The Rose Bowl and Tournament of Roses—An RV Traveler’s Guide

College football fans and RV campers who love a good parade are already making plans to be in Pasadena, California on January 1. Are you planning to join them for the must-watch, hotly contested Rose Bowl Game and the Tournament of Roses Parade?

Marching Band

Marching Band

For one hundred twenty six years, the Tournament of Roses Parade has thrilled parade watchers with flowered fantasy floats, newly-crowned parade royalty and skillful marching bands. The beautiful city of Pasadena opens its doors to hundreds of thousands of parade-goers each year and is more than up to the task.

And if you’re planning to attend the 101st Rose Bowl Game, going by RV makes it comfortable and affordable. If that sounds like a dream come true, there’s still time to make your RV rental reservation and get tickets for all the events.

Here’s what you need to know to plan your trip. Get started now!

Need-to-Know Basics for the Tournament of Roses Parade

    • When? January 1 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. PST
    • Where? Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA
    • Where Can I Camp? Because Pasadena is part of the larger Los Angeles metro area, you may not find an actual RV campground close by the parade route. Here’s the good news: the vendor-regulated parking areas (see Where Can I Park below) and many of the area businesses allow some form of ‘boondocking’ or camping without services. Here’s also a link to a list of campgrounds within 30 miles of Pasadena.
    • Will I Need Tickets? Grandstand seating is reserved and requires tickets. Purchase them here. You can also view the parade for free curbside. The curbside area opens for seating at noon December 31.
    • Where Can I Park? If you’re planning to camp outside the parade route, you may want to reserve parking closer in. The vendor who provides grandstand seating for the parade also makes available car or RV parking adjacent to the seating areas, for up to three days. Here’s the link to purchase parking space for the Rose Parade.
    • Anything Happening Before and After the Parade?  Plenty! Watch the marching bands in action before the parade by attending Band Fest either December 29 or December 30. If you’d love to see the magic that transforms thousands of flowers and natural items into award-winning floats, schedule time to watch float decorating at one of three official venues during parade week. There’s also a showcase of floats following the parade. Here’s a link to pre- and post- parade event details.

Need-to-Know Basics for the Rose Bowl Game

    • When? January 1 – Pre-game activities begin at 1:30 p.m. PST. Don’t miss any of the excitement!
    • Where? Rose Bowl Stadium, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA. The chance to see this historic, one-of-a-kind stadium is worth the trip. Home to the oldest bowl game in America!
    • Who’s Playing in 2015 Rose Bowl? Oregon vs. Florida State

      Rose Bowl Game

      Rose Bowl Game

    • Where Do I Buy Tickets? Rose Bowl tickets are selling out fast, so click the link for contact information and make the call today.
    • Where is RV Parking Allowed? Along with a special lot for RV and bus parking at the stadium, you can also reserve parking at the off-site lots, some of which run shuttles to the stadium. Here’s a link for more info on RV parking at the Rose Bowl.  Every RV traveler to California should see the Rose Bowl at least once. Choose your events, buy your tickets, rent your RV and reserve a space at the 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl Game. You’ll be so glad you did!

We’ve tried to answer most of your questions about RV camping at the Rose Bowl this year, but if we’ve missed one, here’s how to reach the Visitor Hotline for the Rose Bowl and Tournament of Roses Parade.

Photo Credits: Marching Band photo: Prayitno, Flickr Commons License ; Rose Bowl Game photo: Keith Skelton, Flickr Commons License

Posted in Big City RV Excursions, Big City RV trips, blog, CA, CA RV Camping, CA RV Vacation, CA Vacation, California local trips, California vacations, California winter vacation, Coastal RV Vacation, College Football Tailgating, Cost effective RV Vacation, family travel, family trips, football, Football and RV's, Football Fun, Football RV Rental, Football Tailgating, holiday, Holiday travel, Los Angeles Camping, Los Angeles RV camping, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, motor home winter vacations, Motorhome, Parades, Rose Bowl Game, Rose Bowl Parade, RV, RV blog, rv comfort, RV destination, RV Destinations blog, RV Rental, RV Rentals, RV Tailgating, RV Tailgating Blog, RV Vacation, Tailgating info, Tailgating Travel, Tailgating Vacation, Tournament of Roses Parade, United States RV Vacation, USA travel, Vacation Adventures, Winter Fun | Leave a comment

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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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

Posted in bayous and RV vacationing, bird watching destinations, Bird watching vacation, blog, Fall Foliage, Family RV vacations, family trips, family vacations, Fishing, Fishing Vacation, Historical Museum RV Vacations, Historical RV Vacation, Louisiana fishing vacation, Louisiana RV Camping, Louisiana RV Vacation, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, Motorhome, Motorhome Camping, National Parks, Nature travel, Nature/Sightseeing vacation, North American RV Vacation, Pet Friendly Vacation, Rural RVing, RV, RV blog, RV Campgrounds, RV Campgrounds, RV Camping, RV destination, RV Destinations blog, RV Fishing Trips, RV Lake Fishing, RV Lake Trip, RV Lake Vacation, RV Rental, RV Rentals, RV Sales, RV trail hiking trips, RV Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas, RV Vacations Southern States, Southern Hospitality, United States RV Vacation, USA travel, wildlife, wildlife RV vacation | Leave a comment

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

Posted in AR RV Camping, AR RV Vacation, Arizona hiking trips, Arizona motorhome trips, Arizona motorhome vacations, Aviation vacation, AZ RV Camping, AZ RV Vacation, City Fun and Outdoor Adventure RV Vacation, Cost effective RV Vacation, Desert vacations, Family RV vacations, family trips, family vacations, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, motor home winter vacations, National Parks, National Scenic Byways, Native American History, Nature travel, Nature/Sightseeing vacation, North American RV Vacation, Pet Friendly Vacation, Recreational Vehicle, Rural RVing, RV, RV destination, RV Destinations blog, RV Rental, RV Rentals, RV Sales, RV trail hiking trips, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas, United States RV Vacation, USA travel, Winter Fun, Year-Round RV Parks | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Cost effective RV Vacation, Cross Country Trip, family vacations, honeymoon vacation ideas, Hunting, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, National Parks, North American RV Vacation, Pet Friendly Vacation, Recipe, RV blog, RV Camping Resources, RV Rental, RV Road Trip, RV Sales, RV travel in the western states, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas, RV Vacation Preparation, United States RV Vacation, Vacation Planning | Leave a comment

The “Real Food” RV Recipe Challenge is Now Open For Submissions!

Summertime means that RV travelers across the country are heading out on vacation.  Whether you’re headed for the Grand Canyon or Gettysburg, there’s one factor that every trip planner has to take into account:  FOOD!   Around all the sightseeing and awesome activities you have planned, you’re bound to get pretty hungry!  Here at El Monte RV Rentals we have our favorite on-the-road meals, but we’re launching a recipe contest to find out what you love to make.   We’re excited to announce the El Monte “Real Food RV Recipe Challenge!”

Real Food Recipe Contest

Real Food Recipe Contest

The Real Food Recipe challenge is an opportunity to share your favorite healthy and delicious recipes with the rest of the world.  All you have to do is take a photo of your prepared dish and compile the recipe instructions and submit them on El Monte RV’s Facebook page.  Decide which dish your family loves when you’re out on the road and follow the simple steps for telling the rest of the RV community about it.

All entries will be judged by Lisa Leake of 100 Days of Real Food.  Lisa’s blog is a fantastic source for finding ways to incorporate “real food” into your everyday diet.  What does “real food” mean?  It’s using all-natural and local ingredients that haven’t been overly processed.  If you want to learn more about what using real food will mean for the RV Recipe Challenge, read Lisa Leake’s Real Food Defined.  Lisa’s blog has lots of tips for making real food that tastes great!

In order to get ready, here is the scoring breakdown that you should consider:

25% Taste: pick your best-tasting meal!  Are your pork chops worth writing songs about?  Does the whole neighborhood come out when they smell your pancakes cooking?  Use your best tasting recipe!

25% Creatively Using “Real Food”: processed white sugar and the deep fat fryer will have no place in these recipes. El Monte is looking for healthy meals that taste great!

25% RV Friendliness: making a great meal work in the limited space of an RV is an important part of the challenge.  Can you create a great recipe that works in an RV’s kitchen?

25% Photo Quality: make sure that your photo looks great.  The world will want to see what your prize-winning dish looks like!

It wouldn’t be a contest without a prize, and the prize for the El Monte “Real Food” Recipe Challenge is a fantastic one.  The best recipe and photo, as judged by Lisa Leake, will win a free one week RV rental from El Monte RV!  Now is your chance to experience luxury camping in a motor home

So, get the camera out and start putting your submission together today.  Also, make sure you start planning where you’d like to take that free RV rental for your next vacation.  It could be yours sooner than you realize!  Just think: when you enter the El Monte “Real Food” Recipe Challenge, not only will you be ready for a great vacation, you’ll already know which family favorite meal you’ll be making in the RV along the way!

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

Posted in blog, Contest, family vacations, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, Nature travel, RV blog, RV Rentals, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation News, United States RV Vacation, Vacation Planning | Leave a comment

Culture and Crafts in the Amish Country of Indiana

The geographical mid-section of the United States is densely punctuated with fascinating towns and vacation destinations that are overlooked by far too many travelers!  Much of our country’s cultural history is tied up on the roads across the Great Plains states that our ancestors traveled and forged their way through as they helped to develop this beautiful land.  A cornerstone of this history still thrives in Amish communities throughout the rural heart of America.  These areas are the heart of our nation’s RV industry so the best way to visit them is by rolling over these roads in your very own RV whether you buy or rent one!

Amish Community in Ohio

Amish Community in the Heartland of USA

To start your exploration, pick up an RV in Chicago.  Then it’s a 2 hour, 20 minute drive to Elkhart, Indiana, which is called the RV Capital of the World.  This entire area caters to RV enthusiasts like nowhere else.  First of all, four out of every five RVs in the United States are manufactured here.  Because of the RV industry centered in the area, you can also find plenty of RV campgrounds and stores that sell RV accessories in the area.

You can also find one of the most unique museums in the country right here in town at the RV and Motor Home Hall of Fame.  You can learn the history of these incredible vehicles at the Founders Hall.  Travel back in time by looking at classic vehicles from the 1920s and 30s all the way up to present time.  You can even see the Chevrolet “Housecar” that was used by screen legend Mae West in 1931.  It’s a fun way to see some of the classic craftsmanship that has helped keep vacationers traveling across the country.

Once you’re done with the Hall of Fame, it’s time to immerse yourself in the historic Amish culture of the area. Head a few miles south to Nappanee and discover Amish Acres.  This settlement was first homesteaded by Moses Stahly, a member of one of the first Amish settler families in Indiana all the way back in 1873.  The property is now an 80 acre farm where you can experience real Amish life.  Tour the original buildings, like the ice house and blacksmith shop, or even stay to watch a repertoire theater production of Plain and Fancy, a musical about Amish life that was co-created by the Tony Award winning composer of Fiddler on the Roof.

Amish Acres in Indiana

Amish Acres in Indiana

Next, drive along the Heritage Trail in order to view the 2014 Quilt Gardens.  Updated every year, these twenty gardens are planted in patchwork designs that evoke the image of giant quilts spreading across the land.  The vibrant flowers show a special care and love for the natural gardening that residents of this area love.

There’s no better way to finish off your trip than to visit Das Dutchman Essenhaus, an authentic old-world bakery and restaurant that serves the best pies in the county.  While it evokes small-town charm, the Essenhaus is actually a massive establishment that is the largest restaurant in the state at a massive 1,100 seats.  You don’t have to be from Indiana to crowd in with all your friends for some pie, after all.

It’s time to head to Amish Country for a vacation strong on simple pleasures, and the way to get there is in an RV!

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:  top photo of Amish Community by Jack Pearce  licensed under Flickr Commons and Amish Acres under Wikimedia License.

Posted in Amish Country, blog, City Fun and Outdoor Adventure RV Vacation, Cost effective RV Vacation, Family RV vacations, family trips, family vacations, Indiana RV vacations, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, North American RV Vacation, Rural RVing, RV blog, RV Camping, RV destination, RV Rental, RV Rentals, RV Road Trip, RV Sales, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas, United States RV Vacation, Vacation Planning, weekend RV trips | Leave a comment

A Scenic Tour through the St. John River Valley

When you’re looking for a unique vacation idea, remember that some of the best picks will be the ones you’ve never heard about.  While tourists are packing into the most famous resorts and cities, a different breed of savvy traveler is seeking the roads less traveled.  If you’d like to find an out-of-the-way journey that you can enjoy at your own pace, you should plan your next vacation to be an RV tour through the St. John River Valley!

New Brunswick, King's Landing History in Living Color

New Brunswick, King’s Landing History Remade

The St. John River creates part of the border between Maine and New Brunswick, and it’s one of the longest rivers in the eastern portion of Canada.  Life is slower in the St. John River Valley, but that’s how the residents of the area like it.   And this is what makes it a great choice for an exciting RV vacation.  In order to get started on your trip, pick out your favorite RV at El Monte’s location in Boston, and then travel north on Interstate 95 through Maine.

When you cross the border into New Brunswick, head for Hartland and you’ll find yourself crossing the Hartland Covered Bridge.  If it doesn’t look like a normal covered bridge, that’s because it isn’t.  At 1,282 feet, it’s one of the world’s longest!  The bridge was originally built in 1901, but it wasn’t until twenty years later that the entire structure was covered.  It’s a beautiful local landmark that has been featured on national postage stamps, and it also had the honor of being crossed by a torchbearer before the 1988 Winter Olympics.  Called a “kissing bridge” by locals, it’s a great spot to stop for a moment and steal a smooch from your own loved one!

New Brunswick, Canada, History Brought Back to Life

New Brunswick, Canada, History Brought Back to Life

Drive further east and you’ll find the living history settlement of King’s Landing.  Actors in period-accurate costumes live out the lives of settlers in the 1800’s that called this area home.  It’s a rich mixture of French, English and native history that comes together in a fully explorable town.  Move from house to house and try your hand at frontier skills such as churning butter and spinning wool.  Your kids might just think that your RV has traveled back in time!

Next, head north to the town of Grand Falls where you will find the magnificent waterfall that it is named for.  At 75 feet high, Grand Falls Gorge waterfall is the biggest falls east of Niagara Falls.  You can walk down trails to the water’s edge and admire the sheer granite walls of the gorge, and it’s also a great spot for a picnic lunch.

If you want a much closer (and more exciting) view of the falls, head over to Open Sky Adventures.  This amazing adventure company will let you “deepell” (that means to do a forward facing rappel) 135 feet down the gorge walls, or you can zip line over the river itself!  Your family will never forget the experience of flying through the air over the gorgeous rushing waters.

When you drive home after your journey through the St. John River Valley in New Brunswick, you will have experienced a rare adventure through towns and villages that rarely get seen by outsiders.  It’s off the beaten path, but all the best vacations are!

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:   photos of King’s Landing, New Brunswick, by Michael Ignatieff are licensed under Flickr Creative Common license

Posted in blog, Canada RV Camping, Canada RV Vacation, educational trips, Family RV vacations, family trips, Historical RV Vacation, Maine RV Vacation, Maine/Canada RV vacation, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, Native American History, North American RV Vacation, RV blog, RV educational trips, RV Rental, RV Rentals, RV Road Trip, RV Sales, RV Summer Vacations, RV Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas, Vacation Adventures, Vacation Planning | Leave a comment