RV Camping to Special Events—Two Southern Festivals in May

What could be more fun than coming together for a weekend of good food, good music and outdoor festival camaraderie? RV camping at festivals adds an additional layer of enjoyment to multi-day festivities. Whether you’re camping right in the heart of festival action or at a comfortable campground nearby, the convenience and affordability of festival camping make it a favorite activity of RV travelers.

We’ve picked two special festivals for you to consider for this year’s camping itinerary—and both take place the first week in May! From smokin’ hot blues in Memphis to a luscious celebration of South Carolina strawberries, they’re both good reasons to reserve an RV rental and plan your own Southern festival weekend.

South Carolina Strawberry Festival, Fort Mill, South Carolina, May 5-6, 2017

If you love the experience of small-town festivals, where local elementary school choirs take the same stage as regional country-rock bands and well-known blues artists, you’ll want to turn your RV toward Fort Mill, SC this May.

Fort Mill, a four-hour drive from Roanoke, VA on US-220, and just across the state border from

South Carolina Strawberry Festival

South Carolina Strawberry Festival

Charlotte, NC, is home to the annual South Carolina Strawberry Festival that honors the sweet red fruit that comes ripe right as this festival begins.

There are festival-related events like a pageant and golf tournament the week prior to Festival Weekend, but the action really starts to get sweet on Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6, 2017.

Home-spun fun such as shortcake and hot wing eating contests and a ring-full of professional wrestlers raising funds to fight cancer will keep RVers plenty occupied. That’s even before we mention the musical talent that takes the Strawberry Jam Stage both Friday night and all day Saturday.

There’s even a Strawberry Pancake Breakfast Saturday morning at the local high school. And it’s all within easy reach, as most festival events take place in or near the town’s Walter Elisha Park.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? But you may be wondering where to camp close to the festival. You’ll find plenty of private campgrounds in the area. Here are just a few:

  • Camp Wilderness at Carowinds Amusement Park, fifteen minutes north of the Festival grounds. Why not plan to stay and play at Carowinds to round out your South Carolina family RV camping vacation?
  • Charlotte/Fort Mill KOA, just off I-77 and less than ten minutes from Walter Elisha Park, gets high marks from RV travelers.
  • Crown Cove RV Park on the North Carolina/South Carolina border, minutes from Fort Mill, is another highly-recommended campground close to the Festival.

Our next festival takes us to Memphis, home of blues, barbeque and sassy Southern hospitality.

Beale Street Musical Festival, Memphis, Tennessee, May 5-7, 2017

Each May, more than one hundred thousand music lovers congregate on the banks of the Mississippi at Tom Lee Park in Memphis to enjoy musicians as varied as Snoop Dogg to Drive-By Truckers. The 2017 Beale Street Music Festival will be held May 5-7 and promises to be one of the best reasons to travel to Memphis by RV this year.

Bring your blanket (no coolers, outside beverages or lawn chairs, please) and your love of good music to this three-day festival in a city world-renowned for its musical offerings. The eclectic mix of artists on four stages will ensure everyone in your camping crew has a stellar festival experience. And what could be more exciting than a festival with the South’s most iconic river as a backdrop? (By the way, you’ll need to buy your tickets now, as Tier I and II passes have already sold out!)

Where to camp close to the Beale Street Music Festival? Try these campgrounds for RV camping within thirty miles of the Festival:

  • Memphis Jellystone Park, Horn Lake, MS
  • Graceland RV Park & Campground on Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis
  • Memphis KOA, twenty minutes away, across the state line in Marion, Arkansas
  • Tom Sawyer RV Campground in West Memphis, Arkansas

Bonus Memphis RV camping idea: While RV camping in Memphis to attend the Beale Street Music Festival, while not schedule a longer stay to enjoy the other Memphis in May International Festival events? Kicking off with the Beale Street Music Festival the first weekend in May and stretching to the 901Fest in late May that celebrates all the 901 (Memphis) area code has to offer, this quartet of Memphis festivals in May will tempt RVers to linger longer.

It’s time to start planning your festival RV camping experiences! Use these ideas as a springboard to make your 2017 festival camping plans, and don’t forget—we’re here to help you have your best RV travel experience yet.

Posted in Festivals, South Carolina RV Camping Vacation, Virginia RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Finding America by RV—Connecticut River National Scenic Byway-Part I

Here’s some motivation to follow this week’s route by RV—the chance to visit three New England states while tracing the path of a wonderfully scenic waterway. The Connecticut River Byway charts a course from near the Canadian border, along the Vermont/New Hampshire line, all the way south into western Massachusetts. It’s just short of a five-hundred-mile journey altogether, but we’re going to break it down into two parts, to allow RV travelers time to savor the experience.

How Do We Get There?

The Byway’s northern terminus is just across the border from Quebec in West Stewartstown, New Hampshire. You’ll be following the Connecticut River from near its headwaters in the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Natural Area, all the way to the Byway’s southern-most point at South Hadley, Massachusetts. That’s the big picture, but remember, for this itinerary, we’re only taking in half the Byway.

The Byway invites RV travelers to find the treasures in villages, natural areas and historic sites throughout the region. We’re going to wind our way back and forth across the Connecticut River from Vermont to New Hampshire once we leave Massachusetts, but don’t worry, we won’t leave you stranded. You can get a complete picture of the route from bottom to top at the America’s Byways website.

What Will We See Along the Byway?

One of the reasons so many travelers follow the Connecticut River National Scenic Byway more than once is that there are hundreds of points of interest along the route. As we start our journey in South Hadley, MA, we find the first Byway signs at the intersection of MA-116 and MA-47. You’ll follow MA-47 north through the villages of Hadley, North Hadley and Sunderland, but let’s take a minute to talk about the sights you’ll see along the way.

South Hadley, a pre-Revolutionary War town, is home to Mount Holyoke College and invites you to wander its streets for memorable finds such as Village Commons, home to nationally-famous Odyssey Bookshop.

Skinner State Park, MA

Skinner State Park, MA

As you travel north on MA-47, be sure to stop at Skinner State Park south of Hadley, MA, where a one-and-a-half mile hike up Mount Holyoke will reward you with stellar views of the Connecticut River, as well as the chance to see historic Mount Holyoke Summit House (open for tours on weekends).

The rolling hills surrounding Hadley are home to farms owned by the same families for generations. During the summer, you’ll find the Byway dotted with abundant farm-to-table offerings from local fruit and vegetable stands, creameries and bakeries.

You’ll also find access points for launching canoes and kayaks all along the Massachusetts section of the Connecticut River. Use this handy interactive map to the Connecticut River Paddlers Trail to plan your water excursions.

Another excellent way to explore the state’s Connecticut River Valley is along hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails. These can lead to a multi-day New England adventure, or simply a pleasant day spent hiking or cycling through forests, hills and glorious river frontage. Besides the trailheads within the region’s many state parks and reservations, the Norwottuck Rail Trail is a popular path for cyclists and hikers to follow.

We’ll finish this leg of the Byway by following MA-63 north to the town of Northfield, on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire or Massachusetts/Vermont border, depending on which side of the river you’re driving, to Bellows Falls, VT.

Once you’ve crossed the state line, you can visit historic villages, nature preserves and historic sites in both Vermont and New Hampshire by crossing back and forth across the river. Some RVers may decide to stick to one state on the journey up to the Canadian border and follow the other route on their return trip south.

Or you could stop for a few days and explore the entire Connecticut River Byway between the Massachusetts border and Bellows Falls. From the fascinating walking tour through the Village of Bellows Falls, VT to the swimming beach on the south shore of Spofford Lake, there’s something for everyone in your crew to enjoy.

Where Can We Camp?

Private campgrounds create a cozy home on the road for RV campers who explore the Connecticut River National Scenic Byway. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Brattleboro North KOA-East Dummerston, VT
  • Kampfires Campground-Brattleboro, VT
  • Northampton/Springfield KOA-Westhampton, MA
  • White Birch Campground-South Deerfield, MA

While traveling the southern half of the Byway, choose one of these RV campgrounds as your home base and then journey to mill towns, nature preserves, historic town centers and mountaintop aeries to your heart’s content.

Next week, we’ll move up the Byway to explore the north woods and the wild beauty of the Connecticut River. In the meantime, start reserving your campsites and get in touch to plan your RV rental in Pennsylvania. You’re going to love this RV camping itinerary!

Photo attribution:  By User:Magicpiano (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Posted in Massachusetts RV Camping Vacation, New Hampshire RV Camping Vacation, State Parks, Vermont RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Finding America by RV—Michigan’s Copper Country Trail

Hoping to find an RV camping destination where you can learn about America’s past along an epically beautiful lakeshore? Why not venture north to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and learn how copper mining shaped the region along the Copper Country Trail? It’s one of America’s National Scenic Byways, and a route where fascinating history, splendid landscapes and excellent campgrounds come together for a trip you’ll long remember.

How Do We Get There?

To give you the overall picture of Michigan’s Copper Country, let’s start by saying that it lies in the Keweenaw Peninsula, that finger of land jutting into Lake Superior at the top of the Upper Peninsula.

The Copper Country Trail is a 47-mile section of US-41 that runs from Houghton, Michigan to Superior’s shores at Copper Harbor. The Keweenaw is about eight hours north of Chicago on I-90.

It may seem like forty-one miles of byway isn’t worthy of an RV camping vacation, but once you’ve discovered the beauty and historic significance of the Keweenaw Peninsula, you’ll find yourself wishing for more vacation time.

What Can We See and Do Along the Byway?

Let’s cover a little history before we highlight the wonders of the Copper Country Trail. From 1841 to the Great Depression, copper mining was the main economic force of the region, with a high percentage of America’s copper output being mined there.

Immigrants from many countries arrived to mine copper ore, run the businesses that supported the mining industry and share in the economic upswing. As with other industries at the time, however, the 1930s brought the collapse of copper mining and the closure of the last mine.

But that’s not to say that you won’t find plenty of evidence of this region’s copper-laden history as you travel the Copper Country Trail.  We start our journey in the city of Houghton, MI, the perfect access point to the Keweenaw Water Trail. This series of lakes, rivers and canals cuts across the peninsula to connect to Lake Superior at both ends. It was an important addition to the region’s ability to ship copper to other parts of the country, and is now a nationally-recognized water trail for kayak and canoe paddlers. There are lighthouses at both ends of the water trail, as well as developed and primitive campgrounds and access to inland trails along the way.

Travel north from Houghton along the Copper Country Trail (US-41) to find Keweenaw National Historical Park, an expansive collection of museums, mining-related buildings, historic mining towns and visitor centers that tell the tale of the peninsula’s past.

Quincy copper mine

Quincy copper mine

At the southern end of the collection is the Quincy Unit, where you can tour Quincy Mine on a cog rail tram and walk the historic village streets to explore a blacksmith shop, a mine office and other structures.

Farther north along the Byway, you’ll arrive at Calumet, MI, where the Calumet & Hecla Copper Mining Company brought unrivaled prosperity. Many of the historic structures built during the copper mining boom remain and can be located on the self-guided Calumet walking tour.

One more stop, just twenty miles north at the Delaware Mining Company, will complete your education on the valuable mineral that changed this peninsula forever. This mine, also part of the Keweenaw National Historical Park collection, allows self-guided walking tours suitable for families (and pets!)

Visiting these villages and mines will certainly give you a better understanding of the Keweenaw’s past, but the present-day beauty of the area will also capture your imagination. All along the National Scenic Byway, you’ll find mountain lakes and lush, tree-studded hillsides sweeping upward to tempt your eye.

When you reach road’s-end at Copper Harbor, there’s still more to discover. A visit to Fort Wilkins Historic State Park offers a restored 1840s military outpost, a developed campground and the chance to tour Copper Harbor Lighthouse. 

For RV travelers who enjoy a good hike, the Copper Harbor area is an outdoor wonderland! Just a couple of suggestions to get you started: for a short walk in the woods, consider the 1-mile Cathedral Grove Trail through the oldest white pines in Michigan at Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary. To fully appreciate the rocky Superior shoreline and the coastal forests that surround it, hike the trails at Keweenaw Shore Nature Sanctuary just east of Brockway Mountain.

And speaking of that high point along the Superior shoreline, be sure to treat your fellow campers to nine miles of breathtaking scenery along Brockway Mountain Drive from Copper Harbor east to Eagle Harbor. The entire drive is awe-inspiring, and a stop at the top promises full-circle views of Lake Superior.

Where Can We Camp Along the Way?

Besides Fort Wilkins State Park campground at the northern end of the Copper Country Trail, the peninsula offers many camping possibilities, from private lakeside resorts to basic state park campsites. 

The City of Houghton RV Park along the Keweenaw Water Trail accepts self-contained RVs, with quick access to downtown Houghton, the Water Trail and an adjacent city park.

The Village of Lake Linden Campground, north of Houghton and just east of US-41 on Torch Lake, is also adjacent to a village park, within cycling or walking distance to shops and eateries.

McLain State Park, west of Calumet, is right on Lake Superior, with a modern campground, hiking trails and a sand beach.

One more tip for RV camping along the Copper Country Trail—Lake Fanny Hooe Resort in Copper Harbor is a popular place to stay while enjoying the sights at the trail’s northern tip.

For camera-grabbing views, interesting historic sites and friendly, scenic campgrounds, Michigan’s uppermost peninsula takes top honors. Be sure to send us your favorite memories as you travel by RV along the Copper Country Trail.

Photo Credit: NPS.gov, Keweenaw NHP Archives, Koepel–8×10–B.F. Childs–Quincy
Posted in Michigan RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

RV Camping Destinations—Where to Get Great Ideas

So many things to see! So many campsites to discover! But how in the world do we decide where our RVs will take us when we next go camping?

For some of us, the answer is simple—we go to the places we’ve always gone, those special campgrounds where we know what to expect, which old friends are likely to be there and what adventures are just around the bend.

But for other RV travelers, anticipation is the thing—that tingle of excitement when we turn the key in the ignition and go out in search of something new. And we’re here to help you get started!  We’re constantly collecting new resources to assist our readers who are ready to set up camp at someplace new.

Fasten your seatbelts for our quick list of places you can go right now to find info on campgrounds, camping activities and unforgettable camping destinations.

Where will the road take you?

El Monte RV Rentals: Every once in a while, we like to remind our readers about the fantastic travel resources we’ve gathered on the way to becoming one of America’s top RV rental firms. Here are just a few of the pages you might find helpful as you look for new reasons to travel:

  • RV Camping Guide: Tons of information on places to go, things to do and how to make it easy to get there by RV. From air shows to NCAA football tailgating, we’ve got the goods right here on your next reason to go camping.
  • State by State Campground Guide: Our list of exceptional campgrounds waiting to host your next vacation.
  • Camping Opportunities Calendar: Month-by-month calendar of special events that are custom-made for a camping adventure.
  • RV Camping Itineraries: Step-by-step journeys mapped across America to provide maximum camping satisfaction.
  • RV Trip Planning Resources: Our collection of special helps for RV campers, from green camping information to how-to guides for newbie campers.

National Park Service: No doubt about it, America’s national parks are some of the finest legacies we’ve preserved for future generations. Mountain-top to shining sea, our country has set aside magnificent landscapes, historical sites and cultural treasures to be camped, hiked, studied and treasured by each new generation.

The National Park Service website does an excellent job of sharing what you’ll need to know. Simply click on the map to start searching for the kinds of places your family will enjoy and then click on Plan Your Visit to locate camping opportunities. Get out there and find America this year!

StateParks.com: Here’s another gem for campers mining the internet in search of travel destinations. Maps, abundant details on facilities and reviews by other campers make this site another go-to place for planning your next itinerary.

Private Campground Resources: Click here and scroll down to Other Camping Resources to locate links to sites like Kampgrounds of America (KOA.com), Passport America and Thousand Trails. You’ll also find a wealth of information on where to find free campsites and how to reserve campsites at most state and national parks (ReserveAmerica.com and Recreation.gov.)

We challenge each one of you to make it through this list without finding a place you’ve never been! Don’t stay home this camping season simply because you can’t decide where to go.

Let us help you find your next RV camping experience, the one you might have missed if your friends at El Monte Motorhome Rentals hadn’t lent a hand.

Posted in RV Rentals, RV Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas | 2 Comments

Hiking and RV Camping in Joshua Tree National Park

Camping in the surreal landscape of Joshua Tree National Park is unlike any other American camping experience. The huge, uniquely shaped boulders, the distinct silhouette of thousands of Joshua Trees marching along the desert floor and the abundance of desert plant and animal life make coming to this place where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts meet fascinating. It also provides an amazing place for hikers to explore, stretching twelve-hundred square miles through Southern California near Palm Springs.

Where to Camp at Joshua Tree

RV Camping at Joshua Tree National Park

RV Camping at Joshua Tree National Park

Camping at Joshua Tree NP is fairly easy, if you prepare ahead for ‘dry camping’ conditions. There are actually five developed campgrounds within the park, with two equipped for RVs. There aren’t any electrical, water or sewer hook-ups at these campsites, but two campgrounds—Black Rock and Indian Cove—have drinking water available within the campground. Reservations are highly recommended from October to May, as the mild winter temperatures in this desert national park make it a popular place with campers.

Here are some tips to help make your Joshua Tree National Park camping experience a good one.

* Generator use is limited to 7-9 a.m., 12-2 p.m., and 5-7 p.m., so plan electrical use accordingly.

* Pets must remain leashed at all times outside your RV.

* Only small campfires, within fire rings or grills provided by the park, are allowed. * If no campsites are available on your desired dates, use this link from NPS.gov to locate other local options.

* Always practice Leave No Trace camping etiquette.

Where to Hike at Joshua Tree NP

You’ve set up camp and you’ve laced up your hiking boots, but which way to go? You could start at one of the park’s three visitor centers to get an overview of the unique ecosystems and the trails that wind through them.

Or you could use this handy guide to Joshua Tree NP hiking trails at NPS.gov. Either way, you’ll find plenty of information about popular destinations within the park. Here are just a few suggestions for places to discover from the park’s nearly three dozen trailheads.

Keys View is a rocky promontory with views of the Coachella Valley. The short loop trail is accessible via a twenty-minute drive from Park Boulevard.

The seven-mile hike into Lost Palms Oasis leads to a palm-filled canyon.

Making the hike up to Mastodon Peak is a must if you’re in good condition, as you’ll never forget those views of the Salton Sea.

Older kids would love the one-mile hike into Hidden Canyon, where enormous boulders are said to have once hidden cattle rustlers.

These are only a few of the dozens of trails that you’ll encounter as you begin to explore Joshua Tree National Park on foot. Keep in mind that, even in winter, this is a place of sudden weather changes, so always be prepared. You’ll also want to carry plenty of water in this desert environment and respect the plant and animal life that makes this place so special.

Consider hiking and camping at Joshua Tree National Park on your next visit to Southern California. If lack of an RV is keeping you at home, give us a call and we’ll help you find the rental location and RV model that suits your plans. It’s going to be a trip you’ll talk about for years!

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

Four Urban RV Campgrounds-Affordable Lodging in the Big City

Camping beyond the city lights is always a good way to relax, unwind and get back to nature. But have you ever thought of taking along the RV when you visit big cities? Once you compare the expense of hotels, restaurant meals and rental cars to the convenience and affordability of RV camping, urban RV campgrounds become an attractive alternative.

But where can you camp that makes sense when visiting larger cities?  We’re glad you asked, because we’ve put together our list of four favorite urban RV campgrounds that keep you close to the action.  Keep in mind, we’re not talking about stealth boondocking on city streets. These are places where camping can be comfortable and affordable while putting you within easy reach of big city attractions.

Urban Camping Ideas for RVers

* Greenbelt Park, twelve miles north of the Washington DC metro area in suburban Maryland, is an affordable, comfortable alternative to pricey DC-area hotels.  You won’t find electric and water hookups in the one hundred seventy-four wooded campsites, but you will find hot showers, flush toilets, potable water, and a dump station.  Your self-contained RV does the rest!  You’ll also be a mile and a half from a DC Metro station, making it easy to access all DC-area attractions.  Consider camping at this NPS-operated campground next time you visit our nation’s capital!

* Campland on the Bay in San Diego was voted one of the 10 Best Urban Campgrounds in 2014. With its own stretch of beach and a boat launch on Mission Bay, as well as an amazing array of year-round planned activities, RVers may be tempted to stay on-site their entire vacation.  But you’ll also be right across the Bay from SeaWorld, less than twenty miles from Coronado Island and within easy reach of San Diego’s many vibrant suburbs.

* Winter Island Park in Salem, Massachusetts is a destination unto itself.  Designated a Marine Recreational Area, the park offers 30 amp and 50 amp campsites from May to October. Boating, lighthouse tours, Salem walking tours and dozens of other attractions in the Salem area can keep campers busy, but you’ll also be within an hour’s drive of most Boston attractions.  Bring the towed vehicle if you plan to drive in Boston (restrictions on propane in certain tunnels) or take the Salem Ferry or MBTA into Boston for more flexibility.

* McKinney Falls State Park, fifteen minutes south of the Texas State Capitol in Austin,

Lower Falls, McKinney Falls State Park

Lower Falls, McKinney Falls State Park

is an urban RV camper’s dream.  With 30 amp and 50 amp campsites, hiking trails, fishing and swimming on Onion Creek and many other ways to play outdoors, this state park also provides low-cost Austin vacation lodging (less than $25 per night!) It’s a short drive to Austin’s world-famous entertainment districts, Lady Bird Lake and fabulous cultural icons like the Paramount Theater.

These are only four of the urban RV campgrounds that can change the way you travel to larger cities. Pick a city and start investigating the state parks, city parks and private campgrounds that might be hidden near popular attractions. Isn’t it time you joined the growing trend of urban RV camping?

Posted in RV Vacation Ideas | Leave a comment

BLM Camping—Balancing ‘Off the Grid’ with RV Comfort

Does the wild call to you, tempting you to come find the places where mountains, coastlines and forests surround your campsite? Does that mean giving up the comforts you’ve found while RV camping? Good news—there’s a way to combine your love of wild places with the convenience of RV travel. Developed campsites on BLM lands help you balance the ‘off the grid’ experience with RV convenience.

But how do you find that happy medium, the campsites tucked away among the trees, along the shore or on a mountainside, that accommodate RV camping? A good place to start is at the Bureau of Land Management website, where you’ll find a map of public lands and a guide to recreational opportunities.

We’re going to be sharing more in future blog posts about special places where you can camp on public land. For now, let’s take a quick look at the kinds of places where the Bureau of Land Management has created opportunities for camping and other outdoor recreation.

From Alaska to Arizona, Colorado to California, the BLM manages wild and scenic rivers, wilderness areas and national monuments. Some of these locations are set aside to allow study of eco-systems, some are preserved to allow outstanding outdoor recreation, still others center around preserving the habitats of threatened species.

These public lands surround more than five thousand miles of national scenic and historic trails. They’re home to more than two hundred protected wilderness rivers and national monuments as varied as the Grand Canyon and the California coast.

San Juan Islands WA

San Juan Islands WA

No matter which type of wilderness experience you’re hoping for, there’s a way to bring along the comfort of RV travel, if you do your homework. You won’t be camping in a paved campsite complete with full hook-ups, but you will be as close as it gets to the natural wonders of the American West.

Tips for BLM RV Camping

To completely enjoy your experience ‘off the grid’ camping on public lands, it’s important to follow the guidelines that are consistent for most of these wilderness areas. Here are the basics:

* Leave no Trace – in other words, pack out what you bring in, don’t leave trash and leave the campsites, trails and waterways as you found them.

* Follow Posted Restrictions – for example, if bear boxes are required at all campsites, make sure you have them for food and scented items. Same goes for rules governing where pets are allowed. Motorized vehicles such as RVs or tow vehicles aren’t allowed in all wilderness areas, so be sure you know the rules before you drive through. Ignoring posted restrictions like these can endanger you, other campers and the wilderness environment.

* Stay Aware of Fire Conditions – Smart campers check for up-to-date conditions where they’ll be camping, so they know if it’s safe to start a campfire or if there is heightened fire danger in the area.

* Camp Only Where it’s Allowed – By using the BLM website or contacting their regional offices, you can obtain maps that show both developed campsites and places

where dispersed camping is allowed. Make sure you know the rules about parking near water sources, roads and natural features.

* Prepare for ‘Off the Grid’ Camping – For the most comfortable camping possible, prepare ahead by emptying waste water tanks, carrying sufficient water for your trip (don’t assume potable water will be available), whether generators are allowed and if weather extremes are possible.

* Know How Long You’re Allowed to Stay – The typical limit on camping at a specific campground or dispersed camping area is fourteen days, so if you’re planning a longer trip, make plans to move to another area, if allowed within the management area.

Camping away from it all, in vast wilderness areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management, can open a whole new outdoor experience for RV travelers. Don’t miss your chance to find your own balance between camping ‘off the grid’ and enjoying all the comforts of traveling by RV.

Posted in RV Vacation Ideas | Leave a comment

Keep Your Cool: Tailgating Tips & Tricks

RV Tailgating adventure

RV Tailgating adventure

Hanging out with fellow fans in the parking lot can be more fun than watching the actual game. Some football games are famous for their fans’ over-the-top tailgating tactics. Tailgating is something to look forward to—unless it’s hot outside. While taking an RV to your tailgate is terrific because you can cool off inside, you don’t want to miss out on all the action happening outside.   Tackle scorching hot tailgating with a cool game strategy. It will make an exciting event with friends even more fun, and you’ll be able to hang outside and stay comfortable.

Five Ways to Keep Your Cool

  1. Stock Up On Ice

Warm drinks are the bust of a hot-weather tailgate. You want to have plenty of ice on hand so you can keep drinks and coolers cold. However, you won’t need to worry about where to pick up extra bags of ice or where to store it if you make your own ice instead.

There are portable and freestanding ice makers that simply sit on your countertop. Plug it in, let it run and make over 25 pounds of ice in 24 hours. Keep one in your RV for instant ice during a tailgate.

To avoid having the ice melt too quickly, store your coolers in the shade. Chilling drinks at home before you put them in the cooler is another great tip for making your ice last longer.

  1. Have It Made in the Shade

If you get to your tailgate location early, scout out a spot for afternoon shade even if your RV has an awning. There’s a tremendous heat difference in and out of the shade, so you’ll want room to spread out.

Consider shade when you decide which way to face your RV as you park. During some parts of the day, the RV itself will provide a shady rectangle from the hot sun. Face your side door toward the afternoon shade.

Never fear if there aren’t any shady spots. Plan ahead to provide your own shade. Pack a pop-up-tent to get quite a few square feet of shade, or pack a patio umbrella and stand. Since the umbrella collapses, it’s easy to transport. Having the umbrella means you can place it separate from the tent so you can shade a drink table or the person manning the grill.

  1. Let Off Some Steam

Just like the water misters found at big outdoor theme parks, you can provide your own cooling mist at a tailgate.

There are a variety of misters that can travel with you. Some use a bucket full of water, some attach to a hose and others can be attached to your shade tent. There are even personal, hand-held misters you can hold and mist yourself as you chill in your chaise lounge.

  1. Pack a Breeze

A breeze makes all the difference on a hot day. If Mother Nature isn’t cooperating, be prepared by having some fans on hand. Battery-operated fans are super handy to have when tailgating or camping. On the other hand, if you are tailgating with an RV, then you’ll be able to plug in a fan outside to create a breeze for everyone hanging out.

  1. Fill Up on Cold

Be sure to stay hydrated. Provide plenty of icy cold drinks for all your tailgating guests. Remember hot weather can cause you to sweat and you may need to drink even more water than normal. The Institute of Medicine suggests an adequate intake for men is roughly about 13 cups of beverages a day while women should drink about nine cups.

Cold foods are another terrific cooling trick. As much as tailgating is all about the grill, offer cold sides to your grilled meat. Serve cold salad, pasta salad, cut up fruit and slices of veggies with a chilled dip. In fact, watermelon is an exceptionally good choice because the fruit is 93 percent water.

Professional Organizer Tips for Tailgating

  • Store beverages separately from food. The beverage cooler will be opened more frequently, so storing the food separately will help it stay cool.
  • Keep zippered plastic bags on hand. Fill them with ice and use them in coolers of food. As the ice melts, it won’t get the food in the cooler wet.
  • Bring extension cords. You can use these to plug items like a fan or portable ice maker into your RV’s power but still keep them outside and easily accessible.
  • Dampen hand towels and store them in the refrigerator or cooler. They’re terrific to pass around when people are hot and sweaty.

Lea Schneider is a home organizational expert with years of experience combining home organization with design styles. She spent a lot of time traveling, camping and RVing with her family when she was growing up. To research coolers and other tailgating gear like those described by Lea, go to the Home Depot website.

Image provided by Lea Schneider.
Posted in Tailgating RV Rental | Leave a comment

RV Owners – Prepare for a Cross Country RV Trip

Route 66

Route 66

If you are reading this, it probably means that you are considering taking a cross country RV trip. After all, what better way to enjoy your RV fully than taking it as far as possible to really have some fun and see the country. Heading out on the open road in an RV will be a great way to open your eyes to the real beauty of the world and will allow you to really see things up close and personal that you may have only dreamed of seeing before. One thing is for sure, RV owners have an adventuresome side that others just do not have and the life experiences one can have in an RV are like none other.

Before you think about taking off though, there are a few things you need to think about that will help enhance your road trip and help keep you, and your passengers, safe along the way.

Plan Your Money

You may have been saving money for a long time in order to head off into the sunset in the RV, but once you actually hit the road, you need to make sure money is carefully planned to pay expenses unless you have an unlimited bank account. To plan accordingly, check fuel prices across the country and calculate your mileage before you leave. Thankfully, since you are the proud owner of an RV, you will have no need for costly hotel stays but you should call RV parks for overnight camping reservations before you head out and have the reservations made and the rates already budgeted into your travel expenses.

Back Roads Are The Best Roads

Anyone can drive down a congested interstate and see sights just off the side of the road. This is no way to see the world when you own an RV. Take the back roads and see the real side of life that you miss when you are shuffling to or from work on the expressway. Be sure to learn how to read a real map if you do not already know how to and have your route planned out in advance. Cell phones may not always work when traveling in the heart of America. Be sure to take your time when possible and drive slowly so you will not miss out on anything. Take pictures along the way as well or keep a blog and post updates at least weekly so you can keep track of where you have been and what you have seen.

Go With The Flow

While you may have a great deal of your RV road trip well planned, it is often best to just go with the flow and see where the road leads you. You may have a schedule that says you are only going to spend one night in a certain area, but once you arrive you may find that the area has far more to offer than you believed it had. When this happens, stick around and take time to really see the sights. You never know who you may meet along the way when traveling in an RV and quite frankly, you are bound to meet some interesting people during your travels. Take time and enjoy new friendships and new sights.

While it is a great feeling to have the freedom to head down the road on a cross country trip in your RV, you will want to make sure that it has been serviced prior to heading out and just to be on the safe side, it is a good idea to keep the number to a reputable RV transport company handy just in case you have an engine problem or need to have the RV transported to a new area during a time that you may need to take a break from driving. Many RV owners will take a flight to a new city or state in the middle of a road trip and have the RV shipped to them. This allows a little down time to rest from the long drive. While a cross country RV trip is a great way to see the country up close, it is also wise to take personal time to relax when possible during the trip.

This post courtesy of our friends at a1autotransport.com.
Posted in RV Vacation Ideas | Leave a comment

Camping and Fishing at Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Imagine a place where you can enjoy RV camping, desert mountain views and first-rate fishing year-round. You’ve just caught the vision for Arizona’s Dead Horse Ranch State Park. This pleasant place in the Verde Valley draws RV campers in search of mild winter temperatures and exceptional places to play outdoors.

What You Need to Know Before You Go

Dead Horse Ranch SP is situated about an hour north of Phoenix in Cottonwood, AZ. If you’re renting an RV for the trip, fly into Phoenix for the ultimate in convenience. Once you’ve reached the state park, you’ll find three loops with a total of nearly one hundred developed campsites, all reasonably close to the water.

The park’s modern facilities make camping here easy. From hot water showers to friendly staff and easy access to trails and boat ramps, the campgrounds get high marks with veteran state park campers. Make reservations before you come; it’s a popular place!

It’s also a beautiful place, surrounded by desert mountain plant and animal life in abundance. At thirty-three-hundred feet elevation, you can expect to enjoy much milder temperatures than you’d find further south in the state. It can be as warm as the 60s in winter, coming down into the thirties at night. For a brief spell in summer you might encounter temps above one hundred, but the mercury’s normally lower most of the time.

Fishing at Dead Horse Ranch State Park

If fishing is your favorite part of an RV camping vacation, you’ll love the challenge waiting at Dead Horse Ranch SP. The free-flowing Verde River and the park’s three lagoons offer top fly fishing opportunities, with rainbow trout stocked often.

Fishing for catfish, also part of the stocking schedule, is popular in the lagoons. Nice-sized largemouth bass are pulled frequently from the lagoons, too, so bring along your favorite rigs if you’re a bass angler. The hiking paths around the lagoons add to the ease of access, just one more plus at this well-maintained park.

Here’s a link to more information about fishing at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

Of course, you’ll want to purchase an Arizona fishing license before you put your lines in the water. One more tip: if you enjoy paddling your kayak to find the best fishing, these waterways where only non-motorized watercraft are allowed are the perfect place to indulge.

Take Time to Explore the Verde Valley

Camping by RV at Dead Horse Ranch SP keeps you centrally located for all Verde Valley adventures, whether that includes fishing, hiking, visiting the galleries and shops in Cottonwood or exploring the area’s many historical attractions.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Take a day off from fishing to visit legendary Sedona, just up the road. A twenty-minute drive will take you to Jerome State Historic Park, where the area’s copper mining history is on display for your discovery. And that’s just the beginning. The natural, cultural and historical treasures of the Verde Valley are well worth slowing down and getting to know.

Finding a state park where RV travelers are welcomed with open arms is always a pleasure. When you find that perfect spot also welcomes avid anglers, it’s a place to add to your annual camping schedule. Bottom line…when traveling through Arizona by RV, don’t miss the chance to enjoy Dead Horse Ranch State Park, where mountains, desert and fine fishing waters come together beautifully.

Photo attribution:  I, Murderbike [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Posted in Arizona RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment