Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

Let's Go RV/Camping!

Thinking About Trying An RV/Camping Vacation?
So, you are thinking about joining the millions of North Americans who enjoy camping and RVing each year, but you don't know what to expect? A whole new world can open up to you if you decide to try it. And there's no better way to try it, than to rent an RV or stay at a park that has on-site rentals.

For many of us, RV travel allows us to venture to all points across the country. No matter where you decide to travel in your rented RV you'll find campgrounds and RV parks located throughout North America that provide just the amenities and recreation you and your family want - from small campgrounds to luxury RV resorts, you'll find thousands of RV/camping facilities. And, as you will soon discover for yourself, the problem with the RV lifestyle is not having to search long and hard for a place you want to visit, but having too many places you want to visit. Just think of all the places you have wanted to travel to and said to yourself "Someday . . . " Once you're part of the RV lifestyle, that someday can be now!

Where Are The Parks?
Families will find campgrounds and RV parks nestled in or near our national parks, recreation areas, beaches, mountains, major tourist attractions and large cities. Wherever you live, there is an RV park/campground within easy driving distance. Outdoor sports and shopping, touring and nightlife - all are within reach on an RV/camping vacation.

What Do The Parks Offer?
Like families throughout North America, campgrounds and RV parks come in many sizes and personalities. For RV travelers, backpackers or tent campers, there's a park to fit every budget and wish list of activities. Some offer a wide range of amenities, while others provide the basic water and bathhouse facilities for a more rustic experience. When choosing a park, remember there's something for everyone. Today's privately-owned parks specialize in providing an environment where you can enjoy outdoor recreation without completely abandoning civilization. Facilities generally include playgrounds, game rooms, swimming pools or lakes, laundry facilities and convenience stores - all at prices that hotels and motels cannot compete with. For the RV camper, water, electric and sewer hookups, and level sites are often the norm. Some locations feature camping and/or housekeeping cabins. Some have RVs or trailers available for rent. If you don't want to miss your favorite TV show, many parks have overnight cable or satellite hookups. Phone hookups, common kitchen facilities, planned group activities and much more are available at many parks.

Extras like fishing ponds, children's petting zoos, horseback riding and nature trails can make campgrounds and RV parks destinations in themselves. Some RV parks cater especially to adults and feature indoor/outdoor pools, spas and shuffleboard. Some are really "kid oriented" with special activities for children of all ages.

Tempted, but not quite sure you want to actually try RVing or camping? Many RV parks and campgrounds offer cabins (camping-type or housekeeping), motel units, lodge rooms or bed & breakfasts right on site at the park. These additional rental units are offered as an alternative to the RV or tent rental campsites, for a most accommodating introduction.

People You Might Meet
Campers/RVers are a courteous, friendly lot. If you don't want to socialize, you don't have to, but if you and your children want to form new friendships, you can. It's just that kind of mixture that makes RV camping so enjoyable. People-watching is a fun way to learn how to camp. There is no finer group to watch for educational purposes than seasoned campers and RVers. You'll find them helpful and eager to share experiences and advice. If you're especially lucky, you just might have a site adjoining a family from across the country, or even from another country. And, an RV camping vacation across the border from wherever you live will allow you and your children the opportunity to take a "far away" vacation, and not have to break the family budget.

Family Benefits
There are other benefits to the RV/camping lifestyle, too, besides fulfilling our wanderlust. Today's fast-paced life often leaves busy parents searching for opportunities to spend quality time together as a family. For many, summer is the traditional time to put the family first. Increasingly, families are discovering that vacationing in a recreation vehicle is the best way to strengthen family relationships while having a great time. And, staying home on vacation, or on weekends, often does not provide those opportunities. Think about the many times when you promised yourself you'd just relax with the family. Then, the phone rings, the grass needs mowing, the house needs cleaning. . . well, you get the idea. There are distractions at home which can prevent us from relaxing.

On an RV/camping trip, families are not faced with the interruptions of routine home life, yet they have the comforts of home. RVing families are able to enjoy each other's company and kids are free to be themselves, without their own set of distractions like piano lessons, soccer practice or homework. RVing means every weekend can be a mini-vacation, allowing quick getaways with minimal preparation and planning.

"Bringing the family closer together" was the top answer for parents when asked what are the most important benefits of family RV camping in "Campfire Canvass," a semi-annual nationwide survey of a random sample of RV owners by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Other highly ranked responses were: providing a learning experience; teaching kids to respect nature; broadening their horizons; and developing wholesome values.

In a recent research study conducted by Louis Harris and Associates, nine out of ten current RV owners said RVs are the best way to travel with the family. Perhaps even more significant, 62% of survey respondents who have never owned an RV said they also thought that an RV is the best way to take a family trip.

According to Christine Loomis, travel editor of Family Life magazine, author of eleven children's books and mother of three, RV trips give families the opportunity for "do-nothing time." "It takes a lot of energy to cope with the hectic pace of everyday life," says Loomis. "The entire family has to have time to put everything on hold, except the family relationship. The RV provides the means to hit the road, leave the daily routine and enjoy quality time together."

Fun, Learning; The Family Budget
Many parents also supplement their children's learning during their RV travels, and if it's fun, the children won't object. The Campfire Canvass found that 43% of families cite visiting an historic location for educational purposes. Science and nature centers, zoos and museums were also frequently mentioned.

In addition to family fun, RVs offer parents an affordable vacation. According to a study by Pennals Kerr Foster Consulting, an RV vacation costs half as much as driving a car and staying in hotels, 60% less than traveling by bus or train and staying in a hotel, and 60% less than flying to a vacation destination and staying in hotels.

Reprinted from Woodall's Go and Rent / Rent and Go