Tips for RV Camping Along the National Road

Ready for a road trip that you’ll talk about for years? RV travelers who haven’t yet discovered The Historic National Road will want to take notice. We’ve got the details you’ll need to travel the highway that spurred America’s Western Expansion, and has intrigued RV camping fans ever since.

Planning RV Travel on the National Road

Where to go and what to see? Those are questions any wise traveler asks while planning a trip, and we can help with the answers. The Historic National Road stretches east to west from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to Eads Bridge on the Mississippi River at St. Louis.

The first road built with federal highway funds (from 1811 to 1837), this route rolls across six states – Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois – for more than eight hundred miles, now primarily part of US-40.

Once the road west for thousands of settlers, entrepreneurs and adventure seekers, there’s no reason intrepid RV travelers can’t capture that same sense of adventure and set out along the National Road to discover America.

As you go, plan to explore historic sites in each state to gain more understanding of this highway’s significance. Here are just a few of the places you’ll want to discover:

  • The Red Brick Tavern in Lafayette, Ohio began serving the stagecoach trade on the National Road in 1837 and still serves patrons today. By the way, stagecoaches and Conestoga wagon were the primary modes of transportation on the way West. Quite a difference from today’s luxurious recreational vehicles!
  • National Road Corridor Historic District in Wheeling, West Virginia is worthy of an extended visit, thanks to the many beautifully restored structures on the National Register of Historic Places. From the Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum to the stunning nineteenth century mansions throughout the district, 1830s atmosphere is everywhere. Don’t miss the Wheeling Suspension Bridge!
  • Fort Necessity National Battlefield in Uniontown, PA dates back to the French and Indian Wars and is also home to Mount Washington Tavern, another popular stopping-off place along the National Road in the 1830s and 1840s. The tavern now serves as a museum.
  • Casselman River Bridge State Park in Grantsville, Maryland features an eighty-foot single span stone bridge built in 1813 as part of the earliest construction on the National Road. The park attracts history and architecture buffs, as well as fly fishermen who enjoy the sport along the Casselman River.
  • Huddleston Farmhouse, Indiana, is located sixty miles east of Indianapolis on the National Road. In the 1840s, this family farm served as a way station for thousands of travelers coming and going from the Western frontier.

We’ve shared just a small sampling of the places RVers can explore as they trek the Historic National Road from Maryland to Illinois. Use the Road’s official site to expand your own excursion.

Whether you’ll be renting an RV for the journey or driving your family’s motorhome, finding a campground can start with a look at our handy list of RV campgrounds in each state.

The Historic National Road—the highway that made travel to the American West a reality. For today’s intrepid RV travelers, it’s a road trip filled with memories. You’re sure to come home with a deep appreciation for the folks who set the stage for the journeys that built America.

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RV Camping with Kids—Five Reasons It’s a Win

If you’ve shied away from RV camping with the kids, this is a great time to take a second look. Getting your youngsters away from home, in an outdoor space that’s extraordinary, can be a winning formula for families. From building life skills to nurturing a love of nature, RV camping offers dozens of reasons for bringing the kids along. Here are just five to help you start thinking about a family RV camping vacation.

Camping Can Teach Your Kids Skills

It’s tempting, especially when traveling with cranky kids or teens, to pull into the campground and rush about doing everything yourself. But what if, instead, you assigned a skill-building chore to each youngster?

Learning how to cook over a fire ring, how to hook up a campground water line and check for leaks or how to plan for and pack essential supplies are all skills their peers may never learn. Those types of skills promote independence and a sense of accomplishment, especially if they’re taught by a patient adult who knows they might burn a few burgers before they get things right.

One more bonus: you’ll be bringing up another generation of able campers who might just invite you along when they take their own kids camping!

Camping Nurtures a Love of Nature

What better way to protect our nation’s natural resources than to raise kids with a love of nature? Kids who go camping are exposed to the splendor of mountain lakes, tree lined trails and desert sunsets. It may take a while, if they’ve been glued to screens all winter, to get them to look up and notice the beauty around them, but by sharing your own enthusiasm for America’s natural wonders, you can nurture an avid nature lover.

Don’t just point them to natural wonders while camping, get out there with them and hike, fish or watch for wildlife. Show them the secrets of the desert at night, the wonder of sunrise over a misty lake or trails that lead to surprising places. Not sure how to start? America’s national parks are well-equipped to encourage a kid’s love of nature, with fascinating ranger-led hikes and talks, Junior Ranger discovery programs and visitor centers that explore the sights and science of each park.

Camping Encourages Outdoor Activity

This may be the number one reason parents take kids camping! They’re tired of seeing their kids parked on couches and hope to encourage more physical, outdoor activity.

The range of ways your kids or grandkids could be active outdoors while camping is staggering. Hiking, biking, climbing, trail running, paddling, water or snow skiing, swimming and simply walking from the campground to the beach are just a few of the ways young campers can enjoy being outdoors.

Plan vacations around outdoor recreation and then set the example by joining in. Here are some ideas to help you plan:

  • Arches National Park in southern Utah is custom-made for camping families, with plenty of trails that won’t wear out the young ones. Challenge the kids to count the arches as you hike, and encourage them to get up close and explore the geological mysteries that make up this awesome landscape.
  • Go RV camping in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park and join the ranger-led hikes to lakes, forests and mountain lookouts.
  • Introduce the youngsters to Yellowstone National Park, first with a scenic drive to get your bearings in this vast space, and then with hikes planned to see waterfalls, wildlife, geysers and more.
  • Not a lot of time for a camping vacation? Even a trip to a local lake offers places to get outdoors and be active.

Camping Builds Family Connections

Whether you’re RV camping with grandkids, nieces and nephews or your own brood, being out in nature can connect your family in ways that might surprise you. Build memories for a child to cherish by sharing your love for outdoor spaces.   kids_campfire_shutterstock_212954773

Teach them the activities and skills you learned as a child. They’ll remember years from now the day they caught their first sunfish with the help of Auntie Jane or the campfire cuisine Grandpa helped them create for the family.

Being away from familiar surroundings and exploring, learning and doing things they might never get to do at home can connect your family more deeply. Keep things simple and relaxed around the campsite and plan activities with the kids in mind to promote a camping vacation that strengthens family ties.

Camping Can Kindle Creativity

Imagine the things that might capture the attention of a budding artist or writer while surrounded by forests, sand dunes, waterfalls or mountain peaks. Giving kids the gift of an RV camping vacation might just light the spark of lifetime creativity.

Encourage creative camping by bringing along cameras, sketch pads, watercolors, journals and craft supplies. Give your kids or grandkids the freedom to create what the beauty around them inspires, and then be sure to applaud their efforts. Who knows…you could be nurturing the next Ansel Adams!

Being outdoors with young ones opens our eyes to things we may have missed. It allows us to pass along cherished camping traditions, a love of nature and the skills they’ll use for years to come. Most of all, it connects us in ways that might not be obvious, and every family RV camping vacation can be a new adventure turned memory.

Take the kids camping soon, it’s an experience every family should discover.

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How to Plan the Perfect RV Camping Family Reunion

Does your family need new ideas for making your family reunions fun for all ages? Why not plan a reunion in the great outdoors, complete with RV comfort and convenience? We’ve pulled together the perfect plan for bringing your family together for an RV camping reunion.

Step 1: Family RV Inventory

Start floating the idea to one and all that you’d like to go camping for this year’s reunion. Once your relatives have agreed that camping together sounds like a blast, your next step is to find out how many motorhomes your extended family already has. You might be surprised to learn that Cousin Jerry regularly camps in a fifth-wheel and Uncle Joe has driven his Class A ‘bus style’ RV from New York to LA.

Once you’ve taken inventory of available motorhomes, you can do the next two steps—pick your location and rent RVs for the overflow.

Step 2: Pick Your Location

Asking what style motorhomes are already in the family helps you choose the right location and type of campground. Some larger RVs, for example, require 50amp hookups, so you’ll need to look for a campground with that amenity.

But the biggest consideration is what reunion activities will the family enjoy? Will your relatives want to fish, boat and swim? A lakeside campground at a scenic state park would be a great choice. If the goal is to camp close to hiking and biking trails, investigate state parks, national parks or national recreation areas with plenty of room to roam. Remember to check for on-site or nearby campgrounds that can accommodate your size of group and reserve the sites you’ll need before you go.

More thoughts on location—if your relatives love the idea of mountain camping, consider Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado or Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. For a gathering of sun-worshipping siblings, why not book several campsites at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA? We’re blessed in the USA to have national parks, state parks and camper-friendly lakes and rivers all over the map. Email some location ideas to your clan and reserve your campsites based on their top picks.

Step 3: Rent RVs for the Overflow

Some families will find that there are plenty of motorhome beds to accommodate their gathering. If you determine, however, that you’re short an RV or two, don’t panic! We’re happy to help set up RV rentals, either in your loved ones’ home cities or near your family camping destination.

Use this quick link to access the types of motorhomes we offer and where you can rent them.

Step 4: Deal with the Details

The success of any family reunion is in the details, and an RV camping reunion is no exception! With a place to gather chosen and accommodations reserved, all that’s left is to decide who will bring what and how much. Will one person purchase groceries for the group or each family bring their own? Potluck meals are always fun and give campers the chance to show off their outdoor cooking skills.

A rookie reunion camping mistake is assuming everyone will know what to bring! All it takes is a little communication to settle details such as who will bring groceries, camp stoves and utensils, what equipment is needed for group activities and any special regulations in place at your venue. If your location has a website with camping and activity information, send the link to your loved ones so they’ll know what to expect.

Planning your RV camping family reunion doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Plan together to pick a great spot, make sure you have the RVs you need and settle the details for meals and activities before you’re thirty miles from a Walmart. Because you’ve planned well, your RV camping family reunion is liable to become a cherished family tradition.

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Rent an RV Guest House for the Holidays

Are friends and family coming in for the holidays and your house is full to the rafters? Instead of reserving hotel rooms for your visitors, why not rent an RV as your holiday guest house?

El Monte RV Premier Motor Home Rental 2014 Model

El Monte RV Premier Interior View of a Motorhome

Keep reading to learn why an RV rental is the perfect way to open your home to more visitors this holiday season.

  • RV Styles for Every ‘Guest House’ Need: With so many styles of motor homes to choose from, every holiday host can offer comfortable accommodations. From top-of-the-line ‘bus style’ Class A units to roomy cabover Class C motorhomes with convenient slide-outs, there’s an RV to accommodate your overflow housing needs. Whether it’s the newlywed cousins or a family of six coming to stay, there’s a style of motorhome to meet your needs.
  • RV Comfort to Pamper Your Guests: Offer your holiday season guests the luxury and comfort of today’s RVs. Separate bedrooms, modern kitchens for preparing midnight snacks and an amazing amount of storage keep holiday visitors comfortable without paying for pricey hotel rooms. Tips for even more holiday fun: use the extra space to organize late night card games, a grown-up girls’ slumber party or football night in the RV man cave!IMG_3856
  • RV Guest House Privacy and Convenience: Too many guests in one house can spell trouble over the holidays! Even the closest of friends or families can get on each other’s nerves when squeezed into cramped quarters. Let your guests enjoy the convenience of separate space in your “RV guest house”. For guests who need their privacy, even on a holiday trip, your guest house on wheels will become a favorite hideaway. No better way to keep your visitors jolly!
  • RV Holiday Rentals are Affordable:   All that comfort and they’re affordable, too! RV rentals, especially when you take advantage of special holiday rates, beat the price of hotel rooms hands-down. Check out rental pricing for a motor home that sleeps your number of extra guests comfortably and then compare it to local holiday hotel rates for the same number of guests. Amazing, isn’t it, how affordable RV accommodations can be? Factor in the convenience, comfort and flexibility of renting motorhome guest quarters and you’ll be booking a rental RV for every holiday!   Picture of Holly
  • Renting an RV for the Holidays is Easy: With convenient El Monte RV Rental locations across America, finding and renting the perfect RV guest accommodations is easy. Just let us know how many guests will be sleeping in the motorhome, how many nights you’ll need the extra space and when you’ll need to pick up the motorhome. Our helpful staff at every location will help you select just the right RV and check that holiday task off your list.Why send extra guests away to hotels when an RV guest house keeps them close to the holiday fun? Give your holiday visitors a special treat this year—the privacy, comfort and convenience of guest quarters just steps from your front door. Your home might just become their favorite holiday destination!
  • Santa's One RV Open Sleigh Saves the Day!

    Santa’s One RV Open Sleigh Saves the Day!

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Premier RV Camping Adventures at Pismo Beach

The lure of Pismo Beach, on California’s Central Coast, draws RV campers from around the world. They know they’re going to find beautiful beaches, outstanding outdoor recreation and laid-back seaside villages waiting to be explored. Why not join them on your own RV adventure? 1024px-Pismo_Beach

Centrally located between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Pismo Beach is a premier destination for RV camping fans because there’s just so much to do once you’re there! Here are our suggestions for a Pismo Beach RV camping itinerary.

Day One: Set up Camp at Pismo Beach

The beauty of oceanside camping is made even better by well-managed, friendly RV parks. That’s just what you’ll find in Pismo Beach, with amenities to make even an extended stay comfortable.

Here are just a few suggestions for Pismo Beach RV campgrounds:

Pismo Coast Village RV Resort features four hundred RV sites, a general store, on-site restaurant and mini-golf course. Get in touch for reservations here, and plan to enjoy exciting Central Coast attractions close by.

Another excellent spot to park your RV on a visit to Pismo Beach is at the beach itself! Pismo State Beach in Oceano has RV campsites for motorhomes up to 36 feet in length. Come camp near the dunes and play in the Pacific, it’s the perfect place for outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

One more idea for motorhome camping in Pismo Beach—a stay at Pismo Sands RV Park. With RV sites that accommodate even the largest motorhomes, this park is ideal for campers wanting to stay close to Central Coast action.

Day Two: Start Enjoying the Beaches!

Start your beach tour at Pismo Beach, where the white sand beaches and iconic fishing pier stand ready to welcome you. Make your way south to Oceano Dunes for hiking, OHV riding and wildlife viewing. All along the coast you’ll find outfitters waiting to provide you with sea kayaks, dune tours and bike rentals, just to name a few of the outdoor recreation opportunities.

Day Three: Tour Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle, located one hour north of Pismo Beach on Hwy 1, is the magnificent hillside estate once owned by William Randolph Hearst. Fabulous gardens, priceless collections of art and stories of movie stars, politicians and millionaires are all part of the Hearst Castle tour. Come visit this state-owned historic site for an intimate glimpse into one of America’s most famous families.

Day Four: Visit Central Coast Vineyards

The abundance of vineyards and wineries in California’s Central Coast Wine Country is enough for a vacation in itself. Choose which wine trail you want to follow using this helpful guide and find a new favorite vintage along the way. This could be the beginning of an annual pilgrimage for wine loving RV travelers!

Day Five: Visit Ventura Harbor

Be sure to save time to visit Ventura Harbor Village, an outstanding seaside oasis just two hours south on Hwy 1. Shop, eat, dance and soak up the harbor town ambience. Breathtaking Channel Islands National Park right next door is an underwater wonderland your entire family will enjoy.

These are just five of the ways you can play on an RV camping trip to Pismo Beach, California. Pick up an RV rental at one of our rental locations and plan the vacation of a lifetime on California’s  Central Coast.

Photo courtesy of JT Perreault ( at en.wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Posted in Beach RV Vacation, CA, CA RV Camping, CA RV Vacation, California Spring Vacations, California vacations, California winter vacation, Family RV vacations, family trips, family vacations | Leave a comment

Create an RV Camping Classroom for the Kids!

Smart families start planning their spring RV camping trips early to get the best reservations and discounts. There’s another reason to plan early for your next camping vacation with the kids—you’ll have time to create a fun ‘RV camping classroom’ to keep them entertained, educated and challenged as you travel.

Family Fun in an El Monte RV

Family Fun in an El Monte RV!

We’ve got lots of ideas for teaching young campers as you travel—and they won’t even mind the homework!

RV Camping Classroom Ideas

  • Catch the Camping Bug:  Bring along a magnifying glass (or load a magnifying app on your cell phone) and plastic containers with lids and go on an insect safari. Have youngsters look up ahead of time what kinds of bugs live where you’ll be camping. Give a small prize (gummy bugs?) for each kind they find, and ask them  to write about, draw or make up a story about the insects they catch. Tip: Accompany younger kids to avoid insect bites!
  • Create a Colorful Campground: When it’s time to take a break from swimming, hiking and other outdoor activities, set up watercolors and sturdy paper on the picnic table. Encourage young artists to interpret nature on paper, and take along fishing line and bag clips to make a campground art gallery.
  • Vacation Memories in a Box: Another artistic way to encourage campground learning is to bring a shoebox for each child, along with a collection of art supplies. Have each young artist create a diorama that represents their favorite memories of the trip—natural wonders, campground antics, animals in the wild—you may be surprised by what they want to remember! Pack their creations carefully to display back home.
  • Camping Finance Challenge: RV camping makes vacations affordable, but do the kids know what it costs to take your trips? Give each child a ledger (paper or app) where they can record expenses along the way (here’s a great sample ledger.) Give them a head start by taking them shopping for camping trip groceries and supplies. Point out where to see the cost of gas on a pump and how to figure tips at roadside cafes. Up the ante by giving each child a budget for their own camping expenses like souvenirs and snacks. Award the best budget hound for keeping accurate track of the most expenses.
  • Look to the Skies! One of the things we love most about camping in the great outdoors is the ability to see stars and constellations invisible in the city. Teach your kids about the heavens by taking along a telescope, using a helpful astronomy app like Pocket Universe or just laying on a blanket and looking up. There are lots of ways to expand this RV classroom exercise—draw, paint or sculpt what they see in the sky, write a story about space travel or challenge them to make up their own planets, complete with occupants!
  • Animal Arithmetic: Create a simple set of miniature playing cards on paper, with a photo or picture of common birds or animals on each and a numeric value assigned. Have the youngsters cut them out and put a set for each of them in envelopes. As you travel and camp, instruct them to watch for those birds and animals, look them up on their cards and track the numeric value on the outside of their envelopes. Decide how much you’ll let them score for spotting unusual species. On the last day of your RV camping vacation, have them add their totals and award a prize to the child with the highest score.
  • Camp Captain: Teach your children leadership skills on vacation by telling them ahead of time they’ll be in charge of one family activity.
  • Assign them a campground meal to plan and enlist others to help them cook.
  • Let them decide what hiking trail the family will take and then ask them to plan how long it should take and what they’ll need to take along (water, snacks, sunscreen, first aid kit, etc.).
  • If you’re camping near historical sites, have them choose one as a day trip and then prepare a preview for the family.

Any kind of activity families can do while camping can be turned into a fun and educational experience. Remember to allow young campers to do things to their own ability and don’t expect perfection—you’re on vacation, after all!

Let us know what types of RV camping classroom ideas you’ve tried while traveling with the kids. Share your epic successes (and your funny failures) below so other camping families can learn from your experience. And don’t forget to let us know if you need help planning an RV rental

Photo Credit:  An El Monte RV customer photo, permission granted.

Posted in educational trips, Family RV vacations, family trips, family vacations, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, Motorhome Camping, RV blog, RV Camping, RV Camping Resources, RV Rental, RV Rentals, RV Road Trip, RV Sales, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas, RVing with kids, Vacation Planning | Tagged | Leave a comment

RV Camping the Cajun Coast at Louisiana’s Lake Palourde

Are you ready to explore one of Louisiana’s largest inland lakes by RV?  Then it’s time to turn your motorhome to southern Louisiana and Lake Palourde.  This scenic lake is part of an enormous collection of swamps, streams and interconnected waterways that make up the Atchafalaya Basin.

Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana

Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana

Here’s how to get there: Travel US90 about one-and-one-half hours southwest from New Orleans to Morgan City, LA.  That’s where you’ll find the best access for RV campers to Lake Palourde.  Let the city’s Lake End Park be your home base, with affordable, full-service campsites adjacent to the water.

This stunningly scenic park also boasts fishing piers, a boat launch, plenty of hiking and biking routes and a sand beach.  Be sure to make reservations before you come, so you’ll have your prime camping spot secured.

What You’ll Find While RV Camping at Lake Palourde: Here are some of the first impressions RV travelers to Lake Palourde have shared, “Spanish moss hanging low on cypress trees,” “nature at its best, right at your camper’s front door” and “fishing like nowhere else in America.”

Fishing in Louisiana

Fishing in Louisiana

So let’s talk about the fishing first—the anglers in your crew aren’t going to want to leave the water when they realize just how many crappie, catfish and bass make this lake and the area’s canals and bayous their home.  Be ready to eat some of the freshest seafood imaginable, as oysters, crayfish and crabs are also plentiful on the Atchafalaya.

There’s also something here for history buffs, nature lovers and outdoor sports enthusiasts at Lake Palourde.  Brownell Memorial Park and Carillon Tower, just a half-mile down the road from the RV campground, is a delightful place to hike the trails, watch for unusual bird species and photograph one of the world’s tallest carillon towers (if you’re lucky, you’ll get to hear the bells ring!)

Another way to savor the character of Louisiana’s inland lakes is to understand their important role in history.  Take the time to ask a local about the Civil War battle in which a much smaller Confederate force came on small boats and then on foot through the swamps to attack and conquer a large Union encampment at Fort Brashear.

But let’s not forget about the outdoor sports enthusiasts who come to the shores of Lake Palourde.  There are plenty of ways for them to spend their time, from biking along the bayous and through picturesque small towns to looking for eagles’ nests from the water along one of the Cajun Coast Paddling Trails.

A beautiful Blue Heron

A beautiful Blue Heron

Speaking of birding, sections of the America’s Wetland Birding Trail can be found throughout the Atchafalaya Basin, including at Lake Palourde.  Keep your eyes open for great blue herons, double-crested cormorants and a multitude of both common and rare birds that make Louisiana’s Cajun Coast their home.

One more suggestion for getting back to nature in America’s favorite freshwater swamp—take a swamp tour!  Local outfitters like Cajun Jack’s are happy to introduce you to the alligators, backwoods trappers and Cajun lore of the Basin.

Coming to southern Louisiana is taking a step into Cajun hospitality and untamed beauty everywhere you look.  Bring your bikes, your hiking shoes and your cameras and set up camp on the shores of Lake Palourde.  You’re going to have a hard time leaving!

We’d like to hear about your Atchafalaya adventures by RV, especially if you’ve visited Lake Palourde.  What keeps you going back?  Share your tips for fellow travelers in the comment section below.  And be sure to let us know if you need an RV rental for the trip!

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE! or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credits: Top, Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; middle, Fishing in Louisiana by finchlake2000, and bottom, Blue Heron by Andrea Westmoreland are are licensed under Flickr Commons

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Five Day Trips to Take While RV Camping in Tucson

Are you looking for new ways to enjoy the great outdoors while RV camping in Arizona?  Why not try Tucson, home to year-round campgrounds and some of the prettiest desert scenery around?

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park

To spark your imagination, we’ve collected helpful tips on five day trips you’ll want to take while in Tucson.  Let’s start our tour by saying that the weather in Tucson is fabulous for a winter holiday vacation.  With highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s, it’s perfect for hiking, biking and sightseeing to your heart’s content.

And that’s a good thing, because our first day trip suggestion is to Saguaro National Park, a hiking and biking paradise divided by the city of Tucson.  Photograph the giant saguaro cacti in the Tucson Mountain District to the west or take one of the Rincon Mountain District’s scenic drives or trails to the east of the city.  Either way (or both!) it’s going to be a memorable experience.

There’s no camping in the National Park, which closes to motor vehicle traffic at sunset, but there’s plenty of camping nearby.  Campgrounds such as Desert Trails RV Park, Prince of Tucson RV Park and Whispering Palms RV Park help keep RV camping in Tucson pleasant and affordable.

The second day trip suggestion we’d like to make for Tucson visitors is a picnic/hiking day at Agua Caliente Park.  Once a warms springs resort and ranch, this lovely spot offers palm tree-lined trails around the springs, as well as historical ranch structures to explore.

Your third day in Tucson wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Sabino Canyon in the vast Coronado National Forest.  Less than thirty minutes from downtown Tucson, this hauntingly beautiful setting can be seen by tram or on one of the many trails.

Day four on your RV camping trip to Tucson can be spent indoors, if you’d like, at one or more of Tucson’s excellent museums.  The Pima Air & Space Museum is the largest privately funded aerospace museum in America, so plan lots of time to take in acres of aircraft and educational exhibits.  Another great choice for a day indoors is the International Wildlife Museum, where hundreds of species have been preserved for study and enjoyment (great day trip for the kids!)

Pima Air and Space Museum

Pima Air and Space Museum

On Day Five, let’s take a quick road trip about an hour south of Tucson to Kartchner Caverns State Park.  Pack a picnic lunch in that convenient RV kitchen and then head underground for one of the tours through these caves’ most spectacular rooms.  It’s southern Arizona from a whole new perspective!

These are just five of the ways travelers to Tucson can amuse themselves on a camping trip.  Take the bikes, hiking gear and cameras and take full advantage of the natural beauty in and around this exciting Arizona city.

We’re happy to help with an Arizona RV rental, so be sure to give us a call as you make your plan.  The comfort of an RV, combined with hundreds of ways to have outdoor fun in the Tucson area, make RV camping in Tucson the way to go this winter.

What are you favorite day trips when camping near Tucson?  Let your fellow readers know by commenting on this post.

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE! or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credits: Saguaro National Park by Jimmy Thomas ; Pima Air and Space Museum by Clemens Vasters; all are licensed under Flickr Commons

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RV Adventure to Cumberland Island National Seashore

Georgia’s Atlantic Coast can be your RV camping playground year-round.  One of the best places to experience the wild beauty and unspoiled nature of the area is with a visit to Cumberland Island National Seashore.

Cumberland Island Shoreline

Head out on this inviting boardwalk to the Cumberland Island shoreline!

As Georgia’s largest barrier island, this paradise is just two hours north of the El Monte RV Rental location in Orlando, Florida.  With fifty miles of hiking trails, an amazing collection of wildlife and a wide range of historical sites to discover, isn’t it time you took a trip to Georgia’s island treasure?

We’ve put together a guide for RV travelers planning to visit Cumberland Island, with answers to your most frequent questions.

Where Can We Camp Near Cumberland Island National Seashore?

The National Seashore itself is undeveloped, with no paved roads and access only by the Cumberland ferry system.  Plan to camp nearby and take advantage of the ferry for an authentic wilderness experience.

Here are some suggestions for RV parks near Cumberland Island:

Crooked River State Park, located in St. Mary’s, GA, is just seven miles from the Cumberland Island Ferry landing.  It features campsites with electricity in a beautiful setting worth discovering after your day on the National Seashore.

Fort Clinch State Park in Fernandina Beach, FL, is right across the Cumberland Sound from St. Mary’s GA.  Enjoy their full-service campsites in a scenic setting, with quick access to the Cumberland Ferry.

A Big Wheel RV Park adjacent to Crooked River State Park is a privately run campground that receives rave reviews.  It accommodates any size RV!

Incredible Path on Cumberland Island

Incredible Path on Cumberland Island

How Should We Prepare for our RV Camping Trip?

Glad to hear you’re the kind of RV camping enthusiast who plans ahead!  It’s especially important, when visiting a natural, undeveloped setting, to know what to expect.  Here are some things to consider when making your plans:

    • You can only reach the Island by ferry (passengers only, no vehicles) so be sure to make reservations in advance.
    • Only 300 people are allowed on the island each day.
    • Ferry passengers not on dock at least 30 minutes ahead of departure lose their reservations, so arrive early!
    • Pets are not allowed on the ferry.
    • If you’d like to rent a bike to travel around the island, be sure to tell the ferry concessionaire when you call.
    • There are no services on the Island other than water to refill bottles.  Bring your own food, water and normal hiking necessities like hats, sunscreen and insect repellant.
    • Take along a trash bag, as this wilderness island has a ‘pack in, pack out’ policy for all visitors.
    • If you plan to fish while visiting Cumberland Island, purchase a Georgia fishing license and make sure you have the required Saltwater Informational Program Permit attached.

What Kind of Weather Can We Expect? 

Like any well-prepared RV adventurer, you’ll want to know what kind of weather to expect when you go.  The weather in November at Cumberland Island National Seashore is magnificent, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s.  Even in December, expect to enjoy 60 degree weather, with nighttime temps in the high 40s.

Wild Horse on Cumberland Island Coast

Wild Horse on Cumberland Island Coast

What Will We See on Cumberland Island?

History!  The Island was once mostly owned by the Carnegie family, and the ruins of their mansion, Dungeness, are just one part of its historic appeal.  Reserve a seat before you come on one of the Lands and Legacies Van Tours if you’d like to learn about the Native Americans who once inhabited the island, the large slave population who built the First African Baptist Church and, of course, the Carnegies and their opulent island lifestyle.  If you’re up to a lengthy hike or ride through variable terrain, you can also travel to these sites on foot or by bicycle.

Nature! Not only has the Atlantic formed a sixteen-mile stretch of perfect beach for you to explore, you’ll also find lush maritime forests, salt marshes and picturesque dunes here.  Stay on the marked trails to help preserve the wilderness for future generations and be sure to bring your camera!

Wildlife!  From feral horses to armadillos and alligators, this island has plenty to appeal for wildlife lovers.  No domesticated creatures call this island home, so keep that in mind while hiking or biking the area.  Keep a sharp eye out for the island’s famous wild horses, the sea turtles that nest here in early autumn and a surprising variety of shore birds.  Have we convinced you it’s time to visit Georgia’s barrier island paradise?  Here’s a link to more information, courtesy of the National Park Service.  We don’t often find unspoiled beauty that’s open for everyone to explore.  Let us know if we can help with an RV rental.  Please don’t miss the chance to discover Cumberland Island National Seashore and all it has to offer!

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE! or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credits: Cumberland Island Path by db rolenrock, Cumberland Island Boardwalk by Jon Dawson, and Wild Horse Along Shoreline by Doug Anderson; all are licensed under Flickr Commons

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What to Pack When You’re RV Camping

Are you planning for your first-ever RV camping trip and aren’t sure what to pack?  No worries! We’ve created an RV packing checklist to help ensure your motorhome camping premier is a success.

Get Away as Far as the Road will Take You in an El Monte RV!

Get Away as Far as the Road will Take You in an El Monte RV!

Here’s how to get started:

    1. If you haven’t called to rent an RV for the trip, do that now for best selection.
    2. Buy storage containers with lids in several sizes (check your local thrift store for bargains on both containers and basic camp supplies.)
    3. Pack these basics inside and stow them in your RV for quick access when you set up camp.  You’re going to love the convenience and economy of cooking meals in your RV kitchen.  Plan your menu first, with an eye to using the same pots, pans and serving dishes to save space.  There are plenty of excellent RV cookbooks to help you plan.  Here’s a basic packing list for your RV kitchen:

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Kitchen Essentials

  • We’ve divided the things you’ll need to pack into several categories, to make your planning simpler.  The list may seem overwhelming at first glance, but once you’ve checked off the list for your first trip, you’ll be ready every time you go camping!
  • Dutch oven with lid
  • Skillet with lid
  • Smaller sauce pan with lid
  • Microwaveable bowls
  • Spatulas and spoons
  • Basic dish set – plates, bowls, cups, glasses, eating utensils
  • Serving dishes
  • Camp percolator or teapot, coffee, tea and filters
  • Water Pitcher
  • Small cutting board
  • Pot holders and dish towels
  • Dishpan, dish soap and scrubbers
  • Food storage supplies – foil, sealable plastic bags, containers, plastic wrap
  • Small utensils – potato peeler, measuring cups/spoons, corkscrew, paring and chopping knives, can and bottle openers
  • Food items from your menu (don’t forget the spices!)

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Cleaning

  • Keeping your motorhome clean throughout the trip means a safe, enjoyable vacation, so be sure to pack these basic supplies. Use a plastic trash container with a lid to stow these essentials.
  • All purpose cleaner
  • Toilet brush
  • Sponges
  • Disinfectant spray ( make sure RV is well-ventilated or it may set off the carbon alarm.)
  • Dual purpose mop/sweeper & pads
  • Trash bags
  • Plastic trash containers – large & small
  • * NOTE that many RV rental companies such as El Monte RV offer housekeeping and kitchen kits that provide some of the aforementioned items for an additional fee.  Check website for exact details.  This makes sense for many RV renters who wish to save time.  (Please note:  these are not available at all locations.)

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Safety/First Aid

  • Basic first aid kit –
    • adhesive bandages
    • antiseptic wipes
    • tweezers
    • antibiotic ointment
    • insect repellant
    • sunscreen
    • aloe skin lotion
    • saline eye drops
    • gauze pads and white tape
    • daily and emergency medications
    • pain reliever
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlights
  • Small kitchen fire extinguisher

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Miscellaneous

  • These are the things you’ll wish you’d packed!
  • Duct tape
  • Small tool kit with screwdrivers, hammer, wrenches
  • Jumper cables
  • Bungee cords with hooks
  • Extra batteries
  • Cellphone chargers
  • Lanterns – battery or gas
  • Power strip
  • Lawn chairs (bagged, collapsible ones pack best)
  • Doormat
  • Sun glasses
  • small ice chest for keeping drinks close at hand while outside.
  • firewood and matches – if you’ll being enjoying campsite camping as well.

Essential RV Camping Supplies – Comfort

  • Bedding – sheets, pillowcases, comforters, pillows
  • Small electric or battery powered fan
  • Toilet paper & tissues  that are designed for septic tanks.  It will prevent clogging issues!
  • Wash cloths & towels
  • Hand sanitizer & liquid hand soap.
  • DVDs for the DVD player.  It’s nice to remember that the kids enjoy watching movies while travelling on the road.

Once you’ve gathered and packed the items above, all that’s left is clothing and toiletries and you’re ready to hit the road. Remember – you can buy many of these things (and the storage containers) at second-hand stores.  If you purchase separate kitchen, cleaning and safety items for camping, you can store them in their labeled containers between trips for a quick grab & go vacation and they will work double-duty as Emergency KIts as well.  You really are setting yourself up for a great camping experience as well as  being prepared for an unexpected emergency!   You can get a jumpstart on all of this prep work way in advance of your trip and enjoy the peace of mind that you’re prepared to handle just about any situation on the road or at home.  Camping in RV comfort takes planning, but the ease of living on the road in a motorhome makes the preparation worthwhile!  What’s your #1 essential item you pack for every RV vacation?

El Monte RV

El Monte RV Rentals and Sales

For more information on renting or buying a motor home CLICK HERE! or call 1-888-337-2208

Photo credit:  photo is an El Monte RV stock photo.

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