It’s that time of year when many RVers are in serious planning mode for the upcoming camping season. And no matter your travel style, it’s a good idea to arrive at a destination with an understanding of what it’s known for and a list of activities you might enjoy.
It’s also smart to have a loose schedule in mind. Many folks miss out on great experiences just because they didn’t look into operating hours or tour times.
So what should you do in advance of any RV trip? Take advantage of all the great online resources and crowdsourcing that’s available. Then wander off the beaten path to find some experiences that will be truly unique.
Research the standard tourist activities. The very first thing to do is find out what everyone does when they visit a destination. Some people avoid all things 'touristy', but if you visit Yellowstone National Park and don't see Old Faithful, you’re definitely missing out.
Niagara Falls, the Gateway Arch, and the Golden Gate Bridge are all pretty cliche tourist attractions, but everyone wants to see them anyway. Google, Trip Advisor, Fodor's, Lonely Planet, and US News and World Report Travel will all give you great results for the search "Top 10 things to do in ____." Read the reviews, compare lists, pick a couple must sees, and move on.
Think outside the box. Apps like Roadside America and Roadtrippers will guide you to offbeat sites that may not be in the traditional travel guides. Cross check any of these recommendations with other review sites to gage people's enjoyment of the attraction. Because weird is sometimes better...but not always.
Search for area festivals. Make sure you don’t miss that Blueberry Festival in Vermont, the Farm Frolic in Pennsylvania, or the Hatch Chile Festival in New Mexico. Check out the local Convention and Visitor Bureau online, or give them a call. The locals always have the inside scoop.
Know your travel favorites. Search for the type of activities and attractions that are personal favorites wherever you travel. Some people love finding treasures in used book stores or searching through antique shops. Others will enjoy botanical gardens, guided kayaking tours, or art museums. Researching these specific interests will turn up experiences that may not be in the regional travel guides.
Enjoy the culinary highlights. Food is an integral part of the RV travel experience and a great way to enjoy local culture. If there is a special local delicacy (think gumbo in Louisiana and lobster rolls in Cape Cod) plan ahead to track down the best of the best.
Let great books inspire you. We are so entrenched in an internet and app culture, that sometimes we forget about travel books. Find out if there are any great books written about your destination, or stories that take place there. Reading books like the The Lobster Coast and The Lobster Chronicles before visiting coastal Maine will give you a deeper understanding of the region.
For many RVers, planning trips is almost as fun as actually going on them. Dive into learning about a region before you arrive, but always remember to keep your schedule open and flexible for recommendations from locals. Those experts have led to some of our greatest RV experiences ever!