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

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

Posted in April vacation ideas, Beach RV Vacation, bird watching destinations, Bird watching vacation, blog, Coastal RV Vacation, Cost effective RV Vacation, Cross Country Trip, East Coast RV Travel, educational trips, Fall Foliage, Family RV vacations, family trips, family vacations, February Vacation Ideas, Fishing, Fishing Vacation, Florida, florida rv vacation, florida vacation, Georgia RV Camping, Georgia RV Vacation, ghost towns, Green RV'ing, Historical RV Vacation, horseback riding vacation, January RV Vacations, Lighthouses, March vacation idea, March Vacation Ideas, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, motor home winter vacations, Motorhome, Motorhome Camping, National Parks, National Scenic Byways, Nature travel, Nature/Sightseeing vacation, New England Fall Foliage, North American RV Vacation, Pet Friendly Vacation, Recreational Vehicle, Rural RVing, RV, RV Beach Vacation, RV blog, RV Campgrounds, RV Campgrounds, RV Camping, RV Camping Resources, RV coastal trip, RV destination, RV Destinations blog, RV dining, RV educational trips, RV Fishing Trips, RV Lake Fishing, RV Lake Trip, RV Lake Vacation, RV Rental, RV Rentals, RV Resort, RV Resort Vacations, RV Road Trip, RV Sales, RV Summer Vacations, RV trail hiking trips, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas, RV Vacation Preparation, RV Vacations Southern States, RV Winter Vacations, Seaside beauty, Southern Hospitality, State Park RV Camping, State Parks, United States RV Vacation, USA travel, Vacation Adventures, Vacation Planning, weekend RV trips, wildlife, wildlife RV vacation, Winter Fun, Year-Round RV Parks | Leave a comment

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

Winter Beach Camping at Mustang Island

What could be more perfect than sand, sea, and an average daytime temperature of 72 degrees?  Winter RV campers should definitely make plans to visit Mustang Island, off the coast of Texas in the Gulf.  Beach camping at its best awaits, so what are you waiting for?

How to Get There

This Texas barrier island is easy to reach by RV; travel to Corpus Christi and then across the JFK Causeway to Padre Island.  Mustang Island is minutes away on Hwy 361.  By the way, if you don’t own an RV, El Monte RV Rentals in McKinney and Palmer, Texas will be happy to help!

McKinney, TEXAS, El Monte RV Location

McKinney, TEXAS, El Monte RV Location

What You’ll Find on Mustang Island

The whole family will find a new favorite activity on Mustang Island. Besides seaside RV camping, you can spend your winter vacation days hiking the dunes and soaking up the Gulf Coast sun.  Nature lovers in your crew will find an amazing abundance of birds to watch here; in fact, there are several local stops along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail.

And the Gulf itself has so much in store for Mustang Island RV campers!  Snorkeling, scuba fishing, windsurfing, swimming, dolphin watching, shelling and beach strolling are just the beginning of what you’ll find to do on eighteen miles of public beaches.

Soothing Waters of Mustang Island, Texas

Soothing Waters of Mustang Island, Texas

Mustang Island State Park, the heart of this barrier island, not only offers scenic 50-amp RV campsites, it tempts winter Texas travelers with its unspoiled beaches and fascinating variety of wildlife.  Plenty of fishing awaits at the Park, too; you can even borrow fishing gear if you forget to bring yours!

When you’re ready for a bit more civilization, roll into the scenic island town of Port Aransas. A wide range of shops and museums (and a convenient trolley system) offer delightful ways to pass your time.  And the food!  You’ll find the freshest seafood on the Gulf right here in Port Aransas.

Speaking of seafood, we also hear a trip to Keepers Pier will keep the fishermen in your party happy – Cobia, Red Drum and several varieties of Shark are pulled from these waters regularly!

One more excursion idea – take the family on a water tour around the Lydia Ann Lighthouse in Aransas Pass.  For an even more memorable experience, bring the kayaks and paddle the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail that winds through black mangroves and tidal waters near the lighthouse.

We’ve already mentioned the RV campsites available at the State Park, but there are plenty of other places on the island to park an RV.

Spots like On the Beach RV Park will welcome you for Gulf-side camping and easy access to the entire island. Nearly a dozen RV campgrounds in the area ensure there’ll always be a place to call home on your Mustang Island RV camping trip.

Winter camping at the beach builds memories for a lifetime! Get to know the Gulf Coast of Texas this winter with an RV camping expedition to Mustang Island.

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:  The Mustang Island photo is licensed under Wikimedia Commons and the El Monte RV location photo is an El Monte RV stock photo.

Posted in Coastal RV Vacation, Corpus Christi vacation, Cost effective RV Vacation, Dallas, Family RV vacations, RV Travel Tips, RV Vacation Ideas, RV Vacations Southern States, RV Winter Vacations, TX RV Vacation, United States RV Vacation, USA travel, Vacation Planning, Year-Round RV Parks | Leave a comment

Winter RV Camping in Natural North Florida

What if you had the chance to travel by RV in Florida this winter, away from the crowded theme parks and beaches?  Here’s the scoop on Natural North Florida, a perfect winter RV camping getaway.

Orlando. Florida, El Monte RV Location

Orlando. Florida, El Monte RV Rental and Sales Location

Plan to pick up your RV rental at the El Monte RV location in Orlando and drive north to Gainesville on I-75.  Head west toward the Gulf and you’ll find three North Florida counties filled with rivers, trails, and the towns that have offered hospitality since long before South Florida exploded.   When looking for campgrounds to stay at while on the road, you’ll find a good selection from which to choose listed at this link: Campgrounds in Northern Florida.

There’s a winter RV camping activity for absolutely everyone to enjoy in Natural North Florida! Here’s a sampling:

Natural North Florida’s Rivers and Coastline   

Five scenic rivers roll to the Gulf in this wild and natural section of North Central Florida. Whether you plan to paddle a canoe or kayak, you’re going to find a trail to follow. A regional favorite is the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, 170 miles from White Springs, FL to Suwannee on the Gulf.

Here’s a link to more information about Natural North Florida’s water trails. While you’re exploring this area’s rivers, don’t miss the fishing opportunities! Fish the Steinhatchee, Santa Fe, Withlacoochee and Ichetucknee Rivers for unforgettable scenery and angling adventures.

Florida Gulf Coast Setting Sun

Florida Gulf Coast Setting Sun

Florida RV travelers can also explore dozens of hiking and biking trails along swamps, coastal wetlands and riverside habitats. And did we mention the Gulf Coast? Whether it’s conquering the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail by kayak or watching for dozens of bird species in spots like Cedar Key, this Coast still boasts uncrowded, peaceful shores to savor.

Natural North Florida’s Laid Back Beauty

Winter visitors to beautiful North Central Florida have learned to love the towns and villages that seem to defy time. Towns like High Springs, Old Town, and Trenton offer RV campers plenty of charm, without the crowds.

Be sure to enjoy the area’s many natural springs as you wander from town to town! Clear, blue water bubbles up to offer winter campers the chance to take a refreshing dip in unspoiled Florida beauty.

And save time to visit the region’s extraordinary wilderness areas. Prime spots to be immersed in natural wonder are Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf, Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge and numerous locations along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.

The most difficult part of planning your trip will be deciding what to save for next time! With magnificent Gulf Coast scenery, inland freshwater rivers and delightfully unspoiled rural Florida towns to capture your interest, you’ll wonder why it took so long to try winter RV camping in Natural North Florida.

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:  The Florida Gulf Coast sunset is licensed under Wikimedia Commons and the RV photo is an El Monte RV customer photo.

Posted in Beach RV Vacation, Coastal RV Vacation, Cost effective RV Vacation, East Coast RV Travel, Family RV vacations, family vacations, Florida, florida rv vacation, honeymoon vacation ideas, Motor home vacation blog, North American RV Vacation, RV destination, RV Destinations blog, RV Fishing Trips, RV Rental, RV Sales, RV Vacation Ideas, State Park RV Camping, United States RV Vacation, USA travel, Year-Round RV Parks | Leave a comment

Find the Best Apps for RV Camping and Your Next Road Trip

Renting from El Monte RV  is such a simple and fun experience that the rest of your trip planning should be, too.  Technology can help you do just that!  With recent improvements in smart phones, most Americans are walking around with the equivalent of a computer in their back pockets.  Put all that power to work by using apps on your phone to make your next RV trip the easiest and most memorable one of your life!

Happy El Monte RV Customers

Happy El Monte RV Customers

Here are four exceptional smart phone apps that will simplify everything from setting up your trip to navigating beautiful country roads.

1.  Roadtrippers

The first step in planning youar RV trip is deciding where you want to go.  Once you’ve picked that main destination, you’ll need to consider where you should stop along the way. Roadtrippers is an app that helps you discover fun and offbeat side trips all along the route to your destination.  Everything from peculiar local attractions to awesome local restaurants will announce themselves for your discovery when you have this app installed.

2.  Waze

Have you ever found yourself stuck in the middle of a traffic jam and wished you had been able to see ahead in order to take a different route?  Waze can help you do just that!  It compiles information from over a million users of the app, and it does far more than Google Maps or your in-vehicle GPS can.  In addition to warning you of upcoming traffic, Waze can also tell you where accidents have occurred and even where to expect police speed traps!  Don’t leave home on your next RV vacation without it.

3.  Trip Advisor City Guides

Once you get to your destination, you may have a few landmarks, hiking trails, or restaurants in mind that you’re planning on experiencing, but are you really getting the most out of your trip? Trip Advisor’s City Guides app acts as your personal guidebook to help you get more out of every area you visit.  Having this app is like having your own personal assistant alongside you informing you of events and places to visit that you may have never heard about otherwise the entire time you’re on the road!

4.  RV Parking

Arriving at your destination and getting to explore a bit may be the most fun part of your trip, but you will still need to find a spot to park the RV for the night.  RV Parking is a great app with an exhaustive database of campsites that accept RVs.  You can also review ratings from fellow travelers to find out the experience others have had about each of these campsites.  With modern smart phone technology, the saying really is, “Know before you go!”

These four apps provide a great start for anyone that is looking to have a smart and savvy vacation experience!  There are more great travel apps to make your next vacations as fantastically smooth as possible.  Take a look, and you might find an app so good you’ll wonder how you lived without it!  Since El Monte RV is committed to help you make your trip as memorable as possible, give them a call today to get the help you need to start planning your next 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

Posted in City Fun and Outdoor Adventure RV Vacation, Cost effective RV Vacation, Cross Country Trip, Family RV vacations, Motor home vacation blog, North American RV Vacation, RV blog, RV Campgrounds, Travel Apps for RV Travel | Leave a comment

Harvest Hosts Upgrades the Way RVers Travel in the U.S.

As much as we all love RV vacationing, there are certain challenges that come with this method of travel.  For instance, where to spend the evening on the road when traveling far distances from one location to the next is a common challenge for every RV traveler!  Many RV vacationers may not be aware of their choices in overcoming this challenge of finding a convenient and beautiful place to stay the night while in transition from one destination to the next.  Even if there are amazing sites and attractions nearby, spending night after night in Wal-Mart parking lots can become less than desirable.  And during the peak vacation season, finding an available campsite is not always possible.  Discover another and far better over-night camping option you now have with Harvest Hosts!

HARVEST HOSTS Winery Participant in Nottingham, New York

HARVEST HOSTS Winery Partner

Harvest Hosts is changing all of that.  Harvest Hosts is a program where wineries, farms, and breweries from all over the country open their gates to you for overnight dry camping.  Seasoned RV travelers Kim and Don Greene started this luxury-style camping concept in the U.S. after driving over 200,000 miles by RV all over the world.  They found that it was common for wineries and farms in Europe to host travelers overnight, but nothing similar existed in the United States. In true entrepreneurial spirit, they started their own version of a European hosting association.

From their small and localized upstart with locations only in California, Oregon, and Washington, Harvest Hosts has expanded to include numerous locations across the continental United States, Canada, and even Baja California in Mexico!  The program requires a nominal $40 membership fee for the entire year, giving you money-saving access to travel across North America without paying a cent for camping or parking!

Taste and Experience the Pleasure of RV Road Traveler!

Taste and Experience the Pleasure of the RV Road Traveler!

In return, these small (usually family-run) businesses simply ask that you purchase a bottle of wine or some of their other homemade goods.  Sampling local vintages and farm produce is already on the to-do list for most RV vacationers, so it’s a small price to pay for the great company and amazing locations available.  Free overnight parking added into the activities that you were already planning on is too good to pass up!  There’s really nothing like watching a sunset and sharing a glass of wine with the people that made it.

Once becoming a member, you can search through interactive maps that show available hosts and the amenities that they provide.  It’s a good idea to call ahead to make sure that the farm or winery you have in mind actually has space for you, though.  Many of the hosts are small-time operations that may not accommodate a large number of vehicles at one time.  That’s part of the charm, however.  Instead of an endless sea of RVs, you get the experience of potentially being your host’s only guest!  There’s nothing like waking up to a beautiful morning and being greeted only by the sound of the wind in the trees and farm animals starting their day.

Another benefit to being a member is access to a handy app that helps you find locations along the routes you are planning to take.  You can also use online forums where you may ask questions of other travelers, read up on host reviews, and even share your own vacation experiences and photos.  It’s a valuable tool for selecting the very best spots for your trip.

Overall, Harvest Hosts is providing a valuable service for small-town agricultural businesses and the RV vacationers that love to visit them.  Get out of the parking lots and start making beautiful memories and having the best RV trips of your life!

Once you’ve experienced this pleasurable and memorable RV experience, send us a few photos and we’ll happily share them with our readers and on El Monte RV’s facebook page!

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: RV at Winery by Ray & Roxanne Nottingham courtesy of Harvest Hosts and the wine and food photo by Colleen Lane is licensed under Flickr commons.

Posted in blog, CA Vacation, CA Wine Country, Cost effective RV Vacation, Cross Country Trip, Family RV vacations, Green RV'ing, Motor home vacation blog, National Scenic Byways, North American RV Vacation, One-Way RV Rentals, Rural RVing, RV blog, RV Camping, RV Camping Resources, RV Destinations blog, RV Rentals, RV Road Trip, RV Sales, RV Summer Vacations, RV travel in the western states, RV Travel Tips, RV vacation dining, RV Vacation Ideas, RV vacations in the northwestern United States, Special Offer, United States RV Vacation, USA travel, Vacation Adventures, Vacation Planning, weekend RV trips, Wine Country RV Vacations | 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

Journey to the North in Winnipeg

Even though it’s directly to our north, many Americans never visit Canada.  What a missed opportunity on so many levels because Canada is a country with unending natural beauty and the Canadian people are well-known for their warm hospitality and friendliness!  If you’re looking for a vacation that’s out of the ordinary, consider traveling northward and explore other parts of the North American continent.  It’s time for a journey to Winnipeg for starters!

The River Trail in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The River Trail in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

To start your trip off right, pick up an RV in Chicago.  Make sure to bring some games, movies, audio books, or other entertainment for the kids as you drive to the north country while you get to enjoy the passing scenery as you head towards the border.  Once you cross into Manitoba, find a great RV park to serve as your base camp as you explore Winnipeg.  With its free hot showers and free wireless internet, Traveller’s RV Resort & Campground will serve your needs perfectly.

After you’re settled in, it’s time to head out and explore the city itself.  If you want to get your bearings right away, an excellent first stop is The Forks.  This spot, in the center of the city, is where the Assiniboine River flows into the Red River.  It has been a meeting spot for the residents of the area for over 6000 years.  With its parks, restaurants, and venues for shows and concerts, The Forks location continues to be the beating heart of this city.

What would a vacation to Canada be without strapping on some ice skates?  It’s a good thing that the world’s longest naturally-frozen skating trail winds 6.5 kilometers through the city.  Instead of having to skate around and around on an ice rink, you’ll warm up the leg muscles as you venture out and go on the equivalent of a long run when you skate down the Red River Mutual Trail.  When the weather warms up, it’s still a great path for walking and taking in views of the river and the city.

Canada is also home to some of the most magnificent animals on earth, as many Canadian species can’t be found anywhere else!   This alone warrants a trip at least once in your lifetime to take in the spectacular display of local creatures of our northern American counterpart.  The polar bear is one such creature, and you’ll have a chance to see one up close at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.  In addition to getting a look at one of the zoo’s polar bears, you can also visit the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre to learn about conservation efforts to protect this amazing animal.

Next up, you can visit Canada’s oldest public art gallery when you visit the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  WAG, as it’s called by locals, has an in-depth collection of Canadian and international art.  It  takes special care to focus on native artwork from members of Manitoba’s original population.  In addition to all the incredible art work on display, the gallery is also offering free admission to everyone 18 and under throughout the month of June.  So, there’s never been a better time for your family to visit!

It’s time to get in an RV and take your journey to the North.  It might be a bit chilly at times, but it will be a wonderful adventure that your family will never forget!

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:   The River Trail photo by A.J. Batac licensed under Flickr Creative Common license.

Posted in Art Vacations, bird watching destinations, Bird watching vacation, blog, Canadian RV Travel, City Fun and Outdoor Adventure RV Vacation, Cost effective RV Vacation, Cross Country Trip, educational trips, Family RV vacations, family trips, Historical Museum RV Vacations, Motor Home Camping, Motor home vacation blog, Native American History, Nature travel, Nature/Sightseeing vacation, North American RV Vacation, Pet Friendly Vacation, RV blog, RV Campgrounds, RV Camping, RV Destinations blog, RV educational trips, RV Rentals, RV Road Trip, RV Sales, RV trail hiking trips, RV Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas, Vacation Adventures, Vacation Planning, wildlife, wildlife RV vacation | Leave a comment