Chasing America’s National Pastime by RV

One of the best reasons we can think of to travel by RV this summer is to watch your favorite teams play baseball. We know our readers love their baseball almost as much as they enjoy RV camping. Some might even have gotten the jump on the regular season by traveling to Arizona or Florida for spring training.

America's Pastime - Baseball

America’s Pastime – Baseball

America’s national pastime inspires loyal fans to travel to stadiums across the country. We thought we’d offer even more inspiration to travel in search of baseball. Take a look at what this National Park Service blog post highlighting baseball’s history reveals.

Did you know, for example, that baseball greats like Stan Musial were known to visit fans at Alcatraz Prison? It’s true, and you can learn more with a trip to Alcatraz Island within Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Or that Hot Springs National Park was once the spring training destination for legendary players like Babe Ruth? Baseball has become so much a part of the American fabric that even our national parks get involved.

RV Travel to Watch Baseball is a Grand Slam

We know you’ll be spending lots of time at the stadium as you indulge the urge to travel with your favorite teams. But when it’s time to call it a night and refuel for the next day’s games, an RV can be your best home base. Being able to cook your own meals after a day buying pricey stadium food might make the difference between heading for home and staying to see one more game.

Relaxing at the campground, rehashing the day’s best plays, could be your kids’ favorite memories from this year’s RV road trip to watch baseball. Unwind in RV comfort, make healthy meals that keep your road trip budget on track and enjoy campground amenities that add an extra layer of fun to your journey. That’s the way to have a grand-slam baseball road trip!

Tools to Help Plan Your Baseball RV Road Trip

Ready to exercise your obsession with baseball by traveling by RV to games? Here’s a list of resources that can help streamline your baseball RV travel.

MLB.com – the official site of Major League Baseball. Start here for team schedules and stadium information.

NCAA.org – the place for all things collegiate baseball.

MiLB.com – for everything you need to know about minor league teams and schedules.

USABaseball.com – governing body for US amateur baseball, including US National Teams.

National Baseball Congress – home of the annual NBC World Series.

Baseball-RoadTrip.com – a handy tool for planning a road trip to watch multiple teams play.

BallParksofBaseball.com – for stadium info and suggested baseball road trip itineraries.

El Monte RV for RV rentals and baseball road trip planning assistance.

Bonus Tips for planning your RV Baseball Tour. (1) Check the stadium website for parking details before you go, especially if you plan to park the RV at the ballpark.      (2) Book your campsites early. Campgrounds near the stadium are likely to fill up on game day. (3) Plan to see some weekday, mid-day games if possible. You may score cheaper tickets than those for high-demand weekend or night games. (4) Find out whether tailgating is allowed at the stadium. If it is, arrive early and add a parking lot party to your game day fun.

We hope these tips and tools help you plan your best RV trip to watch baseball yet. It doesn’t matter whether you plan to follow the team to multiple states or travel to one location for a home-game series. Getting there by RV is a great way to enjoy the journey, relax in comfort at the end of an epic game and get back home without ruining your road trip budget. There’s a ballpark out there waiting to show you a good time!

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Summer in New England is Right Around the Corner

10 Maine destinations to explore by RV

Ocean to mountain, deep campsites to quaint villages. Traveling Maine by RV promises fascinating times. Summer RV camping season in New England is just around the corner.  Start planning!

Here are ten Maine destinations you’ll want to explore by RV, roughly north to south.

  1. Aroostook Valley Trail in far north Maine winds a path from New Sweden at the northern terminus to Presque Isle at the southern end. It’s a 28-mile long gravel, multiuse trail created from a former rail bed. Expect to find deep woods, riverside stretches and brushes with five towns. RV camping can be easily found near the Trail, from dry camping at Aroostook State Park to luxury resorts such as Arndt’s Aroostook River Lodge & Campground.
  1. Maine’s capital city of Augusta beckons history-loving RVers with an eighteenth century wooden fort, a spectacular State House, the impressive Maine State Museum and nearby Waterville Opera House.
  1. Explore the Kennebec-Chaudiere International Heritage Corridor for more than two hundred miles from Bath, Maine to Quebec for the RV adventure of a lifetime. Water trails on two rivers, fascinating small towns and lush North Maine landscapes are just the start of the journey.
  1. Swan Island, on the Kennebec River at Richmond, is a nature lover’s paradise. Bring your kayak and paddle the river, or enjoy miles of hiking trails through pristine forests and meadows in search of the island’s abundant wildlife. Don’t forget to book your ferry ride in advance! 
  1. Bridgton, in the Western Maine’s Lake Region, is popular with RV travelers for its vintage downtown shops, easy access to outdoor recreation and city-run Salmon Point Campground on Long Lake. Fish, paddle, hike or shop—you’ll find wonderful places to do it while camping in Bridgton.
  1. While camping in the Freeport/Durham area, consider a side trip to Bradbury Mountain State Park for a memorable mountain biking experience. Single and double track trails crisscross the mountain and the view is fine, too.
  1. The Desert of Maine in Freeport is where the kids will want to spend your Maine RV camping vacation. Located on the central coast, this forty-acre glacial desert within a forest features tram tours, hiking trails, historic buildings and an on-site RV campground.
  1. Reid State Park, on Georgetown Island, has the distinction of being one of the few places in Maine you’ll find stretches of sand beach and large sand dunes. Plan to camp on the island at Sagadahoc Bay Campground for oceanfront sites and lighthouse views.
  1. Casco Bay, by way of Portland, allows RV travelers to Maine to reach beyond the shore. Once you’ve settled in your campground in nearby Scarborough, Saco or Old Orchard Beach, make your way to Maine State Pier in Portland to go island hopping in the Bay, courtesy of Casco Bay Line ferry service. They also offer a variety of scenic bay cruises.
  1. Southern Maine Lighthouse Tour: Love lighthouses? As you leave the Portland area, you’ll enjoy views of no less than seven historic lighthouses by making stops from Cape Elizabeth to Kittery. Here’s your itinerary, driving south.

    Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, Maine

    Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, Maine

  • Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth features Portland Head Light (and museum), as well as views of the Ram Island Ledge Light from the park’s rocky beach.
  • Two Lights State Park, down the shoreline in Cape Elizabeth, offers views of privately owned Cape Elizabeth Light.
  • The Pier Road landing in Cape Porpoise is your next stop for views of the Goat Island Lighthouse.
  • Sohier Park in York is a delightful spot to stroll the shoreline and enjoy views of Nubble Light.
  • Fort Foster Park in Kittery is famous for views of both Whaleback Light and Portsmouth Harbor Light.

An RV camping trip to Maine can be a different adventure every time you visit. Pick your next itinerary and be sure to book an RV rental early. The Pine Tree State can’t wait to show you a good time.

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RV Road Trip Etiquette 101

It’s a fact—RV road trips can bring families and friends closer together. Shared vacation experiences can highlight the differences and similarities that keep relationships interesting. But there’s a dark side to vacation travel that needs to be discussed, as well—the road trip that disintegrates until everyone is wondering why they came. What’s the difference? It all comes down to road trip etiquette, the fine art of exercising respect and courtesy while traveling together.

Our tips for traveling sanely with others could be called “RV Road Trip Etiquette 101”. They can make all the difference between the RV trip you’d like to forget and the vacation you’ll always treasure.

It’s a Vacation, Silly!

It’s so easy, especially for those of us who live highly organized lives, to take our vacation planning too far. If you love to plan your trips to the smallest detail, you may have noticed not everyone you travel with is appreciative.

The first lesson of RV Road Trip Etiquette 101 is to remember, “It’s a vacation, silly!” Leave room for spontaneity. Back off organizing every experience and watch for cues from your companions that you’re over the top.

Plan reasonably—book campsites during peak seasons and reserve tickets for popular attractions. There’s nothing wrong with knowing you’ll have a place to rest at the end of a long day of travel. But if the kids are begging for another day at the beach, and you’re determined to march along to a faster beat, step back, take a breath and consider the goal of any RV vacation—to relax.

Plan Something for Everyone

No one likes to be dragged along on someone else’s dream vacation. RV road trip planning etiquette requires us to ask what everyone hopes to do on the trip.

Kids might request quick stops at quirky roadside attractions. Plan the time in your schedule. The spouse who accommodates your need to shop at every mall on your route might be dreaming of time spent on mountain trails. Work-weary friends might enjoy hitting the spas, but you won’t know unless you ask!

What we enjoy doing on vacation can be different for everyone in your RV. By discussing ahead of time what each person’s looking forward to, and allowing time to do it, you’ll cut down on grumbling and maybe even learn to enjoy something new.

Give Each Other Some Space

Here’s the thing about vacation travel, whether it’s spent in airplanes and hotels or on the road in an RV; there’s such a thing as too much time together!

One of the best things we can do for each other to keep vacations relaxing is to allow for time spent alone. Even small children who require our supervision can be allowed to play in uncrowded space. Teens who can’t take another minute cooped up with their siblings will appreciate a time out, too. The closest of friends can begin to grate on each other’s nerves when too long in close quarters.

Skip the assumption that every vacation minute must be spent together. Encouraging fellow travelers to walk, swim, shop, see a movie or otherwise release vacation claustrophobia can go a long way to keeping the peace while traveling.

Traveling together by RV is a wonderful way to strengthen the bonds of friendship, build family memories and rekindle romance. The trick to keeping things friendly and relaxing is practicing basic courtesy. Allow others to indulge their interests. Squelch the need to over-plan. Give each other time off from togetherness. These basic principles are what we call, “RV Road Trip Etiquette 101”, and they’ll go a long way to building pleasant, relaxing vacations.  

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6 Myths You Might Have About Renting an RV

You begin to plan a vacation, and someone brings up the idea of renting a recreational vehicle. Suddenly, your mind goes into RV rental anxiety, based on myths you might be believing about renting an RV.

Before you close the door on an excellent vacation travel option, consider these six common myths about renting RVs, and the facts that can help erase your anxiety.

Myth #1: Renting an RV is Too Expensive!

This is one myth we enjoy exploding, because the fact is, renting and traveling in an RV can be surprisingly economical. Consider this: if you book airline tickets or rental cars instead, that’s just the beginning of your travel expense. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, there are hotel rooms and restaurant meals, as well.

In contrast, renting an RV allows you to take your sleeping quarters on the road. It lets you decide which level of campground amenities suit your budget. You’ll also be taking your RV kitchen along for preparing meals and snacks, yet another budget-friendly bonus while traveling.

One more tip for keeping RV rentals affordable: ask about current rental deals. You may save hundreds of dollars by taking advantage of seasonal, one-way or extended trip specials.

Myth #2: It’s Too Hard to Drive an RV!

Here’s how to keep this myth from ruining your vacation dreams—find an RV rental model that you feel comfortable driving. With the range of recreational vehicle models available at many rental locations, it’s possible to rent an RV from the largest Class A ‘bus style’ motorhome to a compact, Class C cabover model. Visit your local RV rental office or sales location to see sizes for yourself, and to learn how well-equipped today’s RVs are for ease of driving.

One more anxiety-buster: RV rental locations usually have instructional videos and detailed RV operation manuals that share tips for safe driving. Ask questions if you aren’t sure how safety features work. Book your RV pickup time early enough to get familiar with your rental vehicle before you hit the road. You’ve got this!

Myth #3: Renting an RV is a Hassle!

You’re going to be pleasantly surprised at how convenient renting an RV can be. Here at El Monte RV Rentals and Sales, we’ve refined the process of picking up and dropping off rental RVs to get you on the road and back home again as quickly as possible.  

From ‘fly-drive’ locations near major airports to detailed RV rental guides online, there’s plenty of help available to help streamline your experience. And don’t forget to take advantage of the wealth of trip planning tips here on Monty’s Musings!

Myth #4: I’ll Never Figure out the RV Hookups!

Facts win once again! Using the videos and instruction manuals available, first-time RV rental customers finding it surprisingly easy to hook up their RVs to electric, water and sewer connections at the campground. We won’t leave you stranded! If anything seems overwhelming, be sure to ask your rental location staff, so you can relax and enjoy your vacation without worry.

Myth #5: RV Rentals are Just for Long Distance Trips

This is definitely mythology, based on the reasons our customers rent recreational vehicles. Some choose to rent an RV for comfortable camping at nearby music festivals. Others have told us they rent an RV for extra housing during the holidays.

Another popular reason to rent an RV is to host special weekends at a local destination—everything from a ‘girls only’ campout at the lake to camping close to swap meets, fairs or fly-ins. Traveling by RV long distance can be memorable, but don’t let that be the only reason you take advantage of convenient, affordable RV rentals.

Myth #6: Rental RVs are ‘Bare Bones’

Guess again! You can choose to camp in luxury on most any rental budget. Generators, microwaves and roomy dinettes are just a few of the convenient features that add comfort to today’s RVs. If you’ve never rented an RV, explore the options available for comfort and convenience, whether you’re renting a Class C with roomy slide-outs or a Class A ‘Luxury Class’ model.

El Monte RV

El Monte RV

Renting an RV can be your best option for budget-friendly, comfortable travel. Don’t let these myths stand in the way of your best vacation yet. Check the facts on RV rentals and then take the plunge. It’s time you learned how renting RVs could enhance your vacation plans.  

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Five Memorable Mountain RV Campgrounds

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

Rocky Mountain National Park – Moraine Park Campground – Colorado

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

Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

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

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

Black Rock Mountain State Park – Hickory Cove Campground – Georgia

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

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

Coolidge State Park Campground – Vermont

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

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

Painted Rocks State Park Campground-Montana

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

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

Mount Hood National Forest—Spring Drive RV Campground—Oregon

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

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

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

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

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

AAA Members-Look Skyward! 2017 Eclipse RV Travel Savings

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

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

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

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse

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

When Will the Eclipse Occur?

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

Where Will the Total Eclipse be Visible?

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

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

Oregon: Newport, Corvallis, Madras, Salem

Idaho: Stanley, McKay, Idaho Falls

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

Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park, Casper, Thermopolis

Nebraska: Scott’s Bluff, Hastings, Grand Island

Kansas: Troy, Atchison, Leavenworth

Missouri: St. Joseph, Columbia

Illinois: Carbondale, Chester

Kentucky: Bowling Green, Hopkinsville

Tennessee: Nashville, Gallatin, Clarksville

Georgia: Blairsville, Clayton

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

South Carolina: Anderson, Orangeburg, Columbia

Why Rent an RV to View the Eclipse?

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

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

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

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

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

National Historic Sites to Visit by RV—Birmingham Civil Rights and Freedom Riders Monuments

In a previous post, we mentioned that four new National Historic Sites had been recognized by the National Park Service this year. That earlier post offered RV campers the details for visiting Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Maryland. This week, we’ve got the details on two new historic sites that tell the story of the American Civil Rights Movement. An important lesson in history and excellent RV camping nearby—isn’t it time you took the trip?

Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument

Both RV travel stops in today’s post are in Alabama, at the heart of the American Civil Rights movement. Challenge your fellow campers to read ahead of time about the role Birmingham, Alabama played in the early days of the struggle for racial equality in America.

The new Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument isn’t yet fully developed, but there’s plenty to explore when you visit. These sites are currently designated within the Monument:

  • G. Gaston Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other early leaders in the Civil Rights Movement met to plan non-violent protests and other actions to end segregation.
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is located adjacent to the AG Gaston Motel. This museum and interpretive center can give you the background you’ll need to begin your tour to the other sites that make up the national monument.
  • 16th Street Baptist Church, the site of the horrific bombing in 1963 that killed four young girls and lit the spark for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Bethel Baptist Church, a short drive from the other sites, was bombed three times during the early years of the struggle for racial equality and served as the home of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.
  • Kelly Ingram Park, captured in history by photographers at the non-violent protests that were disrupted by violent police action.
  • 4th Avenue District, an historic neighborhood once the site of blacks-only restaurants and shops during the days of segregation. 

Freedom Riders National Monument

Two hours east of Birmingham on I-20 in Anniston, Alabama you’ll find another newly-designated National Historic Site. The Freedom Riders National Monument is dedicated to the integrated group who boarded a bus bound for the Deep South in 1961, intent on testing a court decision that had found segregated transportation unconstitutional.

In Anniston, AL, you’ll find the Greyhound Bus Station where the group was attacked by segregationists, as well as the site six miles down the highway where the bus was stopped and firebombed by a mob.

While visiting these two designated sites within the National Monument, take the time to follow the Anniston Civil Rights Trail, a walking tour that highlights the importance of this small Eastern Alabama town during the Civil Rights Movement.

Birmingham Area RV Camping

Where to camp in this historically rich area? Oak Mountain State Park, just south of Birmingham off I-65, offers Alabama RV travelers a wonderful place to recharge. With both 30-amp water and electric sites and primitive campsites, you can choose your setting while enjoying the numerous amenities this park features. Two recreational lakes with cable skiing and boat rentals, a golf course and miles of hiking and biking trails are just the beginning of the ways you’ll find to unwind while camping in the Birmingham area. If you’re up for a climb, the state park’s Peavine Falls is a photographer’s dream.

Make an RV trip to Alabama to find the roots of the American Civil Rights Movement, and to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of Birmingham area campgrounds. We can help with an RV rental, and we hope our posts inspire you to seek out the places that tell the story of our nation’s past.

Posted in Alabama RV Camping Vacation, Historical RV Vacation | Leave a comment

Spring RV Travel in Search of Desert Wildflowers

North American desert landscapes will host lavish displays of color this spring, thanks to heavy winter rains. In parts of California, they’re actually calling 2017 the year of the ‘Super Bloom’.

It’s time to take the RV out of winter hibernation for a trip to the desert in search of wildflowers. We’ve got all the information you’ll need to hike, camp and thoroughly enjoy the desert’s flashiest season.  

RV Wildflower Viewing Trips

RV Wildflower Viewing Trips

RV Desert Wildflower Itineraries

According to DesertUSA.com, there are several desert locations in America where wildflowers are either blooming right now (last minute RV road trip, anyone?) or will be in full bloom in the next thirty days.

Some of the best places to enjoy desert wildflowers are on BLM preserves. This year has promised to bring such abundant color that the Bureau of Land Management has set up a special hashtag, #TracktheBloom, and is asking desert visitors to share their wildflower photos on social media sites such as the BLM California Facebook page.

That last-minute location we mentioned, where cacti and other desert plants are showing their best colors this month is Carrizo Plain National Monument in California’s Central Valley. Here’s what you need to know to plan your RV trip:

What’s Blooming? Plenty! Expect to see lupine, delphinium, goldfield, hillside daisies and poppies through April in the immense valley that’s home to Soda Lake.

How to Get There? Carrizo Plain NM can be reached via several major highways. From Van Nuys, drive north on I-5 (four-hour trip.) From Las Vegas, it’s nearly a straight shot west eight hours via I-15, same distance from Phoenix via I-10.

Where to Camp? There are two improved campgrounds within this two-hundred-thousand-acre preserve, if you’re up for primitive camping (vault toilets, no utilities). If you prefer developed campsites, there are dozens of RV campgrounds near Carrizo Plain NM in Bakersfield, Santa Margarita or San Luis Obispo.

Or, you could drive farther south to where Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is also in full bloom through late April.

What’s Blooming? Ocotillos, desert sunflowers, many kinds of blooming cacti and spectacular indigo bush are just a few of the species waiting to delight the eye.

How to Get There? The State Park is two hours northeast of San Diego on Montezuma Valley Road, about an hour-and-a-half southeast of Temecula or a six-hour drive west from Tucson, AZ via I-8.

Where to Camp? Lots of options, but be sure to call ahead, as wildflower season may fill campgrounds. Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Tamarisk Grove Campground, an hour south in Julian, CA are three campgrounds to consider for your RV trip to Anza-Borrego.

We’ll leave you with a trio of other RV road trip ideas to find desert wildflowers. Pick one that sounds fun and get packing!

Have a four-wheel drive towed vehicle? Bounce along the 25-mile Quebradas National Backcountry Byway in southern New Mexico. You’ll find beautiful blooming cacti and desert plants in a rugged, undeveloped setting. Take I-25 south from Albuquerque, follow the Byway signs from Escondida, NM to Escondido Lake and beyond. This is on BLM land, and you can find developed campgrounds nearby in Magdalena, NM.

Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada is another stunningly scenic landscape that’s especially nice when brittle bush and cactus species are abloom. Find it forty miles north of Las Vegas on I-15 (northern end of Lake Mead), with campsites both primitive and developed within the park, or Las Vegas campgrounds close enough to make it a day trip.

Poppies, lupine and globe mallows dominate the slopes of Picacho Peak State Park in southeast Arizona. Located midway between Phoenix and Tucson off I-10, this wildflower haven is easy to access and features hiking trails surrounding the peak that gives the park its name. There are eighty electric-only campsites within the Park (fill those water tanks before you arrive) as well as a private RV resort near the I-10 park entrance.

What better reason to travel by RV in spring than to seek the desert places abloom with wildflowers? Pick one or more of these amazing desert settings and bring your hiking shoes. You’re going to want to get close to nature when you see what she’s offering this spring!

Posted in Arizona RV Camping Vacation, California RV Camping Vacation, Nevada RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

Historic Sites to Visit by RV—Harriet Tubman National Historical Park

Traveling by RV to visit National Historic Sites is a wonderful way to introduce your family to American history. By combining the joys of RV camping with visits to sites preserved by the National Park Service for their historic significance, your RV camping trips take on a whole new level of meaning.

Speaking of new, the National Park Service has designated four new National Historic Sites in 2017 that are well-worth an RV camping trip to visit. In this post, we’ll visit the first and most northern of those sites—the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn, NY.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

The Harriet Tubman NHP is a collection of structures that tell the story of the amazing escaped slave who led other slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Auburn, NY is located in the Finger Lakes Region, just south of the Canadian border. Traveling there by RV is easy, as Auburn is near the stretch of I-90 that runs between Buffalo and Albany.

What Will We See There?

In Auburn, you can visit the Harriet Tubman Residence where this extraordinary woman lived in her later life. Another important site within the National Historical Park is the Tubman Home for the Aged, established on land she donated, for the care of elderly and infirm people of color. Another historically significant site within the Harriet Tubman NHP is the Visitor Center, where you can learn more about this complex hero of both emancipation and the women’s suffrage movement.

Make a third stop at the Thompson Memorial AME Church within the grounds of the NHP to understand how a deep faith in God drove Tubman to incredible acts of bravery. A last stop RV travelers can make to complete their knowledge about Harriet Tubman is to her gravesite at Fort Hill Cemetery, outside the National Historical Park but nearby in the same town of Auburn, NY.

Bonus Tip for Families: Having trouble keeping kids interested on the road? Challenge ‘tweens and teens to dive deeper into Tubman’s story before you arrive at the NHP. They’ll soon learn she was the first woman to lead an armed raid during the Civil War. Come up with some kind of bonus for being able to tell the rest of the family about the remarkable night when seven-hundred slaves were set free.

Where Can We Camp?

Located on Lake Owasso, Auburn is centrally located for excellent RV camping possibilities. You could choose to stay close to the Finger Lakes by camping twenty minutes from Auburn at Twin Oaks Campground on Cayuga Lake. Another highly-recommended camping spot, Hejamada Campground & RV Park, is a fifteen minute drive away in Port Byron.

For RV travelers who love the beach, head north to the shores of Lake Ontario, about an hour away from Auburn, to find numerous private campgrounds as well as Fair Haven Beach State Park. In addition to two sandy beaches, RV campers there can enjoy hiking trails, boat rentals and a pleasantly-wooded campground with standard electric sites.

Traveling by RV to Auburn, NY can be your family’s best opportunity to understand the tenacious woman known as ‘Moses’ who lead slaves to freedom. The RV campgrounds in the area surrounding Harriet Tubman National Historical Park make the journey even more inviting, and an RV rental will help keep it affordable. Make this trip a part of your RV camping plans this year.

Posted in Historical RV Vacation, New York RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

RV Camping to Special Events—Two Southern Festivals in May

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

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

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

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

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

South Carolina Strawberry Festival

South Carolina Strawberry Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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