By nature, motorhome owners are adventurers. Near or far, the journey is just as important as the destination, and you never know what awaits you when you arrive. Each year is a new opportunity to make brand new memories in your RV — so why not make 2020 the most memorable yet? Here are 20 wow-worthy destinations to consider (in no particular order) when you’re planning the coming year of travel.
1. Albuquerque, New Mexico’s International Balloon Fiesta
Each year in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the first two weeks of October, if you look up, instead of seeing clouds, you’ll see close to 600 magically colorful, uniquely designed hot air balloons painting the sky. Last year, over 800,000 people traveled from all over to see more than 100 specially shaped balloons, representing over 17 different countries. The festival hosts a myriad of entertaining events, such as live music, fireworks, shopping, and food from over 40 vendors. There are a variety of ways to stay in the area, including on-site glamping, or if you want to be in the middle of the action, the Fiesta Grounds allow for RV camping during the fiesta. Depending on the location you choose on the grounds, prices range from $40 to $250 per night. Reservations fill up quickly, and there will be a waitlist, but it’s worth getting on.
2. Washington State’s Chinook Scenic Byway
Referred to as Washington’s Most Scenic Byway, Chinook Scenic Byway will take you from the glacier-fed White River Valley up to 5,430-foot Chinook Pass. Travel through the highest volcanic peak in the U.S., Mount Rainier, and visit the Mount Rainier National Park along with the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Then whiz your way through river canyons and experience what was once the site of the world’s largest known outpouring of lava, the Columbia Plateau. Travelers recommend starting in Enumclaw and making your way to Naches and ending the trek in the Umtanum Canyon along the Yakima River Canyon, which is RV-friendly with electrical hookups and offers tons of outdoor recreation. The scenery you’ll see along the way is stunning, including waterfalls, lakes, meadows, and rocky ridges. Don’t forget to stop along the way to take part in the local events and recreation the byway has to offer all year long.
3. Tennessee & Mississippi’s Natchez Trace Parkways
Take in the Southern sights and sounds of 440 miles of scenic highway from Nashville, Tennessee, to Natchez, Mississippi, from the comfort of your home on wheels. Stop in for a hike to Jackson Falls at milepost 404.7 and have a picnic at the trailhead. There are three campsites that allow RVs along the parkways, Rocky Springs, Jeff Busby Park, and Meriwether Lewis. And if you happen to be driving down the parkways in the first week of August, don’t miss the world’s longest yard sale — the 127 Yard Sale spans 690 miles and six states.
4. Door County, Wisconsin
People don’t just travel to Wisconsin for the cheese. Although, Door County is quite famous for their cheese factories. This region of “Dairyland” is actually a peninsula, and it offers seasonal sights and recreation fit for a movie backdrop. The country puts on festivals all year long — centered around music, food, and holidays. In the winter, you’ll find locals and tourists alike outdoors, snowshoeing, skiing, and snowmobiling. Indoors, visitors explore wineries, and breweries offer tastings and tours. And in the summers, people flood the outdoors to fish, hike, and boat; explore shipwrecks, Belgian chapels, and lighthouses; or just lounge along the picture-perfect beaches along Lake Michigan. There are a litany of campgrounds and RV resorts in the region, and if you enjoy supper clubs, you’re in for a treat. Check out The English Inn. For a view of the water, try Donny's Glidden Lodge Restaurant, and for a delicious steak, try The Nightingale Supper Club in Sturgeon Bay.
5. Great River Road, Wisconsin
If you haven’t had enough of Dairyland after tasting the local fare and exploring the views of charming lighthouses in Door County, travel just a few hours west to the Great River Road along the mighty Mississippi River. It’s been deemed a National Scenic Byway by the Federal Highway Administration for good reason. The popular trek begins in Prescott and ends in Potosi, where you can stop in to enjoy small-town cafes and local wineries, shop in Stockholm, visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Pepin, board a paddleboat river cruise for a romantic dinner out or explore a wildlife refuge in La Crosse, and wander through a historic mansion in Prairie du Chien. Here are four popular RV campsites along the river to check out, but you’ll want to be sure to call ahead to check on availability by season for each campground, as the Wisconsin weather does affect when these locations are open.
6. Port Huron, Michigan
Known as the Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes, Port Huron, Michigan, isn’t just known for its unique sights and waterways; it’s also steeped in history. When you arrive, pick a campsite, and set off to take a tour of the Thomas Edison Depot Museum to see what its namesake’s interesting life entailed while he resided in Port Huron. Then track down Michigan’s oldest working lighthouse and take a walk through the port’s downtown streets lined with brick storefronts, specialty coffee shops, and casual dining. And if you want to continue your journey, take one of the Blue Water Bridges all the way to Ontario, Canada. Speaking of Canada…
7. Vancouver Island, Canada
The ocean is strong. So strong, in fact, that it slowly carved out what Vancouver Island is today. The island is a piece of nature’s finest art, and its inhabitants include the likes of orca whales, black bears, and many other mammals and sea creatures you’ve probably never seen before. After you marvel at nature’s beauty, escape to artsy shops and enjoy multicultural dining across the many cozy towns in the area. If you need to relax, visit a spa or hike through some of the most beautiful trails Canada has to offer. And if you enjoy golf, book a round at one of the many unforgettable courses.
8. Yukon, Canada's Dempster Highway
If you’re up for an adventure this year, make the journey over to the Dempster Highway in Yukon. The 24-hour sunlight may take some getting used to, but at least there’s no chance of missing the incredible mix of wildlife outside the windows of your RV. This region of Alaska and Canada is off the beaten path, winding through mountain ranges and some unpaved roads, so this trip is best suited for a veteran RVer. Start in Dawson City, and work your way towards the Arctic Circle. Yes, we said the Arctic Circle. Once you’re approaching the city of Inuvik, there aren’t many places to camp out with your RV, so call ahead to the Eagle Plains Hotel and Service Station to be sure they have sites available. The contact number is (867) 993-2453. The stay there will be fairly primitive, with no wifi (bring a map) and spotty cell service, but the beauty you’ll experience on your way to the final destination will be worth it.
9. Florida Keys Overseas Highway
If you’ve been dying to get to southern Florida, the Overseas Highway is the route you want to take. The highway leads its travelers over 42 bridges and 113 miles of ocean, scenic forests, and marshes from Miami to Key West, starting with Key Largo. Along the way, stop in and enjoy the outdoors at the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail Park. It’s RV-friendly, so you can stay the night, but make reservations in advance.
10. New Hampshire’s White Mountains
Peak foliage in New Hampshire’s White Mountains is in early October, so traveling there in the fall promises to be a truly beautiful experience. Head over to Mount Washington Cog Railway for phenomenal views. And be sure to take the Kancamagus Highway — known as New England’s prettiest drive — through the mountains into the White Mountains National Forest. There’s a lengthy list of full hook-up campgrounds in the area to choose from with gorgeous river and mountain views.
11. Maine’s Acadia National Park
The three most popular regions of the Acadia National Park are the Acadia Region, the Winter Harbor on the Schoodic Peninsula, and most notable of the three — Bar Harbor, located on Mount Desert Island. Although small, this 10,000-person resort island is the second-largest island off the coast of Maine. Naturally, it’s famous for its deliciously fresh lobster, picturesque views, and outdoor activities and is home to some lovely RV resorts. Some of which even have heated pools, public beaches, and simultaneous water and mountain views.
12. Arkansas’ Hot Springs
Hot Springs, Arkansas, is a resort town located in one of the largest and oldest mountain ranges in the U.S., the Ouachita Mountains in western Arkansas. The city itself is home to several natural hot springs, including the Hot Springs National Park, where you can hike out to natural springs to enjoy one of nature’s true gifts to humanity. Find the right spot to park your motorhome, and enjoy as much of this magical town as you can.
13. Arkansas' Ozark National Forest
Once you’ve relaxed and bathed in the natural hot springs of Hot Springs, Arkansas, head northwest to the Ozark National Forest for a whole different kind of outdoor adventure. The forest is 1.2 million acres covering 16 different counties. There are campgrounds smattered throughout, so whether you want a view of the Shores Lake, the sounds and mist of waterfalls nearby, or the shade and the ethereal fog of the forest around you, you have your pick.
14. California’s Wine Country
The West Coast has everything — water, mountain views, perfect weather, and most importantly, wine country. Just on the north end of wine country in California, you’ll find Calistoga. Take in the views of Mt. Saint Helena and the Palisades, visit any of the several hot springs resorts in the area, or drive over to the quaint, charming downtown scene to shop and grab a bite to eat. Plus, it’s home to the delightful Calistoga RV Park. And did we mention there’s a nine-hole golf course next door?
15. Gainesville, Florida's Ginnie Springs
Ginnie Springs is one of Florida’s clearest springs. You can relax on nature’s lazy river — the Sante Fe River — by tube or take out a kayak or canoe for some sight seeing or fishing. Or, explore caverns, snorkel, and relax in the cool, crystal clear water. Peak season at Ginnie Springs is March through September, and there are a litany of campgrounds to choose from.
16. Boone, North Carolina
If you’ve never experienced the Appalachian Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway, 2020 is the year to change that. Boone, North Carolina, is a highly underrated and absolutely breathtaking mountain town laced with art, waterfalls, hippies, and wildlife. The North Carolina climate provides the perfect scenery for every season of the year — in the winter, you’ll see snow-capped mountains in every direction, but in the summer, enjoy the warm sun streaming in between the trees along a stream or waterfall, and cozy up for a bon fire on cool nights. The local culture supports a wide variety of vendors at local farmers markets, and thanks to the local college crowd at Appalachian State University, there are plenty of pubs and breweries around. Check out all the campgrounds in the area.
17. Dauphin Island, Alabama
Beach living doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Visit Dauphin Island’s white sandy beaches to do some bird watching, enjoy some fresh seafood at a local joint, meander along the countless boardwalks, or simply enjoy the smell of the fresh Gulf Coast ocean air from the comfort of your RV patio. There are several affordable campgrounds to choose from with great amenities just steps away from the sand and the ocean.
18. Crested Butte, Colorado
Have an RV that can travel through some twisty-turns of the Rocky Mountains? Perfect. Crested Butte is calling your name. In the winters, the ski slopes are filled with downhill skiers, and in the summers, you can take a scenic ride up the ski lift to the summit or attend one of the many colorful festivals the town puts on each year. Elk Avenue is a popular street to explore, with old-timey storefronts and breathtaking mountain views — the perfect place to go for a stroll. And even if you don’t have a Class B or Class C RV, there are RV Resorts in the area that welcome big rigs as well.
19. Colorado's Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
If you need an excuse to visit Colorado (besides Crested Butte), find out if your favorite band is playing in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. According to patrons, the views are stunning, and the acoustics and experience of seeing live music under the night stars is truly priceless. The Red Rocks website has a full list of options for RV camping, along with the many other attractions you’ll want to hit in Colorado Springs.
20. New York’s Finger Lakes Wine Country
Sight-seeing along the Finger Lakes region of New York is reason enough to travel there. Tack on the winery trails, local breweries and artisan markets, incredible food, boating, and friendly people and you may decide to stay forever. The region attracts a variety of woodworking and pottery artisans who sell their pieces in small local shops, and you won’t want to pass up an opportunity to tour The Corning Museum of Glass and take a glass-making workshop! The Finger Lakes Wine Country will not disappoint.