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Park & Go: Top U.S. Destinations for RV Travel

RV travel
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Stumble out your door in your robe — or whatever qualifies as pajamas — without worrying about frightening housekeeping or getting locked out.

Skip room service and fire up the stove.

And if you don’t like the view from your room, just drive a few feet or miles down the road.

These are just a few of the ways in which RV travel can be a welcome change of pace from the traditional hotel stay.

Camping in RVs, vans, and even high-end glamping is on the move: the percentage of campers who camp at least three times a year increased 72 percent since 2014, according to the 2019 North American Camping Report.

The increase is fueled by more multi-cultural travelers and millennials, as well as a trend toward more experiential, immersive types of travel.1 The movement also hitches a ride to the RV boom of the 2010s, in which sales spiked 200% through 2018.2

While we’re narrowing our scope to RV travel destinations for this piece, know that many of the suggested destinations are also prime spots to pitch your tent or park your conversion van outfitted with a murphy bed.

RVs are among the most convenient modes of transportation, from easy bathroom breaks to naps on demand, but there’s something you’ll want on the open road that doesn’t come included: peace of mind. Maybe you’re sweating that a breakdown outside Boulder may cost you your pre-paid, nonrefundable luxury campground site deposit in Lake Tahoe. Or that the sprained ankle you suffered hiking the North Trail is actually a bad break — and you’re going to need a couple of hands and maybe even a helicopter to get you down the mountain. Not to worry, Allianz Travel Insurance can provide this peace of mind, as well as financial recourse, in the event that you experience a covered reason for your travel mishap. So, before you check the batteries in the remote for your 72” waterproof, pullout TV, also check out which travel insurance plan is right for you.

Enough of the build-up; let’s go RV’ing…

The Florida Keys / Key West

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No matter where your journey begins, there are few better final legs of a road trip than the 160-mile stretch between Miami and the Key West. Take Route 1 and drive until you hit mile 0, over the bridges and through the coral cay archipelago toward paradise. From Key Largo to Sunshine Key and Big Pine Key to Bluewater Key, there are plenty of RV parks to break up a trip that you’ll be in no rush to finish. Stop just shy of the Southernmost Point (technically Mile Marker 5) and check in at Boyd’s Key West Campground, featuring beach access, a pool, marina, and tiki bar. The 250-site park has a slew of beachfront spots, boasting spectacular sunsets right up there with Mallory Square’s world-famous views. Founded by Saskatchewan newlyweds in 1963, Boyd’s has that friendly, laidback, kitschy vibe you’d expect. You may not make it past Boyd’s, but if you do, the bacchanalia of Duval Street, history lessons of the Ernest Hemmingway House, and a bevy of boat tours away just a few miles down the road.3, 4

Acadia National Park

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There are many, many lists recommending the best spots to visit by RV, and Maine’s Acadia National Park makes a lot of them. Part of the intrigue is the wide range of climates that hit this coastal area — creating both a winter wonderland and sun-splashed natural waterpark — thus making the spring and fall prime pickings for more mild adventures. Then there’s the menu of fun: birding, hiking, biking, horseback riding, canoeing, and tidepooling. One of the park’s trademarks — its rocky headlands providing the perfect perch for stunning oceanic panoramas — measures up as the highest along the Atlantic coast. The popularity of Acadia National Park is both a boon and challenge, book early to avoid being shut out of your favorite campsite.5, 6 Make time to pop in neighboring Bar Harbor as well; the bayside town welcomes both commercial fisherman and gorgeous yachts to its docks — and the lobster roll at The Stadium makes the ideal edible souvenir.7

Yosemite National Park

Allianz - Yosemite National Park

It’s no surprise that multiple national parks make our list; the only thing that beats the built-in views and adventures is the price. (The average night away at a U.S. National Park costs less than taking a family of four to the movies.) Plus, if the official campgrounds are full, and this isn’t your first rodeo, boondocking is often an option — that is, camping off the grid.8 That’s a long lead-up to Yosemite National Park. Smack dab in the Sierra Mountains, the 1,200-sq.-mile park was carved out by glaciers more than two million years ago. And today, it’s home to iconic natural wonders including the towering sequoia trees, as well as the granite cliffs of Half Dome and El Capitan.9 But as an avid National Park visitor will tell you, there’s one big drawback of national parks when it comes to RV travel, too — limited hookups. (For RV newbies, those are for water and electricity to come in, and sewage to go out.) Yosemite doesn’t offer any hookups. Zero. One way around this is bounce over to a private campground nearby the park. And that’s precisely our suggested plan for visiting Yosemite. The aptly named Yosemite Pines RV Park packs modern RV amenities with plenty of regional nostalgia. You can rent a Conestoga Wagon or Airstream-style trailer and let the kids pan for fun in the Sluice Box. There’s also a petting zoo, pool, and plenty of courts.10, 11

Perhaps the destination for your next RV trip is simply the backdrop for a long overdue weekend of relaxation. Or perhaps you plan to spend as little time is possible inside your fifth wheel trailer. That’s the thing about RV travel — you gain more control of the itinerary than perhaps any other type of trip. Happy trails!

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Oct 02, 2020