Off the Beaten Path: 5 Camping Destinations RVers Won’t Want to Miss
One of the best things about having a luxury RV like a Bowlus is that you can take a road trip designed to really soak in the natural beauty of America while still enjoying all the comforts of home. We’ve curated a list of some of the most unique RV camping destinations east of the Mississippi to help you plan your next luxury RV trip. Whether you’re staying for the night, a weekend, or an entire week, here are a few places to add to your camping trip bucket list.
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island is one of Georgia’s four Golden Isles. This barrier island is located just off the Georgia’s Gulf coast in between Savannah and Jacksonville, Florida and it offers sandy beaches, world-class sporting activities, horseback riding, and ranger led walks through the area’s maritime ecosystem. It’s also home to an active bald eagle nest and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, which gives you a family-friendly up close look at sea turtle rehabilitation.
The Jekyll Island Golf Club offers 4 legendary golf courses that weave their way through marshes, maritime forests, and pristine lakes. Natural hazards also include osprey, deer, and alligators. The Jekyll Island Tennis Center has 13 Har-tru clay courts and you can sign up for a private lesson if you want to work on your backhand. Bike rentals are available in several locations so you can explore the 20 plus miles of bike paths and trails on the island.
Jekyll Island Campground has 167 wooded RV sites, offers full hookups, free WiFi, a bird sanctuary, and is pet friendly. The campsites in this 18-acre campground are within walking distance of the beach and there is a climate controlled pavilion that you can reserve if you’re coming with a large group of friends. There’s even a general store if you need to pick up supplies. If you’re looking to eat out, Jekyll Island and its Golden Isle neighbors offer everything from casual eateries to fine dining.
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
Hot Springs National Park, located about an hour southwest of Little Rock in downtown Hot Springs, is one of the few national parks located in an urban area. For 100 years, the park’s historic bathhouses have been drawing visitors to soak in the region’s thermal waters. Bathhouse Row is the primary draw for visitors because of its’ grand Victorian architecture. Today, there are 2 bathhouses where you can immerse yourself in the soothing warm waters (soaking in outdoor springs is prohibited).
With twenty-six miles of hiking trails in the park, you can prepare your muscles for a good, long soak as you take in the surrounding lush forest and popular destinations like Balanced Rock. If you’re looking for a scenic drive where you can practice your photography skills, Hot Springs National Park has nine. From the Hot Springs Mountain Tower Overlook you can get a panoramic view of the whole park from either the open or enclosed observation decks.
If you want to camp in the park, Gulpha Gorge Campground is your only option, but they don’t take reservations. You’ll need to get to the park early if you want one of these full hookup RV sites, and if you have a large fifth wheel or motorhome, you’ll want to check your length before you go. Like most National Parks, the RV sites can’t accommodate longer rigs. Amenities in the campground are limited, but you can find shopping, dining, and other necessities just outside the park in the town of Hot Springs. There are also several private campgrounds within easy driving distance of the park.
Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware
Where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find Cape Henlopen State Park. With more than six miles of coastline, you can unwind on the park’s luxurious sandy beaches. Take a dip in the ocean, try your hand at kayaking or clamming, or drop in a baited line and see what you can catch! The park also features a Seaside Nature Center where you can see stingrays, horseshoe crabs, and other local sea life.
If you’re a history buff, don’t miss the chance to learn more about the strategic role the region had in defending the US during World War II. At the Historic Fort Miles Museum and Historic Area, you can tour a gun battery, climb the observation tower, and watch an artillery demonstration.
Reservations at the Cape Henlopen State Park Campground are handled through Delaware State Parks. Campgrounds require a two-night stay during the weekends, and many of the sites at Cape Henlopen are open year-round. Full hookups are available and each site has a fire pit and a picnic table.
Adirondack Park, New York
Adirondack Park, or more generically “the Adirondacks” is the largest publicly protected area in the continental US and the largest National Historic Landmark. Neither a national park nor a state park, Adirondack Park comprises 6 million acres of public and private land. That’s larger than the combined size of Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Parks!
Now that we’ve established that it’s big, you may be wondering what you can see and do in the park. Perhaps a better question is, what can’t you do? The region has scenic drives and byways, boat tours, hiking trails, whitewater rafting, golfing, and just about any other outdoor activity you can think of. It’s also home to a number of wineries, breweries, and distilleries, and some pretty amazing 5-star restaurants. From classic diners to fine dining, and the occasional ice cream shop, you won’t go hungry!
Adirondack Park offers a variety of adventures for campers, regardless of the season. Winter is a great time to camp in the Adirondacks if your RV is rated for colder temperatures like the Bowlus. You can check out the winter festivals, ski clinics at Lake Placid (one-time home of the winter Olympics), or a winter mountaineering school. In the spring, you won’t want to miss the maple syrup cabins where you can get a tasty topper for your pancakes.
There are 17 private campgrounds in the region, as well as some boondocking opportunities for those that want to camp off grid. From rustic to luxurious RV resorts with resort-style amenities, you’ll be sure to find a RV park or campsite to serve as a great jumping off point for your adventures in this stunning part of the country.
Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio
Hocking Hills State Park is about an hour southeast of Columbus in Logan, Ohio. If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway into nature, you can’t go wrong here. The Park is renowned for its waterfalls, deep gorges, towering cliffs, and lush hemlock forests. There are seven main hiking trails in the park – each taking you to one of the region’s breathtaking natural formations. Old Man’s Cave, so named for the hermit who lived in the area in the late 1700s, is one of the most popular sights. Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, Devil’s Bathtub, and Rock House (the park’s only true cave) are all worth the short hikes from the adjacent parking areas. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can trek to Cantwell Cliffs, one of the park’s most challenging hikes, or take a six-mile hike from Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls and ultimately Ash Cave. Be sure to check the information on each hike – many include steep staircases which aren’t so bad going down but can be quite difficult on the way back up! The region is beautiful year-round, but fall is a popular time to visit because of the spectacular fall colors.
Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve is also located nearby and has additional hiking trails that lead to some of the deepest gorges, and most exquisite waterfalls, in the state. Lake Logan and Lake Hope are also in the Hocking Hills region and offer watersports, fishing and sandy beaches.
Hocking Hills State Park Campground is located near Old Man’s Cave and has direct access to the region’s robust hiking trail system. The campground has full hookups, playgrounds, a volleyball court, and a camp store. All of the sites have paved pads, a fire ring and a picnic table, and the campground is pet friendly. Reservations for the campground are handled through the Ohio State Parks reservation system. There are other private campgrounds in the area and you can boondock in nearby Wayne National Forest.