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Winter RV trips are limited to a few warm destinations, mainly in Florida, Arizona and Texas. However, the widespread hot summer weather brings endless options for RV travelers. After five years on the road, we’ve found some amazing destinations that are perfect for summer vacations. In this article, we share the 10 best summer RV destinations that offer pleasant weather, exciting activities and great campgrounds.
Banff and Jasper National Parks
The first mistake many travelers make when selecting the best summer RV destinations is limiting themselves to the United States. Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada offer some of the most breathtaking scenery and impressive hiking in the world. Seeing the bright blue waters of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are experiences that I will treasure for a lifetime. RVers can book a full hookup campsite at Banff’s Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court. Jasper National Park also has several campgrounds that can accommodate RVs, including the Wabasso Campground which offers full hookups. See our complete guide to RV travel in Canada for more information on the logistics of crossing the border and traveling in a foreign country.
Typically cities don’t pop-up on lists of the best summer RV destinations, but that is an oversight. Camping near a city provides the best of both worlds. RVers can enjoy the natural Colorado beauty, while also taking advantage of all the cultural activities offered in Denver. I would recommend camping just outside of the city at Bear Creek Lake Park. The park is only a 30 minute drive to downtown but offers a peaceful atmosphere with spacious sites. Campers are also just a short drive from the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater where they can enjoy awesome outdoor summer concerts. The central location allows RVers to drive west for a day trip into the mountains or head east into the city to visit restaurants, museums or attend a Colorado Rockies games.
The Florida Keys are typically thought of as a winter destination, but hear me out. Visiting popular winter RV destinations in the summer has many benefits, including less crowds and more campsite availability. When making a reservation in the off-season you are more likely to snag one of the prime, waterfront campsites that are all but impossible to reserve in the winter. Don’t limit your Florida Keys vacation to one campground, make multiple reservations and explore the whole area. The best Keys RV campgrounds include Bahia Honda State Park and Key West’s El Mar RV Resort. Thousand Trails members can stay at Fiesta Key and Sunshine Key RV Resorts for free. Since it will be hot it the summer, the best activities will be swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.
Mammoth Cave National Park
One of the most underestimated national parks, Mammoth Cave has tons of actives for families visiting in the summer. In addition to tours of it’s eponymous cave, the national park offers forested hiking trails, horse back riding, biking trails and kayaking trips down the Green River. Average high temperatures are in the high 80s throughout the summer, but the wooded park provides plenty of shade. There are several RV camping options inside and outside the park. See our guide to camping at Mammoth Cave for all of the options. As an added bonus, Mammoth Cave is also one of the few national parks that is dog friendly.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan (affectionately referred to as The U.P.) is a beautiful natural playground for RV campers. Summer is the best time to visit as it is the only season when you can count on warm, pleasant weather. A road trip around The U.P. made our list of the 10 best RV road trips in America. For RV camping, Straits State Park is a great place to start and end your U.P. road trip. Located right after the bridge onto the Upper Peninsula, the park has two campgrounds with electric hook-ups. From this location, you can easily access the ferry to car-free Mackinac Island. Also consider staying at Indian Lake State Park which offers lake front campsites, and is close to the Big Spring (Kitch-iti-kipi). The natural spring has crystal clear blue water and is a must visit attraction on the U.P.
Personally, Missoula is my favorite summer RV destination! Mild weather, incredible outdoor adventures and an adorable town all combine to make it an optimal place to spend the summer. RVers should book a space at Jim and Mary’s RV Park, which offers some of the most beautifully landscaped campsites in the country. Take a day trip to the National Bison Range for a chance to spot Montana wildlife including bison, elk, bighorn sheep and bears. Also, visit downtown Missoula for great bars and restaurants, and head to the Riverfront Walking Trail to watch kayakers try to ride Brennan’s Wave. After exploring Missoula, RVers can drive a few hours north to visit Glacier National Park during its peak season.
North Carolina’s Outer Banks
Who knew you could travel to the islands in your RV? The Outer Banks are barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina that are easily accessed in an RV via bridges. For ocean front camping, stay at the Cape Hatteras / Outer Banks KOA in Rodanthe, North Carolina. The campground offers campsites just behind the sand dunes, as well as resort amenities including a pool with water slides, an outdoor cinema and golf cart rentals. Outside the KOA, campers should visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Or just relax on the beach and enjoy the perfect summer scenery.
Redwood National and State Parks
On the opposite coast from the Outer Banks, RVers can find another ideal summer RV destination in the Redwood forests. The connected national and state parks offer scenic drives, impressive hikes and Pacific coast beaches. Other fun summer activities in the parks include looking for sea life in the tide pools along the shoreline and taking a kayak tour down the Smith River. RV travelers can stay in the parks’ campgrounds or at the nearby Elk Country RV Resort and Campground, which is often visited by a local herd of Roosevelt Elk. With the average highs in the low 70s in June and the low 80s in July and August, the Redwood region has great weather for campers who can’t stand the heat. If you travel with a dog, check out our complete guide to dog friendly activities in the Redwood parks.
Troutdale is conveniently located between two amazing summer destinations. To the west, is Portland which offers cool restaurants and bars, unique museums and other urban amenities. To the east is the Columbia River Gorge, which offers numerous awe-inspiring waterfalls, great hiking trails and stunning river views. In Troutdale, vacationers should stay at the Sandy Riverfront RV Resort. The RV park offers direct access to swimming in the Sandy River which is a incredible respite from the summer heat. Just across the street from the RV resort, is the Sugarpine Drive-In where campers can cool off with a scoop of ice cream or an icy wine slushie.
Fayetteville, West Virginia
West Virginia is another underrated summer RV destination. The town of Fayetteville, in particular, is a great place for RVers looking for outdoor adventures. One of the biggest attractions in the area is America’s newest national park, New River Gorge. The national park offers guided whitewater rafting trips, hiking and scenic drives. Whitewater rafting trips run on both the New and Gauley rivers during the summer season, and Adventures on the Gorge offers rafting trips ranging from calm floats to wild rides. Stay at Riftrafters Campground, which may sound rustic, but is actually a beautiful campground with basic amenities.
No matter where you choose to travel, an RV road trip is the summer vacation of a lifetime. Just, make sure to stock up on important RV supplies before hitting the road!
Where is your family headed this summer? Share your planned summer RV destination in the comments below.