The small town of Ajo in Southern Arizona is surrounded by 12 million acres of public and tribal land waiting to be explored.
Featuring a warm, dry climate, Ajo is located in the heart of the unique Sonoran Desert. Given that setting, it’s no wonder that Shadow Ridge RV Park is a favorite of those visiting the area.
The pet-friendly Shadow Ridge offers 125 sites with full hook-ups and lots of amenities. These include free cable TV and Wi-Fi, restrooms and showers, laundry facilities, a camp store, and nearby nature trails.
Also close to Shadow Ridge RV Park is the Ajo Country Club. Their golf course is built on naturally flat terrain and features elevated greens. Open year-round, the par 36, nine-hole course measures 3,093 yards.
It was built by locals and opened just after World War II in 1946. The signature hole is No. 9, a 123-yard, par 3, featuring water and tall palm trees protecting the front of the green. Golfers routinely share the course with roadrunners, coyotes, and deer. Another unique aspect of the golf course is the small airport runway adjacent to the course.
In addition to club and cart rentals, Ajo Country Club officials offer three days of free RV dry camping with use of the facilities. For details, call 520-387-5011.
Ajo residents are quite proud of their recent accolade, being named a Certified Wildlife Habitat, compliments of the National Wildlife Federation.
This town of 4,000 is the second Arizona Community (along with Mesa Community College’s Red Mountain Campus), and only the 65th in the nation to earn this distinct certification. The area is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals, many unique to the Southern Arizona region.
The area’s unpolluted skies have attracted countless astronomy buffs and stargazers. Kitt Peak National Observatory allows visitors to peer through massive telescopes and also enjoy educational programs and Native American exhibits.
Date / Temp: We camped here for 4 nights in mid January. The weather was perfect. Daily highs were in the 70s and nights in the 40s. If you’re looking for great winter weather, Arizona is the place to be.
Amenities: This site offers no amenities and practices a “Pack In, Pack Out” policy. We filled up with water in Quartzsite, Arizona. The town of Parker offers many options for buying filtered water, but it’s hard to find an RV water fill station.
There are easy dump options in Quartzsite as well.
Wifi / Cell: We received a 4G LTE signal with AT&T. The speeds allowed us to easily stream Netflix. We did use our WeBoost Cell Booster to increase upload speeds. Our T-Mobile Hot Spot received no connectivity.
Noise: The road is long and offers lots of space to spread out, or camp with a group. Noise was never an issue at our site. Even though we were close to the road, it was still quiet due to minimal auto traffic.
Grocery / Errands: Downtown Parker is 11 miles from our campsite, but only 1 mile from the entrance of Shea Road. The town offers a Walmart, Safeway and many dinning options.
Dog Friendly: This site is dog friendly. River had a lot of space to play and explore.
Entertainment: Most of the entertainment is outdoor activities. Hiking & ATV enthusiasts will have plenty to explore. For a change of scenery, take a day trip to Quartzsite or Lake Havasu.
Overall Experience of Free Camping in Parker, Arizona
Winter camping means one thing: more time spent around the campfire, as the weather is colder and daylight is in short supply. One way to enjoy your time spent around the campfire with friends is indulging in delicious food.
Awhile back I shared how to cook breakfast on a stick. In this installment, we will look at how to cook a tasty dessert over the campfire again using a stick and I am not talking marshmallows or s’mores!
Campfire éclairs can be easily created using the following method:
1. Before sitting down around the campfire, prepare some vanilla pudding either at home or in your RV. Keep it refrigerated until you are ready for use.
2. With a nice bed of coals in your campfire ring, forage around the campsite for roasting sticks that are ¾ to 1” in diameter at the roasting end. Wrap aluminum foil around the last 4 – 5” of the roasting end of the stick.
3. Coat the foil using nonstick cooking spray or butter.
4. Break open a tube of refrigerated crescent rolls and wrap the dough of one roll around the foiled end of the stick, making sure to close off the end and making a good seam where the two edges meet down the side.
5. Roast the dough over the fire, rotating it in the process until all sides are a golden brown. Best results are when you keep it slightly above the flame and roast slowly.
6. When the roll is fully cooked, gently remove it from the stick. It should easily slide off if you applied sufficient nonstick spray or butter.
7. Fill the open end of the cooked dough with pudding.
8. Spread the topping of your choice on the dough. (Chocolate frosting, Nutella, Peanut butter, etc)
9. Enjoy and repeat until all the dough is used!
Enjoying warm, quality éclairs around the campfire, just another great adventure in RVing.
Coastal Breeze RV Resort recently celebrated their Grand Opening in November 2018. A short drive from the scenic beaches of the Gulf Coast, this luxurious new resort lies along the shore of Salt Lake in Rockport, Texas.
They have over 250 pull-thru and back-in RV sites with full hookups. The sites are extra roomy at 130 feet long and also include a soft carpet grassy area. They also have a few park models available to purchase.
Guests are welcome to relax in their swimming pool, clubhouse, or dog park. Head down to their beach and wooden pier for the best views of the lake and vibrant sunsets. The area is renowned for great fishing and the resort has a kayak launch available.
Rockport has lots to see and do and hosts various festivals, pop-up marketplaces, and concerts throughout the year. The downtown is full of shops and restaurants to browse, as well as attractions like the Maritime Museum.
The resort’s rates vary by season—you can see the current prices on their website. You can also check site availabilities and make reservations online here.
Have you visited this new Texas resort yet? Let us know about your experience on RV Park Reviews!
Proper preparation and gear are essential to avoid winter camping problems. Let’s look at five winter camping challenges and how to avoid them.
1. Keeping holding tanks from freezing
After a weekend of winter camping, the next step is to pull into the dump station to empty your tanks. You then pull the dump valve and nothing happens as the contents are frozen.
Now, you will have to wait until they thaw before you can dump the waste. To avoid this, consider using a holding tank heater. They are similar to electric blankets and attach to the underside of the holding tanks with adhesive.
If you’re just an occasional winter camper, pour non-toxic RV antifreeze in your tanks through the P-traps or toilet. This will keep the contents slushy. Some RVers recommend using rock-salt, but it can corrode metal parts in the gray and black plumbing systems.
2. Maintaining heat
Regardless of how well you seal up your windows and vents to keep out the cold, you will still need an adequate heat source to keep your RV from freezing up.
This is just one of the winter camping problems you’ll face. To overcome this, your built-in forced-air furnace should always be the primary source as the ducts are routed to keep the plumbing from freezing and keeping the occupants warm.
Further, a secondary option is oil-filled electric heaters. They emit a mild radiant heat, are essentially noise-free, and present little fire hazards.
How to find and prevent leaks in your RV is important any time of the year. But during winter it’s essential to keep yourself and your plumbing system warm by keeping the warm air in.
So, while leaks need to be detected (and fixed), you also need to increase insulation for winter camping. Windows, roof vents, and skylights are good places to start. The majority of RV windows are single-pane and many don’t seal well. One option is to install storm windows (if offered by the manufacturer).
Another solution is to insert heat shrink film on the insides of the windows. This is a clear film that you cut to size, stretch over your windows, and then heat shrink with a hairdryer. It’s available at most home improvement stores.
Roof vents and skylights are the next places to insulate. Most RV accessory stores sell RV vent cushions, which fit into standard roof vents. They can simply push up in place. For larger openings like skylights, vent cushions can be custom made to fit precise sizes.
4. Ensure a fresh water supply
Winter camping problems also extend to keeping a supply of fresh water. If you hook up to the campgrounds water spigot, you may freeze your hose.
To offset this, utilize an electrically-heated RV hose, which is basically a hose with built-in heat tape.
Another option is to leave a faucet dripping as moving water doesn’t easily freeze. If you do this, have your gray tank open or a significant gray tank capacity. Or, fill your freshwater tank and utilize your water pump.
When your fresh water tank runs dry, refill it with the campground spigot. Also, drain or store the water hose somewhere warm between tank fillings.
5. Getting your fridge to run properly
Who would think keeping food cold would be a problem when winter camping?
Two problems can possibly crop up. The first is the mixture of chemicals and fluids in the refrigerator’s cooling unit can start turning into a gel below 20° F. This slows down the recirculating and cooling process.
Another potential problem is the refrigerator thermostat sensor may sense cold air coming through the exterior refrigerator vents, rather than the cold air in the food box. This may cause the refrigerator to cycle-off.
So, to avoid these winter camping problems, block the first two or three top vent slots of the exterior refrigerator access door. This will keep cold air from the back of the refrigerator.
Don’t forget to remove the obstructions after your campout. For your refrigerator’s thermostat sensor, use a nonflammable material in the event it might come loose and contact the refrigerator burner or electric heating element.
Whether you are camping in a National Park or glamping at your favorite motorcoach resort, the words “no internet” can be as scary as an empty fresh water tank or dead batteries.
Even in places with the oft-used but less often implemented “free Wi-Fi”, sometimes the internet can be so slow that consulting your favorite app for a campground or a map to your next stop is impossible.
With a subscription to the RV Life mobile app, the lack of an internet connection is no longer a problem. You can download maps and campground details for the entire US, Canada, and Mexico, or just choose a few key states within your travel path. The RV Life app gives you the ability to explore those maps and campgrounds while offline with no internet connection.
Whether you are in Devils Tower Wyoming or Devils Playground in Utah, you can have access to the rich database of campgrounds backed by RV Life’s exclusive integration with RV Park Reviews.
If it’s your plans that move you or just warmer weather, you’ll have the freedom to find a new destination, wherever you are.
The offline map access is just one of many features in the RV Life app. You’ll find the option to Download Offline Content in the Account section of the RV Life app. Custom built for both IOS and Android separately, the RV Life app uses the natural feel of your device’s native operating system to give you a unique experience on either platform.
Navigate over to the Parks section and the RV Life app will show you a vast array of parks and campgrounds. Too many choices? Narrow down your campground selection by tapping the Filters button and selecting the features that are important to you.
Whether you are looking for those rustic state and National Park sites, or the 50-amp big rig locations with full amenities, the choice is yours with RV Life’s flexible filtering options.
Tapping the green camper icons on the map will reveal a banner at the bottom of the screen with the name of the campground, distance from your current location, and its RV Park Reviews rating.
Just tap the banner for a detailed review of the campground. You’ll also find the address, phone number, and directions to the campground or park you have chosen.
The RV Life app gives you the ability to view maps and campground details on your mobile device, while offline without internet. Subscribe today. Watch for more articles in our RV Life feature series.
One hundred years ago, the major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. A year later on the first Armistice Day, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to the American People which in part said,
“To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.”
Since that first address in 1919, America and other countries have remembered those who have served in the armed forces via Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, and since 1954, Veterans Day. RVers owe the freedom we enjoy today to those that fought to keep America free.
In some ways, we also owe it to Veterans for the rise of the RV industry as it was G.I.s returning from World War II looking for time away with their family that drove the growth of trailers and truck camper manufacturers in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
I am thankful for those that have served this great country and I hope those of you reading this are too. Many of the fifty states that comprise the United States also wish to thank vets and/or disabled vets by offering them special camping rates to state-operated campgrounds.
By clicking here you can view an alphabetical listing of all fifty states to see what discounts, if any, are offered to veterans or the disabled and what the requirements are to receive the discount.
Are you an RVer who served in the armed forces? Please share what branch you served in and where you served. Thank you for your heroism, service, and sacrifice.
RVing in the home of the brave and land of the free, one of the best adventures in RVing!
What fun is going camping if there is nothing to do in the area? If you are camped at Montana’s Pine Creek Campground, you won’t have to go far to experience one of the most scenic waterfalls in the area.
Pine Creek Falls is just over a mile upstream from the campground via an easy and well-maintained trail. Elevation gain from the trailhead to the falls is only about 400 feet, which is doable for most anyone in the RV.
You will find the well-signed trailhead on the east end of the campground. From the trailhead, proceed southeast into the canyon entering the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness after about a third of a mile.
While the sign at the trailhead lists the falls at only a mile, up the trail those tracking their progress via GPS or an activity app will find they traveled closer to 1.25 miles before reaching the falls. Upon reaching the falls, be ready to enjoy a cool mist from the water crashing down from above.
For a great view, step onto the single log bridge spanning the creek below the falls with a railing screwed to the upstream side for support. If you’re lucky enough to visit in the spring or early summer, avoid the urge to head back as during periods of high runoff the falls split into two parts, with a second fall crashing down through the back side of the rocks around the corner after crossing the bridge.
Those looking to expend additional energy may consider continuing up the trail to Pine Creek Lake, which is listed as 5 miles from the trailhead. If you choose to camp at Pine Creek Campground and need something to do another day, consider hiking to George Lake which is accessed via the same trailhead out of the campground.
How to reach Pine Creek Falls
Pine Creek Falls and its campground lie about 10 air miles south of Livingston. You will find the turn off from Montana Highway 540 onto Luccock Park Road, which leads east 2.5 miles to the Pine Creek Campground and the trailhead to the falls at: N45° 29.844 W110° 34.190
The road to the campground and falls is single lane for most of the way, contains one sharp turn before you start up a medium grade, and has one switchback along the way. If you are uncomfortable driving this type of road with your RV, consider dropping your RV in the large pull-off just south of the intersection of Highway 540 and Luccock Park Road and proceed with your dinghy or tow vehicle.
Parking is limited at the trailhead, so plan on dropping your RV at the bottom of the hill and use your tow vehicle or dinghy to access the trailhead if you don’t plan to camp in the area.
Click here for information on Pine Creek Campground. You can also see what other RVers said about the campground on RV Park Reviews. If you are uncomfortable driving the road to the campground with your RV, you may consider camping at nearby Loch Leven (FAS) Fishing Access Site.
Currently, there is no day use fee or pass required to park at the trailhead.
Campgrounds with a gorgeous waterfall nearby to explore, just another fun adventure in RVing!
If your travels take you through Glendive, Montana in the eastern part of the state, take some time to explore this geographically diverse area of the country.
Located about 40 minutes from the North Dakota border off of Interstate 94, Glendive will appeal to hikers, photographers, history buffs, and golfers, too.
You’ll have to endure a few days of dry camping if you stay at Makoshika State Park, but it is well worth the minor inconvenience. There are 15 sites available at Makoshika, which is the largest of Montana’s 55 state parks.
Featuring incredible badlands formations and the fossil remains of Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops, history and paleontology buffs can spend weeks exploring this picturesque area. You can find the visitor’s center at the entrance to the park; kids will enjoy the interpretive exhibits. Before venturing out into the park, this is a great place to get some background details and history about the park.
If after visiting Makoshika State Park and you still haven’t had enough dinosaurs, head to the Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum. Featuring 24 full-size dinosaurs and numerous singular fossils, Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum is impressive in its authenticity.
The Frontier Gateway Museum in Glendive also gives a great overview of life as it was and is. The museum covers prehistoric times right on through to the 21st century. Major displays in the main building include fossils, Native American artifacts, homesteaders, cattlemen, settlers, and the railroad.
Opened in 1962, the 9-hole, par 36 Cottonwood Country Club in Glendive measures 3,163 yards from the tips. Available to members and the general public, Cottonwood is always in immaculate shape and features mature cottonwood trees, challenging elevation changes, and undulating greens.
In addition to the golf course, facilities include a driving range, practice green, pro shop, patio for dining and viewing the course, and a fully-stocked lounge.
Hiking can be the perfect way to spend a day outside of the RV, but only if you pack enough food to sustain you. We all know the pains of packing lunches—you’ve probably either packed your own lunch for a day at work, or you’ve made school lunches for your kids.
It’s amazing how a newly-stocked refrigerator can turn into “nothing to eat” when you don’t feel like doing meal prep.
Luckily, it is possible to combine some of the ingredients you already have into a few hike-friendly paper sack lunches. Just throw a few key items together and you’re good to go.
1. Mediterranean Meal
Tired of boring sandwiches and salads? Spice up your sack lunches with pita and hummus. Add slices of carrot and cucumber for a nonperishable pita sandwich, then throw it all in a paper bag with a cup of yogurt and some ripe cherry tomatoes.
Yogurt contains probiotics that keep it safe to eat, even when not refrigerated, and tomatoes include essential antioxidants that have been proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Add some string cheese for a high-calcium snack that can strengthen bones. Not only will your lunches be healthy and nourishing, but they’ll also give you a break from PB&J.
2. Superfood Sack
For days when you’re planning to tackle a mountain or push your limits, pack a lunch that will keep you going. Whip up some no-bake energy bites from dried fruit, nuts, and chia seeds.
Pack some crackers and cheddar, which can last several days without refrigeration. Throw a bag of beef jerky in your backpack for extra protein, and bring along a bottle of green juice (buy it from the store or make your own). Nothing will give you more stamina then eating a balanced meal chock-full of superfood nutrients.
3. Protein Pack
If you’re in a rush and need to throw together a healthy sack lunch, either cut carrots into thin strips or opt for baby carrots. Grab a small packet of trail mix for a protein boost (but take it easy on the M&Ms).
Nuts are one of the best nonperishable sources of protein. Roll up peanut butter, honey, and slices of banana in a flour tortilla. This saves room and won’t become smashed in the bottom of your pack like a sandwich will.
Bananas contain potassium, which can help prevent muscle cramps while hiking and lower blood pressure. Gather it all in a paper bag and enjoy a protein-filled lunch break.
4. Lazy Lunch
For those sweltering summer days when you don’t feel like packing lunches, save yourself some effort and use prepackaged items. Just be sure to collect all the trash from your meal! Pack crackers of your choice with small packets of nut butter and jelly.
You might want to bring a butter knife to make on-the-spot assembly easier. Pack refreshing foods, such as sliced cucumber, to make trekking in the heat more bearable.
A helpful tip is to stick some grapes in the freezer the night before, then let them thaw in your pack. Voilà! Crisp, cold, fruity snacks! For a special treat, indulge in a few pretzel sticks dipped in Nutella.
Most stores sell these together in single-serving packets. It’s okay to let yourself off the hook every once in a while and pack lunches that require very little effort.
5. South-of-the-Border Snack Bag
Add a little Latin flair to your sack lunch with a classic bean and cheese burrito. Wrap it in foil and roast it over your morning campfire to melt the cheese, then pop it in your paper sack.
Add some crackers and slices of avocado if possible, especially if you’re camping on the West Coast. Fill a small bag with frozen corn and let it thaw while you hike for a cool and refreshing snack.
Pack in the antioxidants with a Ziploc bag fruit salad. Just throw some fruits or berries in a bag and drizzle with lemon juice to keep the freshness. Mango, pineapple, and watermelon make for a delicious, Latin-inspired combination.
If you’re in the mood for a spicy treat, add a dash of chili pepper. With a sack meal this enticing, you’ll hardly be able to wait until lunchtime.
One of the most important ways to prepare for a hike is to bring enough food to keep you going. No one wants to pass out from hunger in the middle of the woods. Pack any of these easy sack lunches with ingredients in your RV and stay energized on the trail. Bon appétit!