RV Scenic Drives
Camping is one of the best ways to escape into the wilderness and enjoy the great outdoors. And while tent camping is great for a more rustic and minimalist experience, RV camping creates a whole new level of adventure by combining luxury with nature. Some say that RV camping is superior to tent camping just for the hygiene factor alone! Who actually enjoys sharing a bathroom with complete strangers? Plus, in an RV, you’ll eat better, sleep better, you’re protected from inclement weather..the list goes on and on.
And fortunately for RV travelers, the United States is home to some of the most famous road trip routes and scenic drives in the world. Many campsites along these routes have outstanding RV sites, and some roll out the red carpet for RV travelers. However, it’s important for RV owners and operators to be aware that despite their beauty, some of these famous scenic drives can be hazardous for the inexperienced driver due to high winds, high altitudes, and narrow roads.
Here are a few things you should know if you plan to take an excursion through any of these scenic routes in your RV, plus information about highly rated RV campsites in these areas.
Trail Ridge Road, Colorado
Trail Ridge Road in Colorado is among the most scenic and rocky in the U.S. With a peak altitude of 12,183 feet, this two-lane highway isn’t too narrow or winding, so it shouldn’t pose much of a risk in the summer months. The road is closed during the winter but spring snow melt can create icy conditions. Weather conditions in the area change rapidly so you might want to call the Trail Ridge Road recorded phone line to get an update before you start out.
Paradise on the River RV Park has sites along the Big Thompson River where you can fish, go for a hike, or sit back and enjoy the surrounding nature that includes very large, historic pine trees (note that due to the large pine trees, RV sites have a 32 foot limit, with some exceptions).
The Blue Ridge Parkway
As America’s longest and most visited linear park, this gorgeous Appalachian parkway stretches a grand total of 469 snaking miles through both Virginia and North Carolina. As far as the drive itself, it’s very curvy and winding in some areas, so make sure your RV’s brakes and cooling system are in tip top shape. A list of tunnel heights is available on the parkway’s website, so take some time to compare the height of your RV to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.
Chantilly Farm camping and RV park is just minutes from the parkway in Floyd Virginia. The picturesque farmland offers acres of grassy fields, woodlands, abundant wildlife, a local thriving arts and music scene, including an Annual Bluegrass & BBQ Festival.
Highway 101 Oregon
Thousands of RVs make the drive through this scenic Oregon route year-round. Most of the highway is two lanes, but through some of the coastal towns, it expands to four. It isn’t a particularly difficult or treacherous drive, but there are some areas with dips and rough spots as a result of land movement, so you may want to slow down in these areas.
The Sea & Sand RV Park is located on Highway 101, on the central Oregon coastline. It has spectacular ocean views, seven miles of sandy beach, and sightings of migrating grey whales are almost a daily happening in nearby Depoe Bay.
Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
Although there is no set date for the road to open each year, Going-to-the-Sun Road generally opens between late June and early July. With a length of about 50 miles, It offers a wide variety of amenities and activities and takes about two full hours to traverse. At 6,646 feet, its highest point is Logan Pass, which offers spectacular views. There is no entrance fee, and the National Park Service refers to Going-to-the-Sun Road as an ‘engineering marvel.’ Most visitors have no problem navigating the road with their RVs, but if you have concerns, make sure to take it slow and stay alert.
You don’t have travel too far from Glacier National Park to get to Polson RV Resort that offers stunning views of Montana’s endless blue sky! The secluded resort is just off the shore of Flathead Lake and is exclusively for RVs.
Highway 12, Utah
Many visitors rate Highway 12 as the most scenic in Utah. With deep canyons, red rock formations, boulders, mountains, valleys, and cliffs, traversing this road surely offers some breaktaking views. Although it is a bit steep and winding in some areas, the majority makes for a pleasant and exciting drive. If you need to take a break, there are plenty of spots to pull over and enjoy the view.
The unusual Shooting Star RV Resort and campground is worth checking out can be found in Escalante. Airstream trailers make up some of the accommodations available. Outdoor movies included at the “drive-in”.
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive – Michigan
Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of the most picturesque areas in the U.S. Towering at 450 feet over Lake Michigan, it features miles of relaxing beach coastlines and a plethora of wildlife to observe. With plenty of activities for people of any age, this is a place that has something for everyone. However, the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive does have some tight curves and steep hills, so the National Park Service offers a designated area for trailer parking, allowing visitors to take the drive and pick up their trailer once they return.
RV camping is one of the most luxurious and carefree ways to enjoy any vacation and for many folks truly gives new meaning to the phrase, “the journey is the destination.”
The above article was submitted by John Beeman, a principal of Cable Rail Direct Inc., a Decking and Railing company located in scenic American Canyon, CA.