Spring Birdwatching for RVers
What to Pack, Where to Go, and How to Catch a Glimpse of Our Feathered Friends
With spring just around the corner, there has never been a year when people are more ready to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature. Warm weather brings with it a new opportunity to get out of the isolation of our homes and snag a front-row seat for the world coming alive again: trees budding, flowers blooming, and wildlife on full display.
Birdwatching has long been a favorite activity for the RVing crowd, and for good reason. In each part of the country, unique and beautiful species of birds are nesting and welcoming new members to the family. They’re making stops along their migration routes along the way and giving outdoor lovers a chance to get in on the action.
Ready to get out and see the birds in your own backyard? Here’s a quick breakdown of the basic equipment you’ll need to make the most of your next birdwatching trip, plus a look at the absolute best destinations for birdwatching-by-RV in each region of the country.
Your journey to see the most bird species in your chosen destination might take you far off the beaten path. But, the good news is your RV will provide more than enough storage for you to bring all of the birdwatching equipment basics you’ll need. Not that you need a whole lot to make an enjoyable day (or even week!) out of an avian adventure.
Before you go, make sure you’re stocked up with the following:
- A good pair of hiking boots
- Quality binoculars
- Regional birdwatching guidebooks
- A notepad and pen to take notes on your sightings
- A GPS-enabled smartphone or standalone unit to trace your steps and mark great viewing spots
Best Destinations for Spring Birdwatching
Okay, you’ve got the gear: Now let’s find those birds! Whether you want to stay close to home or make a full getaway out of your spring excursion, you’ll find an unforgettable destination on this region-by-region list of true birdwatching destinations.
East Coast: Acadia National Park
There’s no better place to see waterfowl and raptors than the Maine coast during springtime. Acadia National Park is the best place in the state to see puffins nesting, bald eagles hunting, and nearly 340 of the other bird species that have been seen in the park. Be sure to plan a boat trip to the offshore islands to see the huge puffin colonies in all their glory.
Best Nearby RV Campground: Narrows Too Camping Resort
Midwest: Magee Marsh
The boardwalk at Magee Marsh in Northwestern Ohio is a birdwatching favorite for good reason. The Black Swamp Bird Observatory hosts an annual event in May, dubbed “The Biggest Week in American Birdwatching.” Come with the crowds to see warblers and dozens of migratory bird species—or plan a quieter getaway anytime in spring!
Best Nearby RV Campground: Cedarlane RV Resort
South: Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
Early spring along the Texas Gulf Coast is the best season for birdwatching if you’re willing to brave the spring break crowds. Dozens of duck species call the area home year-round, and Anahuac National Wildlife Refugeis a favorite winter spot for snow geese—they’ll stick around until later in the spring.
Best Nearby RV Campground: Bayou Bend RV Resort
Southwest: Cave Creek Canyon
Just to the Southeast of Tucson in the beautiful Arizona desert, Cave Creek Canyon is an outdoor destination in its own right—but you can’t pick a prettier spot to watch for beautiful desert bird species. Come for the myriad hummingbird species, plus rare desert birds like the Elf Owl, and stay for the painted Arizona sunsets.
Best Nearby RV Campground: Grande Vista RV Park
Northwest: Olympic National Park
Yet another coastal birdwatching destination, the mountain views and rugged shoreline that defines Washington’s Olympic Peninsula are the perfect backdrop for watching rare bird species like the pygmy owl. April is the best month to visit Olympic National Park for birdwatching as the area puts on the famous Olympic Peninsula BirdFest every year.
Best Nearby RV Campground: Elwha Dam RV Park
West Coast: Point Reyes National Seashore
The famed Pacific Highway in central California offers RVers one of the best scenic drives anywhere in the country. Sitting along the route is Point Reyes National Seashore, which is home to nearly 500 species of birds. Though you’ll be sure to see bird species like the adorable snowy plover in abundance, if you come in early spring, you just might spot whales along their migration paths off the coast.
Best Nearby RV Campground: Bakersfield RV Resort
Above all else, keep in mind that the migration patterns of birds take them far and wide over the course of a single year. You might not be able to hit every destination on this list in one spring, but you can always add visits in other seasons when the species on display could be completely different.
That’s a big part of what keeps birdwatching enthusiasts coming back to the hobby again and again; it’s one of the best ways to see a familiar place in a whole new flight—er, light.