RV Adventure – Two Florida Festivals Not to Miss!

February in West Central Florida is often a bit cooler than other months but it is usually warmer than any other part of the country. This is an ideal time to head south and enjoy some family-friendly fairs including lots and lots of entertainment.

These two favorite events are the Florida State Fair – February 7th –18th, and the Florida Strawberry Festival from February 28th – March 10th. There is no shortage of fun and entertainment at both venues.

First, come and enjoy the Florida State Fair in Tampa – now in its 116th year! Here’s a little bit of its history. The original Florida State Fair began in 1904 as the South Florida Fair on the grounds of the Tampa Bay Hotel, owned by railroad baron Henry Plant. That first fair had simple attractions and was held in a single building on a 27-acre plot adjoining Plant’s Tampa Bay Hotel, where the University of Tampa stands today. This event soon became known as the Florida State Mid-Winter Festival and was the place to be! Families from near and far would come to the festival to play games, eat fair food and win bragging rights for their prized Bull, best pie, or most beautiful quilt.    Florida State Fair

In 1915, the South Florida Fair and Gasparilla Carnival were officially incorporated with the Secretary of State office in Tallahassee. This new Fair became known as the Florida State Fair. Fast forward to 1975 when the Florida State Legislature created the Florida State Fair Authority and designated the Tampa event as the official Florida State Fair. In February of 1977, the first Fair was held at its current location, near Interstate 4 and U.S Highway 301 in eastern Hillsborough County. The 330-acre site sits just seven miles from its original downtown Tampa location. Once it moved to the East Tampa location, new buildings, barns and even the Mildred W. and Doyle E. Carlton, Jr. Cracker Country living history museum were established. The Fair grew – and continues to grow – each year.

This year’s entertainment lineup is incredibly diverse from Amazing Acrobats of China to truck and tractor pulling, to a show featuring Draft Horses, including majestic Draft Horse performances, breath-taking competitions, and seeing a Draft Horse “up-close”.

There’s also a rodeo, several concerts of different music genres, and even an Alligator Show and a giraffe visiting tent. Visit the Entertainment part of their website to see all the featured entertainment.

The Florida Strawberry Festival was started in 1930 by the local Lions Club to help promote the local strawberry crop. Despite a few years off due to World War II, it is still flourishing in eastern Hillsborough County, attracting about 500,000 visitors each year, sometimes even more than those who attend the Florida State Fair.

Central to its focus, the Festival continues to preserve and enhance the agricultural and historical legacy of the Florida strawberry.

But lest you think all there is to this festival is incredible strawberry shortcake, their entertainment schedule features world-class entertainers each year. This year, the 2019 festival begins February 28th, with performances every day of the 11 day long festival with at least two to three shows on many days. In addition to plenty of free performances, you can schedule your trip to the Festival to see Willie Nelson and Family, The Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama, and the Brothers Osborne, Kool & the Gang, and Chicks with Hits, and that is just the first few days they are open.

After that, Pat Boone will perform, followed by Martina McBride on March 4th, and a host of other top-shelf entertainers. Be sure to check out their full entertainment schedule on the Strawberry Festival website.

Wondering how to travel to these two Fairs? Come and bring your RV so you’re already set up for staying as long as you wish in either locale.

You can easily rent one of our RV’s at our Florida El Monte location in Orlando. It is only an hour from there to Tampa and just 40 minutes from Orlando to Plant City. Check out availability for your travel dates on our Where you can Rent RV’s page.

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RV Adventure – One-Way Rentals Make it Easy

Take your next road trip in our RV and make it easy on yourself. You can leave from or fly into one city, rent the RV and then travel to your destination, return the RV and fly home.

Ever wanted to road trip across the states, taking in all the amazing sights and attractions from the comfort of your own vehicle? An RV is a great way to do this as it will allow you to pick and choose where you want to go and stay.

An RV is the best way to see the countryside, but while you are planning your trip, you should keep in mind that you will usually have to return the RV to its original location.

It is really not that all surprising that some travelers want to rent an RV in only one direction. The cost of flying home may actually work out cheaper. Besides, does anyone really want to drive a rental RV on a round trip? Your available time could be the deciding factor. Also, many of our El Monte RV locations offer transportation from the nearest airport. These locations include: Santa Fe Springs, CA, Dublin, CA, Ferndale, WA, Las Vegas, NV, McKinney, TX, Orlando, FL and Linden, NJ.

One-way rentals are extremely popular with RV’ers choosing to travel short trips from San Francisco to Las Vegas, or even longer trips from New York City to Los Angeles. Other popular road trips include the journey from Boston or Chicago to Miami in the fall, and from New York to Orlando, Florida during the Christmas period.

One Way RV Rentals

One Way RV Rentals

An important thing to keep in mind if you are considering a one-way rental is to book early. This may involve booking your vehicle several months in advance in order to find the best deal and the cheapest one-way fee. When thinking about this you should also take the time of year into account. Holiday periods are extremely busy and if you try to book too close to your time of travel you may miss out.

Another thing you can do to reduce the cost of your one-way rental is to wait for the companies to have a special. Many companies advertise rental specials every now and then and if you find one that matches your needs, you could end up saving a fortune. For example, at El Monte RV, we have a Vehicle Relocation Special for select dates in April, but you will need to book early. This special starts near Chicago and ends up in Los Angeles, Dublin, California or Las Vegas, Nevada. Click on the link to learn more.

El Monte also has a Holiday Recuperation Special this January where you can pick up a vehicle any day in January and rent for four nights or more and get an extra night for FREE, plus you even get 50 FREE miles per night.

One-way rental is a great idea if your time is limited. If you only have enough time to travel to your desired destination, a one-way rental will allow you to take your time to get there and then simply catch a plane or train home.

Traveling to and from the many beautiful sights in the USA is a fantastic experience. Discovering them in your RV is an extremely enjoyable way to accomplish this, and a one-way motor home rental gives you the freedom to take your time, forget about rushing and appreciate the things that really matter.

See more information about One-Way Rentals on our RV Rental Vehicles page and click on your starting and destination cities to see if one-way rentals are available for your itinerary.

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NASCAR Season Kicks Off with the Daytona 500

NASCAR racing starts again this February – on the 17th with the famous Daytona 500 as the kickoff race. Florida welcomes drivers from all over the country for the start of the 2019 season the weekend of the 16th to 18th of February.  For a sneak preview of the next few NASCAR events following the Daytona weekend, March 2nd-4th will feature the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Then on March 9th-11th, ISM Raceway (formerly the Phoenix International Raceway) will be home for the TicketGuardian 500 race. The next scheduled weekend, on the 30th of March to April 1st is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Daytona will feature the 61st running of the Daytona 500 race when the NASCAR season begins, with this showcase of speed, skill and determination as the drivers battled the famed 2.5 mile tri-oval track with its 31 degree banking to earn the title of Daytona 500 Champion.

Camping at Daytona

Any Daytona veteran will tell you that you haven’t truly experienced the “World Center of Racing” until you’ve loaded up the RV, called up your closest friends and set up camp somewhere in the 180-acre infield.

Surrounded by Daytona’s famous track, you’ll find that there’s far more happening at Daytona than just three-wide racing. Devoted race fans from all over the world descend upon every inch of the infield, creating a rich communal atmosphere from campsite-to-campsite.   

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona International Speedway

Whether you’re in a decked-out motorhome or a tent is more your style, DAYTONA offers several camping options that put you right next to all the history and heritage that’s made this place world-famous.  Infield campgrounds and GEICO Park West campgrounds also include FREE Wi-Fi!

If the International Speedway happens to be full – which sometimes happens when the race is sold out, check out these other camping options in the Daytona area.

  1. Daytona Speedway RV
  2. Finishline Park
  3. Daytona Racetrack RV
  4. South Daytona RV Park & Tropical Gardens

Other things to do near Daytona

If you have a little free time, there are many other attractive places to see near Daytona that will make you appreciate this gem of a location on the Atlantic. You can take your time visiting the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens with free admission, or the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. Here, you can tour the Indian River Lagoon, North America’s most diverse estuary that has been designated as an Estuary of National Significance. Here, salt and fresh water mingle, and more than 4,000 species of plants and animals co-habit, some of which are endangered or threatened and some that are found here and nowhere else on earth. Mangrove trees line shorelines and provide habitat for many species of animals and invertebrates. Birds such as osprey, pelicans, ibis, heron, roseate spoonbills or even bald eagles are commonly seen. In the estuary, bottlenose dolphins chase schools of baitfish, and manatees charm visitors with their slow-moving, gentle ways as they swim with their newborns.

As you travel along 1A you should stop and see the Ponce Inlet with its iconic Ponce De Leon Inlet lighthouse and museum, great for stretching your legs and more if you choose to climb the 203 steps of the 175 foot tower lighthouse. This lighthouse, the tallest one in Florida and the second tallest masonry lighthouse in the US, is second only to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

There are Sugar Mill Ruins just west of New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater and just an hour south is the NASA Kennedy Space Center.

If you want to take in some nature close to Daytona Speedway, check out the Bulow Creek State Park near Flagler Beach, one of the largest remaining stands of southern live oak forests along Florida’s east coast.

Tomoka State Park is nearby in Ormond Beach, where Native Americans once dwelled and now a bird-watchers’ paradise. And, stop by the Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach or the Sunglow Fishing Pier to enjoy a bit of fishing. For more information about camping in any of the 175 award-winning Florida State Parks, check out their website.

Need to Rent an RV?

You can rent an RV from El Monte’s Orlando location for your trip to Daytona, only an hour away. See availability and rental rates on their page.

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Florida State Parks and Everglades National Park – Go South for the Winter

Want to get out in nature, watch some birds and enjoy some lovely winter weather this year? Escape that cold, blustery snow and ice of the north and fly or drive south for the winter. The birds know enough to get out of the cold and so could you! Enjoy some of the best bird watching the Sunshine State has to offer in these parks that welcome winter visitors.

To help you plan RV camping activities in Florida this year, here are some of our recommended state parks – including Everglades National Park, to round out the  mix.

Starting at the southern end of Florida, in the Florida Keys, Here you can find abundant places to stay with your RV – and beautiful weather to enjoy while you watch plentiful dolphins as well as sea birds and even the amazing roseate spoonbills. Each winter, along US 1, while driving down the Keys Highway, watch these beautifully colored birds as they treat visitors to a spectacle in pink.

Places to Camp in the Florida Keys:

From Key Largo at the northeast tip of the keys and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to Long Key State Park in Layton, there are abundant places to stop and see the sights and many where you can camp overnight. If you drive all the way southwest to Key West, you can enjoy amazing sunsets and street performers on the pier as well as visits to such historical icons as the Ernest Hemingway House and the Truman House. This is well worth the 4 hour drive south of Miami.

Places to See Near Miami:

If you haven’t walked out on a jetty to see a real lighthouse, then Miami has just the thing for you. Only minutes from downtown Miami, the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is just such a lighthouse, surrounded by water and amazing sights to see from atop. While not an overnight campground, this park contains the oldest structure in Miami-Dade. The lighthouse is a time capsule containing an immense amount of Florida history. First erected in 1825, the Cape Florida Light has survived nearly 200 years of erosion, dozens of hurricanes, an attack by native Seminole Native Americans, and an explosion of lantern oil and gun powder. Well worth the drive for the amazing view. There are also wonderful other attractions around Miami such as the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Visit the 1920’s-era Charles Deering Estate and if you wish to go a bit farther afield, there is Parrot Jungle and Monkey Jungle, both unique places to see these birds and animals.

Places to Stay Near Miami:

Florida’s state parks have many options for camping throughout the state. Full-facility campsites for tents as well as RVers include water, electricity, a grill and picnic tables, along with centralized showers, restrooms and a dump station in most parks. In the Miami area, there are several, including the Oleta River State Park and Greynolds Park in North Miami Beach, the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, and Larry and Penny Thompson Park. Check the Florida State Parks website for more information.

Alligator in the Everglades
Alligator in the Everglades

Don’t forget to stop in and visit alligators and numerous water birds and other unique animals in Everglades National Park while you are in South Florida. While you should check in advance for campground reservations, there are many unusual sights to see in this gem of a park, also known as the River of Grass. You can easily rent one of our RV’s at either of our Florida El Monte locations, in Miami or Orlando. Check out both of them and more suggested Florida vacation ideas on our Where you can Rent RV’s page.

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RV Adventures – Fairs and Festivals in Florida

Take a road trip in your RV or ours to sunny south Florida this winter and escape the cold weather while basking in sunshine. The South Florida Fair takes place in West Palm Beach starting on January 18th and runs through February 3rd. There are 5 performance stages of continuous entertainment featuring bands such as Building 429, The Outlaws, Frankie Ballard and The Pat Travers Band, just to name a few. For more details check out the South Florida Fair.

Since 1912 each January, over a half million visitors have enjoyed 17 fun-filled days at the South Florida Fair, one of Florida’s oldest and largest community events. Fairgoers are entertained by first class stage shows, national concert performances, sensational midway rides, unique shopping and the best of fair food.

The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington is home to the Winter Equestrian Festival from January 9 to March 31 this year. This largest and longest running horse show is the world’s premier winter equestrian event and offers competition for children, junior, adult amateur and professional equestrians in 70 unique divisions over 12 weeks. Featuring riders from more than 42 countries, more than 6000 horses compete with their riders for total prizes of over half a billion dollars.

You can even celebrate Everglades Day Festival on February 9th at the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach. This eco-adventure is dedicated to having fun while learning in a unique ecosystem. Free admission gives a full day of wildlife presentations, interactive games, guest speakers and more. To learn more about this amazing Florida Everglades ecosystem, see their website.

If you love garlic, there is even a South Florida Garlic Festival from February 9th to 10th.  The South Florida Garlic Fest celebrates its’ 20th Anniversary this year! This event is the epitome of homegrown talent and a cultural showcase providing an outlet for local artists and chefs to express themselves. In a variety of mediums, Garlic Fest serves as a gathering festival focal point for musicians, artist of every genre and culinary artists. Each year over 40,000 local South Floridians attend to enjoy the premier food and entertainment event in South Florida. And the event raises money for non-profit organizations that support arts and/or education for youth.

On the following weekend from the 16th to 18th of February is ArtiGras – billed as the premier fine arts festival of the Palm Beaches. This event is held over President’s Day weekend and showcases top artists in all media types along with live music and incredible food to tempt your palate. This local art show has grown into a nationally recognized arts festival and ranked in the top 50 of America’s Best Art Fairs.

And that’s just in Palm Beach County.

Farther south in Dade and Broward Counties, you will find such festivals this winter as the famous Coconut Grove Arts Festival. Now in its 56th year, this arts festival started when in 1963, a local theatre maven named Charlie Cinnamon, asked a handful of locals to recreate an outdoor Parisian exhibition as a publicity stunt for the Coconut Grove Playhouse’s production of Irma la Douce. Held this year on President’s Day weekend from the 16th to 18th of February, all art lovers are invited to attend. Get more information at their website.

Florida State Fair

In Hillsborough County, just a few hours’ drive north, check out all the action in Tampa at the Florida State Fair, starting on February 7th and running through the 18th. This long-running official state fair features everything you would hope to see at a State Fair. There are photo contests, aquarium and horticulture contests, tons of baking and preserved foods contests and everything from arts and crafts to Fairy Garden competitions, as well as competitions in Succulents in Alternative Planters; Cracked Pot Garden and Largest Green Cabbage competitions, to name just a few. For all the entertainment schedules, see their website.

These are just a few ideas of sunny south Florida Fairs and Festivals to keep you having fun in the sun this winter.

Rent an RV for your trip:

For this sunny winter travel experience, you can rent from either of our El Monte RV Rental locations in Florida. You can find our rental locations in Miami (only a 2 hour drive from West Palm Beach) or Orlando (about an hour drive from Tampa).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holiday Special:

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

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

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

Use Coupon Code: HOLIDAY

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

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Holiday Fun – A Florida RV Adventure

Don’t suffer with freezing temps and snow and ice this holiday season. Take a tropical jaunt (ok, semi-tropical) through Florida and enjoy lots of Holiday events and attractions in the Sunshine State.

To help you plan some holiday activities in Florida this year, here are some of our favorites.

Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando

It takes more work for some to get into the spirit of the season, and you can seethe heartwarming process in action with a live show of Grinchmas, as the Grinch tries to ruin the holiday for the Whos before finding the true meaning of Christmas. You can also see Macy’s Holiday Parade nightly,with balloons and floats straight from New York’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, along with music, entertainment, and a spectacular tree lighting display. Winter is also when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter comes alive,with sights, sounds, and even tastes straight from the books and movies! Learn more here. 

ICE! at Gaylord Palms, Orlando

For the most frigid attraction in Florida, look no further than ICE!, the award-winning display of millions of pounds of ice hand-carved into amazing sculptures by artisans from China. This year, the journey tells the story of how the beloved characters from DreamWorks’ Merry Madagascar saved Christmas after Santa and his reindeer crashed onto the island of Madagascar.There are also two-story-tall ice slides to take a ride on, truly a unique holiday experience in Florida! With the entire exhibit kept at a downright freezing 9 degrees, this is definitely the coolest event of the year. Click here to learn more.

The Holy Land Experience, Orlando

Fora more traditional take on the Christmas season, The Holy Land Experience provides a living museum and park that makes some of the most well-known stories of the Bible come to life. From the Garden of Eden to the birth of Jesus, experience the sights and sounds of the biblical world in a way you can’t find anywhere else. 

Walt Disney World Resort, Kissimmee

For the holidays, on select nights at the Magic Kingdom, the Walt Disney World Resort brings an extra holiday cheer with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Amid the spectacular decorations, enjoy a parade featuring several favorite Disney Characters, along with a special appearance by Santa Claus himself! There’s also a new fireworks show,complimentary cookies and hot chocolate, and even a wintry snowfall. Enjoy the magic of Disney at this enchanting time of year. 

Town of Christmas

What better place to explore than the town where it’s Christmas year-round? Just outside of Orlando, the quaint town of Christmas sees visitors flock to their post office yearly to have their cards and letters postmarked from “Christmas, FL” for a unique touch to their holiday mail. The town also features a historical park with a museum showing what life was like in the original settlement from the 1800s.  Let everyone else dream a white Christmas while you experience the real thing!  Find out more at their website. 

Mount Dora Events and The Polar Express

From early November through December 30th, you can ride on the officially licensed THE POLAR EXPRESS™ train ride from Tavares Union Train Station, bound for the North Pole. For tickets and more information on this and all their holiday events, see the Mount Dora website.

Busch Gardens, Tampa

Not to be confused with the Town of Christmas, Busch Gardens is being transformed into Christmas Town.  The theme park will have special holiday shows, Santa’s house, and an entire snow-filled playground! From snowmen to penguins to the Christmas Town Village,there’s an entire wintry wonderland just waiting to be explored. 

Gingerbread House Extravaganza, Jacksonville

You won’t believe your eyes or nose when you see what amazing creations people are able to make with gingerbread, icing, and imagination. For the 11th consecutive year, the Jacksonville Historical Society is hosting the Gingerbread House Extravaganza to raise money for children’s programs, but this is no ordinary bake sale. The artistry and detail of the edible creations are a real treat, providing enough awe to keep your sweet tooth in check. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can submit your own masterpiece to be part of the fun.

Nights of Lights, St. Augustine

If you enjoy going to local houses to see their Christmas light displays, then St.Augustine has just what you’re looking for. Every year, literally millions of holiday lights decorate the nation’s oldest city, transforming it into a twinkling spectacle. With so much to see, you may be better off taking one of the several tour buses than trying to take it all in on your own. There are also a multitude of events coinciding with the brilliant display. See their website here to find out more details.

Santa’s Enchanted Forest, Miami

Though we all know that Santa makes his home in the North Pole, South Floridians know he also maintains a warmer wonderland. Santa’s Enchanted Forest at Miami’s Tropical Park lays claim to the title of world’s largest Christmas theme park, with more than 100 rides, shows, games, and attractions.

El Monte RV Holiday Special:

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

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

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

You can easily rent one of our RV’s at either of our Florida El Monte RV locations, in Miami or Orlando. Check out both of them and some more suggested Florida vacation ideas on our Florida RV rentals page.

Posted in Florida RV Camping Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas | Leave a comment

RV’ing in the Great Southwest Desert

Take a road trip in your RV or ours to Tucson, Arizona this winter and escape the cold weather while basking in sunshine. This city has so much to offer this winter, you may just want to put down some roots, temporary or permanent and take advantage of the many activities and sights to see. Tucson is surrounded by multiple mountain ranges including the Santa Catalinas and is located in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Reflecting its 19th-century beginnings are the restored mansions of its El Presidio Historic District and the adobe row houses of Barrio Historico.

To name just a few of the great sights:

The Arizona – Sonoran Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, the Pima Air and Space Museum and The Mission San Xavier del Bac. Check out these and many more sights to see around Tucson.

Seasonal Events in Tucson:

On the first three weekends in December, enjoy Holiday Nights in Tohono Chul Park. Holiday Nights is a fun event for everyone! Stroll along paths garlanded with over a million twinkling lights while musicians and artists perform throughout the Gardens. Who can resist a sing-along or viewing the stars through a telescope? You’re sure to enjoy the many distinct performances located throughout the Gardens while you sip hot chocolate and enjoy tasty treats!

In January and February, check out these signature events:

Jazz Festival

Jazz Festival

Tucson Jazz Festival (January 11-21, 2019) The only major jazz festival in January in the USA presents 10 days of live music featuring legends and emerging talents of all jazz genres, from straight-ahead to contemporary, at the Fox Tucson Theatre and Rialto Theatre as well as at the free Downtown Jazz Fiesta presented on outdoor stages and at other downtown venues on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Tucson Desert Song Festival (January 15-February 5, 2019) This blend of singing in orchestral, chamber, choral, and solo formats features internationally celebrated soloists along with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (formed in 1929-the oldest continuing professional performing arts organization in Arizona), Tucson Chamber Artists, UA Presents, Arizona Opera and others, in conjunction with master classes and lectures at the University of Arizona School of Music.

Dillinger Days (January 18-19, 2019) See how crime doesn’t pay at our celebration of the January 1934 capture by Tucson Police and Fire departments of America’s Public Enemy No. 1, the notoriously violent gangster John Dillinger and his unsuspecting gang, with a Depression-era-themed weekend of car shows, history re-enactments, artifact displays, and live music.

Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase (February 2-17, 2019) A one-of-a-kind international marketplace of museum-quality exhibits and world-class collections of gemstones, minerals, fossils, beads, crystals, jewelry, supplies, apparel, and more that originated with the single, original Tucson Gem and Mineral Show® in 1955 and has grown into a showcase of 40+ shows at various locations.

There are many more events and activities to take advantage of. Check out the Visit Tucson website for more details.

RV Camping near Tucson

Thanks to their mild winter weather, a vibrant and historic city center, and a stunning desert landscape, Tucson, Arizona is a popular destination for RV travel. Luckily, it’s also full of places to park your RV.

There are high-end resorts with fruit trees at every site, a large selection of 55+ RV parks with welcoming communities, a state park popular for its numerous hiking trails, and even a patch of BLM land on the south end of the city where frugal RVers like to boondock for free.

Here are some of the highest ranked:

  1. Rincon Country West RV Resort – ranked #1 on Trip Advisor for Tucson area RV parks, Rincon Country West RV Resort is an Active 55+ Senior Community, offering a wide range of amenities and activities. There are RV spaces to accommodate just about every size of RV.
  2. Sentinel Peak RV Park – Tucson, Arizona’s only Downtown RV Park. They have 23 sites all with full hook-ups and 20/30/50 amp service. All sites are asphalt and level. There are different sites to choose from such as our standard back-ins, deluxe back-ins and premium back-ins. We also have large 70′ pull-thrus for larger coaches. Amenities include a splash pool, retail store, recreational area with foosball, pool table, and ping pong, as well as laundry room and picnic tables at all of the sites.
  3. Third ranked in Trip Advisor is Gilbert Ray Campground which is a “beautiful quiet campground close to the city,” according to one reviewer. This park is an unassuming country park on the western edge of the city. It has great access to hiking trails, gorgeous desert scenery and incredible night skies. This campground operates on a first come, first served basis and currently costs $20 per night with a seven-night stay limit. However, you are permitted to leave for seven days and then return for another seven day stay. The park accepts cash or check only and the registration building is open January through March. All other times of the year payment is made at a self-pay kiosk.

There’s also a Tucson Lazydays/KOA Resort, the Crazy Horse RV Campgrounds, the RV Park at the Pima County Fairgrounds and Voyager RV Resort & Hotel, all near I-10. Do your research ahead of time and find the one that best fits your needs.

Rent an RV for your trip:

For this unique travel experience,  check out our RV rental locations map to select a convenient pickup location, then enjoy the drive to Tucson and see some exceptional sights along your way!

Posted in Arizona RV Camping Vacation | 2 Comments

RV Vacation Time – December Music Festivals

Music abounds in the month of December and what a great way to see and hear the best of the best in rock and hip-hop than to go to music festivals. We feature one on the west coast – the Rolling Loud Music Festival in Los Angeles on December 14-15th and two in Florida – Riptide 2018 in Fort Lauderdale from November 30 – December 2nd and Next Big Thing in Tampa – Saturday and Sunday, December 1st and 2nd. So take your pick: if you are on the west coast, check out Rolling Loud and if Florida is your destination (or home), you have two excellent choices.

Rolling Loud – Los Angeles 

Discerning hip-hop lovers will be treated to a panoply of performers at this two day long festival at the Banc of California Stadium Grounds and Expo Park in Los Angeles. Performances by Post Malone, Lil Wayne, Cardi B and Lil Uzi Vert headline while the rest of the lineup is filled with Wiz Khalifa, 21 Savage, Shoreline Mafia, Bali Baby, Young Thug and many, many more. Check out the full schedule here. The festival starts on Friday the 14th and goes through Saturday the 15th of December.

Riptide Music Festival – Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Nov. 30-Dec. 2

Starting on Friday, the 30th, this Alternative Rock music festival kicks off with four performers on Friday night- followed by a huge array of bands on Saturday and Sunday. These include Young the Giant and Dirty Heads, as well as Panic!  At the Disco and Alice Merton all performing on Saturday. On Sunday, the likes of Third Eye Blind, Everclear and Gin Blossoms will headline the entertainment. If you want to see the full lineup, check out their website.

Next Big Thing – Tampa, Dec. 1 – 2

If you prefer the west coast of Florida, check out Next Big Thing – which has some of the same Alt Rock performers as the Ft. Lauderdale Riptide Fest but they have an even larger lineup of 50 bands playing for 2 days. On the lineup for this year’s Next Big Thing, held at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre: Bastille, Foster the People, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Young the Giant, AJR, Chvrches, Elle King, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, LANY and more. Click here to see the full lineup and schedule.

Music Festival

Places to camp nearby:

There are lots of options for nearby camping in Southern California and close to either Ft. Lauderdale or Tampa in Florida.

Los Angeles RV Camping:

You can camp at Hollywood RV Park, the Dockweiler RV Park or Walnut RV Park, all of which have 4 or more stars. Check out the best rated RV Parks on Yelp or Google and you may be tempted to stay in Marina Del Rey at the Marina Boat and RV Storage location.

Ft. Lauderdale area Camping:

In the Ft. Lauderdale area, you can find an abundance of potential camping spots including: Aztec RV Resort, the Kozy Kampers RV Park, Yacht Haven Park and Marina and Easterlin Park in Oakland Park.

Tampa RV Camping:

Many campgrounds exist in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties – close to this Tampa venue. You can choose to park your RV in Bay Bayou RV Resort, or Tampa RV Park Camp Nebraska, in Tampa (Hillsborough County). Or go west to Pinellas County and you’ll find a variety of other choices, some near the Gulf of Mexico such as St. Petersburg/ Madeira Beach KOA, Clearwater Travel Resort of Vacation Village RV Resort in Largo.

Again check out the ratings on Yelp or Google and decide for yourself what the best fit is for you and your family.

Rent an RV for your trip:

For the Los Angeles event, you can rent an RV from one of our 4 nearby El Monte RV California locations. Click here to see all of the California locations and perhaps get some other ideas for your California RV Vacation.

For Florida shows, you can take your choice to rent an RV from El Monte rental locations in Miami or Orlando. Our Miami location is a one hour drive from Ft. Lauderdale while the Orlando Rentals and Sales location is about a one hour drive from Tampa’s Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre.

Whatever you decide for your December RV trip, we hope you enjoy some great music while creating memories with your friends or family.

Posted in California RV Camping Vacation, Florida RV Camping Vacation, Music Festivals | 1 Comment

Winter RV Trip: Five Stunning National Parks

Feeling the shorter days and colder temperatures creeping up on you? Would you like to plan to get away, have fun and stay warm while you enjoy some of our national treasures? Here are five stunning National Parks you can visit during the coming months to lift your spirits and allow you to commune with nature.

If time allows, combine a few of these adventures while traveling in your RV so you have everything you need with you.

  • You can enjoy dog sledding at Snow Mountain Ranch, near Rocky Mountain National Park in Winter Park, CO. What an unusual experience and so much fun! See more information about it here.
  • Visit Olympic National Park and watch a winter storm travel across the Pacific from a luxurious hot tub. Olympic National Park has 73 miles of coastline that turns into a wave-crashing show in the winter. From November through February, storms coming in from the Pacific Ocean have wind gusts up to 60 miles-per-hour, not to mention the rain, sometimes accumulating six inches in 24-hours. The wind and rain combined can make it look like it’s raining horizontally.  The best time to watch a storm is when the tide is coming in and at high tide. In between storms, use the sunny time to explore the beach with its tide pools and tossed, teetering wood.
  • And at Yosemite, try and experience the Winemaker Weekend- Jan. 25-27, 2019, where you can join Napa’s Elizabeth Vianna, winemaker and general manager of Chimney Rock, at Rush Creek Lodge. Vianna is well-known for her estate-grown wines from Chimney Rock’s green-certified Napa Valley winery. Here you can sip wine paired with a gourmet prepared meal with one of Napa Valley’s renowned winemakers.

    Yosemite Valley

    Yosemite Valley

    Or come and visit the Yosemite landscape by going on a guided excursion. Winter provides a whole different view at Yosemite.

  • Go to the Grand Canyon on the Polar Express! Yes, really! Families looking to capture the awe of the holiday spirit in their children’s eyes will love Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express. Chris Van Allsburg’s classic book, The Polar Express, comes to life starting annually in November and ending in early January. Families board the special 1930s-era train at the depot in Williams, Arizona for a roundtrip-ride that lasts about 90 minutes. Passengers will ride through dark and quiet wilderness to The North Pole, where Santa and his reindeer wait. Aboard the Polar Express the spirit of Christmas is passed on to every boy and girl from Santa himself with their own special gift. The train departs at 5:30, and 7:30 p.m., and on some days at 3:30 p.m. Tickets sell fast, so don’t wait to book.
  • The Olympic Park in Utah is a wonderful place to fight the winter blues. Take part in this epic experience and feel more energized after you do it. Have you ever wondered how it would feel to climb on a bobsled and race down the track? In winter, the bobsled travels on ice, just as the Olympians do. You can head to Olympic Park in Park City for this ride on the 2002 Olympic Sliding Track.

Each of the National Parks has RV campgrounds for your accommodations. Check the one(s) you will be visiting for schedules due to inclement weather, but most have some winter operating times and there will be fewer people visiting, so winter can be an ideal time for a quiet getaway.

You can start your RV camping trip near Salt Lake City and rent an RV from El Monte RV there, or if you wish to rent at another location see our Where to Rent RV’s page here. And to make planning your trip even better, check out our RV Rental Deals page for current specials to help you get on your way!

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