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!

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Adventure RV Camping at Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

If you’re new to RV camping and aren’t sure it can fit into your active, adventure-seeking lifestyle, you’re in for a surprise. Coming back to RV comfort after a long day spent climbing, canyoneering, trail running or whatever it is you do to get the adrenaline pumping makes adventure vacations even more enjoyable. Here’s an idea for your maiden RV camping voyage—why not take a trip to Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park?

It’s an amazing place filled with plenty of outdoor recreation possibilities. Imagine the tallest sand dunes in North America (some as tall as 700’), surrounded by snow-capped mountains, alpine forests and mountain lakes, and you’ve got an idea why adventure seekers flock to Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes.

How to Get There

The park is located two hours southwest of Pueblo, CO. Get there by following I-25 south and then I-60 west. You’ll turn north on CO-150 to access the park’s visitor center and interior roads. From the west, follow I-60 from Durango to the national park.

What to Do There

You might just be surprised at the range of outdoor sports visitors to Great Sand Dunes National Park enjoy. Here’s a quick list of five to whet your appetite.

  • Sand Boarding and Sand Sledding are favorites of park visitors, using specially built boards and sleds that safely slide the dunes. Area outfitters rent the equipment so you don’t need to lay out cash to buy your own.
  • Fat Biking on Medano Pass is another way to find adventure while at the Dunes. Mountain bikes are pretty tightly restricted within the national park and fat tire bikes made for riding in sand are restricted to Medano Pass Primitive Road (sorry, no dune riding), but there’s plenty to experience along the route. Hint: keep your eyes open for wildlife!
  • Hike the Dunes: With thirty square miles of dunes to hike, you can discover some totally spectacular views! Test your ‘sand legs’ by setting out for the summit on any dune you’d like. This is the original ‘find your own trail’ adventure venue.
  • Hike Mt Herard: Adventure seekers with mountain hiking experience will want to make the climb up this 13er. You’ll have to make the trip by high-clearance 4WD vehicle (no ATVs) to Medano Pass to reach the trailhead to the summit. Once you’ve made the summit, the view of the dunes, lakes and tundra surrounding Mt Herard is unforgettable.
  • The Dunes After Dark are a whole new world waiting for your nocturnal exploration. Plan a hiking party by the light of a full moon and enjoy a midnight picnic at the summit of a dune (don’t forget to pack out your trash!) The darkness at this national park is so intense, the stars will pop out in ways city dwellers may never have experienced. 

Where to Camp There

Once you reach Great Sand Dunes National Park, you’ll want to set up camp quickly so that you can get out on the dunes, mountain trail or in the middle of Medano Creek. There’s a campground that can accommodate RVs right inside the park entrance, so if that’s where you’d like to stay, jump on the NPS website and book a campsite before you come.

There’s also plenty of camping at private campgrounds within forty miles of the national park, and also at San Luis State Park just down the road. No matter which campground you pick, you’ll be close to the action and in some of the most scenic country you can imagine, right in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Range. If you haven’t taken the plunge to purchase an RV, you’re still in luck. You can pick up a Denver RV Rental and enjoy RV camping comfort for less than you think.

It’s going to be a great trip, so start packing your adventure gear and be sure to share your experiences in the Comments section below. Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park—it’s got to be seen to be believed.

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Celebrate National Parks Week with an RV Camping Trip!

With America’s National Parks Week just around the corner, it’s time for RV camping fans to start planning for national park camping. For one hundred years, the National Park Service has managed our country’s most beautiful destinations. In honor of their centennial, from April 16-24, 2016 they’re waiving entrance fees for all national park visitors.

With more than four hundred destinations to choose from, finding the perfect national park for your April camping adventure might seem difficult. Never fear! We’ve gathered tools to help our readers locate national park campsites and attractions from Acadia NP in coastal Maine to California’s Joshua Tree National Park. Ready to plan?

How to Pick Your Next National Park Camping Destination

One of the things we like best about America’s National Park Service is their visitor-friendly attitude. Since 1916, they’ve been refining their outreach to national park visitors to make it easy for anyone to access information on NPS-managed locations.

Finding a park that suits your interests, travel schedule and camping style is simple, with several ways to search and access national park information. The first is through the FindYourPark.com website, a community-engagement resource where national park fans can share information, search for national park locations and learn about ways the NPS connects with communities.

National Park Service

National Park Service

Another excellent resource for national park RV campers is the National Park Service  website itself. You can search for NPS-managed locations, including national parks, heritage areas, historic sites and monuments, state by state, by using their easy-to-understand search tools. Once you’ve located one or more possible National Parks Week camping destinations, click on each park’s link to access information such as driving directions, things to do, places to see and campground amenities.

What to Expect RV Camping at a National Park

Never camped at a national park campground and wondering what to expect? National Park Service campgrounds run the gamut from no-hookups ‘dispersed camping’ to full-hookups, amenity-rich developed campsites. One note for those who plan to camp during National Parks Week—entrance fees are waived, but campground fees will still apply.

Here are some examples of national park campgrounds, to give you an idea of the range of amenities.

  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area, that water sports wonderland on the Arizona/Nevada border, offers both developed campgrounds run by concessionaires and NPS-run campgrounds with water and dump stations but no hook-ups.
  • The campgrounds at Everglades National Park also offer a range of possibilities, from sites with electric hook-ups only on Florida Bay to ‘dry camping’ sites in a pine forest.
  • Yosemite National Park’s ten campgrounds are located amidst magnificent scenery, but plan ahead because hook-ups aren’t part of the camping amenities.
  • Maine’s vast and scenic Acadia National Park gives RV campers the choice of primitive campsites, electric sites and electric/water sites.
  • The large campground at Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park is a beautiful spot without RV hookups but with easy access to the cave’s entrance and miles of above-ground hiking trails.

Ready to Go National Park Camping?

Keep in mind, no matter where you camp in America’s national parks, you can expect scenic wonders, outdoor adventures and interesting people you might never have met otherwise. Don’t those all sound like fantastic reasons to go RV camping during National Parks Week?

One more tool  for planning to camp in your RV at a national park—Recreation.gov offers a wealth of ideas and information on national park vacations, and for those campgrounds that allow reservations, this is the place to reserve your campsites before you go.

Let’s celebrate our country’s National Park Centennial by doing what we love best—camping in a motorhome or trailer.  And be sure to let us know about your national park camping experience in the Comments Section below!

Posted in Florida RV Camping Vacation, Kentucky RV Camping Vacation, Maine RV Camping Vacation, National Parks, Nevada RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

RV Camping on California’s Highway 99

Looking for a new way to spend a weekend in the Sacramento area? RV camping fans will find two Northern California towns, each with its own vintage charm, along historic Hwy 99E. The towns of Chico and Red Bluff are connected by this scenic byway that parallels the Sacramento River, and is also conveniently close to Mendocino and Plumas National Forests.

Chico – Art for Everyone

You’ll find plenty to keep you busy on our first stop along Historic Hwy 99. While RV camping near Chico, CA, here are five things you won’t want to miss in this friendly town with an artistic flair.

  • SoPo and The Junction, a vibrant, vintage district where the distinct blend of art, music, eateries and special events make the area a favorite of Chico State students.
  • Thursday Night Market on Broadway, held weekly April through September, is a special treat for Chico visitors hoping to experience artists, artisans, food truck chefs and the town’s eclectic music scene, all in one event.
  • Chico’s Public Art offerings include stunning sculptures, murals and mosaics throughout Downtown Chico. Plan time to see each one on your trip.
  • Bidwell Park, more than three thousand acres on the banks of Big Chico Creek, is one of the largest municipal parks in the country. Whether you’re hiking the more rugged trails of the Upper Park or strolling the serene pathways of the Lower Park, it’s the best way to explore Chico outdoors. Scenic bonus—you can enter the park trail system through Chico’s beautiful City Plaza.
  • Eighth & Main Antique Center in Downtown Chico offers antiques and collectibles hunters nearly thirty thousand square feet of shopping. Come early and be prepared to be amazed at what you’ll find in hundreds of booths over two floors.

Hwy 99E – Chico to Red Bluff

When you’re ready to pack up the RV and head down the road to Red Bluff, it’s an easy hour’s drive north, IF you don’t stop to take advantage of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetable offerings along the way.

Once in Red Bluff, you’ll soon see why Northern California RV travelers mark the town as a favorite stop. Not only is it known for its Western history and a great selection of antique stores, it’s also adjacent to Lassen Volcanic National Park. In other words, camping in Red Bluff always promises fantastic views as well as plenty of entertainment!

Once you’ve made a driving circuit of Red Bluff, built high above the Sacramento River, here are four more ideas for spending time while you’re there:

  • Shop and stroll in the Victorian charm of Downtown Red Bluff to find antiques, local arts and crafts and an impressive array of Western wear. Tip for RV camping rodeo fans: if you happen to be in town the third weekend of April, don’t miss the Red Bluff Round-Up, the country’s biggest two-day rodeo
  • Take a walking tour of the town’s gorgeous Victorian homes and be sure to tour the Kelly-Griggs House Museum (open Sundays only) to learn even more about the area’s early settlers.
  • Camp at Lassen Volcanic National Park, just north of town,
    Ciff Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park

    Ciff Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park

    and surrender to the wilderness beauty of the region. Whether your idea of outdoor recreation is a quiet walk on a forest trail or fishing an untamed waterway, you’ll find a place to do it in the shadow of Lassen Peak.

  • Visit Gaumer’s Jewelry & Museum: In business for decades, Gaumer’s offers shoppers the chance to learn about local mining history while exploring displays and exhibits featuring gems, minerals and custom-made jewelry.

The Route

How to get to Chico, our first destination on Hwy 99E? You actually have two choices,

  1. Follow I-5 (formerly known as Hwy 99W) north from Sacramento until you reach Hwy 32 and follow it east to Chico.
  2. Follow CA70/Hwy 99E north from Sacramento to Marysville and then continue north thru farmland and orchards on CA70 to Oroville, swinging west on CA149 to Chico.

A trip along Northern California’s Historic Hwy 99E promises plenty for art lovers, antiques hunters and history buffs. Make the whole trip in a weekend, or slow things down and branch out to the magnificent national forests and parks surrounding Chico and Red Bluff for a big dose of natural wonder.

Don’t own an RV? No problem—nothing could be easier than picking up your reserved motorhome rental in Sacramento, or if you’re planning to extend your trip to enjoy the Bay Area, our San Francisco location is waiting to help. We hope you’ll add your trip report to the Comments below!

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US89 – An Epic Two-Lane RV Road Trip through Six National Parks

When you get the yen to slow things down and leave the interstate behind, America’s two-lane highways can lead to some pretty amazing places. US89 traverses the Western US from northern Montana to Flagstaff, AZ, with the chance to visit six of our country’s national parks along the way. Ready to find out why US89 is on many an RV traveler’s ‘got-to-drive-it’ list?

US89 RV Camping Itinerary

Let’s start our journey at the highway’s northern US terminus—Piegan, Montana. You’ll be skimming along the eastern side of Glacier National Park, so don’t miss the chance to experience the Northern Rockies by camping in Glacier NP and hiking at least one of the park’s seven hundred miles of trails. There’s nothing quite like topping a rise to be greeted by the sight of a glacial lake!

Bonus Glacier National Park RV travel tip: if you’re coming from the Pacific Northwest, swing through Seattle to pick up your RV rental as you come.

Let’s keep moving! Quaint mountain towns like White Sulphur Springs, MT will keep things interesting as you make your way south on US89 to Wyoming and the wonders of Yellowstone National Park. On the way, you’ll have passed through Lewis and Clark National Forest, another natural treasure worth spending time getting to know.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Once US89 reaches Yellowstone at Gardiner, follow the Grand Loop Road south through Mammoth to Old Faithful (not clearly marked as US89 within the park). Take the time to visit as many of the national park’s scenic wonders as you can, including Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Camping in Yellowstone is also a ‘don’t miss’, so make your reservations before you come.

Get ready for the jaw-dropping splendor of the Teton Range as you follow US89 (marked as John D Rockefeller, JR Memorial Parkway) from Yellowstone’s southern border into Grand Teton National Park. The rugged beauty of this national park will lure you to hike one more trail, take one more photo and wonder why it took you so long to visit. Whether you prefer ‘dry camping’ in the forest or a full-hookups site at the foot of a mountain, there’s the perfect place to come RV camping in Grand Teton NP.

When you’re ready to roll south again, the scenic route continues to the famed mountain resort town of Jackson, WY, continuing along the spectacular Grand Canyon of the Snake River and through Star Valley, surrounded the entire time by national forests. You’ll cross over into Idaho and then swing south toward the bright blue waters of Bear Lake at the Utah border. If you’re ready to stop for the night, numerous campgrounds in the Bear Lake State Park area will be right along your route.

Keep following US89 south from Bear Lake as it becomes Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway and then south through iconic Utah towns like Brigham City and Ogden on your way to Salt Lake City. The Wasatch Range, Temple Square, the Great Salt Lake and Wasatch-Cache National Forest offer RV travelers along US89 in Utah plenty of places to stop and explore.

And then it’s south again along the Jordan River, through valley towns where Utah’s Mormon heritage is celebrated and the cool, green beauty of Manti-La Sal National Forest. Palisade State Park’s RV campsites come highly recommended, if you need a place to stop just off the highway.

From Palisade State Park to Utah’s southern border, your RV trip along US89 will be, in a word, “breathtaking.” Utah’s southern National Parks are unlike any other region in the country. Take the quick side trip east to Bryce Canyon National Park to photograph red rock hoodoos and spires and hike a canyon trail. Spend the night in one of this park’s inexpensive campsites before swinging back west to US89 and Zion National Park.

The canyon trails, waterways and multi-colored vistas that bring visitors to Zion National Park will encourage US89 travelers to stay awhile. Whether it’s a scenic drive through Kolob Canyons or a hike through The Narrows, there’s a way for everyone to experience the wonders of Zion. Campgrounds fill early in warm weather, so plan to arrive in the morning.

We’ve saved the best, or at least, the best-known, stop along US89 for last. Grand Canyon National Park north of Flagstaff, Arizona is the final stop on this itinerary. But before we reach the ‘big one’, enjoy the trip as US89 swings east through the magnificent cliffs and canyons of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to cross Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell/Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Your camera will be clicking as the blue waters of Lake Powell contrast with surrounding red rock formations for one-of-a-kind vistas.

Once you’ve made your way to the Grand Canyon, choose your favorite campground and set up camp, then let the convenient shuttle service transport you to the national park’s most famous attractions. From Yavapai Point to the Skywalk, there are trails, scenic overlooks and photo opportunities enough for a lifetime of exploration.

Ready to find your own treasured travel memories on US89? There’s no better way to experience the American West than with an RV camping trip from point to point, national park to national park, on this iconic roadway. You can even explore further south along the ‘traditional route’ of US89 all the way to Nogales, Mexico!

No matter where you choose to travel on US Route 89, there’s an RV rental nearby, so don’t let lack of a motorhome slow you down. It’s an epic journey and one every adventurous RV traveler should embark upon at least once. Let us know about your US89 adventures!

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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

What Will You Find While Camping in the Everglades?

Alligator in the Everglades

Alligator in the Everglades

Exploring the vast national park that encompasses the Florida Everglades is an adventure every RV camper should experience. The wildlife, scenery and enormous land and water mass of Everglades National Park  come together to create an unparalleled camping experience. If you’ve never been, you may be wondering if it’s all about ‘gators and airboats, but there’s so much more to discover when you come to South Florida’s ecological treasure.

Camping Opportunities You’ll Find in the Everglades

The National Park Service serves up top-notch camping facilities in all fifty states, and campgrounds at Everglades National Park are no exception.

Two campgrounds within the National Park can accommodate RVs—Flamingo Campground and Long Pine Key Campground. You may find portions of the campgrounds closed during wet season (May to October) but they are both wide open and welcoming campers every day from November to April.

If you choose to camp at Long Pine Key, you’ll be on the Park’s southeast side, near the Homestead entrance. The quickest route is through Miami, south on the Florida Turnpike to Florida City. This plan positions you to explore the Long Pine Key Trail (see below) and the wildlife-rich trails connected to the Royal Palm Visitor Center. This is a no-hookups campground but water and a dump station are available. Campsites are first-come, first-served.

Farther south, at Florida’s most southern tip, Flamingo Campground has developed campsites, dump stations and solar showers. It’s also accessed via the Homestead entrance by traveling about forty miles into the park past Long Pine Key and the Pa-Hay-Okee Overlook to the Flamingo Visitor Center. Camping at Flamingo puts you close to plenty of outdoor adventure, with easy access to water and hiking trails. We strongly advise reserving your campsite if you plan to stay at Flamingo Campground during the winter months.

Wildlife You Can Find in the Everglades

With more than a million acres covering the gamut from sawgrass prairie to mangrove swamps, you won’t miss out on wildlife watching opportunities when you visit the Everglades.

As you hike the trails, take a tram tour, paddle a canoe or take advantage of access points like the Shark Valley observation tower, you might just see not only alligators but also saltwater crocodiles, West Indian Manatees, bottle-nosed dolphins, several species of bats and an abundance of wading birds.

Depending on the habitat, you may cross paths with raccoons, grey fox, river otters and flying squirrels. Keep your eyes on the ‘River of Grass’ in all its forms—there’s always some kind of creature making its way through this one-of-a-kind sanctuary.

Outdoor Recreation You’ll Find in the Everglades

We’ve mentioned wildlife viewing and RV camping, but what else is there to do outdoors at Everglades National Park? Plenty!

The extensive paddling, biking and hiking trail system within the Park can keep you busy for weeks, so let’s talk about some of the most popular pathways:

  • Anhinga and Gumbo-Limbo Hiking Trails, Royal Palm Visitor Center: Anhinga Trail is a little less than a mile long, full loop, and is accessible. Lots of bird and wildlife watching along the way. The shorter, quarter mile, Gumbo-Limbo Trail is also paved and wheelchair accessible, offering a quick view of the coastal hammock habitat.
  • Bayshore Loop Hiking Trail: Two miles long and offering a view of Florida Bay, this trail can be reached via the Flamingo Campground.
  • Shark Valley Biking Scenic Loop: This fifteen mile bike trail is for experienced bicyclists able to make the whole loop, but it is also a terrific opportunity to observe wildlife, birds and the ever-changing landscape of the Everglades. If you’re not up for the bike ride, tram tours are also available for this loop.
  • Ten Thousand Islands Water Trails: Experienced paddlers will find the perfect challenge by following one of the water trails along the Gulf Coast of the Everglades. Start at the canoe launch at Everglades City and follow your chosen trail toward Big Cypress National Preserve. Not confident of your ability to paddle these backcountry trails safely? There are boat tours available, so you won’t miss out on the mystery and beauty of this vast wilderness area.

You can also indulge in saltwater and freshwater fishing at many spots throughout the National Park. Check the website for information on other activities such as birdwatching, kayaking and eco tours for an in-depth Everglades experience.

Setting up camp in Florida’s Everglades National Park can be the beginning of one of your best RV vacations. Make plans to visit now by reserving your Miami RV rental and planning your Everglades activities. The River of Grass is waiting to take you on the ultimate outdoor adventure.

Posted in Florida RV Camping Vacation, National Parks | 1 Comment

Where Will You Go on Your First RV Trip?

For millions of Americans, RV travel is the only way to go. They love the flexibility, convenience and economy of taking their home along on their excursions. If you’re ready to join the trend but aren’t sure which destinations work best, we’ve got good news! No matter whether you’re planning to hike the trails in a national park or spend your days gaming at a Vegas casino, there’s a campground close by. So the real question is…where will you go on your first RV trip? 

RV Camping at National Parks

Need wide, open spaces to occupy your brood, with plenty of choices for outdoor recreation? Our country’s national parks are a treasure waiting to be discovered. It’s easy to find information on campgrounds, special places and ranger-led activities, thanks to NPS.gov. Choose your region, pick a park and then use the park’s Plan Your Visit menu as your guide.

Need some suggestions for your first national park RV camping trip? Here are five to consider:

  1. Yellowstone National Park – hiking, camping, paddling and outstanding wildlife
    Yellowstone National Park

    Yellowstone National Park

    watching in the wilds of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

  2. Acadia National Park – come to Maine’s rocky Atlantic shore for climbing, hiking, scenic driving, ocean paddling and unforgettable campgrounds.
  3. Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area – Atlanta’s urban waterway, wild and free and filled with special places to hike, paddle and relax. Area campgrounds are abundant!
  4. Olympic National Forest – Washington’s Pacific coast is just the beginning of your camping adventure, thanks to this park’s lakes, rainforests and mountain regions.
  5. Yosemite National Park – The waterfalls! The famous peaks! The wildlife! There’s nowhere in this California High Sierra gem that isn’t extraordinary. Reserve your campsites early, it’s one of the most popular parks in America.

RV Camping in Urban Destinations

Think your first RV camping trip has to be to the great outdoors? Think again! Here are three ways RV camping in America’s cities is a best bet for your first trip.

  • RV Camping to MLB Spring Training: Love to watch baseball and can’t wait for regular season play? In both Florida and Arizona, Major League Baseball teams start warming up in early spring and play dozens of games at excellent local stadiums. Read our guide here to RV Camping to Florida Grapefruit League MLB Spring Training or Arizona Cactus League MLB Spring Training and go watch your favorite teams on your first RV camping trip ever!
  • RV Camping to Casinos: All over America, casinos are catering to RV travelers, so why not combine your first RV trip with a week or a weekend of gaming? Click here for our guide to finding RV-friendly casino accommodations.
  • RV Camping to Music Festivals: One more way to break in to RV travel is by camping at urban music festivals. Whether in a city park or around the town lake, these festivals are custom-made for your first trip. Here’s our guide to RV camping at music festivals.

Motorhome travel fits the budget of every newbie camper, thanks to the availability of RV rentals in most areas. Try on different floor plans and option packages before you purchase your own. You may even decide that renting is the way to go whenever you go by RV.

Use the suggestions to start your own trip dreams brewing and let us know where you go on your first RV camping trip. We’re here to help make it your best vacation ever!

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How to Plan the Perfect RV Camping Family Reunion

Does your family need new ideas for making your family reunions fun for all ages? Why not plan a reunion in the great outdoors, complete with RV comfort and convenience? We’ve pulled together the perfect plan for bringing your family together for an RV camping reunion.

Step 1: Family RV Inventory

Start floating the idea to one and all that you’d like to go camping for this year’s reunion. Once your relatives have agreed that camping together sounds like a blast, your next step is to find out how many motorhomes your extended family already has. You might be surprised to learn that Cousin Jerry regularly camps in a fifth-wheel and Uncle Joe has driven his Class A ‘bus style’ RV from New York to LA.

Once you’ve taken inventory of available motorhomes, you can do the next two steps—pick your location and rent RVs for the overflow.

Step 2: Pick Your Location

Asking what style motorhomes are already in the family helps you choose the right location and type of campground. Some larger RVs, for example, require 50amp hookups, so you’ll need to look for a campground with that amenity.

But the biggest consideration is what reunion activities will the family enjoy? Will your relatives want to fish, boat and swim? A lakeside campground at a scenic state park would be a great choice. If the goal is to camp close to hiking and biking trails, investigate state parks, national parks or national recreation areas with plenty of room to roam. Remember to check for on-site or nearby campgrounds that can accommodate your size of group and reserve the sites you’ll need before you go.

More thoughts on location—if your relatives love the idea of mountain camping, consider Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado or Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. For a gathering of sun-worshipping siblings, why not book several campsites at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA? We’re blessed in the USA to have national parks, state parks and camper-friendly lakes and rivers all over the map. Email some location ideas to your clan and reserve your campsites based on their top picks.

Step 3: Rent RVs for the Overflow

Some families will find that there are plenty of motorhome beds to accommodate their gathering. If you determine, however, that you’re short an RV or two, don’t panic! We’re happy to help set up RV rentals, either in your loved ones’ home cities or near your family camping destination.

Use this quick link to access the types of motorhomes we offer and where you can rent them.

Step 4: Deal with the Details

The success of any family reunion is in the details, and an RV camping reunion is no exception! With a place to gather chosen and accommodations reserved, all that’s left is to decide who will bring what and how much. Will one person purchase groceries for the group or each family bring their own? Potluck meals are always fun and give campers the chance to show off their outdoor cooking skills.

A rookie reunion camping mistake is assuming everyone will know what to bring! All it takes is a little communication to settle details such as who will bring groceries, camp stoves and utensils, what equipment is needed for group activities and any special regulations in place at your venue. If your location has a website with camping and activity information, send the link to your loved ones so they’ll know what to expect.

Planning your RV camping family reunion doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Plan together to pick a great spot, make sure you have the RVs you need and settle the details for meals and activities before you’re thirty miles from a Walmart. Because you’ve planned well, your RV camping family reunion is liable to become a cherished family tradition.

Posted in National Parks, RV Beach Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas | Leave a comment

RV New Mexico-Carlsbad Caverns for a New Generation

Every year, it seems there’s a hot new travel destination that beckons to RVers from the travel blogs. But what about the tried-and-true wonders of nature, the ones that have thrilled and amazed since the first North American inhabitants peered into a cave, over a canyon rim or across a vast expanse of water? One of the most famous of those American wonders is Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southeastern New Mexico.

Since a sixteen year old cowboy wandered into the cave’s entrance in 1898, visitors have been fascinated by the enormous underground chambers, intricate soda straws, curtains and other rock formations and the wildlife that calls the caverns home.

It’s time for a new generation of families to discover why Carlsbad Caverns National Park is an ideal destination for their next RV camping adventure.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Where Will You Go, What Will You See?

If you’ve never come to Carlsbad Caverns, you may be surprised to find there are many ways to explore the caves. Guided tours led by park rangers show visitors the highlights of some of the major caverns. Two of the most popular—the King’s Palace and Left Hand Tunnel tours.

You can also venture on your own into some of the underground chambers. Here’s more detail on the self-guided tours.

Natural Entrance Tour

If you’re up for a demanding hike to the bottom (1.25 miles), this tour is the one for you. Active RV travelers will follow a twisting path down seven stories into the cave. Not a good choice for those with health issues, but there are plenty of other places to explore that don’t require such a hike. Good news—there are elevators at the bottom of the tour if trip down proves strenuous!

Big Room Tour

This mile-long circular route explores the largest underground cavern. A good choice for those with difficulty walking, this trip will take you past extraordinary sights like the Painted Grotto and the Giant Dome. Take the elevator to the starting point and be prepared to be thrilled at the colors and formations you’ll see.

No matter which tours you choose to take, keep an eye out for the enormous cave swallow flock that calls these caverns home! Throughout this vast desert park in the Guadalupe Mountains, you’re likely to see a wide range of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds.

Additional Information on Visiting Carlsbad Caverns

  • Children under age four are not permitted on guided tours, strollers are not permitted on some routes. Be sure to check the link above for age restrictions.
  • What to wear in the cave: it’s cool underground, so bring a jacket or sweater. Also, leave the flip-flops in the RV and wear comfortable, rubber-soled walking shoes to avoid slipping on the paths.
  • If you’ve visited another cave recently, wear different shoes or be prepared for a quick cleaning process before you’re allowed into the cave.
  • Reserve your tickets in advance for guided tours to avoid delays.
  • Save time to take a hike on one of the Park’s nature trails surrounding the caverns—the Chihuahuan Desert is rich with secrets of its own!
  • Join the crowd in the natural amphitheater at the entrance to the cave at dusk from May to October to watch the evening bat flight, when great swarms of bats leave the cave to hunt for insects.

From the Hall of the White Giant to mysterious Spider Cave (seen only by those willing to crawl along a subterranean passage) Carlsbad Caverns National Park is an eye-opening adventure. Traveling there by motorhome will make your trip even more memorable, thanks to the luxury and convenience it provides.

Wherever you decide to pick up an El Monte RV rental, isn’t it time to start planning your trip? Become part of the new generation of RV travelers to New Mexico to discover the awesome beauty of Carlsbad Caverns.

Posted in National Parks, New Mexico RV Camping Vacation | 1 Comment