Life Is a Highway: Taking the Great American Road Trip

Ready. Set. On the road!

There’s a lot of America out there. It’s a big, beautiful country with so much to see. And when you fly to your destination, you’re missing most of it—the landscapes, the views, the small-town diners, the quirky roadside attractions. You lose the chance to experience all the special little stops that exist in between the big cities. To get to know America, you have to drive through it in an RV.

World’s Largest Runner, Los Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The cross-country trip is the supreme example of the journey as the destination.

“I discovered I did not know my own country,” John Steinbeck wrote in Travels with Charley explaining why he hit the road at age 58.

Prescott © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Travel usually implies seeing a place once and moving on; but this became a trip in which I made lists of places I’d return to—Prescott and Sedona and now Gallup, New Mexico where I’d happily go mountain-biking or hiking in the high desert or visiting the people who possessed the country before we claimed it as ours.

Sedona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Kentucky, well-tended and fenced, and the soft green of its fields and hills, the sight of horses and farms, made it seem an orderly Eden, parklike—another place to return to. This part of the state was rich in classic names—Lebanon and Paris, but Athens and Versailles had been tamed into Ay-thens and Ver-sails.

Versailles, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Ten days into my road trip I began wondering if I were perhaps pushing it a little too hard. But wasn’t the whole point to keep going down the proud highway? The thrill is in the moving, gaining ground, watching the landscape change, stopping on impulse.

“At one point, bowling along the open road, the Supertramp song Take the Long Way Home came on the radio. Listening to music while driving through a lovely landscape is one of life’s great mood enhancers. And hearing the line, ‘But there are times that you feel you’re part of the scenery,’ I was in Heaven.”

Related Article: The Great American Road Trip: Born in 1856

Kentucky Bluegrass Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The journey and not the destination is the joy of RVing. Taking your RV on the open road and experiencing breathtaking views along the way can make for the one-of-a-kind vacation your family is looking for. Highways can guide you along the coast to take in ocean views at sunset. Others wind you through the mountains exploring history.

A lot goes into planning a great road trip from finding the best diners along your route and the quirkiest roadside attractions to queueing up road trip songs that make the trip. It’s all about the journey.

World’s Largest Pistachio Nut, Alamagordo, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

I can tell you scenic roads to take, where to camp, where to eat, and where to stop (I can even tell you where to find the world’s largest roadrunner or pistachio nut), and help you make the best road trip playlist.

With that in mind, I put together this Great American Road Trips Guide to help you find some inspiration. Discover favorite routes to drive plus some of the best stops along the way.

And remember: These are just jumping-off points. Once you’re on the road, you’ll think of other parts of the country you want to see. Along the way, you might even stumble upon a road that takes you even farther off the beaten path. If you do, follow your wanderlust. Trust me—it’s worth it!

Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Blue Ridge Parkway

Known as one of the nation’s best and most beautiful drives, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs for 469 miles across Virginia and North Carolina. It follows the Appalachian Mountains—the Blue Ridge chain, specifically—from Shenandoah National Park in the north to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the south. Because the Blue Ridge Parkway connects two national parks, it’s easy to visit both during your drive.

Monahans Sandhills State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shifting Sands

West Texas winds transform an ever-changing landscape of sand dunes at the 3.840-acre Monahans Sandhills State Park. The field of dunes begins south of Monahans and stretches north into New Mexico. Opened in 1957, the state park harbors a peaceful Chihuahuan Desert playground where people can explore the rolling landscape, slide down the hills, picnic, camp, and take in extraordinary sunrises and sunsets.

Related Article: Ultimate American Road Trips

Klosel’s Steakhouse © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Kloesel’s Steakhouse & Bar, Moulton, Texas

It was hard to believe the locals when we were told that one of the best restaurants around was Klosel’s. After some hesitation, we stopped for lunch en route to the little brewery in Shiner and give it a shot and what a pleasant surprise. The food was truly amazing and good value. Great atmosphere and friendly service. We have eaten here over the years numerous times and have always been impressed with their food and staff. Particularly love their chicken fried steak—and desert.

Creole Nature Trail © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Creole Nature Trail All-American Road

Starting on the outskirts of Lake Charles and ending at the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is a network of byways where you’ll find more than 400 bird species, alligators galore, and 26 miles of Gulf of Mexico beaches. Also called “America’s Outback,” the Creole Nature Trail takes visitors through 180 miles of southwest Louisiana’s backroads.

Creole Nature Trail © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You’ll pass through small fishing villages, National Wildlife Refuges to reach the little-visited, remote Holly and Cameron beaches. Take a side trip down to Sabine Lake, or drive onto a ferry that takes visitors across Calcasieu Pass. Throughout the trip, expect to see exotic birds; this area is part of the migratory Mississippi Flyway. 

Woodstock © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Woodstock

In a state that’s home to the Hamptons, Finger Lakes, Appalachian Trail, and Big Apple it’s no surprise that small communities like Woodstock fall to the back of the mind. To assume that Woodstock is only notable for its namesake 1969 music festival (that didn’t occur there) would be a major blunder—the three-day festival was held on a dairy farm in nearby Bethel. In reality, Woodstock is a charming little Catskills oasis where fewer than 6,000 residents prop up an art, religion, music, and theater scene worthy of national attention.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

The stretch of Interstate running from Minneapolis, Minnesota, through the heart of the North Dakota Heartland is fantastic if you’re big into grain silos and livestock. Otherwise, nobody’s confusing a drive down I-94 with one of America’s most scenic routes. Then, out of the blue, it happens: About an hour east of the Montana border—and a seemingly endless four hours from Fargo—the Earth drops out from under the highway and mountains somehow appear out of nowhere. This is how you’ll know you’ve reached Theodore Roosevelt National Park, a plains-state paradise often forgotten in the world of Arches and Bryce Canyon. The three-unit park is surprising not just in its grandeur but also in its very existence in a state few know much about.

Mount Washington Cog Railway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Mount Washington Cog Railway

At 6,288.2 feet, Mt. Washington is the highest peak in New Hampshire. Ride in style to the summit on a historic cog railway that has been operating since 1869. Grades average 25 percent! Keep your eye out for hikers on the Appalachian Trail which crosses the line about three-quarters of the way up. Enjoy far-reaching panoramic views at the summit on the Observatory deck on a nice day. The visitor center has snacks, restrooms, and a post office. And, don’t miss the Mount Washington Weather Museum.

Related Article: Road Trippin’

Lockhart © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lockhart

A short trip to this flavor-packed smoke town should be on any food lover’s bucket list. Dubbed the “BBQ Capital of Texas,” Lockhart is easily one of the most legendary barbecue destinations anywhere. Your itinerary includes the Big Three: Black’s Barbecue (open since 1932), Kreuz Market (established 1900), and Smitty’s Market (since 1948). You’ll be consuming a lot of meat so be sure to stop for breaks. Proceed in any order you please. Lockhart has one more stop in store for you: Chisholm Trail Barbecue (opened by a Black’s alum in 1978).

Shipshewana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shipshewana

Many of the towns in northwestern Indiana’s Amish Country date back 150 years or more. Among these is tiny Shipshewana known for an enormous flea market where 1,000 vendors peddle their wares twice a week from May through October. Due to the Amish lifestyle you can almost believe you’ve stepped back in time a century or more. To learn about Amish history, tour Menno-Hof. Through multi-image presentations and historical displays, you’ll travel back 500 years to the origins of the Amish-Mennonite story.

Monument Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Monument Valley

A huge swath of Arizona seems to have been designed by cartoonists, from the trippy Dr. Seuss waves of the Vermillion Cliffs to the splaying cacti of Saguaro National Park. But Monument Valley is where nature gets serious. This is a land of monolithic red sandstone bluffs seemingly carved by the gods where enormous spires emerge so far in the distance they’re shrouded by haze even on a clear day. Each crevice tells a story and every ledge is its own unforgettable vista.

Related Article: Road Trip Planning for the First Time RVer

Monument Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While Monument Valley is undoubtedly national park-worthy, this is a Navajo Tribal Park and I hope it stays that way. It’s a place rooted in ancient Native religion and serves as an expansive gateway to the wondrous desert landscapes of both Utah and Arizona.

Worth Pondering…

Life is a Highway

Life is like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I wanna drive it all night long
Come on. Give me give me give me give me yeah

—recorded by Tom Cochrane from his second studio album, Mad Mad World (1991)

Road Trippin’

It’s about the journey

From the coast to the desert, here are nine road trips that will have you road-tripping through America’s finest landscapes. Some are RV-friendly while others may require a smaller vehicle to navigate.

Catalina Highway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Catalina Highway – Arizona

The Santa Catalinas crowned by 9,157-foot Mt. Lemmon rise in ragged ridges at the northern edge of Tucson. Explore this rugged world with a scenic drive up the Catalina Highway also known as the Sky Island Scenic Byway.

Catalina Highway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The 30-mile paved road winds up through dry desert terrain, past rocky outcroppings, pull-outs offering stunning vistas, and mid-level forests teaming with leafy oak trees. Don’t forget your jacket as temperatures can drop as much as 30-degrees from the bottom to the top of the road.

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.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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. Cross the San Juan River in the tiny one-horse town of Mexican Hat, gaze in wonder at the postcard-ready views of the Monument Valley, and finally end up at the Canyon De Chelly National Monument in Northern Arizona.

Related Article: Take the Exit Ramp to Adventure & Scenic Drives

Bayou Teche Scenic Byway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bayou Teche National Scenic Byway – Louisiana

This Louisiana byway reaches through three of the state’s southern parishes—St. Martin, Iberia, and St. Mary—as it winds through Bayou Teche and the Atchafalaya Basin from Morgan City to Arnaudville. Travelers can make stops along the byways 183 miles to explore inviting small towns, go kayaking in Breaux Bridge, and enjoy authentic local Cajun food.

Skyline Drive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Skyline Drive – Virginia

Stretching 105 miles across Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive offers 75 overlooks, picnic areas, and trails. Warm spring weather brings purple and yellow violets, masses of pink azaleas, and white dogwood flowers.

If you’re making a day trip of it, pick one of the 30-mile stretches such as Front Royal to Thornton Gap where you can stop at the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center.

Skyline Drive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hiking enthusiasts can head to Mary’s Rock for 360-degree views or enjoy a more leisurely lookout by driving to Pinnacles Overlook perched at 3,320 feet. The area offers numerous wineries such as Little Washington Winery and Quievremont Vineyard and Winery where you can enjoy the views while nibbling on cheese and sipping wine.

Scenic Byway 24 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Scenic Byway 24 – Utah

Starting near the City of Green River, Utah Route 24 creates a grand loop through the south-central slickrock desert and ends up back on I-70 to the west near Aurora. A section of this meandering drive between Loa and Hanksville turns the spotlight on Capitol Reef National Park. Here the scenic drive follows the Fremont River, an oasis in a parched environment.

Scenic Byway 24 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The 378 square mile Capitol Reef Park can be viewed as a northern extension of the huge Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, covering an additional 1.7 million acres. Capitol Reef is a sightseers and hikers’ paradise with deep red monoliths, sculpted spires, graceful arches, mesmerizing canyon mazes, and the imposing Waterpocket Fold.

Scenic Byway 24 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Various side roads and unimproved roads have the tendency to turn this scenic drive into a weeklong adventure. With historic structures and plenty of grand views, this route earns plenty of raves from those who have gone before. Miles from any large city, this is a true off-the-beaten-path experience.

Texas Hill Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Texas Hill Country – Texas

The Texas Hill Country, located west of Austin and north of San Antonio, features a landscape dotted with lush rolling green hills, spring-fed rivers, and charming small towns.

Related Article: Road Trip: The 15 Most Scenic Drives in America

Thanks to Lady Bird Johnson who led a campaign to beautify American cities, vast swaths of bluebonnets were planted across Texas Hill Country and now their bright blue blooms signify the advent of the spring season.

Texas Hill Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While there are countless nature trails, first-timers should start in Austin and take U.S. 290 west to Johnson City’s lovely Wildflower Loop. Then hightail it along U.S. 281 N to the town of Burnet which is widely known as the official bluebonnet capital of Texas.

Newfound Gap Road © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newfound Gap Road – Tennessee and North Carolina

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is split in two by a single major two-lane roadway that crosses through the heart of the park and over its highest mountain gap.

This scenic drive is known as the Newfound Gap Road or US Highway 441. The roadway follows rivers, climbs steep slopes, and offers incredible views.

Newfound Gap Road © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In the spring months, this route is awash with color as the wildflowers come alive and the trees begin to sport their bright green new leaves. A must-see are the rare Purple Catawba rhododendrons found only at high elevations that reach their peak of bloom along this well-known drive by early June.

I’ve put together my favorite itineraries to make it easy for you to explore your own backyard—wherever your backyard may be.

Mingus Mountain Road © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Mingus Mountain Scenic Road – Arizona

Traveling from Prescott to Jerome, you start a mile high, finish a mile high, and climb a mountain in the middle. This route rises from the expanse of the Prescott Valley abruptly to the heavily vegetated Black Hills. In Yeager Canyon, the road is visually and physically enclosed by the vegetation and canyon walls.

Mingus Mountain Road © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Descending from the top of Mingus Mountain to the Verde Valley there are spectacular views of the Mogollon Rim, San Francisco Peaks, and the red sandstone cliffs of the red rocks. This scenic road makes a smooth transition into the history of the mining area as it meets the Jerome, Clarkdale, Cottonwood Historic Road.

Related Article: America’s 10 Best Scenic Byways for a Spring Road Trip

Indian Creek Scenic Drive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Indian Creek Scenic Drive – Utah

Amidst the red rock of the Moab area, the Indian Creek Corridor Scenic byway leads to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. Traversing across high sage plains, the route eventually leads to Indian Creek and Newspaper Rock Recreation Site.

Newspaper Rock © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This Utah Scenic Byway traverses a high altitude (6,000 feet) sage plain before plunging into Indian Creek Canyon on its way to Canyonlands National Park. Along the way it passes the Dugout Ranch, one of the oldest operating cattle ranches in southeast Utah. The byway accesses Newspaper Rock BLM Recreation Site and cuts through the Canyon Rims BLM Recreation Area, a vast landscape of desert and low elevation mountain terrain with hiking and four wheeling opportunities.

Indian Creek Scenic Drive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Beginning at the junction of US Highway 191, 14 miles north of Monticello, the paved Byway travels west across the sage plain and descends the switchbacks into Indian Creek Canyon. It follows the canyon until the landscape opens out into a broad valley at which point the Byway accesses a county road which leads to the Abajo Mountains and Beef Basin within the larger Canyon Rims Recreation Area. The byway terminates at the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

Related Article: Get in your RV and Go! Scenic Drives in America

Worth Pondering…

Roads were made for journeys, not destinations.

—Confucius

Road Trip Planning for the First Time RVer

Essential tips for the first time RVer

Planning your first-ever RV trip is a pretty darn exciting time. You’re about to take on the wide-open road, zipping off anywhere the wind might be calling, all with your very own private villa-on-wheels.

Of course, the exact same factors that make first-time RV trips so thrilling can also make them a little overwhelming for the eager road trip planner. That wide-open road we’re talking about is… well, wide open. There are so many places you can go, after all. It only takes a quick glance through your favorite road atlas to be struck with decision paralysis. With so many amazing sites to see, how will you ever choose?

Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

From hiking through the lush green forests of the Pacific Northwest to laying out a blanket in the sand on the sunny eastern shore, the US has so much to offer an RV adventurer. And if you’re already dealing with learning your rig’s ropes, putting together an itinerary can become more of a duty than a delight.

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone put together a list of easy, yet exciting RV road trip ideas so you could simply choose?

RVing with Rex to the rescue! Here are some top road trip planning tips.

Bernheim Forest, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

First Time Road Trip Ideas

You know I’ve got your back here. So to make your first time RV experience easier, I came up with this list of easy American road trip ideas to help get you on the road as effortlessly as possible—or at least give you some great brainstorming material.

Elephant Butte Lake State Park, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Of course, which of these trips will work best for you will depend in part on where you’re starting your journey from, how much time you have available, and the type of experience you’re after. For instance, a weekend ski trip to Vermont might make perfect sense for a Boston February getaway, but it’ll be less doable if you hang your hat in Phoenix. (Or if it’s July by the time you’re reading this post, for that matter.)

Related: 6 Essential Tips for the First Time RVer

That said, hopefully these fun and simple road trip ideas will help make life a little bit easier when you hit the road for your first RV outing.

Ready to dive in? Here are some of my favorite first-timer options.

Creole Nature Trail, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Quick Road Trip Ideas

If you’re looking to get off the Interstate and onto a scenic route, this list is for you! Here are some simple road trip ideas to get you going.

Savannah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Southern Charm Sojourn

The American south has so much more to offer than comfort food—not that we’re turning down a plate of chicken and waffles anytime soon. One great route is to connect the following southern cities each oozing with its unique brand of charm: Savannah, Charleston, Mobile, and New Orleans. The only thing you’ll get more of than historical knowledge is Spanish moss and sunshine.

Moody Mansion, Galveston © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Gulf Coast Gambol

Take a trip from Galveston to Florida’s Emerald Coast—and down to the keys, if you’ve got the time. Sweeping waterfront views and exciting cities will greet you at every stop along the way—not to mention an abundance of fresh, delicious seafood.

Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, New York © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Pacific Coast Paradise

Everyone should take the time to meander all the way up (or down) California’s Pacific coast highway at some point in their lives. Whether you start in Eureka or San Diego, you’ll be treated to some of the most breathtaking byways in the country—a turbulent, crashing ocean flanking you on one side and majestic redwoods on the other. Potential stops include Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, San Luis Obispo, and a whole host of others. You honestly can’t go wrong.

Tucson Lazydays KOA © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Easy Road Trip Ideas on a Budget

Want to see the world without wiping out your wallet? Yes, it is possible—especially in an RV. Not only will you be able to save on your road trip food budget by cooking your own delicious, healthy meals in your RVs kitchen, but you can also save 50 percent on campsites you stay in with a Passport America membership. Good Sam, KOA, and FMCA also offer camping discounts to members, typically 10 percent.

Related: The 10 Essentials Every RV Owner Should Buy Before Their First Road Trip

Camping at Laura S. Walker State Park, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Check out this article on how to choose the perfect RV Park and campsite.

Looking for even more concrete ways to save money while still satisfying your inner explorer? Here are some of the best cheap road trip ideas I’ve come across.

Stephen C. Foster State Park, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. State Park Promenade

There’s a lot that’s awesome about traveling in America but one thing I particularly love as an RVer is that no matter where I am there’s likely have a beautiful state park only a short drive away. State parks are filled with all sorts of outdoor activities and views to discover. (Plus, camping is likely available.)

Bartlett Lake © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Beachy Break

You don’t have to live near an ocean to plunge your toes into the sand. Whether it’s Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna Lake or Bartlett Lake in Arizona, any lake shoreline will do—and you’ll be so busy relaxing, you won’t even have a chance to run through your travel budget on souvenirs or touristy activities.

Weekend Road Trip Ideas

Sometimes, the best family road trip ideas are the ones you can take at the last minute. Here are some quick-fix ideas when you need to get out of town… now.

Fishing Parker Canyon Lake, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Woodsy Wonderment

Even if you make your home in a large, metropolitan area such as Houston or Phoenix, there’s likely some woods or wilderness nearby. From Atlanta it’s just a couple of hours to the mountains and Floridians can retreat to the state’s central springs. No matter what, getting away from the rush and bustle of an urban center may be what the doctor ordered!

Related: Top 7 Tragic Rookie RV Mistakes To Avoid

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

7. Active Outdoor Outing

From extreme adventures like mountain climbing to simple biking and hiking trails, America is host to some of the best landscapes for outdoor activities in the world. Exercise and enjoyment at the same time—now that’s how to do it! Once again, you can’t go wrong with a state park where activities may include hiking, biking, boating, fishing, picnicking, swimming, and ranger-led activities.

Biking the Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5 Amazing Places to Visit this Spring

Spring is here and it’s time to start thinking of where you and the family might want to visit in the RV. And it also means spring break! So whether the kids are out of school or you just have the itch to get out of town for a week or two, these are the top spring break destinations for RV road-tripping in 2022.

Disney World © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Orlando, Florida

The kids will love visiting local attractions like Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando, LEGOLAND, and Universal Studios Orlando but the theme park capital of the world has more to offer than amusement parks.

Kennedy Space Center © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Orlando isn’t just the world’s most magical destination. There’s plenty to enjoy outside from many beaches including Cocoa Beach to adventures like wildlife and birding, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, nature trails and parks, airboat tours, and the Canaveral National Seashore. For a more educational endeavor, visit the Kennedy Space Center.

Lake Powell © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lake Powell, Arizona

Created by a manmade reservoir on the Colorado River, Lake Powell straddles the states of Utah and Arizona. Rent a boat and hit the water for some fishing, tubing, or water skiing. Picnic on the shoreline or enjoy dining in one of several restaurants on the lake.

Wahweap RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Three campgrounds operated by park concessionaires accommodate RVs at Lake Powell: Wahweap RV & Campground in south Lake Powell and Bullfrog RV & Campground and Halls Crossing RV & Campground both in north Lake Powell. All three areas offer full hookup sites and primitive camping.

Wahweap Marina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wahweap is centrally located at the Wahweap Marina which offers plenty of lake transport for rent. There are 139 full hook-up sites with access to laundry and showers as well as Wahweap Grille, Wind Café, and a gift shop. Bullfrog offers 24 RV spaces with restrooms and showers and access to the Bullfrog Marina. Check out the restaurant and gift shop at nearby Defiance House Lodge. Halls Crossing offers 24 RV sites with restrooms and showers and is located next to the amenities of the Village Store.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Planning the Best Summer Road Trip

Lake Powell © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In addition National Park Service offers areas for primitive camping including Lees Ferry Campground, Lone Rock Beach Primitive Camping Area, and Stanton Creek Primitive Camping Area. These campgrounds do not take reservations and do not have phone numbers.

Alabama Gulf Coast © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Gulf Shores, Alabama

For a different beach vacation than typical Florida or California, head to Gulf Shores on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Here you’ll find 32 beautiful miles of white-sand beaches including the main public beach, Gulf Place.

There are plenty of water-based activities from beach lounging to fishing, diving, boating, snorkeling, parasailing, and kayaking. Temperatures in the spring range from pleasant mid-50s to warm mid-70s.

The Wharf in Orange Beach © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nonwater activities include biking, hiking, and ziplining. Visit the Wharf in Orange Beach for fun on their Ferris wheel, mini-golf, zipline, and movie theater. 

Gulf State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A great spot for RV camping is Gulf State Park, a reasonably priced campground with private, lakefront campsites, and resort-style amenities. With almost 500 sites, the park also has 11 bathhouses, a camp store, laundry facilities, a swimming pool, tennis and pickleball courts, horseshoes, volleyball, a nature center, and a fishing pier. 

Worth Pondering…

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast—you miss the sense of where you’re going and why.

—Eddie Cantor