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How to Plan an RV Route Across the USA

How to Plan an RV Route Across the USA: Tips for an Epic Road Trip

Careful planning and enjoyment are key when setting out on an RV journey across the USA. Mapping your route with consideration for the size of your RV and the roads it can navigate is crucial. Understanding which points of interest and destinations you want to visit can make your trip memorable.

Learning to select the best campgrounds and overnight parking spots can enhance your experience. Whether you plan to visit national parks, enjoy urban landscapes, or explore remote areas, ensuring that your RV can access these places comfortably will save you time and stress.

From scenic routes like the historic Route 66 to organized parking in national parks, a well-thought-out plan can turn a simple trip into an incredible adventure. Packing wisely and planning daily activities helps to create a balanced and enjoyable journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Start with a clear route planning tailored for RV travel.
  • Choose suitable campgrounds and parking.
  • Plan engaging activities and attractions ahead of time.

Table of Contents

Mapping Your Route

Creating a successful RV route across the USA involves pinpointing key destinations, understanding weather patterns, and knowing road conditions and restrictions. Here’s how to get started.

Identifying Key Destinations

Start by making your personal list of must-see places. National parks, landmarks, and scenic byways should top your list. Consider interests like hiking, historical sites, or coastal towns. Everyone knows about Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, and they are worth a visit, but there are tons of other places that most people not even know about or that you want to visit for a personal reason.

Using tools like RV Trip Wizard helps pinpoint these destinations. The tool allows users to set their stops and provides insights into nearby campgrounds.

Mapping out stops ensures a smoother trip and lets you enjoy the journey more.

Weather Considerations

Weather can greatly affect your RV trip. Plan routes according to seasonal weather patterns. For summer trips, northern routes are great due to cooler temperatures.

Check weather forecasts regularly. Apps like WeatherBug or The Weather Channel provide updated weather info. This helps avoid storms or extreme heat, keeping the trip safe and pleasant.

Consider the weather not only at destinations but along travel routes as well. Poor weather can make certain roads dangerous or unpleasant to drive.

Road Conditions and Restrictions

Some roads aren’t suitable for large RVs. Before setting out, verify road conditions and restrictions. Tools like the KOA RV Trip Planner ensure you avoid RV-restricted roads.

Watch for weight limits, low bridges, and narrow tunnels. GPS apps designed for RVs, such as RV GPS or CoPilot, specifically cater to larger vehicles. They help navigate tricky spots.

Checking road restrictions in advance prevents unexpected detours and keeps your RV safe on the road.

Adventure Fix

Campgrounds and Overnight Parking

Planning where to stay each night is crucial for a smooth RV trip across the USA. Some campers prefer booked sites with amenities, while others enjoy the flexibility of boondocking.

Booking Campsites

Booking campsites in advance is often essential, especially in popular destinations. Many campgrounds offer online booking systems through their websites. Sites like KOA provide comprehensive booking options for various types of campgrounds, including tent sites, RV pull-thrus, and deluxe cabins.

Good Sam and Reserve America are other popular platforms. These services often include user reviews, photos, and detailed descriptions, helping campers choose the best spot. Be sure to check cancellation policies and site amenities before booking.

We personally love Campendium, where you can find some of the coolest spots to spend the night, whether it’s a state park, National Park or boondocking spot.

Boondocking Basics

Boondocking, or dry camping, involves staying in non-traditional areas without hookups. It’s popular among RVers for its flexibility and cost savings, as many boondocking sites are free. AllStays is an excellent resource for finding boondocking locations, including public lands and places like Walmart parking lots.

When boondocking, consider water and waste managementbattery power, and safety. Always research local regulations to ensure the area permits overnight parking. Boondocking requires a bit more preparation but offers a unique way to explore off-the-beaten-path spots.

Navigating Campground Amenities

Understanding campground amenities can significantly enhance the camping experience. Campgrounds typically offer various amenities such as electric hookupswater connections, and dump stations. Some sites provide additional features like laundry facilities, pools, and playgrounds.

RV Trip Wizard and Roadtrippers help travelers identify campgrounds with the necessary amenities. For those new to RVing, choosing campgrounds with full hookups can make the trip more comfortable. Always check the campground map or layout to select a site that fits your needs and preferences.

How to Plan an RV Route Across the USA

Activities and Attractions

When planning an RV trip across the USA, make sure to include a variety of activities and attractions. This helps to keep the journey interesting and allows you to explore the diverse experiences the country has to offer.

Must-See Landmarks

Visiting iconic landmarks is a must on any RV trip. Driving along Route 66 offers a nostalgic look at Americana, with stops at places like the Cadillac Ranch in Texas. Another key stop is the historic Gateway Arch in St. Louis, providing panoramic views of the city. In the west, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is a marvel of engineering and beauty. These landmarks not only offer great photo opportunities but also tell stories of America’s history and culture.

Cultural Experiences

Cultural experiences are a great way to immerse yourself in local traditions and lifestyles. In New Orleans, the vibrant music scene and Creole cuisine offer a unique taste of Southern culture. Visiting the Amish communities in Pennsylvania gives insight into a way of life that has remained largely unchanged for centuries. For a more urban cultural experience, explore the museums and theaters in New York City. Each of these stops allows you to engage deeply with different aspects of American culture, making your journey more enriching.

Natural Wonders

The USA is home to some of the most breathtaking natural wonders. A stop at the Grand Canyon provides awe-inspiring views and excellent hiking opportunities. The sprawling geysers and hot springs of Yellowstone National Park are another highlight. For those who love coastal beauty, the cliffs of Big Sur in California offer stunning ocean views. These natural attractions provide endless opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and photography, ensuring that each stop is an adventure in itself.

Adventure Atlas

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top apps or tools for planning an RV trip route?

Popular apps include RV Trip Wizard, which helps plan routes and find campgrounds, Campendium and AllStays, known for its extensive database of RV parks and services. Google Maps can also be useful for general navigation, but it’s important to cross-check with RV-specific tools.

What’s the best way to calculate fuel costs for a cross-country RV trip?

Use websites like GasBuddy to find current fuel prices and RV trip calculators to estimate fuel consumption based on your RV’s size and mileage. Knowing your average miles per gallon (MPG) and total distance can help you create an accurate budget.

How do I find RV-friendly routes across the USA?

Look for RV GPS devices or apps like CoPilot RV that offer RV-specific navigation. These tools take into account low bridges, narrow roads, and other obstacles that can be problematic for larger vehicles, ensuring a safer and more convenient route.

What are some essential tips for a first-time RV trip planner?

First-time planners should start with shorter trips to get familiar with the RV lifestyle. Always make reservations in advance at popular campgrounds and pack essentials like a toolkit and first aid kit. Learning basic RV maintenance can also save you from headaches on the road.

How can I discover the most scenic RV routes for a cross-country journey?

Check online forums, travel blogs, and books dedicated to RV travel. Websites like Mortons on the Move provide detailed guides on must-see destinations and scenic routes. Recommendations from fellow RV travelers can also be invaluable.

Are there any budget-friendly strategies for long-distance RV travel?

Consider traveling during the off-season when campground fees are lower. Cooking your own meals instead of dining out can also save money. Websites like Our Campfire Unplugged offers some great tips on planning your route to include free or low-cost camping options. 


Antonio was born and raised in Southern Spain, and quit his job in 2013 to travel the world full-time with his wife Amanda for 10 years straight. Their passion for adventure took them to visit 150+ countries. Today, they’re currently working their way to visit every state and National Park in the USA traveling with a travel trailer.

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