René M. Agredano
If your RV is over-sized, don’t give up on finding national parks with big rig camping. Plan carefully and there’s no need to deny yourself the experience of living among regional wild animals and timelessÂ scenery inÂ a national treasure. Here’s how.
How to Score Great Spots in National Parks with Big Rig Camping
With planning, big rig RVs can find good national park campsites.
Many U.S. national park campgrounds were designed decades ago, but theyâ€™re not always off limits if you have a larger RV. Do a little digging and youâ€™ll find plenty of ways to RV camp inside park boundaries.
Unfortunately national park camping is so popular now that reservations are mandatoryÂ during the high season. The days of spontaneous road trips and first-come, first-served camping in national and state parks is slowly fading away. The trick for a big rig RV owner toÂ scoreÂ camping inside the park is to get your reservation in early.
It pays to plan for at least a six month window fromÂ booking your spot until arrival. And if your RV is longer than 40-feet, be patient in your reservations search. Youâ€™ll need flexible dates and plenty of good luck on your side since extra long RV spots are limited in most national parks.
Now that your reality check is out of the way,Â consider pointing your rig to the west. There you’ll find the easy life inside these threeÂ great U.S. national parks with big rig camping.
Big Bend National Park’s Rio Grande RV Village
Walk to this Big Bend view near Rio Grande Village RV Park.
True to the motto that â€œeverything is bigger in Texas,â€� so are the Big Bend big rig RV accommodations. The 25 extra-long back-in full-hookup campsites at the concessionaire-run Rio Grande RV Village arenâ€™t much to look at with their parking-lot ambiance, but youâ€™ll be close to must-see Big Bend attractions, trails
You wonâ€™t find any wild tigers at these campgrounds, but you may find a few bears when you go camping at Lions Club campgrounds. These volunteer-operated getaways help support the international service club’s goals to create healthier, happier communities on every continent. Hereâ€™s why you should look for one of these campgrounds whenever you go RVing.
The Story Behind the Lions Club Campgrounds
Lions Club International is over a century old.
Maybe you noticed their little white eyeglass donation boxes propped in the corner of nearly every post-office in the United States and Canada. Perhaps youÂ placed your old frames inside so that the Lions Club International chapter in your neighborhood could send them out for refurbishing. If youÂ did that, your old eyeÂ glassesÂ got spruced up and shipped out. The recipient was a low income person whoÂ received the gift of sight, possibly for the first time ever. This eye glass recycling tradition dates back to 1925, when Hellen Keller inspired club members to advocate for vision-impaired people around the world.
But if you’re not familiar with the other projects the Lions Club takes on, you should be. Vision advocacy is just one small segment of their mission. Each day around the world, over 1.4 million club members volunteer their talents and time for community improvement campaigns. These projects include ending hunger, creating diabetes awareness programs, protecting and restoring the environment and helping children with cancer live happier lives. Despite declining numbers of service club participants around the world, the Lions continue doing important volunteer projects thatÂ improve our communities.
Visiting Lions Club Campgrounds is Money Well Spent
Gorgeous scenery from Lions Club Tumbler Ridge Campground, British Columbia
Tucked neatly within the LCIâ€™s important causes are the clubâ€™s dozens of campgrounds located in North America. Many are run entirely by volunteer labor and club members. Most are in Canada. The United
RVing on distillery trails is the perfect trip if your taste buds savor the flavors of an Old Fashioned or Whiskey Sour cocktail made with small batch craft spirits. It’s never been easierÂ to wrap an entire vacation around sampling the newest and best selections.
Boozinâ€™, Cruisinâ€™ and RVing on Distillery Trails in the USA
Distillery trails are in every U.S. state.
Small batch craft spirits are more popular than ever. In the U.S., about 1500 small distilleries are scattered from east to west, with more launching every year. Made with love by licensed mom and pop proprietors, these distilleries can call themselves “small batch” producers because they make under 750,000 proof gallons each year. They also arenâ€™t owned or controlled by a large supplier.
An industry report called The 2017 Craft Spirits Data Project notes that the popularity of small batch whiskey, vodka, gin and other spirits is quickly catching up with craft beer sales in America.
RVing on distillery trails like Kentuckyâ€™s Bourbon Trail is a neat experience, but you wonâ€™t find much variety when it comes to the types of spirits being produced. If youâ€™re out to cover a range of flavors, change your course of direction and go RVing in the top five states with the most craft distilleries. There’s nearly 550 distillery destinationsÂ between them (and counting!).
*source: American Craft Spirits Economic Briefing Data Project 10/17
Distilleries in these five states make up nearly 35% of the entire craft distillery market in America. They also happen to have plenty of great places to park your rig so you can imbibe responsibly and generously. TheÂ Distillery Trail features nationwide listings of craft distilleries, many of which are locatedÂ in close proximity to one another. You won’t find better places to go RVing on distillery trails than the following five states.
Best California Distilleries for RVers
Over a dozen small
The nomad life felt like a natural fit for Maya and Ryan. Back when they started, full-time RVing with relatives just wasnâ€™t on their radar. With a few years of travel under their wheels, things were rolling right along in a small Class C RV as they explored the U.S. and discovered ways to support their lifestyle. But when Mayaâ€™s motherâ€™s health declined in 2017, everything changed for these minimalist lifestyle advocates. Today, the trio is traveling together and giving Mayaâ€™s mom a lifestyle thatâ€™s the envy of many home-bound seniors.
The Unexpected Joy of Full-time RVing with Relatives
(L to R): Maya, Tahoe and Ryan
Two years ago, Maya and her mother lived on opposite ends of the country. Maya and Ryan roamed the west in their car-free RV lifestyle, and Joan enjoyed a quiet life in her remote cabin perched in New Yorkâ€™s Catskill Mountains. The property was Joanâ€™s retirement dream. â€œIt was quiet and filled only with the noises of the animals like bears, deer, doves, squirrels, chipmunks,â€� Joan explains. â€œIt was the home that I retired to and I loved it very much. But I was told that I couldnâ€™t live alone any more due to my health.â€�
Joanâ€™s diligent daughter Maya visited and helped with her motherâ€™s health challenges. But she needed a permanent solution. Joan would have to move closer to the family. Convincing her mother to switch lifestyles didnâ€™t happen overnight, says Maya. The simple living evangelist and creator of The Gradual Minimalist lifestyle movement was forced to initiate long, challenging conversations with her mother about the benefits of downsizing and living closer to West Coast relatives.
Off to California (and Beyond)
Joan, Maya’s mom, Safari Park, Oregon
At one point Maya asked her mother â€œIf you could travel anywhere on this continent, where would you want to go?â€� The