View

Trip Planning

7 Unique U.S. RV Destinations

Consider one of these unexpected spots for your summer vacation.

The following article was originally published on AARP as part of a partnership with Go RVing. The original post can be found HERE.

When you Go RVing, the world is your oyster. It’s also your backyard. Because you control the journey, you control the destination. And that means you can choose places and experiences for summer or fall vacations that are off the beaten path. Here are seven surprising sites for an RV adventure.

Hill City, South Dakota

You’ll wake up to spectacular views when you stay at the Rafter J Bar Ranch in Hill City. The area is known as the heart of the majestic Black Hills. Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorials are less than nine miles away. Or, you can step out of your RV and into the adjacent mountain biking and hiking trails. The Sunday Gulch Fishing Pond, well stocked with rainbow trout, is a short walk away. Even closer are the campground’s heated pool and hot tub, with fireplaces nearby - perfect for warming up after a nighttime swim.

hill city

Paso Robles, California

More laid back than Napa or Sonoma, Paso Robles is a wine-and-RV-lover’s dream. It’s located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, nestled among the rolling hills of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Paso Robles is home to more than 200 wineries, a growing number of beer gardens, and superb farm-to-table restaurants. Every outdoor activity imaginable awaits, from hiking and biking to ziplining and horseback riding. You can find RV parks here that offer amenities like heated pools, on-site wine tastings, and pizza ovens.

CA

Salt Creek Recreation Area, Washington State

The 92 year-round campsites here sit on a bluff above the Strait of Juan de Fuca. They are proof, if you need it, that an RV vacation can be wonderfully romantic. Hike the waterfalls, skip among the tide pools, go for a dip in a lake or river. Natural beauty abounds on the Olympic Peninsula, while Downtown Port Angeles boasts charming cafes and boutiques. 

Washington

Lake Placid/Whiteface Mountain, Wilmington, New York

Nothing captures lovely, lazy summer days more than time spent in the Adirondack Mountains. The views are majestic, the hills rolling, and the peaks high at the Lake Placid/Whiteface Mountain KOA. Enjoy paddling on Lake Mirror, fly-fishing, hikes, and picnics. If you’re feeling adventurous, jump the cliffs at the Ausable River or hitch a 30-mph ride on the Sky Flyer Zipline. Ask the front desk about mini golf and the campground’s celebrated ice cream socials.

NY

Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas

Savor the spectacle of nature and avoid the crowds at Petit Jean State Park. Choose a wooded or lake-view campsite and spend your days amid more than 20 miles of hiking trails. You can walk to the stunning 95-foot Cedar Falls, meander through timeless geology on the Seven Hollows Trail, and view ancient pictographs in Rock House Cave. The summer calendar is an active one, with offerings like night hikes and sunset kayak tours. Park interpreters lead everything from softball games to talks in the campground’s amphitheater, such as “Bats Around Us,” highlighting the nocturnal flying mammals.

New Orleans, Louisiana 

Your destination doesn’t need to be rustic or remote when you take an RV trip. Cities across the country have nearby campgrounds. Urban camping can be both much more comfortable and way more affordable than staying in a downtown hotel. The French Quarter RV Resort, for example, is located just blocks away from New Orleans’ historic French Quarter with all its legendary restaurants, music venues and festivals, and nightlife. Want to see a different side of New Orleans? Consider a swamp tour.

Louisiana

Key West, Florida

Who needs a beach house when you can book an oceanfront site at Boyd's Key West Campground? Soak up the tropical vibe at this pet-friendly, family-run campground, which sits near the end of Highway 1. You can enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, a pool, and a tiki hut – yes, tiki cocktails are offered! There are plenty of activities like line dancing, cornhole tournaments, and cookouts at the Pavilion. Plus, downtown Key West is just a few minutes away.

Key West

Comfort, ease, spontaneity, adventure, flexibility, control. During a time when travel can be challenging – with the cost of hotel rooms soaring and flights hard to book – an RV vacation offers a welcome, stress-free alternative. Today’s recreational vehicles are low-maintenance and easy to navigate, giving you convenient access to vacation spots on mountaintops and vineyards, beaches and deserts. There’s a range of RV makes and models to fit your style – simple, sophisticated, and everything in-between. 

orange

Contributor

AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that empowers people to choose how they live as they age.