Planning your first-ever RV trip is a pretty darn exciting time. You’re about to take on the wide-open road, zipping off anywhere the wind might be calling, all with your very own private villa-on-wheels.
Of course, the exact same factors that make first-time RV trips so thrilling can also make them a little overwhelming for the eager road trip planner. That wide-open road we’re talking about is… well, wide open. There are so many places you can go, after all. It only takes a quick glance through your favorite road atlas to be struck with decision paralysis. With so many amazing sites to see, how will you ever choose?
From hiking through the lush green forests of the Pacific Northwest to laying out a blanket in the sand on the sunny eastern shore, the US has so much to offer an RV adventurer. And if you’re already dealing with learning your rig’s ropes, putting together an itinerary can become more of a duty than a delight.
Wouldn’t it be nice if someone put together a list of easy, yet exciting RV road trip ideas so you could simply choose?
RVing with Rex to the rescue! Here are some top road trip planning tips.
First Time Road Trip Ideas
You know I’ve got your back here. So to make your first time RV experience easier, I came up with this list of easy American road trip ideas to help get you on the road as effortlessly as possible—or at least give you some great brainstorming material.
Of course, which of these trips will work best for you will depend in part on where you’re starting your journey from, how much time you have available, and the type of experience you’re after. For instance, a weekend ski trip to Vermont might make perfect sense for a Boston February getaway, but it’ll be less doable if you hang your hat in Phoenix. (Or if it’s July by the time you’re reading this post, for that matter.)
That said, hopefully these fun and simple road trip ideas will help make life a little bit easier when you hit the road for your first RV outing.
Ready to dive in? Here are some of my favorite first-timer options.
Quick Road Trip Ideas
If you’re looking to get off the Interstate and onto a scenic route, this list is for you! Here are some simple road trip ideas to get you going.
1. Southern Charm Sojourn
The American south has so much more to offer than comfort food—not that we’re turning down a plate of chicken and waffles anytime soon. One great route is to connect the following southern cities each oozing with its unique brand of charm: Savannah, Charleston, Mobile, and New Orleans. The only thing you’ll get more of than historical knowledge is Spanish moss and sunshine.
2. Gulf Coast Gambol
Take a trip from Galveston to Florida’s Emerald Coast—and down to the keys, if you’ve got the time. Sweeping waterfront views and exciting cities will greet you at every stop along the way—not to mention an abundance of fresh, delicious seafood.
3. Pacific Coast Paradise
Everyone should take the time to meander all the way up (or down) California’s Pacific coast highway at some point in their lives. Whether you start in Eureka or San Diego, you’ll be treated to some of the most breathtaking byways in the country—a turbulent, crashing ocean flanking you on one side and majestic redwoods on the other. Potential stops include Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, San Luis Obispo, and a whole host of others. You honestly can’t go wrong.
Easy Road Trip Ideas on a Budget
Want to see the world without wiping out your wallet? Yes, it is possible—especially in an RV. Not only will you be able to save on your road trip food budget by cooking your own delicious, healthy meals in your RVs kitchen, but you can also save 50 percent on campsites you stay in with a Passport America membership. Good Sam, KOA, and FMCA also offer camping discounts to members, typically 10 percent.
Check out this article on how to choose the perfect RV Park and campsite.
Looking for even more concrete ways to save money while still satisfying your inner explorer? Here are some of the best cheap road trip ideas I’ve come across.
4. State Park Promenade
There’s a lot that’s awesome about traveling in America but one thing I particularly love as an RVer is that no matter where I am there’s likely have a beautiful state park only a short drive away. State parks are filled with all sorts of outdoor activities and views to discover. (Plus, camping is likely available.)
5. Beachy Break
You don’t have to live near an ocean to plunge your toes into the sand. Whether it’s Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna Lake or Bartlett Lake in Arizona, any lake shoreline will do—and you’ll be so busy relaxing, you won’t even have a chance to run through your travel budget on souvenirs or touristy activities.
Weekend Road Trip Ideas
Sometimes, the best family road trip ideas are the ones you can take at the last minute. Here are some quick-fix ideas when you need to get out of town… now.
6. Woodsy Wonderment
Even if you make your home in a large, metropolitan area such as Houston or Phoenix, there’s likely some woods or wilderness nearby. From Atlanta it’s just a couple of hours to the mountains and Floridians can retreat to the state’s central springs. No matter what, getting away from the rush and bustle of an urban center may be what the doctor ordered!
7. Active Outdoor Outing
From extreme adventures like mountain climbing to simple biking and hiking trails, America is host to some of the best landscapes for outdoor activities in the world. Exercise and enjoyment at the same time—now that’s how to do it! Once again, you can’t go wrong with a state park where activities may include hiking, biking, boating, fishing, picnicking, swimming, and ranger-led activities.
5 Amazing Places to Visit this Spring
Spring is here and it’s time to start thinking of where you and the family might want to visit in the RV. And it also means spring break! So whether the kids are out of school or you just have the itch to get out of town for a week or two, these are the top spring break destinations for RV road-tripping in 2022.
The kids will love visiting local attractions like Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando, LEGOLAND, and Universal Studios Orlando but the theme park capital of the world has more to offer than amusement parks.
Orlando isn’t just the world’s most magical destination. There’s plenty to enjoy outside from many beaches including Cocoa Beach to adventures like wildlife and birding, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, nature trails and parks, airboat tours, and the Canaveral National Seashore. For a more educational endeavor, visit the Kennedy Space Center.
Lake Powell, Arizona
Created by a manmade reservoir on the Colorado River, Lake Powell straddles the states of Utah and Arizona. Rent a boat and hit the water for some fishing, tubing, or water skiing. Picnic on the shoreline or enjoy dining in one of several restaurants on the lake.
Three campgrounds operated by park concessionaires accommodate RVs at Lake Powell: Wahweap RV & Campground in south Lake Powell and Bullfrog RV & Campground and Halls Crossing RV & Campground both in north Lake Powell. All three areas offer full hookup sites and primitive camping.
Wahweap is centrally located at the Wahweap Marina which offers plenty of lake transport for rent. There are 139 full hook-up sites with access to laundry and showers as well as Wahweap Grille, Wind Café, and a gift shop. Bullfrog offers 24 RV spaces with restrooms and showers and access to the Bullfrog Marina. Check out the restaurant and gift shop at nearby Defiance House Lodge. Halls Crossing offers 24 RV sites with restrooms and showers and is located next to the amenities of the Village Store.
In addition National Park Service offers areas for primitive camping including Lees Ferry Campground, Lone Rock Beach Primitive Camping Area, and Stanton Creek Primitive Camping Area. These campgrounds do not take reservations and do not have phone numbers.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
For a different beach vacation than typical Florida or California, head to Gulf Shores on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Here you’ll find 32 beautiful miles of white-sand beaches including the main public beach, Gulf Place.
There are plenty of water-based activities from beach lounging to fishing, diving, boating, snorkeling, parasailing, and kayaking. Temperatures in the spring range from pleasant mid-50s to warm mid-70s.
Nonwater activities include biking, hiking, and ziplining. Visit the Wharf in Orange Beach for fun on their Ferris wheel, mini-golf, zipline, and movie theater.
A great spot for RV camping is Gulf State Park, a reasonably priced campground with private, lakefront campsites, and resort-style amenities. With almost 500 sites, the park also has 11 bathhouses, a camp store, laundry facilities, a swimming pool, tennis and pickleball courts, horseshoes, volleyball, a nature center, and a fishing pier.
Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast—you miss the sense of where you’re going and why.