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RVing 101: Top 10 RV destinations

August 8, 2010 by · 19 Comments 


Answer the call of the open road. A long-standing North American tradition is the RV road trip; traveling the highways and byways of the United States and Canada in a recreational vehicle.

Amid the massive red-rock formations near Sedona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Excel Distributors, the purveyor of aftermarket RV mattresses, has created the “Top 10 RV Destinations,” a list of the most scenic spots to park your RV for a few days or for a week, or even longer.

Although created with the year 2009 in mind, these RV destinations are time honored and as relevant today and tomorrow as they were then.

Two of the locations—Tunnel Mountain in Banff and Verde Valley—are also among our favorite locations; while several others are on our bucket list of must-see locales while we’re cruising in our “road house”.

Whether it is a grand getaway for a few weeks or a short trip of a few days, settle into one of these top picks for RV destinations:

1. Madison Arm Resort, West Yellowstone, Montana

The campground and marina lies on the shores of Hebgen Lake, home to trout-filled waters. Wildlife in the region is plentiful.

Madison Arm Resort offers a getaway from the often-overcrowded site of Yellowstone itself. Drive along Grand Loop Road, watch Old Faithful and gaze over the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

Season: Open May 15-October 1

Location: 8.5 miles from Yellowstone National Park

Current rates: $35-37/day

2. Tunnel Mountain Campground, Banff National Park, Alberta

Beautiful Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta Courtesy Travel Alberta

Situated on Tunnel Mountain, within walking distance (or trolley distance) of downtown Banff. There are 320 full service sites in the Trailer Court, 188 power only sites in Village II, plus 619 non-serviced sites in Village I.

There is an awe-inspiring view of the valley, the Hoodoos, and the Banff Springs Hotel.

3. Verde Valley, Arizona

Each spring finds us gravitating to the scenic and historic wonders of Verde Valley.

Verde Valley extends from Jerome, Cottonwood, and Sycamore Canyon southeast toward Camp Verde and Montezuma Castle National Monument, to Sedona, the Oak Creek Canyon, and the foot of the Mogollon Rim (locally pronounced “Muggy-own,” or simply called “the Rim”).

Characterized by massive red-rock formations, as well as other amazing natural beauties, the area surrounding Sedona is as beautiful as many national parks.

4. Pacific Dunes Ranch RV Resort, Oceano, California

Nestled among the dunes of the beautiful Oceano Preserve, Pacific Dunes Resort offers breathtaking vistas and trails to the beach.

Number of sites: 215

Current rates: $42-56/day

5. Boyd’s Key West Campground, Key West, Florida

Travel three hours down Route 1 from Miami to the tropical Florida Keys to find an RV island oasis.

A famed Key West sunset

Offering oceanfront RV sites, Boyd’s is located near Duval Street, where travelers can relax with a frothy margarita and enjoy Mallory Square’s sunset celebration, where tightrope walkers, jugglers, and fire-eaters provide nightly amusement.

To watch video as featured on The Outdoor Channel, click here.

Current rates: $80-120/day

6. Mt. Hood Village RV Resort, Welches, Oregon

The Village opened in 1984 and is considered the premier RV Park in the Northwest.  The Village offers a variety of guest accommodations, including over 300 wooded RV sites, vacation cottages, rustic cabins, and yurt rentals.

A 27-hole golf course, groomed hiking trails, rock climbing, mountain biking, miniature golf, fishing, lakes and streams to explore, and the Alpine Slide are just a few of the activities found in Mt. Hood National Forest. Within the Village, guests will find many amenities and activities, including the Huckleberry Festival, Wild Mushroom Festival, and Salmon Bake Festival held each year at the Resort.

Let's Go RVing to Mount Hood

Current rates: $38-47

7. Mt. Desert Narrows Camping Resort, Bar Harbor, Maine

The camping resort offers panoramic ocean views and waterfront campsites.

Stroll historic Bar Harbor; climb Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain along the eastern coast of the United States; or hike the trails of Acadia National Park.

Acadia National Park is located along the rugged, rocky coast of “Downeast” Maine. Most of the park is located on Mount Desert Island, which is accessible by vehicle.

Location: Mount Desert Island, 9 miles from Bar Harbor

Current rates: $33-80

Excel Distributors is the online purveyor of quality RV mattresses, RV mattress protection pads, and RV pillows. Dedicated to customers wishing to improve the overall quality of the RV they currently own, Excel specializes in the RV Aftermarket. Excel is located in Portland, Oregon.

To read the final part of “Top 10 RV Destinations”, click here.

Worth Pondering…

Got a dream, a long-held wish of traveling to a special place you hope to see—someday? If so, you’re like many of us, waiting for mañana; for tomorrow or next month or next year—always waiting for the right time. Question is, will there ever be a time that’s right?

To provide feedback, please leave comments below. Your insights can help others have a fantastic experience. If you would like a response to your feedback, please e-mail Rex.

Follow Rex via: Twitter / Facebook / StumbleUpon

If you enjoyed this article, you might also wish to read

RVing 101: Top 10 Oregon campgrounds named, Part 4

RVing 101: Thousand Trails launches new yearly membership

RVing 101: Great places to camp along Route 66

RVing 101: Discover Canada’s treasures with new park pass

RVing 101: Montezuma Castle National Monument, AZ

Read even more of Rex’s articles: All stories


19 Responses to “RVing 101: Top 10 RV destinations”
  1. Lisa Martin says:

    I like to travel around the south, and since the only southern RV spot you mentioned was in Key West, FL, I thought I’d tell you about my favorite place in Florida. It is Carrabelle Beach RV Resort in Carrabelle, FL. It is an RVC Outdoor Destination. Let me tell you about this place…it is fantastic!! The RV slips are all paved and there are these quaint cottages for non-RVers to rent to enjoy their stay there as well. We had some friends of ours join us there, and since they were not avid RVers like we are, they rented one of the cottages. They didn’t want to leave!! We enjoyed walks on the beach and evening wine at their wine and coffee bar. Our kids thoroughly enjoyed the saline swimming pool and the playground. Everything that we needed was right there at our fingertips…wi fi, cable, you name it and they had it there for us! It is always a real awesome experience. We recommend you check it out and stop by the next time you’re in the south. Maybe we’ll see you there!!

  2. Mendel Potok says:

    I had no idea about Moraine Lake! We were planning an RV trip of the pacific northwest, but it looks like we’ll have to include some Canadian locations as well :) Thanks for the post, these places look lovely.

  3. MrOak says:

    This is an interesting list but it is labeled Top 10 RV Destinations. The items listed are RV Parks not the destinations they represent. I have been to most of the destinations he is talking about but not necessarily the RV Parks. I agree with many “destinations” on the list. Personally I don’t know how you could have a top ten list that does not include the Grand Canyon.
    We have traveled across the US twice in the last 2 and 1/2 years. We have been in all 50 states (not all in the RV, HI & AK comes to mind). There are a lot of great places to visit. Most of the big National Parks were awesome. As a counterpoint to National Parks, I loved the Music cities (Austin TX, Nashville TN, etc.).
    I don’t think I could easily come up with a top 10 list because so many destinations were so diverse that they can not be compared. I know that my wife would not have the same list although we have been to the same places.
    The good news is that if you do your research and keep an open mind to what you are seeing RVing is great. Right around the corner there could be another pleasant surprise adventure awaiting to be discovered. Some of our favorite places were not high on our list of gotta see in advance.


  4. tom says:

    Prices are outrageous. Out of reach for middle class Americans

  5. Bob says:

    I don’t know how you don’t include Fort Wilderness in Walt Disney World. It is pricey, like everything else in WDW, but what a trip for families to make!

  6. Tom says:

    Sandpipers Nudist resort is one of the top ten RV parks to visit! Friendly and clothing is not required! Check out to see what it is all about!

  7. Jaloney says:

    Wilderness State Park in Northern Michigan is awesome. We loved it. Bay in the huge lake makes it warm and safe to swim and the views are awesome too. All of the fun of an ocean minus the sharks and undertows!. Many lake front GORGEOUS view sites where the kids can play in the sand and water right at your site. Very WILD trails to walk too.

  8. Andy H says:

    If this article had been titled “10 Popular RV Destinations” then it would have more credibility….but….we live the full time lifestyle and associate with a large number of RVers. The price tags of these 10 resorts are definitely NOT the TOP ten destinations of any RVers we know. The Army Corp of Engineers campgrounds get top billing amoung the Golden Age group.

  9. Kevin A says:

    The article is about “Top Destinations”, not cheapest place to park your rig. It’s funny when an article with great destination ideas comes out & people just start bitching about prices. Maybe sublet a nice, corner parking space at your local K-Mart parking lot?

  10. Fred B. says:

    I’m sure these are great parks, but these might also be called some of the most expensive RV resorts in America. Reality for most of us not $80 a night for an RV park.

  11. Brian says:

    Great list. You did a good job of spreading the locations out all over North America.

  12. Pellie Alligood says:

    We entered the contest and your right. It’s never too salon to start dreaming. And I can’t seem to be able to suggest anywhere better than your list. They all sound beautiful.

  13. janet hunteman says:

    I have often dreamt of taking the teenagers on a “Road Trip” (long before the Robin Williams movie). My dream, to see the Capital of each of the 49 United States that can be reached by RV.

    What an educational tool that would be, would look good on their college applications as well.

    Drink more Luzianne Tea products!

  14. Margie Hanson says:

    All your listed destinations sound wonderful, but I have always wanted to visit Yellowstone and Maine so those would be my first picks. I also think the Grand Canyon should be right up there with the others. My dream has always been to take the grandkids on summer trips with us and winning the RV would be a dream come true. Even if I don’t win it I will continue to drink my favorite Luzianne Tea though.

  15. Janet, that seems like an amazing idea! Imagine the stories your teens could share with their friends…and yes, I am sure colleges would not mind it either. If you need some help planning take a look at Woodall’s One Tank Trips at

  16. Margie, the Grand Canyon is a GREAT place to visit. It is awe-inspiring. Plus there are other fun attractions around that area for the grand-parents as well. Good luck in your travels!

  17. C Proctor says:

    Mt Hood looks BEAUTIFUL !!!

  18. Riley says:

    The Madison Arm Resort was mentioned on the list. I would definitely recommend this place if you are visiting Yellowstone National Park. This resort is close to the park, and has a gorgeous view. My family and I have a tradition of going every year and staying at this resort when we go to Yellowstone. We had a few changes last year, such as we bought a new RV, took a different route, and we bought a Tailgater so that we could bring the channels that we see at home to our RV. I really like the Tailgater because it works so well with the TVs in the RV. I was able to watch my games and my brother was able to watch his science shows. It is definitely a good investment. I do work for DISH, and since having the Tailgater, I’ve learned that it can be a great part of any camping trip. I am looking forward to using it this year. I’ve already got a few camping trips planned out, so we will see where it takes us! I know that when Yellowstone comes around again this year, the Madison Arm Resort will be there!

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