Winter wander lands
For RVers, the colder months provide opportunities to make the most of having a hotel on wheels. Make tracks in the snow in spots blanketed in white, follow fellow snowbirds to warmer shores or simply enjoy the peace and quiet in places that are usually packed all summer long. Here are the best places to visit in your camper van or motorhome during the winter. Be sure to check state travel advisories before you set out and please note that many sites require advance booking.
Hadley’s Point Campground, Bar Harbor, Maine
Maine is better known for sweeping ocean vistas and bursts of golden color in autumn, yet it’s lovely in winter when snow dusts the shores, forests and mountaintops. Hadley’s Point Campground fully embraces the snowy wonder, with full hook-up sites, hot showers and fire pits for roasting s’mores. Hadley’s Point Beach is often blanketed in snow while nearby Acadia National Park’s oceanside trails are wonderfully quiet in winter.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Prefer snow-white sand to snow-white snow? Alabama’s Gulf Coast stays pretty mild and sunny all year-round, making it a favorite spot for those escaping frigid winters and is now reopening after suffering damage during Hurricane Sally. There are those beaches, of course, and the area also has wetlands with trails, kayaking and birdwatching. After a day of activities, wind down in one of the fun, quirky bars or seafood restaurants which serve the region’s prized Royal Red shrimp.
Boyne Falls, Michigan
Boyne Falls is home to popular and picturesque ski resort Boyne Mountain and nearby East Jordan Tourist Park Campground is open to RVs year-round. Another plus is huge indoor water park Avalanche Bay which is a perfect place to thaw out a little after all that snow – and makes this a particularly great RV destination for families with kids.
Barview Jetty County Campground, Rockaway Beach, Oregon
Oregon’s gorgeous coastline is often criminally (yet blissfully) crowd-free in summer. But in winter? You could run, dance and cartwheel on the crisp, burnished gold sand and inhale the cool, salty air without encountering another soul. The Barview Jetty County Campground has over 300 sites, including full RV hook-ups, and direct beach access, while the hiking (or snow-shoeing) trails of Tillamook State Forest are waiting, barely touched, to be explored.
Liberty Harbor RV Park, Jersey City, New Jersey
This park by Liberty Harbor Marina is a 15-minute ferry ride, across the state line in the Hudson River, to New York City and open all year. It’s easy to hop to the Big Apple, twirl on ice skates around the Rockefeller Center’s famous rink (under its enormous tree) and wander through snow-dusted Central Park. The 50 sites have electricity and water, and there are hot showers for those without an RV bathroom.
Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio
Waypoint Ventura, Ventura, California
This surf-side spot has cool refurbished trailers decked out like boutique hotels and you can park your own RV so long as it’s a vintage-style van befitting the retro vibe and under 31-feet (9.4m) long. The site has full hook-ups and nice showers, plus a coffee station every morning. Southern Californian weather is pretty mild year-round and you can embrace chilly nights by huddling by the fire pits with complimentary s’mores.
Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming
There’s not really a bad time to visit Yellowstone National Park, whose otherworldly beauty transcends seasons. Go in winter, however, and it will really stop you in your (snowy) tracks. Geysers erupt and hiss amid the snowy landscape, while the ochre-rimmed turquoise of Grand Prismatic Spring is even more vivid surrounded by white. Take a ranger-led snowshoeing tour to see bison, elk and wolf pups. Mammoth Campground is open to RVs in winter.
Gulf Beach RV Resort, Biloxi, Mississippi
Like Alabama, Mississippi is a somewhat surprising beach destination, with sand almost as white as snow. This Biloxi RV resort makes the most of its location and mild winters by opening year-round. The full hook-up sites face the Gulf of Mexico and are just across the road from the beach. Watch sunrise or sunset from the party deck or heated pool, or cruise down the coast to Biloxi Pier.
White Mountains, New Hampshire
Ski bunnies will be hopping with delight in this lesser-known snow spot, where runs of every color (but always white) are a dream for both beginners and experts. There are trails for snowshoeing and snowmobile rides too. Apple Hill Campground is open all seasons and encourages winter RVers with full hook-up sites, fire pits and access to a network of cross-country skiing trails.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
What could possibly be more bizarrely beautiful than the teetering, towering hoodoo rock formations that rise like totems throughout Bryce Canyon National Park? Those same hoodoos speckled with bright white snow, that’s what. Misty mornings and pink skies make winter landscapes stunning. Several national park campsites with RV sites stay open and there are ranger-led snowshoe hikes too.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The king of canyons is best viewed in peace – something that’s pretty hard to achieve in peak season. Brave the chill and take your RV there when the mercury drops, the crowds drift away and the undulating rock formations look even more incredible. You can also view elk and deer which are more active on cooler days. Only the South Rim stays open in winter, with several RV sites available.
South Padre Island, Texas
The weather on South Padre Island, a barrier island in Texas, stays sunny and warm even in winter, and your neighbors are more likely to be chilled-out snowbirds escaping the cold than rowdy spring break crowds looking for thrills. Nab a spot at one of several RV parks then revel in the fact you can still feel warm breezes, comb beaches for shells and watch spectacular sunsets (without catching a chill) in January.
Canyon Trail RV Park, Boulder City, Nevada
Locations don’t come much better – or more eclectic – than this RV site’s. Canyon Trail RV Park is a full-service park in quaint, quirky and refreshingly verdant Boulder City, right by the Hoover Dam and a half-hour drive from Vegas. Spend days motoring around otherworldly desert landscapes or immerse yourself in the bright lights of Sin City. They go all-out with the Christmas decorations too.
Carolina Beach, North Carolina
Venus flytraps grow wild in bogs around Carolina Beach State Park, close to hip coastal college town Wilmington. You can peek at them from hiking trails that follow boardwalks and cut through forested paths to pale biscuity beaches. Campsites (a handful with full hook-ups) are open year-round and, while it can get a little chilly at night, it’s typically warm enough to explore by day and huddle by the campfire in the evening.
Starved Rock State Park, Illinois
Just a two-hour drive from Chicago, Starved Rock State Park is a popular warm-weather hiking destination thanks to its sandstone canyons and waterfall trails. In winter, those waterfalls freeze and the canyons are often sprinkled with snow. Ice-climbers come to pick their way up the spectacular frozen flows, though they’re pretty spectacular just viewed from the ground. It’s much easier to get a coveted spot in the solitary campground in winter too.
Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina, Ohio Key, Florida
Treat your RV to some R&R on a tropical island. Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina, on 75-acre Ohio Key, is just off the Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys. It’s also a short drive from Bahia Honda State Park and the quirky charms of Key West, though we’d understand if you just wanted to park up and stay put. With nearly 400 sites with full hook-ups and a location steps from the water, this is the place to pretend winter just isn’t a thing. Find our ultimate guide to the Florida Keys here.
Crooked River State Park, Georgia
Cold weather doesn’t stop play at Crooked River State Park, a mossy, salt-sprayed slice of nature on the inter-coastal waterways that wiggle towards Georgia’s southern coast. Mainly because this area doesn’t really experience any – we’re talking jacket or light sweater weather rather than woolly jumper weather. The campground has 63 sites with electric hook-ups and water, plus access to a nature trail weaving past live oaks and salt marshes to the beach.
White Sands, New Mexico
The curving, dipping dunes of White Sands look snowier than your average ski resort, and you can even sled down them. But, with daytime winter temperatures averaging 16ºC (60ºF), it doesn’t feel that way until the sun dips down and it’s chilly enough for a campfire. There’s no RV camping in the park but there are several spots nearby, from basic dry camping at Holloman Lake, just east of the dunes, to Alamogordo, where sites have full hook-ups and fenced-in patios.
Prefer to give winter the cold shoulder? Make tracks for Yuma, Arizona. The Sonoran Desert city can be unbearably hot in summer but its balmy winters are pretty perfect. There are plenty of year-round RV sites, though Blue Sky Ranch – with a swimming pool, hot tub, sports courts and fun social events – is one of the best. Park under blazingly blue skies among palm trees and cacti, and soak up the rays. The park’s new owners have two other sites in Arizona too, plus one in North Dakota.
Estes Park, Colorado
Soar into winter and park up in charming Estes Park, in northern Colorado, where Manor RV Park is one of few places in the state to remain open for winter RV camping. All the sites are dry during the colder months (there’s power and Wi-Fi, but no water) but it’s worth the sacrifice for the joy of exploring this winter wonderland, whether on walking boots, snowshoes or skis.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Orlando, Florida
The full hook-up sites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are pricier than most RV parks but it’s far cheaper than staying in a hotel here, has easy access to the parks and you get the great outdoors right on your van-step. Aside from Christmas, winter often means fewer crowds and better deals, plus the weather is still warm, sunny and bearable even when dashing around between the rides at Magic Kingdom.
Napa Valley, California
You’ll probably need a jacket for winter days in Napa and nights can get a little chilly, but this is one of the best – and most budget-friendly – times to visit California’s famous wine region, especially if you’re in an RV. Napa Valley Expo RV Park, open all year with full hook-ups, is an easy drive from vineyards, or you can walk to Downtown Napa’s tasting rooms, jazz clubs and cozy restaurants. Many places offer special winter discounts and menus too.
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs National Park, home to elegant early 20th-century buildings on Bathhouse Row and natural thermal waters, is the main draw of this city. There are hot springs you can soak in, including Buckstaff Baths, which has been filling tubs with water drawn from the natural thermal waters since 1912. Sleep right in the park at Gulpha Gorge Campground, which operates year-round with 40 full hook-up sites and access to mountain, forest and river trails.
Mounthaven Resort, Ashford, Washington
Mounthaven Resort is a well-maintained, wooded spot with full hook-up sites for RVs tucked among tall cedar trees. It’s half a mile from the Nisqually Entrance to Mount Rainier, one of two routes into the park to remain open in winter. Thick snowfall and frigid temperatures mean this isn’t a place to escape winter, but instead embrace it – you’ll get to enjoy snowshoeing trails and ski slopes with minimal crowds.
Lazy L&L Campground, New Braunfels, Texas
In the heart of Texas Hill County and close to New Braunfels, San Antonio and Austin, Lazy L&L Campground is perfect for those who embrace outdoor adventure without wanting to sacrificing home comforts. Full hook-up sites are tucked along the banks of the Guadalupe River, which is popular for fishing, and there are usually potluck suppers and social events even in winter months (not that it ever gets that cold).
Zion River Resort, Virgin, Utah
Swerve the crowds and the dry summer heat by exploring Zion National Park in winter. You’ll have to wrap up warm, though you’ll probably get goose bumps anyway when you view the park’s big buttes peeking in vibrant red and apricot from beneath a sprinkling of snow. Zion River Resort is right next to the park and, with full hook-up sites and fire rings, makes a cozy spot to spend colder nights.
Phoenix RV Park, Salem, Oregon
Chilly days, nearby wineries and hot springs? Sounds like a winter winner to us. Phoenix RV Park is tucked within the Willamette Valley, famed for its earthy Pinot Noir wines and mountain views. Wineries embrace the chill with winemaker dinners and blazing fireplaces. The park is also close to cockle-warming hot springs like the pools tucked within Willamette National Forest – they’re usually open year-round, though roads can be icy – but are temporarily closed so check before you travel.
Discover the most beautiful weekend road trip in every state
Joshua Tree, California
Temperatures can reach 19°C (66°F) here in winter, which is much more pleasant than the often sweltering, throat-tightening summer heat. And the longer nights are a blessing in an area famed for its star-scattered dark skies. Snag a space at one of the designated areas like Jumbo Rocks Campground and prepare to gaze upwards for hours. It can be chilly at night, though that just means you can huddle around a campfire.
We reveal the destinations around the world where summer never ends
Source: Read Full Article