After taking an extended hiatus, RVs are back in vogue again. Lower fuel prices, more efficient RVs and the never-ending call of the open road compels an untold number of Americans to head out and take their home with them. Some travelers even pull a car along for side trips. Here are four of the best RV destinations by region along with local stops to expand your road-tripping experience.
Steer East: Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a dream come true for the RV set. This national parkway is renowned for its unparalleled scenic beauty — a 469-mile thoroughfare that begins in Shenandoah National Park in central Virginia and meanders through the Blue Ridge Mountains before culminating at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.
The parkway is a two-lane road from beginning to end and offers numerous overlooks, swimming, picnicking, hiking and camping. The speed limit never exceeds 45 mph — just right for RVers who may prefer a more leisurely drive. Popular sites include the James River and Kanawha Canal in Virginia, where adventure seekers can traverse a footbridge to view the restored canal locks and exhibits. In North Carolina, the parkway passes by Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi. At its terminus is the Cherokee Reservation.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is not maintained in the winter and may be closed from late fall to early spring as local conditions merit. When open, however, it is one of the best RV destinations anywhere.
Go West: Redwood National and State Parks
Nearly half of all the remaining redwood forests are found in just two counties in northern California. The combined Redwood National and State Parks are located in Del Norte and Humboldt counties and serve as a protectorate for threatened animal species such as the northern spotted owl and Stellar’s sea lion.
You can also take US 101 for 40 miles from Crescent City to Orick and park your RV for a bit. The key scenic drives, such as Howland Hill Road and Cal-Barrel Road, do not permit RVs, but can be accessed via car.
Head North: Mount Rushmore National Memorial
George, Thomas, Theodore and Abe greet you when you visit the indomitable Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, one of the best RV destinations in America. The memorial welcomes more than two million visitors each year, with summer being its busiest season.
US Route 16A is a 37-mile, two-lane serpentine road that pushes through Custer State Park and up to Mount Rushmore. The road is marked by tunnels and pigtail bridges, providing a decidedly languid pace that will permit you to take pictures and enjoy the scenery.
Drive South: Texas Wine Trail
One of the best RV destinations in the south is the Texas Wine Trail. Late summer to early fall is harvest time in Texas hill country, which makes October the perfect month to take your RV to more than two dozen wineries located near towns such as Fredericks, Tow, Marble Falls and Driftwood.
Create your own self-guided trips to connect you to each winery. Once there, you can attend wine seminars, participate in a two-ton grape stomp or enjoy a harvest tour. When you’re ready to call it a day, there are a number of RV parks nearby.
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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.