12 Awesome RV Rallies to Add to Your Bucket List
Relax, Make New Friends, and Immerse Yourself in the RV Lifestyle at Any of These Great Events
For nearly as long as recreational vehicles have been sold, RV owners have been looking for an excuse to get together with one another. These organized gatherings go at least as far back as 1919, when the Tin Can Tourists—America’s first camping club—held its inaugural rally in Florida. It wasn’t long before other clubs and rallies sprung up across the country, attracting travelers from far and wide.
That tradition continues today, with dozens of rallies held on an annual basis in nearly every corner of the US. But what exactly is an RV rally, and why should you attend? Read on to find out.
What is an RV Rally?
The first RV rallies were events that gave owners of “auto campers” an opportunity to connect. But as recreational vehicles evolved—both in size and complexity—so too did these gatherings. While modern RV rallies remain fun social events, they are also an opportunity to attend seminars, gain hands-on experience with troubleshooting and maintenance issues, and interact with manufacturers.
Some of the rallies that take place today are organized and hosted by RV manufacturers or companies that make components and accessories for use in motorhomes. But there are still plenty of events focused on the RV lifestyle and connecting people. All of the rallies are a good excuse to go camping and immerse yourself in the RV lifestyle with other enthusiasts.
Why Attend an RV Rally?
The obvious reason to attend an RV rally is to meet fellow RVers and make new friends. But beyond that, these gatherings are the perfect place to learn more about RVing in general and pick up some valuable new skills at the same time. Classes and seminars can provide knowledge and wisdom that can save you time, money, and frustration. You can also learn about new technologies that may make life on the road better and get some help on that DIY project you’ve been planning.
Awesome RV Rallies You Should Attend
If participating in an RV rally sounds like something you want to do, here are some of the best events to put on your schedule.
Quartzite Sports, Vacation, and RV Show (Quartzite, AZ)
Billed as the “largest gathering of RVers in the world,” Quartzite is equal parts RV trade show and educational training grounds, combined with a giant party set in the desert. Conservative estimates indicate that more than 750,000 people descend on the sleepy little town of Quartzite, AZ, each year to attend the rally along with several satellite events. Here, you’ll have the chance to tour hundreds of new camper models, meet vendors from across the industry, and connect with thousands of other RVers. It can be an overwhelming experience for newcomers, but the rally has become one of the RV space’s most influential gatherings.
Escapees RV Club Annual Escapade (Lebanon, TN)
The Escapees RV Club’s annual Escapade is one of the largest and longest-running rallies in the US. The five-day event offers something for RVers of all ages and experience levels, including social events, street festivals, and RV boot camps that provide information on everything from selecting the perfect RV to safety and maintenance basics. There is even a “kidscapade” to help keep young attendees entertained.
Xscapers Annual Bash (Lake Havasu, AZ)
The Xscapers are an offshoot of the Escapees RV Club, and they throw a rally of their own each year. Aimed at a younger audience, the Bash features entertainment and events for a diverse crowd of RVers. In addition to learning about the care and maintenance of your rig, educational topics include how to improve internet service, working full-time from the road, utilizing solar power, and boondocking more effectively. Of course, there are plenty of parties and social events on the calendar, too, giving community members the chance to relax and unwind.
Fulltime Families Family Reunion Rally (Madison, FL)
This rally is aimed directly at families that live, work, and go to school in their RV full-time. Most of the content and activities are geared toward those looking to get the most out of that lifestyle. The event offers hands-on learning activities, a kid’s marketplace, campfire stories, coffee-talk discussions, and family-friendly games and parties. The schedule even includes time set aside just for the adults so mom and dad can converse with fellow full-timers at their leisure.
FMCA International Area Rally (Location Changes)
The Family Motor Coach Association has been holding conventions and rallies for decades, and their events continue to be top-notch. The organization’s International Area Rally blends education, entertainment, and socialization to provide a full-service experience for attendees. In addition to offering seminars, the FMCA’s annual gathering features exhibits, member events, vendor displays, and plenty of new RVs to tour. Despite its name, the FMCA welcomes owners of every type of RV, including travel trailers, camper vans, and truck bed models.
Open Roads Van Life Festival (McCall, ID)
Camper vans have surged in popularity in recent years, so it should come as no surprise that there are rallies that cater to owners of those RVs. One of the best is the Open Roads Van Life Festival, which caters to complete newbies and veterans alike. The fest offers workshops on how to outfit your van, plan a backcountry road trip, and live full-time in a tiny space. There are also plenty of outdoor activities to take part in—like mountain biking and kayaking—and social gatherings to attend.
Direction Wide Open RV and Motorcycle Rally (Bandera, TX)
Created by a pair of RV and motorcycle enthusiasts, the Direction Wide Open rally combines both passions into a single event. As with other RV rallies, this one offers seminars, open discussions, and demos to help make life on the road better. But there are also guided motorcycle rides, trivia contests, a vendor market, live entertainment, and local bands. The event is open to RVers and motorcyclists, of course, but anyone who wants to attend is more than welcome.
Winnebago Grand National Rally (Forest City, IA)
For more than five decades, Winnebago has held an annual rally that celebrates its RVs—both old and new—and the people who love them. The event is a mix of entertainment, social activities, and educational seminars. Attendees can chat with company employees, check out new Winnebago motorhomes, connect with vendors, and tour the factory.
Alumapalooza (Jackson Center, OH)
While Alumapalooza is an annual rally aimed at Airstream owners—both classic and modern—it is open to other attendees as well. The event centers around three large tents, one of which hosts seminars, another is home to the vendors in attendance, and the third is a shared meeting space for morning yoga, RV club meetings, or just gathering with friends. And since the rally takes place in Airstream’s backyard, factory tours are on the agenda too.
üCamp Teardrop Rally (Sugarcreek, OH)
The üCamp Teardrop Rally is a festival designed specifically with owners of the tiny towables in mind. The event is put on by teardrop manufacturer nüCamp, although it is open to anyone who wishes to attend. Activities include sessions for solo travelers and full-timers, a swap meet, and skills workshops led by fellow campers. Tours of the nüCamp factory, live music, and a variety of contests and tournaments are also on the schedule.
Overland Expo: Mountain West (Loveland, CO)
RVers looking to travel off-road while boondocking at remote campsites will find a lot to love—and learn—at Overland Expo. The festival offers 175+ seminars and workshops, many of which focus on the skills needed to be self-reliant while traveling off the beaten path. The event is also home to a trade show with more than 250 exhibitors operating in the motorized travel space. Of course, camping is a big part of OE, with thousands of people from around the world attending each year.
Tin Can Tourists Annual Gathering (Milford, MI)
Originally “tin can tourists” was a name given to a new type of traveler who roamed across the country in auto campers—an early precursor to today’s RVs. Back then, campers often cooked their meals in tin cans over gasoline stoves while roaming America’s highways. The term was later co-opted by the world’s first camping club, which has been around for more than a century.
The organization continues to host an annual rally that is open to all but is especially popular with vintage travel trailer and motorhome owners. The event focuses more on relaxation and socialization, although there is still plenty to learn from fellow campers. It is also a fun curiosity for RVers looking to catch a glimpse of vehicles from the past.
This is just a small sampling of some of the best RV rallies that take place each year. There are dozens of local and regional events held across the country by RV clubs, dealerships, and campgrounds. Add one to your bucket list, and you’ll likely discover why these gatherings are so popular.