Where would your RV Trip take you?

You've seen them on the roads and probably wondered, "What would an RV vacation be like?"  With one out of every eleven households headed by 35-54 year-olds, owning an RV today, families, couples and singles just like you are enjoying this casual, comfortable lifestyle.  So what would your RV outing be like?

RVers do pretty much what other vacationers do in terms of sight-seeing, visiting the relatives, and seeking out places in nature. What is different is how it is done. At the end of the day, you don't check into hotels, cabins or condos; you cozy up in your rolling home - surrounded by other like-minded folks. You might fire up the barbeque with other families or friends you meet around the campground; you could take a walk or play games; or you could reminisce about times earlier in your life enjoyed in the outdoors; while the kids explore and make friends. You enjoy an atmosphere that is peaceful, yet fun; upbeat, yet surprisingly laid back.  A far cry from the madness of jetting off in an airplane!  There are no searches, no liquids to worry about, and no luggage weight restrictions on an RV vacation.

Of course today's technologies and forms of entertainment aren't completely removed from the RVing set; many campgrounds and most RV Resorts have amenities found in other lodging options: swimming pools, video game rooms, movies, snack bars, wi-fi internet connectivity, evening entertainment and tours to nearby attractions are all available for your vacation enjoyment.

It is the ability for you to have quality family time together, enjoy an economical get-away (even in the face of soaring gas prices), and reduce the stress of the every-day work environment that has led over eight million RV families to the road today - a nearly 60% increase in the last twenty-five years.  Of course, a fun weekend outing for your family can be a visit to a nearby RV dealer.  Make picking out your rolling home a family affair; get everyone excited about the change of pace and scenery that going on RV vacations can bring.  If you want to give it a trial run before you invest, there are many companies that will rent you an appropriate vehicle for your needs.  With all the outdoor places, great events and favorable seasons most of the year, two states in our heartland, Minnesota and Iowa, are prefect places to go RVing - centrally located in our country with lots to do.

Minnesota - Land of 10,000 Lakes

In Minnesota, there are many options for you to explore with the expansive waterways, plentiful state parks, historical events and festivals. You might decide just a few days or a few weeks ahead of time to escape for a long weekend ambling down beautiful Highway 61, the national scenic by-way, along the shore of Lake Superior. As a part of the RV family, you will find that spontaneous get-aways are part of the fun.  You could decide to visit the Grand Portage National Monument and stay overnight at the municipal campground in nearby Grand Marais, nestled at the edge of the lake. They have complete facilities with 300 campsites for the RVer or camper.

This wonderful little town has plenty to keep even the most diverse-interest family occupied for a few days, especially if you choose one of the varied festival weekends. How about the Wooden Boat Festival (June16-18, 2006) or take a more extended trip and enjoy both the Fourth of July parade and fireworks, and the Arts Fair & Festival (July 8 and 9, 2006).   

When you return to your RV home after an exciting day, you enjoy the comfort of your own home, with your own things around you.  It is surprising how much fun a family can have without the ever-present electronic toys of home; but, you can bring as much technology as you need or want, because you'll have full electric service at your campsite at most camping resorts.

Another activity that you can enjoy is an RV rally.  With the first of the baby boomers turning 60 this year, many RVers are taking off on trips longer than just a few days and often enjoy attending RV get-togethers held throughout the country. These events are usually sponsored by RV clubs like The Good Sam Club or Escapees, and are well-publicized to their members.  You could plan to attend this year's Good Sam Club Minnesota Fall Samboree.  When you attend a rally (or Samboree) held at a fairground location, you will be probably be "boondocking".  That means that you'll be depending on your generator for electricity and on your own water supply in the rig.  These events are a combination of education and fun.  You'll get to see exhibits and seminars of all the latest equipment, techniques and RV gear; there are old-fashioned games and contests for all ages and abilities and plenty of entertainment in the evenings to keep you as busy as you want to be.  You don't have to be a Good Sam member to attend. 

Iowa - The Hawkeye State

Iowa offers some good examples of the variety of summer activities offered for RVers who enjoy "rallying" with other like-minded folks, whether for a few days or longer.  Start off your trip at the Good Sam Club Iowa State Samboree.  Then maybe you'll go visit the grandkids or friends for a few days. You could also amble by the Winnebago factory in Forest City, Iowa, where you can actually see this popular line of RVs being made. 

If you still have the urge to wander around Iowa; tap your feet and sidle on over to the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in Davenport. Sponsored by the Mississippi Blues Society, this annual event features well-known blues artists from around the country. There are several RV parks in the Quad Cities area for your enjoyment during the festival.

At each of these events, you are sure to have plenty of neighborly time, outings to nearby attractions (like old Ft. Dodge itself); plenty to eat, and more conversation and laughs than you've probably had all year.  RVers enjoy being busy, but you will also enjoy the relaxed pace of the camping environment and the shared experiences of places you've been and events you have enjoyed.  RVers are the friendliest folks around.

Whether you are an experienced RVer, or just starting out, there is always something new to explore either right near home, or rambling across the country for as much time as you can escape from your everyday life.  The RV life offers many of the things that Americans are longing for - a simpler time, a slower pace, more time to really enjoy each other and the opportunity to participate in fun activities together.  There is no better way to have these experiences than through the headlights of an RV.


If you are planning to go.

Grand Portage National Monument http://www.nps.gov/grpo/

Grand Marais www.grandmarais.com

Visiting the North Shore www.northshorevisitor.com

Mississippi Valley Blues Festival www.mvbs.org

Types of RVs.

Towables - Designed to be towed by a suitable car, van or pickup truck. Can be unhitched and left at the campsite while you explore in your auto.  Choices include pop-up or folding trailers, truck campers, travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers and "toy-hauler" trailers.

Motorized RVs - These are all inclusive in one unit - the living quarters are accessible from the driving area.  People often tow a car behind the unit for exploring the area when parked.  Three classes of these units are available: 

Class C units feature a "cab-over" design on a van or truck-type chassis. 

Class B units are also called camping vans and are built on a van or truck chassis. 

Class A motor homes can be gas or diesel powered, are mostly custom built, and can be quite basic or extremely elaborate.

Learn more about RVing .

Escapees www.escapees.com

Go Camping America www.gocampingamerica.com

Good Sam Club www.goodsamclub.com

Minnesota Good Sam Chapter:  www.mngoodsamclub.com/

Go RVing  www.gorving.org

KOA (Kampgrounds of America) www.koa.com

RV Education Videos www.rved101.com

Woodalls Camping Guides www.woodalls.com  

About the author

Carol White lives in Wilsonville, Oregon and is the co-author of Live Your Road Trip Dream - the ultimate road trip planner. She and her husband Phil spent an entire year wandering around the country in their Class B motor home.  She writes frequently about the RV and road trip experience. 

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