RV vacation ideas

Adventure 4 min read

RVers of all types can struggle to find the time to take the RV road trips they want. To get the most out of your RV, you’ll want to plan a combination of trips, from short RV road trips to longer adventures and more distant RV vacation destinations.

If you need some inspiration, the following RV trip ideas can help you pick your next camping destination. Our tips for shorter weekend trips can help you find more time to use your RV throughout the year.

Top RV vacation destinations and road trip routes

There’s nothing like taking a road trip along one of America’s most scenic drives or heading off-road in your RV to enjoy the remote wilderness for days on end. Try the following RV vacation ideas to start planning an adventure you’ll never forget:

Head west for national parks

The national parks are classic RV vacation destinations for a reason. They offer some of the country’s most breathtaking natural scenery. Because of the concentration of important national parks in the western and southwestern United States, you can hit several parks in one trip.

Not all parks have RV hookups. If you want to camp inside, your best bet is to go with an RV that’s good for boondocking. However, some of the most popular parks — including Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and the Grand Canyon — have hookup sites inside the park. Before you plan your trip, check park limits on the types and sizes of RVs that can enter since rules vary.

Check out the East Coast

From Myrtle Beach to the mountains and forests of upstate New York, the East Coast offers a huge variety of natural scenery, so you’re sure to find a place for any outdoor activity you enjoy. If you’re a history buff, an RV trip to the East Coast also offers plenty of side trips. You’ll find important historical sites like the Lincoln Memorial, Independence Hall where the Declaration was signed, Kitty Hawk, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Boston National Historic Park.

Explore the Midwest

The Midwest has a lot to offer outdoor enthusiasts. Consider a trip to Minnesota’s north shore and Boundary Waters, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin’s Door County, or Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. A trip to the upper Midwestern states can pair naturally with a visit across the border to Canada.

Further south in the Midwest, there’s the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Further east is the Hocking Hills State Park of Ohio and the Indiana Dunes State Park, which pairs well with day trips to Chicago.

Discover Southern hospitality

If a trip through areas rich with music, food, and ocean views sounds appealing, consider an RV road trip through the southern United States. You can start in Alabama at Gulf State Park on the Gulf of Mexico. From there, drive to Fontainebleau State Park in Louisiana — with easy access to New Orleans — before passing on to Mustang Island on the Gulf Coast of Texas or heading inland for a change of scenery at Eureka Springs or the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest in Arkansas.

Pick a theme

Rather than picking a specific area or site to explore, you could pick a theme that interests you — like food or music — and create RV trip ideas around it. For instance, a barbecue enthusiast could plan a trip that includes Kansas City, Memphis, and Dallas to sample different barbecue styles. Along the way, that trip could include stops at beautiful natural areas like the Crater of Diamonds State Park.

Roll the dice

If you’re flexible and open to exploration, you might consider picking a trip to somewhere unfamiliar. RV travel apps can help you generate RV travel ideas. For instance, a tool like Campendium can help you find free campsites. Once you’ve decided on the campsite, you can find famous sites or outdoor activities to check out in the area.

Taking satisfying weekend RV road trips

Unfortunately, the traditional two-week family vacation has virtually disappeared from the American cultural landscape. It can be almost impossible for working parents and busy kids to carve out space in the calendar for an extended RV escape. Weekend trips can help you get out of the house and relax when longer RV trip ideas aren’t possible.

Weekend RV road trips might seem a bit overwhelming at first. If you must get stuff packed during the work week and then put that stuff away before Monday morning, when are you supposed to relax? If you do it right, weekend escapes can feel both adventurous and refreshing. Just follow the six simple rules for planning a weekend RV trip.

1. Use your vacation days

Study after study tells us that Americans are terrible at using their paid vacation time, and that’s not good for health or productivity. Even though taking an entire week off may be challenging, see if you can manage a Friday here or there. A three-day RV vacation will give you enough time to truly unwind.

2. Limit travel time

RV vacation destinations don’t have to be far away to be enjoyable and relaxing. Find a close-to-home retreat where you still feel miles away from the hectic demands of life. Also avoid travel routes that get congested on Fridays and Sundays. Nothing will dampen your camp mojo more than sitting in hours of traffic to and from the campground.

3. Keep food prep simple

Reduce stress and prep time with a simple weekend menu that includes items like cereal and oatmeal for breakfast and cold cuts for lunch. Add a dinner out on Saturday night, and your meals are taken care of.

4. Prepare gradually throughout the week before your trip

Do a few tasks each day (making RV beds, packing clothes, etc.) so you’re ready to leave immediately on Friday. Set a reminder to plug in your RV refrigerator 24 hours in advance, so it’s cold enough for your food.

5. Splurge for a late checkout

Most campgrounds set check-out times between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. But if someone isn’t arriving on your site that same day, you can check out later for a small fee. You can extend your getaway with late check-out and still be home before dinner.

6. Have a plan for Sunday evening

After a weekend RV road trip, you can have the camper unpacked and the house pulled together in very little time if every family member has a job. If you keep your packing simple, then all you must do is unload the refrigerator, throw in a load of laundry, and order the pizza.

Whether you’re planning coast-to-coast RV travels or relaxing close to home, it’s important to protect your investment. Requirements for RV insurance vary by state, so before you take off, make sure you have the coverage you need. Some types of RV may not require insurance in your state. Learn more RV insurance requirements by state and how RV insurance, may add extra protection for your home away from home.

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