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.

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Get the Jump on Planning Spring RV Camping

The winter months aren’t kind to many parts of the US, where motorhomes and trailers sit tucked away in storage. Those cold winter months, however, are the best time to plan for camping once the snow thaws. We’ve collected some helpful tips that smart RV campers use to get the jump on planning spring RV excursions.

Tip #1: Save the Date!

While there’s virtue in being spontaneous, many popular campgrounds fill quickly with the first hint of spring. They may also take reservations for campsites months in advance.

If there’s a special place that beckons you to set up camp, check the website or give them a call and find out when the campground opens (if not year-round), how far in advance you can book campsites and, if you’re planning to go on a holiday weekend, whether there’s a minimum number of days for reservations.

By mapping out your spring camping season in advance, and booking your campsites early, you’ll avoid disappointment and have more time to enjoy the places you love to camp.

Here’s a quick list of ideas to get more information on popular RV camping venues in America:

  • State-by-State private campground list at ElMonteRV.com.
  • Access to info on US Forestry Service, National Park Service, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Land Management campgrounds at recreation.gov.
  • Campgrounds on State and Federal public lands at reserveamerica.com.
  • Kampgrounds of America listings at koa.com.
  • Information on National Park seasons, campgrounds and activities at nps.gov.
  • Also check individual RV campground and resort websites

Tip #2: Do Your Homework on Special Event Camping

For spring RV camping that’s connected to a festival or sporting event, it pays to do your homework months in advance.

You might, for instance, be planning to go RV camping to the legendary South by Southwest festival in Austin next March. If you are, this link to Austin area campgrounds is a good place to start. By booking early, you’ll have a better chance of scoring campsites close to the SXSW events you plan to attend.

Baseball fans, on the other hand, might be planning to travel by RV to the final round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic in Los Angeles. Pick a Los Angeles area campground and book your campsite now for the best experience next March. Double your California camping fun by planning to camp near San Diego and attend Round Two games for the Classic the week before.

Or you may love traveling by RV to Cactus League spring training baseball games in Arizona, or Grapefruit League pre-season match-ups in Florida. Either way, you’ll want to reserve your campsites early near your favorite ballparks.

The bottom line to optimum spring RV camping at sporting events and festivals: buy your tickets and book your campsites early. You’ll be glad you did.

Tip #3: Reserve Your Trailer or Motorhome Rental

If owning a motorhome isn’t on your horizon, you can still plan to camp next spring. Renting an RV is an affordable way to experience camping at your favorite locations. Use this RV rental link to get in touch with helpful El Monte RV staff who can help you reserve the RV you need.

Find out how early you can book reservations, especially surrounding special events or near popular camping venues such as national parks. It’s easier than you think to rent an RV, and we’re happy to help with the planning.        Spring Camping Planning

Spring’s Coming Sooner Than You Think!

It may be hard to imagine camping at your favorite campground when the snow’s piling up outdoors. Spring, however, waits for no camper and it’s going to be here before you know it. Pick a place where you can play outdoors, watch exciting sports action or hear live music close to your campground and start planning. Spring RV camping season will be here sooner than you think!

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Visit Florida Winter Festivals for Family Fun

Florida winter festivals can fill winter days with music, art and friendly faces. Traveling throughout the state for fun-filled events can make the colder months pass quickly and pleasantly. Below are some festivals held in Florida that provide a unique opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy the mild Florida weather.

Sunset in Sarasota, Florida

Sunset in Sarasota, Florida

West Palm Beach is the place to be on November 16. The Palm Beach Jazzfest will be held in the Meyer Amphitheater downtown, right on the waterfront. One major national headliner will close the show, so stick around for the whole musical event! On top of the music, there will be art, foods galore and plenty of excitement. This all day event goes from noon until 10 pm with many shows worthy of toe-tapping and applause.

If you love fairs, then the Broward County Fair is the go-to spot on the 21st of November. The fair runs from 21 November until 1 December in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Of course the rides are the favorites of the kids, but everyone loves the games and shows. Don’t forget to get a funnel cake! Stop by and see all the animals, too. There will be sheep, cows, goats, rabbits and many more! The live entertainment will enliven your day.

It is time for giving thanks on the 28th of November and what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by attending the Thanksgiving Bluegrass Festival! A delicious dinner will be served on the grounds in Brooksville. All day music will make this visit worth your while. This event actually runs through the 30th, so stay awhile and visit with the new friends you are sure to meet. There is even RV camping nearby with hookups.

Travel to Harmony, Florida for the 6th Annual Harmony Winter Festival on the 6th of December. There will be caroling, music, face painting, visits with Santa and snow slides. Yes, snow in Florida! Harmony is a real winter wonderland this time of year. You may be amazed by the Ice Frozen T-shirt Contest, and it is definitely a must-see! The kids will love the bounce house and hot cocoa.

Sarasota is a great place to spend some time around the holidays. From 13 December to 22 December, the Snow Fest Sarasota provides fun for the whole family. Activities include snow slides, ice skating, and reindeer rides! Now, who wouldn’t thrill to riding a reindeer? Yes, it is all happening at the Snow Fest – pony rides, circus performers, caroling and even a Magic Workshop. Don’t miss this!

After your own Christmas celebrations, head for the Keys for the Florida Keys Celtic Festival on January 10th and 11th. There is nothing like a live Celtic band to inspire or pipes and drums to thrill. Discover an entirely new culture in Marathon Florida this winter. Then in January from the 16th to the 26th, stop and enjoy the 16th Annual Coral Gables Bluesfest in Coral Gables.

The festivals in Florida during the winter months are just what you need to get a break from the hectic workaday world. Enjoy!

Picture credits: The picture of the sunset in Sarasota, Florida  is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Experience Vineyards Fall Color on an RV Trip to Oregon

A top pick for an RV trip this fall is getting up to Newberg, Oregon to see the autumn leaves turning. Beginning in mid-October, you’ll see great colors as the leaves change to amazing displays of different hues. Only about 25 miles southwest of Portland, you will be in the rural forests of Yamhill County and get to view the region’s fall color glory.

Autumn Driveway in Newberg, Oregon

Autumn Driveway in Newberg, Oregon

All around Newberg is the gorgeous Willamette Valley, with more than 170 wineries. The best part of spending time touring this valley is that the leaves in the area’s vineyards add to the color as their leaves also change color during the fall. In addition to the vineyard colors, you will also be able to discover other great things to do on this Oregon vacation.

Willamette Valley Wineries offer many opportunities for special wine tasting experiences, as well as fall celebrations with music and food. Wine country fun awaits you here – the perfect place to get away and enjoy nature, delicious food and lots of friendly folk.

Now to get into the outdoors and get some scenic views that are enhanced by autumn colors. Bald Peak State Park is only nine miles north of Newberg and offers some outdoor fun for the whole family. On those fall days that are clear, you will be able to see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood and other magnificent peaks in the distance. Have a picnic and let the kids play in the play areas.

Champoeg Park is another spot where you can hike among fall brilliance on the banks of the Willamette River. There are many hiking and biking trails and picnic sites. Visit and learn more at the visitor center and see an 1860-style garden right next door. A guided walk is always fun so you can learn all about the pioneers who settled this region.

Also in Champoeg Park you can get a taste of history. See the Historic Butteville Store which was founded in 1863. There is also camping for RVs in the park, with more than 67 sites with water and about 8 full hookup sites. They also have an RV dump station.

Roger’s Landing is the place to go if weather will permit boating. You don’t have to get out on the water in a boat however. You can just explore the docks or engage in some bird watching. Fish for salmon or go hiking. There is plenty to do here!

When you are an aviation buff, you will want to travel ten miles to McMinnville to visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum. They have a world class collection of various aircraft, including the famous Hughes flying boat. Enjoy a show at the IMAX Theater while you are here.

Yes, Oregon has it all in the fall or at any time of year. But when you want a fascinating and colorful autumn trip in an RV, you will find it all south of Portland at Newberg and the surrounding valley.

Picture credits: The picture of a driveway in Newburg, Oregon is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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A Fall Foliage RV Adventure in Minnesota

Minnesota offers the traveler some special treats as far as fall foliage is concerned. What better way to see the brilliant autumn colors than to take an RV trip! In this way you can relax and drive comfortably through the countryside, taking in the sights. The red and orange leaves will just be starting to turn in September and they will peak between late September and early October in the central part of the state.

Mississippi River, Minnesota

Mississippi River, Minnesota

For a Central Minnesota fall foliage trip, there is nothing much better than taking the Otter Trail Scenic Byway in Otter Tail County. This is 150 miles of pure pleasure. Follow the signs containing a happy otter. Delight in the maples, oaks and birch trees’ lovely hues and watch the lakes sparkle in the sunlight. Plenty of outdoor recreation is available along the way. Allow yourself enough time to take in all the wonders this Minnesota route will provide.

Start your adventure in lovely Fergus Falls. While in town, you will find many museums to visit, great concerts or plays at the town’s Center for the Arts and of course, great shopping. If you love hiking, you’ll have access to the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail where you can get out and become one with nature. Visit the nearby lakes and fish for a trophy catch.

Fall is the best time to stop at Maplewood State Park, because the trees are magnificent. A maple forest shows gorgeous colors in the autumn and it is something you won’t want to miss. Have a picnic on the shore of Lake Lida or hike into the woods and catch some glimpses of wildlife. Fishing is wonderful for walleye, bass and perch.

Pelicans are the big thing at Pelican Rapids.  This is an art scene and a real introduction to western Otter Tail County. Friendly folk will welcome you with open arms, and you will find plenty of outdoor fun all around. Easy access to over a thousand lakes is only one advantage to coming to Pelican Rapids. While here, a definite must-see is the Phelps Mill, a truly historic site.

The History Museum of East Otter Tail is in Perham and is a must to put on your itinerary. You’ll view historic photos, interpretive exhibits and see some early motion pictures. The stories are memorable. There is also a fascinating doll museum located in the Chamber of Commerce building.

You will now follow your route and drive past Rush and Otter Lakes and finally come to Glendalough State Park, a unique spot where you will see the fall’s changing grasses on a wet meadow. Take Beaver Pond Trail to see the best the park has to offer.

Continuing on your drive, when you come to Battle Lake you may want to stop and admire the artistic work of regional artists and grab a tea in one of the coffee and tea shops. Fall festivals are likely going on too, so don’t miss that. Then you will shortly be back in Fergus Falls and at the end of your trip. What a wonderful fall adventure this has been!

Picture credits: The picture of Fall Foliage in Minnesota is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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An RV Drive through Iowa’s Autumn Beauty

Bridge in Madison County, Iowa, Autumn

Holliwell Bridge, Madison County, Iowa, and was taken on October 16, 2001, by Lance Larsen. This bridge crosses the North River about 40 miles southwest of Des Moines, Iowa.

An RV trip through Iowa is a marvelous way to experience the beauty of autumn in the Midwest. The yellow and red leaves lend a very pleasant atmosphere to your trip and the changing colors of the landscape make picture-taking a great pastime during your journey. Northeast Iowa is the best choice currently to experience some color changes, particularly with the walnut trees, sumac, Virginia creeper and others. Peak colors will occur around October 10th.

The ideal RV route this time of year is the Driftless Area Scenic Byway through Allamakee County, Iowa. This is a zigzag route that starts in Postville and ends far in the northwest corner of the county. Follow the map for the easiest path and through the most scenic regions. This is one hundred miles of gorgeous forests, valleys and hills in the Mississippi River country.

When you reach Harper’s Ferry you will be in one of the oldest settlements in the county and discover a charming town to wander and shop for gifts for family and friends. Outdoor recreation is abundant here too! It is the perfect time of year – not too hot and not too cold. The Mississippi River invites you to cast a line and see what sort of fish you can reel in. Boating is also great on this mighty river.

Take a side trip now to the Yellow River State Forest. It is only three miles to the west and offers a lot for outdoor lovers. Miles and miles of trout streams give you more of a chance to snag a trophy catch. You will discover exceptional hiking too, with plenty of trails that lead to overlooks and panoramic views.  This is your opportunity to get away from it all and get back to nature.

Stop in the old river town of Lansing which is not far from two other state borders. You can explore further if you wish and head into Minnesota or Wisconsin. The world is at your fingertips! Drive through town, but be aware that Main Street dead-ends at the Mississippi. This is where the steamships would pick up travelers. Drive across the historic Lansing Bridge and complete your visit to this town by getting into conversation with any of the friendly residents.

While in Lansing, be sure to make your way to Mt. Hosmer Park  where you can get a lovely view of the Mississippi Valley and the entire tri-state area. On a clear day you can see forever – well, at least fifty miles! Lansing is also a notable stop on the Great River Road. You may want to continue your journey and head south as far as Dubuque on this wonderful byway. If so, be sure to visit the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium while in Dubuque.

If you liked this autumn adventure, stay tuned for more. This fall’s beauty is just getting started!

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A Fall Foliage RV Trip to New Hampshire

Driving to New Hampshire this time of year is one of the best times to go. The leaves start turning in mid-September and carry on displaying gorgeous colors through the end of October. Start your trip in an RV at North Conway, NH where you can enjoy all sorts of recreational activities along with fall foliage sights on all sides.

Berlin, NH in Autumn

Berlin, NH in Autumn

Twenty miles south on Highway 153, you’ll discover a great place for RV camping – the Danforth Bay Camping Resort in Freedom, New Hampshire. Many of their sites are lakeside and all of them are spacious. This RV campground has two outdoor pools and overlooks Danforth Bay. You can make it your home base and easily reach all the attractions surrounding.

Of course, you are also surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest and the natural beauty of this region. The forests are filled with old covered bridges which make it an inspiration to photographers everywhere. The scenery is truly breathtaking and you won’t want to miss a side trip to the tallest peak in the Eastern U.S. – Mt. Washington.

If you want an experience to remember while in North Conway, visit Diana’s Baths Waterfalls on West Side Road. It is an easy hike from parking to the waterfalls, and you can bring along your dog as well. If you look over toward the end of the falls you’ll see remains of a sawmill and further on you will be able to have a picnic at one of the picnic tables. Hiking is great here, and the trail gets rougher but you can continue to hike along the trail towards Moat Mountain. This is a wonderful way to get some time in the outdoors.

It might be too chilly for a swim this time of year, but it is not too far into the season to have a picnic by the lake in Echo Lake State Park. Hike the scenic trail around the lake and even to the top of Cathedral Ledge. The views here are marvelous! If there are rock climbers in your midst, they will enjoy climbing either Cathedral Ledge or White Horse Ledge.

Take your RV on an inspirational drive along the Kancamagus Scenic Highway for one of the best views of autumn foliage anywhere. Although it isn’t quite peak season yet, the leaves are turning and colors are still apparent. This is 34 miles of pure loveliness. More waterfalls to see too, like Sabbaday Falls and Lower Falls. Camping isn’t a problem here. There are a number of campgrounds along the way which take RVs.

Another great way to view the area’s colorful foliage is to take the Conway Scenic Railroad. An old-fashioned train ride is just the thing to really feel like you are stepping back in time and feeling the same joy the early settlers did as they moved through these landscapes.

Don’t’ neglect a visit to Crawford Notch State Park, north on Highway 302. Stop at the historic Willey House to learn the legend and some interesting history. All this will give you some extra treats before heading home. And remember, if you missed anything this trip, you can always return some other time.

Picture credits: The picture of Fall Foliage in Michigan is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Lock in a Great Deal on an RV Rental!

El Monte RV is offering rate guarantee certificates that allow you to get an all-inclusive rv vacation deal that includes an RV, overnight accommodations Thousand Trails and Encore RV Resort & Campgrounds, unlimited mileage and more.

For more details see: RV Rental & Campground All-Inclusive Getaway.

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Preparing For an All-American Road Trip

America’s love affair with motor vehicles began when Ford brought out the Model T and the country grew around it. It allowed people to travel across America, move more quickly and gave them adventure and freedom. The road trip was born and became the great American adventure and while many people still travel by car, a large group also use or own an RV.

Whether it was for days, weeks, months or even years, most Americans have embarked on a road trip of some sort. There is a fascination with the open road that draws people in, but it is not as easy as you may imagine driving across America. Below are some tips to help you stay trouble free on your adventure.

Get your RV checked out
Prevention is always better than cure and you don’t want to end up being the supper for a hungry pack of wolves because a hose clamp came loose! Always get your RV serviced before any long trip, naturally if you’re hiring an RV, this will have been taken care of by the rental company. Any local garage will be happy to do this for you and will follow a set check list to ensure that everything is checked and you are good to go.

Build in rest days
Remember, this is your holiday so always add a few rest days in when planning your trip itinerary. This will ensure that you get maximum enjoyment from your trip and your RV will have almost everything you need for a few days in a quiet spot away from the hustle and bustle.

Having rest days at specific places will also allow you to take in more of the sites and attractions, which is after all, why you’re on a driving holiday in your home-from-home.

Bring a basic repair kit
While you might want to stay somewhere for a couple of days, you don’t want to be stuck there forever, having a basic tool kit to hand will enable you to take care of any minor repairs and keep your RV moving.

A set of screw drivers of different sizes, pliers, duct tape and some strong wire is a good base to work from and will allow you to secure any wobbling parts, from a rattling cupboard doors to wobbling exhaust pipes until you can reach the nearest garage.

Download a breakdown app
There are some great breakdown apps available such as Breakdown Lane for the iPhone. Wherever you are in the country, this app will provide an instant map of the closest garages and mechanics with reviews and customer rankings.

An app of this type could prove invaluable if you are unfortunate enough to breakdown in an unfamiliar town and could prevent you from being ripped off by a dodgy local mechanic. Even if you are unable to get a phone signal, the Breakdown Lane app has basic breakdown help and advice to guide through minor repairs yourself.

Don’t drive too many hours a day
Your reaction time won’t be as good at 10pm as it was at 7am so set yourself driving limits. Professional truck drivers are not permitted to drive more than 11 hours in a 14 hour session, so nor should you.

Even with your driving hours kept below 11, it is still important to make frequent stops and keep yourself well hydrated by drinking plenty of liquid. A 15 to 30 minute stop and stretch every few hours is recommended.

You can also make the most of your rest breaks; you’ll find lots of attractions, museums, places to eat and other sights which will help not only to give you a break from driving, but also to make the most of your holiday.

Whether you’ve chosen to rent a vehicle for your all American road trip, or are taking your own vehicle, these tips will help you to make the most of your vacation without having to deal with any unexpected surprises.

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Winner of the El Monte RV Summer 2012 Photo Contest

We ran a photo contest from June through August. People voted for their favorite pictures on our Facebook account by liking their favorite pictures. This week we declared our winner!

1st Place Photo

Cows in a Pasture in New Jersery

A cow pasture in Bedminister, New Jersey on Interstate 78

Second Place Photo

Picture of a Motorhome in Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Third Place Photo

Two Girls Jumping in a Field in Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

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