RV Adventure in Oregon’s State and National Parks

Oregon is a treasure trove of beautiful scenery whether you’re in the mountains, at the seashore or in between. There are a total of 195 State Parks in Oregon, and an additional 6 National Parks including National Historic, Monuments, Parks and Sites. You will definitely see an array of beautiful natural treasures when touring this state in an RV. If you are looking for adventure and beautiful scenery, consider parking in an Oregon State Park (46 allow RV camping), or a National Park in Oregon.

This year FREE camping and parking is offered by the Oregon State Parks on Saturday, June 1st. Camping is free the night of June 1 in full hookup, electric hookup and tent sites. Parking is free at the 25 day-use parks that charge a parking fee June 1 and June 2, too.

If you want to guarantee a site, you’ll need to make a reservation (the reservation fee is $8, and that’s a flat fee no matter how many nights you stay). Make your campsite reservations by calling 1-800-452-5687. You can also reserve online at Oregon State Parks website.

This year Oregon State Parks partnered with Oregon Lottery to sponsor events at six parks: Champoeg State Heritage Area, Fort Stevens State Park, Tumalo State Park, The Cove Palisades State Park, Wallowa Lake State Park and Silver Falls State Park. In total, 10 state parks are holding events on Saturday June 1. See the Oregon State Parks Free camping page for the full event list.

To find an Oregon State park that offers RV Camping, check out the State Parks Find a Park page, where you can also select all the activities you would like to have and choose by the facilities they offer.

Oregon National Parks

From the Willamette National Forest to the Umpqua National Forest, to the Warm Springs Reservation and Mt. Hood National Forest in the mountains east of Portland, there are so many places to see that you may want to plan a whole month of camping in Oregon. Farther east from Mt. Hood is the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, featuring active science with spectacular scenery. Colorful rock formations at the John Day Fossil Beds preserve the history of plant and animal evolution, changing climatic conditions and track ecosystems for the past 40 million years. Exhibits and a working lab at the Thomas Condon Paleontology and Visitor Center as well as scenic drives and hikes at all three units (the Clarno Unit to the north, the Sheep Rock Unit farther east, and the Painted Hills Unit to the south) allow visitors to explore the prehistoric past of Oregon and see science in action.

And drive just about 4 hours farther south to find the most amazing national treasure at Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake inspires awe. Native Americans witnessed its formation 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Scientists marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and one of the most pristine on earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range. The most popular months to visit Crater Lake are July, August, and September. That’s when the park’s roads, trails, and facilities tend to be fully open.

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

May and June are months of transition in the park, as winter slowly gives way to summer. They can also be months of frustration, as lingering snow prevents access to much of the park. However, May and June are also wonderful months to visit providing you are prepared for the variable weather. These months can bring sunny skies or severe snowstorms. In May, the average daily high temperature is 50 degrees F. But the average monthly snowfall is 20 inches, and the average snow depth at Park Headquarters is more than 6 feet! In June, daily highs average 69 degrees F. The park averages only 4 inches of new snow, but the average snow depth at Park Headquarters is still 2 feet. So bring your snowshoes or rent them there and you will be fine visiting this awesome sight.

Here you can view America’s deepest lake, with a depth of 1,943 feet. The water is an intense blue, an indication of its depth and purity. Surrounded by high cliffs, this lake is fed entirely by rain and snow and is considered by scientists to be the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world.

There is one RV Campground within Crater Lake National Park, called Mazama, which is open from June 15th to late September. It can accommodate an RV up to 50 feet long and offers plenty of facilities. Reserve early however, as there are only 214 sites available. There are also additional nearby camping options if this one is full.

You can rent an RV from us for your Oregon RV vacation adventure at either our Reno RV Rentals location or from our Ferndale, WA RV Rentals location. Starting at either point, you will be treated to a variety of beautiful scenery on your way to absolutely magnificent views in Oregon.

Posted in National Parks, Oregon RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

RV Adventures – Winter Gives a New Look to Western National Parks

Have you thought about what you might do to get out and adventure this winter: is cabin fever getting to you? Well in winter, the drop in temperatures and snowy landscapes will mean a different preparation for national park trekking, but the adventure is well worth the extra effort.

Just a few of our most scenic winter park picks are highlighted here:

Mt. Rainier, WA in winter
  1. Mount Rainier National Park, WA – At Mount Rainier you will find all the snow one could ever ask for in winter.One area known as Paradise averages 54 feet of snow each year and held the world record for most annual snowfall in the 1970s at 93.5 feet. Mount Rainier also has all the winter recreation you could wish for with sledding, skiing, sliding, snowboarding, snowshoeing, climbing and camping. Just be sure to prepare well for the weather and check local conditions before your trip. Note: All vehicles, including 4WD and AWD vehicles, must carry tire chains in the park during the winter season (November 1 – May 1) and be prepared to use them when tire chain requirements are posted.    
  • Crater Lake National Park, OR – Winter is the reason that Crater Lake exists. The high elevation and proximity to the Pacific make climatic conditions that cause Crater Lake to receive more than 44 feet of snow on average each year. Without all that precipitation the lake would not exist. If you would like to explore this snowy wilderness, it’s recommended that you try skiing or snowshoeing, plus there are ranger-led interpretive hikes each weekend.

Crater Lake was formed when a violent eruption of a volcano triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Native Americans witnessed this formation about 7700 years ago. Scientists still marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and perhaps the most pristine on earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range.  

Note: Not only do RVs need to be winterized for freezing temperatures, but it’s good to check the park’s webcams website frequently as updates such as this are posted there: “Winter road closures are now in effect. You can enter year-round from the south or west on Hwy 62. The road to Rim Village is also open year-round, except during periods of heavy snow. At Rim Village, you can enjoy views of the lake, weather permitting.”

  • Bryce Canyon National Park, UT – It may be hard to imagine Bryce Canyon’s spectacular earthly spires covered with ice and snow but this park is truly amazing in winter. There are ideal skies for stargazing which due to the cold, dry air makes them even more amazing with a weekly Saturday astronomy program to take advantage of these awesome views. The annual Winter Festival is usually held on President’s Day weekend. Bryce Canyon is even more beautiful in the winter! In the cold, crisp air, it’s thrilling to hop in and out of the warm car at the various overlooks to see the striking contrast of white snow, red rock, and blue sky.  Feeling more adventurous? Bryce offers many opportunities to enjoy its entire snowy splendor.

There are many dangers here in this season, however, so if you do visit, be sure to follow park regulations and get up-to-date weather information at the visitors center before venturing out. Boots are mandatory and traction devices are highly recommended for trail hikers, and back country permits are issued to only the most prepared and experienced. 

Winter camping in the National Parks will be far less crowded than summertime, but check with each park before you go to see what’s available. There are also additional RV Campgrounds nearby.

Holiday Special:

Whatever you do for the holidays, this is a special time to enjoy visiting with family and friends. To make the season even more fun, take advantage of our Holiday Special.

All this month we’re offering a free Monty Christmas night to help you with your holiday travel plans or accommodations! Whether you’re traveling to see relatives, needing extra beds for those visiting you or just getting away from the Christmas hustle and bustle, get a free extra day!

Rent any Class C or Class A model motor home, pick up any day in December and rent for a minimum of 6 nights and get 1 extra night FREE!  Plus you get 50 free miles per night! Get 7 nights for the price of 6!

Use Coupon Code: HOLIDAY

You can easily rent one of our RV’s at our various rental locations from Salt Lake City to Denver or near Vancouver ,CANADA.  Check out our Where you can Rent RV’s page for a location that’s convenient for you.

Posted in Oregon RV Camping Vacation, Utah RV Camping Vacation, Washington RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

RV Camping to Two Northwest Music Festivals – July 4th-8th

Make it a long Fourth of July weekend, starting on Wednesday the 4th. Start with the very popular Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon from the 4th to the 7th and consider the High Sierra Music Festival from the 5th to the 8th in Quincy, California. You can visit one or both this year and get out in nature while enjoying any type of music you choose.  Music festival camping is a great way to enjoy your favorite tunes and the outdoors at the same time.

Waterfront Blues Festival, Portland, OR

music festival camping guitar

Waterfront Blues Festival

If blues is your favorite, consider going to Portland to catch this year’s Waterfront Blues Festival. This year’s great lineup includes George Thorogood and the Destroyers, The Revivalists, Beth Hart and The Mavericks, among others such as Ruthie Foster and Marc Broussard. To see the full lineup, click here. It is held at Tom McCall Waterfront Park along the Willamette River, which spans both sides of the Hawthorne Bridge. Billed as the largest celebration of blues, soul, funk, and rhythm & blues west of the Mississippi, this long weekend is filled with amazing performances across four stages, with food, vendors, river boat cruises, and more.

Camping Spots Nearby:

You can camp at Jantzen Beach RV Park, Columbia River Park or the Fox Run RV Park, all of which are nearby.

To rent an RV for your Portland trip, check our Ferndale, Washington RV Rental location. Click here for more details.

Quincy High Sierra Music Festival

If blues isn’t your thing, or you want a variety of music this Fourth, check out the Quincy High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy, CA.

Major acts for the 2018 lineup at the Quncy High Sierra Music Festival include lots of different artists who will be performing day and night. Some of them are: The String Cheese Incident, Grace Potter, Sturgill Simpson, The California Honeydrops and far too many more to mention. Check out their website to see the full list of artists and schedule as well as ticket and camping information.

Camping Spots Nearby:

Here are a few choices for RV campgrounds nearby that you can scope out before you embark on your trip to Quincy. Tent and RV Options are available at one of several nearby annex locations just off Lee Road (outside Gate 3) including Sierra Skies Campground, Grandview Campground or other close properties. Campers are placed on a first-come, first served basis. Also, Shady Grove Annex is adjacent to the fairgrounds and a quick, easy walk to the main fairgrounds entrance. You may park your vehicle or RV in Shady Grove Annex with the appropriate vehicle pass. Note: Shady Grove Annex is dry camping – no power/water hook-ups available.

More Sights to See

The Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to steaming fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. Jagged peaks tell the story of its eruptive past while hot water continues to shape the land. Lassen Volcanic offers opportunities to discover the wonder and mysteries of volcanoes and hot water for visitors willing to explore the undiscovered. There is also camping located in the park. Check the National Park site for more information.

If you want to rent an RV nearby for your trip to Quincy, there are three choices of El Monte RV Rental locations: one is in Reno, NV; one in Sacramento and the third is in Dublin, California. Check them out here.

Whatever you decide to do to celebrate your Fourth of July, enjoy yourself and remember to get outside and enjoy music festival camping!

Posted in California RV Camping Vacation, Music Festivals, Oregon RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Five Northwest Lake Destinations to Discover

Out of RV Travel Ideas?

If you camp by RV often, you may find the same old campgrounds losing their luster. We’ve got five enticing lake destinations in America’s rugged Northwest to help restart your RV camping hearts. Pick one from our list below and get back on the road to camping fun.

  1.   Washington – Lake Chelan

Located in the mountainous forests of Central Washington, Lake Chelan is a developed lake ringed by resort properties, quaint villages and abundant RV camping options.

Sunset at Lake Chelan, WA

Sunset at Lake Chelan, WA

Winding its way through Lake Chelan National Recreation AreaLakeshore RV Resort, operated by the city of Chelan, features full-service amenities paired with a swimming beach and easy access to services in town.the lake is custom-made for outdoor recreation. Boating, fishing, swimming, hiking and camping are popular ways to enjoy the bright blue waters of Lake Chelan and the surrounding Cascades. Campers are also within an easy drive of wineries, galleries, restaurants and shops in two lakeside villages – Chelan and Manson. A must-do day trip idea—hike or take the passenger ferry to the rustic village of Stehekin to enjoy unspoiled beauty.    

  1.   Oregon – Lake of the Woods

If you’ve been RV camping in Oregon, you’ve probably camped at magnificent Crater Lake. We’d like to offer Oregon travelers another possibility—RV camping at Lake of the Woods, a smaller, more intimate setting with plenty of woodsy charm.

Lake of the Woods, in Oregon’s Southern Cascades, is a high mountain lake kept full year-round by snow runoff and natural springs. Kokanee salmon, German Brown and Rainbow Trout thrive in the cold, clear waters at five-thousand-feet elevation.

Lake of the Woods Resort operates the camping concession within Fremont-Winema National Forest. Their small, nicely wooded campground features full hook-up and electric & water sites and is close to the marina.

Plan to spend many hours outdoors at this lush mountain paradise, where trails wind through old-growth forests, around the lake and beyond to nearby mountains. Views of Mt. McLoughlin frame your journey as you paddle a canoe or kayak along the lake’s shoreline.

  1.   Idaho – Lake Coeur d’Alene

Lake Coeur d’Alene in Northern Idaho is famous for its bright blue waters and first-class outdoor recreation. Camp in one of several RV campgrounds and resorts near the city of Coeur d’Alene and enjoy tour boat cruises, guided fishing excursions for chinook and bass, and golf on one of ten courses that ring this stunningly scenic lake.

Trails in and around the city (be sure to try Tubbs Hill), as well as a section of the seventy-mile Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, cater to hikers, trail runners and mountain biking enthusiasts. Adjacent Coeur d’Alene National Forest is also home to hundreds of miles of trails.

  1.   Montana – Flathead Lake

Been promising your camping companions a fishing charter experience? There’s no better place in Montana to fish than Flathead Lake, the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi.

Situated in the valley adjacent to Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake is fed by two cold, clear rivers. Local outfitters can guide you to where the forty-plus-pound Lake Trout (Mackinaws) feed.

If you’re not into fishing, never fear. The lake is surrounded by hiking trails, two scenic highways that skirt the lake’s thirty-mile length and plenty of places to enjoy wildlife watching, swimming, water sports and comfortable Montana RV camping.

Speaking of camping, Finley Point State Park Campground and a half-dozen private RV parks ring the lake, offering a variety of amenities. Most are on the water or in the lakeside towns of Polson, Bigfork and Rollins.

  1.   Wyoming – Jackson Lake

One of the star attractions of Grand Teton National Park is the collection of alpine lakes within the park’s boundaries. Several of these mountain lakes are remote, accessible to hikers and tent campers. There are, however, RV camping options near the chilly, pristine waters of Jackson Lake.

Colter Bay RV Park, five minutes from Jackson Lake, is a full-service campground with full-hookups and easy access to services in Colter Bay Village. Colter Bay Campground is a large, wooded campground suitable for dry camping in an RV. Showers, laundry facilities and a dump station are close by.

Why camp at Jackson Lake while visiting Grand Teton National Park? It’s centrally located for access to all the park has to offer. The lake itself is famous for cutthroat, brown trout and lake trout fishing, and is also perfect for launching your sailboat or kayak. Boat tours are offered throughout the summer to give campers an up-close view of Mt. Moran and other jagged peaks that border the lake.

Pick a lake that appeals to your heart and plan to go RV camping soon in America’s glorious Northwest. Be sure to let us know which lakeside camping adventure you’ll be repeating!

Posted in Idaho RV Camping Vacation, Montana RV Camping Vacation, Oregon RV Camping Vacation, RV Campgrounds, State Parks, Washington RV Camping Vacation, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Five Memorable Mountain RV Campgrounds

Follow a winding road to find a mountain campground way back in the forest. Hike wooded trails to the secret places where wildlife abounds. Hike back to share your stories with new friends at the campground. America’s state and national parks in mountain locales provide memorable settings for your RV camping adventures. Pick one from our suggestions, and be sure to let us know what you discover!

Rocky Mountain National Park – Moraine Park Campground – Colorado

You’ll find this mountain RV camping paradise off Hwy 36 near the Beaver Creek entrance of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. Elk and deer will greet you as you wake to the splendor of immense Moraine Park and the surrounding Rockies.  

Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

This Colorado mountain campground puts you close to hundreds of miles of hiking trails, plus scenic Trail Ridge Road, mountain lakes and waterfalls and the mountain village of Estes Park.

Details: Paved roads into the campground. No hook-ups at campsites, but toilets and drinking water are available. Bring your solar shower bag to use in the designated shower enclosure to save RV water/power. RMNP shuttle takes campers to nearby trailheads. Campground is close to Estes Park and Moraine Park Discovery Center.

Black Rock Mountain State Park – Hickory Cove Campground – Georgia

The Blue Ridge Mountains within Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest are home to wonderfully scenic Black Rock Mountain State Park. Waterfalls, a mountain-top visitor center and scenic vistas surround RV campers who make the trip up this park’s winding roads. Black Rock Lake Trail is popular with hikers of all ages, while two more-strenuous mountain trails lead hikers to unforgettable views.

Details: Winding two-mile drive up to campground. Standard water/electric sites, some 50-amp available, showers, toilets, dump station available in campground. Shaded, gravel camping pads. Close to trails, some ranger-led activities available.

Coolidge State Park Campground – Vermont

Located in Coolidge State Forest, we rate this as a mountain campground thanks to the Green Mountain views that surround it. A small, rustic campground nestled in the forest, it’s close to hiking trails well worth discovering. Throughout the state park you’ll find original stone structures built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, adding to the park’s vintage feel. Bonus—park fees also provide access to nearby Camp Plymouth State Park for boating and swimming.

Details: No hookups, dump station is available. Flush toilets and coin operated hot showers. Nature center should be a stop for all visitors. Easy access to hiking trails.

Painted Rocks State Park Campground-Montana

Where Montana’s Bitterroot Range wraps itself around Painted Rocks Reservoir, you’ll find a valley campground that speaks to the heart of those who love wildlife, remote pine forests and mountain fishing. Two hours south of Missoula, Montana, this small lakeshore campground is the perfect spot for a fishing and camping vacation. Moose, black bear, peregrine falcons and great blue herons call the Bitterroot Valley home, so bring your binoculars and your favorite fishing gear to catch cutthroat trout and whitefish.

Details: No hookups, vault toilets, first come, first served campsites. Motorized fishing boats, kayaks and canoes allowed on reservoir, boat ramp available.

Mount Hood National Forest—Spring Drive RV Campground—Oregon

You’ll find this photogenic spot two hours east of Portland on US-26. Located on the southeast edge of Mount Hood National Forest, Spring Drive Campground combines woodland beauty with RV convenience by offering full hookups for self-contained RVs. Rock climbing, mountaineering, hiking and fishing venues surround the campground, with spectacular views of Mount Hood and other area peaks. Reserve your site before you go, as this is a small, secluded campground popular with hikers and nature photographers.  

Details: Full hookups, no dump station, separate drinking water or toilets available. RVs must be self-contained. Large, private back-in sites in a forest setting.

Why not make it a goal to go RV camping in one of America’s mountain ranges? State and national park campgrounds throughout the country offer scenic campsites, easy access to outdoor recreation and a deeper appreciation for the people who saved these special places for future generations.

Let us help with an RV rental reservation close to home or in a city near your alpine destination. The mountains are calling—isn’t it time you answered?

Posted in Colorado RV Camping Vacation, Georgia RV Camping Vacation, Montana RV Camping Vacation, Oregon RV Camping Vacation, Vermont RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

AAA Members-Look Skyward! 2017 Eclipse RV Travel Savings

You may have noticed our earlier discussion about the singular celestial event that’s coming to America in 2017. To refresh your memories, we’ll be enjoying a total solar eclipse over America on August 21, 2017. A special reason we’re highlighting this opportunity for RV travel again is that AAA members can save big when renting an RV to view the solar eclipse.

AAA members always enjoy RV rental discounts through El Monte RV Rental & Sales as part of their active membership. For this year’s total solar eclipse experience, the nationwide auto club is encouraging members to hit the road in an RV to find the optimal eclipse viewing sites.

This article on the 2017 eclipse in AAA’s April member newsletter offers information on where, when and how to view the eclipse. If you aren’t currently a AAA member, this link offers you the opportunity to join so you can take advantage of the RV rental discounts.  

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse

Haven’t started making plans to see the moon’s shadow completely block the sun from Earthly viewers? Here are the details you’ll need to plan your 2017 total solar eclipse RV vacation:

When Will the Eclipse Occur?

The shadow of the moon will align to blot out the sun from our view for approximately two minutes at 10:15 a.m. PDT on the Pacific Coast near Newport, Oregon. That will be the North American debut of the 2017 solar eclipse. The moon’s shadow will then block the sun from sight in an arc across the US, moving back over the Atlantic off the South Carolina coast at 2:48 pm EDT.

Where Will the Total Eclipse be Visible?

This excellent map of the eclipse trajectory shows the fourteen states (from Oregon to South Carolina) crossed by the “path of totality”. On that path, there’s a sixty-mile band of optimum viewing of the entire eclipse event. Outside that band, you won’t be able to see the total eclipse and will have to settle for partial eclipse memories.

To help you plan your eclipse-viewing RV vacation, here are some of the cities within the path of totality:

Oregon: Newport, Corvallis, Madras, Salem

Idaho: Stanley, McKay, Idaho Falls

Montana: No cities within optimum viewing band, eight miles of remote mountain terrain only

Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park, Casper, Thermopolis

Nebraska: Scott’s Bluff, Hastings, Grand Island

Kansas: Troy, Atchison, Leavenworth

Missouri: St. Joseph, Columbia

Illinois: Carbondale, Chester

Kentucky: Bowling Green, Hopkinsville

Tennessee: Nashville, Gallatin, Clarksville

Georgia: Blairsville, Clayton

North Carolina: Andrews, Clingmans Dome area of Great Smoky Mountain NP

South Carolina: Anderson, Orangeburg, Columbia

Why Rent an RV to View the Eclipse?

As any experienced RV traveler can tell you, weather changes occur when you least expect them. Viewing the eclipse in all its glory will require staying ahead of cloud cover or storms. Two planning steps can help you win the race:

  •         Watch local forecasts for the area where you plan to view the eclipse. If heavy cloud cover or storms are predicted, have a Plan B viewing location in mind.
  •         Traveling by RV allows you to change plans quickly. The flexibility to move to a better location as the event approaches may make the difference between awesome eclipse viewing memories and traveling home disappointed.

AAA and El Monte RV Rental & Sales can help you plan the perfect eclipse viewing RV vacation, but you’ll need to act fast. Campgrounds are filling rapidly, so don’t delay any longer making your plans.

Where will you be when the sun goes dark on August 21, 2017?

Posted in Georgia RV Camping Vacation, Idaho RV Camping Vacation, Illinois RV Camping Vacation, Kansas RV Camping Vacation, Kentucky RV Camping Vacation, Missouri RV Camping Vacation, Montana RV Camping Vacation, Nebraska RV Camping Vacation, North Carolina RV Camping Vacation, Oregon RV Camping Vacation, South Dakota RV Camping Vacation, Tennessee RV Camping Vacation, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Climbing, Hiking, Riding and Camping-Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park

Travel about three hours straight north of Reno, NV and you’ll find a place the most active of RV campers won’t want to leave.  Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon has it all—challenging rock formations to climb, miles of trails for mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riders and dramatic rock spires to spice up your vacation videos.  Best of all, there are RV campgrounds surrounding the park to make it easy to explore in comfort.

Sound like your dream RV camping vacation? Let’s start planning!

Where to Camp Near Smith Rock State Park

You won’t be able to RV camp within the state park, but no worries—you’ve got plenty of options a short drive away.

  • Redmond/Central Oregon KOA near Madras is popular with families and about twenty miles from the park.
  • Crooked River Ranch RV Park north of Terrebonne is also a twenty-minute drive from Smith Rock.  It’s loaded with amenities and adjacent to a golf course, for even more outdoor recreation.
  • Skull Hollow Campground is twelve miles away in Crooked River National Grassland. Fill the fresh water tanks before you come (no hook-ups) and get ready to experience dazzling views of Gray Butte when you come home to rest from your Smith Rock adventures.

Smith Rock State Park, OR

Smith Rock State Park, OR

What to Do at Smith Rock State Park

The real question is, “What not to do at Smith Rock?”  The short answer is, “Don’t plan to be bored!”  With more than six-hundred-acres of volcanic rock formations soaring above the Crooked River, there’s enough room for everyone to play.   Just a few ideas:

Climb! Sport climbing, crack climbing, aid climbing, you name it, there’s a perfect place to climb a rock face at Smith Rock.  You’ll even find those gravity-defying slackliners walking the ropes high above.  The walls and spires here go as high as five hundred feet, with multi-pitch routes, rim rock and sheer drops to be experienced.  Pick your favorite climbing area, or better yet, hire a local climbing guide to show you the ropes at Smith Rock. Either way, you’ll be challenged and you simply can’t beat the views!

Ride! Mountain bikers from around the country have discovered Smith Rock State Park, thanks to the network of hard clay trails with enough switchbacks and gravel to keep things plenty interesting.  Routes like the heart-pumping, seven-mile Summit Trail skirt enormous boulders, scoot along the river gorge and pound downhill from elevations above three-thousand feet.

If you like to take your trails on horseback, you’ll find two multi-use trails within Smith Rock SP that offer gorgeous scenery and the chance to connect with longer trails on adjacent BLM land.  Local trail ride outfitters can provide an unforgettable experience of Smith Rock, as well. 

Run, Hike, Wander!  With so many epic trails to indulge your trail running, hiking or leisurely strolling yen, you’ll soon be scheduling your return camping trip to Smith Rock.  Run the Summit Trail to give your lungs a real workout (and reward yourself with panoramic views at the top.)  Hike the Misery Ridge Trail for a stunning view of the river valley and Monkey Face. Follow the Rim Rock Trail on the edge of the Gorge for heart-stopping vistas and a chance to watch the climbers in action.  These are just three of the trails to follow on foot at Smith Rock. Pick one or combine several to discover this marvelous place from the ground up.

Plan a Trip Soon to Smith Rock SP

There are few spots as memorable for outdoor recreation as Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park. If RV comfort is your preferred mode of camping, by all means bring it along—there’s a pretty place to park the RV nearby.  Plan your adventure, pick a campsite and get moving.  It’s time you, too, discovered the fabled wonders of Smith Rock.

Posted in Oregon RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

RV Rentals for 2017’s Total Solar Eclipse

Astronomers, photographers and people who are fascinated by astronomical wonders are going to want to gear up now for the first total solar eclipse visible in America since 1991. On August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will begin eclipsing the sun until it completely envelops the sun’s brilliance for more than two minutes. Even more amazing, it will be the first time in ninety-nine years that the eclipse will move from west to east across the US. It’s a sight worth planning for!

Fortunately for eclipse enthusiasts, there are many places along the US viewing trajectory where a full eclipse can be seen, but it will take some planning to be in the right place at the right time! Renting an RV will keep you mobile as you move around weather patterns and other interference, giving you the best chance of seeing a sight most people will never get to see-the entire solar eclipse.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse

When and Where Can I See the Total Eclipse?

Thanks to excellent eclipse viewing maps already created (see links below) we can plan our best viewing locations early. Here are the basics for following the path of the Pacific to Atlantic total solar eclipse:

  1. The ‘path of totality’ is an approximately sixty-mile-wide band of optimum viewing space along a trajectory from Oregon to South Carolina.
  2. The moon’s shadow will come between the earth and the sun at 10:15 a.m. PDT on the Oregon Pacific coast, traveling across America on a diagonal until it is visible from the South Carolina Atlantic coast at 2:45 p.m. EDT.
  3. People outside the path of totality may be able to see partial phases of the eclipse, but not the entire celestial event.
  4. Each location along the path will have approximately two minutes of optimum eclipse viewing.
  5. Clouds and weather patterns may interrupt eclipse viewing late in the game, hence the need to stay mobile.
  6. Eclipse followers from all over the world will be coming to America for this amazing event.

How Can We Start Planning?

This unusual event is sparking plenty of interest among astronomy clubs, foreign visitors, schools and homeschooling groups and government agencies. That doesn’t even take into account the average Jane or Joe who hopes to watch in an unfettered location along the eclipse trajectory. 

Fortunately, plenty of folks in the know have created websites, maps and guides to help you start planning. Here are just a few of the places to find complete information on the 2017 total solar eclipse:

  1. com
  2. org
  3. NASA Eclipse Website
  4. Eclipsophile Climate and Weather Guide

Use these helpful websites to determine where along the eclipse viewing path you’d like to set up camp. If you plan to do dispersed camping on BLM or Forest Service public lands in the West, be sure to contact the local office to determine where camping is available. Plan to arrive early, as interest is truly unprecedented and campsites will fill fast, especially in open locations.

If you plan to set up camp in a developed campground and then use your toad or tow vehicle to follow the eclipse, be sure to make reservations early, as eclipse mania will fill campgrounds fast along the best viewing routes. This is especially important for groups hoping to camp together for the event. Here is a helpful link to campgrounds in many states.

Tip: Keeping checking Community Eclipse Viewing Pages such as this one for updates on what plans are being made to welcome and encourage eclipse viewers along the ‘path of totality’.

You’ll also want to reserve RV rentals as early as possible for your family or group. Use this RV rental guide to determine what configuration recreational vehicle works best for you, where the closest RV rental location is and what the budget needs to be for your eclipse-viewing trip.

What’s left to plan? Here’s a quick checklist to get you started:

  • Transportation to the US from other countries
  • Transportation to RV rental location
  • Best route to eclipse viewing location and other attractions along the way
  • Purchasing protective eyewear certified for full solar viewing during the eclipse
  • Packing the equipment, clothing and food supplies appropriate for your length of stay
  • Planning an eclipse viewing party to celebrate this singular event!
  • For teachers and homeschoolers, prepare lesson plans around the science, history and mythology of eclipses

August 21, 2017 could well go down in history as one of the best documented and most viewed total solar eclipses ever. Renting an RV to follow the eclipse puts you in the best possible place for playing your own part in this memorable occasion.

Posted in Oregon RV Camping Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas | 3 Comments

RV Camping Along Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

When we hit the road this Spring and Summer, let’s find something fascinating to explore! One of the most unusual geological regions in America can be found between Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California and Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon. Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway connects the two parks and offers ample opportunity for RV camping along the way.

Where to Start

No matter which end of the Byway is your starting point on this 500-mile round trip journey, it’s going to be extraordinary. California visitors will find Lassen Volcanic National Park, the southern terminus, about two and a half hours north of Sacramento on I-5.

If you’re starting at the northern end of the Byway, you’ll find your starting point at Crater Lake National Park northeast of Medford about 80 miles on OR-140.

What You’ll See & Where to Camp

Whether it’s waterfalls, volcanic lava fields, sparkling mountain lakes or the stunning sight of Mount Shasta, following the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway won’t disappoint. Scenic campsites along the way are an added bonus.

Here are just a few premier points of interest to discover on your route.

  • Pelican Bay on Upper Klamath Lake in northern Oregon is a stop you’ll definitely want to make. Paddle a water trail, fish for record-breaking trout or simply take in the view made famous by John Muir’s writings. RV campgrounds near Klamath Falls will let you camp close to the Bay.
  • Castle Crags State Park – Pick a campsite and then hike the trails for unforgettable views of massive granite crags and Mount Shasta.
  • Lava Beds National Monument/Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge – Lava tube caves, Native American rock art and RV camping in the nearby towns of Tionesta and Tulelake can make this a special stop for Byway travelers who like the unusual. The wildlife refuge is one more reason to make this side trip, with an auto tour through marshes and grasslands for bird watchers.
  • Dunsmuir, CA – History buffs will love this vintage railroad town in the shadow of Mount Shasta. Bring your fly fishing gear—the trout stream in town is legendary! Save time on your trip to admire the waterfalls between Dunsmuir and Mount Shasta, too.
  • Lake Almanor – Located near the southern end of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, Lake Almanor in Lassen National Forest is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Hundreds of forest campsites are available and a shoreline hike promises spectacular views.
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park – Mudpots, a bubbling hot lake and the scenic remnants of volcanoes are only three of the attractions RV travelers will find at this park at the Byway’s southern terminus. Primitive and developed campgrounds within the national park make it easy to extend your stay as you hike and drive through thousands of acres of natural attractions.
  • Crater Lake National Park at the Byway’s northern entrance is a remarkable place to begin or end your journey. The view of the lake is worthy of many vacation photos,

    Crater Lake, Oregon

    Crater Lake, Oregon

    so why not hike the rim trail once you’ve set up camp? See how many of the lake’s ‘wizard islands’ formed by cinder cones you can spot. Speaking of campgrounds, the park’s Mazama Campground has both primitive and developed sites. 

Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway provides RV travelers the chance to experience stunning views and exciting outdoor recreation. You’ll also learn about the history of northern California and southern Oregon with intimate side trips into the countryside, visiting quaint towns and historic attractions.

Let us help with a California RV rental and feel free to use our handy list of California campgrounds to plan your trip. We can’t wait to hear about the memories that RV camping along the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway creates.

Posted in California RV Camping Vacation, National Parks, Oregon RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Oregon’s Honeyman State Park-Four Tips for RV Camping Fun

School may be starting, but there’s still plenty of time for a weekend of R&R on the Central Oregon Coast. Load up the family and go RV camping to Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park.  This coastal wonderland offers dozens of ways to relax and enjoy the weekend. We’ve narrowed it down to four top tips for making the most of your Honeyman State Park RV camping vacation.

Reserve an Awesome Campsite

With the second largest camping area in Oregon, Honeyman State Park has plenty of options when it comes to scenic campsites. Close to the park’s famous dunes, Lakes Cleawox and Woahink and plenty of hiking trails, the campground becomes the center your Oregon RV camping weekend.  Book one of more than three hundred campsites before you come, to make sure you have the services you prefer.

Jump, Boat or Fish in a Lake

Not only will your campsite be a quick drive to the beach, you’ll also be just down the road from two breathtaking, tree-lined lakes. Cleawox Lake is a highly-praised swimming spot, with tall, Pacific Ocean dunes on one side and a forest of pines on the other. It’s a great place to paddle the shoreline in a kayak and watch for wildlife, as well.

Woahink Lake is also within Honeyman State Park’s boundaries, and offers a different experience for Oregon RV travelers. Much larger than Cleawox, Woahink is the perfect spot to enjoy a day on jet skis or behind a ski boat. Fishing here for largemouth bass and yellow perch is also popular among anglers, so don’t forget your gear!

Hike the Dunes!

Did we mention the presence of two-mile-wide sand dunes that lead to the Pacific while providing a backdrop for Lake Cleawox?

Oregon coast

Oregon coast

Many park visitors spend a day or two learning the joys of dune hiking, or for more adventurous souls, sandboarding, up and down these windswept formations. Either way, the views are awesome, so you’ll be glad you reached the summit. Don’t own sandboards? Look for local outfitters in nearby Florence, OR who’ll be happy to supply what you need.

Take an OHV Adventure

One of the main reasons people come to the Central Oregon Coast is to embark on an off-highway vehicle (OHV) adventure at Honeyman’s dunes and adjacent Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. With miles of dunes designated for OHV use, you’re sure to find an area suited to your level of riding skill.

Just off Highway 101 and filled with possibilities, Honeyman State Park is ready to help your family relax and rejuvenate before school is back in full swing! Take time right now to book your campsite, pack your RV or set up an RV rental and get ready to unwind at Oregon’s Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park.

Posted in Oregon RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | 1 Comment