Traveling by RV is one of the best ways to visit most destinations in the U.S. and many other parts of the world.
RVs generally allow you a more intimate experience with your surroundings and usually cost less than most other travel options. (The few exceptions to this rule may be visits to major metropolitan areas, like New York City, when you want to experience all the city vibes.)
Based on my 20 years of camping and traveling experience, here are the top 5 travel destinations in the U.S. that are better by RV. The destinations take advantage of the RV’s abilities to move around, act as a base camp for families or large groups and provide a fully functioning home while allowing you to connect with the outdoors. RV travel provides a unique experience which, in many cases, simply can’t be beat.
1. U.S. National Parks
Going to one of 58 national parks is all about getting back to nature and exploring the great outdoors. There is no better way to do that than in an RV. RVs allow you to take your home to nature where you can step out of your living room and into the great outdoors.
Nearly all national parks, including Yellowstone, Yosemite and Zion, have RV suitable campgrounds within them. For those that don’t, or if the park campgrounds are full, there will be private campgrounds nearby. Many national parks are in areas where hotel space or other vacation rentals are very limited, which can make visiting these areas by those methods difficult. Tent camping is another alternative. While tent camping can give you the same living in nature feeling, it is much less comfortable then RV-ing. Note that many national park campgrounds, particularly in the West, don’t allow camping in soft-sided RVs because they don’t provide adequate protection from local wildfires.
All in all, RVs are by far the best way to visit a U.S. National Park.
2. Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a big exception to the RV city rule. Most who visit the city do so for the major attractions like Universal Studios™ or Walt Disney World®. Orlando itself is small enough to be easily navigated with an RV and you don’t have to go far to find rural areas if you prefer.
There are many RV parks in the area which all make great base camps for visiting the major attractions. You can enjoy the park and return for a fun evening of camping and activities that simply isn’t possible at the other resorts.
The RV parks there also tend to be a bit pricier than surrounding areas, but they are still substantially cheaper than a hotel. In addition to the lower costs, you also get the benefits of camping and having a full home away from home.
3. Black Hills, South Dakota
The Black Hills region in the central U.S. is an excellent place to RV. It’s home to major landmarks like Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument. Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Devils Tower and Custer State Park are also in the area as are several National Forest areas. Also dotting the landscape are several quaint small western towns.
The area is large enough that the added mobility of an RV can be a big advantage. The RV will allow you to stay in and explore an area for as long as you would like to stay. You can then pick up and move to another section and explore there. This will allow you to see more of the area and spend less time commuting between areas then you would if you stayed in a hotel.
4. Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are a string of islands originating at the southern tip of Florida that meander out into the Gulf of Mexico. They are all connected via U.S. Highway 1, which runs from the mainland to Key West. As a major tourist destination, there are several excellent hotels and rental properties all along the Keys, but visiting the Keys by RV is much better.
First off, like the Black Hills, this can be a regional visit. Each island has its own character and to experience that it is best to move around. You can do that on day trips, but traveling on U.S. 1 can be a slow process that will eat up a lot of time if you make frequent long day trips. It is far better to park your RV in an area and explore it on short day trips. Then move the RV down the islands and repeat. Also, most RV parks on the islands will be on or very near the water. There is something special about camping at the beach that cannot be matched at a hotel or fixed rental property. Finally, there can be significant cost savings by choosing an RV over a hotel in the Keys.
5. Oregon Coast
Not only is it best to visit the Oregon Coast in an RV, but it one of the best RV destinations in the U.S.
The Oregon Coast is several hundred miles of rocky coastline interspersed with beaches and quaint small towns. Running along that coast is U.S. Highway 101. Like U.S. 1 in the Florida Keys, travel down U.S. 101 can be slow going. This can make seeing much of the coast from a fixed point like a hotel room or specific town difficult.
Traveling the highway by RV allows you experience all that the many coastal areas have to offer while giving you a front-row seat to some of the nation’s most beautiful scenery.
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Shelley Trupert works for Outdoorsy, an RV marketplace for consumers and pros. She has been camping for almost 20 years and is always looking to find the next hike, off the beaten path. Opinions are her own.
Haven Life Insurance Agency offers this as educational information only and does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here.
Universal Orlando is a trademark of Universal Studios.
Walt Disney World is a registered trademark of The Walt Disney Company.