It can be helpful to pick an event or specific site you want to see when beginning to plan your next road trip, but don’t get tunnel vision in the process. Look for authentic experiences in the area to give you a well-rounded cultural experience. And for Pete’s sake, leave yourself a lot of flexibility! This is a road trip. Enjoy the spontaneity and learn to appreciate being present in each moment.
How do we accomplish that as fulltime RVers?
First, we like to sit down together and discuss a state we will be visiting as a whole. We make a short list of the experiences we want to have that are unique to that state. We think about historical sites and outdoor adventures (national & state parks, wildlife management areas, etc.), as these give you the best insight into the area. We also talk about events, food, and other cultural experiences that make the area unique, as well as friends in the area that we want to visit. This gives us an overall picture of how we want our visit to each state to go and a general timeline. Usually, this is about as far as we get in the process until we are about a week away from entering the state.
As we get closer to the state, we spend some time researching the best places to visit in order to have those experiences. This is when we study lesser known parks for our outdoor activities and the secret gems of the area for truly authentic experiences. Through our research we learn about new items to add to the list too.
Finally, we plan our route through the state to accomplish as many of those experiences as we can. We typically only book campgrounds a few days in advance, unless there is a big item on the list like Yosemite, Yellowstone or other areas that will be difficult to book (although not impossible, even last minute).
Once in the area, as we start to visit some of the planned places, we make sure to talk to locals. We learn directly from them about restaurants and experiences to add to our visit as we go. They want you to enjoy their area, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Let’s take a look at what we are planning for the next several months…
Louisiana (March): swamp, gators, try crawfish, authentic Cajun food & atmosphere, plantations, we also have friends in LA we will be visiting
Texas (March & April): Austin, San Antonio, hill country, ranch experience, Mexican border, rodeo, bbq & tex-mex food, bats, wildflowers, oil rig, volunteering, cattle drives, El Paso
New Mexico (May): Albuquerque, Santa Fe, pueblos, adobe painted homes, Carlsbad Caverns
Arizona (May): Saguaro NP, Tucson, Phoenix, Sedona, red rocks, desert sunsets, Grand Canyon, gila monster, tarantula
California (June): Joshua Tree NP, Death Valley, Sequoia NP, Yosemite, San Fran, coastal drive, redwoods, friends to visit
Oregon (July): coast, tidal pools, sea lions, Portland, organic lifestyle, Oregon Trail
Washington (July): Mt. Saint Helens, Olympic NP, Seattle, Mt. Rainier, Walla Walla, California Trail, friends to visit
British Columbia & Alberta (August): Vancouver, Jasper NP, Banff NP, Calgary, gold, First Nations, glaciers, grizzlies
And that’s how we get started! It’s that easy! Does that look like a good list???