Since 1966, Camping World has proudly offered specialized products and accessories, expert advice and professional service to recreational vehicle owners and campers. Learn more about RVs, get helpful tips, find new camping destinations, and connect with the RV community and the RV lifestyle on the Camping World Blog.
When you’re camping in a travel trailer, having a portable generator can really make a big difference. You’re not always going to have shore power to plug into. That’s where an inverter portable generator comes into play. An inverter generator provides electrical power you can use in your RV. You can buy non-inverter generators, but the power isn’t the kind you want for RV appliances and household electronics. Make sure it’s an inverter generator and you’ll be good.
Before purchasing your generator, you should think about the kind of power output you’ll need. If you’re able to get by without many electronics, then you can probably buy a small portable generator. These are generally less expensive but have a lower power output. If you have a somewhat high power demand, you’ll need to get a generator that offers a moderate to high power output. These are usually larger in size and come with a higher price tag, too.
If you want to run a few basic RV appliances as well as some personal electronics, then a 2000 to 3000-watt generator should do the trick. However, it’s smart to do a quick tally of the items you’ll want to plug in and their power consumption before purchasing. If you want to run the AC, you’ll need a pretty powerful generator as AC systems can use up several hundred to a couple thousand watts of electricity depending on the size of the unit.
With all that in mind, here are three portable generators that would be great for travel trailer use.
1. Honda EU3000is Portable Generator
Honda makes some of the best generators out there. They’re notoriously quiet, fuel efficient, and produce high-quality power ideal for RVing and camping. The Honda EU3000is Portable Generator offers a good amount of power for a reasonable price and operates at 49 to 58 decibels. It’s also small enough to fit in many travel trailer storage areas or easily in the bed of a pickup or in the cargo area of an SUV.
The generator produces 3,000 watts of power maximum and 2,800 running watts, which is enough to run an AC unit if you need to in the summer. It will also run for up to 20 hours on 3.4 gallons of fuel, depending on the load. That is great performance from a generator that weighs 145 lbs. The unit comes with a three-year warranty and you can even string together multiple EU3000is to increase power output. If you need 6,000 watts of power you just add another generator.
If the Honda generator above isn’t quite going to cut it, then the Champion 3500 Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Portable Generator is another good option. It’s actually less money and produces more power than the Honda unit. The Champion name is well-known and respected, too, and the unit is small enough to fit in many storage areas, the bed of a pickup, or the cargo area of an SUV.
The unit makes about as much noise as the Honda generator, produces 3,500 watts maximum and 3,150 running watts of power, and can run off gasoline or propane. It won’t run as long as the Honda on a tank of gas, but it, too, comes with a three-year warranty. It also weighs less than the Honda generator at about 112 pounds. The handy roller wheels on the generator also make maneuvering the generator into a specific position easy. All told, it’s a great unit for the money.
If you don’t need as much power as the Honda and Champion generators provide, consider the Sportsman 2200 Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator. It produces a lot of power for a small generator that’s easy to store and move around as you need to.
This small generator produces 2,200 watts at its maximum output and around 1,800 running watts of power. Like the Champion, it can run off gasoline and propane and offers up to seven hours of running time per tank of gas or up to 18 hours with propane, depending on load. It’s also just as quiet as the other generators at 53 decibels and weighs far less at under 50 pounds.
If you plan on doing some RVing where you won’t have shore power, make sure you have a way to keep your travel trailer’s batteries charged up. A small generator like one of the ones shown above is perfect for your camping needs.
What generator do you use on your camping trips? Leave a comment below!
If you spend any time RVing in Florida, you might eventually find yourself exploring the Walt Disney World theme parks. Maybe you think it’ll be fun to drop in and say hi to Mickey while you’re snowbirding in Florida. Or, maybe it’s a good way for you to take the kids, grandkids, or nieces and nephews RVing with you.
Either way, the first campground that comes to mind for your Disney visit is likely Walt Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Disney’s Fort Wilderness is a fantastic choice, however, it is pricier than your average campground and is often booked far in advance.
No worries! If you find yourself needing an alternative to Fort Wilderness there are state and county parks in the area that’ll have you driving-distance from Disney while still providing you with a roomy and relaxing campsite.
The following campgrounds are all at state or county parks where your campsite is nestled in Florida’s natural beauty. All four are within an hour’s drive to Disney and under $35 a night.
Lake Kissimmee State Park
Lake Kissimmee State Park provides a beautiful, natural Florida setting to camp in. The campsites are all surrounded by oak trees, providing shade and privacy for your RV. The campsites are arranged in two loops. Both loops have bathrooms and showers located in the center. Sandy trails lead from the loop road into the bathrooms.
The campsites at this state park can accommodate rigs up to 55 ft long, so it’s definitely big rig friendly. All developed campsites have water and electric hookups. If you’re planning on adding a little outdoor activity to your Disney trip, you can hike–there are 13 miles of hiking trails–or you can paddle any of the three lakes in the park.
Experienced paddlers can try the Buster Island Paddling Trail (10 miles). The park also offers a lookout tower with views of Lake Kissimmee. From October 1 to May 1, the park has an 1876 “cow camp” with living history demonstrations.
At 51 miles from Disney World, expect your commute into Disney to be about an hour. This makes Lake Kissimmee State Park most ideal if you’re looking to visit just one of the Disney Theme Parks for one day and enjoy Florida’s nature the rest of your stay.
Moss Park is conveniently located just 27 miles to Walt Disney World. You can reasonably expect to arrive on Disney property in just over 30 minutes. Moss Park also provides shady and private campsites. All campsites have water and electric hookups.
Moss Park is an Orange County Park. If you happen to be an Orange County resident your nightly campsite fee is discounted, however, pricing is very reasonable for non-Orange County resident campers. Moss Park is located between two lakes and has a swimming beach. Hiking, biking, and kayaking are also popular activities at Moss Park.
Moss Park is ideal if you’re looking to visit the Disney Theme Parks for just one day or multiple days due to its relatively close proximity. Keep in mind there is a gate code to drive in after hours, so you’ll want to be checked in before going to Disney.
Another thing to note is that Moss Park campsites are not dog-friendly. Some Orange County Parks are, but they ask that pets not be left inside RVs for more than 30 minutes, which doesn’t really work well with a Disney visit.
Wekiwa Springs State Park
Like Moss Park, Wekiwa Springs State Park is just a bit over 30 minutes away at 33 miles from the Walt Disney World resort. This park is well-known for swimming in it’s cool, crystal clear springs. You can also enjoy a paddle down the Wekiva River which is a designated National Wild & Scenic River.
Wekiwa Springs State Park also provides great hiking and birding. All campsites have water and electric hookups. Some sites also have sewer hookups available. The campground is dog-friendly. However, on the day (or days) you visit the theme parks, you’ll want to look into Disney’s on-site dog boarding. Bathrooms and showers are accessible from the campsites which are fairly shaded.
Wekiwa Springs State Park is ideal if you’re looking to spend a day or two exploring Disney’s theme parks, but also spending some time getting a taste of Florida’s natural springs.
Lake Louisa State Park
At just 15 miles away from Disney World, Lake Louisa is your closest Fort Wilderness alternative. You can drive to Disney in just under 30 minutes. Lake Louisa is Florida’s newest state park. It has a brand new feel and is big rig friendly. However, because it is new, the campsites are not very shaded.
The asphalt paved camp loops have bathroom and shower access, but not as much privacy as some of the other alternatives. Still, the campsites are roomy and there is sufficient space between campsites. All sites have water and electric hookups.
There’s plenty of paddling to be done since there are three lakes, one of the lakes even allows swimming. Canoe and kayak rentals are available. The paved roads and trails in this park are also ideal for biking.
If you’re planning on visiting all Disney theme parks, Lake Louisa is your best alternative campground with its close proximity to Disney.
Florida’s county and state parks provide great alternatives to Disney’s Fort Wilderness. Do you know any other good campgrounds in the area? Leave a comment below.
Have you considered hitting the road in a motorhome or travel trailer, but you’re just too intimidated by going it alone? There are thousands of “solo travelers” that have thrown their inhibitions aside and jumped into RVing with both feet and we want you to become one! That’s why Camping World has put together a series of articles to encourage those who want to travel but haven’t quite figured out how to do it alone.
Today we’ll look at the Apps for the Solo Traveler.
Today’s technology provides some reassurance and assistance to those who enjoy solo travel. We’ve found several apps that offer safety, community, entertainment, navigation and destination help for you on the road.
RedZone Map – shows you the safest route of travel based on crime data, as well as current incidents as they are reported (both Android and iOS).
TripWhistle SOS Global – will call the local emergency number and share your location with emergency responders if you travel to different countries (iOS only).
Emergency Info Apps
ICE (In Case of Emergency) – lets you store all of your medical history in one place, including blood type, allergies, and contacts. It even works from the lock screen on your phone (Android only).
Drop Box – use this cloud-based service to hold important documents for access from wherever you travel, like medical records or veterinary records for pets (Android and iOS).
CityMaps2Go – this app doubles as a map and guidebook to cities. You can download an offline map and input your destinations, then ask for suggestions, even if you don’t have wifi or cell service (Android and iOS).
Allstays Pro – full-screen maps with everything from dump stations to campgrounds, low clearance roads and even Walmarts that allow overnight parking (Android and iOS).
Google Maps – use this service on your phone for GPS directions, local business suggestions, etc. (Android and iOS).
Gas Buddy – this app will give you up-to-date gas prices based on location. You can also attach a debit card to it and save $.05 per gallon at most gas stations (Android and iOS).
Contact Other Solo Travelers Apps
SoloTraveller – search for other travelers at your destination with filters for age, gender or interests (Android and iOS).
Contact with Locals Apps
VizEat – if you don’t want to eat alone, check out this app to connect you with private homeowners who cook authentic local meals in their homes (Android and iOS).
MealSharing – offers home-cooked meals around the United States (only online).
Oh, Ranger – discover state parks and national monuments on your route (Android and iOS).
Roadtrippers – plan your own tour with interesting destinations and unusual roadside attractions (Android and iOS).
Peek – find activities near your location that are specific to your interests (iOS and online).
Viber – use this wifi enabled calling service to avoid roaming charges anywhere in the world (Android and iOS).
WhatsApp – free calls and messaging around the world (Android and iOS).
Social Networking Apps
Instagram – many users find other travelers in a destination they are heading to by announcing it on their Instagram profile (Android and iOS).
Meetup – this is an online schedule of events, get-togethers, and meetings based on location and interests (Android and iOS).
Obviously, this is just a few of the many options you will find to make your solo journey more enjoyable and your travel smooth. Be sure to utilize these and add some applications of your own as you discover them along the way.
What apps do you use? Tell us in the comments below.
The Blue Ridge Mountains are one of the countries greatest mountain ranges. The mountains are a part of the Appalachian Mountains and stretch from Georgia to Pennsylvania. The range is home to some of the most beautiful sights you’ll see east of the Mississippi River.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the best ways to see this area. It’s the scenic ribbon of road winds its way along the nearly 470 miles the mountain range covers. It’s one of those must-do road trips for any RVer and rivals anything you’ll see on the coasts or in the Western United States.
Taking an RV along this iconic route is easy. There are tons of parks and campgrounds that will accommodate RVs. Here are five great choices for when you need a place to stop.
1. Mount Pisgah Campground
Mount Pisgah Campground, located in Canton, North Carolina, is one of the most common stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It offers 70 RV sites with showers, bathrooms, and laundry facilities. That’s plenty of campsites, but with the campgrounds ideal placement in Flat Laurel Gap it is quite popular, and you should think about making a reservation before you go.
Right at the campground, there’s plenty to see and do, including checking out the nearby trails with amazing views, dining at the Pisgah Inn restaurant, stopping in the gift shop and camp store, and just truly enjoying the beautiful natural landscape around you.
2. Julian Price Park Campground
Julian Price Park Campground is in Laurel Springs, North Carolina. It’s the perfect haven for relaxing in one of the most beautiful locations along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The campground features 68 RV campsites, though amenities aren’t plentiful. There are no hookups at the campground, but there are bathroom facilities and a dump station.
As long as you don’t mind dry camping for a couple of days, the Julian Price Park Campground has plenty to offer. You can rent a boat to go out on the lake, check out the trails and nature walks, and visit one of the performances at the 300-seat amphitheater.
3. Bear Creek RV Park
If you want a campground right in the bustling mountain city of Ashville, North Carolina, then you should hit up Bear Creek RV Park. The campground features plenty of paved, full hookup sites for RVers, though it’s always smart to call ahead and reserve your spot. The campground features three bathhouses, two laundry rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi and cable, and a heated swimming pool.
If you’re going to spend any time in Ashville, this is the perfect place to call your home base. You can get a discount on Biltmore Mansion tickets and all of the city’s fun attractions are just a short trip down the road. Also, the mountains and all the hiking trails you could want aren’t far either.
4. Bear Glenn Mountain Resort and Campground
Bear Glenn Mountain Resort and Campground, located in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, offers a wide variety of sites for RVers. You can get full hookup sites or not, and the amenities at the campground are extensive, too. There’s also high-quality bathroom and showering facilities, a game room, and playground.
Right at the campground, there’s over 13 miles of trails to be hiked, fishing and swimming opportunities, as well as courts and fields designed for all kinds of sports. If you need something less juvenile, the Linville Falls Winery is just a short drive away and so are kayaking and rafting experiences should you choose to do them.
5. Rocky Knob Campground
Rocky Knob Campground isn’t quite as large as some of the others on this list, but that’s a good thing if you can secure one of the 28 campsite RV spots. It’s secluded and offers a nice quiet place to be. There are bathroom facilities on site as well as a dump station and a large campfire circle designed to accommodate 150 campers.
The 3,500-acre Rock Castle Gorge is within the area of Rocky Knob where the campground is located. The Mabry Mill is also located nearby and offers hiking and sight-seeing opportunities you won’t find elsewhere. If you’re an avid hiker, you must try the Rock Castle Gorge Trail, which is a 10.8-mile loop trail that goes over 3,500 feet above sea level. If you’re not into hiking that much and would like a guide, there are several tours you can schedule in the area.
No matter where you camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains you’re bound to have a good time. This is one of the must-see areas of the country, and if you can’t get into any of these campgrounds, there are plenty more campgrounds to visit that are still quite nice.
Have you visited the Blue Ridge Mountains? What did you think? Where did you stay? Leave a comment below!
Skirting the line between California and Nevada, Death Valley National Park fits perfectly in our world of extremes. It’s the hottest place in North America (134° F), the driest place in North America (1.3 inches of moisture per year), the second lowest point in Western Hemisphere (282 feet below sea level), the largest national park in the contiguous United States, and the greatest range of habitats (from 282 feet below sea level to 11,049 feet above sea level).
The park offers up the unique and unusual, from ancient geology exposed to earth’s activity on the move to playas that hold primeval stories as well as useful minerals, canyons that twist and curve through arid landscapes, and flora and fauna that have learned expedient adaptations to thrive under harsh conditions.
This is a destination for the curious, the hearty and the exuberant, because it requires close inspection and dogged resilience to celebrate the discoveries made in places where few dare to explore.
History of Death Valley National Park
Several Native American cultures inhabited the deserts of Death Valley up to 10,000 years ago when the climate was milder and large game roamed this region. Inland lakes were more plentiful, like Lake Manly, which covered what is the Badwater Basin today. As the temperatures rose and water evaporated, leaving salt, talc, and borate in its place, the human settlements dispersed.
It wasn’t until the California gold rush of 1849 that the first European descendants arrived in the area, and they only stumbled into the valley by accident. Getting lost while looking for a short cut from the Old Spanish Trail, the group of 100 wagons found water but had to eat some of their oxen to survive. They finally abandoned their belongs and transportation and hiked out of the valley, with one member of the group saying “Goodbye, Death Valley,” giving this harsh barren landscape an inescapable name that we still use today.
About 40 years later, some enterprising settlers discovered the borate deposits and Death Valley’s first commercial borax operation was created, using 20-mule teams to haul the mineral to Mojave, 165 miles away. At about the same time, two men, Jack Keane and Domingo Etcharren, discovered gold, and thus began a ‘mini gold rush’ to the area. A few towns grew out of this activity, but the gold soon played out, and the communities became the ghost towns of Rhyolite and Skidoo.
Borax Mule Wagons
By the turn of the century, resorts centered around natural springs were being built in the region, and Death Valley became a popular winter destination.
One stands out today: Scotty’s Castle was constructed by Albert Mussey Johnson as a gift for his bride. However, Johnson had been fooled into investing in non-existent gold mines in Death Valley by a con man named Walter Scott.
Johnson fell in love with the area when he came to visit said ‘mines,’ and knew he was being taken to the cleaners, but didn’t seem to care. He built the enormous home for his wife and let “Scotty” reside there until his death. Walter Scott led everyone to believe that he was the owner of this unique property, and Johnson encouraged the deception. Today the mansion offers tours to park visitors, with rangers dressed in period costumes.
Shortly after Scotty’s Castle was completed almost 2 million acres of the region was set aside as a national monument to protect its unusual landscapes, environment, and wildlife. Finally, in 1994 Death Valley acquired another 1,300,000 acres and was bumped up in status to become a national park.
Why Visit Death Valley National Park in Your RV?
With all the extremes that Death Valley presents, why would you want to visit the park in your RV? Why, the extremes, of course!
Having your home with you as you venture from the lowest spot in the country to desert mountaintops will give you the opportunity to explore each. With a motorhome or travel trailer, you bring along your own shade from the harsh sun, and the option to experience more of the park on your own schedule.
In fact, many RVers decide to stay for long stretches in this unusual land that pushes the boundaries, exploring its many juxtapositions.
Places to Go
Here’s a look at some of the must-visit spots should you travel to this barren land.
This unique structure an elaborate Spanish style mansion was reputedly built in the 1920s by “Death Valley Scotty,” a flamboyant con man who perpetuated the myth that the residence was built with money he made as a gold miner. Take a tour of the property given by rangers in period clothing from the Roaring 20s.
Furnace Creek Visitors Center
When visiting the visitors center, check out the bookstore, collect information, and learn about ranger-led tours. There is a 20-minute film on the park, and ranger talks take place during the winter months of November through April.
Here you can solve the mystery of rocks that move on their own at The Racetrack, a dry lake bed created by evaporation. Rocks from the surrounding hills have fallen onto The Racetrack and mysteriously scrape across the lake bed, leaving a trail of their movements.
Saline Valley Hot Springs
The hot springs are accessible via a tough four-hour drive on brutal backroads or by personal aircraft (landing on the “Chicken Strip”). They have been carved out of the desert, providing a real oasis, complete with palm trees. Being rather rustic, they are not, however, for those who enjoy the creature comforts of a resort.
Things to Do
Here’s a look at all the activities in the park you can partake in should you feel the need.
Because the park is in such a dry climate, it is suggested that hikers carry at least one liter of water for short hikes and at a minimum, one gallon for longer or overnight trips. The most pleasant time of year is from November through March, especially if hiking in the lower elevations. Here are a few of the numerous trails throughout Death Valley National Park:
Many visitors opt to see the park on a bicycle, as they are allowed on all public vehicular roads. Considering that there are 785 miles of roadway, there’s a lot of ground to cover!
Death Valley has a large number of bird species that either call the park home or migrate through it. You can try birdwatching to see the ‘birds of a feather’ in places like Salt Creek, Saratoga Spring, and Furnace Creek, where a bird viewing platform awaits.
There are nine official campgrounds inside the national park. Only one of those has 18 sites with full hookups. The rest of the sites are perfect for boondocking or tent camping.
All but two of the campgrounds have water available. Overnight permits for backcountry camping are required from the visitors center, and since Death Valley has been designated as a gold tier night sky, it’s the perfect place to count constellations from your campsite.
When to Visit Death Valley National Park
The park is open year round, but with the highest temperatures in the Western Hemisphere, most tourists choose to visit during the winter season from November through April, avoiding the extreme summer heat. We’d recommend you do the same unless you’re up for an extra-hot challenge.
Where RVers Can Stay
Furnace Creek Campground within the park boundaries has 18 sites with water and electric hookups. Otherwise, the following three privately owned campgrounds can handle motorhomes and travel trailers:
The Ranch at Death Valley – located next to Death Valley Visitor Center, but sites do not have hookups and are back-in only. A golf course is close by, along with a camp store, swimming pool, and shower facilities.
Getting to Death Valley is a piece of cake—follow California Highway 190. It intersects the park from east to west. Once in the park, many roads are paved.
However, if you choose to venture onto dirt roads be aware that sudden storms can wash out roadbeds without much warning. Several of these roads are still closed because of damage incurred during storms in 2015.
Death Valley National Park makes extreme topography and climates thought-provoking, with mysteries like moving rocks at The Racetrack or the endangered Salt Creek pupfish that can withstand water temperatures from 32° F to 116° F and is only found in the park.
We are amazed at the ability of inhabitants past and present to thrive in this severe environment. Sheer joy erupts with rain, as what is normally a stark, monochromatic landscape becomes vibrant with the colors of massive wildflower blooms. It is apparent that Death Valley is anything but deadly … it is alive with life. We just have to look a little closer for it.
Is Death Valley National Park on your list of future locations? Why or why not? Leave a comment below!
When shopping for an RV, you need to make sure you find a unit that works well for you and your family. For some people that means a towable RV. For others, it’s a motorhome of some sort. Class C motorhomes work well for many families and have for decades.
The Class C RV is a good motorhome for many families because it’s right in the middle of the motorhome market. It’s not right for everyone, but the design does offer some good advantages. Here’s a look at some of the biggest ones.
If you’re in the market for a motorhome, then a Class C is going to be the most affordable option. While there are towables much more affordable than Class-C motorhomes, when compared to Class A and Class B RVs, the Class C looks like a bargain in most cases.
Class C RVs provide a good mix of what Class A and Class B motorhomes do for a fraction of the price. If you don’t want to get a towable RV, but need something reasonably priced you can get for an easy-to-handle monthly payment, then a Class C RV is the way to go.
2. Size and Weight
Class Cs are generally smaller in overall size and weight than a Class A motorhome. Even when a Class C RV is the same length as a Class A, it’s usually much lighter. This isn’t a huge concern for some people. However, if you want a motorized RV that’s larger than a Class B camper van, but don’t want to spring all the way up to a Class A, the Class C offers a happy medium.
While it might seem smart to get the most floor space possible, many people find they actually enjoy a smaller RV. Plus, many campgrounds have length limitations, which could keep you from staying at certain campgrounds if you have a big Class A.
Just because you get a Class C doesn’t mean you’ll come in under the size requirements, though. Some Class C campers are quite large, so make sure to keep that in mind when considering length.
3. Engine Access and Maintenance
Class C RVs are built on truck chassis. The basic design of the driver’s compartment and front of the vehicle is unchanged. Essentially, companies build the living quarters of the RV behind the driver’s compartment. That means the vehicle still has a typical engine bay, which is often easier to work on than the engine bay found in a Class A RV.
If you plan to do any basic maintenance task yourself, like change the air filter, all you have to do is pop the hood like you do with a regular car or truck. Once the hood’s up, you’ll be able to do what you need to do. When it comes to maintenance you’ll have to take your motorhome into a shop for, you’ll likely still have to go to an RV-specific service station, due to the vehicle’s overall size.
4. Over the Cab Sleeping and Storage Area
One of the defining factors of the Class C is the space over the cab of the vehicle. Most of the time it’s a sleeping area, but it can also double as a storage space. Many Class A RVs also have a drop down bed, but the Class C’s space is built right into the design.
This space is perfect for when you travel with guests, kids, or grandkids. When it’s not used as a sleeping space, it works really well for storage, though you’ll need to make sure you have a place for the items stored there when you have overnight guests.
What do you love about your Class C RV? Leave a comment below.
Whether you have a motorhome or are towing a trailer, driving can be a daunting experience for new owners. Trust me, with a 44′ fifth-wheel, I know. However, with some practice and patience, you can be navigating parking spaces, gas stations and right turns like a pro in no time. Here are six tips to help you get started on your RV journey.
Don’t be surprised that driving a motorhome or towing a trailer affects route planning. For starters, you need to be clear on your vehicle’s height and weight. Plan your routes using an RV GPS device or Trucker Atlas, which can alert you to low bridges or other restrictions.
While looking at potential routes, consider maneuverability. Will your route take you through a busy city? Merging and yielding require patience. Driving with heavy traffic means you have to be aware of vehicles all around you, especially in blind spots.
Finally, even getting gas can be a little tricky. Be sure to choose a gas station that allows plenty of room for maneuvering around the pumps and parking areas.
Wide Turns Required
Speaking of maneuverability, you will need to take wide turns. This is particularly true of right turns because you’ll be up against the curb. A sharp turn could find your rear tires up on the curb or tracking over someone’s lawn.
You must also stay in your own lane to avoid a collision, so simply pull out farther into the intersection before starting the turn. Watch your rear-view mirrors, keep as close to the center lane as you can, and be aware of impatient drivers who may try to zip around you.
Take It Slow
When driving an RV or towing a camper, you should not feel a need for speed. Enjoy the journey. There are a few reasons for this. First, with that kind of weight behind you, braking will require a little more time. Speed increases that exponentially.
You’ll also need to maintain a greater distance from the vehicles in front of you, maintain awareness, and give yourself time to react. Slowing down will also help save the pain at the gas pump. Reducing your highway cruising speed from 75 mph to 55 mph can reduce fuel consumption as much as 20 percent.
Maintain Your Vehicle
A well maintained RV or tow vehicle, is a safe vehicle. Be sure to keep up with the preventive maintenance and conduct regular inspections of your RV systems, especially those things that can cause an accident while you are traveling. Make a pre-trip checklist, and do an inspection of these items every time you get behind the wheel:
Belts and hoses (check for cracking)
Headlights, turn signal, tail lights
Hitch or towing equipment
Tires for the correct air pressure and sufficient tread depth
Tire blowouts are one of the leading causes of RV accidents. They can be caused by overloading, under inflated or old tires. Double checking your tires, traveling the right speed, and ensuring they’re not overloaded will help you avoid blowouts.
Pay Attention to the Weather
Another common cause of RV accidents is driving in poor weather. Rain, fog, ice, and especially high winds make RV driving treacherous. Plan your trip to avoid bad weather, and always factor in extra time for delays in the event of unforeseen storms.
If you’re on the road and dangerous weather arises, pull over into a rest stop or at the next exit. Please note that in the event of high winds, there is simply no better option than to get off the road and wait it out. When you do get back on the road after a storm, keep an eye out for debris and downed power lines. Never drive through standing water. You have no idea how deep it may be.
Practice Makes Perfect
Take some time to practice turning with your RV before you head out on a road trip. Find a big empty parking lot or dirt field. Put out some cones and practice maneuvering and parking. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help or sign up for a driving course. Spending some time getting to know your RV and your limitations will ensure you have a safe trip and make everything more fun.
Do you have any RV driving tips you think should be added here? Leave a comment below.
Have you considered hitting the road in a motorhome or travel trailer, but you’re just too intimidated by going it alone? There are thousands of “solo travelers” that have thrown their inhibitions aside and jumped into RVing with both feet and we want you to become one! That’s why Camping World has put together a series of articles to encourage those who want to travel but haven’t quite figured out how to do it alone.
All RV owners have gone through the same process of narrowing down which types of RVs would fit their lifestyles: a motorized vehicle or pulling a trailer. Let’s break down the pros and cons for you:
A motorized RV or motorhome has an engine in it that needs to be maintained, just like a car. So, if you are planning on bringing a car (a toad) along behind the motorhome you’ll have two vehicles to maintain.
Motorhomes come in three classes (or types): Class A (large ‘bus’), Class B (small van) and Class C (usually has a bed over the cab). They can also be designated by gasoline or diesel fuel engines.
As a solo traveler I like the idea that if I feel unsafe, I don’t have to get out of my vehicle and hook up a trailer to leave. I can hop in the driver’s seat and just drive away. Most motorhomes have their own built-in generators, providing options for charging the batteries in your camper. Class A’s and C’s normally have more storage than travel trailers.
Trailers or Towables
Trailers come in a couple of different versions: travel trailers (pull behind), fifth-wheels (front end sits over the bed of the towing truck), teardrop campers (small low profile with interior bed), and pop-up trailers. These are all also referred to as towables.
All of these trailers are pulled by a large vehicle, usually a truck. As a solo traveler, you will have to decide if you can become comfortable hitching and unhitching your trailer whenever you camp. With back-up cameras, the chore is a little more manageable these days.
Sometimes trailers do not come with a generator. However, you can purchase a mobile generator and attach it to the trailer, if you feel one is needed.
Lifestyle to Consider
There are several things to take into consideration when buying your RV that only you can decide. Here are some things to think about:
Check water tank sizes, especially if you plan on boondocking (fresh, gray and black water)
Look at different lengths of trailers and motorhomes to see what you are comfortable with on the road
Do you need a bath in your RV or will you be using campground baths and showers?
Are you planning to park your camper in one place and use the truck or a toad to drive around? You may want to consider what kind of mileage your day trip vehicle gets. For example, if you will be driving a big dually that gets 10 mpg, you may want to consider pulling a toad that gets 30 mpg if you spend more time on day trips and less time driving the RV to destinations.
Do you need more than one sleeping area for visitors or family to camp with you?
Where do you plan to spend most of your time? If it is in national park campgrounds, there is an average maximum length of 27’ for RVs.
Do you like to cook? Then a teardrop or pop-up camper might not be for you. Teardrops sometimes have a kitchen outside with a cooler and a hot plate. Pop-ups usually have a propane stove and sometimes a sink. However, neither offers many kitchen amenities.
Will you be spending a lot of time indoors working or entertaining? Figure a floor plan with living area space into your decision.
If you will be using your RV frequently or plan to live in it, you may want to consider only those with larger refrigerators and freezers.
Do you want to stay off the grid and boondock for a substantial amount of time? Look at campers that have the capability to add solar panels to their roofs and space for extra batteries.
If you plan on camping frequently in cold weather, you may want to look at Class A motorhomes. Their tanks and pipes are usually located in an insulated “basement” that helps to keep them warm. If you’re set on a towable, you can put skirting along the bottom of any type RV and heat with a lightbulb, propane heater, or another source.
Sample Floor Plans
Here’s a look at some of the modern floor plans so you can get an idea as to what’s out there. A good place to see multiple ones is at Camping World’s website.
Note this Class B has two twin beds that can be converted into one large bed, and that space can be used as a dining/entertainment area during the day. You can see pictures of the interior here.
There are so many configurations to choose from. My suggestion is to come up with a list of “must-haves” and a list of “I can compromise” features after considering how, when, and where you will use your RV. Then peruse the Camping World website to see what is available. Before you know it, you’ll be driving an RV tailored just for you!
Have you found the RV of your dreams? What do you camp in? Leave a comment below!
When many people think RVs they think of the Rocky Mountains and heading out west. If they think of the coast, they often think of California, the Gulf Coast, or maybe the Florida Keys. While all those places are fantastic trips to take and enjoyable adventures, it’s important not to discredit the Eastern United States, especially the East Coast.
The East Coast is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and while there might not seem to be as much wide open space as there is in the Western United States, there’s still tons of exploring you can do or plenty of spots to sit back and relax. With all that in mind, here are three East Coast destinations that are perfect for an RV trip.
1. Jekyll Island, Georgia
If you’re looking for a truly wonderful spot in the Deep South, then you should hit Jekyll Island in Georgia. This unique island is one of the Golden Isles along the East Coast. It’s accessible easily by RV and offers tons of fun things to do and beautiful things to see.
Finding a place to park your RV is easy. There’s the Jekyll Island Campground, which is right on the island and comes highly recommended. Space is limited, though so you’ll want to book well in advance. If that campground is full, there are several others on the mainland only a short drive away.
2. Carolina Beach State Park, North Carolina
South Carolina’s coast must be on your list of places to visit in the Eastern U.S. When you do, consider spending some time in the Carolina Beach State Park. The park provides some beautiful natural exploration, secluded campsites, and plenty to see and do.
Start by hiking some gorgeous trails and taking in all the unique landscape has to offer. Then you can try your hand fishing along the Cape Fear River or kayaking the waters with your family. If you need a night out on the town or some time on an idyllic beach, you can head over to the town of Carolina Beach, which is only a few minutes away. If you’re looking for a historic experience, drive down to the Fort Fisher Historic State Site to see the remains of a vast Confederate fort.
If you’re looking for a real adventure on the East Coast then the Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts is an excellent choice. With more than 40,000 acres of shoreline alone, the national seashore is an absolute must see. It’s perfect for the whole family, too, so get ready to load up the RV and head out.
There are tons of things to do inside the park. You can go hiking, biking, kayaking, hang on the beach or try fishing the beautiful waters. When you get tired of doing that, take a lighthouse tour or try out any of the indoor activities held at the visitor centers. The Salt Pond Visitor Center focuses on the cultural themes represented on Cape Cod, and the Province Lands Visitor Center showcases nature and history of the Province Lands with beautiful and educational exhibits.
Unfortunately, there’s no RV camping on the national seashore owned land, but there’s plenty of options very close by. Maurice’s Campground is a good option extremely close option, or you can check out Dune’s Edge which isn’t much further away. There are also several other options if those two are full. No matter where you decide to stay it’s always smart to reserve a space ahead of time.
Do you have more East Coast destinations you think are a must-see? Leave a comment below!
If you get into a conversation with a group of RVers on which national park is their favorite, it won’t take long until someone claims Joshua Tree National Park. It’s truly a camper’s paradise with its wide open space and panoramic views.
There’s something magical about the way the landscape glows at golden hour and how the sky turns from red hot during sunset to dark blue and star-filled at night. You can enjoy the remoteness of the park, but also it’s proximity to Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.
We absolutely loved our visit to the park and relished the opportunity to enjoy the endless roads of the desert landscape, play on the rock formations and, of course, marvel at the Joshua Trees.
Why Visit Joshua Tree?
The number one reason to visit Joshua Tree National Park is to see its famous Joshua Trees. These trees are truly fascinating and since the Mojave desert is the only place in the world where they grow naturally, Joshua Tree National Park is the best place to see them!
These trees range between 15-40 feet tall and can live an impressive 150 years. They’re members of the Yucca family and appear as though they’re from a different planet – limbs unpredictably jetting out like they have their own minds.
Another great reason to visit Joshua Tree National Park is the warm weather and abundance of sunshine. It’s no secret that RVers love to snowbird and the Californian desert is a wonderful place to be during the spring and fall months. You’ll enjoy sunny days and clear nights, perfect for dry camping with solar panels.
Things to Do in Joshua Tree National Park
There are many other activities in the park beside looking at the trees! Joshua Tree is unique in that it’s located where two deserts ecosystems intersect.
The combination of the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert make Joshua Tree a wonderful desert wilderness to explore. The most popular activities in the park are camping, stargazing, hiking, biking, photography and rock climbing.
Cholla Cactus Garden
The Cholla Cactus Garden is its own special area and unlike any other part of the park. Be sure to enjoy the flat, ¼ mile nature trail to get the best look at the cacti.
This patch of cacti is incredible because it mostly consists of Teddybear Cholla, which is the star of the cactus world! The Cholla Cactus Garden is so impressive and you’ll love snapping photos of these majestic plants. Their beauty changes throughout the day depending on how the sunlight hits them. A small word of advice, look but don’t touch. Ouch!
Arch Rock is a very popular rock formation located ½ mile from the White Tank Campground. The loop trail is easy to follow and a perfect activity to do as a family. Of course, the Arch Rock itself is the thing people most want to see, but there’s lots of space to wander around and explore the other rock formations, too.
Tip – Arch Rock is a very popular place for night photography and stargazing. If interested, White Tank Campground is a really convenient place to stay because of it’s proximity to the trail head.
Keys View is a popular lookout that offers incredible panoramic views of the park and the Coachella Valley. If beautiful scenery is your thing, make sure to visit Keys View. It’s about a 20-minute drive from the main road to the lookout via Keys View Rd.
One of the most popular activities in the park is the hike to Ryan Mountain. This 3-mile-total trail leads you to the summit, where you’ll be treated with sweeping 360-degree views. The hike is listed as challenging by the NPS so be sure to bring plenty of water and expect changing weather conditions.
When to Visit Joshua Tree National Park
The best times to visit are during the spring and fall months. Due to extreme desert heat (+100℉ days are the norm), the park is pretty quiet during the summer. In the heart of winter, the park’s average daily temperature is 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfectly comfortable, but the nights get cold and often drop to freezing.
Where to Stay Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is pretty remote and expansive. You’ll want to stay a few days. Unlike other national parks, there are no lodges or resorts for overnight accommodations. There are eight developed campgrounds, however, and camping out under the stars at Joshua Tree is an unforgettable experience. Here are a few important things to be aware of ahead of time if you’re planning to camp in Joshua Tree.
Reservation vs. First-Come, First-Served
Four of the developed campsites require reservations. These campgrounds are larger than the non-reserved campgrounds and a couple of them offer common amenities such as water and flush toilets. These campgrounds fill up very quickly. We recommend planning well in advance.
Black Rock and Cottonwood are the most developed campgrounds (water, toilets, sanitation dump) and are the only campgrounds you can stay in if you have a larger rig.
Black Rock has six sites that can accommodate rigs with a total length (tow vehicle included) of 38-40 feet and seven sites up to 42 feet. Cottonwood has around twenty-five campsites that can accommodate rigs slightly longer than 35 feet.
Indian Cove and Jumbo Rocks both have a few spots for RVs up to 35 feet total length. Therefore, if you have a rig larger than 35 feet, be very aware that the spots available to you are considerably limited.
These campgrounds are great options if you have a smaller rig and the good fortune of securing a site. During the popular season, these campgrounds fill every weekend and often during the week, as well. These are primitive campgrounds so you will need to bring (and carry out) everything you’ll need during your stay.
Other Important Notes About Camping in Joshua Tree:
Reservations are not required during the summer months. No campgrounds in the park offer electric RV hookups and generator use is restricted to 7-9 am, noon-2 pm, and 5-7 pm.
Getting to and Around Joshua Tree National Park
Nestled between I-10 and California SR 62, Joshua Tree is located in Southeastern California and is easy to access.
On the south side, Indigo is about a 40-minute drive from the Cottonwood Visitor Center. Indigo is a big city and has all the needed conveniences and amenities. Twentynine Palms, CA is right outside the northern part of the park and also has some amenities and accommodations.
Getting around the park is easy, as paved roads traverse the entire park. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the park is nearly 800,000 acres and going from site to site can require long drive times. The majority of the sites are located near the northern edge of the park, so if you’re coming from the south along I-10, you’ll be driving through the park for an hour or so before you spot your first Joshua Tree.
Tips and Tricks Specific to Joshua Tree
Photo: Follow Your Detour
Joshua Tree is an incredible place to enjoy all the great activities and the unique ecosystem of the desert. It’s important to remember that the desert can be dangerous and weather conditions can change quickly. Be ready and take proper precautions when visiting the park. The remote location means there is no cell service, so for safety purposes, let people know your plans ahead of time.
One of the reasons we loved Joshua Tree National Park so much, other than it’s famous trees, was the simplicity of the park. There’s lots of hikes to do and rocks to climb, but you could also just relax at your campsite or near a cropping of rocks and watch the time slowly slip away. We loved the slowness of it all and fully enjoyed the breathtaking sunsets that only the desert can provide