Looking to spend your winter or summer exploring the country in an RV? These classic RV road trips take you to see world famous natural wonders, beautiful beaches, exciting cities and a slice of Americana.
Whether it is going to visit the adult kids or other family members, getting out in the woods or spending the winter in a warmer climate, more and more empty nesters are hitting the road in an RV. RV’s allow you to take your “home on the road,” save money on food and get much closer to nature than staying in a hotel. With more vacation days or retirement, empty nesters have the time to spend traveling and these road trips allow you to see our country, no matter what the season.
Spring – A Slice of Americana -Route 66 – Chicago to Hollywood – 2500 miles
One of the nation’s original highways, Route 66 meanders through the heartland of America and the Southwest starting in Chicago and passing through Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and California before its end in Santa Monica. Along the way, visit such roadside attractions as Mermac Caves, Pontiac Oakland Auto Museum, Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole and the Cadillac Ranch; stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, stroll on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and see some of America’s original drive-in theatres. Those looking for break from the typical RV Park can stay in a teepee at the Wigwam Motel and the highway is littered with classic diners and burger joints to satisfy your hunger. With less traffic, heat and crowds than during the summer but more daylight than during the winter, spring is the perfect time for an RV trip to “get your kicks on Route 66.” Tip – Gas stations can be 100 miles or more apart, so make sure your tank is full before hitting the road.
Summer – Highway 101 – Olympia, WA to San Francisco – 1130 miles
Summer is the perfect time to take a coastal road trip and Highway 101 provides stunning views of the Pacific and two of the nation’s most scenic areas – Olympic National Park and Redwood National Park. Wander on the Hoh Rain Forest trail, visit Hurricane Ridge, Ruby Beach and the Tillamook Cheese Factory, take a dune buggy ride along the sand in Oregon, hike in old growth forests, view Sea Lions up close, drive the famous Avenue of the Giants, search for seashells and savor some of the best seafood and clam chowder in the world. With an abundance of state and national park campgrounds, Highway 101 is one of the best destinations for RV’ers. Tip – Coastal Oregon has some of the beautiful state park campgrounds in the country but they fill up fast in the summer months. Make reservations far in advance of your trip.
Fall – Blue Ridge Parkway – Afton, VA to Cherokee, NC – 469 miles
With its beautiful fall foliage, September and October are the perfect months to take a road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Start your trip at the 1912 reproduction of an Italian villa, Swannanoa, or at one of the area’s many wineries. Virginia offers a number of historic sites and working farms to visit while Ashville, North Carolina is known for its southern cooking, craft breweries and vibrant arts scene. (Ashville’s historic Biltmore Hotel is also to be experienced.) Hikers can explore Little Switzerland or Linville Falls. Plenty of KOA-style campgrounds along the parkway makes it simple to find a place to relax for the night. Tip – The Parkway road can be hilly with sharp turns. Use your low gear and save your breaks.
Winter – Gulf Coast – Padre Island, Texas to Key West, Florida – 1712 miles
Mild temperatures and a lack of snow make the Gulf Coast a perfection destination for a winter RV trip. Start your trip on Texas’ Padre Island with its miles of campgrounds, fishing and endless beaches meant for exploring. Along the way, visit Corpus Christi’s Art Museum of South Texas, try some beignets and gumbo with a serving of jazz and blues in New Orleans and enjoy fishing and golfing in Destin, Florida. Follow I-10 and I-75 to Naples, where the freeway takes a sharp jog to the East through “Alligator Alley” -an 80 mile ramrod straight road that cuts across the Everglades, home to alligators and other wildlife. Ft. Lauderdale and Miami beckon on the other side with white sand beaches, Art Deco buildings and Cuban culture. Heading south, drive the “Overseas Highway” One through the Florida Keyes, home to coral reefs, marine preserves and Key West’s Margaritaville café and Ernest Hemmingway Museum. Tip – Don’t Pack Water! Water adds weight to an already heavy RV which slows gas mileage. Take advantage of the hookups at the campground to fill water and empty waste tanks.
If you want more information on what type of RV is right for you, check out the guide at SeniorLiving.org.