Things to Consider Before Buying an RV

Whether you are brand-new to the RVing scene or know the ropes like the back of your hand, it is always smart to research what goes into buying an RV before making the purchase. How many people will you be accommodating regularly? How often will you use the vehicle? Are you buying new or pre-owned? Don’t worry, several people are asking the same questions and we are here to help you find the answers!

Where To Start?

As you begin the RV purchasing process, you should be thinking specifically about the amenities and features that will fit your camping style. How will you be utilizing your RV? If you plan to live full-time in your RV or camp seasonally, you might find a Destination Trailer more suitable as they are taller, heavier, and more homelike than other models. Think about where you desire to travel and what types of adventures you want to take. Before visiting the dealership, make a checklist of the necessities you are looking for in an RV. For instance, you might want a unit with a full stove, air conditioning for camping in those warmer months, or perhaps extra storage space for your adventure gear. Having an estimate of how many people you will be traveling with on a regular basis is also key.
You will also need to determine if you are wanting a motorized vehicle or a towable trailer. Motorhomes, Class A, Class B, and Class C variations, are equipped with their own engines allowing for the best drivability and comfortable travel but do come at a higher price point. When purchasing a towable RV, you will need to identify if you have the necessary vehicle to tow your purchase. Travel trailers are able to be towed by most midsize cars, vans, and SUVs. A fifth wheel, which is often amongst the largest towable RVs, requires a pickup truck as they connect to the bed of the truck for maximum stability. Pop-up campers are an affordable, easy-to-tow option that gives campers modern amenities and a unique experience.

New or Pre-Owned?

After identifying the RV type that is right for you, you will also want to consider if you are buying a new or used unit. The condition of the recreational vehicle you purchase could be heavily dependent on your price range as pre-owned inventory typically comes at a lower price tag. However, a new RV will have the most up-to-date features available on the market today and no mileage or previous service history to worry about.
Prices for brand new RVs vary from region to region and change with consumer-chosen amenities and dealer-related fees. Most manufacturers will provide an MSRP sheet. MSRP stands for, “manufacturer’s suggested retail price,” which is often also referred to as the factory window sticker. These sheets include each standard and optional item included in that particular unit allowing you to compare apples to apples. Shopping for used RVs can potentially lower the price tag a considerable amount. Before shopping, check out NADA Guides to verify the current market value of the options you are exploring.

Added and Unforeseen Costs?

RVs require annual maintenance to keep things running smoothly, just like a car. RVs require annual maintenance to keep running smoothly and there may be additional unforeseen service and repair expenses. You also have to consider where you will park it during the off-season, such as a storage facility to keep your investment protected, and how much it costs to park at RV parks and campgrounds while you are traveling. We would also encourage you to purchase RV insurance for your recreational vehicle to protect you in the circumstance that your RV is damaged or is at a total loss. These are just a few of the additional costs that you should consider before purchasing a new or used RV for your adventures.

Is Financing an Option?

Purchasing an RV is a large investment. If you are purchasing your first RV, the number of loan options and additional requirements might seem daunting and overwhelming. Luckily when you purchase with a ROUTE 66 RV Network Dealer, experienced and knowledgeable professionals can make the process easier for you. Our network has connections with top RV lenders allowing you as the purchaser to be confident you are getting the most competitive interest rates. Before purchasing an RV, make sure you ask about financing options to maximize your purchase!

Your local ROUTE 66 RV Network Dealer can help you find the perfect RV for your camping needs and lifestyle. Visit an independently-owned RV dealership near you today to begin the RV purchasing process.

10 Stops Along Route 66 in Texas

A cross-country road trip wouldn’t be complete without going through the great state of Texas. There are several unique stops along the U.S. Hwy Route 66 tucked away from the major Texas cities that will take your breath away. Here is a list of sights to see in the Lone Star State, and don’t forget to stop in Amarillo for the 72oz steak challenge!

Route 66 Midpoint

If you are traveling Route 66 from east to west, the “geo-mathematical” Midpoint of Route 66 will be marked by a sign on your right, across from the Midpoint Cafe. This cafe is one of the oldest continually-operating cafes on Route 66. Besides being a great photo opportunity, travelers will find that Adrian, Texas is also a great place to stop and stretch their legs.

Leaning Water Tower

This landmark used to be a functioning water tower and was scheduled for demolition until a man by the name of Ralph Britten purchased and moved it to serve as a sign for his truck stop and tourist information center. This leaning water tower remains a popular photo attraction and doubles as a unique Christmas tree for the town of Groom topping the tower with a large, colored star each holiday season.

The Giant Cross

This 190-foot-tall cross in Groom, Texas is visible up to twenty miles away. The base is surrounded by life-size statues of the 14 Stations of the Cross. From the base to the top this massive structure is 19 stories high up from the Texas Panhandle and the landscape is kept flat and empty like unleavened bread and the tomb. Near the statues, you will also find the Empty Tomb and a full-size replica of the Shroud of Turin, which is only one of seven in the world. Make sure to stop when you see this giant cross down Route 66!

The Conoco Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Cafe

Built in 1936, Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Cafe is one of the most iconic and beautiful buildings along historic Route 66. This Art Deco landmark has a 100-foot tower that is lit by a series of colorful lights. The lights used to be neon but were damaged by a storm leading them to be replaced with LEDs. It is now a museum of its own history and still gives the authentic appearance of a working 1940 gas station.

Cadillac Ranch

These ten up-ended Cadillacs have popped up in several music videos and TV shows such as the video for “Living in America” by James Brown and in the movie Cars but disguised as “Cadillac Range”. These cars have spent longer being buried nose down into the dirt longer than they spent driving down the road!

VW Slug Bug Ranch

Here in Conway, Texas, you will find the VW Slug Bug Ranch. These five Volkswagen Beetles are placed nose down into the ground, just like at Cadillac Ranch. Visitors are encouraged to spray paint the vehicles to leave their mark.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Just a little bit further out of the way, is a must-visit scenic attraction: Palo Duro Canyon State Park. This park covers over 25,000 acres and offers cabins, camping, riding stables, picnic areas, and miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Visit to walk the same trails used by Native Americans, early Spanish explorers, buffalo hunters and pioneers.

The Devil’s Rope and Route 66 Museum

These two museums share the same building in McLean, Texas making it an extra convenient stop for visitors. Devil’s rope, more commonly known as barbed wire, holds a lot more importance in American history and development than one might think. Without it, the expansion of cattle ranching in Texas wouldn’t have been possible. Within the Route 66 Museum, visitors will explore more than 700 artifacts relating to U.S. Highway 66.

The Big Texan Steak Ranch

The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas is a western-inspired motel and restaurant. The Texan style shines through with white streak limos featuring huge longhorn hood ornaments parked right outside. They serve massive portions and even have their own shooting range! It is a great family-friendly place to visit and a fun night out for all. If you are feeling ambitious, take a shot at their famous 72oz steak challenge.

The Galleries at Sunset Center

The art galleries at the Sunset Center are like nothing you have ever seen before featuring a collection of art from over a hundred artists. This place is a visual and ecological paradise featuring outdoor sculpture gardens. The center conducts First Friday Art Walks on the first Friday of each month between 5 pm and 9 pm.

A Guide to Respecting Our National Parks

Millions of people visit the National Parks every year, but with this many people visiting you should be aware of how to preserve the environment for future visitors. Following these simple do’s and don’ts will help you stay safe, respect other visitors and keep the parks beautiful for several years to come. Read on to learn more about our duty and responsibility as visitors of the National Parks.

Leave No Trace

This is one of the most common rules you will hear when visiting any of the National Parks. The saying is, “Leave only footprints, take only pictures”. Sometimes you might stumble across a gorgeous wildflower, a set of antlers or an arrowhead, but removing these things is prohibited. When traveling with kids you might find that they sneak an extra “souvenir” into their pockets. If you discover they took something from the park you are visiting, it is vital that you return the item back to the park service team. Before exiting the park, make sure that all of your trash is deposited in its respective bin. A great tip for minimizing the risk of leaving trash behind is to pack food and snacks in reusable containers.

Come Prepared

The number one thing you absolutely need to pack with you when going out on the trails for a hike is water. You would be surprised by the number of people who forget to pack water with them when going on hikes, even when visiting National Parks within desert regions! Proper footwear is another essential item to remember. You never know what might happen while on the trail so wearing protective footwear is vital. Some additional items to remember to pack when visiting a National Park include extra food, a map or GPS, rain gear, a first aid kit, a knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, a backpack, and various safety items.

No Smoking on the Trails

Smoking is prohibited on all trails at any of the National Parks. Visitors of the park come to enjoy a breath of fresh air while enjoying nature, not to smell and breathe secondhand smoke. Plus, smoking is a major fire hazard. Always remember to follow the wise words of Smokey the Bear, “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires!” Together we can protect, maintain and keep these parks flourishing. 

Don’t Feed the Wildlife

Animals are adorable, but feeding them is not a smart idea as it can cause serious health problems and is prohibited within the National Parks. Feeding the park’s wildlife also causes them to lose their fear of humans which in turn compromises the safety of both humans and animals. Regulations on the best way to store your food differ for each park, so make sure to check out each park’s guidelines before you embark on your adventure.

Please No Drones

Drones can get great images of the landscape from an aerial view, but the National Park Service banned these devices back in 2014. Many people find the buzzing annoying, and you can imagine how they affect the various wildlife. Violating the ban on drones in National Parks not only disrupts other visitors but is a misdemeanor resulting in up to six months in prison and fines up to $5,000.

Don’t Veer Off Path

Hiking etiquette is super important! Collectively, the National Parks have thousands of miles of marked hiking trails, and Yellowstone alone has over 900 miles of trails to explore. With that many trails, no one should have a need to veer off the designated trail. Going off the marked path can be dangerous to you and to the environment. For instance, some parks have fungus that can spread vastly if you go off the trail into other areas of the park. Remember to follow the common saying, “Forests Grow by the Inch and Die by the Foot.”

Have Fun!

Although it sounds a bit cheesy, just get outside and have fun! The National Parks are beautiful places to explore and hold many unique stories, treasures, and recreational opportunities within each one. Having been preserved for so many years, they continue to bring joy and wonder to each person that enters them. The time is now to hit the road and find out what each National Park has to offer!

10 Must See Stops Along Route 66 in California

The golden state of California may be best known for pretty beaches and movie stars, but did you know that along this state’s strip of Route 66 lies some of the oldest, most historic, and wondrous destinations? California is the last stop when traveling east to west along Route 66, so before you end your road trip be sure to check out one of these ten stops.

Bottle Tree Ranch

Located in Helendale, California, Bottle Tree Ranch combines a mixture of “bottle trees”, old road signs, broken rifles, retro toys and more. This attraction is sure to provide a quirky, yet memorable experience to kids and adults alike. This spot is open from dawn until dusk, and donations are welcomed at entry. Come stretch your legs and take a picture of one of the many tree-shaped sculptures made from glass bottles and vintage items.

Calico Ghost Town

Calico produced over $20 million in silver ore from their 500 mines in a 12 year time period. However, the town lost its population when silver’s value declined in the 1890s. When the miners left and abandoned this area, this town became a “ghost town.”  Today Calico Ghost Town features mine tours, gunfight stunt shows, gold panning, the Calico & Odessa Railroad and various merchandise stores.

Amboy Crater

This Amboy Crater is an extinct volcano located 1.5 miles south of Route 66 near the town of Amboy. This volcano is roughly 79,000 years old and its last eruption was about 10,000 years ago. The drive to this spot is absolutely astonishing and offers some of the most amazing scenery. Make sure to bring a camera because the sunsets here are some of the best!

Hollywood

Hollywood has a lot to offer, but when visiting this famous city, be sure to check out Kodak Theatre, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the iconic Hollywood sign, and the many stars along the walk of fame. Although this area is known for being very touristy, it is easily made justifiable by the amount of things to do, places to see and attractions nearby. If spotting celebrities, joining a guided bus tour of movie stars’ homes or touring
Warner Bros Studios interests you, this stop is for you!

Galco’s Old World Grocery

This attraction is dedicated to the art of soda pop and supporting the various small businesses behind each bubbly bottle. Galco’s Soda Pop Stop features over 700 flavors of pop at its Los Angeles storefront and nationwide thanks to its online shop. There is a rainbow of soda colors, and most of them are in glass bottles.

Wigwam Motel

Built in 1949, this motel is the final of seven Wigwam Motels originally constructed and one of the only three still in existence. This friendly motel features 19 refurbished wigwams, renovated by the Patel family, who were awarded the National Historic Route 66 Federation’s 2005 Cyrus Avery Award due to their efforts in the restoration of this landmark. It is a great example of Americana and makes for the perfect stay in San Bernardino, California.

Original McDonald’s Museum

This McDonald’s restaurant opened in 1940 and changed the face of fast food forever. The location is packed with original menus, news articles and memorabilia. The museum does a wonderful job at documenting the history of such an iconic and loved restaurant. There are also exhibits that represent all corners of the world, displaying thousands of items such as Happy Meal toys and historical artifacts.

Cucamonga Service Station

The Cucamonga Service Station is a historic gas and automobile service station built in 1915 located in Rancho Cucamonga. After closing in the 1970s, it was renovated and reopened as a museum in 2015, making it a worthwhile visit for those who want to get a sense of how much times have changed in the last 100 years. Gas stations definitely aren’t like this anymore!

Route 66 “Mother Road” Museum

This museum is ranked #1 of 17 things to do in Barstow, California. It is home to a large collection of historical artifacts of the “Mother Road” Route 66 and the Mojave Desert communities. Be sure to check out the retro jukebox and gift shop filled with books, DVDs and a wide selection of gifts.

Santa Monica Pier

Where is Route 66 in California? In 2009, the Route 66 Alliance and the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation came together and decided that the end of the iconic pier would be the western terminus of Route 66. It is now marked by a sign that says, “The End of the Trail”, and is a very popular photo location for travelers. This sign is actually a replica of the one that once stood on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Ocean Ave before its
mysterious disappearance 50 years ago.

10 Must See Stops on Route 66 in Arizona

Arizona boasts itself as one of the few states along the historic Route 66 that has several miles of the original roadbeds still open, and the traffic congestion is minimal! A majority of the cities along the way are small, but the largest stop is the city of Flagstaff which is home to roughly 72,000 residents. Check out these 10 fascinating stops that you can make when traveling Route 66 through Arizona!

Petrified Forest National Park

If you are traveling from the starting point in Illinois, the first stop you will want to take is at the Petrified Forest National Park within the Painted Desert. You and your family or friends can stroll through colored badlands that are dotted with logs from millions of years ago. If you are a fan of museums check out the Painted Desert Inn. It used to be a popular stopping point for Route 66 travelers but has since been converted into a museum. A few must-do things are hiking the Blue Mesa Trail, taking in the views at Tawa Point and visiting Newspaper Rock to observe over 600 ancient polygraphs. The Rainbow Forest contains the highest concentration of petrified wood and you will also find the Agate House here.

Little Painted Desert County Park

To get to this little park known as, Little Painted Desert County Park, you have to take a 15 minute detour that is well-worth your time. The Painted Desert is a large range of colorful badlands that go on for over 160 miles from the eastern end of the Grand Canyon to the Petrified Forest National Park. Unlike the Petrified Forest, this park offers a glimpse of this colorful landscape for free. Although there are no designated trails, visitors are free to explore and hike around the park.

Holbrook Wigwam Village Motel

The Wigwam Motels are a chain of motels that were constructed during the 1930s and 1940s. Vintage cars and cozy tipis are the highlights of these structures. Of the seven original locations, two were built along Route 66 in Holbrook and San Bernardino. These two locations and an additional one in Kentucky are the only three that remain and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Winslow

Do you love the popular Eagles song, “Take It Easy”? Well now you can be like the lyrics and stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona! This famous song is what helped put this old railroad town on the map and there is even a statue to commemorate the song. As you walk down the streets of this town you will feel like you were transported back in time while being in one of the most iconic stops of Route 66. There are several cafes lining the block, and if you want a sandwich and an old-fashioned malt make sure to stop by the Sipp Shoppe.

Two Guns

This is a fascinating yet tragic and obscure attraction along the Route 66 roadside. This ghost town is located at Canyon Diablo, which is the site of the Apache Death Cave. It is rumored that Billy the Kid also hid out in Canyon Diablo and that the money he stole during a train robbery is still buried somewhere within the canyon. When Route 66 began to boom, Two Guns became a popular trading post and the death cave was marketed as a tourist attraction by Harry Miller. As a town rumored to be haunted by ghosts, you won’t go without noticing the eerie feeling in the air while visiting here!

Meteor Crater

Here you will find the best preserved meteor impact site in the entire world. This crater was formed roughly 50,000 years ago and is nearly a mile wide. The discovery center is interactive and is packed with hands-on exhibits and loads of information, but the highlight is the observation deck that overlooks the crater. An interesting fact is that in the 1960s and 1970s, Apollo astronauts actually trained at this sight because of its similarity to lunar craters.

Flagstaff

Route 66 runs right through the heart of this town where lots of the nostalgia and charm has been preserved. At the visitor center you can pick up a map for a free Route 66 walking tour and a haunted historic Flagstaff walking tour. You will come across original diners, vintage motor lodges and murals that nod to the original road. As you explore the town you will find many Route 66 landmarks including the Western Hill Motel that looks just as it did when it first opened its doors in the 1950s. Stop by Miz Zips, serving pies since 1952, or if you are a lover of brunch and fun decor, head over to the Toasted Owl.

Williams

This is the last Route 66 town that was bypassed by I-40 leaving its main street filled with classic Route 66 souvenir shops, retro diners and neon signs. If you are hungry after a long day of traveling, grab a hearty American breakfast at Jeff’s Place at Goldie’s. While in Williams, make sure to check out Bearizona, which is a drive-through wild animal park. There is also a traditional zoo that you can walk through and see the different animal habitats. This town is also considered the gateway to the Grand Canyon, so if you have the time try spending a day there.

Seligman


Here you can find the Route 66 shield painted along an open stretch of road and see one of the cities that inspired the movie Cars. Radiator Springs was heavily influenced by various Route 66 towns, but particularly Seligman. If you are a fan of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, you can find one of the featured restaurants here, Roadkill Cafe. Guy Fieri enjoyed the “Buffalo Burger”, which is a very popular menu item for good reason!

Peach Springs

On your way to this town, stop by the Grand Canyon Caverns which are the largest dry caverns in the world. You can also dine 21 stories below the ground at the Caverns Grotto Restaurant. You can even stay at the Grand Canyon Caverns Suite which is the darkest, deepest and oldest motel room in the world. Peach Springs was previously one of the busiest cities along Route 66 between Flagstaff and Kingman. Two notable attractions here are the historic Peach Springs Trading Post and the preserved John Osterman Shell Station.

RVing with Kids Made Simple

Choose the Perfect Campground or RV Park

Not every RV park, resort or campground is created with kids in mind. When RVing with the entire family it is vital that you find a place that will accommodate your families needs and camping style. Before hitting the open road, make sure that you do your research on the different parks in the area you are traveling to. You can use apps and websites such as KOA to look up RV parks and read reviews. If you are a ROUTE 66/RV Care Promises member or a member of the RV Club, you can receive 10% off each night.* The best place for your entire family is going to have lots of space for your kids to run around and get their energy out. Plus being in a close proximity to fun activities or sites is a bonus!

Be Prepared for Rain

No matter how perfectly you plan your RV adventure, you can’t control the weather and unexpected rain can occur. Luckily you can plan for the unexpected! Packing card and board games, such as UNO or Monopoly, is always a great idea for entertaining your kids when stuck inside. Many people put a multiplayer game console in their RV which adds to the level of family fun during times like these.

Map Out Stops

RVs are big, especially in small parking lots. Before your trip, do some research on places that are easy to eat at when traveling in an RV. Truck stop gas stations are a great stop for when you are needing a quick pit stop to stock up on snacks. Many McDonald’s have RV parking and play areas for the kiddos which helps release their energy on longer travel days. Rest areas are another great spot to stop when traveling with your whole family since several have small walking trails.

Shorter Travel Days

You might love the excitement of road trips and cruising long open roads, but they can be hard for young adventurers. Long travel days can be extremely boring and uncomfortable for kids. To help keep your kids excited about the destination consider traveling in shorter periods of time such as 3-5 hours a day. Shorter travel days also allow for the driver to rest, and allows the passenger to provide everyone with snacks. Also make sure to add 10-15 minutes to each hour of travel for bathroom breaks.

Buckle Up

Don’t forget to buckle up! When traveling in a motorhome, your kids might have the urge to roam the cabin freely when traveling – this can be very dangerous. When the RV is moving, everyone should be seated and buckled up. Learn more about safety while traveling in an RV!

Have Fun!

Just like when you’re at home, sometimes things don’t go as planned. There might be more rainy days than sunny ones making your kids restless and no longer entertained by games like Uno or iSpy. Always remember that you are adventuring with your family! Make the most of every moment with keeping spirits light and happy and omitting the need for perfection. Remember to be patient and flexible with your time and always appreciate the time you are getting to spend surrounded by the people you love. RVing is about having fun and seeing nature in a whole new way!

50 Best Apps When Camping

As camping season arrives, the outdoors call your name. Preparing for camping trips never gets easier, especially when you and your family or friends are traveling to a new location. Trying to find a campground? Try out a campground or RV park locator app. Some people are looking to keep it simple while others want all the luxurious and homelike amenities possible. Others focus their vacations around places with great hiking trails and scenic views. If that is you, then you’ll find some awesome hiking and trail guide apps below.

We have compiled the 50 best RV camping apps for every adventurer, no matter your camping style or how you like to roll in the great outdoors. These digital camping tools can help you through a variety of situations or needs that you may come across while out on the open road. Make your camping trip easier by utilizing a RV travel app easily accessed by your iPhone or Android cell phone. Camping with your crew just became easier through iOS and android apps alike!

1. Route 66 RV Club

Route66Club_AppAs an RV Club member you have access to the Route 66 RV Club app providing all your membership benefits and information at the palm of your hand. You can easily locate a Route 66 RV Network Dealership for parts, accessories or to inquire about servicing your vehicle. As a non-member, you can still download the app for access to the dealership locator and information regarding the club programs and services. 

2. KOA

You can easily plan your perfect adventure and search through all of KOA’s campgrounds to find the one that meets your needs. Each campground has a detailed description, and you can get driving directions to those campsites. You can also find a list of local attractions and activities that you and the family will love. As a partner of the Route 66 RV Network, RV Club members get discounts at KOA campsites!

3. Roadtrippers

This app is perfect for planning any kind of trip from a traditional roadtrip or a camping excursion through National Parks. One of the best features of this app is the ability to easily download maps to use while offline, which comes in handy when you are navigating through areas that have little to no signal. When traveling through places such as Yellowstone, cell service is limited and you don’t want to miss the scenery because you’re staring down at a map, so an app like this is a great thing to download.

4. Hip Camp

This app is an absolutely fantastic tool for finding a campsite. HipCamp has several unique camping destinations and allows users to sort by specific features you want, such as campfires being allowed. Some of the unique sites they list include a llama farm, ranches and even secluded corners of people’s private property. It’s time to download this app and camp at a memorable campsite today.

5. Free Roam

If you are a detail-oriented person then you will love the camping app, FreeRoam. This app aids you in planning every aspect of your camping trip, like helping map out travel times to know what time is best to hit the road and planning where to stop along the way. Although you can’t book through the app, you can search for campgrounds in the area you are traveling to. This app is great for RVers because it includes mapping tools such as vehicle height.

6. Reserve America

If you are looking to find a campsite in a state park, a private campground or an RV park then the Reserve America app is perfect for you. When using their search feature, you can choose to add various filters such as Federal, County, State and Private camping sites.

7. The Dyrt

The Dyrt helps people like you find a campsite that fits how you like to camp. You can find options like cabins to tent sites to RV sites, all on this app. If you get the Pro version of the app you will also have access to discounts on gear, camping and features like downloadable maps.

8. Recreation.Gov

This is the app you will want to download if you are looking to book a campsite on federal land, like National Forests and National Parks. One tip when it comes to booking these sites is to check the app early. Several of these campsites book three to six months in advance depending on the popularity of the area you wish to stay in.

9. Campspot

This app makes camping so much easier! As a camper, Campspot does not charge any booking fees which is a great feature. They also guarantee the lowest pricing out there. When browsing availability on the app, you can filter by amenities, distance and park features. You might even be able to find some last minute openings for campsites near you.

10. PackPoint

What should you pack for your next camping trip or RV vacation? This app offers extensive categories for packing lists, which lets users customize their planning options based on things such as daily structure to location.

11. Tentrr

If bringing more household amenities to your camping experience is ideal, then Tentrr is the perfect app for you. This service provides pre-made glamping tents on more than 800 different private and public campsites. Users also have access to booking services such as saunas, massages and others that would be typically spotted at a luxury hotel. 

12. Boondocking

This app is specialized for people looking for free campsites without all the extra bells and whistles. It is perfect for fans of dispersed camping and users can search for hundreds of campsites with user-generated information to help guide you. Most of Boondocking’s campsite options don’t have electrical or sewage hookups for tents or RVs so make sure that you want a place that is more off-the-grid.

13. Campendium

This website and app allows you to search for free or paid campsites. Some of these campsites are pull-offs perfect for RVs, some are true campgrounds and some can be dispersed. You can utilize their search filters to narrow down what you are looking for and even read reports and reviews from other campers who have personally camped there. You can use most of the app’s essential features for free, but if you choose to upgrade you can get ad-free searching, map layers and cell service filtering as well.

14. Avenza Maps

This app allows you to easily access and download maps from official sites and sources. Some maps are free, like the majority of road use maps from the BLM and forest service, while other maps are considered premium and you have to pay to access them. However, the great thing about Avenza Maps is that it works in conjunction with your phone’s GPS tracking system to assist you in navigating your current location and also helps you find available dispersed camping.

15. Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS gives you the most accurate GPS and topographical information. There might be a little more digging involved in finding your perfect spot, but this is the most accurate and user-friendly app when it comes to land-use maps. If you choose to upgrade to the premium membership, you can access all maps offline and have access to layered premium maps. You can even access satellite view to get a better idea of what it looks like from above!

16. Harvest Hosts

This app is pretty cool! When you pay the reasonable yearly membership fee, you get unlimited free overnight stays at tons of sites across the U.S. These sites include everything from farms to golf courses to wineries. Depending on what level of membership you invest in, your vacations end up paying for the app itself in just a few nights.

17. iOverlander

This app is another great tool for searching for campsites. Once you are in the app, you can use the search through the map and add in the necessary filters for the type of site you are looking for. A great ease of use as little displays icons provide descriptions of the site when you click on them. You can also get real advice from people who have visited and utilized these sites, and sometimes you can even find reviews with images which aids you in finding the best spot.

18. AllStays

This app and website is an indispensable tool for RV owners. It allows you to sort through a large database of campground sites and other pieces of crucial information. If you are using the free version you can sort by filters like public lands, hookups, showers and more. If you choose to upgrade to AllStays Pro, you get access to additional features such as full-screen maps on the website, RV washes, additional dump locations and propane locations. 

19. WikiCamps

This is the best completely user-generated tool that is available to campers. This app takes information about campgrounds, dump stations, water taps and more all across the U.S., Canada, U.K and Australia and makes it accessible to consumers. There is also the option to download and access maps without an internet connection which is extremely valuable for off-grid adventures. 

20. All Trails

This app is perfect for those who love adventure. This app lets users discover over 200,000 hiking, mountain biking and backpacking trails all around the world. It also has detailed maps and descriptions of each trail which helps even seasoned outdoors people new places to explore.

21. NPS.Gov

The official National Parks Service app gives users easy access to all National Parks that have spaces for camping and holds a wide variety of information that is specific to each park that is under federal purview. This app doesn’t let you book sites directly through the app, but it does link directly to each park’s official website.

22. Sanidumps

Find an RV dump station near you quick and simple. This app shows dump stations located at campgrounds, state parks, national parks, provincial parks and military campgrounds. The dump stations listed are constantly updated so that you don’t have to worry about going to one that is out of service.

23. SAS Survival Guide

Even if it’s just a short weekend camping trip, it can come in handy to know some survival skills. This app gives you multiple different categories to choose from such as environments, food in the wild and first aid. You can find valuable information for almost anything you are wanting to learn about the basics of survival.

24. Spotify

Music is absolutely essential for road trips, hiking and camping. Spotify is one of the best apps for streaming music. You can create your own playlist or browse through playlists that have been curated by other users or by Spotify with music similar to what you usually listen to. Next time you break out the bluetooth speaker at a campfire, you won’t have to worry about boring music with Spotify!

25. State Lines

This app is perfect if you are needing answers to questions that involve specific states. There are over 50 pieces of travel information for each of the 50 states such as specific laws regarding RVs, open container laws and more.

26. Travel Altimeter Lite

Knowing what altitude you are at can be very important for your health and safety. You can easily get a quick and accurate measurement of your elevation with the Travel Altimeter Lite app.

27. Waze

The days of paper maps are nearly gone, so it is important to have a digital navigation app that you can trust and rely on. You can simply tell Waze where you are and where you want to go and you will receive real time navigation information including traffic levels and estimated time of arrival.

28. Weber Grill App

Planning recipes for your camping can be a stressful task at times. The Weber Grill App features over 70 recipes that you and your family or friends will love. Each week you will get new recipes and there are also plenty of grilling tips and ideas to help you get the most out of your grilling experience. The app also has a feature that allows you to create a grocery list and to tag all your family and friends.

29. Localeur

If you are a foodie then this app is definitely for you. This app helps you find the best local restaurants and places to visit that have been recommended by people that live in that specific city. You can easily tailor the trip to match your food taste and it’s a fun way to explore a new city.

30. InRoute

This app differs from Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps as additional route information is provided such as the weather, elevation, curviness and places along the route. It has a ton of additional features and information that don’t usually come with a traditional navigation app.

31. Audible

Sometimes listening to music during the entirety of a long road trip can get monotonous. Audible gives you access to hundreds of online audio books that are perfect for you and your families adventure. They have different genres and authors so you will definitely find something that peaks your interest.

32. Skyview Lite

If you love the night sky and the constellations, then this app is perfect for you. SkyView Lite brings stargazing to everyone wherever you are. Use your camera to accurately spot and identify various celestial objects in the night sky. Easily scan across the sky and discover distant galaxies, satellite fly-bys and find all your favorite constellations. 

33. First Aid American Red Cross

Sometimes unexpected injuries occur when you and your family are out camping. The American Red cross app gives you access to expert advice right in the palm of your hand. You can find information that you need to know about most common first aid emergencies. There are also videos, quizzes and pieces of step-by-step advice. Even if you don’t have an internet connection, you can access all of these features instantly.

34. RV Parky

RV Parky is a directory that was built by a full time RVer to help others on the road. Users can find over 25,000 listings of campgrounds, RV parks, rest stops, Walmarts, truck stops and more all across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

35. REI Co-op Shop Outdoor Gear

This app is your go-to on-the-go companion for all things involving outdoor gear shopping. Browse inventory, check in-store availability and buy top-rated products for your adventures. You can also find classes and events to build on your outdoors skills.

36. Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab

What kind of bird is this? Identify the birds you discover in nature with this mobile app. Answer five questions, upload a photo or record a sound and easily identify what kind of bird it is. There is also a digital field guide with over 800,000 photos and sounds, and you can choose from different regions from around the world.

37. Pacific Northwest Forests

You can find recreational opportunities in the Pacific Northwest Region’s 17 U.S. Forest Service Forests. Easily find hiking trails, picnic areas, campgrounds and more. There are also other useful pieces of information including road conditions, local weather updates, fire information and more.

38. CampUSA

With CampUSA you can search over 1,200 highly rated campgrounds throughout the U.S. and explore a wide variety of RV sites, tent sites, and rental options like cabins and cottages.

39. iExit Interstate Exit Guide

This app is a must-have on your next road trip as it easily establishes where you are on the interstate and shows you what you are coming up to. It also helps you find the cheapest gas prices for unleaded, mid grad, premium and diesel. When looking for food nearby, iExit incorporates Yelp reviews which makes the process easier. 

40. Current Altitude

This is your perfect companion for hiking, climbing, camping and more. It is powered by your mobile device’s GPS and displays your location in various GPS formats. Users can also easily share their locations for future reference, as well as share your location and altitude with friends. 

41. Seek by iNaturalist

Have you ever seen a flower, bug or plant and not been sure what it is? Open up this app’s camera and find out! Seek by iNaturalist uses the power of image recognition technology to identify the plants and animals all around you while you and your family are out camping.

42. Natural Geographic

This new Nat Geo mobile app provides you with online and offline access to different stories that give you insights into cultures and discoveries. You can personalize your story lists for easy access to read again later. 

43. PictureThis - Plant Identifier

Did you find a beautiful plant on a hike or a walk around the campsite? Take a picture of the plant and PictureThis will do a plant identification exam to answer all your questions about it. You now can simply identify and discover plants and flowers around you while deepening your appreciation for the nature around you.

44. Komoot: Route Planner GPS

With Komoot you can turn your next bike ride, run or hike into an adventure. You can easily enter a community with shared knowledge and recommendations. Bring your adventures to life with the easy route planner. The time to go on an adventure is now!

45. Cairn: Hiking & Outdoor Trails

This app helps you stay safe when you are out on a hike, run or any other outdoor adventure. You can easily share your plans and routes with friends and family, find spots with cell coverage, download maps offline, and record your hiking trail.

46. Trailforks

This app contains a trail database of over 400,000 trails for mountain biking. You easily have access to offline trail maps and information, along with region updates that come incrementally. You can also view local routes that other users have previously created.

47. Strava

Tracking your fitness activity has never been easier now that there is Strava. Easily record your run, map a cycling route and analyze your training with statistics. You can join monthly challenges and compete with other users which adds a fun competitive level to a fitness tracking app. 

48. Geocaching

Join the world’s largest treasure hunt with Geocaching! Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity allowing mobile device users all over the world to follow clues and hunt for a geocache hidden by another player. Download this app today to hide and seek containers with use of your GPS.

49. UVLens

Knowing how intense the UV rays are while being outdoors is essential. The app, UVLens, uses the UV index to identify what times it is safe to enjoy the sun and when to avoid it and to use countermeasures such as cover ups. It also includes a personalized skin type customization tool allowing for personal success. 

50. WU Storm

This mobile app keeps watch on possible bad weather. It is used specifically for storm tracking and receiving severe weather alerts so that you can stay aware of when to head away from danger and where a safe location to be is. 

Finding the perfect campsite, hiking trail or fireside activity are things that can make a good trip a great one! Hopefully these apps for RVers and campers help you enjoy your next trip and bring you closer to nature, family and friends!

A Guide to RVing With Your Dog

Want to know the secret to making your next RV vacation even better? Bringing your dog along with you! When you have an RV with all the comforts of home, traveling without your furry four-legged friend just doesn’t seem right. Before you load up the family dog and hit the road, there are some precautions and travel tips that you should follow to ensure that you and Fido have the best camping experience possible. Here are our top tips for RVing with your dog!

Pack for Your Pup

Just like packing for yourself, you will want to make sure that you bring all the necessary items to ensure that your pet has a comfortable vacation with you. What you need to pack for your dog can vary depending on your dog’s favorite things and their unique care needs, but here is a look at some important things to pack:
– Leash and Collar
– Favorite Toys
– Bed
– Food
– No-spill food bowl
– Any necessary medications
– Proof of vaccination

Designate Your Dogs Travel Spot

When bringing your RV from one adventure spot to the next, it is essential that you choose a spot for your dog to ride. If you are towing a fifth wheel or trailer, you will need to have your dog ride in the truck with you because it is not safe for anyone to ride in the trailer when it’s being towed. If your RV is a motorhome, then your dog may have some initial anxiety when riding since the feeling of being inside a motorhome is much different from a car. Try considering putting their bed close to you or try to have them rest on the couch. It’s important to travel safely in your RV with your pet!

Be a Good Neighbor

It is essential to be a good neighbor when bringing your dog with you so that you can ensure that you will always have the privilege of having them accompany you. To do this make sure you keep your dogs barking to a minimum and that you clean up after them.

Start Slow

It is a huge adjustment for your dog to go from being home the majority of the time to being on the road in your RV. Having their first excursion be an extended RV stay might not be the best idea. It’s smart to start out with small trips so that your pup can gain comfortability while traveling in an RV. During these short trips you can also establish a permanent spot for their food and water as well as where they will be sleeping to establish a routine.

Stay at a Dog-Friendly Campground

Pet policies exist at nearly every campground across the U.S. and they are something you must follow. Some National Parks don’t allow any pets and some just require that they be on a leash while outdoors. Check out some dog-friendly national parks! To make things simple and easy, call the campgrounds ahead of time to make sure that they allow dogs. At KOA Campgrounds you will find Kamp K9 where your dogs are given a fenced area to be free from their leash and left to run around. They also include clean up stations which makes things even simpler for you.

Locate a Local Vet

Even if your furry friend is up to date on all their shots and seems to be in perfect health, unexpected things can happen while out on the road. Although you can search for a vet easily from your phone, it’s smart to do some research before you embark on your adventure so that you can find the best vet for you. You will also want to be mindful of your RV route so that it isn’t too far away from towns if you need to quickly get to a vet in instances of an emergency.

                                                       Exercise Daily

Dogs are active animals and need daily exercise. Having them sit in the car for hours without the chance to run around and exert energy can be unhealthy. If your furry friend can’t comfortably run around the RV, head outside and play fetch with them! You can also find dog-friendly parks along your route so that your dog can get out and stretch their four legs. You might even meet other
pet parents and their pups!

Be Prepared to Run Into Wildlife

It is a given that you will run into wildlife when traveling. No matter the size of the animal you encounter, make sure that you know how to keep control over your pet. This includes being careful on what they are sniffing out because you don’t want to have a run in with a mountain lion or bear! You will also want to make sure that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date and that you have the medications necessary to keep from flea and tick problems.

Decide Where to Leave Your Pet

When you are engaging in activities that aren’t pet friendly, such as dining at a local restaurant, it is important to plan where you are going to leave Fido. RV’s tend to have plenty of space for your dog to wander, and the majority of dogs will be okay if you leave for a little while. To help your dog stay calm and comfortable, consider closing the blinds and playing some soothing music to drown out any extra noises or light. This will also help encourage them to spend more time sleeping than barking.

Traveling Route 66

Taking a road trip down the most celebrated stretch of asphalt in the USA is bucket list worthy. Route 66, the “Mother Road” winds through endless farmland, deserted towns, and of course, the beautiful desert in the west. The scenery is next to none, but the stops and sights along the route make it even better. In total this route travels through eight different states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. From Chicago to Los Angeles, traveling this 2,400-mile route in your RV will make memories that will never be forgotten!

Must See Attractions Along U.S. Route 66

Some must see attractions along Route 66 include Grant Park (Chicago, IL), Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, TX) and Milk Bottle Grocery (Oklahoma City, OK). Grant Park features historic signage and the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain. This location also marks the eastern terminus of Route 66. Route 66 is full of gimmicky attractions and stops, and the large milk bottle sitting on top of a grocery store in Oklahoma City is a crowd favorite. The physical building has been around since 1930, but the milk bottle was placed in 1948. This store was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. Cadillac Ranch is a popular art installation that has plenty of quirks. The sculpture is composed of ten old Cadillacs, partially buried nose down in the countryside. Graffiti of the vehicles is encouraged and these cars are consistently going through changes of design because of travelers passing by.

Overnight Stays Along U.S. Route 66

Camping along Route 66 is a dream of several RVers, but knowing where to stay can be a challenge. St. Louis West/Historic Route 66 KOA in Eureka, MO is located just 30 minutes from downtown St. Louis offering RV sites with full hookups, tent sites and even cabin rentals. This RV park is full of amenities such as a pool, a dog park, bike rentals and more. Further west, in the town of Williams, AZ, the gateway into Grand Canyon National Park, you will find the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park. This park offers over 100 pull-through sites with full hookups. Guests also have access to laundry facilities, hot showers and a dog park. And let’s not forget, Route 66 RV Resort in Albuquerque, NM which features great amenities, like pickle ball, and spacious sites. This resort is also just steps away from the Route 66 Casino Hotel which features Route 66 memorabilia and casino games.

Best Food Spots Along U.S. Route 66

If you are traveling with a foodie there are some places that you must stop at on your travels. Local landmark, Lou Mitchell’s, has been in operation since 1923 and serves fantastic omelets and fluffy pancakes. Big Vern’s Steakhouse, in Shamrock, TX, is famous for their ribeye, New York strip and filet mignon dinners. Diners also love their
homemade beer bread and fruit cobblers. If you are craving comfort food from a cozy, informal restaurant then Miz Zip’s is the stop for you. Norma and Bob Leonard opened
this restaurant in 1952 and continue to serve classic American diner food, including delicious pie a la mode.

If you have been thinking about embarking on this road trip then the time is now. Consider stopping at one of these fun attractions, staying at one of these RV campsites or eating at one of these fantastic restaurants. It’s time to hit the road and discover what Route 66 has to offer!

Top 10 Reasons to Buy an RV

  1. Flexibility


    When you travel in an RV you never have to worry about booking a hotel room or sticking to a strict itinerary. You can truly make your vacation whatever you want it to be. Feeling spontaneous? All you need is an overnight bag, your family and friends and some gas in the tank, and you can be exploring new places in a matter of hours. It’s time to take control of your vacations and knix the check-in and check-out times.
  2. Bring Your Pets


    Finding a pet sitter when you are going on vacation can be difficult and boarding at a pet hotel can be expensive. One perk of taking a vacation in your RV is being able to bring your pet! If you decide to bring your furry friend with you when traveling, make sure you take the necessary precautions such as deciding where they will sleep, how you will provide their needed exercise and where to leave them when you are engaging in activities that are not pet-friendly.
  3. The Wow Factor


    When you take an airplane for your vacation, you don’t get to see all of the amazing scenery between your starting point and the end destination. Traveling in an RV allows you to take scenic back roads and to sit back to really take them in. You can also choose to camp in a more remote, secluded area. Hoping in your RV means seeing even more remarkable landscapes only made available to you while on the road.
  4. All the Comforts of Home


    If you are wanting to connect with nature without leaving behind the comfort of home, your travel trailer, fifth wheel or motorhome could be the perfect solution. With an RV you can enjoy the luxury of a soft bed, running water, electric lights and heat and cooling when needed. Having access to these small things can help you feel more at home when adventuring.
  5. Save Money


    Not only can you save money by not having to book a hotel each night, but you save money with food. Buying your own groceries and cooking on your own can be very budget-friendly. These food options can also be healthier than constant fast food or restaurants.
  6. Tax Write-off


    The purchase of an RV is definitely a large investment for most individuals and family. When you claim your RV as your second home, you can get a significant tax break, which in turn makes your RV even more affordable. There are some basic requirements that your vehicle must meet in order to be claimed as a second home such as on-board permanently mounted sleeping, and eating and bathroom facilities.
  7. Plenty of Choices


    When it comes to RVs, there are so many options available when it comes to floorplans, special features and available upgrades. You can choose a model with three slide outs for maximum space or with a lofted bed to maximize your area. You can also choose an RV that has extra storage space so you can bring along all your favorite adventure toys, gear and accessories. There are also multiple prices for RVs so you are guaranteed to find one that fits your personal budget and price range!
  8. Be Part of a Community


    Owning an RV means that you are joining a larger community. At RV campgrounds, you are bound to run into people with similar interests or hobbies as you and your family. Owning a motorhome not only creates life-long memories, but it also helps you make new friends from all over the nation for years to come.
  9. Bring Other Toys on Vacation

    You will always get the most out of your vacation with your RV. You can haul your boat or car, or stash your four-wheeler inside a Toy Hauler. RVs turn your camping adventure into a new experience that you will never forget even years down the road. Plus it is a great convenience to be able to tow your car which allows you to navigate into and out of nearby cities easily if you need to restock your food supply or grab a few extra necessities.
  10. De-Stress Your Trip


    Traveling can be stressful. Packing up the car with luggage, catching flights, keeping little ones entertained – the list goes on and on. Having an RV makes vacationing simple. You can easily fit all luggage, kids and friends in one vehicle and avoid any hassle of going through airport security. Not to mention that you have access to all your favorite snacks too.