It’s the Summer of the RV Rental. Don’t Be Intimidated.
Few want to fly or take the train, so RV rentals are more popular than ever. If you’re thinking about it, don’t be intimidated.
The Crowe family had big trips planned for this spring and summer—Sydney, Grand Cayman and Maui. Coronavirus canceled everything. Two months into the quarantine, cabin fever set in. As hiking trails and beaches opened, the couple came up with a Plan B, do a first—hit the road in an RV. “It seemed the best route to take because we’d be able to stay socially distant from others and have everything, we need in one place,” says Anna Crowe.
In May, Anna, husband Wayne, sons Liam and Kaelan, along with their two Labradors set out in a stylish 24-foot Mercedes-Benz Forest River Sunseeker decked out with a kitchen, dining area, a bathroom with a shower and two full-size beds. They left San Diego and spent three and a half days traveling to Carmel-by-the-Sea via Malibu, Paso Robles and Big Sur.
Oh, the memories, walking the beach in Malibu and falling asleep to the sound of waves crashing a few feet away, the hikes, Carmel’s charming downtown. “I enjoyed watching the world go by, while sitting comfortably at a table with my kids, sleeping under the stars, having food, water and shelter no matter where we went, and the open road. It was even more powerful seeing so much nature and changing landscapes after months of quarantine,” she says.
The only downside, admits Anna, is “it’s tight quarters for sure, so any time you drop an item on the floor or the table is messy, everything looks chaotic. You have to keep tidying up. It’s a small price to pay!”
Wayne wasn’t sure how to hook up to the site the first night, so they had to bug the people staying a few feet away from us. “That was a little stressful at first, but it ended up being pretty painless.”
The frequent flyers are sold on road trips. In August they’ll head out again, this time to Yosemite National Park. “It’s been on our list. Now that we know how to navigate a motorhome, it’s the perfect way to get there.”
For sure this summer and fall it’s all about the RV renaissance. Just one barometer of the popularity is RVShare.com, a peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace. CEO Jon Gray says RV bookings have nearly tripled since last year and have increased by more than 1,000% since early April as travelers opt for a safe, cost-effective means of travel.
Jack Megan, his wife and two kids are going to take a deep dive initiation into RV life with a month-long trek that starts at the end of July. They’ll leave Los Angeles and venture to places like Sequoia National Park, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Lake Tahoe, Zion National Park, Grand Canyon and others. The couple got married in 2008 and their honeymoon was to be a six-month RV trip. Turns out there was a baby on the way, so they didn’t go. This vacay has been a long time coming. They’re happy and the kids, says Megan, “Are dreaming about it.”
If you’re weary from walking the same old parks and beaches in your neighborhood, go ahead and get out there. There’s no special training or license required. Here’s a little inspiration and ideas for where to go.
Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland
Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore on a long barrier island off the coast, this area is renowned for its Atlantic beaches and those lovely wild horses that roam the beach. RVs have the option to go Oceanside or Bayside. They’ll be plenty of IG moments with the wildlife. Wile away your days fishing, swimming, canoeing, surfing, hiking, kayaking and more.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
No need to worry about social distancing in the great outdoors that is Grand Teton National Park. Hike the more than 200 miles of trails, go rafting on the Snake River, kayak on Jackson Lake, horseback ride, see how much wildlife you can spot. You’re also a short drive to the town of Jackson for dining and shopping. An added bonus, Grand Teton National Park is about 30 miles from the nation’s first national park – Yellowstone.
Lums Pond State Park, Bear, Delaware
You’ve probably been wanting to do Delaware. Why wait any longer? Lums Pond State Park is a sweet spot that’s in an oak and poplar woodland and surrounds Delaware's largest freshwater millpond. How can you go wrong? From hiking to fishing and biking, there’s plenty to get your mind off the quarantine blues. Horse lovers rejoice, the park features more than 10 miles of equestrian trails and is home to the Sunset Stables Equestrian Center, which offers riding lessons. The Go Ape! Zip line Treetop Adventure Course is also onsite, offering two zipline courses, one for beginners and younger children, and a second course that offers a two- to three-hour adventure high up in the tree canopy.
Branson View Campground, Branson, Missouri
With Branson you get a bit of twofer. There’s the vibrancy of a city (or as much as one can find during COVID-19) and just three miles south from all the action is Branson View Campground. You’re near the expansive Table Rock Lake, rock climbing, water skiing, bass and trout fishing, biking, trap and skeet shooting and forests.
Devils Fork State Park, Salem, South Carolina
You might be tempted to make the trek to Devils Fork State Park, after all, National Geographic calls it a “Destination of a Lifetime.” You can hear yourself think in those 9,000 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mother Nature is the main attraction with hiking trails, waterfalls, boating and fishing on Lake Jocassee. If you get the urge for civilization, just a few miles from the park are the towns of Walhalla and Seneca.
Yonder, Escalante, Utah
If you like to be the first one to try out a new place, check out Yonder, opening this summer. You can come with your RV or stay in an Airstream or modern cabin. There’s a lounge, retail area, expansive outdoor seating, fire pits, board games, library, clubhouse, “Drive-in” movies on certain nights and more. Better still, you’ll be near Capitol Reef National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and Bryce Canyon National Park.
Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Outlet, South Carolina
There are all sorts of options here. The National Historic Landmark Atalaya Castle, three miles of beach, loggerhead turtles, hiking, surf fishing from the jetty, take your pick of any of these activities. Birders alert—this is said to be one of the best birding sites in the Southeast, with more than 300 species. Marshwalk is where you head for seafood aplenty at waterfront restaurants.