An RV adventure is a great way to explore and travel safely during COVID. But it can be overwhelming to know where to go.
That’s why we asked experienced RVers – families, couples, retirees and solo travellers, to share their favourite adventures. Check them out:
Boondock Your RV: Free Camping at Las Cienegas, AZ
There is no safer way to RV during the pandemic than to boondock – camping for free without hookups on public lands.
Yep, it’s free, scenic, and socially distanced. I was recently camping at a place called Las Cienegas about 50 miles southeast of Tucson, Az. It’s one of my favorite places to boondock.
It’s simply gorgeous. Mountain scenery with grasslands… a rare sight for a desert setting! On this last trip, my friends and I visited a vineyard in Sonoita (south) called Hops and Vines. It had outdoor seating with killer views and comes complete with a peacock! Dogs and children are welcome.
They have a ‘sober shack’ complete with drinks for kids and for the designated driver. It’s the perfect Covid-friendly adventure for when you actually leave Las Cienegas.
But Cienegas itself is so appealing, you won’t want to leave but to explore more of the ranch. (It used to be an enormous working ranch, but the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) purchased it and now maintains the property).
There are roads friendly to most vehicles allowing you to drive most of the ranch.
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area is simply an unforgettable adventure.
RV Travel Tip by: Kelly Beasley is the co-founder of CampAddict.com, a site dedicated to educating the newer RVer.
Related Reading: Touring Grand Canyon National Park.
RV Adventures from Sun to Snow
My family and I have been RVing full-time for over two years. Obviously, the last year has been during COVID.
We’ve had to get creative with ways to adventure and explore while navigating this new world and staying safe.
Here are a couple of RV adventures I’d highly recommend to others!
Skiing in Park City, Utah
We spent a few months camped at the Park City RV Resort and enjoyed skiing at nearby ski resorts such as Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain. Ski resorts are doing a great job of ensuring everyone stays safe.
We wore masks while in lift lines, only rode the lift with our family and brought our lunch to enjoy outside. Park City also offers great winter hiking options, such as the Mine Shaft Loop trail that leads to an old mining building!
Kayaking in the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are a great place to enjoy an RV adventure. We spent many days exploring the mangroves and even paddled out to a private island, just off the coast of the RV park we were staying at!
RV Travel Tip by: Jessica Baker and her family travel full-time in their RV. You can find out more about their travels at Boundless Bakers.
Related Reading: 19 Things To Do on Amelia Island For the Outdoor Adventurer
RV Adventures in Yellowstone, Montana
This year we spent time in southern Montana. We stayed just north of Gardiner Montana on BLM land.
We stayed right on the Yellowstone River where we went fly fishing and did a Paddleboard adventure. The trip included a hike in Yellowstone Park to Bunsen Peak, a visit to the Hot Spring, and rafting along the Yellowstone River with a guide in Gardiner, Montana.
Montana is an awesome location for RVing. And Yellowstone is simply amazing!
Tips for RVing at Yellowstone
Stay on BLM land outside of Yellowstone – this is called boondocking and means you won’t have any hookups – so no water or power. You would normally want solar to make this work.
Rent fly fishing gear from the local fly fishing store. If you have a paddleboard, bring it with you, or you can get an inflatable one for easier storage.
Make a reservation before you head for rafting out of Gardiner – since they can be busy in the summer months.
Make part of your trip relaxing at the campsite and enjoying your surroundings!
RV Travel Tip by: Bryanna Royal and her family travel around North America seeking adventure and ultimate RV road trips, which you can read about at Crazy Family Adventure.
Related Reading: How To Find The Best Places to Hike Near You
Planning the Perfect RV Adventure for Hikers
My wife and I have traveled extensively in our RV and we rent it out on peer-to-peer sites when we are not using it.
We recently did a long trip through the southwest of Utah (one of our favorite destinations).
One of our favorites for this trip was the Kanarra Waterfall hike. We stayed at the RV park right down the street and we were at the trailhead in less than five minutes.
We are avid hikers and I plan the trip this way:
1. Search AllTrails.com for the best (or most off-the-beaten-path trails, due to COVID).
2. Google map the area for the nearest roads to get to those areas.
3. Use Campendium.com to search for boondocking/dry camping RV areas. This ensures we are not close to others and we always have a much better view.
4. Every 3 or 4 days we go to an RV park that offers, water/electricity and a septic dump.
RV Travel Tip by: Michael Harlow and his wife have been RVing for four years and have traveled through the USA, Canada, and Alaska.
A Retired Couples’ RV Adventures
We had a scary but wonderful experience last October while visiting the newest national park in the United States, The New River Gorge National Park, in Fayetteville, West Virginia.
Taking part in the “Bridge Walk” was an unforgettable highlight of the trip. It is a private, one-of-a-kind adventure where you walk the 24” wide catwalk under the length of the bridge, 850 feet above the New River across the gorge.
While traveling the country in our Airstream during the summer of 2020, we felt very safe at the Bridge Walk, with both their Covid protocols and also their fall protection, as you wear a harness and are safely tied off to a high-tech cable system above the walkway.
RV Travel Tip by: The Retirement Travelers are a YouTubing couple travelling the world. In 2020, they logged 19,000 miles on their first year of RV’ing.
Related Reading: 54 Camping Gifts that Should be on Everyone’s Wishlist
Life in an Airstream
My husband and I traveled via our airstream trailer in November 2020 from Virginia to Fort Collins, Colorado. While there, we hiked in Red Rocks (located in Morrison, Colorado), went fishing on the Poudre River and visited the Columbine Memorial in Littleton, Colorado.
Everyone we encountered during this trip, including the hike, was wearing masks and social distancing.
It was a fun and safe place to visit. Eateries did not allow inside dining. Outside dining was permitted with social distancing protocols in place.
RV Travel Tip by: Courtney Edwards currently lives in an airstream Classic 33 and has been Rving for a year and a half now. You can read about her experiences at Tin Can Living.
Related Reading: The 12 Best Ski Resorts in Colorado
Experiencing the Van Life
We found the best way to continue adventuring during a pandemic was to buy a vintage camper van and “van life” through the mountains.
We were able to safely satisfy our itch to explore by boondock camping out in the middle of nowhere, hiking to magnificent mountains, swimming in ice-cold lakes, skinny-dipping in secret hot springs and trying not to get eaten by bears.
There are many hot springs in the Pacific Northwest. You can find the most popular ones by searching best hots springs in [state].
But, the best way to find secret hot springs is to chat up locals in small towns that you pass through.
The hot springs we visited are called Umpqua Hot Springs in Oregon. We honestly had no idea what to expect because some reviews we found said it was a magical place, while others said it was trashy.
The truth was, it depends on your definition of trashy. The place itself was beautiful and relatively clean (apart from the bathrooms in the parking lot—avoid those at all costs).
However, the hot spring pools were full of friendly, naked hippies smoking weed, which may be a shock to some people.
We took social distancing to the extreme—sometimes going over a week in nature without seeing another soul. Normally, our only contact with civilization was to restock food, water, and gas.
Best of all we found this to be one of the cheapest ways to travel around the U.S., you just need to cover food, gas and a National Parks Pass—and you’re set for unlimited adventures.
RV Travel Tip by: Mitch Glass is a travel blogger and digital nomad coach at ProjectUntethered.com and has been traveling through Asia, Central America, and South America since 2015.
The Best Way to Enjoy Hiking while RVing
I’ve found that traveling in an RV is the best way to find adventure during COVID-19. This allows me to continue to travel the US in the safest possible manner.
I can pay for fuel at the pump, use my bathroom, cook in my kitchen, and sleep in my bed, all while seeking out the best socially distanced adventure opportunities.
The best part of traveling in a self-contained RV is that you don’t even have to stay in crowded campgrounds. You can choose to overnight on free public land with spectacular scenery.
Even better, you can walk right out your door directly to fabulous hiking trails. Hiking has been my favorite adventure during COVID because it’s easy to social-distance outdoors.
One of my favorite east coast hiking spots is Shenandoah National Park in Northwest Virginia. With over 500 miles of trails from short, accessible nature paths to challenging treks with multiple scenic overlooks, there is truly something for everyone.
The best way to avoid the crowds is to find hikes that are off the beaten path or longer. All of the nature trails offered on scenic drives around the US are overwhelmed with people.
You can find solitude on the trail by choosing one that is longer or has a more challenging elevation gain. This will also give you access to the best views.
Finally, if you have the option to hike on weekdays, you will further reduce your chances of encountering others. You should know your limits and always let someone know your route for safety.
RV Travel Tip by: Julie Chickery and her husband traveled full-time by RV for six years. Learn more about their adventures at Chickery’s Travels.
Related Reading: 7 Best Mount Rainier Hiking Trails To Explore
Small Town RV Adventures
My husband and I are full-time RVers. We’ve been on the road with our furry cat and dog friends for almost two and a half years now!
During that time, we’ve taken on quite a few adventures. One of our favourite days in all of RV life was a full-day whitewater rafting tour on the Gauley River in Fayetteville, West Virginia, with River Expeditions.
They offer an all-inclusive experience and many different rafting options for all ages and abilities. You start your day off with breakfast on-site, then take off with one of their incredibly knowledgeable and safe tour guides.
You raft, you float, you eat lunch, and then you round out the day back on their grounds with dinner, drinks, pool tables, and even hot tubing if you so desire!
(I promise I do not work for this place, we honestly just loved our time there!)
To top it all off, you also end your rafting trip gliding under the New River Gorge Bridge!
They even have RV spots on the premises, so you don’t have to worry about who will be driving everyone home after a long day of rafting and then an evening at the bar.
The local town of Fayetteville is also worth exploring all on its own. It’s been named one of the “Top 10 Coolest Small Towns in America” by Budget Travel Magazine.
If you’re looking for a guide on how to spend the perfect day in the Fayetteville area, I have a Locals Knows Best podcast episode that focuses on just that!
RV Travel Tip by: Cindy Scott shares her experiences with her readers at Cinders Travels and aims to inspire readers to get out on their next great outdoor adventure.
Rent an RV
I recommend booking your RV through RVshare for peace of mind. Your rental comes with 24-hour travel concierge and roadside assistance. That means if you get a flat tire or have questions about your RV, help is just a phone call away.