Love’s RV Hookups: Comfortable RV Stays at Truck Stops?

Love’s Travel Stops offer a number of convenient amenities to travelers. And in some locations that even includes RV hookups.

In May of 2021, Love’s Travel Stops introduced Love’s RV Hookups. But what exactly does this mean and what are the pros and cons of using them?

In this post, I’ll sort through the details and give you the scoop from my perspective as well as those of other RVers.

Let’s jump right in!

Sonoran Desert RV Park, Gila Bend, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Can RVers stay overnight at truck stops?

RV travelers have long been able to spend the night at many truck stops across the country. But that usually means parking among the tractor-trailers especially if you’ve got a big RV like ours.

Have we done it? No. On long road trips, we appreciate the ability to pull off the highway and catch some shut-eye before hitting the road again in the morning.

So why no? Why aren’t truck stops a preferred place to stop for the night?

For one thing, parking overnight at a truck stop is usually noisy. Many trucks (especially refrigerated ones) must keep their cooling units running all night to prevent food from spoiling.

More importantly, though, I don’t relish potentially taking a space from a professional trucker who needs the space. They’re working for a living and may be tired or legally required by Hours of Service Regulations to take a break.

So, yes… RVers can park overnight at most truck stops. But I don’t mind paying a few bucks to have a spot to park our rig overnight in an area that won’t interfere with truckers. In exchange for doing that, we’d probably also get a better night’s rest.

So, let’s see what Love’s RV Hookups are all about.

49er Village RVV Park, Plymouth, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

About Love’s RV Hookups

In 2021, Love’s Travel Stops began the process of expanding its offerings by adding dedicated RV hookups at some of its travel stops.

Love’s RV Hookups and RV Stops offer RVers an opportunity to do more than fuel up, stretch their legs, or grab a snack. Love’s Travel Stops now offer more dedicated RV parking spots nationwide than any other truckstop.

And, RVers can take advantage of many amenities at Love’s Travel Stops network of over 500 off-highway locations:

  • Propane refill: Running low on propane? You can get a refill at Love’s en route to or from your next camping destination.
  • Dump station: If you’ve just completed a boondocking stint or you’ve been on the road for awhile and your tanks are getting full, Love’s offers dump stations so you can empty those tanks and stop carrying all that crud down the highway.
  • Private shower facilities: Love’s private shower facilities are great for RVers whose rigs either have wet baths, outside showers only… or no shower at all.
  • Laundry facilities: Traveling with the family and spending the night at a Love’s? You can take the opportunity to do some loads of laundry while you’re there.
  • Dog parks: New Love’s Travel Stops are being built with dog parks and Love’s is adding a dog park to some of their older locations as well. There are currently 350 Love’s dog parks nationwide.
  • Food, beverages, and other conveniences: All Love’s Travel Stops offer snacks and a variety of food and beverages for sale. They also offer many convenience items as well as some electronics, apparel, and Love’s merchandise.
  • RV hookups: And yes, some Love’s Travel Stops now offer RV hookups right there at the travel stop. In addition, Love’s has partnered with KOA to add full-sized RV parks at some locations. (Yes, we’re talking full-on RV parks right at the location of the travel stop.)
Poche’s RV Resort, Breau Bridge, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do all Love’s Travel Stop locations offer RV hookups?

No. As of this writing, Love’s has 29 travel centers with sites specifically dedicated to RVs. Among those locations there are 357 hookup spots as Love’s terms them. But by the end of the year the big fuel stop company says they’ll add 30 locations to the list with an additional 1,000 RV-dedicated sites. That’s a 287 percent increase of available RV sites.

Typically these hookups are back-in sites. All of them provide a safe place to be off the road and 30/50-amp electrical service. Fortunately, most appear to be a fair distance from the truck parking areas so hearing the roar of a reefer truck is not likely to be an issue. Some locations include full hookups including water and sewer.

Other Love’s locations continue to offer lots of amenities and conveniences for all travelers. That includes some that are specifically for RVers even at the Love’s that don’t have hookups.

Holiday Travel Park of Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


The current average rate for a back-in site across all Love’s locations is $36.70 per night including electric. Dialing it down to specifics, you could stay at the Drayton, North Dakota Love’s hookup and back in for $32 a night. Go whole hog at Love’s Normal, Illinois, RV Stop and you can get full hookups at a back-in site for $37.50. Make that a pull-though site for $41.50. Compare this to the nearest KOA, in Casey, Illinois, a couple of hours away. For a full-hookup site you’ll pay $52.95 for a back-in site and $69.95 for a pull-though. True, you won’t have the amenities like a swimming pool at Love’s but for those who are looking for economy and not frills, it’s something to think about.

Bird Island Basin Campground, Padre Island National Seashore, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What about discounts at Love’s?

The rates I talk about here are nightly. There are discounts by the week and for 28-day stays. At the Normal, Illinois RV Stop that night in a pull-through I referenced above for $41.50 translates down to $37 per night for a week’s stay and just $22.64 per day if you stay a full 28 days. Some of Love’s sites can be occupied for more than 28 days; it varies by location.

Boondocking on Utah Scenic Byway 24 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What are the disadvantages of Love’s RV hookups?

I don’t really see any disadvantages to the hookups themselves. They’re a great addition for all the reasons I’ve noted above especially because they offer convenience for RVers without taking space from truckers.

However, I try to share both pros and cons of things. I’ve heard a few grumblings here and there on a couple of issues.


Some travelers seem to feel that what they’ve been using for free will now cost them. But until now, there’s been no option for hookups. My take is that we prefer to avoid staying overnight in areas meant for truckers particularly in busy travel stops if we’ve got other options.

This can be more than an annoyance to truckers. If several big rig spaces are taken by RVers and a long-haul trucker can’t park for the night that can be a safety problem for them and other drivers on the road.

And it may be a problem that Love’s is trying to solve by giving RVers their own spaces. I see that as a good thing. More options, please!

Some see it as a way for Love’s to make more money. But, really, RVers have to pay for hookups anywhere they go. If you’d rather boondock, then just don’t reserve a Love’s RV Hookup.

However, if you arrive at a Love’s on a hot summer night and you want to run your air conditioner so you can get a good night’s sleep, now you’ve got the option to hook up your rig and relax.

Thousand Trails Lynchburg, Lynchburg, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Number of Available Spaces

Some RVers appreciate the opportunity to hook up the rig at a Love’s Travel Stop but note that most only have five or so hookups available.

Love’s is starting a new program and I think they’re probably testing the waters and they’ll expand as their marketing data suggests they should.

However, some Love’s have many more RV hookups than others. For example, Love’s RV Hookup in Winona, Texas (I-20, Exit 575) has 25 full hook-up campsites. Two of those are ADA accessible.

Columbia Riverfront RV Park, Woodbridge, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


I’ve read comments about Love’s RV hookups not being big rig friendly especially for those of us with a toad. Some RVers also note that the spaces are so close together that slideouts can’t be used. Others have said that the lots are too open to the sun, too brightly lit at night, and too noisy due to trucks and interstate traffic.

Staying at a Love’s RV Hookups location isn’t your traditional camping experience nor should we expect it to be.

For a more traditional camping experience near a Love’s location, their RV parks designed in conjunction with KOA might fit the bill depending on your travel route.

Tucson-Lazydays KOA, Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How do I reserve an RV Hookup at a Love’s Travel Stop?

While you don’t need to make a reservation, if you want to ensure a spot at Love’s, their reservation system is simple. You can make a reservation by internet at where the entry for each site has a Reserve link. Or you can phone Love’s customer service line at 1-800-OKLOVES (1-800-655-6837). Option 5 will get you to a representative who can take a reservation. You can also use an app like Campendium.

Pala Casino RV Resort, Pala, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Concluding thoughts

Love’s RV offerings certainly can’t be classified as resort quality. But if you’re looking for a place to spend the night and run your air conditioning with 1,000 more RV sites coming online this year, you may find one in your corner of the RV universe that works.

While this may not be a perfect solution to the problem of too few campgrounds for too many RVers it is an important step in the right direction. I commend Love’s for taking the lead on this. The company has recognized a problem (too few places to stay a night along the road with an RV) and done something about it.

The average full-hookup site is about $36 which is fair in today’s world where it’s hard to find full-hookups for less than $50.

This is not the solution to campground crowding, but it’s a logical step to help alleviate the crowding in existing RV parks and campgrounds.

Stay tuned: I’ll keep you posted on Love’s progress and whether any other big box stores get in on the action.

Worth Pondering…

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.

—Charlie Brown, from Peanuts

5 Best Things to do this Spring in America

A whole new world of color opens up during springtime which makes it the perfect time to pack up the RV and explore somewhere new on a road trip or weekend getaway

Springtime can be a magical and refreshing time to travel. Maybe you’re coming out from winter hibernation for a quick road trip or you’re finally able to break in those new hiking boots you were gifted for Christmas. Personally, I look forward to blooms and greenery after nature wakes up from her winter slumber. Everything feels fresh, new, and exciting.

1. Attend a spring festival

When spring has sprung, the festivals are in full bloom! Festivals in spring are wonderful, inspiring experiences that help us celebrate the start of a new season. Which one of these takes your fancy?

International Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon, Georgia

Macon, Georgia, is the cherry blossom capital of the world? No, it’s not Japan or Washington, D.C. With 350,000 cherry trees blossoming each year at the end of March, Macon truly is the perfect place to see these beauties in bloom.

The second or third week of March is peak time to visit as the International Cherry Blossom Festival (March 17-26, 2023) happens. It’s known as the pinkest party of the year! Macon is full of history and is also surrounded by beautiful state parks for visitors who are looking to get outdoors.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, Woodburn, Oregon

Tulips are the main attraction in Woodburn, Oregon. The town is home to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Far which hosts a tulip festival from March to May. With 40 acres of tulips, over 200 acres of outdoor space, and activities, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is identified as one of the top spring attractions in the state of Oregon. The 38th Annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival runs March 17–April 30, 2023.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Springtime is also the best time to catch a ride on a hot air balloon to see the colorful blooms from above. Or stay on the ground and enjoy a sip of wine at any of the areas wineries while your pals fly high in the sky.

Rayne loves frogs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Rayne Frog Festival, Rayne, Louisiaa

Rayne is best known as the Frog Capital of the World. The Rayne Frog Festival was founded in 1973 and has grown by, um, leaps and bounds. At this annual fest, you can see the coronation of the Frog Festival Queens and the Mr. and Miss Tadpole contests.

The 51st Annual Rayne Frog Festival will be held on May 10-14, 2023 at the Frog Festival Pavilion. It’s slated with a full schedule including music, delicious food, a signature festival drink, and souvenir cup commemorating 51 years of tradition, arts and crafts show, carnival rides, frog cook-off, frog-eating contest, folklore tent, frog racing and jumping, and a few surprises along the way.

Charleston home tours © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Festival of Houses and Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina

It’s no secret that Charleston is a hub for southern charm especially in the spring as dogwood trees and azaleas bloom all over the city. The weather is great during this time of year–hanging out around 60-70 degrees with low humidity―ideal weather for both carriage tours and walking tours of the main attractions of the city.

The premier event of its kind in the country, the 75th Annual Spring Festival of Houses and Gardens, March 15-April 16, 2023 offers guests rare access into some of Charleston’s finest private houses and gardens in the city’s renowned historic district during peak blooming season. The cornerstone of the spring Festival are the daily house and garden tours. The tours provide an opportunity for guests to go inside the private houses and gardens of some of America’s most beautiful residences, some dating to the 18th century.

Ostrich Festival © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ostrich Festival, Chandler, Arizona

Grab your friends and family and get ready to shake your tail feather with our favorite feathered friends, the ostriches! The Ostrich Festival features live ostriches, national and local entertainment, stage shows, over 50 midway rides and games, classic festival food, interactive activities for all ages, meet and greets with your favorite mascots, ostrich-themed educational activities, exciting attractions, upscale arts and crafts and much more. The 33rd Annual Ostrich Festival will be held March 16-19, 2023 at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler, Arizona.

A spring road trip in Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Plan a spring road trip

The weather is warming up and late winter rains have turned trees and grass green and encouraged wildflowers to bloom. It’s the right time to take a drive either to a favorite place or a new destination with unfamiliar landscapes and roads. Whether your preferred scenery is mountains, deserts, forests, plains, or coastal views, there’s a road trip for you. You can plan a journey around your interests if you enjoy historic sites, regional food, wineries, or nature, you can plan a journey around your interests.

Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina

You’ll love springtime in the Great Smoky Mountains as the gorgeous wildflowers are in bloom with over 1,500 types dazzling in mid to late March to June. You’ll find perfect picnic weather at this time of year and it’s an ideal time to explore the most visited national parks in the U.S. Enjoy the 800 square miles of untouched wilderness while you enjoy a scenic hike to a waterfall or beautiful overlook. Horseback riding, fishing, ranger-led programs, wildlife viewing, and biking are other popular activities in the park.

Joshua Tree National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Joshua Tree National Park, California

One of my favorite things about visiting national parks is the transformation that occurs in the landscape around me as I enter a park. The distinctive flora and unique geological features create an atmosphere that makes me feel as if I’m entering another world. Joshua Tree National Park is one of those magical places. The sharp angles of the Joshua tree forests are the foreground of a wonderland of gigantic granite boulders and rock outcroppings. It’s an otherworldly landscape that takes you back thousands of years. You feel as if you might see a dinosaur step out from behind one of the jumbo rock piles at any moment.

Mesa Verde National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Trail of the Ancients, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona

Experience the beautiful and diverse landscapes of the Colorado Plateau on the Trail of the Ancients, a scenic route that travels through Southeastern Utah, Southwestern Colorado, and Northeastern Arizona. It connects some of the nation’s richest archaeological, cultural, and historic sites in a remote region teeming with towering sandstone formations, deep canyons, and iconic red buttes.

Hovenweep National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The adventure can begin at any point on the trail but many choose to start at the famed Four Corners Monument and then travel in a counter-clockwise circle. Along the way, you’ll see the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park and the archaeological sites of the Hovenweep National Monument. You’ll white-knuckle it down the hairpin turns of the Moki Dugway and marvel at the sandstone monoliths and pinnacles of the Valley of the Gods.

Shenandoah National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shenandoah National Park

Skyline Drive takes you 105 miles through the park along the crest of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. This route stretches through Shenandoah National Park where warm spring weather brings purple and yellow violets, masses of pink azaleas, and white dogwood flowers.

Skyline Drive features 75 overlooks including Spitler Knoll, Range View, and Hogback, all of which offer unobstructed views across the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Picacho Peak State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Picacho Peak State Park, Arizona

Winter showers make February and March wildflowers in the desert parks and create yet another reason to explore this beautiful region. During years of average and above average precipitation, it seems every direction you look there is beautiful yellow, red, white, orange, blue, or purple flowers blanketing the landscape. Arizona had a good, rainy winter so far, so our hopes are up for a bright blanket of flowers soon!

The contrast of vibrant flowers against the backdrop of green is a sight to behold so get your camera, comfortable outdoor shoes, and plenty of water and enjoy the rich colors across the state.

Picacho Peak State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Picacho Peak is arguably one of the best spots to see blooming wildflowers and cactus in Arizona with bushels of incredible golden blooms throughout the park. The desert wildflowers here offer a unique and beautiful contrast to the green and brown hues of this Sonoran Desert park.

3. Back to Nature

Time spent outdoors in nature can have many health benefits including reducing stress and increasing cardiovascular health.

Grasslands Nature Trail, Padre Island National Seashore © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Padre Island National Seashore, Texas

The most significant undeveloped barrier island in the world, Padre Island National Seashore offers more than 130,000 acres of dunes, grasslands, and beaches―a national park and a haven for all sorts of family-friendly activities. Immerse yourself in the fauna and flora that populate this marshland environment with a short stroll along the Grasslands Nature Trail. Away from the beach, this trail offers a glimpse of animals that live inland including coyotes, deer, kangaroo rats, ghost crabs, and many others.

Malaquite Beach, Padre Island National Seashore © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Apart from the actual sands of Malaquite Beach, Padre Island’s Visitors Center holds a breathtaking observation deck for wildlife viewing. Along Malaquite Beach, visitors scavenge for small shells deposited by north currents at Little Shell Beach and comb through the sands of Big Shell Beach for larger shell discoveries. Whichever activity you partake in, it’s safe to say that Padre Island National Seashore is a beachside paradise for a gorgeous getaway.

Bernheim Forest © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bernheim Arboretum and Forest, Kentucky

Are you looking to connect with nature? Bernheim is the place to do it. With 16,140 acres of land in Bullitt and Nelson Counties in Kentucky, there is an adventure waiting for everyone. Purchased by German immigrant Isaac W. Bernheim in 1929, the land was dedicated as a gift to the people of his new homeland.

Whether it’s hiking one of the many trails, fishing in Lake Nevin, enjoying public art, reading under a tree, or taking part in a scheduled program, Bernheim offers visitors unique opportunities to connect with nature. Over 40 miles of trails with varying degrees of ease and difficulty weave their way through the forest at Bernheim meaning no matter what level you are looking for, there’s a trail for you.

Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Take a culinary tour of America

Go in search of fresh flavors this spring on a culinary trip across America.

Food Festivals

For foodies, warmer weather means one thing: a host of new food festivals to attend where you can eat and drink across the country. Here are seven food festivals to put on your travel list this spring.

  • SoCal Taco Fest, San Diego, California, April 29, 2023
  • Vidalia Onion Festival, Vidalia, Georgia, April 20-23, 2023
  • Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, May 5-7, 2023
  • Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, Des Moines, Iowa, February May 12-13, 2023
  • Nantucket Wine & Food Festival, Nantucket, Massachusetts, May 17-21, 2023
  • Cheese Curd Festival, Ellsworth, Wisconsin, June 23-24, 2023
Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Go hiking

In my mind, there are few things more rejuvenating than hiking or walking in nature. One of the biggest reasons I fell in love with the RV lifestyle is that beautiful nature is so accessible wherever you are. It seems like I am always just minutes away from a spectacular trailhead. Whether I am hiking in the mountains or traversing trails in the desert, nature is a refuge—it’s a change of pace from city life, from being stuck inside, from being sedentary.

Blue Mesa Loop, Petrified Forest National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Blue Mesa Loop, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

This mile-long trail takes you into a landscape brushed in blue where you will find cone-shaped hills banded in a variety of colors and intricately eroded into unique patterns. Descending from the mesa this alternately paved and gravel trail loop offers the unique experience of hiking among petrified wood as well as these badland hills.

Gulf State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, Gulf State Park, Alabama

Gulf State Park features 28 miles of paved trails or boardwalks including seven trails of the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail complex that inspire visitors to explore the nine distinct ecosystems within park boundaries.

Giant Forest, Sequoia National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Big Trees Trail, Sequoia National Park, California

Located next to the Giant Forest Museum, the Big Trees Trail is one of the best short and easy hikes you can do in Sequoia. This loop trail takes you completely around the meadow and provides impressive views of numerous massive sequoias as well as the beautiful meadow itself.

Courthouse Towers © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Park Avenue Trail, Arches National Park, Utah

The 4-mile out and back hike is easy and has minimal elevation gain. Walk down into the vast canyon, passing endless rows of mesmerizing conglomerates on your way to the memorable Courthouse Towers. Along the way, enjoy long-range views of the La Sal Mountains as you walk by iconic formations such as the Organ, Sheep Rock, and Three Gossips.

Getting out and traveling can sometimes be the best way to kick the winter blues especially if you live somewhere that gets very little sunshine. Enjoying the beauty of spring in any one of these destinations is sure to help you recharge and reset. Whether you want to get out and hit the trails or simply sit back and enjoy an afternoon of peace somewhere with warmer temperatures, you’re sure to find a great trip on this list.

Worth Pondering…

Come with me into the woods. Where spring is advancing as it does no matter what, not being singular or particular, but one of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.

—Mary Oliver, Bazougey

Increased Investors Interest in RV Parks and Resorts

RV parks have grown in popularity with consumers during the pandemic. Investors have noticed the trend.

For years, RVs have been associated with retirees who spend their golden years traveling the country. But that’s changing and real estate investors have noticed. Encouraged by these changes and seeking higher returns than those offered by traditional property types, these investors are putting more of their money toward RV parks and campgrounds.

“We have seen investor demand for outdoor hospitality properties explode as other sectors have continued to erode,” says Yogi H. Singh, partner of National Land Lease Capital (NLLC), a private investment firm that owns close to a dozen campgrounds, RV parks, and marinas across the nation. “The national shortage of professionally developed, resort-quality assets along with the high barriers to entry, provide insulation to the sector that we find attractive.”

Ambassador RV Resort, Caldwell, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

New generation of RVers

Since the start of the pandemic, a growing number of Americans have vacationed in RVs or gone camping. After being cooped up for months, people craved wide open spaces and the opportunity to see new places. Today, RVing and camping remains a popular alternative to other types of travel.

While the traditional RVing retiree segment has expanded due to the aging of the baby boomers, its younger generations that are currently driving most of the growth in the outdoor hospitality sector. Valuing experiences over possessions, millions of millennials and Gen Z are choosing to spend their money on travel.

Colorado River Thousand Trails, an Equity Lifestyle Property (ELS), Columbus, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Underlying consumer demand drivers for outdoor hospitality are strong,” says Carl Kruelle, chief investment officer of Blue Water Development Corp., an Ocean City, Maryland-based firm that develops, acquires, and operates resort-level outdoor properties including RV parks and campgrounds. “There’s heightened interest amongst consumers to get outdoors and experience nature. That’s been a consistent trend over the last several years.”

>> Related article: The Best Collection is Recollection: 2023 RV Resorts Guide

Moreover, younger people are also taking advantage of remote work opportunities that have emerged throughout the pandemic. For many people, this newfound freedom means visiting new places. An increasing number of Americans are adopting a transient lifestyle that RVing offers and taking their work on the road.

“Because younger generations don’t have to be in an office every day from nine to five, being in one location and dumping their money into a home is not necessarily the American dream anymore,” notes Tristan Farrell, president of Sunlight Resorts, a Georgia-based RV resort developer with 30 years of real estate development experience in the housing market. “I think the American dream now is traveling.”

Bella Terra of Golf Shores, Foley, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Few similarities between old and new properties

Older RV parks were mostly just a place to park and campgrounds were just a place to set up a tent. Beyond communal bathrooms and showers, these properties rarely offered any additional amenities.

Today’s new and updated RV resorts and campgrounds couldn’t be more different. They often offer a level of comfort and convenience that was unheard of in the early days of RVing. Some even offer a range of luxury amenities including swimming pools and fitness centers as well as daily activities such as yoga classes, kayaking, and golf.

Vista del Sol RV Resort, Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For example, Sunlight Resorts has implemented fresh design concepts for its two new luxury RV parks in Florida. The firm’s Champions Run Ocala Luxury RV Resort features 482 oversized RV sites combined with park model cottages for short-term and long-term stays, high-end landscaping, and a 12,000-sq.ft.-clubhouse with a state-of-the-art fitness center and a ballroom with a performing stage.

>> Related article: Campgrounds, RV Parks, and RV Resorts: How Are They Different?

Other luxury amenities include a resort-style swimming pool with two hot tubs and a rock waterfall as well as tournament style recreational courts for pickle ball, bocce ball, and shuffleboard. There’s also a signature Tiki Bar.

Sun Outdoors RV New Orleans North Shore, Ponchatoula, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Both Champions Run Ocala and Resort at Canopy Oaks have received the 10/10/10 rating from Good Sam, a leading RV industry organization. The three-number rating is earned based on the property’s superior amenities, cleanliness, and environment. Less than 1 percent of all RV properties in the U.S. receive this recognition.

Sunlight Resorts plans to develop several more luxury RV parks across Florida and the Southeast. Currently, the firm has two parcels of land in Florida under contract and expects to develop at least two new properties annually.

The Springs at Borrego Golf and RV Resort, Borrego Springs, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ultimately, Sunlight Resorts’ goal is to sell its RV properties once they’ve reached stabilization as the firm has no desire to become an owner/operator, Farrell said.

“RV parks and campgrounds are cash cows and they almost run themselves,” he added. “That’s what makes them so attractive to investors.”

Recent entrants into outdoor hospitality ownership such as Sunlight Resorts are joining a handful of investors that have been active in the space for quite a while. For example, the two largest outdoor hospitality investors—Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc. (ELS) and Sun Communities—have been investing in RV parks for decades.

>> Related article: Good Sam Releases 2023 Top Rated Parks

Similarly, Blue Water has been active in the outdoor hospitality industry since 2002. The firm prefers to invest in properties located on water—hence the name Blue Water. Additionally, it gravitates toward assets close to population centers which provide a strong demand base.

Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Most of Blue Water’s properties range from 200 to 700 sites each which provides scale and allows for significant investment in resort amenities to further drive demand, according to Kruelle. It looks for assets that are either under-managed or have significant expansion opportunities.

During the second half of 2022, Blue Water made two significant acquisitions: Endless Caverns, an RV property located in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and Badlands/White River KOA Holiday, an RV resort and campground adjacent to Badlands National Park.

At the time of purchase, Endless Caverns offered 148 pull-through and back-in RV sites, nature trails for hiking and biking, a zero-entry pool, and a catch-and-release fishing pond as well as kayaking, rafting, and tubing on Shenandoah River. The firm has expanded the property by more than 300 sites.

Cedar Pass Campground in Badlands National Park with Badlands/White River KOA in background © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Meanwhile, Badlands/White River KOA Holiday presented an opportunity for Blue Water to add a “unique destination getaway” to its portfolio. The area is a popular dark skies location for stargazers and photographers and visitors can view the Northern Lights from the site in late fall and early spring. The property’s 146 sites offer a mix of RV sites and unique glamping options including a yurt with a skylight for prime star viewing, teepee, and camping cabins.

>> Related article: 10 Luxurious RV Resorts for Summer Travel

However, rising fuel prices and inflation are beginning to take a toll on the industry. As fuel costs increase, the price of RV travel goes up as well. This makes it more difficult for people to afford to take trips and many are cutting back on their travel plans as a result. In addition, inflation is driving up the cost of RV parts and accessories, making it more expensive to own and operate an RV.

The Motorcoach Resort, Chandler, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

However, the fundamental fact remains that camping is the cheapest way to recreate domestically.

Worth Pondering…

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.

—Peter Drucker

Big Starlink Changes: Starlink for RVs Price Increase to $150/month + Portability for Residential Gone + Starlink Roam Replaces Starlink RV

Starlink is once again shaking things up but not in a good way for most RVers

There are a few options for RVers who need internet on the road. The best tactic is redundancy. Having a couple of options is always better than only having one. Depending on location, one provider might work better than another.

Many RVers use cellular providers to get their internet. T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T offer unlimited plans or data-only plans. Whether through a hot spot or a cell phone, RVers can connect to a device and have internet capabilities to work and stream.

Capital City RV Park, Montgomery, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights

Another option for internet is through a satellite service. Viasat, HughesNet, and Starlink are the most popular options. While Viasat and HughesNet operate mostly in rural communities where cellular service is minimal, Starlink burst onto the scene in May 2022 as a service targeted at RV users and other nomads frequently on the move.

Many RVers have ordered Starlink RV internet and have been using it for months. A few are very positive about the progress and future outlook but most agree that Starlink isn’t going to be replacing other internet providers RVers use any time soon.

And that was before Starlink announced big changes in late February 2023.

All Starlink for RVs service users in the US have received an email alerting them that their monthly service cost is going up $15/month—from $135/month to $150/month. This price change will take effect on April 24, 2023. 

The new pricing for RV service is already effective immediately for new customers. 

Starlink for RVs was officially launched in May 2022 as a service targeted at RV users and other nomads frequently on the move. The price for this service at the time of launch was $135/month.

Users on the RV plan can expect deprioritized best effort service wherever they used it which can often result in slow speeds in congested markets. But there are benefits including being able to order it anywhere, use it anywhere in your home continent, and pause service when not using it. 

Indian Waters RV Park, Indio, California © Rex Vogel, all rights

The Starlink website describes Starlink for RVs as follows:

  • Immediately access unlimited high-speed, low-latency internet on an as-needed basis at any destination where Starlink provides active coverage
  • $150/month with a one-time cost of $599 for portable hardware or $2,500 for in-motion hardware
  • Starlink for RVs service is available for portable use with the Standard Dish at $599 and also supports official in-motion use with the optional flat HP dish at $2,500

Starlink residential service price is changing based on capacity

Starlink Residential customers also received an email notifying them of a price change that will occur on April 24, 2023 but this time the price could go up or down depending on the network capacity in their service area:

  • Customers who are in a limited capacity area will see their service increase by $10/month to $120/month
  • Customers who are in an excess capacity area will see their service decrease by $20/month to $90/month

So depending on the area where your service address is located, you could see a price increase or decrease. While the price decrease will be nice for some customers, it is probably more likely that most residential users are in a limited capacity area and will therefore be seeing a price increase on their service.

The majority of the eastern half of the US is a limited capacity area along with large portions of California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, and Colorado. The areas of the US with excess capacity are generally lower population areas.  

The Starlink FAQ notes that the service plan cost is subject to change dependent on service location. This seems to suggest if customers move their service address to areas with excess or limited capacity, their monthly cost will change accordingly. And if your service area changes from one capacity to the other, you can potentially expect your monthly cost to change also. 

Those in excess capacity areas enjoying a price cut now could still see their prices go up if their areas become limited capacity in the future.

This price change also comes with the implementation of the delayed 1TB priority fair use policy data cap on residential service which is now slated to go into effect in April. 

Coastal Georgia RV Park, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights

Portability for Starlink Residential users is gone

One of the most surprising and disappointing changes in this big shakeup is that portability (the option to roam from your service address) is no longer allowed on US-based Residential Starlink accounts. This wasn’t communicated to users over email but rather updated in the FAQ.

Note: Portability is not available for Residential service in the US. You may change your service address or change your service plan to RV through your Starlink account.

This is a very abrupt and unfavorable policy change.

Many RVers choose the residential service over Starlink for RVs to have priority service at their home service address. This also gave the option to move their service address to open locations they visit to get priority service. But this policy change means that option is no longer available.

Unfortunately, this means many RVers will have to give up their Starlink Residential priority service and change to Starlink for RVs or maintain two lines of service. 

Residential users that wish to change to RV service can do so right on their account page. They will have to agree to the policy changes and acknowledge that they can’t go back to Residential service. Returning the Residential service requires new equipment and starting a new plan, assuming there is available capacity. 

Terre Haute Campground, Terre Haute, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights

What if you have portability enabled now? 

For current Residential Starlink users traveling with active portability, it’s not quite clear what will happen next for these users. At this time, it appears portability is still working if you were lucky enough to have it enabled before this change took effect. But how long this will last, remains to be seen. Will these users be able to ride out portability indefinitely until they select to remove it or will it stop abruptly before that? 

Users with portability are kind of stuck at the moment not knowing what is next for them and parts of Starlink’s FAQ still have outdated information as I write this article. Since this change was not communicated over email, there is limited info on what is next for current users with portability enabled. 

Some Starlink customers have already received responses from customer service indicating that they can keep portability turned on until they turn it off. Hopefully, this will continue to be the case.

However, customers should be aware that Starlink could at any point decide to sunset portability on Residential plans and force either changing your service address or switching to Starlink for RVs. 

If you don’t want to give up your Starlink Residential plan and service address, you should start figuring out your other options so you are prepared when that change comes. 

Portland Fairview RV Park, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights

Portability already gone if not enabled

Some users may opt to have two Starlink lines of service—Starlink for RVs and Starlink Residential.

Residential Starlink Customers who currently have portability turned off might be shocked to notice that the portability option has already been removed from their account page and they can no longer add it. If you were hoping you could slide in under the radar for a grace period, it’s already too late.

This means if you want to travel with your Starlink and can’t move your service address, you have no choice but to convert your existing Starlink to RV service. Which means when you return to your fixed home base location, you’ll still be at best effort service without the ability to switch back to Residential. 

If you have a permanent residence where you depend on Starlink residential service and don’t want to be deprioritized on the RV service then your only option is to purchase a second Starlink for RVs kit that you’ll travel with. This option means at times, you’ll be paying for two Starlink services which can get expensive especially with the price increases. 

Overall we expect many part-time RVers that depend on Starlink at their residence to find this new policy change a pretty big slap in the face.

Starlink has for the past year made it clear that users who use Starlink at home could enjoy use outside their service address by enabling portability while they were traveling.

They just took that away from every one of these users, with no warning at all.  

New Green Acres RV Park, Walterboro, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights

Starlink should not be your only internet source

As I’ve said before, Starlink should be thought of as a complement to cellular versus a replacement. Starlink is a great option to keep connected where cellular signal doesn’t exist or in places without congestion. And it comes with other downsides like higher power usage and constantly shifting costs and terms. 

If mobile internet is an important part of your lifestyle, having multiple options is usually key to a reliable connection. Assembling a solution that combines cellular, Wi-Fi, and cellular has advantages—but certainly has costs and complexities.

Each of us has to determine how much redundancy we need in our setup to meet our unique mobile internet needs.

Clinton-Knoxville North KOA, Clinton, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights

Hang on to those unlimited cellular data plans

In particular, if you have certain legacy unlimited data plans from the carriers, its worthwhile keeping them in active service. Once you give up those sweet unlimited cellular plans, you can never get them back. Unlike Starlink’s shifts many cellular plans tend to remain grandfathered in as long as you keep paying the bill. 

Jamaica Beach RV Park, Galveston, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights

No contracts mean things can and will change

While it’s nice in some ways that Starlink doesn’t make you sign a contract, allowing you to stop service when you want, it’s also becoming quite obvious that SpaceX has no loyalty to existing customers.

No contract goes both ways—Starlink can change the terms of its offerings at any time. These latest price changes and plan changes are just more examples of how Starlink has abruptly changed over its rather short two-year run. For those with any history following SpaceX, this should not come as a surprise.

Starlink is proving once again that while it is revolutionary for what it has done for mobile internet, it can and will change at any time. 

Mt. Vernon RV Park, Mt. Vernon, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights

Option to cancel service if you don’t agree with the changes

In the email customers received notifying them of the price changes which varied based on your plan and location, it was also noted that if you did not want to continue service, you have the option to cancel since there is no contract.

If you were within your original 30 days of purchase, you have the option for a full equipment refund. If you are outside your 30 days, but still within 12 months since you purchased, you can get a partial refund of $250 for your equipment. 

Up to this point used dishy terminals were generally bringing more than $250 on the private market but with these new changes there could be a flood of used equipment for sale driving the price down so it’s up to you to decide which path is best for you if you decide to cancel service. 

Buckhorn Lake Resort, Kerrville. Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights

Key Points

In review, here are the big changes affecting Starlink Residential and Starlink RV Service:

  • Starlink for RVs monthly charge is going up $15—from $135 to $150/month.
  • Starlink Residential Service increases $10/month for limited capacity locations but drops $20/month for excess capacity areas. Now it is $90-$120/month, depending on your location. 
  • Portability is removed as an option for Starlink Residential Customers in the US only forcing many nomads to Starlink for RVs Service at the increased price if they regularly travel with their Starlink.
  • Existing customers won’t see a price change until April 2023 while new customers will see the new price immediately.
Dakota Campground, Mitchell, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights

Starlink Roam replaces Starlink RV

And then on March 8, 2023, Starlink announced additional changes. Although not all affect RV users directly, I include them below.

The Starlink RV account type has been replaced with Starlink Roam. This subtle account name change comes with a couple updates to cover their services more broadly. They now offer Starlink Roam Regional which is basically the same as Starlink RV was. They now have the option of Starlink Roam Global for use anywhere (instead of use only on the continent of purchase).

Tom Sawyer RV Park, West Memphis, Arkansas © Rex Vogel, all rights

Starlink Roam pricing

The Starlink Roam Regional comes in at the recently hiked monthly price tag that Starlink RV was at of $150. This can be used anywhere on land within the continent that you purchased your service in.

The Global option comes in at $200. This can be used anywhere on land that Starlink has regulatory approval to work.

Starlink Roam for Land Use only

One interesting thing that Starlink is being clear on now is that it is intended for land use only. Now that they explicitly state this in their wording on their site and order page, expect them to start geo-locking use on these plans to land only (may be fine close to shore also) at some point soon.

Starlink has put wording in their Terms of Service (TOS) about geofencing now. They state “Regional plans are geo-fenced to work on land within the same continent as the registered Shipping Address while the Global plans work on land anywhere there is active service coverage.” Time will tell if this is being enforced.

For boaters, this will likely mean there will be more Maritime specific plan options at higher rates (probably much higher) than many have been taking advantage of on the RV or Residential with Portability account types.

There are already some third party authorized resellers with some options out there but expect to see more directly from Starlink.

Wind Creek Casino RV Park, Atwell, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights

Starlink Terms of Service

As always, Starlink service and policies are evolving so quickly that their TOS don’t get updated quickly enough to keep up with these changes. For a little while, you will probably see conflicting info on their site regarding these changes depending on where you look.

Starlink RV accounts will likely turn into Starlink Roam accounts but for now you will see both names being used in their wording.

Starlink rent option in the UK

Starlink recently emailed potential customers offering a new rental program in the United Kingdom (UK). The new offer would make Starlink Residential service more affordable. The offer allows Starlink customers in the UK to rent the dish and router for £15 per month versus the full purchase price of £460 (High Performance Starlink hardware costs £2,410) with a one-time activation of £99. Buying outright works out better if you keep the service for more than two and a half years. While not available in North America at time of writing, a rental program may be offered in the coming days.

Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights

Concluding thoughts

I dislike sharing big negative changes like this with my readers especially for full-time RVers using Starlink Residential with portability and part-time RVers that depend on Starlink at their residence but still travel with it occasionally.

I know this is a huge disappointment.

Your Starlink terms of service are not locked in. With such a young company with lots of demand offering a niche service not offered by any other company and their business growing at an incredible rate what you have today may look drastically different tomorrow. 

RVers depending on mobile internet should always have redundancy in their arsenal of internet tools and Starlink is proving that for us once again. 

With two price increases in less than a year, what is the next big change that Starlink will surprise us with? 

Unfortunately, we will have to wait and see.

Check back for updates as this big change plays out!

Worth Pondering…

We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

—Stephen Hawking

Campground Owners Expanding and Raising Rates

Demand for campsites has soared since 2020, far outpacing supply

As the world navigated through the pandemic, the popularity of camping continued to grow and people turned to the outdoors to find solace and reprieve. Over 66 million people went camping in the U.S. last year and over 8.3 million tried camping for the first time. Amid this growth in camping, a camper visited The Dyrt every second. With overbooked campgrounds, new expectations from campers, and continually emerging technologies, the camping industry is shifting.

Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A survey by The Dyrt, an app designed to help campers find camping information and book campsites have found private campgrounds are expanding, according to a press release.

Demand for campsites has soared since 2020, far outpacing supply. The survey indicates that in 2022 a significant portion of private campgrounds added campsites and other amenities, extended their season, and raised rates.

Columbia Sun RV Resort, Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“America doesn’t have enough campsites,” said The Dyrt CEO Kevin Long. “National and state parks are booked up months in advance and aren’t able to add capacity. It’s three times harder to find an available site to book than it was pre-pandemic. This environment provides campground owners an opportunity to develop their businesses in exciting ways.”

>> Related article: Campspot Outdoor Almanac: Outlook on 2023 Road Travel and Camping Trends

The survey included properties in all 50 U.S. states ranging in size from as few as one campsite to hundreds and spanning all types of camping such as RV, tent, and glamping. Over 89 percent of respondents indicated they want to grow their camping business in 2023.

12 Tribes Casino RV Park, Omak, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Adding capacity—and glamping

Of the properties surveyed, more than a third (35.7 percent) indicated they added camping capacity in 2022. To add capacity, campgrounds either installed additional campsites for a type of camping they already offered, introduced a new camping type on their property, or both.

Nearly a third of campgrounds surveyed (31 percent) added campsites in 2022 for an existing type of camping on the property including tent sites (35.6 percent), RV sites (30.5 percent), glampsites (13.6 percent), and cabins (11.9 percent).

Eagles Landing RV Park, Auburn, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Of campgrounds surveyed, 17.5 percent said they added sites for a new type of camping in 2022. Glamping (44 percent) was by far the most common new camping type for properties to add followed by tent sites (28 percent), RV sites (16 percent), and cabins (12 percent).

>> Related article: The Expanding Camping Community

The survey also found that 79.2 percent of campgrounds that added a new camping type expanded an existing camping type as well.

The Motorcoach Resort, Chandler, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Demand sparks creativity

Dave Ridgeway and his wife purchased Summersville Lake Retreat & Lighthouse in West Virginia in 2021. “In our first season, we had full hook-up sites, primitive camping, tent sites, and deluxe cabins and we got a lot of requests for smaller cabins or glamping accommodations,” he said

In 2022, Ridgeway added five tiny cabins that offer a queen bed, fridge, microwave, ceiling fan, and unique themed decorations. He says they performed well, particularly on rainy days when tent camping is less appealing. He’s already building a sixth tiny cabin for the 2023 season as well as four vintage ’60s and ’70s glamping campers and a glamping cabin built on the back of a 1969 flatbed truck.

Dyrt president John Hayden says Ridgeway’s property which also includes a hammock hangout, working lighthouse, and other amenities represents an overall trend. “A lot of creative stuff is happening,” says Hayden. “Campgrounds are providing outdoor experiences. The most successful campgrounds have a unique story—and leave guests with stories to tell their friends.”

Orange Groove RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Raising rates, expanding calendars

According to CamperReport, RV campsites cost between $25 and $80 per night depending on the location, the size of the space, and what connections are offered.

With the recent influx of RV sales, RV parks are raising their rates to keep in line of the high demand of campsite rentals. They can get away with it because it’s all about supply and demand. With more RVs being pushed out by the RV manufacturing industry, the demand for campgrounds and RV parks has exploded and park owners are striking gold.

>> Related article: Are New Campers Really Interested in Camping?

Harvest Moon RV Park, Adairsville, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Dyrt’s survey of campground owners also found that nearly half of the campgrounds (48.6 percent) say they raised their rates in 2022 and a similar portion (46.4 percent) say they plan to raise rates again in 2023. Over a quarter (27.0 percent) raised rates in 2022 and say they also plan to raise rates again in 2023.

“In a year where the price of nearly everything increased, it’s not surprising to see private campgrounds increase their rates,” Hayden says. “But inflation is only part of the story. With a trend toward offering high-end glamping accommodations, activities and immersive environments like farmstays, the rates charged by state parks are no longer a benchmark. Private campgrounds are increasingly offering a different product.”

Columbia River RV Park, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In addition to increasing capacity and rates, private campgrounds are also broadening their calendars. The Dyrt’s survey found that 18.6 percent of hosts extended their camping season in 2022. Winter and fall were the most popular seasons to add dates.

Worth Pondering…

Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.

—Frank A. Clark

The Best RV Camping March 2023

Explore the guide to find some of the best in March camping across America

But where should you park your RV? With so many options out there you may be overwhelmed with the number of locales calling your name.

Here are 10 of the top locations to explore in March. RVing with Rex selected this list of campgrounds and RV resorts from parks personally visited.

Planning an RV trip for a different time of year? Check out my monthly RV park recommendations for the best places to camp in January and February. Also, check out my recommendations from March 2022 and April 2022.

Rain Spirit RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Rain Spirit RV Resort, Clarkdale, Arizona

Overlooking Tuzigoot National Monument and Verde River, Rain Spirit RV Resort is a new park with 63 full-service sites including 30/50-amp electric service, cable TV, and the Internet. Amenities include private restrooms/showers, a fitness room, laundry facilities, a recreation room, a library lounge, a pool and spa, and a dog run. This 5-star resort is a great home base from which to explore the historic town of Jerome, Sedona Red Rock Country, and Old Town Cottonwood, and book an excursion on the Verde Valley Railway.

Barnyard RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Barnyard RV Park, Lexington, South Carolina

Barnyard RV Park offers 129-level and grassy sites with paved interior roads. All sites include water, sewer, electric (30 and 50 amp), and cable TV. Most sites are pull-through and can accommodate large units including a tow car. Amenities include bath and laundry facilities, Wi-Fi available at the site, and a dog park. Barnyard RV Park is located 8 miles from downtown Columbia. From Interstate 20, take Exit 111 west on US-1 to the park. On weekends, experience Southern hospitality at the huge Barnyard Flea Market. The RV Park is located behind the Flea Market.

Red Bluff KOA © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Red Bluff KOA Journey, Red Bluff, California

Big-rig friendly, Red Bluff KOA Journey (formerly Durango RV Resort) is a 5-star resort located on the Sacramento River. The park is well laid out and designed. Most sites are pull-through, 70-90 feet in length, and 30-35 feet wide. In addition, there are 11 riverfront sites and 21 water-feature spaces (fountains); these sites have utilities on both sides of the concrete pads enabling fifth wheels and travel trailers to back onto the sites and motorhomes to drive forward maximizing the view and water features. In addition, there are several buddy sites.

Red Bluff KOA © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Utilities including 20/30/50-amp electric service, water, sewer, and cable TV are centrally located. Wi-Fi works well. Interior roads are paved. We have stayed at Durango on several occasions and would return in a heartbeat. Conveniently located on I-5, Exit 649 (Highway 36/Antelope Boulevard).

Roosevelt State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Roosevelt State Park, Morton, Mississippi

Conveniently located between Meridian and Jackson, Mississippi, Roosevelt State Park offers an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities in a picturesque setting. A variety of recreational activities and facilities are available at Roosevelt State Park including a visitor center, game room, performing arts and media center, picnic area, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, disc golf, softball field, swimming pool, and water slide, tennis courts, and nature trails. Fishing, boating, and water skiing are available on Shadow Lake, a 150-acre fresh water lake.

Roosevelt State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The park offers 109 RV campsites, primitive tent sites, 15 vacation cabins, a motel, and a group camp facility. These facilities are located in wooded areas with views of Shadow Lake. The RV sites feature a picnic table and grill. 27 campsites include electricity and water hookups. 82 sites have electricity, water, and sewer hookups. Many campsites feature views of Shadow Lake and some feature waterfront access. Campground roads and RV pads are paved. All of the RV pads are within easy access to a dump station and a bathhouse with hot showers.

Capital City RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Capital City RV Park, Montgomery, Alabama

Approximately 6 miles north of I-85 (Exit 6), Capital City RV Park is a 5-star park located on the northeastern edge of Montgomery. The park offers clean and quiet sites at reasonable rates.

Capital City features full-hookup sites with 20/30/50 amp electric service, cable TV, high speed Wireless Internet, complete laundry facility, and private bathrooms with showers. Our pull-through site was 70 feet long and 35 feet wide with centrally located utilities. Interior roads and individual sites are gravel. This is a well designed and maintained RV park.

Jekyll Island Campground © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jekyll Island Campground, Georgia

The Jekyll Island Campground is the most affordable, convenient accommodation located near Driftwood Beach. Choose from RV and tent sites as well as amenities like free Wi-Fi, shower facilities, and onsite laundry. The campground offers 175 campsites on 18 wooded acres on the island’s north end. Options range from tent sites to full hook-up, pull-through RV sites with electricity, cable TV, water, and sewage. Wi-Fi and DSL internet is free for registered guests. The campground also will offer private yurt experiences beginning in 2023.

Hidden Lake RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hidden Lake RV Park, Beaumont, Texas

Hidden Lake RV Park offers 72 large pull-through and back-in sits (60-60 feet), full hookups with 30/50 amp at every site, free satellite TV cable, free Wi-Fi, private bathroom/shower rooms, laundry facility, lakeside sites, some shady sites, nature trail, and catch and release fishing.

CT RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

C T RV Resort, Benson, Arizona

Whether you’re escaping the cold winters of the north or just looking for a place to relax and enjoy the dry heat, CT RV Resort is for you. This luxury RV resort—and community of four neighborhoods—sits in Benson, Arizona, home of Kartchner Caverns State Park. This welcoming resort is your home away from home with mountain views and neighborly group cookouts, campfires, and get-togethers.

Pala Casino RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pala Casino RV Resort, Pala, California

A new facility, Pala Casino RV Resort offers 100 full-service sites with grass lawns and picnic tables. Site selection includes 30 feet x55 feet back-in sites, 30 feet x 60 feet luxury sites with barbecue grills, and 30 feet x 70 feet pull-through sites. Amenities include 20/30/50 amp power, water and sewer hookups, free Wi-Fi, cable TV, restrooms and showers, a heated swimming pool, two spas, a fenced dog park, and 24-hour security patrol. Pala Casino RV Resort received top marks from Good Sam in every category including facilities, restrooms and showers, and visual appearance. The resort is located on SR-76, 6 miles east of I-15.

Edisto Beach State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, South Carolina

Edisto Beach State Park offers access to the Atlantic Ocean and beach. It also provides access to the saltwater marsh and creeks. An environmental education center highlights the natural history of Edisto Island and the surrounding ACE Basin. The trails wind through Edisto Island’s maritime forest of live oak, hanging Spanish moss, and palmetto trees. During your walk, you may see white-tailed deer, osprey, or alligators. 112 RV and tent camping sites with water and 20/30/50 amp electrical service are available ocean-side and near the salt marsh. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available for park guests near the office area and in the Wi-Fi room located adjacent to the office.

Worth Pondering…

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.

—John Ruskin

Why Winter Is the Best Time to Visit Southern Utah

Why Winter Is the Best Time to Visit Southern Utah

When winter arrives, travelers tend to split—half head to the mountains to ski or snowboard; the other half seeks out warm weather in the U.S. Sunbelt. Most overlook Utah, a state with year-round blue skies, mild weather, and red rock arches and spires that only look more stunning with a dusting of snow. 

That landscape is perhaps best represented by southern Utah, my favorite section of the state that’s dominated by Mars-like spires, twisting canyons, and delicate sandstone arches. Southern Utah is home to all five of the state’s national parks and is often best visited in the winter when the hot, dry summer has passed and the crowds have dispersed.

Here’s everything you need to know to plan a visit to this lesser-known winter destination.

Zion National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What to do

All five of Utah’s national parks (The Mighty Five) are found in the southern half of the state. In fact, it’s hard to plan a trip to southern Utah without incorporating a visit to at least one or two of the national parks.

Zion National Park is the furthest south and is known for its narrow slot canyons and pink sandstone cliffs. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, Zion National Park is a great place to enjoy sunny skies and fresh air, and get a little extra Vitamin D in the winter months. Plan a winter visit to soak up the sunshine while enjoying moderate temperatures and a stunning sandstone kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and pinks. Winter visitors will find plenty to do including hiking, photography, camping, and gazing up at the wonders of the night sky.

Bryce Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nearby is Bryce Canyon National Park, home to the world’s largest concentration of hoodoos (irregular columns of rock). The stark white of freshly fallen snow, red rocks, blue sky, and evergreen trees—some say Bryce Canyon is even more beautiful in winter! Here at 8,000 feet the scenery changes dramatically in the colder months providing unique opportunities to see the park but requires a very different packing list. Begin by reviewing regular closures and regulations, read about typical weather, and then explore the many ways you can experience this winter wonderland.

To the east are the red rock canyons, cliffs, and domes of Capitol Reef National Park while the adventure town of Moab acts as the gateway to both Arches and Canyonlands national parks with delicate sandstone arches and red rock canyons.

Arches National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Star of Ed Abbey’s iconic Desert Solitaire, Arches has come a long way since 1968 and these days it’s so action-packed, the park service is piloting a timed-entry system requiring advance reservations from April to October 2023. But there are ways around a Disneyland experience. Be an early bird or a night owl—come before sunrise or stay beyond sunset and you’ll be amply rewarded with quieter trails and golden light that makes the arches glow.

The nearest accommodations of Moab are close enough to the park entrance to make this doable. If you’d rather not rise early, book a guided tour with a ranger to see the permit-only Fiery Furnace area or secure a campsite at Devils Garden up to six months in advance. From the campground, you can hike to an underdog of an arch: the lesser-known, stunning Broken Arch. 

Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Five distinct districts comprise Canyonlands, each offering something different. Island in the Sky is land of long views—don’t miss Shafer Trail Viewpoint or Mesa Arch. Only about 20 miles south of Island in the Sky as the crow flies (but a solid two-hour drive away), the Needles District offers great hiking including an action-packed jaunt on Cave Spring Trail featuring a replica of an 1880s-era cowboy camp and mushroom-like rock formations.

Canyonlands National Park, Needles © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Go to the Maze to get lost; Chocolate Drops and Land of Standing Rocks are a couple of worthy destinations in this backcountry district. Head to the non-contiguous Horseshoe Canyon unit to see incredible petroglyphs including floating holy ghosts. And visit the River District at the bottom of the canyons carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers for a rafting adventure. For most of the park’s district, the best place to stay in Moab which offers easy access to Island in the Sky, the Needles, and the park’s rivers. 

Brian Head Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Beyond hiking, and in some cases, camping in southern Utah’s national parks, this part of the state is home to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, two winter sports that are beginner friendly and affordable. Those with their heart set on downhill skiing can find it at Brian Head Resort (near Cedar Breaks National Monument) or Eagle Point Resort, two ski areas with significantly lower prices than those found in northern Utah.

But there’s also year-round hiking, biking, camping, and backpacking in the southern part of the state. And in the evenings, when you’re resting your weary legs, make sure to look up—the long winter nights lend themselves to excellent stargazing.

Arches National Park National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What to pack

It’s all about layers in the winter. If you plan to be outside most of the day, you’ll want to wear synthetic or wool base layers and pack a warm jacket and hat. Sunny days are the norm even in the middle of winter so sunscreen and sunglasses are also a must.

If you plan on hiking in the snow, it may be worth getting a pair of cleats that fasten over your winter footwear and provide added traction. 

Capitol Reef National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where to stay

Many of southern Utah’s national and state parks offer year-round camping.

Zion has three campgrounds. Watchman Campground is open year-round with reservations from early March to late November and first-come, first-serve during the rest of the year. South Campground and Lava Point Campground are open seasonally.

At Bryce Canyon, North Campground’s A Loop is open all winter long for first-come, first-served camping. There are 30 sites in this loop and it is rare for the campground to fill in winter other than around major holidays. As happens every year when overnight temperatures fall below freezing, Loops C and D of North Campground have closed. Loop B typically closes in late fall unless demand for winter campsites is high enough to justify its remaining open. Sunset Campground is closed for the winter and will reopen for first-come, first-served camping on April 15.

Fremont River, Capitol Reef National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Adjacent to the Fremont River and surrounded by historic orchards, Fruita Campground in Capitol Reef has 71 sites. Each site has a picnic table and firepit and/or above ground grill but no individual water, sewage, or electrical hookups. There is a RV dump and potable water fill station near the entrance to Loops A and B. Restrooms feature running water and flush toilets but no showers. The park has a 100 percent reservation system from March 1-October 31.

Devil’s Garden Campground, Arches National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Devils Garden Campground is the only campground at Arches National Park. You can reserve campsites for nights between March 1 and October 31. Between November and February, campsites are first-come, first-served.

Canyonlands maintains two campgrounds. Island in the Sky Campground (Willow Flat) has 12 sites, first come, first-served. There are toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings in the campground. There is no water at the campground. The campground is open year-round. The Needles Campground has 26 individual sites. You can reserve some individual sites from spring through fall. At other times of the year, individual sites are first-come, first-served. There are toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings in the campground.

Worth Pondering…

Landscape is what becomes us. If we see our natural heritage only as a quarry of building block instead of the bedrock of our integrity, we will indeed find ourselves not only homeless but rootless by the impoverishment of our own imagination. At a time when we hardly know what we can count on in a country of shifting values and priorities, Canyonlands is our bedrock, a geologic truth that we all share, the eyes of the future are looking back at us, praying that we may see beyond our own time.

—Terry Tempest Williams

Discover Lafayette in the Heart of Cajun Country

Find some joie de vivre here and po’ boys

Select a town or small city in America for a road trip and you’ll likely get a lot of the same. Perhaps a cute main drag, a church or two, an old-school diner. Don’t get me wrong, small-town America can be great—but there’s no place quite like Lafayette, Louisiana.

Called the happiest city in America year after year plus the tastiest Southern town and music mecca, this New Orleans-alternative and geographic heart of the Bayou State is oozing with joie de vivre. That’s mostly thanks to the resident Creoles (French speakers born outside of France) and Cajuns (descendants of the Acadians expelled from the Canadian Maritimes in the 18th Century) who get what it means to have a good time.

Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sure, there are Mardi Gras traditions unique to Creole and Cajun country like chicken chases but Lafayette which is also known as Hub City because of the many towns that surround it has so much more to offer. You’ll find arguably more festivals than any other US city of its size, parties every night at dancehall honky tonks, and some of the best cuisine in the country. Think New Orleans’ best cuisine and here is where most of those dishes originated.

And Lafayette is only getting better. Over the last few years, creative locals have revitalized downtown Lafayette with shops and restaurants you won’t see anywhere else.

So if you find yourself, like Paul Simon, “standing on the corner of Lafayette, state of Louisiana, wondering where a city boy could go to get a little conversation, drink a little red wine, catch a little bit of those Cajun girls dancing to zydeco,” here’s your guide.

Boudin balls © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lafayette knows how to party

Mardi Gras is done very differently here and absolutely needs to go on your bucket list even if you’ve experienced carnival season in New Orleans. On Fat Tuesday in Lafayette, locals dress up in colorful masks with big noses (like a more colorful big bird), get wasted, and eat thousands of crawfish.

But Lafayette doesn’t stop all year ‘round. In March, there’s Festivals Acadiens et Créoles for Cajun fiddle and washboard zydeco music. In April you’ve got Festival International (April 26-39, 2023) which attracts hundreds of thousands to the city every year and a festival for boudin.

Don’s Specialty Meats in Scott for boudin and other Cajun food © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boudin is deeply ingrained in Cajun culture and the nearby community of Scott celebrates and shares it. You can find all kinds of mouth-watering boudin at the 9th annual Scott Boudin Festival, April 14-16, 2023. This regional authentic Cajun food is a favorite for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Boudin is a delicious combination of rice, ground pork, and flavorful seasonings stuffed into sausage casings. Boudin remains one of the most unique American sausages and regional specialties of Louisiana’s Cajun culture.

Rayne frog mural © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The rest of the year, there are festivals for everything from po’ boy sandwiches to frogs (Rayne Frog Festival) to sweet dough pie. In September, the Acadiana Po-boy & Plate Lunch Festival combines two of Lafayette’s favorite culinary gems, the po’boy and the plate lunch.

Sweet Dough Pie Festival celebrates the history of Grand Coteau (15 miles north of Lafayette off I-49) and a traditional Louisiana treat called a sweet dough pie. Every year on the fourth Saturday of October this charming town draws thousands of hungry visitors in search of their favorite traditional filling―sweet potato, fig, blackberry, or lemon!

Crawfish float in Breaux Bridge © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Any time of the year, party while you eat during the world-famous zydeco breakfasts at Buck & Johnny’s (Saturdays, 8-11 am) or Cajun jams (Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am-1 pm) at Tante Marie in Breaux Bridge. Essentially, they’re exactly what they sound like: you eat a decadent brunch while listening to traditional music and everyone is encouraged to get up and boogie. Just know that you’ll never master the slick moves of the octagenarians (one who is between the ages of 80 and 89) you’re bound to see cutting up the dance floor.

Last but certainly not least, go dancing at Blue Moon Saloon Saloon & Guest House and Artmosphere. These two dancehalls encapsulate Lafayette’s love of life more than any place else.

Frog City RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Get that Cajun and Creole grub

Cajun and Creole food are celebrated the world over and Lafayette is where it all began. There are literally 50 places to eat boudin (Cajun Boudin Trail) so many crawfish boils during the season, gumbo (a meat stew made with dark roux in Acadiana as opposed to tomato-based roux in New Orleans), and shrimp étoufée (seafood stew over rice).

Cracklin, a Cajun food specialty © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You really can’t go wrong with food in Lafayette but if you want a guide to give you a sampling of the most traditional dishes, you can do a Cajun Food Tour which offers history tours and culinary tours all rolled into one. Their tours take you into the heart of Cajun Country, off the eaten path.

After you’ve tried the classics, downtown Lafayette has some exciting new restaurants that are definitely worth checking out. The finest is Vestal (555 Jefferson Street) where Chef Ryan Trahan—a.k.a. The King of Louisiana Seafood—is doing something special with live fire cooking techniques. Otherwise, try Pop’s Poboys (740 Jefferson Street) or Pamplona Tapas Bar & Restaurant (631 Jefferson Street).

Tabasco factory on Avery Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Drink bookstore wine or drive-thru daiquiris

Beausoleil Books & Whisper Room (302A Jefferson Street) is the kind of place that proves Lafayette is on the up and up. The bookstore is the only place that has a collection of French books for sale in Lafayette these days and it duals as a bar and event space—yes, you can even take your drink with you as you peruse.

Jungle Gardens on Avery Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wild Child Wines (210 E. Vermilion Street) has the city’s best selection of natural and traditional wine which can be sipped in-shop. If craft beer’s what you’re after, Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville is worth the 20-mile drive for its big selection of intriguing flavors (king cake beer during carnival season!) and does a mean pizza. If you’re daring, try their Boudin Bomb (a cajun stout with bourbon and “Gatorbite” coffee liquor).

Just make sure you don’t leave Lafayette without getting a drive-thru daiquiri at a place like Frankie’s because where else in the world can you say you did that?

Alligator on Avery Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Gander at the ‘gators and get (hot) sauced

Humans and alligators have a complicated relationship. They scare us but they’re nothing to be afraid of. Well, as long as you’re not a tiny, bite-sized human or swimming right next to them. From a lovely, floating, safe boat, they’re pretty neat to watch. The best way to do that is with McGee’s Swamp and Airboat tours which are also a good way to gain an appreciation for Louisiana wetlands.

Cajun Palms RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Another fun thing to do is to drive down to Avery Island, the home of the Tabasco hot sauce factory. You can also sample every sauce flavor available here along with super delicious Tabasco Ice Cream. More than a worthwhile museum experience, Avery Island has jungle gardens with exotic wildlife including hundreds of egrets that nest on the island each spring on specially built, pier-like structures in a pond nicknamed “Bird City.”

Poche’s RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where to stay in Lafayette

Campgrounds and RV Parks in the Lafayette area include:

  • Cajun Palms RV Resort, 15 miles west in Henderson (I-10, Exit 115)
  • Lafayette KOA Holiday, 8 miles east in Scott (1-10, Exit 97)
  • Frog City RV Park, 12 miles east in Duson (I-10, Exit 92)
  • Poche’s RV Park and Fish-N-Camp, 12 northwest in Breaux Bridge (1-10; Exit 104; check directions locally)

Worth Pondering…

Well, I’m standing on the corner of Lafayette
State of Louisiana
Wondering where a city boy could go
To get a little conversation
Drink a little red wine
Catch a little bit of those Cajun girls
Dancing to Zydeco.

―Paul Simon, “That Was Your Mother”, Track 10 on Graceland (1986)

7 Essential RVing Tips for the Perfect Road Trip + Resources

From proper maintenance and packing to route planning and emergency preparedness, these tips and resources will help you have the perfect road trip

RVing is a great way to explore the country and have a unique and flexible vacation. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time RVer, there are always new things to learn and tips to make your road trip even better. 

In this post, I’ll cover seven essential RVing tips to help you have the ultimate road trip. These tips will help you enjoy the perfect road trip from start to finish! I’ve also included helpful resources related to the tips to help get you on your way.

Camping at River Run RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Properly maintain your RV before hitting the road

Before you set out on your road trip, it’s important to make sure your RV is in good working order. This means regular maintenance and upkeep, such as checking the tires, brakes, fluids, and other crucial systems. 

Neglecting maintenance can lead to costly breakdowns and other problems on the road. It’s a good idea to do a thorough inspection before you leave. Check all the systems and make any necessary repairs or replacements. 

You should also bring along basic tools and supplies in case you need to make any minor repairs on the road.

Checking the water and waste management systems © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Perfect road trip helpful resources:

Rio Bend RV Park and Golf Course, El Centro, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Pack smart

One of the joys of RVing is having all the comforts of home with you on the road. However, this also means that you’ll need to bring everything you’ll need for your trip.

To avoid forgetting important items, it’s a good idea to make a checklist of must-have supplies and check them off as you pack. You’ll want to bring items including a first aid kit, tools, cooking equipment, and any personal items you’ll need.

It’s also important to think about how you’ll store and organize these items in your RV. Storage bins, drawers, and other organizational tools help keep everything in its place and easy to access.

Everything parked on board? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Perfect road trip helpful resources:

Hiking Catalina State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Stay healthy and comfortable on the road

One of the keys to having a great road trip is staying healthy and comfortable. There are several things you can do to help ensure that you feel your best while RVing.

One important aspect of staying healthy is eating well. It can be tempting to rely on fast food and convenience items while on the road but these options are often unhealthy and can leave you feeling sluggish. 

Instead, try to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and other wholesome foods. You can also bring along healthy snacks such as nuts or fruit to munch on while you’re driving.

Horseback riding in Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Also, be sure to take breaks to stretch your legs often and to stay active while camping.

Perfect road trip helpful resources:

Check tires for age and wear © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Prepare for emergencies and unexpected situations

Even with the best planning, there’s always the possibility of something going wrong on your road trip. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for emergencies and unexpected situations.

One way to do this is by creating an emergency kit for your RV. This should include basic supplies such as a flashlight, first aid kit, and tools as well as any specific items you might need such as spare fuses or a fire extinguisher.

It’s also a good idea to have a plan in place for common RVing emergencies such as a flat tire or breakdown. Know where you can get help and how to contact roadside assistance.

With a little preparation, you’ll be better equipped to handle any unexpected challenges that come your way.

Wright’s Beach RV Park, Penticton, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Perfect road trip helpful resources:

Driving a motorhome on Newfound Gap Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Practice safe driving habits

Driving an RV can be different than driving a regular car and it’s important to be aware of the unique challenges and responsibilities that come with it. One of the most important things you can do to ensure a safe road trip is to follow the rules of the road and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

This includes things like observing the speed limit, using your turn signals, and paying attention to other drivers and pedestrians. You should also be mindful of your blind spots and the length and width of your RV as it can be more difficult to maneuver than a smaller vehicle.

Another important aspect of safe driving is being prepared for any adverse weather conditions that you might encounter. Make sure to check the forecast for your route and adjust your driving accordingly. 

Driving a motorhome on Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Perfect road trip helpful resources:

Camping at Whispering Hills RV Park, Georgetown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Respect campsite rules and neighbors

One of the keys to a pleasant RVing experience is being a good campsite neighbor. This means respecting the rules and regulations of the campsite and being considerate of others around you.

Some ways to be a good campsite neighbor include being mindful of noise levels, keeping the campsite clean, and respecting the privacy of others. You should also follow the rules of the campground such as any fire regulations or pet policies.

By showing respect and consideration for others, you’ll help create a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone at the campsite.

Camping at Lakeside RV Park, Livingston, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Perfect road trip helpful resources:

Dyke Road, Woodland, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Plan your route and make reservations in advance

One of the keys to a successful RV road trip is proper planning. This includes mapping out your route and making campsite or RV park reservations ahead of time. By planning your route, you’ll be able to choose the best roads for your RV and avoid any potential problems. You should also consider the length of your drives and make sure to take breaks as needed. 

I’m a believer in the 330 Rule. It says, “Stop when you have driven 330 miles or it’s 3:30 in the afternoon.”

When it comes to campsites, it’s also a good idea to book your spots ahead of time, especially during peak season. Unfortunately, ever since the pandemic, it has been much harder to get last-minute reservations. In fact, getting reservations is one of the big RV travel difficulties these days. In a pinch, you can overnight at different businesses and locations.

Colorado River along Utah Scenic Byway 279 near Moab © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Perfect road trip helpful resources:

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

—Burma Shave sign

2023 Wildflower Season is coming soon. Will it be a Superbloom?

Winter showers are bringing spring flowers and a great wildflower season is expected. Here’s a sneak peek at where to go for the best views!

Spring is on the way, bringing one of Arizona’s best features: Wildflowers.

As far as wildflowers are concerned, a lot of things have gone right so far this winter in Arizona. Widespread rains came early and often. The moisture has been well-spaced so there were no extended dry periods. Temperatures have stayed moderate. All those factors matter for how many and what types of flowers are likely to bloom.

Wildflowers at Picacho Peak State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are no guarantees when it comes to wildflowers but the 2023 season seems full of promise. The Arizona deserts may be teetering on the edge of a superbloom. It’s still too early to say but no matter how things play out during February, the desert should be filled with a colorful array of poppies, lupines, and other flowers this spring.

This is a wildflower season that should not be missed. Here are seven Arizona wildflower hotspots worth exploring and which blooms you are likely to see.

Estrella Mountain Regional Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Estrella Mountain Regional Park

Overview: This big park in Goodyear always seems to get a jump on some of the other spots in the Valley and it flashed lots of blooms in January. Visitors will find a nice medley of brittlebush, Mexican goldpoppies, globemallows, rock daisies, and fiddlenecks among others.

What to look for: Some of the best sightings can be found along the Rainbow Valley Trail sprinkled with poppies, scorpionweed, and brittlebush. On the Gadsden Trail, the blue/purple lupines are already blooming and noted for being “extra heavy and extraordinary in color and expanse.” Poppies of varying hues sway on both sides of Flycatcher Trail. Stop at the Nature Center for the exhibits and to get the latest info.

Lupines and poppies at Estrella Mountain Regional Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When to go: Right now if you want. Abundant blooms should continue through February and into March.

Camping: Unless a Park Host site is available, there is no camping in the park.

Location/address: 14805 W. Vineyard Ave., Goodyear

Park entrance fee: $7 per vehicle

Contact:  602-506-2930, ext. 6

>> Get more tips for visiting Estrella Regional Park

Wildflowers at Picacho Peak State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Picacho Peak State Park

Overview: Good to excellent. They’ve had plenty of rain and poppy plants are out in force on the lower slopes of the mountains although few flowers are visible yet. Joining the poppies will be lupines and a healthy mix of perennials including some rare globemallows with lilac-hued flowers.

Wildflowers at Picacho Peak State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What to look for: This is a good park to visit even for folks with limited mobility. Visitors will be able to enjoy plenty of color from the park roadway and adjacent picnic tables. For a closer look, good showings of color can be found on the easy Nature Trail, Children’s Cave Trail and the moderate Calloway Trail.

When to go: Mid- to late February. The season often starts early at Picacho Peak although a late January cold snap could delay it a bit this year. Colorful blooms should continue into March.

Picacho Peak State Park camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camping: Picacho Peak State Park’s campground has a total of 85 electric sites for both tent and RV camping. Four sites are handicapped-accessible. No water or sewer hookups are available. Access to all sites is paved. Sites are fairly level and are located in a natural Sonoran Desert setting. High speed Wi-Fi internet access is now available at all campsites provided by Airebeam. Additional fees required for access.

Wildflowers at Picacho Peak State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Park entrance fee: $7 per vehicle

Location/address: 15520 Picacho Peak Road, Picacho

Contact: 520-466-3183

>> Get more tips for visiting Picacho Peak State Park

Lost Dutchman State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lost Dutchman State Park

Overview: Park rangers are cautiously optimistic predicting an above average year while hoping for a stellar one.

What to look for: In some recent years, the poppies at Lost Dutchman have been drastically reduced by late season freezes. So that is always a possibility. Yet even if that does happen, hardier perennials like brittlebush, globemallow, and chuparosa should still flourish. If poppies show up to the party, it makes for an unforgettable sight with the steep ramparts of the Superstition Mountains rising directly from a sea of shimmering yellow and orange. For some of the best flower viewing, start up the Siphon Draw Trail and then circle back on Jacob’s Crosscut and Treasure Loop.

When to go: End of February through mid-March.

Lost Dutchman State Park camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camping: The campground has 135 sites and three group camping areas: 68 sites with electric (50/30/20 amp service) and water and the remainder non-hookup sites on paved roads for tents or RVs. Every site has a picnic table and a fire pit with an adjustable grill gate. There are no size restrictions on RVs. Well-mannered pets on leashes are welcome, but please pick after your pets.

Park entrance fee: $10 per vehicle

Location/address: 6109 N. Apache Trail, Apache Junction

Contact: 480-982-4485

>> Get more tips for visiting Lost Dutchman State Park

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Overview: If not a superbloom, something very close to it. Conditions seem pretty close to ideal at this remote park in southwestern Arizona. While poppies will bloom at Organ Pipe, they are not as predominant as at some other locations. Here visitors will enjoy a mixed bouquet of lupines, chuparosa, ocotillos, fairy dusters, brittlebush, globemallows, and more.  

Wildflowers at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What to look for: In the monument, take the 21-mile Ajo Mountain Drive (a well maintained mostly dirt road) looping into rugged country for a colorful mix of flowers. Or hike the Palo Verde and Victoria Mine trails for a closer look. If the season develops like they expect, rangers may schedule some guided wildflower hikes. Check the website or call the visitor center for details.

When to go: March is the prime time. Heading south on State Route 85 from Gila Bend, travelers are treated to big pools of Mexican goldpoppies in good years.

Twin Peaks Campground, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camping: Twin Peaks Campground is located just over one mile away from the Kris Eggle Visitor Center and each campsite is surrounded by beautiful desert plants. It has 34 tent-only sites and 174 sites for RVs. Several sites can accommodate RVs up to 45 feet in length. Restrooms have running water and a three have free solar-heated showers. Hookups for electricity, water, or sewer are not available

Park entrance fee: $25 per vehicle, good for seven days

Location/address: About 150 miles southwest of Phoenix off SR 85

Contact: 520-387-6849

>> Get more tips for visiting Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Wildflowers at Bartlett Lake © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bartlett Lake

Overview: Good to excellent. After a couple of disappointing years there are high hopes for a colorful season at Bartlett Lake.

What to look for: The road to the reservoir quickly leaves suburbs behind and winds past rolling hills to the sparkling reservoir cradled by mountains. Poppies and lupines grow in profusion on the banks above the water. Be sure to keep an eye peeled for white poppies; this is a good spot for them. Some of the best flower sightings are along the road to Rattlesnake Cove. The Palo Verde Trail parallels the shoreline pinning hikers between flowers and the lake, a wonderful place to be on a warm March day.

Wildflowers at Bartlett Lake © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When to go: March. Peak color should be in the middle of the month but much will be determined by temperature.

Camping: Campground fees at various sites around Bartlett Reservoir might be separate from the Tonto Day pass. Call Cave Creek Ranger District (480-595-3300) for specific details.

Wildflowers at Bartlett Lake © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Park entrance fee: An $8 Tonto Day Pass is required. Buy one before you go; purchasing options are listed on the website.

Location/address: Bartlett Lake is about 57 miles northwest of Phoenix.

Contact: 480-595-3300

>> Get more tips for visiting Bartlett Lake

Mexican poppies at Catalina State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Catalina State Park

Overview: Good to excellent. All winter the rains have pounded this scenic park on the north side of Tucson. It even led to flooding of the big Cañada del Oro wash in January. All that moisture has greened up the saguaro-clad foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains and the lush garden is thick with flowering plants.  

Fairy duster at Catalina State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What to look for: The Sutherland Trail offers the best assortment of flowers with fields of poppies, cream cups, lupines, penstemon, and desert chicory. Best color can be found near the junction with Canyon Loop and continuing for about 2 miles on the Sutherland across the desert.

For those looking for a quick outing, a good wildflower spot is on the Nature Trail. The path climbs a low hill that’s often carpeted with an array of blooms. Guided hikes and bird walks are offered several days a week.

When to go: Mid-March through early April.

Catalina State Park camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camping: The campground offers 120 electric and water sites. Each campsite has a picnic table and BBQ grill. Roads and parking slips are paved. Campgrounds have modern flush restrooms with hot, clean showers, and RV dump stations are available in the park. There is no limit on the length of RVs at this park.

Park entrance fee: $7 per vehicle

Location/address: 11570 N. Oracle Road, Tucson

Contact: 520-628-5798

>> Get more tips for visiting Catalina State Park

Wildflowers on Peridot Mesa © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Peridot Mesa

Overview: Moderate to good. This rocky mesa on the San Carlos Apache Reservation east of metro Phoenix is known for some of Arizona’s best poppy displays, stretching across a broad hill and sweeping down the slopes.

Wildflowers on Peridot Mesa © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What to look for: Sharp-eyed visitors will spot lupines, desert chicory, and blue dicks mingled among the blaze of orange. But the hillsides blanketed in poppies are the absolute showstopper. With the cooler temperatures this winter, peak bloom isn’t expected until later. The mesa is down a dirt road a short distance off U.S. 70 east of Globe. The road can normally be managed in a passenger car.

When to go: Late March into early April. If temperatures heat up, the season could develop sooner.

Camping: The closest camground is Apache Gold Casino RV Park, 12 miles east of Peridot Mesa.

Poppies on Peridot Mesa © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Park entrance fee: Since the Peridot Mesa is located on San Carlos Tribal Lands, visitors will need to purchase a permit to travel to the wildflower spot.  Permits are $10 each and can be purchased at the Circle K in Globe (2011 U.S. 70), or the San Carlos Recreation & Wildlife Office in Peridot.

Location/address: 30 miles east of Globe on US-70

Contact: 928-475-2343

>> Get more tips for visiting Peridot Mesa

Worth Pondering…

Colors are the smile of nature.

—Leigh Hunt