Beginner’s Guide to Planning an RV Getaway with the Family

With late summer turning into early fall, there’s no better time for a road trip. Temperatures are a little more bearable and you’ll miss all the traffic with cottage season coming to an end.

So, round up your family members and your best friends and pile into an RV for the road trip experience of a lifetime.

Benefits of an RV Vacation

RVs offer all the conveniences of a large vehicle without the hassle of hauling a tent or trailer. They’re spacious, with enough room for everyone to be comfortably seated without having to separate Bobby and Bridget in the backseat with a pillow. From a bathroom to kitchenette, they have all the amenities you need.

Stop Anywhere

Vacationing in an RV is road-tripping at its finest. While not always advisable, in an RV, you can quite literally pull over anywhere to have a rest without paying for a motel for the night.

In fact, many Walmart locations will allow you to park your RV for free overnight. There are online locators that will help you find one along your route or call ahead to the store itself to confirm with management.

Won’t Miss A Thing

An RV can take you anywhere the road leads. The best part about traveling in an RV is you won’t miss a single thing along the way.

See a cool roadside attraction on the way to your campsite? You have plenty of time to stop and check it out since you won’t have to set up a tent or unhitch a trailer when you get to where you’re going.

Plus, there aren’t any suitcases to unpack when you get to the motel because you’re driving the motel.

Save Your Money

The main practical benefit to taking an RV vacation with the family is it will cost you less.

Driving is much cheaper than flying. With an RV, you’ll save on hotel costs by pulling into campgrounds every night. You can pinch an extra few pennies by choosing to prepare your own meals in the kitchenette in the RV instead of eating out too.

If you’re hoping to save even more, pick one or two campsites to stay at for most of your trip that has activities for both kids and adults. Chances are, there will be other families staying there too, so the kids can make some new friends while enjoying the great outdoors.

Getting the RV

Now that you’re convinced RVing is the way to go on your next family vacay, let’s talk about how to get the RV.

Unless you’re planning to live in your RV for a big chunk of the year, you’ll want to look into local rentals for the period of your vacation. Depending on the size of the RV you’re looking to rent, costs can range between $1,300 to $3,000 per week.

Generally speaking, you won’t need a specialized license to operate an RV, but double-check the requirements in the state you’re planning to visit. Some states require a commercial license to operate an RV over 26,000 pounds.

Don’t worry, though, the average RV weighs between 6,000 and 12,000 pounds. Only the largest RVs on the market fit into the commercial vehicle category. So, if you have an exceptionally large family or are planning to share the RV with another family, you’ll have to take licensing requirements into consideration.

Either way, make sure you take note of the height and length of the RV you rent, so you can avoid any spaces without enough overhead room and make those wide turns properly and safely.

Best Places to Go in Your RV

California

Destinations on either coast are guaranteed to offer spectacular RV campsites with ocean views and water access, as well as beautiful weather year-round.

California uniquely offers outdoor activities and big city draws, including San Francisco and Los Angeles. In terms of driving appeal, there is the Redwood Highway through the Redwood National Forests and Tioga Pass on the California State Route 120 into Yosemite National Park.

If you’re following the second route, you can stop at May Lake for a short hike around it. You’ll get to see both Clouds Rest and Half Dome, two of Yosemite’s most iconic peaks.

Florida

Florida offers vacation attractions for the whole family. Shopping, dining, ocean beaches, and any number of wildlife tours and safaris will keep you busy during your trip. You can even see dolphins, manatees, and alligators on wildlife excursions or take a risk by getting up close and personal while swimming with the sharks.

Furthermore, Florida is home to Orlando, the theme park capital of the world. If you’re a thrill-seeker, do an amusement park tour and visit Busch Gardens, Universal Studios, Disney World, and SeaWorld along the way.

The campsites along the Florida Keys tend to be more expensive, not to mention more difficult to navigate to in an RV larger than 30 feet.

Alaska

Even if you’ve been there before or live there, Alaska is sure to offer more than what you’ve experienced so far. This state boasts views and wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else in the U.S.

You can spend hours driving on the George Parks Highway without seeing anything but gorgeous nature. And don’t forget the beautiful Denali National Park. It’s a must-see.

If you’re driving up from another state, remember that you’ll have to pass through Canada to get to Alaska. So, make sure to get your passports and travel visas in order a few months before your trip.

Montana

Montana is known for its beautiful, natural landscape, so it’s no surprise that it’s a favorite for campers and RVers alike. There are countless destinations to explore, including the state’s two national parks and 51 state parks.

Montana offers nature lovers no limit on outdoor adventures. In fact, fishing, hunting, hiking, river rafting, rock climbing, and hot springs available around nearly every corner.

Oregon

Even though it’s one of the smallest states, Oregon might offer the most scenic drives on our list. The Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway is just one of these gorgeous tours, which passes through Crater Lake National Park.

With natural and cultural attractions alike, Oregon is both beautiful and enlightening. The Pacific Coast Scenic Byway will take you on a journey from Astoria through Brookings, passing by views of the Pacific, the state’s gorgeous woodlands, Munson Creek Falls, 11 lighthouses, and Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. In fact, the Oregon Dunes offers travelers the chance to sand surf and ATV along its 40 miles off the coastline.

Romona Robbins Photography / Getty Images

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