Ten top RV Spots Sure to Delight Everyone in the Family
For many of us, spring represents getting our RVs out of storage, shaking off the sleet and snow, and saying goodbye to thermal underwear and heavy winter coats. Spring break may be the only week we can get away as a family and enjoy the outdoors before the summer. It’s just you, your family, your RV and the open road — so we’ve compiled a list of spring-break family friendly destinations that are sure to entertain all those on board!
ARIZONA: GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
A powerful and inspiring landscape, the Grand Canyon overwhelms with its immense size. While most of the 5 million people a year who see the Grand Canyon do so from overlooks along the South Rim, true adventurers can bear witness to the Inner Canyon by hiking foot trails leading to the bottom or taking a boat through the canyon on the Colorado River. The South Rim’s visitor services (camping, lodging, restaurants) are open year-round (North Rim’s facilities open from mid-May to mid-October).
The Grand Canyon Association (www.grandcanyon.org) offers the Grand Canyon Field Institute’s fun and informative classes and guided tours, backpacking and river trips. On exploring the canyon especially as a family, Miriam Robbins, director of communications and publishing, Grand Canyon Association shared: “Grand Canyon National Park is an amazing place for families to visit and enjoy. While many people plan several-day backpacking or hiking trips, there is so much to enjoy on the rim from hiking and biking along the rim, to listening in on ranger programs. Grand Canyon Field Institute offers half-day walking rim tours guided by a Grand Canyon expert. Families can go at their own pace and learn about wildlife, ecology and geology at Grand Canyon.”
Also fun for children is the Grand Canyon Field Institute’s Junior Ranger program.
Open RV parks in March and April accessible to the Grand Canyon:
Grand Canyon Railway RV Park, Williams, Arizona | 800-843-8724 | www.thetrain.com/lodging/rv-park
Grand Canyon / Williams KOA, Williams, Arizona | 800-562-5771 | www.grandcanyon koa.com
Grand Canyon Lodges Trailer Village, Grand Canyon | Arizona, 928-638-2631
Speaker and author Gretchen Breuner, who took a three-month RV trip through 19 states with her three young children, lists Southern California as a top family RV trip pick. Breuner, who wrote a book on her experiences (The RoadScholarz: Lessons from the Scenic Route, www.theroadscholarz.com) shared, “I would definitely recommend San Diego. The climate is perfect in spring. There are the beaches, LegoLand, San Diego Zoo, Sea World and plenty of great places to eat, along with wonderful museums.”
Another regional event that’s ideally timed with spring break travel months is the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park’s annual spring desert wildflower season. Located two hours from San Diego, the dry, rugged landscape of California’s largest state park (encompassing more than 600,000 acres) displays a kaleidoscope of wildflowers, from tiny bursts of color no larger than the head of a pin, to towering ocotillos with fiery spines of scarlet blossoms between March and April. Also in March, a daffodil display comes alive in the quaint Gold Rush mountain town of Julian, known for its apple pies and woodsy hiking trails (60 miles from San Diego).
Regional RV accommodations include:
The Springs at Borrego RV Resort & Golf Course, Borrego Springs, California | 866-330-0003
Pinezanita RV Park & Campgrounds, Julian, California | 760-765-0429 | www.pinezanita.com
Mission Bay RV Resort, San Diego, California | 877-219-6900 | www.missionbay rvresort.com
For reasons that, of course, include one very famous mouse, Orlando, Florida, makes for a prime vacation family RV spring-break destination. Well-known theme parks include Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando. When planning a trip to Disney, especially, it’s important during extremely busy seasons like spring break to reserve everything from camping sites to your day-to-day itinerary in the park months ahead of time. Disney World visits also don’t have to be all about young kids — you’ll find plenty of guest offerings catering to “mature” visitors as well — like the springtime Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (March 5 to May 18, 2014), the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, amazing dining options and spa treatment at the Disney Saratoga Springs Resort. Additional Orlando fun-finds include 150-plus golf courses and hundreds of lakes for fishing and boating.
Both a snowbird and spring-break destination, RV camping options abound in the greater Orlando area. Below we highlight three with easy access to area highlights:
Disney World Campsites at Fort Wilderness Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida | 407-939-5277
Tropical Palms Resort, Kissimmee, Florida | 800-899-5137
Orlando Southwest/Fort Summit KOA, Davenport, Florida | 888-562-4712
Atlanta makes for an easy and fun family spring-break destination for RVers, owing to its accessibility to history, world-renowned tourist sites and scenic natural attractions. To appease a range of ages and interests, a family friendly trip to the city of Atlanta could include a visit to the Georgia Aquarium (the world’s largest), the World of Coca-Cola and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. And, to explore nature outside of the city, head to Georgia’s most-visited attraction, Stone Mountain Park, which is home to the world’s largest piece of exposed granite rock and longest-running laser show. This park also offers 3,200 acres of natural beauty, where you’ll find family oriented recreational activities, special events, lodging and camping. Travel one hour north of Atlanta to Dawsonville, Georgia, to also explore Amicalola Falls State Park, named for the Cherokee Indian word meaning “tumbling waters.” Visitors to Amicalola will find just that when hiking to see the 729-foot waterfall tucked away in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain, Georgia | 800-385-9807 | www.stonemountainpark.com
Jones RV Park, Norcross, Georgia | 770-923-0911 | www.jonesrvpark.com
Atlanta-Marietta RV Resort, Marietta, Georgia | 770-427-6853 | www.amrvresort.com
If the right recipe for a family vacation includes a touch of learning with a lot of fun, then Boston in the springtime should be on the bucket list for RVers heading toward New England. “Spring break is a terrific time for families to visit Boston, when they can combine school searches with plenty of opportunities to enjoy all the city has to offer,” said Patrick Moscaritolo, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Young children will delight with hands-on activities at the Boston Children’s Museum while the Museum of Science or a Blue Man Group performance will put smiles on the faces of tweens and teens. The entire family can learn a little history while walking The Freedom Trail or exploring the city on a bike or trolley tour. And, of course, there’s always a day at Fenway Park to make lasting memories. Boston is America’s original theme park, ready to entertain and amuse any time of year, and springtime in Boston always holds something extra special for all who visit.”
Other fun activities in Boston in the springtime include the city’s historic St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) festivities and Restaurant Week (March 16-21 and 23-28). In April, the Swan Boats (a welcome sign of spring, and the only ones in the world of their kind) go back in the Boston Public Garden and the Red Sox start their season. Patriot’s Day Weekend (April 21) commemorates the annual Boston Marathon.
While many RV parks provide access to Boston between May and October, the following RV facilities are open during the spring break months of March and April:
Circle CG Farm Campground, Bellingham, Massachusetts | 508-966-1136 | www.circlecgfarm.com
Friendly Beaver Campground, New Boston, New Hampshire | 603-487-5570 | www.friendlybeaver.com
Boston / Cape Cod KOA, Middleboro, Massachusetts | 800-562-3046
https://koa.com/campgrounds/boston (spring camping season begins March 15)
OHIO: HOCKING HILLS STATE PARK
For a feel of Appalachia without leaving Ohio, visit the park described as being “very unexpected for the Midwest.” Thundering waterfalls and blooming wildflowers account for the scenic appeal in spring.
“The Hocking Hills are the ideal place for families to enjoy an unforgettable spring break together,” said Karen Raymore, executive director of the Hocking Hills Tourism Association. “Dozens of hiking trails take your family past spectacular waterfalls and natural wonders. Plus, there are loads of other free and very affordable one-of-a-kind activities to keep the family active and entertained.”
Rent an all-terrain vehicle — or ATV — to experience Hocking Hills Nature Trails. If off-roading doesn’t suit you, try canopy zipline adventures from Hocking Hills Canopy Tours. Visit www.explorehockinghills.com to discover all ranges of family fun from hiking, horseback riding to rock climbing, canoeing and kayaking.
RV parks include:
Hocking Hills State Park Campground, Logan, Ohio | 866-644-6727, 740-385-6165
Hocking River RV Park, Logan, Ohio | 740-331-4840
Walnut Creek Campground & Resort, Chillicothe, Ohio | 740-774-1203
OKLAHOMA: BEAVERS BEND STATE PARK
Beavers Bend State Park in southeast Oklahoma is one attractive family spring-break destination with more than 16 miles of hiking and biking trails, trout fishing, river float trips, horseback riding, golfing, train rides and numerous other family activities. Free local activities, onsite and nearby, include live radio shows in the town of Broken Bow, goat-feeding at Honey Bear Ranch, chainsaw sculpting at Hochatown Junction Station and yakanoes (combination kayak and canoe) cruising at Broken Bow Lake. The park offers traditional outdoor fun at its year-round nature center as well as several festivals throughout the year.
Beaver’s Bend Resort Park, Broken Bow, Oklahoma | 580-494-6300 | www.beaversbend.com
Hotchatown RV Park, Hotchatown, Oklahoma | 580-494-6765 | www.hochatownrvpark.com
Broken Bow Inn & RV Park, Broken Bow, Oklahoma | 866-863-3735, 580-584-9103
On why the previously mentioned RV enthusiast and author Gretchen Breuner considers Moab a top choice for spring break as a family, she stated that the parks in the area offer “hours of beautiful tours and history; the geography is so unique.”
And, on taking advantage of all of the area’s opportunities and activities specifically in the spring, Karla VanderZanden, the director of the Canyonlands Field Institute (www.cfimoab
.org) shared: “Moab is just minutes from Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park is just over a half-hour drive. If you’re visiting Moab this spring, the desert flowers will be blooming so it’s the perfect time to tour the parks. Canyonlands Field Institute is based in Moab and we have low-cost half-day and full-day tours of both parks. Our naturalists are gifted interpreters. They will make it fun and exciting to learn about the flowers, the extravagant geological formations and ancient Native American rock art.”
Moab is also well known for miles and miles of the “greatest mountain biking on the planet.” There is a huge variety of trails for mountain bikers of any level, including the famous Slickrock Bike Trail that is formed by Navajo sandstone.
Area RV resorts include:
Moab Valley RV Resort, Moab, Utah | 435-259-4469 | www.moabvalleyrv.com (opens March 1)
Spanish Trail RV Resort, Moab, Utah | 800-787-2751 | www.spanishtrailrvpark.com
Riverside Oasis Campground & RV Park, Moab, Utah | 877-285-7757 | www.river sideoasis.com (opens March 15)
WASHINGTON: MOUNT RAINIER
For the Pacific Northwest, RV travelers yearning for some exploration this spring, one attraction that will not disappoint is majestic Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. A glacier-clad volcano of immense proportions, at 14,411 feet, it dominates the skyline for hundreds of miles. The surrounding area boasts spectacular glaciers and miles of permanent snowfields. Conveniently located 54 miles southeast of Seattle, the park appeals to visitors seeking a family’s weekend getaway or spring break week. Nature lovers can stroll through the old-growth forest and visit the tumbling waterfalls. If you’re an experienced climber, take advantage of any number of guided trips for those keen on tackling the grand peak.
According to Mary Kay Nelson, executive director of Visit Rainier, “Mt. Rainier offers a joyful awakening of life as winter transitions into spring. At higher elevations snow may linger, providing fun recreational opportunities; however, a journey to the lowlands promises rushing waterfalls, emerging wildflowers and wildlife rearing their young in the wilderness. Families can find myriad activities and exploration opportunities, as well as the sense of renewal that comes each spring.”
RV parks within easy access of Mount Rainier:
Alder Lake Park, Eatonville, Washington | 888-226-7688
Mounthaven, Ashford, Washington | 360-569-2594 | www.mounthaven.com
Packwood RV Park & Campground, Packwood, Washington | 360-494-5145 | www.packwoodrv.com
From the National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20 to April 13, 2014), to historical landmarks, to scenic nature, there are numerous reasons to enjoy a family trip this spring in Washington, D.C. One being that perhaps only in America can you visit the nation’s capital in the afternoon, drive 12 miles, and lay your head down by nightfall in the solitude and tranquility of a national park campground. Called an “Urban Oasis” by the National Park Service, the Greenbelt Park in Greenbelt, Maryland, is open year-round and has miles and miles of hiking trails. To enjoy the city’s landmarks and be active, consider a guided bike tour offered by tourist companies like Bike and Roll, Bike the Big Capital and Capital City Bike Tours. Tours are suitable for most fitness levels — including for young children — since the National Mall is relatively flat. Take a moment to also enjoy history from the water with Capitol River Cruises on the Georgetown Waterfront, an hour-long sightseeing tour from the Potomac River. And, with 19 world-class museums, a zoo and nine research centers, the Smithsonian is a must-have item on your family trip checklist for kids and grown-ups alike.
Greenbelt Park, Greenbelt, Maryland, | 301-344-3948 | www.nps.gov/gree
(no electric or water hookups available. Campsites open to RVs, hot showers, bathroom facilities and dump station available to registered campers)
Cherry Hill Park, College Park, Maryland | 800-801-6449 | www.cherryhillpark.com
Aquia Pines, Stafford, Virginia | 540-659-3447 | www.aquiapines.com