Nerves are on edge as lone wolf terror threats are on the rise in the U.S. Is it safe for RVers to travel during such threats?
There’s been a lot of chatter in the RV community about whether it’s safe to travel amidst the global and national threats hitting the media. At the time of this writing, Homeland Security has not released a new advisory since the Israeli-Hamas conflict began.
However, the FBI Chief warns of growing lone wolf terror threats on US soil that we should “be on the lookout” for.
We are not altering any travel plans at this time. But, I want to share what information I’ve heard so you can make a better-informed decision for yourself.
The FBI Chief’s warning
On Saturday, October 14, 2023, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that the US is facing a growing number of terror threats especially from lone wolves who may be inspired by the ongoing Israeli-Hamas conflict. This warning came a day after the “Day of Jihad” declared by former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.
Wray recently spoke at the International Association of Police annual conference. According to FBI transcripts, Wray stated, “In this heightened environment, there’s no question we’re seeing an increase in reported threats, and we’ve got to be on the lookout, especially for lone actors who may take inspiration from recent events to commit violence of their own.”
Wray did not provide information on any specific domestic threats but he urged law enforcement officials to stay vigilant.
Current travel advisories
Since the conflict started, the U.S. Department of State has (as expected) elevated the risk level of traveling to certain Middle Eastern cities and countries. You can see the threat levels on this interactive global map.
However, there has been no official increase in the threat level domestically. No specific domestic threats have been released to the public on a national level.
What does this mean for RVers?
Since there are no elevated domestic travel advisories, there is no official reason to alter any domestic RV trips you have planned. Traveling in Canada is still at the “exercise normal precautions” level, as well.
As with any road trip, you should always exercise precautions and it doesn’t hurt to be extra vigilant as this conflict continues. It is advisable to pay attention to the news for any credible domestic threats that may arise as this conflict continues.
How can RVers prepare for potential threats?
If you want to “wish for the best but plan for the worst,” you can take standard safety precautions as you would any threat whether for a weather threat or international threat.
Here are some things you can do to help feel better prepared for an upcoming RV road trip in this social climate:
Review the cancellation policies on any upcoming RV park and campground reservations. That way, you know if and when you can cancel and how much you will be refunded if you decide to cancel.
Stock your RV with extra food and water.
Take inventory of your emergency supplies and restock accordingly.
Leave details of your travel plans and how to contact you with friends and family.
Now let’s look at several articles for more pressing dangers relating to the RV lifestyle.
Anyone who takes a road trip of any distance or duration should be prepared for potential roadside emergencies. But, RVers who tend to travel roads unknown with some frequency while carrying heavy loads in their home-on-wheels need to be well prepared for unexpected events that can occur based on weather, tire blow-outs, and other breakdowns. And they can (and often do!) happen in the most remote areas. This is why having an RV roadside emergency kit is so important.
Driving or towing an RV is an exciting experience but it’s a totally different ballpark compared to driving a car. You’re dealing with a lot more weight and bulk which will give you less control and precision on the road.
There is no question that the open road is a dangerous place. When you are traveling along highways and interstates, staying in campgrounds and RV parks, or exploring the wilds of the U.S. and Canada, it is easy to forget that fact. This is always a mistake.
If there is one piece of good advice I can give you and yours, it is to never, ever let down your guard.
While you cannot avoid every issue that might arise during your travels, advanced planning and trip preparation will help you to avoid or at least be prepared to deal with many of the problems that may arise along your journey.
Whether you live your life on the road and your travel coach is your home or you’re a weekend warrior using your RV for short trips with the family, a roadside assistance plan is an absolute must and it’s important to have the best RV roadside assistance plan possible. We’ve never been without one… and we wouldn’t be without it.
Roadside assistance plans are like a type of insurance, though they’re not insurance. So what is a roadside assistance plan, who needs one, and what are the best RV roadside assistance plans available to us?
Here’s advice on how to get better fuel mileage in your RV
With fuel prices skyrocketing across the country, you may be concerned about your next big road trip. And rightly so! You may not know this but the average RV is driven about 5,000 miles each year. For us, it’s somewhat more.
Some rigs get only 5-7 miles per gallon (mpg) while other more fuel-efficient models can get up to 18-25 mpg. This is important because gas mileage efficiency can save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your RV (and maybe even on one long, road trip).
How you drive and take care of your RV can have a big effect on how much fuel you use.
The cost of RV driving
Most RVs average about 10 mpg. If you have not calculated your RV’s mpg or have an upcoming trip that you would like to prepare for, you may find this helpful:
Check your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer says your mpg is.
Google the average cost of fuel in the area you are traveling. This matters because the fuel price is much higher in California and Washington than it is in Texas and Louisiana.
Map out your entire route in miles.
Divide the total number of miles by the mpg of your RV. Then multiply that number by the average cost of gas in the region you’ll be traveling in.
Getting better fuel mileage in your RV
RVs are perfect for road trips but they can consume a lot of fuel. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve your RV’s fuel efficiency. Here are 13 tips to help you get more out of the fuel you buy.
1. RV size/weight
One of the most obvious ways to increase your fuel efficiency is by purchasing a smaller RV. If you want a better mpg, you need to go smaller and lighter.
If you already own an RV and don’t want to purchase a different one, there are other things you can do. We’ll cover those other options in just a bit.
2. Consider diesel
You can choose to a diesel engine in any class and see some fuel savings. Overall, diesel provides about a 30 percent increase in fuel efficiency compared to regular gasoline engines.
Diesel engines do require considerably more oil than gas engines, though. So there’s an added expense there. But you only need to change the oil once a year or every 15,000 miles compared to every 6 months with a gas engine. Also, the initial cost of a diesel motorhome will be higher than a comparable gas engine.
3. Trip planning
Plan ahead. Trip routes matter! You get better fuel mileage on highways than on winding backroads. If you’re trying to maximize fuel efficiency, select a route that avoids gusty winds and intersections as much as possible. Google Maps has a setting for this. It’ll show a little leaf next to the most fuel-efficient route when presenting your route options.
Many other apps, however, try to route you to your destination in the shortest way possible. But sometimes, these routes can have increased stops or mountainous roads. Some routes may be slightly longer but can save you fuel because you can drive smoothly and at a steady speed.
Do the little research before you go!
4. RV maintenance
Be sure to stay current on your RV maintenance. A dirty air filter can decrease your fuel efficiency by about 10 percent. A faulty oxygen sensor can be even more damaging by cutting your gas mileage by up to 40 percent.
By staying on top of your rig’s regular maintenance, you can avoid any hidden gas zappers.
The heavier weight of your RV, items that you pack, and any tow vehicles can affect your mileage. Avoid carrying items you don’t need. In other words, the heavier your rig, the less mileage you can get. This also goes for vehicles (toads) that you may be towing.
6. Maintain the correct tire pressure
Maintaining your RV’s tire pressure can profoundly affect your fuel mileage. Properly inflated tires can boost your RV fuel efficiency by up to 3 percent.
There’s usually a sticker in your door frame that shows what tire pressure you should use. Or, check your user’s manual.
Don’t fill your tires based on the psi number on your tires! That’s the maximum pressure your tires can hold, NOT the recommended pressure for your vehicle.
Keeping your oil at the recommended level for your vehicle helps maintain the efficiency of your engine. When your engine runs smoother, your fuel efficiency increases.
Keep your oil between the minimum and maximum marks on the oil dipstick to maintain your RV’s performance.
8. Watch your speed
Maintaining a steady speed and keeping that speed below the maximum for the road you’re traveling on can help with your fuel mileage. Driving too fast can cause your engine to be overworked, needlessly using fuel.
The greatest improvement comes with slowing down. The difference between 65 and 70 mph is surprisingly dramatic.
Overall, slowing down and maintaining a steady speed can prevent you from braking and repeatedly accelerating which also zaps your fuel.
9. Balance matters
RV owners can improve fuel economy by optimizing their RV’s weight distribution. Heavy items should be closer to the floor and RV owners should try to distribute their weight to balance front to rear and side to side.
10. Don’t idle excessively
An idling engine can eat up a ton of your fuel. If you make a stop that will last more than a few minutes, you’ll want to turn off your engine.
You also want to try and avoid hitting rush hour traffic in the cities through which you are driving. Not only will it save fuel but it will be less stressful.
Avoiding idling not only saves you money on wasted gas but over time it can also save wear and tear on your engine.
11. Mind your air conditioner
Another tip for increasing your fuel economy is to mind your A/C. Turning off the air conditioner and changing the A/C filters can also save you money.
Running the A/C adds strain to your engine especially when you are traveling at lower rates of speed. That strain equates to more fuel usage. In addition, replacing your A/C filters can reduce that strain on your engine and increase your fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent.
That might not seem like much, but combined with all of these other tips, a vast gas-saving!
12. Avoid rough terrain
Avoiding rough roads can also end up saving you money in the end. That is because unnecessary braking and acceleration can sap your gas.
Scan the roads for hazards, drive slowly, and use highways or smoother and well-maintained roads as much as possible.
13. Keep track of your fuel economy
A drop in your vehicle’s fuel economy can be a sign of engine trouble. Keep track of your fuel economy by noting the odometer reading and the number of gallons purchased each time you fill up. To calculate your fuel mileage, divide the number of miles traveled between fill-ups by the number of gallons purchased.
By following these few simple steps, you can prolong the life of your RV’s engine and save money on fuel and maintenance costs. Overall, being a smarter driver can make your RV lifestyle less expensive and more enjoyable.
We RVers may wander far and wide but it’s true for most of us that we end up with some favorite Go-To places―places that draw us back again and again.
Arizona is one of those places for us. And we know it is for many RVers looking to get away and explore during the winter.
If you have been following the news this year, you have heard much about the debate around artificial intelligence—that is using a machine to do things humans do—be it writing, painting, or solving problems that require human reasoning.
AI has become intertwined with every aspect of our lives. For the last 60 years, countless scientists and philosophers have worked hard to advance the field to what it is today.
Say hello to your future travel companion—AI is here to make traveling both easier and more enjoyable. In the coming years, AI will transform nearly every step of the journey from planning your route and booking campsites to navigating unfamiliar destinations. Are you ready to let an AI assistant help manage your next road trip?
Artificial intelligence is slowly but surely making its way into every aspect of our lives including the world of travel. Increasingly sophisticated AI assistants are poised to become your traveling sidekick, help with the planning, recommend sightseeing spots and roadside attractions based on your interests, and provide anything else you may need along the way.
AI technology aimed at assisting travelers has been in development for the past 5-10 years. Many of today’s major tech players like Amazon, Google, and Apple have been incorporating AI into their products to improve the travel experience.
However, AI travel assistants have only started to gain mainstream adoption in the last 2-3 years as the technology has matured. Improvements in machine learning and natural language processing have allowed AI to become more sophisticated and useful for tasks like trip planning, navigation, and travel advisories.
The future looks promising as AI continues improving and more startups enter the space. Within the next 5-10 years, AI assistants could essentially handle every part of planning and executing your road trip with little to no input from the traveler.
AI travel assistants: Your virtual tour guide
While traveling, AI assistants act as your personal tour guide. They can provide route directions and recommend restaurants and attractions based on your preferences. AI assistants can also offer real-time alerts about road construction delays and other travel advisories.
While traveling, AI assistants act as your personal tour guide helping you navigate unfamiliar surroundings and find what you need along the way. Their capabilities include:
Turn-by-turn navigation: AI helpers provide step-by-step walking or driving directions to your destination, identifying the optimal route in real time
Personalized recommendations: Based on your stated interests, previous travel history, and ratings of venues, AI companions suggest restaurants, attractions, sights and activities that you will enjoy the most
Transit: Many AI assistants can provide transit info and ticket purchases
Real-time advisories: AI keeps you up-to-date on local news, road disruptions, traffic conditions, weather alerts, and other travel-related information that impacts your journey
24/7 assistance: AI travel assistants are available around the clock to answer questions, provide guidance, and handle any issues that arise while you’re traveling
AI assistants are making road trips easier to plan and more enjoyable
The convenience of having an AI companion handle many of the planning and navigational tasks of traveling frees you up to enjoy your road tip. You no longer have to stress over finding your way around an unfamiliar city—your AI assistant can provide turn-by-turn driving and walking directions and even alert you to interesting sights along your route. The goal is to make travel simpler and more carefree through the help of artificial intelligence.
By taking on many of the time-consuming and stressful tasks involved in planning and executing a road trip, AI is allowing people to truly relax and enjoy their road trips.
Some of the ways AI companions are making travel more pleasant include:
Reducing pre-trip planning hassles: AI assistants compare route and campground options, make reservations
Providing guidance and recommendations: AI helpers recommend tailored restaurant selections, sightseeing options, and activities based on your interests leading travelers to unique discoveries
Taking navigation duties off your plate: AI companions provide turn-by-turn directions, construction and traffic alerts and notifications of nearby points of interest freeing travelers from constantly checking maps
By automating so many of the hassles involved with planning and executing a trip, AI travel assistants allow people to spend more time actually experiencing a destination on its own terms. The technology aims to make our road trips as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.
The functions your future AI travel companion will handle
As AI continues to get smarter and more sophisticated, the range of tasks that AI travel assistants will be able to independently handle during your trip will only increase. Some of the functions your future AI companion may take on include:
Planning full itineraries: Future AI helpers may autonomously schedule activities, tours, events, and meals based on your interests similar to what a personal travel planner would do
Making camping/dining reservations: AI travel assistants in the future could make campground/RV park and restaurant bookings for you based on your stated preferences for amenities, type of camping site, cuisine type, price range, and more
As AI continues to become more sophisticated over time, you can expect your future AI travel companion to essentially take complete control of planning and executing your vacation so that you can truly enjoy your time away without being distracted by trip logistics.
AI will transform every stage of your journey
In the coming years, AI technology is poised to revolutionize the travel experience from start to finish. Sophisticated AI assistants already on the market today represent just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s possible. The further integration of AI into our travels promises to make road trips less stressful and more memorable enabling you to focus your full attention on having an amazing experience.
Cautions to relying solely on AI
One of the problems with using AI will be similar to the use of GPS for mapping. People will rely on these results without independently thinking or confirming results. GPS can direct you to take a desolate dead-end road or railroad tracks. And AI can recommend (and possibly take over your vehicle where systems are integrated through smart devices) routes and events that AI wants you to use. Who can forget HAL in the movie, 2001 A Space Odyssey?
AdventureGenie went live May 1, 2023
AdventureGenie is the first RV planning program powered by AI. The company was co-founded by Scott Lengel, a former Microsoft senior technology executive and David Greenberg, AdventureGenie’s chairman, a veteran CEO/investor. Both men are RVers: Scott and his wife Lisa travel in a Newmar Ventana and David and his wife Becky in a Newmar NewAire.
According to Lengel, the story of building AdventureGenie is a familiar one. See a need, fill a need. After spending years planning extensive RV Adventures across the continent, they found it painful to use planning tools to answer these simple questions:
What to do?
Where to stay?
How to get there?
The program pulls on a database of more than 25,000 public and private campgrounds and pairs it with proprietary AI-based algorithms to take planning the details of your next RV adventure to a new level.
The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. […] It would take off on its own and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.
In 1903, a Vermont doctor bet $50 that he could cross America by car. It took him 63 days, $8,000, and 600 gallons of gas
The coast-to-coast road trip, that American essential, turns 120 this year. In 1903, Horatio Jackson and Sewall Crocker became the first people ever to drive a car from one side of the United States to the other.
Cars were an exciting novelty at the time and their numbers were exploding—from 8,000 in 1900 to 32,920 in 1903—but many still considered the horseless carriage a passing fad. There were few suitable roads let alone a nationwide road network. So theirs was an adventure like none before. And it all started with a $50 bet.
Horatio Nelson Jackson (1872–1955) was a medical doctor from a prominent Vermont family. One of his brothers was the mayor of Burlington. John Holmes Jackson won the 1917 mayoral election with a margin of just 10 votes, a record matched by Bernie Sanders in 1981. Another was the lieutenant governor of the state.
No maps, no car, and very little driving experience
Jackson was an early automobile enthusiast. While in San Francisco (which he and his wife had reached by train), he accepted a bet that he could drive a car cross-country. He took the wager despite not owning a car, having very little driving experience, and not having any useful maps.
For such practical matters, Jackson enlisted the help of Sewall K. Crocker, a driver and mechanic, and on his advice purchased a 1903 Winton. He named the two-cylinder, 20-horsepower touring car Vermont. The two left San Francisco on May 23 with their car stuffed with sleeping bags and blankets, rubber suits and coats, an ax and shovel, a Kodak camera and a telescope, a rifle and a shotgun, spare parts, and tools, and as many cans of gas and oil as they could stow.
The plan was to avoid the deserts of Nevada and Utah and the higher passes of the Sierra Nevada and the Rockies so the expedition swung north to follow the Oregon Trail in reverse. They were only 15 miles into the journey when the car blew a tire and they had to use the only spare they had brought.
North of Sacramento, a woman misdirected them for a total of 108 miles so her family could see their first automobile. When more tires blew out on the rocky road towards Oregon, they wound the rope around the wheels. Along the way, they wired the Winton Company for supplies to be sent ahead. Nevertheless, they occasionally had to walk or cycle long distances to find gas, oil, or spare parts.
A bulldog named Bud
In Idaho, Jackson and Crocker acquired a bulldog named Bud as a traveling companion and fitted him with goggles to keep the dust from his eyes. And then the press caught on. Jackson, Crocker, and Bud became celebrities. Reporters and ever-larger crowds awaited the trio at every stop.
Despite more hardships—they lost their money and their way on the road to Cheyenne forcing them to go without food for 36 hours—things got easier once they crossed the Mississippi as there were more paved roads in the eastern half of the country.
When they arrived in New York City on July 26, 63 days after leaving San Francisco, they had completed the first cross-country road trip in American history. And it only took them about $8,000 ($260,000 in today’s money), financed entirely by Jackson, and 800 gallons of gas. They never collected the $50 wager.
Bud retired to Vermont with Jackson and his wife. Jackson went on to receive multiple medals for his active service in World War I and became a successful businessman in Vermont. His only other car-related feat of note is a traffic ticket for breaking the 6-mph speed limit in Burlington. In 1944, he donated his car to the Smithsonian Institution. It is on permanent display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. with the added likenesses of Jackson and Bud. Crocker died in 1913 at the young age of 30 but that is hardly a reason for leaving him out.
The cross-country adventures of Jackson and Crocker bring to mind a few other long-distance record-breakers such as Lewis and Clark or Phileas Fogg (the latter admittedly fictional). Their groundbreaking trip was the subject of a book (Horatio’s Trip) and a Ken Burns documentary of the same name with Tom Hanks voicing Horatio Jackson.
No household names
Despite the book and the documentary, the pair has never quite become household names on par with aviation pioneers such as Charles Lindbergh or Amelia Earhart. The cross-country adventurers who followed in their tire tracks and are even less remembered though they are on a map and table in the 1907 Blue Book brings their accomplishments back from oblivion for just a moment.
Jackson and Crocker hadn’t even arrived in New York when two other car expeditions left San Francisco for New York. E.T. (Tom) Fetch and M.C. Krarup would get there in 61 days, two days faster than the originals. Lester Whitman and Eugene Hammond took 73 days setting a slowness record.
A year later, Whitman got his revenge. With his new teammate Charles Carris, he shaved off almost a month of the previous record driving from San Francisco to New York in just under 33 days. In so doing, Whitman became the first person to drive coast to coast twice.
There were no fewer than four coast-to-coast drives in 1905. Reversing the direction, the first three left from New York to arrive in Portland, Oregon. The first two were obviously in a race against each other both leaving on May 8 and both in eight-cylinder Oldsmobiles.
Three hurrays for Percy Megargel
But who won? The table says Dwight Huss and Milford Wigle completed the crossing in only 44 days versus 51 days for Percy Megargel and Barton Stanchfield—but it shows both teams arriving on June 21. It seems likely Megargel lost (arriving on June 28 instead of June 21), because he went straight back and tried again, this time with David Fassett. Their time was a disappointing 84 days. The pair returned to New York by car setting off from San Francisco but the result was even worse: 201 days. At least Megargel was the first person ever to drive coast-to-coast three times.
The year 1906 saw three coast-to-coast road trips. William Gehr and W.E. Canfield brought their wives with them—also a first. Whitman and Carris broke their speed record crossing the country in just over 15 days. Richard Little and D. Haggerty arriving in San Francisco 24 days and eight hours after leaving New York would have made headlines just two years earlier. But by that time, the novelty, if not the attraction, of coast-to-coast road trips had already started to wear off.
Final note on Horatio Nelson’s maiden trip
As the road transport paradigm shifts from fossil fuels to electric, there’s a whole bunch of early automotive records now ripe for a do-over including Horatio Jackson’s coast-to-coast road trip.
In 2022, Jack Smith and two friends did just that. They retraced Horatio’s route in a 1964 VW Bus that had been converted into an electric vehicle. It went well enough for them to immediately double back: “Once we reached New York City, we turned around and followed the 1913 version of the Lincoln Highway back to San Francisco,” Jack writes.
Do you know why a vehicle’s WINDSHIELD is so large and the rear view mirror is so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE! So, look ahead and move on.
Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer and millions of Americans take a vacation over the holiday weekend primarily by car or recreational vehicle. The Friday before Memorial Day has been declared National Road Trip Day.
Today is National Road Trip Day and I’m celebrating two kinds of road trippers, the tourist and the pilot. Sightseeing tourists like to take their time choosing scenic routes with numerous breaks for exploring, hiking, and photography while pilots are on a mission to get to their destination with as few breaks as possible. However, you like to road trip, be sure to drive safely.
Plan your route with a full tank of fuel, snacks, music, and other travel necessities along your route no matter which kind of road tripper you are.
In case you care, today is also National Cellophane Tape Day, National Grape Popsicle Day, National Cooler Day, and National Don’t Fry Day.
It’s National Road Trip Day: Check out these interesting facts about the Interstate Highway System
The interstate highway system was officially born on June 29, 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act. Eisenhower’s interest in the concept was piqued during his tour of the German autobahn system in World War II when he was Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. Initially, he saw its significance in terms of military logistics. Today, almost everything we use in daily life—food, apparel, furniture, appliances, tools, building materials, medical supplies, you name it—has traveled an interstate highway on its way to a local store.
Here are some interesting facts about the Interstate System, some of which have practical value:
The side of the small sign with the exit number will tell you whether the exit is on the right or left
On one- or two-digit Interstates, the mile marker numbering begins at the southern or western state line
If an Interstate originates within a state, the numbering begins from the location where the road begins in the south or west
The Interstate Highway System stretches 47,622 miles and includes 10 transcontinental routes varying in length from 18 miles to over 3,000 miles
Longest Interstate: I-90, 3,085 miles (Seattle to Boston)
Shortest Interstate: I-97, 17 miles (Annapolis to Baltimore, Maryland)
State with the most Interstate mileage: Texas, 3,232 miles
State with the most Interstate routes: New York, 29 routes
Interstate routes across the most states: I-95, 16 states (Florida to Maine)
Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico use their own interstate system as they are not connected to the rest of the country
It’s National Road Trip Day: Check out the history and significance of the day
Whether it’s to pay tribute to fallen national heroes by visiting war memorials across the country or an excuse to get out of town for a change of scenery, the road trip has been loved by Americans throughout history. From great works of literature inspired by the road to songs that we know and love—road trips mean something to everyone which is why it’s exciting that the road trip has a special day of its own.
National Road Trip Day is the day when families hit the road and find out the wonders that await them on the journey. Road trips are a great way to relax and spend time with your family and friends. In simple terms, a road trip means a journey or trip on the road.
National Road Trip Day became an official holiday in 2019, thanks to Pilot Flying J, the largest travel center operator in North America. They chose the Friday before Memorial Day because of the long weekend ahead and with May being the start of summer it kick-starts the travel season, too. Since travel stories are ingrained into the very history of America with wagon trains heading west in the 1840s and Native Americans exploring the country long before that—it makes sense to observe a day that celebrates travel by road.
Looking back at history, the concept of the road trip was described back in 1888 in Germany. The first recorded road trip across the U.S. began in 1903 with a bet. Someone bet Horatio Nelson Jackson (a physician and automobile pioneer) that he could not travel from San Francisco to New York City in less than 90 days. Accompanied by mechanic Sewall K. Crocker and a dog named Bud, they set off in a 20-horsepower Winston to prove them wrong. Despite numerous mishaps, Jackson and Crocker completed the trip in 63 days.
By the 1930s, the famous Route 66 opened America to cross-country travel. Many began to migrate west while others took to the road for vacations. By the 1950s, America was the world’s largest car manufacturer and nearly 75 percent of American families owned a car which became a symbol of American pop culture.
Road trips became the typical holiday of the American middle classes leading to a boom in drive-ins and roadside motels. Hippies in the ’60s then converted the road trip into a full-blown lifestyle, turning vans and buses into homes on wheels.
It’s National Road Trip Day: Tips for planning a road trip
Everything is in the planning. It can be a lot of fun and relieve a lot of stress along the way.
Use a travel app: Apps are everything, so why not leverage technology to help you plan your route.
Soup up your ride: Check everything out beforehand from wipers to registration papers, leave no stone unturned.
Plot a course: Keep in mind important factors like traffic flow, bathroom stops, and roadblocks/diversions.
Compile a playlist: The majority of travelers say that what you listen to can make or break your trip experience, so prep well.
Stakeout your take-out: While snacks are essential, plan your meals and take-out stops in advance, too.
It’s National Road Trip Day: Take healthy habits on your road trip
So while you’re checking your budget and consulting maps and travel guides, here are some health-related factors to consider.
Stay hydrated, but wisely: Travel with water bottles and a cooler rather than sodas.
Build in breaks: When you’re sitting in the car or RV for hours at a time, blood doesn’t pump as well throughout the body. It’s a good idea to stop every two to three hours just to get up and stretch and walk around to get the blood flowing.
The sun doesn’t shine just at the beach: It’s blasting through the windows. Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses while you’re driving.
How to spend National Road Trip Day in 2023?
National Road Trip can be celebrated by planning a quick road trip with family and friends. You can spend the day hitting the road to discover unknown destinations or attractions. You can drive a scenic byway or All-American Road. You can even finish it by watching a road trip movie.
Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.
The landscapes across America’s Southwest are some of the most spectacular to be found anywhere on the planet
A Southwest road trip is America at its best. Picture yourself driving along desert roads sometimes for hours on end. Highways snake between burnt red canyons, beside acres of geological anomalies you can’t quite imagine until you’ve seen them for yourself. Your Southwest road trip itinerary may have you passing through tiny towns with names like Tropic and Beaver and diners slinging Navajo tacos alongside more classic greasy spoon fare.
A road trip is a perfect way to explore special spots in the Southwest—Nevada, Utah, and Arizona—where you can see ghost towns, hoodoos, natural arches, sandstone spectacles, dark-sky stars, and a huge hole in the ground.
But, the real reason to undertake a road trip through Utah, Arizona, and the rest of the American Southwest is the National Parks. Legendary parks include the Grand Canyon and Utah’s The Big Five—Zion, Bryce, Arches, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands. The Southwest is a quintessential part of any US National Parks road trip.
On top of that, there are tons of national monuments (Bears Ears, Dinosaur, Hovenweep, Natural Bridges, Rainbow Bridge, Cedar Breaks, and Grand Staircase-Escalante, to name a few) and plenty more state parks and federal lands worth checking out. It goes without saying that you might not see everything in the American Southwest in one sweep. While fully customizable, I’d recommend at least a two-week itinerary to get the most out of your Nevada, Utah, and Arizona road trip.
Before you begin, consider purchasing an annual national parks pass at the first park you enter. That $80 pass gets everyone in your car into every national park for a full year. You don’t have to be an American citizen to buy an annual pass but if you are and you’re age 62-plus buy your lifetime pass for $80 and never again pay to enter a U.S. national park. (Considering that Zion National Park’s entry fee is $35 per car, getting the annual pass is something of a no-brainer.)
Nevada: Ghosts, gold and Red Rock
While the lure of Sin City in Nevada is strong, there’s more to the Vegas environs than casinos and outlet malls. So sleep in Las Vegas to start your adventure, if you’d like, perhaps at Las Vegas RV Resort where we have stayed on several occasions.
Start with an easy ride to Red Rock Canyon Park where you’ll need a timed reservation to enter between October and May. It’s just 15 minutes west of the Strip but transports you to a completely different world of massive striated red rocks where easy walking trails lead to ancient Native American petroglyphs.
Red Rock is lovely but a favorite Nevada stop is Rhyolite, a gold-rush ghost town northwest of Vegas. Founded in 1904, it grew to a city of 5,000 residents—and was abandoned by 1916. Today it is a delightful mix of art installations (begun in 1981) known as the Goldwell Open Air Museum and the ghost town’s abandoned brick homes, banks, railroad depot, and a house built of glass bottles. The combination is absolutely fascinating and well worth the drive into what seems to be the middle of nowhere.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is located on the Colorado River about 25 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. With 1.5 million acres of mountains and valleys there are plenty of activities visitors can enjoy at and around Lake Mead. Bicyclists are welcome to ride on park roads, on routes designated for bicycle use, and hikers can enjoy beautiful trails with impeccable views.
Utah: Hoodoos, arches and more
Rolling north into southern Utah transports you into a world of contrasts from vast arid deserts to densely wooded mountains, massive sandstone cliffs, amazing natural-stone arches, and seriously wacky rock formations.
Begin in Zion, Utah’s first national park where most months you’ll need to park your car and ride the free shuttle from the visitor center into the park. This park and its famous sites—Zion Canyon, Kolob Arch, the Narrows, Great White Throne, and Angels Landing—are so popular that massive crowds form especially during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Jump on and off the shuttle as often as you’d like but don’t miss the last one as you’ll be walking nine miles to get out of the park if you do!
Bryce Canyon National Park is probably the most eye-popping, mind-boggling place you will ever see with its hoodoos (to call them irregular rock formations is just inadequate) of every shape and size. It’s the largest concentration of these magical forms anywhere in the world and a true must-see.
Set up camp at one of Ruby’s beautiful campsites nestled in the pines. Located ½-mile from the entrance to Bryce Canyon, Ruby’s Campground & RV Park offers RV spaces with full hookups.
Make your way up the road to see all of the incredible sights, hike down into the canyon for a closer look, and don’t miss the Milky Way stargazing led by a park ranger. Much of the Southwest is toasty in summer but you’ll need a warm coat for this park where the night (and early morning) temps can be seriously chilly at any time of year.
Moving on to the northwest, Capitol Reef National Park is the true undiscovered gem of Utah. You’ll be gobsmacked at the huge cliffs of bright, rainbow-colored sandstone looming high above you with peculiarly shaped hoodoos hanging at perilous angles. Find hidden arches and petroglyphs, take a horseback ride or a hike and be sure to spot the iconic white sandstone dome, shaped like the U.S. Capitol building.
Approaching the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park on the Utah/Arizona border brings a strange sense of deja vu if you’re a film fan. Turns out those iconic landscapes are real, not cinematic sets. Monument Valley served as the spectacular setting of numerous famous movies. Think Stagecoach, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and Fort Apache for this is the place that John Wayne and John Ford turned into the world’s ultimate vision of the Wild West; later, Forrest Gump cemented it as an Instagram hotspot.
Monument Valley is owned by the Navajo Nation so book a camping site at The View RV Park and then drive in, paying $8 per person to see the Mittens, Elephant Butte, John Ford’s Point, Artist’s Point and more on the 17-mile loop drive within the park. Taking a Navajo-guided tour is an incredible way to learn more about this sacred place and the indigenous people who still call it home.
Arizona: Sunrise, sunset, and a flyover at the Big Hole
The last stop on our Wild West road trip is Arizona’s big hole in the ground also known as the Grand Canyon. One of the world’s truly astonishing natural wonders, the canyon is the longest on the planet but not the deepest despite being more than a mile down. The Colorado River began eroding away this sandstone and limestone eons ago to create this eye-popping place.
Book way ahead to stay at the iconic El Tovar Hotel inside the park for it’s the best way to see the sun rise and set right out your front door as the canyon changes hues. Alternately book a camping site at Mather Campground (no hookups) or Trailer Village (full hookups) in the South Rim Village.
Hike down into the canyon as far as you can go to see it up close but do remember that climbing back out is a lot harder to do. For an once-in-a-lifetime thrill, hop on a helicopter via Grand Canyon Helicopters at the airport just outside the south rim entrance, soar over the edge and swoop down into the canyon—a perfect ending to a Wild West journey filled with adventure.
Unexpected hurdles don’t have to spoil the fun—here’s what we have learned over the years about staying safe and comfortable on the road
If this is your first time planning an RV trip, make sure to start planning well in advance so you have time to wrinkle out any complications. There are numerous resources available to help with your RV itinerary as well as different tips and tricks to have a great RV trip.
Over the past few decades and more than a million miles, we’ve learned—sometimes the hard way—about the many things that can go wrong on a road trip and how to plan for them.
Here are some tips to stay safe and comfortable, no matter what the open road throws your way.
Set a budget
I put this first on the list because it will dictate your overall trip. Setting a budget will determine how far you can drive, your nightly budget for camping and activities. Campgrounds in national parks and state parks tend to be less expensive but often without the services of a private park.
If you drive a shorter distance, your fuel costs will be lower. Setting a budget is an important part of RV road trip planning.
Being smart is essential for any road trip but it’s even more important when traveling in an RV. This is because you have limited space and you need to be able to make the most of it.
Here are a few tips for packing wisely for your RV road trip:
First, start by making a list of everything you need. This will help you get organized and ensure that you don’t forget anything important.
Prioritize the items on your list. You’ll need to decide what is essential and what would be nice to have if space is available.
Think about how you’ll use each item during your trip. This will help you determine what needs to be packed and what can be left at home.
Pack for safety
Unexpected delays and breakdowns are part of the game and if you plan for them they’re easier to deal with. Here are basic items to pack as well as some extra things that are helpful to have on hand.
Items to bring for your vehicle include:
Tool kit for basic roadside repairs including wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, shop towels, rags, duct tape, and Rhino tape
Extra windshield washer fluid, coolant, oil, and transmission fluid
Basic roadside breakdown kit with flares, a reflective vest, jumper cables, a heavy-duty tire pressure gauge, flashlights, and a pair of work gloves
Comprehensive and up-to-date paper maps of your intended route and destination
Here’s what to bring for your safety and comfort:
Enough food and water to sustain you and your passenger(s) for at least several days
Protection from the elements including a raincoat, good walking shoes, insect repellent, wide-brimmed hat, winter toque, sunglasses, and sunscreen
First aid kit including bandages, pressure dressings, antibiotic ointment, and a sting/bite kit
Can opener, knife, and multi-tool
Phone charger and power bank
Bear spray for safely repelling curious bears or bad people. Note: Bear spray is very potent, so read about how to use it safely
There are a many things to consider when planning the dates for your RV road trip and where you will go. Are there timely events you want to attend? If so, you will want to plan your trip around that. If not, it is a great time to look at your destination bucket list. It is also important to consider the weather where you will be.
Whether you’re spontaneous about routes or a meticulous reservation maker, Rex Talks RVing can help you on just about every level. Keep in mind holidays and local events that can make driving through a city or finding a campground difficult. For example, driving through Houston at rush hour or traveling from Vegas to Los Angeles at the end of a holiday weekend can be frustrating and is usually avoidable.
Don’t forget a paper atlas. There are many areas where a phone-based GPS doesn’t work and other times when you’ll need to find alternate routes. Plus, it’s fun to browse untraveled sections of a map to plot future adventures.
Get off-the-beaten path
One of the best things about an RV road trip is that you have the opportunity to explore places that are off the beaten path. This is a great way to really experience the culture and beauty of the area you’re visiting. Additionally, it’s a great way to avoid the crowds and really relax and enjoy your trip.
Look out for RV-friendly routes and avoid low bridges and narrow roads as appropriate.
It’s easy enough to figure out what wild animals you might encounter like bears and take precautions for them. But also keep in mind unsavory people. If you do not feel safe where you are, then relocate. Trust your instincts.
To stay alert, get plenty of sleep each night, take regular breaks and walk around, have spicy snacks and caffeine drinks on hand, and don’t eat a big meal before driving. If you do need to pull over for a break, do so at a rest area.
Recreate wisely as you travel
It’s easy to think you won’t get hurt on vacation but it does happen. While enjoying the sights outside of your vehicle don’t take a selfie with a buffalo, avoid swimming in Yellowstone, and look both ways before crossing Bourbon Street—among other things.
Sign up for real-time, current-location alerts on your weather app or check Weather.gov for weather stations on the radio
Keep up your situational awareness as in lock your vehicles when you leave your camp site
Keep your fuel tank at least half full especially in remote areas where fuel stations are less frequent
Practice defensive driving
Stay alert for wildlife on the road especially at dawn or dusk and after dark and on secondary roads
Pull over or change lanes if there’s a line of traffic behind you; not only is it annoying but you’re creating a hazardous situation where people will likely try to pass you in dangerous places
Pay attention to the mile marker signs on the side of the road as well as the county so you can accurately identify your location for emergency responders or roadside assistance
If you are seeking the best national parks to visit in April, this guide’s for you! It will detail eight beautiful National Parks to visit in April, why you should go to them, and what to expect during this month.
The national parks are a treasure—beautiful, wild, and full of wonders to see. But there’s more to experience than taking in gorgeous scenery from your vehicle or lookout points. National parks are natural playgrounds, full of possible adventures.
The most famous National Park Service (NPS) offerings are the 63 national parks including Arches, Great Smoky Mountains, and Grand Canyon. But 424 NPS units across the country also include national monuments, seashores, recreation areas, battlefields, and memorials. These sites are outside the main focus of this guide.
Planning a trip to America’s national parks in April but don’t know which ones to visit? April brings warmer temperatures to most of the US. Travel begins to pick up during this month both because of the warmer weather and because families are hitting the road for spring break. There are many great national parks to visit in April that I cover in this guide plus six bonus parks and a road trip that links several of these parks together.
About this National Park series
This guide is part of a series about the best national parks to visit each month. In this series, every national park is listed at least once and many are listed multiple times. It is a series of 12 articles, one for each month of the year.
These articles take into account weather, crowd levels, the best time to go hiking, special events, road closures, and my personal experiences in the parks. Based on these factors, I picked out what I think are the optimal times to visit each park. Since I haven’t been to all of the national parks I include only the parks we have visited on at lease one occasion.
For an overview of the best time to visit each national park, check out my Best National Parks by Season guide. This guide will cover the best time to visit each national park based on these factors. First are the links to my posts about the best parks to visit, month-by-month. This is followed by a list that illustrates the best time to visit each national park based on weather and crowd levels. Please note this overview will be posted following the completion of this 12 month guide in February 2024.
And at the end of this article, I have links to the other guides in my Best National Parks by Month series.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The information I provide for each national park does not include temporary road closures since these dates are constantly changing. Roads can close in the national parks at any time so I recommend getting updates on the National Park Service website while planning your trip.
Visiting the National Parks in April
If you are seeking the best national parks to visit in April, this guide’s for you! It will detail eight beautiful National Parks to visit in April, why you should go to them, and what to expect during this month.
April is a big month for spring break travel. The warmer weather also draws more crowds now that much of the country is warming up.
That warmer weather means that a bunch of parks are now warm enough to visit without facing freezing temperatures and the chance of snow. For the most part, you won’t need a warm coat and gloves to visit the majority of the national parks on this list and in some places, shorts and a t-shirt is what you’ll be packing in your RV.
If you want to visit the national parks with great weather and lower crowds that flood the parks in the summer months, April is a great time to plan your trip.
1. Grand Canyon National Park
People from around the world travel to the Grand Canyon, making it one of the most visited national parks in the U.S. It also makes the list of Seven Natural Wonders of the World and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For millions of years, the Colorado River has been carving out this massive canyon. Grand Canyon National Park is enormous and with four rims to visit, there are many different ways to visit this park.
In April, the North Rim is not yet open (it typically opens in mid-May). The South Rim is the most spectacular area of the park to visit in April with sweeping, iconic views of the Grand Canyon and several epic hiking trails to choose from.
Why visit the Grand Canyon in April: In April, daytime highs finally climb up into the 60s and with a low chance of rain the weather is very pleasant this time of year. Crowds are large in April but not as big as they are in the summer months so if you want good weather and lower crowds, April is a good time to visit the Grand Canyon. This is also one of the best times to go hiking in the Grand Canyon since the days are cool, rainfall is low, and you have over 12 hours of daylight.
Weather: The average high is 61°F and the average low is 29°F. April is one of the driest months of the year to visit the Grand Canyon.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 5:50 am and sunset is at 7 pm.
Top experiences: Visit the South Rim viewpoints, watch the sunset, hike below the rim on the Bright Angel or South Kaibab Trail, raft the Colorado River, and take a flightseeing tour or a ranger-guided tour.
Ultimate adventure: Hike below the rim of the Grand Canyon. You can either hike a portion of the South Kaibab or Bright Angel trails out-and-back or combine them into one big loop. Called the rim to river to rim hike, only those who are very fit with lots of hiking experience should attempt it.
How many days do you need? I recommend spending three to four days on the South Rim to visit the highlights. Four days gives you enough time to visit the best overlooks on the South Rim, go on a helicopter ride, and spend some time hiking below the rim.
Badlands National Park is a highly underrated park in the United States.
The colorful buttes, spires, and pinnacles create one of the most photogenic landscapes in the country (it’s the feature photo for this article). Bison and bighorn sheep roam the largest mixed-grass prairie in the United States. The sunrises and sunsets are magical, the hiking trails are short and sweet, and for those looking for more solitude, you can take your pick from a handful of backcountry experiences.
Why visit Badlands in April: In April, the weather is getting warmer and this is the last quiet month in the park before visitation really picks up. In 2022, 35,000 people visited Badlands in April and this number jumped to 100,000 in May and increased throughout the summer months. So, in April, you can take advantage of good weather and low crowds.
Weather: The average high is 62°F and the average low is 35°F. April is the start of the rainy season. March is drier but with low temperatures and the chance of snow, I think April is a better time to visit.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 6 am and sunset is at 7:30 pm.
Top experiences: Drive Badlands Loop Road and visit the overlooks, watch the sunrise and/or the sunset, hike the Notch Trail, hike the Door and Fossil Exhibit Trails, drive Sage Creek Rim Road, visit Roberts Prairie Dog Town, hike the Castle Trail, and count how many bison you can find.
Ultimate adventure: For the ultimate experience, venture into the backcountry. In Badlands National Park, you are permitted to hike off-trail and the Sage Creek Wilderness and Deer Haven Wilderness are great places to go hiking and spot wildlife.
How many days do you need? One day in Badlands National Park gives you just enough time to visit the highlights and hike a few short trails. Make sure you catch either sunrise or sunset in the park because these are one of the best times of day to look out across the landscape. To explore beyond the basics plan a second day.
Big Bend National Park is located in southwestern Texas. It bumps up against Mexico and the Rio Grande forms the border between Mexico and Big Bend National Park. Big Bend gets its name from the prominent bend in the Rio Grande on this border.
This national park protects the largest area of the Chihuahuan Desert in the US as well as the Chisos Mountains. Big Bend is a top hiking destination in with trails leading high into these mountains and into canyons along the Rio Grande.
Why visit Big Bend in April: In April, crowds are diminishing (March tends to be the busiest month of the year to visit Big Bend) and the weather is warm and sunny. However, if you are here during a heat wave temperatures can get up into the 90s, even reaching 100 degrees, so early April is the better time of the month to visit in order to avoid these hotter temperatures. By May, this park really begins to heat up.
Weather: The average high is 82°F and the average low is 54°F. Rainfall is very low.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 7:30 am and sunset is at 8:20 pm.
Top experiences: Hike the Lost Mine Trail, go star gazing, hike Santa Elena Canyon, go for a drive on Maxwell Scenic Drive, visit Boquillas del Carmen, hike to Balanced Rock, and hike to Emory Peak, the highest peak in the Chisos Mountains.
Ultimate adventure: For the ultimate adventure in Big Bend, go on a half-day to multi-day canoeing trip on the Rio Grande.
How much time do you need? Spend at least three to four days in the park. Because of its large size and remote location, it takes a while to get here and you need a few days to explore it, so four days should work for most people.
Canyonlands National Park is both the largest and the least visited national park in Utah. I also think that it is one of the most underrated national parks.
This enormous national park preserves the canyons, buttes, and mesas that have been carved out by the Colorado and Green Rivers.
Enjoy the overlooks at Island in the Sky, go hiking in The Needles, drive the White Rim Road, and photograph Mesa Arch at sunrise. The list of things to do here is long and wonderful whether you prefer to visit the overlooks, hike a trail or two, or venture into the backcountry.
Why visit Canyonlands in April: The weather is great for hiking and exploring and the crowd levels are increasing but not yet near their peak for the year.
Weather: The average high is 62°F and the average low is 40°F. Rainfall is very low.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 6:40 am and sunset is at 8 pm.
Top experiences: Visit the overlooks on Island in the Sky, watch the sunrise at Mesa Arch, go hiking in The Needle, drive Shafer Canyon Road, hike below the rim of the Island in the Sky mesa, and explore The Maze.
Ultimate adventure: Drive or mountain bike the White Rim Road. This is a 100-mile unpaved road that makes a loop around the Island in the Sky mesa. It takes 2 to 3 days to do this drive.
How much time do you need? You need at least two full days in Canyonlands National Park. Spend one day in Island in the Sky and one day in the Needles. But more time is better if you want to venture deeper into the park.
Petrified Forest National Park is small and easy to visit. This park is named for the petrified wood that dates back millions of years to a time when this land was lush and fertile.
But there is more to this park than looking at chunks of crystallized wood. The Painted Desert and the Blue Forest with their colorful, zebra-striped hills are a beautiful sight to see and they are very similar to Badlands National Park, mentioned earlier. There are also a few great trails to hike which are perfect for all ages and ability levels.
Petrified Forest is another park that can go on the underrated national parks list.
Why visit Petrified Forest in April: With highs near 70°F, this is one of the best months to visit Petrified Forest with regards to weather. It also makes a great addition to an Arizona or American Southwest road trip if you also plan to visit places like Monument Valley, Sedona, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Weather: The average high is 68°F and the average low is 35°F. Rainfall is very low.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 5:45 am and sunset is at 6:50 pm.
Top experiences: View the Painted Desert from the overlooks, see the petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock, see the Teepees on Petrified Forest Road, hike the Blue Mesa Trail, and see the petrified wood at Crystal Forest and along the Giant Logs Trail.
Ultimate adventure: The Blue Forest hike is a favorite experience in Petrified Forest National Park. This 3-mile trail takes you through the badlands, one of the most beautiful parts of the park.
How much time do you need? One day is plenty of time to drive through the park, visit the overlooks, and hike a few short trails but I recommend a second day to explore hikes you missed on the first day.
With beautiful scenic drives, thrilling hikes, historical sites, backcountry roads, slot canyons, and unique desert landscapes, Capitol Reef National Park is an unexpectedly amazing national park to visit.
If you love the idea of leaving the crowds behind and exploring a vast, remote area, you have several options. Cathedral Valley with its sandstone monoliths and sweeping desert vistas is a beautiful, unique way to spend one day in Capitol Reef. Or you can Loop the Fold, another remote driving day along the waterpocket fold.
There are also slot canyons to explore, low-traffic hiking trails in remote areas of the park, and some of the most dramatic landscapes in Utah which you can see right from your car.
Why visit Capitol Reef in April: Because the weather is pretty close to perfect. In April, Capitol Reef gets an uptick in visitation but it’s not as busy as it will be in May and June.
Weather: The average high is 65°F and the average low is 39°F. Rainfall is very low.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 6:50 am and sunset is at 8 pm.
Top experiences: Drive the 16-mile round-trip drive along Scenic Drive, drive Capitol Gorge Road, hike to Hickman Bridge, and watch the sunset from Sunset Point, hike to Cassidy Arch, and Loop the Fold.
Ultimate adventure: For the ultimate adventure, drive the Cathedral Valley Loop. This rugged, remote district of Capitol Reef National Park is one of the best backcountry experiences in the national parks if you like exploring by 4WD.
How much time do you need? Plan to spend three to four days in Capitol Reef. This gives you enough time to explore and hike the trails in the core of the park (along Scenic Drive and Highway 24) and venture into the backcountry either in Cathedral Valley or by looping the fold.
Pinnacles National Park protects the mountains on the eastern end of Salinas Valley. These mountains are the remnants of an extinct volcano. The rocky pinnacles are a popular rock climbing destination and wildflowers in the spring draw the biggest crowds of the year. This park is also one of the few locations where you can spot the California condor in the wild.
Why visit Pinnacles in April: April is the best month to visit Pinnacles to see the wildflowers in bloom. Plus, the weather is fabulous.
Weather: In April, the average high is 72°F and the average low is 39°F. Rainfall is low.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 6:30 am and sunset is at 7:40 pm.
Top experiences: See the wildflowers in the spring, hike the High Peaks Loop, hike the Bear Gulch Cave Trail, explore the Balconies cave, spot California condors, enjoy the view from Condor Gulch Overlook, and go rock climbing.
How much time do you need? Pinnacles National Park can be visited in one busy day but for the best experience spend two days here which gives you enough time to visit both sections of the park.
Bryce Canyon National Park is small and easy to visit. With several days, you can hike through a garden of hoodoos, take in the view from multiple viewpoints, and thoroughly explore the park.
What’s a hoodoo?Hoodoo can also be defined as a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin. Geologically, hoodoos are found all around the world but they occur in the most abundance in Bryce Canyon. Here, hoodoos are the main ingredient of this unique landscape. The thousands of hoodoos in Bryce are what attract so many visitors every year.
Why visit Bryce Canyon in April: April is the end of the shoulder season in Bryce Canyon when the weather is cool and park visitation is still relatively low for the year. Go now, because in May, this park really begins to get busy.
Weather: In April, the average temperature is 54°F and the average low is 29°F. There is a small chance of snow in April.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 6:50 am and sunset is at 8 pm.
Top experiences: Some of the best viewpoints are right along the rim and easily accessible by car or the seasonal shuttle (mid-April to mid-September): Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, and Bryce Point. Hike the Queens Garden and Navajo Loop, a 3-mile hike past some of the best scenery in the park. Rainbow Point and Yovimpa Point are also nice viewpoints.
Ultimate adventure: Hike the Fairyland Loop Trail, an 8-mile strenuous hike.
How much time do you need? One day is all you need to see the views from the rim and hike one to two short trails in the park. I recommend another day or two for additional time to hike into the canyon. You won’t regret it
Arches National Park is a great place to visit in April. The weather is perfect but higher crowd levels kept if off of the list above. However, if you are planning a visit to Canyonlands or the other national parks in Utah, its worth including Arches on your list just get an early start and expect busy parking lots and hiking trails.
In April, the weather is just about perfect…daily highs of 75°F and one of the driest months of the year. However, those mosquitoes are starting to arrive and by the end of the month, the mosquito meter at Congaree with be ticking up to the mild to moderate levels.
You can see many of Canyon de Chelly’s top sights from the rim roads, but you’ll get a deeper understanding of its significance on a jeep tour with a Navajo guide. The only self-guided hike, the White House Trail, zigzags 600 feet down (and back up) to the spectacular White House ruins. Don’t miss the staggeringly tall spire known as Spider Rock; it rises 830 feet from the canyon floor.
The amazing force of water has cut three spectacular natural bridges in White Canyon at Natural Bridges National Monument. These stunning rock bridges have Hopi Indian names: delicate Owachomo means rock mounds, massive Kachina means dancer while Sipapu, the second largest natural bridge in the state, means place of emergence. A nine-mile scenic drive overlooks the bridges, canyons, and a touch of history with ancient Puebloan ruins.
Encompassing over 1.25 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area stretches for hundreds of miles from Lees Ferry in Arizona to the Orange Cliffs of southern Utah. Outdoor activities are what Glen Canyon is all about. There is something for everyone’s taste.
Cumberland Island National Seashore includes one of the largest undeveloped barrier islands in the world. The park is home to a herd of feral, free-ranging horses. Most visitors come to Cumberland for the natural glories, serenity, and fascinating history. Built by the Carnegies, the ruins of the opulent 59-room, Queen Anne-style Dungeness are a must-see for visitors.
April road trip idea
With 10 days, go on a road trip through four of the national parks in Utah—Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Arches National Park. This itinerary is perfect if you are looking for adventure, solitude, and unforgettable experiences. You also have enough time to journey into the backcountry where the real adventures await.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Also, be sure to take breaks to stretch your legs often and to stay active while camping.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The biannual Campspot Outdoor Almanac reveals that 2023 will be another big year for outdoor travel and highlights where to go and what to expect while enjoying the open road
As the seasons change and we move into the quieter half of the year, we often have more time to reflect and take stock. Which is nice! Really, it is. But when the holiday lights are stored away and the cold creeps into our bones, even the most winter-obsessed of us can start to feel a little cooped up.
And that is why planning ahead is important. Just as gardeners plant seeds and are bolstered by the promise of what is to come, so too can RVers make plans for what is ahead. Whether you arrange a short winter getaway in the mountains or the desert or work out the finer details of a family reunion at a camp resort, that plan is how we’re able to look forward to the good times ahead.
In a chaotic and stressful world, plans are our reprieve—the daydreams that get us through. Because when we’re planning, we’re invested in tomorrow. In the road ahead and the time we get to spend together. And when we’re packing up—when we’re camping—we realize what it is we really need. The essentials! What you can fit in the available space of the RV?
When we’re camping, we’re getting back to the basics. We’re retreating from the din of society and finding safe haven in the great outdoors and the campgrounds offering tucked-away corners, epic adventures, stunning scenery, and even luxury RV resorts.
Whether you’re planning for your cross-country RV trip, snowbird escape, hiking adventure with Fido, or next summer’s trip to a camp resort, the Campspot Outdoor Almanac provides information for plotting out the ultimate road trips and retreats—no matter the season.
Readers can access top destinations for camping in 2023 along with inspiration for top road trips and scenic drives, recommendations for road trips for each season, helpful statistics and data about national and state parks that are trending, and demographic information about road travelers.
Some top insights from travelers planning trips include:
Budget-friendly trips: Continued increased interest in shorter road trips is expected in 2023 as travelers discover their home states and local region
Average road trip route distance: 1,223 miles with a 20.5 hour driving duration
Take inspiration from these road trips and scenic drives to plan your 2023 adventures.
New Orleans, LA, to Fredericksburg, TX
Distance: 469 miles
With pit stops in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Beaumont, Houston, and Austin, this route is a Cajun food-lover’s dream. Be sure to drive the Willow City Loop just north of Fredericksburg for wildflowers galore.
Where to stay:
Sun Outdoors New Orleans North Shore, Ponchatoula, Louisiana
The Retreat RV and Camping Resort, Huffman, Texas
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Fredericksburg, Fredericksburg, Texas