Planning an RV Vacation so All Goes Smoothly

You want your RV vacation to be the best that it can be for everyone.  After all, a vacation is supposed to relieve all the stress built up from living day-to-day in your workaday world.  But if you are not fully prepared, you will be adding stress to your vacation days.  Let’s see how we can prepare you for your RV vacation and have a worry-free getaway.

Florida Keys, Florida USA

Florida Keys,

First, you need to know your destination and how you’ll get there.  You will find El Monte RV Rentals all over the United States where you can obtain the ideal motor home for your trip.  We offer free “RV Camping Itineraries” that provide  mapped-out courses and destinations for your convenience.

You can either “fly-drive” to your destination or pick up your motor home locally and enjoy the drive and adventures along the way that only RV travel can offer!  Don’t forget that in many cases you can take advantage of our free airport shuttle service in major airport cities.  Check our website for availability.

Here’s a possible RV Travel Itinerary:  you can rent an RV from El Monte RV Rentals in Orlando, find a nice camping spot, visit some Orlando sights, and then head to the Keys for more fun.  On the way to the Florida Keys there are plenty of sights to see and you’ll want to allow time to stop and enjoy them all.  You may want to refer to previous postings on our Monty’s Musings blog to learn about many exciting destinations to visit in Florida in your RV.

From Orlando, you could head east to Fox Lake Sanctuary, then south on Interstate 95 to the Florida Keys and beautiful Key Largo.  For a winter vacation, you really can’t beat the Keys.  You will meet creative types who spend their time making unique art, beachcomber types who relax all day along the sandy beaches, and swim with the dolphins.  Use Google and maps on the Internet to plan your route and everything you want to see on the way.

If you don’t want to bring your pets along, you can contact a pet-sitter or the kennel in advance to ensure they have an opening for your time away.  But if you prefer keeping Fido with you, it’s good to know that El Monte RV is a “Pet-Friendly” company and supports taking the family pets along!  Also remember to check out the weather forecast for that area for the time you will be there.  It is surprising how accurate these weather forecasts can be.  You will then know what to pack, or even if you should put off your vacation for a few days to miss a storm.

You will want to prepare your smartphone and laptop for the trip.  Download some apps to make your vacation more exciting.  You can find apps online and pick the ones you’ll use the most.  Perhaps you’ll choose the one which forecasts weather down to the hour or perhaps the one which identifies animal tracks.  There are many to choose from.

Now begin to pack for your trip.  First make a detailed list of every item you want to bring and as you pack them, mark them off.  This way you’ll forget nothing.  Remember, when packing clothes, roll them instead of folding.  This prevents wrinkles.  There’s lots of storage in motor homes, so taking “it all with you” is usually not a problem!

When you prepare and plan out your trip, you will find everything less stressful and more enjoyable.  Have a great RV vacation!

El Monte RV Official Logo

El Monte RV Official Logo

For information on renting an RV in or near Orlando, Florida – CLICK HERE or if you need to rent a motor home outside the state of Florida,  -CLICK HERE

Picture credits: The photo of Florida Keys was found on Flickr Commons. It is licensed under the Explore/Creative Commons license.

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Strike RV Camping Gold in Dahlonega, Georgia

An hour north of Atlanta on the edge of Chattahoochee National Forest, Dahlonega, Georgia is a gold mine for RV camping fans. In the heart of Georgia’s “gold rush country”, this tree-lined Blue Ridge Mountain town offers RVers plenty of vacation treasure. Here are just a few of the ways RV campers will enjoy spending time in Dahlonega.

  • Gold Panning: The streams and rivers surrounding Dahlonega still bear evidence of the yellow treasure that brought enormous change to the region. Vacationers hoping to pan for gold can visit sites like Gold n’ Gem, Georgia’s only operating commercial gold mine. By the way, there’s a campground on site for RVers hoping to cash in on gold and gem panning at the mine.
  • Historical Sites: Rich in history, Dahlonega’s commercial district is on the National Register of Historic Places. To learn more about the Georgia Gold Rush, tour the Consolidated Gold Mine and Crisson Gold Mine, or visit the Gold Museum, housed in the original Lumpkin County Courthouse built in 1836. Be sure to spend some time touring Dahlonega’s Public Square and the Hawkins Street Neighborhood for a look into North Georgia’s past.
  • Lake Lanier: Officially “Lake Sidney Lanier”, this aqua blue waterway nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains promises plenty of hiking, boating, fishing, swimming and, of course, RV camping fun. With seven campgrounds featuring beach access, boat launches and other amenities, RV camping at Lake Lanier is a must on your Dahlonega RV trip.
  • Chattahoochee National Forest: Famous among paddlers and hikers as a mountain paradise, the Chattahoochee National Forest also attracts thousands of anglers who come for the cold water fishing. Whether you plan to drive the Ridge and Valley Scenic Byway, fish for trout in this forest’s thousand miles of trout streams, or hike some of the four hundred miles of trails, you’re going to find more than enough to satisfy your need for the great outdoors.
  • Viewing Waterfalls: Part of the charm of the North Georgia mountains is the abundance of waterfalls, many quite close to Dahlonega. Amicalola Falls State Park showcases a stunning example, with a seven-story waterfall splashing over a rocky mountainside. The trails at the park wind through the North Georgia woods and past the iconic waterfall, and the on-site campground is an excellent value. Up for a challenge? Make the eight-mile hike to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
  • Bike Racing: One type of outdoor recreation, in particular, that’s celebrated every year in Dahlonega is bike racing. Both the prestigious Six Gap Century and Three Gap Fifty Bike Races are held each September along some of the steepest climbs in North Georgia. Another well-regarded bike event held in Dahlonega each August is the Fool’s Gold 100.
  • Wineries and Wine Festivals: North Georgia produces a wonderful variety of wines, and Dahlonega is at the heart of wine country. Festivals held at individual wineries and the Georgia Wine Festival give RV travelers a chance to taste and purchase the rich tastes these Blue Ridge Mountain wineries are crafting.
  • Rodeo! Every year in June, the Mountain Top Rodeo is held at the fabulous R-Ranch in the Mountains. It welcomes cowboys and cowgirls from all over the nation for two days of fast-paced rodeo action, and it will welcome your RV camping crew for a down-home, fun-filled rodeo weekend.

Dahlonega, Georgia can be the place you return to year after year for your RV camping vacations. There’s simply something wonderful to be found over every ridge, and a week simply won’t do justice to the charms of this Blue Ridge Mountain town. Come soon, come often and prepare to fall in love with this gem in the heart of Georgia’s Gold Rush Country.

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RV Vacation Idea – Panning for Gold in California’s Sierra Nevada

Picture of a Gold Nugget

Gold Nugget

California’s Sierra Nevada region is famous for a number of reasons. It is home to Yosemite, King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. It runs through Central and Eastern California in a mighty green swath where waterfalls, giant trees, and rugged mountain peaks amaze its visitors. But there’s one more great reason to visit the Sierra Nevada on your next RV vacation, and that’s the abundant gold panning opportunities waiting there. Here’s what you need to know to plan your gold panning RV vacation.

No Claim Jumping!
Let’s talk about the most important “need to know.” Because California is world-famous for its gold rush days, it stands to reason that millions of acres of its land and waterways have been staked as private claims for gold prospecting. It’s important to avoid those private claims on your trip!

You’ll want to focus your search for gold on areas where “public casual panning” is allowed. That simply means you can use your hands and pans to collect gold from a waterway for non-commercial purposes. Here are some suggestions for places to pan for nuggets:

  • Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park – This park is a study in gold mining history! Tour the museum to learn the impact of hydraulic mining on the environment and then take part in gold panning on Humbug Creek. Check their website for public panning schedules. Rent an RV for the trip in Reno, two hours east or Sacramento, about two hours south. Where to camp? Nevada County Gold’s website has a comprehensive list of area campgrounds.
  • South Yuba River State Park – Just downstream from the Malakoff Diggins, you’ll find South Yuba River State Park, where gold panning is allowed along a twenty-mile section of the river. Watch a gold panning demonstration to learn the best techniques and then watch for the shimmer of gold in your own pans. While you’re there, plan time to enjoy some of the best swimming holes in California!
  • Columbia State Historic Park – Columbia, CA is a town rich with gold mining history. The mining settlement there was preserved as a State Historic Park, and retains the 1850s flavor of the Gold Rush. About an hour and a half west of Stockton, this vintage gold town offers the chance to pan for your own mother lode. Just down the road from the State Historic Park, Marble Quarry RV Park offers all the amenities and easy access to Columbia and Quarry Hiking Trails.
  • Marshall Gold Discovery State Park – About an hour east of Sacramento, you’ll find the place that started it all. In Coloma, CA, Marshall Gold Discovery State Park marks the spot where, in 1848, James Marshall discovered gold on the American River near Sutter’s Mill. Visitors to the park are given the chance to experience their own personal gold rush while panning for gold on the American River. American River Resort in Coloma features beautiful river-side RV camping, and is a short five-minute walk from the State Park.

Admit it; you’re feeling the effects of gold fever! The best cure is to visit one or more of these gold-rich areas where public gold panning is allowed. Check each site for information on permits and equipment necessary, and book your reservations at one of the campgrounds mentioned. All that’s left is to pack your RV (or rent one if there’s not one parked out back) and head for the Sierra Nevada. An RV vacation spent panning for gold in California’s Sierra Nevada will be one your family treasures for years to come.

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RV Your Way to a Gold Panning RV Vacation Adventure

Ever considered looking for gold on your next RV camping vacation? All across America, there are places for greenhorns to pan for gold nuggets. Panning for gold is relatively inexpensive, and who knows, you might just come home with the mother lode! If doing a little prospecting on your next vacation sounds good, use the ideas below to start planning your next RV camping vacation.

Southeast US Gold Panning RV Vacation Ideas
For a southeastern gold panning RV vacation, head for Crisson Gold Mine in Dahlonega, GA. Tour the mine, and then pan five gallon buckets of ore for nuggets and gemstones.

Just down the road from the Crisson Mine, you’ll find Consolidated Gold Mines, where your family can go underground for the mine tour before panning for gold in a sluice. Dahlonega is also home to some beautiful north Georgia RV campgrounds.

Central US Gold Panning RV Vacation Ideas
The Phoenix Gold Mine in Idaho Springs, Colorado is a great place for gold panning enthusiasts! Your admission includes a guided tour of the historic Phoenix Gold Mine, plus the chance to spend all day panning for gold.

Another super family experience is right down the road at the Argo Gold Mine and Mill, also in Idaho Springs. Tour the famous Argo Tunnel and Double Eagle Gold Mine, established in 1893, and stay to pan for gold and native Colorado gemstones. Great RV campgrounds can be found just outside Idaho Springs.

While you’re in Colorado, continue your tour in Cripple Creek in Pikes Peak country, home to the world famous Mollie Kathleen Mine. Take the thrilling mine elevator one thousand feet into the earth to tour the mine, and then head down-valley to the nearby town of Victor to tour the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum. Try your hand at panning there for gold, turquoise, and topaz. There are plenty of RV camp sites right in the midst of Cripple Creek action.

West Coast Gold Panning RV Vacation Ideas
California is the ultimate Gold Rush State, and plenty of gold panning action can be found there by RV campers. Right in the heart of Gold Country, your family is going to love Jimtown1849 Mining Camp.

Located in the historic city of Jamestown, the Mining Camp will take you back to the days of the Gold Rush. Your family can prospect Wood’s Creek for gold with experienced guides and take home what you find.

Head north from Jamestown to Washington, CA, and pan gold from one of the scenic campsites in Tahoe National Forest along the Yuba River. This gold-rich area is open to casual prospecting, and tourists have been known to “see color” in their pans.

You should also definitely go to the source of the California Gold Rush and pan gold on the American River at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma. See a replica of Sutter’s Mill and twenty other historic buildings where James Marshall found gold in 1848. Park visitors have been known to find gold while panning, so don’t miss this historic opportunity!

Within this gold-rich area between Downieville and Mariposa, there are streams and rivers on State and National Park land where panning is allowed. Check with Tahoe, Eldorado, and Sierra National Forest personnel as you plan your RV gold panning vacation.

This is just a quick tour of places your gold-seeking friends and family might want to visit. Doesn’t this sound like a great way to spend time on an RV vacation? Pack up your boots and jeans and head for the hills. It’s definitely time to find some vacation gold!

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How About Looking for Gold on Your Next Vacation?

Old ghost towns, echoes of the wild west, and that yellow metal that has driven everyone crazy over the ages. Who could ask for more adventure for their next RV vacation?

Yes, you can go recreational gold hunting and many properties have facilities for recreational vehicles. The Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association (LDMA) operates numerous properties across the United States. Many of the properties have facilities for RVs including full hookups. These include Italian Bar northeast of Sonora, California; Loud Mine between Dahlonega and Cleveland, Georgia; Stanton an old ghost town located approximately 2 hours northwest of Phoenix, Arizona; Blue Bucket south of Baker City, Oregon; and Vein Mountain about half way between Asheville and Hickory, North Carolina. The LDMA also operates other properties with much more rustic facilities or no facilities at all. Membership in the LDMA is required to prospect on the properties.

The site provides a nice list of places where you can recreationally look for gold. Another list of gold mining camps may be found on the Gold Miner’s Headquarters web site.

For additional information you may also want to check out Gold Panning Vacation on the site or Family Vacations to the Old West on

So if your are looking for an RV Vacation with a lot of adventure, why not try your hand at looking for gold? Maybe you will strike it rich – well maybe not rich, but you just might bring home enough precious gold and memories to make it a wealthy adventure.

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