knowing my panels are tightly bolted down, not going anywhere! 
 
Installing a custom solar roof rack on our diy sprinter van which includes 4 - 100 watt solar panels of Renogy mono-crystalline panels

Solar Charge Controllers

Solar charge controllers is the component that converts the energy from the sun into a language that your battery can ingest.  Basically, it’s the middle layer between the panels and the batteries that help channel it’s energy into a useable manner.  Typically when searching for solar charge controllers you want to look for something that is compatible with your battery bank system, whether it’s 12v or 24v and what is the maximum amperage.  

 

We use a 40Amp Rover Charge Controller by Renogy, which is rated up to 520 Watts of solar so we have room to expand and add another solar panel if we ever wanted too. 

If you’re chose a setup different from the premium solar kit, than I’d recommend going with a Victron MPPT charge controller.

Wires & MC4 Connectors

Refer to my wiring diagram, for what we used.  If you choose to use the premium solar kit by Renogy the wires and 40amp ANL fuse is included.  Just note if you wire your solar panels in parallel rather than series you may have to increase the gauge of wire to carry the higher amperage over a specific distance.  

In order to connect your panels together you should use MC4 connectors which are water proof and able to withstand external weather conditions.  If you are wiring your panels in parallel, then you will need to get MC4 adaptors for parallel connections. 

Our set up is wired in series rather than parallel.  This allows us to keep the amperage low while adding more voltage that’s still well within the charge controllers limits with an end result of thinner wires.   

The only downside to wiring your panels in series is when your panels are in the shade.  If one panel is in the shade it will effect your entire solar system and reduce the amount of energy sent to your batteries.  In parallel you do not have to worry if one panel is shaded as it would not affect the other panels you have.  

Solar Roof Rack

We built our solar roof rack out of 80/20 aluminum.  I was much more comfortable attaching my solar to a roof rack rather than the van ceiling and drilling more holes directly into the van but to each their own.  

DIY Custom Solar Roof Rack for DIY Camper Van made out of 80/20

Solar Wiring Roof Entry Gland

Hopefully this is obvious but I wanted to call it out.  You need a water tight compartment where you can allow your solar wires to enter the roof of your vehicle into your vehicle’s electrical compartment.  We do this via an entry gland and use a mix of 3M tape and dicor lap sealant to ensure no water can enter the vehicle. 
 

3. Inverter / Charger

If you have any intentions of having house AC (Alternate Current) outlets also known as your regular house outlets than you will need an inverter.  An inverter does what it’s named, inverts DC energy into AC energy and if it has a charging component built in, then it inverts AC energy into DC to charge your batteries.  

There are several different options when it comes to Inverters, and most van lifers use a 2000 Watt or 3000 Watt Inverter.  The more watts you have the more energy you can handle.  We have a Bosch 2.5 Gallon Hot Water Heater which has a pretty big draw and uses a lot of watts.  Due to this we need a 3000 Watt inverter to power it and a 3000 Watt inverter requires at least 3 – 100Amp Hour Lithium Batteries.  

 

 

The Inverter/Charger We Use

Like I just mentioned above, we use a 3000 Watt Inverter from Victron, it’s the Victron Multiplus 12/3000/120-50 120V.  This model is a BEAST and it’s also a dual purpose inverter AND charger.  This allows us to charge our van via shore power if we ever need too.  However since we have a battery isolator and charge our batteries via the engine’s alternator, we never had to use shore power.  But this is a great option if you want to use a heavy constant load like a hair dryer or additional heater or something similar.   

 

4. Lithium BIM 225 (Battery Isolation Manager)

In my opinion, having a source of charging from your vehicle’s engine is an absolute must.  It eliminates the worry of running out of battery power in any van conversion because you have the on demand power once you start your vehicle.  Now don’t get me wrong, solar is amazing, but solar is completely dependent on the sun, so if it’s cloudy or if you’re parked in the shade you will not be able to charge your batteries! 

You could also use a DC to DC charger which offers a more consistent charge rate at a lower amperage.  This will charge your batteries at a slower rate, but it is less wear and tear on your vehicle’s alternator.  There’s pros and cons to ecah option (DC to DC charger vs Isolator).  

 

Lithium Battery Isolation Manager How to Wire the Li-Bim 225 for a DIY camper van electrical system
Wired up Lithium Battery Isolation Manager
Lithium Battery Isolation Manager How to Wire the Li-Bim 225 for a DIY camper van electrical system momentary switch
This is my momentary switch connected to the door of the driver seat fuse panel

4. Additional Components

In addition to the four critical components above, you also need the brains and the spine of the system to connect everything together. 

  • DC Fuse Block
  • Bus Bar
  • Battery Monitor 

I’d like to think of the bus bar as the spine of the electrical system.  Without it, you’re unable to easily connect all of your main electrical components together completing your system.  We built a custom DIY bus bar from Nate’s blog Explorist.life which is a great resource for electrical information.  

The brains of the system are generated from the battery monitor which is the visual front end of the electrical “Shunt”.  The shunt is what connects your negative cables coming from your battery bank to the negative bus bar.  As energy passes through the shunt, data is captured and displayed on the battery monitor.  

The next critical component is your fuse panel which connects all of your DC electrical components to your battery bank.  We use 2 – 12 circuit fuse panels by blue systems which allows us to put each individual accessory on it’s own fuse.  Now you don’t necessarily have to do that, I just did it because it gives me more piece of mind and lets me assess an issue faster if something doesn’t work.   

Summary

Throughout our entire van build, the electrical system was no doubt my favorite part of the build.  I learned a lot throughout the build and I didn’t have any knowledge about DC electrical prior this.  To keep things short, as you can see from the blog post above, we have 3 sources of power in our van, Solar, Shore Power, and charging via the vehicles Alternator using a Lithium BIM.  I think it’s critical to have both solar and a charging mechanism via the vehicles alternator if you rarely plan to stay at RV campgrounds like us.  We have yet to require any hookup what so ever which makes life really convenient.  

If you have any questions about our electrical system drop a comment below I can continue to update this as questions arise.  Also, please check out our YouTube channel if you’re interested.  We have over 40 episodes related to our build and now share our van life adventures with you! 

April 2020 – Travel Blog Income Report

Our fourth blog monthly income report brings us another month of profit!  We are incredibly grateful for the positive growth and want to thank you for following our journey and reading/watching along the way.  

If you’re interested in our previous travel blog/vlog income month reports you can check them out here:

This section is the same as last month and for people who are seeing our blog income reports for the first time.  If you’ve already read a previous blog income report then scroll down to April 2020 Income Report.

From January 2020: 
Back in November 2018, Taylor and I decided to take the blog more seriously and started to treat it like a business.  We invested in a blogging course, called Elite Blog Academy which helped us take several actionable items to keep us accountable on growing Mathers on the Map.  Since then, our blog is starting to generate momentum and I think it’s a good time to share our first ever blog income report broken down into 3 main buckets: ad revenue income, affiliate income, and course sales.

Why am I writing an income report?

The goal of this income report is not to brag in any way shape or form.  In fact, I think you’ll quickly learn that there isn’t much to brag about at the moment. 

The amount of time Taylor and I dedicate to the blog compared to the income generated at is a terrible rate of return.  Hopefully one day that will change as we continue to grow.  

You may be wondering why I am sharing this with you.  Well, I spend a lot of time reading other successful blogs and one of the things I find so interesting are others” income reports.  I love the idea of looking back and seeing the growth over the course of a given time frame and seeing the historical track record of a blog’s growth.  This intrigued me to one day start doing this for Mathers on the Map.  I hope over the course of the next few years we will have a bit of a track record documenting our journey along the way, hopefully inspiring others. 

At the end of the day we want to make a full-time income from doing something we love and it would be amazing if our blog could be one of the main tools to create that income.   We also hope that these income reports will inspire you to tackle your dreams no matter how big. 

If you’re interested in getting our income reports sent right to your email, consider subscribing to our email list.  We’ll also send you 3 travel tips that we wish we knew when we started traveling. 

Disclosure: This is post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running! Thank you for your support!

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April 2020 Income Report

Like the three prior reports, I am breaking this income report into 3 main buckets, ad revenue, affiliate income, and course sales.  I also am going to compare this month’s to the previous month to track our growth throughout the year.  I’ll provide a brief high-level overview and then provide a detailed explanation below.  

Mathers on the Map - April 2020 Revenue and Expense

Compared to March, we saw a gain of revenue by $78.39 and we decreased our expenses from $139.98 to $71.98 bringing our total profit to $242.38 for the month! 

Mathers On the Map Blog Income Reports - Profit Compared Monthly

Blog Traffic March vs April

As you probably can assume, our blog’s income is reflective of how much traffic we get on our blog and YouTube channel.  Here’s a comparison from March to April.

Blog Traffic March
Mathers on the map monthly traffic in March 2020
Blog Traffic April
Mathers on the map blog:vlog income report for April 2020

In the month of February we had 10,412 users.  In March we had a decrease of 25% totaling 7,808 users.  In the month of April we had ANOTHER decrease of 50%. 

Clearly, the COVID-19 global pandemic is impacting the travel industry tremendously.  Since a majority of our content is travel related we are seeing a significant hit but I think the steep decline has finally leveled out.  

We hope things will start to turn around in an upward direction in the near future.  We wish all of the best for those affected by this disease, as well as the impacts on small business owners. 

Income Streams

Like I mentioned earlier I am breaking the income report into 3 main buckets, ad revenue, affiliate income, and course sales.  

1. Ad Revenue - $11.17 (Decrease of $50.41 from February)

Unfortunately, we saw a decrease of $50.41 in the month of April compared to March for our blog’s ad revenue.  This is due to two reasons. 

1. The Corona Virus' impact on the travel industry

The big one, of course, is the Corona Virus since we had a 63% decrease in our monthly users from our peak in February. 

Also many travel-related company’s marketing budgets completely went out the window which dropped the overall EMPV (Earnings per one thousand views) significantly. 

In February we saw an EMPV of $12.06!  Now in April, we see an average EMPV of about $3.50. 

2. Brute Force Bot's on our Blog!

Second, we ran into an issue with Ezoic identifying non-human traffic on the “backend” of our site trying to “brute-force” their way into the admin.  Due to this, we shut down the Ezoic Ads half-way through the month and had to turn back on Google Adsense until we get this resolved.  This hurts because Ezoic has a better EMPV than Google Adsense, luckily we do not rely 100% off this revenue to fund our adventures.

If you read our previous income reports then you know we recently switched our ad platform from Google Adsense to Ezoic in January and highly recommend it if you meet their requirements.   If you want to join Ezoic’s platform, considering using our referral link, it would be greatly appreciated!

2. Affiliate Income - $205.19 (Increase of $31.80)

The second way we make an income from Mathers on the Map is through our affiliate income.  Affiliate income is a great way to make additional income from your blog, youtube channel or whatever other social platforms you use and it’s quite simple.  For example, we recommend the products we use in our van build episodes on YouTube and insert our affiliate link in the description of the video.  If someone clicks on the link, it brings them to the product page on Amazon.com and if they make a purchase within 24 hours of clicking our link, we earn a commission from that sale at no cost to the individual making the purchase.  So, it’s a win-win for the reader and the content creator!   

Amazon Affiliates - $167.39
MATHERS ON THE MAP amazon affiliate income for april 2020

THANK YOU FOR THOSE WHO CLICK OUR LINKS!!!! WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT!

We saw an increase of $31.80 compared to March 2020, totaling $167.39 for the month which is a result of our youtube channel gaining more traffic and more subscribers.  Hopefully, this trend continues!

As our YouTube channel grows we can become eligible for monetization.  The requirement is 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months (which we surpassed on the 30th of March!) and 1,000 subscribers.  At the time of this writing, we have 728 subscribers, almost there!  

Thank you to everyone who subscribed to our channel and watching our videos, we really appreciate it!  We’re hoping we can add another source of income through ads on our videos soon.

Clickfunnels Affiliates - $38.80

Clickfunnels is a drag and drop website builder specializing in marketing funnels helping entrepreneurs build successful businesses. We use Clickfunnels to build and manage our travel hacking course which you can learn more about below.

We also earn an affiliate income from Clickfunnels. Similar to Amazon, if someone clicks on our referral link and signs up for Clickfunnels through our link, we earn a commission.  Again, it’s at no cost to the user clicking on our links and helps us out tremendously! 

If you’re interested in learning more about Clickfunnels, I’d appreciate it if you check it out I recommend starting out with the One Funnel Away – 30-day challenge to kick start your business or if you want to become an affiliate of Clickfunnels, you can start here!.

Booking.com Affiliate - $0

We did not receive any affiliate income from booking.com this month which is why it’s not included.  As you can see from the above, the majority of our affiliate income comes from Amazon’s affiliate program.   

3. Course Sales - $97 (Increase of $97 from March)

Our third stream of income is from our online course sales.  We sell a course that teaches people how to manage credit and use credit as a tool to gain millions of points and miles.  The strategies taught in the course are the same strategies we implement to use points and miles to fund all of our travel adventures.

During the month of April, we made one course sale which was given as a discount from the standard price since we are in the works of migrating software providers.  If you’re interested in how we travel for nearly free, you can check out the course below, reach out to us directly or stay tuned for when the courses’ sales page is finished.

If you’re not really understanding the “points and miles world”, then check our recent trip report: How we got a luxury Scandinavian vacation for FREE, savings us over $6,600 and enabled us to see the northern lights!

March 2020 Expenses

To keep Mathers on the Map growing we need to invest back into the business.  To do so we have a few monthly expenses including:

  • Adobe Premiere Pro – $19.99 – for video editing
  • Teachable – $29.99 travel course host
  • Siteground – $10-12 our website hosting
  • Pinterest Automation (Tailwind) – $10

If you’re following our income reports, you may notice we reduced our expenses from $139 to $71.98!  We switched hosts from click funnels to teachable to lower our hosting costs for the travel course.  After a few months of thinking about making the switch, we finally pulled the trigger.  

Mathers on the map travel blog income report April 2020
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Total Income Generated

From the categories listed above, we earned a total revenue of $314.36 before taxes.  

Revenue – Expenses:  $314.36 – $71.98 = $95.99

Mathers on the map April Income balance sheet

So as you can see we have another profitable month even with the impacts of COVID-19.

If you made it this far, please let us know if there are any questions or comments you have about our blog income reports.  If you have any feedback as well it would be greatly appreciated!      

Thanks for reading!
Kevin

March 2020 – Travel Blog Income Report

Our third blog monthly income report brings us another month of profit!  We are incredibly grateful to start seeing some positive progress toward the blogs success and want to thank you for following our journey and reading/watching along the way.  

If you’re interested in our previous travel blog/vlog income month reports you can check them out here:

 

This section is the same as last month and for people who are seeing our blog income reports for the first time.  If you’ve already read a previous blog income report then scroll down to March 2020 Income Report.

From January 2020: 
Back in November 2018, Taylor and I decided to take the blog more seriously and started to treat it like a business.  We invested in a blogging course, called Elite Blog Academy which helped us take several actionable items to keep us accountable on growing Mathers on the Map.  Since then, our blog is starting to generate momentum and I think it’s a good time to share our first ever blog income report broken down into 3 main buckets: ad revenue income, affiliate income, and course sales.

Why am I writing an income report?

The goal of this income report is not to brag in any way shape or form.  In fact, I think you’ll quickly learn that there isn’t much to brag about at the moment. 

The amount of time Taylor and I dedicate to the blog compared to the income generated at is a terrible rate of return.  Hopefully one day that will change as we continue to grow.  

You may be wondering why I am sharing this with you.  Well, I spend a lot of time reading other successful blogs and one of the things I find so interesting are others” income reports.  I love the idea of looking back and seeing the growth over the course of a given time frame and seeing the historical track record of a blog’s growth.  This intrigued me to one day start doing this for Mathers on the Map.  I hope over the course of the next few years we will have a bit of a track record documenting our journey along the way, hopefully inspiring others. 

At the end of the day we want to make a full-time income from doing something we love and it would be amazing if our blog could be one of the main tools to create that income.   We also hope that these income reports will inspire you to tackle your dreams no matter how big. 

If you’re interested in getting our income reports sent right to your email, consider subscribing to our email list.  We’ll also send you 3 travel tips that we wish we knew when we started traveling. 

Disclosure: This is post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running! Thank you for your support!

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March 2020 Income Report

Like the two prior reports, I am breaking this income report into 3 main buckets, ad revenue, affiliate income, and course sales.  I also am going to compare this month’s to the previous month to track our growth throughout the year.  I’ll provide a brief high-level overview and then provide a detailed explanation below.  

Mathers On The Map Income Blog Report - 2020 Revenue and Expense

Compared to February, we saw a loss of revenue by $1.77 but our expenses remained the same.  I’ll touch on this in more detail below.

Mathers on the map income blog report march 2020 - Profit Compared Monthly

Blog Traffic: February vs March

As you probably can assume, our blog’s income is reflective of how much traffic we get on our blog and YouTube channel.  Here’s a comparison from February to March.

Mathers On The Map February 2020 Blog Traffic
Mathers on the map monthly traffic in March 2020

In the month of February we had 10,412 users.  In March we had a decrease of 25% totaling 7,808 users.  This is likely due to the Covid-19 global pandemic impacting the travel industry.  Since a majority of our content is travel related we are seeing a significant hit and will expect to see this trend to continue downward into April and May.  

We are hoping other business owners are hanging in there during this time and finding ways to adapt to continue to provide value to their customers.

Income Streams

Like I mentioned earlier I am breaking the income report into 3 main buckets, ad revenue, affiliate income, and course sales.  

1. Ad Revenue - $61.58 (Decrease of $68.27 from February)

Unfortunately, we saw a decrease of $68.27 in the month of March compared to February.  We believe this is likely due to the Corona Virus since we had a 25% decrease in our monthly users.  However, looking at our ad revenue I was hoping that this would stay consistent with the percentage drop in monthly users, but it actually dropped more than 50%.

The majority of our content is travel-related and a large chunk of our display ads are travel related.  This in combination with a lower volume and a lower conversion rate dropped our EMPV (Earnings per one thousand views) significantly. 

In February we saw an EMPV of $12.06!  Now in March we see an average EMPV of $7.30 and only because of the strong first week in March before Covid-19 took over the world.  Unless things change I am expecting our average EMPV to decrease down to roughly $3.50 or so.  

If you read our previous income reports then you know we recently switched our ad platform from Google Adsense to Ezoic and highly recommend it if you meet their requirements.   If you want to join Ezoic’s platform, considering using our referral link, it would be greatly appreciated!

Mathers On the Map March 2020 Income Report Ezoic Ad Revenue

2. Affiliate Income - $173.59 (Increase of $45.53)

The second way we make an income from Mathers on the Map is through our affiliate income.  Affiliate income is a great way to make additional income from your blog, youtube channel or whatever other social platforms you use and it’s quite simple.  For example, we recommend the products we use in our van build episodes on YouTube and insert our affiliate link in the description of the video.  If someone clicks on the link, it brings them to the product page on Amazon.com and if they make a purchase within 24 hours of clicking our link, we earn a commission from that sale at no cost to the individual making the purchase.  So, it’s a win-win for the reader and the content creator!   

Amazon Affiliates - $135.59
Mathers On The Map March 2020 Amazon Affiliate Income

We saw an increase of $66.50 compared to February 2020, totaling $35.59 for the month which is a result of our youtube channel gaining more traffic and more subscribers.  Hopefully, this trend continues!

As our YouTube channel grows we can become eligible for monetization.  The requirement is 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months (which we just surpassed on the 30th of March!) and 1,000 subscribers.  We have 1 of the 2 requirements completed and on our way to 1,000 subscribers.

Thank you to everyone who subscribed to our channel and watching our videos, we really appreciate it!  We’re hoping we can add another source of income through ads on our videos soon.

Clickfunnels Affiliates - $38.80

Clickfunnels is a drag and drop website builder specializing in marketing funnels helping entrepreneurs build successful businesses. We use Clickfunnels to build and manage our travel hacking course which you can learn more about below.

We also earn an affiliate income from Clickfunnels. Similar to Amazon, if someone clicks on our referral link and signs up for Clickfunnels through our link, we earn a commission.  Again, it’s at no cost to the user clicking on our links and helps us out tremendously! 

If you’re interested in learning more about Clickfunnels, I’d appreciate it if you check it out I recommend starting out with the One Funnel Away – 30-day challenge to kick start your business or if you want to become an affiliate of Clickfunnels, you can start here!.

Booking.com Affiliate - $0

We did not receive any affiliate income from booking.com this month which is why it’s not included.  As you can see from the above, the majority of our affiliate income comes from Amazon’s affiliate program.  

3. Course Sales - $0 (No change from February)

During the month of March, we did not make any income from the course since we had no new members sign up.  If you’re interested in how we travel for nearly free, you can check out the course below.  

If you’re not sure what I am referring too, check out our recent trip report: How we got a luxury Scandinavian vacation for FREE, savings us over $6,600 and enabled us to see the northern lights!

Want to learn how we saved over

$ 0

on our past Scandinavian vacation?

Check out our e-course to learn how we accumulate over a million points and miles to redeem for free travel anywhere in the world. 

March 2020 Expenses

To keep Mathers on the Map growing we need to invest back into the business.  To do so we have a few monthly expenses including (note these didn’t change from February):

  • Adobe Premiere Pro – $19.99 – for video editing
  • Clickfunnels – $97.99 – to maintain our travel hacking course
  • Siteground – $10-12 our website hosting
  • Pinterest Automation (Tailwind) – $10

In total we are spending about $139 in the month of March.

I am considering changing the software of the course from Clickfunnels to Teachable during this time since traveling has come to a screaming halt.  

Mathers on the map 2020 Income Report
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Total Income Generated

From the categories listed above, we earned a total revenue of $235.97 before taxes.  

Income – Expenses:  $235.97 – $139.98 = $95.99

Mathers on the map summary march 2020 income report

So as you can see we have another profitable month.  We were expecting to see continued growth but we we’re knocked down a bit by the impacts of Covid-19. 

If you made it this far, please let us know if there’s any questions or comments you have about our blog income reports.  If you have any feedback as well it would be greatly appreciated!      

Thanks for reading!
Kevin