Some people get the winter blues or February blahs, I always get itchy spring feet. I can’t wait to go camping and yet it’s still a bit cold in the north for me to brave the cool winter-moving-into-spring weather. Perhaps investing in some warmer winter sleep gear is needed, but sometimes heading out on the road for an adventure to warm weather camping is what’s on the menu.
Understandably, warm-winter camping is found mainly In the southern states. So treat yourself to some warm-winter camping and give yourself a thaw.
Beaches, sunshine, and fun times all along the 1100-mile-long coast of California. With so many options to camp where do you start? The first stop would be a book store to pick up this little gem: California Coastal Commission’s California Coastal Access Guide. “With up-to-date maps and information, it is an invaluable travel guide for all coastal visitors—beachgoers, hikers, campers, swimmers, divers, surfers, anglers, and boaters—detailing where to go, how to get there, and what facilities and environment to expect.” If you miss picking up the book, here are a few sites not to be missed:
Channel Islands National Park or there are seven state parks between Gaviota and Point Mugu all just offshore from the glamour and glitz of Santa Barbara. The climate is mild year-round and in the winter as many as 50,000 seals and sea lions can be viewed at protected breeding grounds. For more information: nps.gov/chis.
Leo Carillo State Beach is 25 miles up the coast from Santa Monica along highway 1 and offers 1.5 miles of beach, tide pools, caves, and reefs to explore. Giant Sycamore trees line the stream-bottomed canyon and provide shade for the campground. For more information: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=616.
San Elijo State Beach is located 40 minutes north of San Diego right on the coast. San Elijo has beautiful views from the bluff overlooking the ocean with stairs down to the beach. This state park offers camping, swimming, showers, and day picnicking spots. If you are into snorkeling or diving you will like the nearby reef. This campground is perfect for dog lovers as dogs have their own private beach. Please make sure that dogs are on a leash outside of the dog beach area. San Diego, with its Mediterranean-type weather, will make it so you do not miss traveling quite so much this year. For surfers, there is a world-famous surf break near the campground. There are also dozens of great restaurants within walking distance of San Elijo State Beach.
SOUTHERN GEMS FOR WARM WINTER CAMPING
Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia is only accessible by ferry but offers 17 miles of clean sand beaches, nearly 20,000 acres for exploring, and features saltwater marshes, freshwater ponds, moss-covered forests, and massive dunes. RV’s and motorhomes are not permitted on the island. You must walk on and walk off of the ferry. Reservations must be made in advance. For more information: www.nps.gov/cuis.
The Natchez Trace, Mississippi/Tennessee whose ancient game trail originally connected southern portions of the Mississippi River to central Tennessee salt licks. There are more than 400 miles of protected trail. There are no reservations and no fees to camp here. For more information: https://www.nps.gov/natr/index.htm
Florida, the King of Warm Weather Camping
If you are heading south for warm weather camping the obvious destination is Florida. Anywhere in Florida will do, with the weather always being warm and pristine beaches that go on forever there is no lack of sun and sand. Coastline RV Resort and Campground is located on the panhandle of Florida. This resort offers the unique unobstructed view of the St. George Sound, St. George Island, Dog Island, and the spectacular sunrises and sunsets for which the panhandle is known. Coastline RV Resort is located close enough to three coastal communities allowing you to enjoy the conveniences they provide.
Looking for an island holiday? We may not be able to travel to Cuba or Tahiti right now but if you are itching for an island getaway why not look at St George Island State Park. Located off of the coast of northwestern Florida, the 4 miles long bridge will take you to these nine miles of untouched beaches, dunes, forest bays, and marches. On the gulf side of this island you will find the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. You will also find the fine sugary sands that we all love from our island holidays. You many even see a pod of dolphins swim by.
On the bay side of the island you will find marshes, home to blue heron, bald eagles, osprey, owls and saltwater fish. There is so much to do on this small island and there is something for everyone. You can go birdwatching, fishing, kayaking, and shell collecting. At night you will be able to see every star in the sky like never before. There is a reason that many celebraties have their second homes on this beautiful island.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is a bit higher in elevation, however, it is well worth the cooler weather if you are a 4WD or ATV fanatic. And of course, the pink sand. For more information: https://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/coral-pink/.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona/Nevada. There are just so many options to choose from between Lake Mead and Lake Mohave but a favorite is Boulder Bay. Three of America’s four desert ecosystems — the Mojave, the Great Basin, and the Sonoran Desert — meet here. For more information: https://www.nps.gov/lake/index.htm.
Big Bend National Park, Texas is on the Mexican border, where the Rio Grande makes its “big bend” and is well worth the effort to travel here to experience 800,000 acres to explore. For more information: https://www.nps.gov/bibe/index.htm.
So get out there and explore the adventures of winter camping in an RV today. For more on warm weathered camping, check out an article on California National Parks.
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The Grand Canyon is likely the most famous National Park in the United States and is visited by more than 6 million people a year. The park is located in Northern Arizona near Utah and Nevada. The Parks main feature is a 277 mile (446 km) long canyon that separates the park into South and North Rims which has been carved out by the Colorado River flowing through the bottom of it. The canyons layered bands of red sedimentary rock and awe-inspiring size tells the story of millions of years of geological history. Let’s see everything that this famous park has to offer as we look at RVing the Grand Canyon.
RVing Grand Canyon South Rim
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is located on the Arizona side. This side receives the majority of the park’s visitors and therefore has the best tourism infrastructure such as a visitors center, family activities, hotels, museums, restaurants, and bike rentals. Park entrance fee is $35 for the South and North Rims and is valid for 7 days.
Stop by the South Rim’s twelve main viewpoints to look-out over the canyon. Visit the Yavapai Museum of Geology to view exhibits about the geological history of the area. Bike along Hermit Road for 7 miles (11 km) stopping at viewpoints along the way. Hike below the rim on Bright Angel Trail or the South Kaibab Trail. Walk the South Rim Trail, a 13 miles (21 km) long trail that is mostly flat and paved and follows the edge of the rim. Take a helicopter flight over the canyon. Explore the canyon by guided horseback tour.
Where to Stay/Getting Around South Rim
I recommend that you make all lodging reservations well in advance.
There are many lodges ranging from rustic to contemporary including Kachina Lodge, Yavapai Lodge, Red Feather Lodge, Maswik Lodge, Bright Angel Lodge & Cabins, Thunderbird Lodge, and Phantom Ranch. Some popular hotels include El Tovar Hotel, Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire, and Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon
Free shuttles make regular stops around the park at the visitors center, Market Plaza, the train depot, lodges, restaurants, trailheads, and viewpoints. It is a 5-hour drive between South Rim Village and North Rim Village. The Trans Canyon Shuttle runs between the Rims one time each direction each day.
Getting to Grand Canyon National Park South Rim
Phoenix AZ- Driving from Phoenix to the South Rim visitors center is 229.1 miles (368 km) and takes 3 hours 27 minutes via the I-17 N.
Las Vegas NV- Driving from Las Vegas to the South Rim visitors center is 280miles (450 km) and takes 4.5 hours via the US-93 S and I-40 E.
RVing Grand Canyon North Rim
The North Rim is located on the Utah side and is a little more difficult to get to, making it more remote. The North rim is about 10 degrees cooler, due to the rise in elevation, allowing it to support more abundant plant and animal life. The north side is ideal for those looking for more of a rugged wilderness adventure and to escape the crowds of the more popular South Rim.
The main activities on the north side are hiking, sightseeing, and participating in ranger-led activities. There are three main viewpoints to visit, Cape Royal, Point Imperial, and Bright Angel Point. Cape Royal offers the most panoramic views and is very popular at sunset, Point Imperial is the highest and northernmost view of the canyon. Bright Angel Point is the most popular of the northern viewpoints and offers views of the south rim.
Where to Stay/Getting Around North Rim
The closest place to stay in the canyon is The Grand Canyon Lodge. Around the lodge, there are a variety of large and small rustic, western cabins and motel rooms. The Lodge itself houses a saloon, restaurant, gift shop, and store.
Kaibab Lodge is located 18 miles from the North Rim on the AZ-67 in the North Kaibab National Forest. The main lodge has a restaurant and is surrounded by a variety of cabins. This is the ultimate place to disconnect because there is no cell phone service or and no phones or TVs in the rooms. Jacob Lake Inn is 44 miles from the North Rim and surrounded by the towering pines of the National Forest. It has been family-owned and operated since 1923. Cozy cabins, hotel rooms, or motel rooms are available.
The North Rim Campground is located on Arizona State Route 67, 1 mile north of The Grand Canyon Lodge. The campsites are shaded by trees and have some distance between them. There are hookups and a water refill station but no dump station is available.
The Grand Canyon Lodge offers a free shuttle for hikers from the lodge to the North Kaibab Trailhead twice a day.
Bicycles are a great way to get around at the North Rim due to the parks 35mph speed limit but are only allowed on blacktop roads.
Getting to Grand Canyon National Park North Rim
Phoenix AZ- The drive from Phoenix to the North Rim visitors center is 5 hours 56 minutes 353.9 miles (570 km) via the I-17 N and US-89 N.
Las Vegas Nevada- Driving from Las Vegas to the North Rim Visitors Center is 266 miles (428 km) and takes 4 hours 38 minutes via the I-15 N.
RVing Grand Canyon West Rim
The Hualapai Indian Tribe manages Grand Canyon West and is located 241 miles west of the South Rim, approximately a 4.5-hour drive. The National Parks Service Pass is not valid here and the general admissions fee for an adult, including shuttle service and access to all three viewpoints (Eagle Point, Guano Point, Hualapai Ranch), is $56.00. Extras can be added to your ticket such as the Skywalk, meal tickets, and ziplining for an additional fee.
The main attraction at the West Rim is the Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that takes you 70 ft out over the grand canyon with nothing else under your feet until the Colorado River. Take the time to look at the Hualapai history exhibit on the walls inside the Skywalk building for a better understanding of Hualapai culture and connection to the land.
Hualapai Ranch is the hub of West Rim activities. There is a food hall, gift shop, and rustic cabins to spend the night in. At the ranch, you will also find wagon rides, horseback rides, gunfight shows, and other activities. Havasu Falls hike is famous for its aqua-blue waters spilling over the red-orange cliffs into pools below. This is an oasis in the middle of the vast desert is a 10-mile hike and requires proper permits.
Where to Stay/Getting Around West Rim
There are two places to stay while visiting the West Rim, Hualapai Ranch and Hualapai Lodge.
Hualapai Ranch offers the closest accommodations to the canyon. Spend the night in a rustic cabin allowing you to wake up and watch the sunrise over the canyon in the morning.
The second option is staying at the Hualapai Lodge which is approximately 130 miles (209 km) from the West Rim located in Peach Springs.
Your entrance fee includes a hop on-hop off shuttle service within Grand Canyon West.
Getting to Grand Canyon National Park West Rim
Phoenix AZ- The drive from Phoenix is 259.5 mies (418 km) which takes 4 hours 11 minutes via the US-93 N.
Las Vegas NV- It is a 125.6 mile (202 km) drive from Las Vegas to the West Rim which takes 2 hours 4 minutes via the US-93 S.
Best time to visit the Grand Canyon
The best time to visit the Grand Canyon depends on the kinds of activities you want to do and what you want to see.
The Springtime allows for thinner crowds, cooler weather, and a chance to see the wildflowers bloom. Daytime temperatures range from 50°F-60°F (10°C-15°C) and may even reach into the ’80s (26°C) on the West Rim. Some disadvantages are that nighttime temperatures can drop below freezing. There may be unpredictable weather such as rain or snowstorms. The North Rim is closed for the winter from October 15 until May 15. During the winter months backpackers, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers are allowed to use the North Rim Campground with a backcountry use permit.
Summer is the most popular time to visit the park due to the long summer days. Access to all of the tourism services allows you to participate in many of the different activities. Temperatures at the South Rim range from around 70°F-85°F (20°C-30°C). The North Rim will be open at this time and its higher elevation offers an escape from the heat. Heavy but short rainstorms are common from July to September. It may be difficult to book lodging at this time of year due to the crowds.
The Autumn invites in milder weather and smaller crowds. Day time temperatures range between 50°F-60°F (10°C-15°C) and night may get cool. The fall colors of the foliage are beautiful and the shorter days make it more likely for you to catch the sun setting over the canyon. The weather can be unpredictable with warmer than usual temperatures or early rain and snow so be prepared and pack accordingly.
The colder months come with a lot of advantages. The crowds will be at their thinnest at this time making it easy to book your preferred accommodations and activities. You may also find discounted lodging due to the lack of guests. The South Rim trails stay open during the winter. You may get to see the breathtaking sight of the canyon dusted by snow. The North Rim will be closed and the weather may obstruct some views or challenge your hike into the canyon. Daytime temperatures at the South Rim average around the low 40°F (5°C) and below 20°F (-6 ) during the night. Check out the West Rim for slightly higher temperatures averaging between 60°F-70°F (15°C-20°C) during the day.
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Arizona is easily one of the top RV camping destinations in North America. Consistent warm temperatures, incredible sightseeing, and beautiful scenery. What more could you ask for? The landscape is perfect for outdoor adventures, offering a little bit of everything. The area is home to lakes, mountains, deserts, canyons, and even a volcano! From natural wonders and culinary treats, Arizona will give you everything you’re looking for in an RV adventure. Here we’ll give you some of the best RV parks to check out to make your trip around Arizona as memorable as possible.
Desert Shadows RV Resort
Desert Shadows is the king of RV parks, which is why the term ‘resort’ is more fitting, you’ll understand why when you see the size of the site. This RV resort is in an ideal location to explore all that Phoenix has to offer, such as shopping malls, golfing, entertainment, restaurants, and beautiful views. However, when you’re staying at the first-class Shadows RV resort, you may never want to leave!
This 55+ resort includes a wide array of amenities to ensure you are well taken care of for a short-term or long-term stay. They even have a full-time social activities director coordinating fun events! If you’re into music festivals, potlucks, arts and crafts, or aerobics classes, this is a destination for you. Even if you just want to sit back and relax, you can hang out in their lobby which offers all you can drink complimentary coffee and tea. In the evening consider catching a fun game of bingo or billiards and connect with other travelers. Shadows Resort has it all. This is definitely one of the top camping destinations in Arizona.
On The Beach RV Park
On The Beach RV Park, the name says it all. Wake up to the sound of the ocean while you’re relaxing in a full hookup site that includes cable TV and free high-speed wireless internet, all while being surrounded by award-winning landscaping. Can life get any better than this? You bet it can. During the winter season the park offers dinners, movie nights, and mixers for evening entertainment. One of the best activities to do at this park is to go boating, and it’s not your average boating experience. Port Aransas is among the best locations for dolphin watching. However boating isn’t the only way to experience the Texas coast, you can also enjoy kayaking, parasailing, surfing, and kiteboarding. If you don’t have your own gear, no problem, you can rent out any equipment you need. You won’t find any other RV park closer to the beach than this one.
Desert’s Edge RV Park
For another top camping destinations in Arizona watch for the flashy Desert’s Edge neon sign off the 1-17 and check out this retro-inspired RV park. The site is located in close proximity to downtown Phoenix for easy accessibility to major league events, classic car auctions, desert botanical gardens, the OdySea Aquarium Foundation, the Butterfly Wonderland and so much more! The park hosts many parties and special events directly on the property in their expansive recreation room and recreation hall. Desert’s Edge is very pet friendly, equipped with two dog parks and a dog run as well as a dog grooming station. They also have family parks, a newly installed covered barbeque area, and a heated family swimming pool for all year family fun!
Grand Canyon/Williams KOA
If you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon/Williams KOA is the perfect base camp for RVers. The landscape surrounding the area encompasses everything that Arizona has to offer, from the Indian ruins and Sedona red rocks to the Sunset Crater and historic towns. Only two blocks from Route 66, very close to downtown Williams and undoubtedly convenient for Grand Canyon access makes the Grand Canyon/Williams KOA a must hit RV park!
Being adequately distanced from the hustle and noise of trains and interstates allows you to relax at night around a campfire and gaze at the sky’s constellations. Enjoy scenic nature hikes, hunting trips, or a tour of the Grand Canyon via train, bus, or helicopter during the day. In the evening, book a family dinner on route 66 or a romantic night at El Tovar Hotel. The team at Grand Canyon/Williams KOA will ensure you have a trip to remember.
Meteor Crater RV Park
Known for its stunning night skies, Meteor Crater RV Park is located 20 miles West of Winslow allowing for an undisturbed, unpolluted star gazing experience. Here, it’s easy to capture those dazzling starry night shots. To further your space adventures, as the name indicates, this park is just a 5-mile drive to the best-preserved meteor impact site in the world, the Meteor Crater visitor center. This world-famous attraction is open for exploration, and there is a lot to explore, the crater is over 1 mile wide and 500 feet deep! Truly a magical experience.
Rancho Sedona RV Park
This RV parks let you do the unthinkable in Arizona…escape the sun! Rancho Sedona Park is fully shaded for a much-needed breath of cool air. Breathtaking cottonwood and grand sycamore trees shade the park creating a tranquil setting that is unique to Arizona. Your dogs will thoroughly enjoy this break from the sun while they run free in the fenced dog park. The park is situated adjacent to Oak Creek creating a soothing sound of running water while you sit back and relax in the spacious sites provided by the park. More than relaxation, Rancho Sedona RV park is also great for biking, hiking, and trout fishing all year long! These are some of the many things that make this park one of the top camping destinations in Arizona.
Eagle View RV Resort
For a luxurious home base less than 25 miles from Phoenix, check out Eagle View RV Resort. This location is fantastic for exploring the surrounding area of Fort McDowell and provides exceptional scenery. Views of Verde River, Four Peaks, and majestic surrounding mountains will leave you breathless as you take in the peaceful fresh air that Fort McDowell offers. A quick drive to Scottsdale and other attractions such as the We-Ko-Pa Golf Club and the Fort McDowell Casino. If you want to stay in, you can relax in the resort’s swimming pool or hot tub and enjoy family-friendly games with free coffee and pastries!
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