Three Great Western National Parks with Big Rig Camping

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 timeless scenery in a national treasure. Here’s how.

How to Score Great Spots in National Parks with Big Rig Camping

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 they’re not always off limits if you have a larger RV. Do a little digging and you’ll find plenty of ways to RV camp inside park boundaries.

Unfortunately national park camping is so popular now that reservations are mandatory 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 to score camping inside the park is to get your reservation in early.

It pays to plan for at least a six month window from booking your spot until arrival. And if your RV is longer than 40-feet, be patient in your reservations search. You’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, consider pointing your rig to the west. There you’ll find the easy life inside these three great U.S. national parks with big rig camping.

Big Bend National Park’s Rio Grande RV Village

National Parks with Big Rig Camping
Walk to this Big Bend view near Rio Grande Village RV Park.

True to the motto that “everything is bigger in Texas,” 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 aren’t much to look at with their parking-lot ambiance, but you’ll be close to must-see Big Bend attractions, trails and gorgeous scenery.

Big rig RVs of nearly any size easily fit into these bare-bones campsites adjacent to the Rio Grande Visitor’s Center. The Fall and Spring seasons are perfect times to secure a spot.

Death Valley National Park’s Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells

National Parks with Big Rig Camping
Camp close to the spectacular Dante’s Peak view.

Another park that’s great to visit in fall or spring, Death Valley National Park’s 5,262 square mile vistas and stark, beautiful landscapes offer an otherworldly experience. Nearly as vast as the west itself, this below sea-level destination has tons of spots for large RVs.

You can find a big rig boondocking campsite almost any time of year at Fiddler’s Campground or Sunset Campground in Furnace Creek. But for more comfort, secure one of the 19 full-hookup sites at Furnace Creek RV Park. It’s located on the south end of the park and features a restaurant, swimming pool, fuel and laundromat.

When you’re done exploring southern Death Valley delights like Badwater and Artist’s Drive, pull up stakes and move to Stovepipe Wells in the north. You’ll find it slightly less charming but offering just as many creature comforts. As a bonus, these RV spots are near other attractions like Scotty’s Castle, and the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

Badlands National Park, Cedar Pass Campground

National Parks with Big Rig Camping
The otherworldly scenery around Cedar Pass Campground. Image: NPS.gov

The massive 244,000-acre Badlands National Park is as endless as the open prairie. It’s also one of America’s most big-rig friendly national parks. Whether this is your ultimate destination or a stopping point on the way to Mount Rushmore and Devil’s Tower, the Badlands feels like driving backward in time.

Your big rig home base will be Cedar Pass Campground, an easily accessible location perched in the midst of geologic wonders and ancient fossil deposits. The 96 reservable campsites are on the rustic side. You’ll only get an electric hookup for comfort, but drinking water, restrooms and a dump station are available. Campsites are near a lodge, restaurant and amphitheater with ranger-led campfire chats.

This is just glimpse of a few great national parks with big rig camping. For more tips, bounce ideas around with other oversized RV owners in the iRV2 Discussion Forums topic “Camping, Travel and Trip Planning.”



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Best RV Camping And Golfing Near Morro Bay

Visiting the California coast is always pleasing to the eye and good for the soul. Morro Bay on Highway 1 offers both of those elements.

Set roughly 200 miles north of Los Angeles and over 200 miles south of San Francisco, Morro Bay is a quintessential town along this fabled highway. Just look for the 581-foot tall monolith for which the town is named.

Morro Rock
Morro Rock

Morro Bay State Park is one of the gems along the coastline. Its popularity is such that you should make reservations long in advance, especially during the summer months. This is not only an aesthetically appealing place to camp, but Morro Bay State Park is close to lots of attractions.

The pet-friendly state park features 140 sites, 30-amp electrical, water, pull-through sites, a dump station, restrooms, showers, and hiking trails.

The Museum of Natural History is also located within Morro Bay State Park. The museum overlooks Morro Bay and offers nature walks, exhibits, lectures, puppet shows, videos, and docent-led tours, among other activities.

Nearby is Morro Bay Golf Course. Built in 1923 on a hillside overlooking Morro Bay, this golf course was originally called Cabrillo Country Club with just nine holes. The course has since expanded to 18 holes, with the original nine holes from nearly a century ago now serving as the back nine. Currently, the course is one of the most popular in Central California, along with being designated an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

Morro Bay
Picturesque Morro Bay Golf Course – Photo via TripAdvisor

In addition, the National Audubon Society has designated Morro Bay as a globally important bird area since this is a major migratory stop for thousands of birds during winter and spring.

Subsequently, Morro Rock is a protected nesting ground for peregrine falcons. While there is no public access to Morro Rock, the falcons and a large variety of other birds can be viewed from the water and nearby locations.

The town of Morro Bay features an inviting Embarcadero with a variety of shops and restaurants. The Thursday Farmer’s Market is popular, as are many of the specialty shops like California Images or Embarcadero Fudge & Ice Cream. For more information on the area, visit www.morrobay.org and Campground Reviews.

See also: The 10 Best Places To Go Sea Kayaking On The West Coast



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Enjoy Feel-Good Camping at Lions Club Campgrounds

You won’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. Here’s why you should look for one of these campgrounds whenever you go RVing.

The Story Behind the Lions Club Campgrounds

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 you placed your old frames inside so that the Lions Club International chapter in your neighborhood could send them out for refurbishing. If you did that, your old eye glasses got spruced up and shipped out. The recipient was a low income person who 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 that improve our communities.

Visiting Lions Club Campgrounds is Money Well Spent

Lions Club Campgrounds
Gorgeous scenery from Lions Club Tumbler Ridge Campground, British Columbia

Tucked neatly within the LCI’s important causes are the club’s dozens of campgrounds located in North America. Many are run entirely by volunteer labor and club members. Most are in Canada. The United States has a smaller selection. The club’s campgrounds range from boondocking retreats with no hookups, to full-service, five-star RV resorts with all the amenities of a privately-owned business. You’ll often enjoy below-average campground rates and gorgeous scenery in off-the-beaten-path destinations.

An internet search reveals no one-stop-shop directory of Lions Club International campgrounds in North America. However, don’t let that stop you from trying to find one in your travels — especially if you’re visiting Canada in summer. Below you’ll find the longest list of Lions Club International Campgrounds on the Internet.

Directory of Lions Club Campgrounds in North America

Lions Club Campgrounds
Lions Club volunteers lay out the welcome mat for campers.

Athabasca Lions Club RV Park – Athabasca, Alberta

Foothills Lions Centennial Park – Black Diamond, Alberta

Devon Lions Campground – Devon, Alberta

Edson Lions Park Campground – Edson, Alberta

Fort Lions Campground – Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

Kelvington Lions Park – Kelvington, Alberta

Lions Campground & RV Park – Leduc, Alberta

Okotoks Lions Sheep River Campground – Okotoks, Alberta

O.R. Hedges (Lions) Campground – Olds, Alberta

Peace River Lions Campsite – Peace River, Alberta

Lions Campground – Red Deer, Alberta

Stettler Lions Campground – Settler, Alberta

Stony Plain Lions Club – Stony Plain, Alberta

Vauxhall Lions Campground – Vauxhall, Alberta

Wabasca Lions Club Campground – Wabasca / Desmarais, Alberta

Wetaskiwin Lions RV Campground – Wetaskiwin, Alberta

Whitecourt Lions Campground – Whitecourt, Alberta

 

Chase Lions RV Park – Chase, British Columbia

Dease Lake Lions Tanzilla River Campground – Dease Lake, British Columbia

Lumby Lions Campground – Lumby, British Columbia

District Of Tumbler Ridge Lions Flat Bed Creek Campground – Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia

 

Boissevain Lions Campground Manitoba – Boissevain, Manitoba

Lions Riverbend Campground – Neepawa, Manitoba

MacGregor Lions RV Park – MacGregor, Manitoba

Sandy Lake Lions Club Campground – Sandy Lake, Manitoba

Virden Lions Club Campground – Virden, Manitoba

 

Lions Club Park – Merickville, Ontario

 

Carlyle Lions Campground – Carlyle, Saskatchewan

Lions Club Campground and Recreation Site – Glenavon, Saskatchewan

Lanigan Lions Campground – Lanigan, Saskatchewan

Meadow Lake Lions Park – Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan

Maryfield Lions Club Campground – Maryfield, Saskatchewan

 

United States Lions Club Campgrounds include:

Fraser Valley Lions Club Campgrounds – Winter Park, Colorado

Lions Club RV Park – Milford, Utah

Bowman Lions Club Campground – Bowman, North Dakota

Carrington Lions RV Park – Carrington, North Dakota

Lions Club Park – Vermillion, South Dakota

Lions Club – Rosalia, Washington

We all want our hard-earned vacation money to be wisely spent. A stay at a Lions Club International is guaranteed to make anyone feel good about paying for a campsite.



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Forest Ranger Shares Tips For Camping

With over 30 years of experience in the National Forest Service serving the South Platte Ranger District in Colorado, Scott Dollus has seen a lot of changes.

The Pike and San Isabel National Forests & Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands (PSICC) encompass over 3 million acres of diverse forest and grasslands in the Rocky Mountains. The South Platte Ranger District serves the area along the South Platte drainage, directly west of the busy Denver urban corridor.  Ranger Dollus serves as the Recreation Planner for the South Platte District.

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Pike National Forest near Kenosha Pass shows off its fall colors (Photo by TC Wait)

Our 155 National Forests were created through the Land Revision Act of 1891 in order to protect and manage natural resources for future generations.  Management of these lands by the Forest Service includes everything from conservation to watershed protection to regulating logging, livestock grazing, and mining.

Forest Service Rangers roles have changed substantially over the years.  With many years of contracting budgets and exponentially growing numbers of visitors, Rangers have had to take on many roles to try to best protect and preserve our National Forests.

Daily activities can vary greatly, but often include efforts to better educate the public about the forests and their uses, issuing various use permits (guides and outfitters, special events, special uses, etc), establishing and maintaining trails and motor vehicle routes, patrolling and law enforcement, and maintenance (replacing signs, cleaning up garbage, etc.).

Ranger Dollus says that one of the more recent changes that visitors may notice within the National Forests is the move to restrict dispersed camping to designated sites identified by brown signs with a tent symbol and a number.

There are several reasons behind this:

  1. To try to prevent “migrating” primitive campsites. You have seen them—they start near an access road, then over the years migrate further back into the trees or spread out as people look for “nicer” campsites.
  2. To protect water resources. Everyone likes to camp next to the water.
  3. To control the de-vegetation, erosion, fire potential, trash and human waste that is impacting the forests from human use.  Designated camping sites allow for more efficient use of Forest Rangers to patrol and maintain areas.

When asked what are some of the biggest concerns the National Forests are dealing with currently, Ranger Dollus said again that it varies, but for the Pike forest, one of the big recent concerns are “squatters” who are essentially living in the National Forests.

Other concerns are the build-up of human waste and trash in many areas.  Some dumpsters that were once available had to be removed as there was SO much trash being left piled around the bear-proof dumpsters, that it was becoming a bear attraction.  Unattended fires and recreational shooting without proper safeguards are also issues that they are currently working to find a solution.

When planning a trip to visit a National Forest, Ranger Dollus offers some tips to make your stay more enjoyable.

  • Busy weekends fill up fast! As of now, dispersed camping sites are on a first-come, first-served basis.  Plan ahead for holidays and come with lots of back-up plans.
  • Check with the local Ranger District before your visit. You can learn about camping areas, any burn restrictions, or other attractions that may be interesting for your trip.  There is a lot of information available online, but Ranger Dollus suggests giving a call to the local district as well.
  • Know what is allowed and follow the rules. Recreational shooting, for example, may not be allowed in some places.  If it is allowed, there are rules to follow (safe backstop, at least 150 yards from a trail, road, campsite, or occupied area, not over water, manufactured targets only, etc.)
  • Pack out what you bring in. This includes trash, dog waste, human waste, and food.  Leave the area where you have been in better condition than when you arrived.
  • Report problems to the Forest Supervisor’s Office or the local sheriff first. They will know how to get in touch with the local rangers.

Get out this summer and enjoy one of America’s greatest treasures, our National Forests.  The great outdoors is the reason that we have RVs, and keeping our natural resources protected with responsible use helps ensure that the forests remain wild and available to future generations.

See also: Campground Littered With Garbage, Causes Facilities To Close



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How To Stay Safe From Theft And Injuries While RV Camping

While RVing, for the most part, is a relatively safe lifestyle, it never hurts to take a few precautions because you never know where an adventure in RVing may take you.

The following are six tips to help keep you safe while enjoying your RV.

1. Don’t share your real-time location

While it’s tempting to post pictures on social media of your cool campsite, either in a campground or in the middle of nowhere, it lets people know (possibly criminals too) your current location and more importantly that your home is vacant.

safety
Watch what you post on social media
2. Know your emergency exit windows

Do you know where the emergency exit windows are located in your RV (emergency vents in some truck campers)? Do you know how to use them in the event of an emergency?

safety
Emergency exit windows—know how to use them! Photo via iRV2

Gather the family and take the time to practice removing the window screen (if so equipped) and opening the window. Are you and your loved ones physically able to climb out through the window if needed? If not, think about what other items you might carry to make this possible.

3. Be careful if you have a second entry door

Does your RV have more than one entry door? Many RVs have a secondary entry door that is seldom used, if ever, by the owners. To save time when setting up camp, the owners will often leave the steps in. Two potential safety issues can arise due to failing to extend the steps.

  • In the event of an emergency (say a fire blocking the primary entrance door) and you have to use the second door, are you going to remember the steps aren’t deployed, potentially risking falling out of the RV?
  • Do you ever have guests (say grandchildren) traveling with you? Are they going to remember the steps aren’t deployed on the second door?
safety
Keep a powerful flashlight handy
4. Keep a flashlight on hand

Keep a flashlight handy by your bed stand or door. You never know when your electrical system might fail or you need to light up someone outside your RV’s door when a knock comes after hours.

5. Secure the windows

Just like at home, it is a good idea to secure sliding windows with a dowel rod in the track or install a screw limiting how far the window can open to discourage intruders.

safe
Screw track to limit how far the window will open
6. Keep others guessing

Do you carry a firearm for personal protection when you travel? Surveys indicate more than half of RVers do. Whether you do or not, it’s best to keep it to yourself and not share with others. If you keep others guessing it will statistically be assumed that you do.

Employing these tips will help keep your next adventure in RVing a safer one.

See also: 10 Ways To Keep Your RV Safe From Theft



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What Are The Dangers Of Moving Firewood For Camping?

For most people, camping out brings to mind sitting around a campfire, cooking, sharing stories, or laughing together.  A campfire can be the cozy hearth that friends and family gather around at the end of a busy day enjoying nature.

If you’re like many people who enjoy camping, you might not think much of grabbing some wood that Uncle Bob cut from his property and take it with you as you head out of town.  After all, it is free and already cut!  Many of us grew up hauling firewood to our campsites.

It turns out that this common practice has put some of our forests at risk (or even under active attack) by non-native insects and diseases.  These unwanted pests can be transported from regions where they are common to areas that have not been exposed through firewood.

Once in a new location, these devastating species can become established in a forest and kill large numbers of trees and vegetation quickly.

firewood
Always buy it where you burn it. Photo via Flickr

Pests like the emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, Asian longhorned beetle, and Rocky Mountain pine beetle can move pretty far on their own; but when they are in firewood, they can be transported hundreds of miles to infest new forests.

Trees have evolved over time to survive with some local insects and diseases, and natural predators have developed to control populations of these native pests.  When non-native species, which are not normally found in a particular area, take hold, the forests have few natural defenses which can allow these introduced pests to become invasive quickly.

The result can be disastrous—destroying forests, increasing wildfire danger, decreasing property values, and costing time and resources to control.

firewood
Billboard via Don’t Move Firewood

Even wood that does not have any visible indications of being infested can carry eggs or spore of pests that could be problematic.  Some states have quarantines in place to prevent moving firewood out of a particular area.

To prevent introducing non-native species through firewood, you should always ask your firewood seller where the wood was obtained.  Areas in the Central and Eastern US allow you to buy firewood with the state Department of Agriculture seal certifying that the firewood has been heat-treated to kill pests.  (Note that firewood labeled as “kiln-dried” is not sufficient to have killed possible invasive pests.)

The rule of thumb is the shorter distance from where the wood was harvested to where you intend to use it, the better.  On the same thought, don’t be tempted to take left-over firewood home with you, as you may be introducing problem pests to your own area.

firewood
A forest near Breckenridge, Colorado that has been devastated by the Rocky Mountain Pine Beetle (Photo by Hustvedt/Wikipedia)

State-by-state information for requirements, guidelines, and quarantines for firewood can be found at Don’t Move FirewoodFirewood Scout is a growing resource that can show local wood vendors in specific areas where you may be traveling.

Se also: What You Need To Know About Campfire Safety



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Best Camping And Places To Visit In Topeka, Kansas

Topeka, Kansas is best known for the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case that ended segregation in public schools. Today, the state capital and fifth largest city in the Jayhawk State is a vibrant and spirited community with lots to see and do.

One of the main attractions in Topeka is Lake Shawnee, which offers fishing, boating, sailing, and swimming. The 141-site Lake Shawnee Campgrounds is also a popular destination for visiting RVers. The pet-friendly campground features 30/50 amp electrical, water, a dump station, showers, and laundry facilities.

lake
Camping by Lake Shawnee. Photo via TripAdvisor

Within the 1,100-acre park surrounding the lake are trails, a marina, tennis courts, shelter houses, ball diamonds, an arboretum, 9 ½ acres devoted to beautiful gardens, and a well-manicured golf course.

Lake Shawnee Golf Course is a year-round track that stretches to 6,357 yards from the back tees. The 18-hole par 70 course opened in 1972 and is still one of the top courses in Topeka. Many holes of the golf course bring together breathtaking views and the challenges of playing alongside Lake Shawnee.

Another popular Topeka attraction is the Evel Knievel Thrill Show and Museum. Robert Craig Knievel gained famed in the 1960s and 1970s by attempting more than 75 daredevil stunt jumps on a motorcycle.

Topeka

Knievel’s most daring jump took place on New Year’s Eve 1967 in Las Vegas as he attempted to jump 141 feet across the Caesars Palace Fountains using a Triumph Bonneville T120. He crashed on landing and spent the next 29 days in a hospital with various broken bones. Less than six months later, he was jumping again, which only fueled his legacy as the world’s best stunt man.

The Great Overland Station should be on your must-visit list while in Kansas. This elegant building formerly housed the Union Pacific Station. Today, it serves as a museum and education center that brings Topeka’s railroad heritage to life through photographs, special exhibits, and costumed docents.

There is much more to see and do in Topeka. For more details, check out www.visittopeka.com. You can also learn more about Lake Shawnee Campground on Campground Reviews.

See also: Our Favorite Places To Visit In Wichita, Kansas



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The Ultimate RV and Camping Podcasts Playlist

In the distant past, music CDs, audio books and FM radio were the only soundtrack for RV road trips. Not anymore. Smart phones and Internet connected vehicles give us dozens of ways to fuel our adventures with sound, like this ultimate RV and camping podcasts playlist.

RV and Camping Podcasts for Road Trip Buddies

RV and Camping Podcast Playlist
Download and listen to podcasts wherever you go, whenever you want.

Great podcasts about the outdoors are springing up from every corner of the RVing community. Want to learn how to make money on the road? Need some RV repair tips? Got camping kids to entertain? Podcasts for the RV lifestyle are as close as your favorite listening device.

Podcasts allow anyone to broadcast their own “radio” show over the internet. With over 630,000 podcasts available for download, “Today, we’re living in the Golden Age of Podcasts,” proclaimed a 2019 CBS news article.

How to Download Podcasts

Usually you can download a podcast directly from the creator’s website. But podcasting apps make it easier to find, organize, listen to and locate new podcasts. Apps give you the option to download them to your listening device. This is a useful feature when you’re RVing without internet access.

Whether you have a iPhone or an Android, smart phone or tablet, podcast apps make your listening experience better.

These tools include free apps included with your smart phone, like Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Other feature-rich paid podcast apps include Castbox, Stitcher, SoundCloud, iHeartRadio and Overcast. Some podcasts are available on just one app, some on many apps.

The Ultimate RV and Camping Podcasts Playlist

According to CBS News, over 630,000 podcasts exist on the internet. New podcasts spring up almost daily, but only a small percentage of shows last beyond the first broadcasting year. The best RV camping and travel podcasts endure because of high quality production and relevant topics for the lifestyle. Here are just a few active podcasts with long track records. Check them out and listen on your next highway drive.

Podcasts About the RV / Nomad Lifestyle

“Love getting the RV out for weekends and getaways? Dream of being a professional nomad? In Stories from the Road, host Sam Nuerminger chats with everyone from weekend warriors to full-timers about what drew them to the road, the challenges they face, and what keeps them going year after year.”

The RVing Entrepreneur

Creator Heath Padgett writes “This podcast is for people who are interested in downsizing their life, creating remote income, and working from anywhere. The RV Entrepreneur Podcast is a weekly show where I interview nomadic entrepreneurs who have made the leap into the RV lifestyle and have taken their businesses with them on the road.”

RV Family Travel Atlas

The hosts are Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi, authors of the Idiots Guide: RV Vacations and parents to three boys. Their RV Family Travel Atlas explores RV and family travel. “Every episode has a feature segment highlighting the RV industry, the campground industry, tips and tricks, or destination guides. We also include gear reviews and interviews with interesting personalities from all arenas of the RV industry.”

Podcasts About Adventure Travel Inspiration

Living Outside the Box

Living Outside The Box is a podcast and community devoted to sharing ideas for living more simply and on our own terms. Hosts Kayla and J.R. Cox have decided to make choices in their lives in an effort to live on their own terms. This includes living a full time RV traveling life, homeschooling their children, and Kayla choosing to lose over 80 pounds by intermittent fasting and eating anything she wanted.”

The Offbeat Life

Technically it’s not about camping or RVing, but this show will no doubt inspire future full-time RVers. “The Offbeat Life Podcast interviews fearless individuals who ditched the norm in order to Live their best life and become Location Independent. We discuss finding purpose, defining moments that led them to change their lives, overcoming set backs, how they create income from their passions while working remote and so much more.”

Dirtbag Diaries

The Dirtbag Diaries is a grassroots podcast dedicated to the sometimes serious, often humorous stories from wild places.” Outside Magazine named it the best podcast and with over 200 episodes in 10 years of broadcasting, it’s worth checking out if you love the outdoors.

The First 40 Miles Hiking and Backpacking

RV and Camping Podcast Playlist

Founders Heather Legler and Josh Legler write “If you are new to backpacking, or if you’re hopelessly in love with someone who wants you to love backpacking, then this podcast is for you. We talk about the essentials, how to lighten your load, and how to make the most of your time on the trail.” Although in hiatus, The First 40 Miles is worth a listen.

Ask a Ranger

“State park rangers always get questions, and with their training in the outdoors and managing natural resources, they usually have the answers or can find them right away. In Ask a Ranger, Ranger Crystal and Ranger Jess answer some of the questions they’re frequently asked and take on topics that can expand your knowledge of the natural world.”

Podcasts About RVing Tips and Tricks

RV and Camping Podcast Playlist

The RV Show USA is hosted by Alan Warren, a 35+ year TV/Radio veteran as well as RV enthusiast and Campground Owner. His likable personality and enthusiasm for the RV Lifestyle is contagious and resonates with RVers everywhere. A staunch advocate for the RV Consumer, Alan blends entertainment and information in a Show that connects with RV enthusiasts in a powerful way.”

RV Navigator

RV and Camping Podcast Playlist

The RV Navigator is your digital home for RVing information. Since late 2005, we have been providing audio reports (podcasts) on a monthly basis and more recently bi-monthly, covering the RV lifestyle from an on the road perspective.” Hosts Ken and Martha share RV travel tips, technology for your RV, destination ideas and experiences and news for RVers.

Girl Camper Podcast

RV and Camping Podcast Playlist

“Janine Pettit is a lifelong lover of camping who hosts Girl Camper, broadcast every Tuesday with topics ranging from practical tips on overcoming fear to inspirational interviews with women who have made the leap.”

Happy Camper Radio

RV and Camping Podcast Playlist

“From selecting new gear, to deciding where to pitch your tent, camping is the ultimate recreational activity for you and your family. Join Happy Camper Radio as we sit around the campfire and discuss the latest in outdoor equipment and camping techniques. “

Beyond the Wheel

RV and Camping Podcast Playlist

Beyond the Wheel is a podcast about the people and ideas that make RVing great. Kenny & Sean have put this podcast together to reach out to people in the RV industry to get a better understanding of how products and services are created. Every day there are more and more people joining the RV community and with that the demand for certain features and luxuries has increased. Our goal is not only to share these new products and services, but also to understand how they came about and what did it take to get them to the market.”

RV Miles

RV and Camping Podcast Playlist

The RV Miles podcast is weekly show for RV and outdoor enthusiasts! Join us as we take you across the country to discover great destinations. On the way, we’ll cover tips and tricks, campground reviews, gear to make life on the road easier, and the latest industry news.”

Tell Us Your Favorite RV and Camping Podcasts

Did we miss other great outdoorsy RV and camping podcasts? If so, let us know which ones in the comments section and we’ll add them to this list.



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Tips For New RVers, First RV Camping Trip Checklist

Did you take the plunge and buy your first RV at one of the RV shows this winter? Are you getting ready to hit the road and head out on your first camping trip? Listed below is a brief, yet important checklist to ensure a great and safe season without any problems.

RV checklist
Follow these key tips and start your first season without any issues.

1. Choose the right route

If your choice was a larger rig, be sure to plan your trip to avoid traveling roads that have overpasses too low for you to safely clear or twisty roads and streets that are too narrow to comfortably navigate.

Plan ahead and research the most favorable route to get to the campground without having to deal with these challenges along the way. It’s also a good idea to book a campground in advance as well. You can easily plan your travels and find campgrounds on RV Trip Wizard.

2. Level your RV upon arrival

Always take the time to level your RV upon arriving at your destination. This is essential to do, even after the longest of journeys.

Not only can it be very uncomfortable when you are trying to relax or sleep inside the RV, but it can cause your unit (especially the refrigerator) to not function properly. Level your RV when you arrive at camp so you don’t have to be concerned with any issues later on.

Remember To Pull The Wheel Chocks
Remember to pull the wheel chocks

3. Remove the wheel chocks before departing

You just enjoyed the weekend camping, and everything is all packed up, put away and ready for the drive home.

However, when you shift into drive, your rig doesn’t want to move. Resist the temptation to step on the gas a little harder as it is very likely your wheel chocks (which prevented your rig from rolling away during the weekend) are still in place.

If you are lucky, other campers weren’t watching and you can covertly go remove them. Putting chocks away is typically one of the last things you will do before heading out, and it happens more than you think.

4. Don’t drive away while still connected

If you have been hooked up to water, sewer, power, or all three while camped, it is obviously important to ensure you are disconnected before departing the campsite with the RV.

This could prove expensive to your RV or campsite utilities in the process of trying to drive away. Always double check that your RV is free and clear and ready to hit the road before you actually pull out of your campsite.

5. Don’t stay at home too often

If you make the commitment to buy an RV, then you should make the commitment to set time aside and use it as frequently as possible. Even if you can only escape for short trips, look for fun and interesting places to RV that aren’t too far from home.

In Western Washington, where I live, we are blessed with so many places to RV close to home. Ocean beaches, Puget Sound, the Cascades, and Eastern Washington are all within easy reach for a weekend RV getaway.

While making mistakes is just human nature, you can avoid them with a little forethought and effort, which can possibly save you from costly repairs or operating your RV in an unsafe manner. Damaging your RV during your first outing is one adventure in RVing nobody needs to experience.



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8 Best Lakes In The Southwest US For RV Camping

Though you probably know the Southwest for its desert landscape, you might be surprised by the many scenic lakes where you can go waterfront camping.

These lakes are an oasis for activities like swimming, fishing, and kayaking, and they have campgrounds that can accommodate RVs and trailers.

1. Lake Pleasant, Arizona

The cool blue Lake Pleasant is located in a regional park about an hour north of Phoenix. The recreation area is open year-round and has campsites, hiking trails, boat ramps, and a Discovery Center where you can learn more about the area’s plants and wildlife.

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View from Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Photo via TripAdvisor

The developed sites are complete with water and electricity, a covered ramada, picnic table, barbecue grill, fire ring, and access to a dump station. If you don’t mind dry camping, the semi-developed sites have similar features except for hookups and they’re about $10 cheaper.

2. Caballo Lake, New Mexico

With the scenic backdrop of the Caballo Mountains, this lake is one of the prettiest in Southern New Mexico. The park is located between Truth or Consequences and Las Cruces, with easy access off Interstate 25 and Highway 187.

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Caballo Lake. Photo via Youtube

Primitive and developed campsites are available along the reservoir including sites with 30/50-amp power and full hookups. They also have group campsites and a group picnic area.

3. Roper Lake State Park, Arizona

Northeast of Tucson, Roper Lake is surrounded by palm trees and views of the Pinaleño Mountains. The lake has a swimming area, boat ramp, and variety of fish to catch like largemouth bass and catfish.

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Looking back towards the campground and lake. Photo via TripAdvisor

There are lakeside campsites for tents and RVs as well as furnished cabins. The campsites fit motorhomes up to 45 feet long and include water and electric hookups.

4. Patagonia Lake State Park, Arizona

Patagonia Lake is well known for its great fishing in Southern Arizona. The park also has a beach, boat ramp, and a picnic area with tables and grills. If you don’t have your own watercraft, they offer canoes, pontoon boats, row boats, and paddle boat rentals.

Patagonia Lake State Park. Photo by Alan Schmierer

The campground has over 100 sites with electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. Waterfront cabins can also be rented on the southeast end of the lake. The park can get crowded, but it’s usually more peaceful during the off-season and middle of the week.

5. Parker Canyon Lake, Arizona

Parker Canyon Lake is off the beaten path and not as easily accessible but it is usually much less crowded than Patagonia Lake. The USFS campground is open all year; in the summer there are also boat and paddleboard rentals available.

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View from a campsite. Photo via TripAdvisor

Lakeview Campground overlooks the lake with 65 campsites (max length 36 feet) on top of a hill. There are no hookups, but there is potable water, a general store, and restrooms. It’s also very budget-friendly, sites are only $10 a night!

6. Lake Mead & Lake Mohave, Nevada/Arizona

Lakes Mead and Mohave are both on the Colorado River and worth a visit in the RV. The two reservoirs are located within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, a day trip away from Las Vegas.

Lake Mead. Photo by Laurie Smith, NPS

There are several campgrounds and RV parks along the shores of the two lakes. The NPS sites cost $20 nightly and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. These include Las Vegas Bay Campground, Callville Bay, Boulder Beach Campground, and Echo Bay. The RV sites at Lake Mead RV Village are more expensive but include pull-thrus and full hookups.

7. Elephant Butte Lake State Park, New Mexico

The largest state park in New Mexico surrounds the state’s biggest reservoir. Elephant Butte Lake has beach access, a fishing pier, marinas, and boat rentals. The park has 15 miles of hiking and biking trails as well as several picnic areas where you can enjoy lunch overlooking the lake.

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Elephant Butte Lake State Park. Photo by Tony Fernandez

There are about 170 RV sites in Lions Beach, Desert Cove, and South Monticello Campgrounds. There is also primitive beach camping, group sites, and boat-in camping available.

8. Brantley Lake State Park, New Mexico

Many RVers have made Brantley Lake State Park their home base while visiting Carlsbad and Carlsbad Caverns. The park surrounds the southernmost lake in New Mexico and is a destination in itself between the camping and many water sports.

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Brantley Lake. Photo via TripAdvisor

In addition to activities on the lake, the park has hiking trails, picnic tables, and an RV campground. Partial and full hookup sites are available as well as a dump station, restrooms, and showers.

See also: 3 Must-See Events In Lake Havasu City This Winter



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