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By Maggie Tomasek
If you’re looking to step up your road trip game, one great way to do that is with an RV road trip. Whether you decide to buy your own recreational vehicle, camper or motorhome, or you rent one just for an epic, one-time trip, here are some great RV vacation ideas, one for each general region of the country.
Yellowstone National Park is easily one of the best RV trips, but that also means you need to make your plans as far in advance as possible. Yellowstone has 12 campgrounds with 2,000 campsites, and during their busy season of May through October, they’re almost always filled.
Planning well in advance also allows you to pick the campground nearest to your preferred activities (e.g. hiking, fishing, horseback riding) and spectacular sites (e.g. Old Faithful, Norris Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces).
The Grand Canyon is, well, grand (to put it mildly!), so you have a few options. The most popular spot is the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, which is on the Arizona side and open all year. The National Park Service estimates 90% of all Grand Canyon travelers visit the South Rim. The North Rim, on the Utah side, is only open from May to October. No matter which you choose, once again, making plans and reservations in advance is strongly recommended.
Because the South Rim and North Rim have such different elevations, you’ll find vastly different scenery, climate and plant life. That also means Grand Canyon National Park is really like two parks in one, and it can be a fun challenge to see both sides on one RV trip.
Honestly, you could do a list entirely made up of just national parks for the best RV vacations – Arches, Glacier, Zion, Yosemite, Redwood, the list goes on and on! – because each comes with its own natural wonders, wildlife and terrain.
The Gulf Coast stretches 1,630 miles from Texas to Florida, which means you can encounter significantly different ecosystems. Beaches, swampland, marshes, river deltas, you’ll find them all. But nature isn’t the only thing within your reach: You can enjoy the amazing food and nightlife in New Orleans, try your luck at one of the Mississippi coast casinos, and check out the largest naval aviation museum in the world in Florida.
And of course, you’ll find tons of great campsites to park your RV all along the way, including Galveston State Park in Texas, Buccaneer State Park in Mississippi, Dauphin Island in Alabama and Henderson Beach State Park in Florida.
Summer is definitely the best time to tackle this one, as it gets downright cold in the U.P. in the winter. The U.P. features dense woods for camping and miles of shoreline along three of the Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan and Huron). So, if you like fishing, boating, hiking or biking, you can do it all there.
Map a scenic, easy-to-drive road trip with plenty of RV friendly campsite options, both on the coast and further inland.
Niagara Falls is one of the greatest natural wonders in North America, so it’s no wonder that it’s also one of the best RV trips you can take. The best-known campground is Branches of Niagara, only 15 minutes from the falls and chock-full of its own amenities, including ziplining, a lazy river, a lake and more. The Canadian side has an even more spectacular view and lots of other attractions, so if you have a passport, it’s definitely worth a trip across the border (just be sure to check on any border measures and requirements before you decide to go).
Hey, sometimes you need to get out of nature and get onto some rollercoasters, right? Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort has more than 700 RV campsites, most of which have full hook-ups and individual parking pads for up to 45-foot RVs. In addition to the convenience of being by the theme parks, the campsite itself has fun features, like an archery range and wagon rides. Also, you don’t even have to drive your own RV to Disney World – you can actually rent RVs specifically for Fort Wilderness Resort.
Of course, there are so many other places you can go! If none of these suggestions inspire you, do some brainstorming with these other RV vacation ideas in mind:
Amusement parks or water parks: If Disney World isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other theme parks with awesome attractions and RV friendly campgrounds nearby.
Music festivals: Take some of the stress out of a multi-day festival by taking an RV with friends.
Historical routes: If you’re a history buff, consider tracing the steps of Lewis and Clark or visiting historical battlefields.
Ballparks: Sports fans can catch a game at different major league ballparks across a certain region – or go hog-wild and try to hit all 30 in one summer!
If you’re ready to buy an RV so you can try all of these RV vacation ideas, you can get a great rate on an RV loan from Alliant.
Learn more about RVs and vacation planning in these articles:
Maggie Tomasek is the senior manager of brand communications at Alliant. She began her career as a journalist for newspapers in Utica, N.Y., Des Moines and Cincinnati before moving to Chicago in 2009. Maggie is an eight-time Chicago Marathon finisher and a lifelong creative writer with a passion for comedy. Her mom instilled in her a great sense of fiscal responsibility, and her big sister told her to throw that responsibility out the window every once in a while, in the name of life experience. So far, that combination of financial advice has worked out pretty well for her.
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