There’s no need to choose between the call of the open road and the comforts of home. Sit behind the wheel of a Recreational Vehicle, and suddenly the possibilities for exploration are limitless; and yet your favorite coffee mug and your furry friend Fido can stay within arms reach throughout your travels.

When you travel by RV, there are no deadlines or set reservations; you follow your own flexible time schedule. You don’t have to pack and unpack repeatedly when you reach a new destination. You can visit friends and relatives without feeling like you’re imposing. Your pets can sit by your side as you discover new scenic routes. You can put your finger on a map and choose a destination, and suddenly your RV becomes your summer lake house or your winter cottage retreat.

Traveling by RV can also be an economical way to explore new places. Make the vacation budget go further by purchasing fresh food at a local market to cook your own meals instead of dining out. Visit multiple locations in the course of one trip without paying for airfare. Spend several nights, or even weeks, in a new area of the country for a fraction of the cost when compared with hotel rates. Plus, there’s no one to tip along the way.

There are a number of RV enthusiasts at each of our Trilogy communities.  Some communities have organized RV Travel Clubs through which members can plan group trips, recommend routes, and share their experiences with fellow RVers.  If you’re a current Trilogy member, check your Club Directory on MyTrilogyLife.com to find out if there’s an RV Club at your community.

If you’re ready to hit the road in a Recreational Vehicle, consider putting on the brakes and spending a night or two at one of the highly praised RV parks highlighted below.  Happy Trails!

Durango RV Resort
Where:
Red Bluff, California
Cost: $41-55/night
Why it’s special: This high-end retreat on the Sacramento River is far more than a place to park your RV for the night. The pool, clubhouses, and outdoor fireplaces – not to mention the 45-acre dog park – offer plenty of opportunities to meet fellow RV travelers. Plus, a full array of massage services at the newly designed spa will relax your travel weary muscles after along day on the road.
To learn more: Visit www.durangorvresorts.com.

Boyd’s Key West Campground
Where:
Key West, Florida
Cost: $70-120/night
Why it’s special: Location, location, location. Enjoy oceanfront sites just minutes from the excitement of downtown Key West. At this southernmost campground in the continental U.S., you can lounge on the beach or meet fellow travelers by the pool, as the balmy temperatures vary by only 12 degrees throughout the year. If your RV isn’t your only recreational vehicle, bring your boat along, as Boyd’s has its own boat ramp and docks.
To learn more: Visit www.boydscampground.com.

Horse Thief Lake Campground
Where:
Hill City, South Dakota
Cost: $22-41/night
Why it’s special: Rustic charm abounds at this peaceful retreat located near a number of natural wonders. Spend the day at Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Mountain, or Mammoth before unwinding around a campfire when the sun sets. Watch the buffalo roam at nearby Custer State Park and experience the freedom of wild mustang running through the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. Whether you stay for a night or a week, you’ll enjoy the splendor of the unspoiled outdoors.
To learn more: Visit www.horsethief.com.

Rivers Edge RV Park
Where:
Fairbanks, Alaska
Cost: $32-38/night
Why it’s special: On the shores of the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska, sits Rivers Edge RV Park. This campground has all the amenities you’ll need to spend a week or more exploring the wonders of Alaska by day, and sleeping under the midnight sun by night. The peaceful setting of river and woods surround you – yet cable television, wireless Internet, and “squeaky-clean” bathrooms with free showers allow you to get away from it all, without getting too far away. A shuttle bus provides convenient access to nearby attractions, including the Riverboat Discovery cruise, Pioneer Park, the Trans Alaska Pipeline, and historic downtown Fairbanks. There’s even a restaurant on site, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to give you a break from kitchen duty.
To learn more: Visit www.riversedge.net/fairbanks-RV-park.htm.

McCall RV Resort
Where:
McCall, Idaho
Cost: $37-55/night
Why it’s special: Located on a charming wooded property along the banks of the Payette River, McCall RV Resort is an amenity-rich, impressively designed facility nestled in the beautiful wilderness of Idaho. The clubhouse has a banquet hall, a fully equipped kitchen, landscaped patios, a pool and spa, an outdoor grilling area, and plenty of space to gather with your fellow RV enthusiasts.
To learn more: Visit www.g7rvresorts.com/idaho/mccall-rv-resort.

And if you don’t own (or care to rent) an RV, but want to experience this classic symbol of the postwar American vacation, you won’t want to miss:

The Shady Dell RV Park
Where:
Bisbee, Arizona
Cost: $50-145/night
Why it’s special: “Experience the 1950’s in full Technicolor!” So says the website of this funky throwback to the original heyday of the Recreational Vehicle. The Shady Dell is home to nine lovingly restored, antique trailers, including a 1947 Tiki bus, a 1949 Airstream, a 1951 Royal Mansion, and a 1957 Airfloat, among others. Don’t expect luxury, but do expect to find fantastic retro details in every nook and cranny, from black and white televisions, to vintage martini glasses and shakers, to an original phonograph. You’ll feel like you’ve been taken back in time. There’s even a 38’ pleasure boat – parked on land – that’s been carefully restored and decorated with vintage boating memorabilia.
To learn more: Visit www.theshadydell.com.

Ten Travel Tips Before You Hit the Road
Read on for some helpful tips from RV enthusiasts that they wish they knew before they took their first RV trip.

  • If you’re new to navigating an RV, put in some extra practice time before you head out on your first trip. Backing up and parking will get easier with experience, so spend some time in a nearby empty parking lot practicing these maneuvers so that your first trip to a campground isn’t disastrous.
  • When planning your route or asking for directions along the way, let people know that you’re driving a large motor home and need to know the straightest, easiest route available. You’ll want to avoid making u-turns if at all possible!
  • If you’re renting your RV, you may find it worthwhile to pay a little extra to have sheets, towels, dishes, and pots and pans included. This will make packing for your adventure far less cumbersome.
  • Maintain safe speed and distance. Remember that when driving an RV, you need extra distance to stop, so it’s especially important to stay within the speed limit and allow plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. (It may take up to the length of a football field to come to a complete stop!) Since it also takes a while to get going, try to find long entry ramps when merging onto highways so that you have some extra space to accelerate.
  • If you’re heading to hilly areas, purchase a mountain guide (available at truck stops) to identify troublesome hills. If a hill becomes too steep, you may not be able to make it to the top, regardless of how hard you press the gas pedal. When tackling tough ascents, go down the hill in the same gear in which you went up.
  • Write down your vehicle’s exact exterior height (remember to add the A/C) and keep it inside your cockpit to avoid an incident going under an overpass.
  • Teach your co-pilot to drive the RV, and encourage him or her take the wheel from time to time. Sharing driving duties cuts down on driver fatigue. Plus, if the main driver should ever become sick or hurt, you won’t feel stranded. Your co-pilot should also know the ins and outs of map reading.
  • Don’t risk traveling in an overloaded vehicle. If you’re involved in an accident, expect a weigh-in to be performed. An overweight vehicle may void any insurance claims. If you don’t know what your RV weighs, there’s a good chance that it’s overloaded.
  • Leave the names and numbers of the places you’ll be staying during your travels with a friend or family member. It’s always good for someone to know where you are in the event of an emergency.
  • Create an emergency kit with first aid supplies, a pencil and paper, flashlight, and disposable camera for capturing the scene of an accident. Compile a list of important names (doctor, insurance agent, lawyer), and any medications you’re currently taking. Put it in an outside storage compartment, then hope there’s never a need to open it.
  • Inspect your tires often and replace them at the first signs of cracking or worn tread. Be sure to check your tire pressure before any long trips.

For more RV Travel Tips, visit www.koa.com/familyzone/camping101/rvcamping/tips.htm.