Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together

With the arrival of summer Americans and Canadians are fleeing the cities by the thousands in search of open space and a chance to get away from others.

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above the Bavarian town of Helen, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above the Bavarian town of Helen, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

That means virtually every campground and outdoor recreation venue within four hours of every major cities will be at capacity every weekend— full of people getting away from others while doing it together.

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above the Snake River at Twin Falls, Idaho. © Rex Vogel, all rights
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above the Snake River at Twin Falls, Idaho. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camping courtesy (the unwritten rules of campground etiquette) is an easy way to ensure that a group of people living in close proximity together where sounds travel and light can be a disturbance continue to camp together in harmony.

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above an Acadian farmstead at Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, Louisiana. © Rex
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above an Acadian farmstead at Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, Louisiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights

Spending time in a campground requires a certain level of community patience and a willingness to live and let live, there are some basic rules of campground etiquette that will help create a friendly atmosphere and make the camping experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to achieve and maintain friendly camper status.

Be a Friendly Camper

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above Plimoth Planation near Plymouth, Massachusetts. © Rex Vogel
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above Plimoth Planation near Plymouth, Massachusetts. © Rex Vogel

Be friendly and greet other campers. This is part of being within the camping community and even though you may not know the other people, you all have a common goal of enjoying the camping experience.

Being a friendly camper is more than saying hi to your neighbors. It’s being the kind of camper who makes the experience better for their friends and family as well as other the folks sharing the campground. It’s really the little things that can truly make a camping trip amazing for everyone around you.

Obey Campground Rules

Follow the campground rules and regulations. These rules usually include speed limits, fire regulations, quiet times, and so on. Adhering to these rules is one of the basics of campground etiquette. Be sure to review and enforce the rules with your children, as well.

Respect Your Neighbors

Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together.  Pictured above Mount Mitchell State Park, North Caroina. © Rex Vogel
Campground Etiquette: How To Get Away From Others While Doing It Together. Pictured above Mount Mitchell State Park, North Caroina. © Rex Vogel

Campgrounds are for relaxing and having fun—consider your neighbors as you kick back and relax. Keep your music and other noise to a reasonable level so everyone can enjoy the serenity of the great outdoors.

Keep in mind that others may be in the campground to get away from it all and wish to hear the wind blowing through the aspens, the babbling of a brook, the chatter of squirrels, or perhaps the call of a jay. While I recognize your right to enjoy a little music, I don’t necessarily share your musical taste unless, of course, it’s Willie’s “On the road again…”. That is why they make headphones.

Power down at night; shut off your generator and dim the lights. Remember not all generators are created equal. Some are designed to run very quietly, and others are not. Quiet hours are there for a reason.

Don’t Feed the Wildlife

Classic camping treats like a perfectly roasted hot dog or some gooey s’mores are amazing, no doubt. They’re just not amazing for the wildlife that make their home in and around the campground. This is one instance where it’s ok to be greedy with your grub.

Pick Up After Your Pets

Be a responsible pet owner. Keep dogs on leashes whenever they are outside so they are not bothering your neighbors and discourage them from barking. Never leave a dog that barks or howls unattended.

It’s great to have a furry friend as a camping companion, but make sure your pet isn’t leaving any surprises behind. When taking your dog for a walk, always pick up all pet waste. Many campgrounds provide pet waste collection bags to make clean up easy and convenient.

Leave No Trace

Clean up after yourself. When you prepare to exit the campsite, be sure to remove all garbage regardless of its origin and if the campground has a recycling program, take advantage of it.

Always leave the campsite as clean, or cleaner, than it was when you arrived. The camp host and the next camper will appreciate it.

The bottom line is that camping requires us to respect the land and one another. When it comes down to it, continued success of this ongoing social experiment requires it.

Have an enjoyable and safe camping summer.

Worth Pondering…

When Robert Frost declared his intention to take the road less traveled in his 1916 poem “The Road Not Taken,” who could have guessed that so many people would take the same trip?

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Campgrounds As Base Camps For Festivals & Annual Events

Campgrounds are great places to enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, boating, and other outdoor recreation activities during your leisure time.

Banff and the Canadian Rockies are a short day trip from Calgary © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Banff and the Canadian Rockies are a short day trip from Calgary © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With RV and tent sites as well as a wide range of accommodations, campgrounds can also serve as base camps for those interested in attending festivals and annual events throughout the U.S and Canada. These events range from rodeos to music festivals and cultural to culinary happenings.

Following is a sampling of the festivals and annual events that take place during the coming weeks and months, along with listings of nearby attractions and campgrounds and RV parks, many of which also have rental accommodations.

All parks included have been personally visited with a minimum of one night of paid camping.

Alberta: Calgary Stampede, Calgary, July 3-12, 2015

The Calgary Stampede is called “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” for good reason. For 10 days every July, the Stampede City welcomes the world to a spectacular celebration of western hospitality. Stampede Park, located in downtown Calgary, is the world’s greatest gathering of cowboy culture. Each year, more than 1.2 million visitors from around the world come to Calgary to experience the heart-stopping action of the world’s roughest and richest rodeo, featuring bull riding, barrel racing, and more.

The GMC Rangeland Derby is the world’s top Chuckwagon Races. And every night is capped off with the Grandstand Show and fireworks finale that lights up the sky.

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: Calgary Zoo, Heritage Park Historical Village, Canada Olympic Park, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

Recommended RV Park: Mountain View Camping, Calgary

Freedom Trail, Bostom © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Freedom Trail, Bostom © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Massachusetts: 33rd Annual Boston Harborfest 2015, Boston, July 2-6, 2015

The 33rd Annual Boston Harborfest is a six-day Fourth of July Festival that showcases the colonial and maritime heritage of the cradle of the American Revolution: the historic city of

Boston. The award-winning festival strives to honor and remember the past, celebrate the present, and educate the future with reenactments, concerts, and historical tours. The week includes Boston Chowderfest, Children’s Day, and the July 4th Boston Pops Concert, and fireworks.

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: Freedom Trail, Boston Common, Fenway Park, USS Constitution (“Old Ironside”), Boston Harbor, Plymouth Rock

Recommended RV Park: Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort, Foxboro

New Mexico: 12th annual Pork & Brew State BBQ Championship, Rio Rancho, July 3-5, 2015

Old Town Albuquerque © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Old Town Albuquerque © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Come out and enjoy this terrific family-friendly event with live entertainment, arts and crafts, fun jumps, magic show, and, of course, plenty of award-winning BBQ. The Pork & Brew is hosted by the Rio Rancho Convention & Visitors Bureau and is a fully sanctioned Kansas City BBQ Society event—one of the top 10 events on the Society calendar.

With an average attendance of more than 20,000, Pork & Brew has become one of the largest events in New Mexico. Winners go on to participate at the World Series of Barbecue in Kansas City, Missouri, October 1-4, 2015 .

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: Jemez Mountain Trail, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Sandia Peak Tramway, Local Cuisine

Recommended RV Park: American RV Park, Albuquerque,

Alberta: The Canadian Badlands Passion Play, Drumheller, July 10-26, 2015

Travel back 2000 years to the land and events that changed the course of history. This dramatic portrayal of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in an acoustically superb natural bowl amphitheater will make you feel like you’re actually there. The Scripture-based script and music, sets, costumes, quality performances, and the site’s remarkable similarity to the Holy Land all add to the experience. “One of Alberta’s Top Cultural Attractions”—Attractions Canada

Named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association.

Nearby Attractions: Dinosaur Trail, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Royall Tyrrell Museum, Rosebud Theatre

Recommended RV Park: Dinosaur Trail RV Resort, Drumheller, Alberta

Worth Pondering…

Happiness is not a state to arrive at, rather, a manner of traveling.

—Samuel Johnson

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Must-ask Questions During RV Park Check-in

It’s the end of a long day of RV travel as you finally exit the Interstate and drive along the entrance road into your RV park destination.

Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There’s a long sigh of relief as you anticipate a quick check-in process. You can already visualize settling into your site, hooking up the utilities, extending the slides, and kicking back and relaxing with a cool one.

But what happens when you walk into the office? Are you greeted warmly and treated in a friendly manner? Are the office staff approachable, friendly, and helpful?

The importance of first impression simply cannot be overstated. Once you’re all signed in, have your park map in hand, and headed to your site, you begin seeing this new and unfamiliar campground through either the lens of a good feeling, which tends to make everything look just a bit better; or through the more critical lens of a less-than-welcome feeling derived from the sign-in process. You will begin to see the park in either a more or less favorable light. But I digress.

Do you really want to whiz through check-in process paying mere lip service to the blah, blah, blah as the office staff attempts to give you pertinent information about your new designation and review the 19 or so rules.

During check-in the office staff will ask you the standard questions.

Buckhorn Lake RV Resort, Kerrville, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Buckhorn Lake RV Resort, Kerrville, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How many in your party?

Any pets?

Do you have a second vehicle?

Whether you are overnighting, camping for the weekend or an extended period of time, there are questions you must ask during the RV park check in process. Planning ahead and asking the right questions may save your life or the life of a family member.

In addition asking specific questions will ease the transition to your new campground and community.

What county am I in?

You need to know the county to be alert of dangerous weather. Watching the nightly news or weather channel does you no good if you don’t know where you are.

Port Lavaca RV Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Port Lavaca RV Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where is the closest hospital/emergency care?

A medical emergency requiring a hospital or medi-center can happen at any hour, day or night.

Do you have a storm shelter? If not, where is the nearest one?

This is especially important when traveling in the spring and early summer in Tornado Alley but something you should always know. You may need to drive to a local community center or fire department. Planning ahead can save your life.

In the event you travel with pets, you may wish to know the location and phone number of the nearest vet.

Now that you have the information you need to handle emergency/medical situations you hope never happen, there may be addition questions to ask.

Where is the nearest Walmart/major grocery store?

Where is the nearest pharmacy?

End of the day at Van Horne KOA © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
End of the day at Van Horne KOA © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do you have laundry facilities? If not, where is the closest clean Laundromat? Unless your RV is equipped with a washer/dryer, you will probably need this service at some point.

Is there a local farmers market?

Can you recommend a local restaurant?

Taking several minutes to ask the right questions just might save your life or the life of a family member. Be safe out there!

Now go get settled in your site and relax a bit.

Useful Websites

What County Am I In?: www.whatcountyamiin.com

US Hospital Finder: www.ushospitalfinder.com

Tornado Central: www.weather.com/storms/tornado

Find a Laundry: www.findalaundry.org

Walmart Store Locator: www.mobile.walmart.com/location/find

Worth Pondering…

God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

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Why RV Parks MUST Deliver Reliable Wi-Fi

RVers will tolerate many irritations and inconveniences: Interstate or train noise, overcrowded sites, inconvenient placement of city utilities, poor voltage, low water pressure, GPS misdirection and more.

American RV Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
We found the Wi-Fi service as promised or better at American RV Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But, inadequate or inconsistent Wi-Fi and I’m outta there and looking for another campground or RV park.

A study commissioned by Broadcom amusingly found that 75 percent of people say one week without Wi-Fi would leave them grumpier than one week without coffee.

Not surprising since Pew Internet Research says that 90 percent of people have a mobile device in reach 100 percent of the time and Deloitte tells us that Wi-Fi has become the medium of choice with two-thirds of US consumers preferring Wi-Fi to cellular.

These numbers are backed up by a the 2015 North American Camping Report, an independent study commissioned by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA).

Today’s campers are more “plugged in” when preparing for camping trips and while at campsites. Of those surveyed, half of all campers (51 percent) claim that they go online at least once a day while camping, and four out of 10 (41 percent) say that having free Wi-Fi influences their decision to stay at a campground.

When selecting which campgrounds to visit and stay, free Wi-Fi ranks as the third most important amenity, behind only clean bathrooms and a kid-friendly environment, and outpaces access to recreational activities such as a campground store, cabins, and even safety lighting.

Arizona Oasis RV Resort, Ehrenburg, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
We found the Wi-Fi service as promised or better at Arizona Oasis RV Resort, Ehrenburg, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s no surprise then that the importance of adequate, functional, honestly portrayed Wi-Fi is becoming a highly discussed topic amongst consumers.

When a campground or RV park advertises free Wi-Fi, they should provide travelers with a fast and reliable connection. RVers want fast Wi-Fi for entertainment purposes and for keeping in touch with family and friends.

While there are a number of factors that affect speed and performance, some that simply cannot be helped, the consumer most certainly has an expectation, the one that’s been set by the RV park. When a display ad, listing, website, or telephone representative tells an RVer that Wi-Fi is available it is expected to function adequately. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi reality often times does not live up to the promise.

The key point here is campgrounds and RV parks need to set realistic expectations and deliver as promised. They need to be honest, clear, and upfront with the RVing public.

Whether the Wi-Fi service is a hotspot at the clubhouse, free, offers tiered pricing levels, or is pay to play, say so. If the park’s bandwidth is limited guests should be told up-front.

If Wi-Fi service is frequently down and consumers may experience disruptions campgrounds need to consider a fix and avoid promoting it. It is a mistake for an RV park to set them self up to disappoint their guests and create ill will.

Columbia Sun RV Resort, Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
We found the Wi-Fi service as promised or better at Columbia Sun RV Resort, Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV park management must think of Wi-Fi as a utility. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Wi-Fi is one of— if not the— first questions I ask when contacting a campground. It’s right up there with 50-amp electric service, city water, and sewer. Connectivity is no longer a nicety but for many of us RVers, it is a deal maker or breaker.

High-end, 5-star RV resorts that advertize an outdoor vacation on par with other vacation options, must deliver the same expectations as if the family chose to stay at the Hilton, go to Disney, or take an urban vacation. That’s their competition and they are delivering on Wi-Fi as a utility, tweaking as needed and adjusting their pricing plans based upon consumer feedback (outrage may be more like it).

It’s all about RV parks listening to their customers and figuring out a way to deliver what we ask for, be it a splash park and spa, 50-amp powered sites, or fast, reliable Wi-Fi.

Set high standards and realistic expectations and live up to them. In my humble opinion, that is one of the key ways RV parks and campgrounds can lift the perceptions of the experiences they sell.

To compete with other vacation/lodging options park management must deliver.

Buckhorn Lake RV Resort near Kerrville, Texas . © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
We found the Wi-Fi service as promised or better at Buckhorn Lake RV Resort near Kerrville, Texas . © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.
—Theodore Roosevelt

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Most Popular US Campgrounds

Campgrounds and RV parks are great places to enjoy hiking, bikingboating, and other outdoor recreation activities during your leisure time.

Triple Blaze infographic of the most popular campground in each of the United States.
Triple Blaze infographic of the most popular campground in each of the United States.

The most popular campgrounds and RV parks in the United States and Canada are usually located in areas of natural beauty or popular attractions.

According to the bloggers at Triple Blaze these campgrounds are often located at or near national parks or state parks.

Based on reviews by campers the most popular campground in California is Yosemite National Park while Glacier National Park and Bandelier National Park are most popular for campers in Montana and New Mexico respectively.

Every year, America’s nearly 8,000 state parks see more than 720 million visitors—more than two-and-a-half times the number of all visits to national parks, which include marquee names such as Zion, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon.

State parks are number one in camping popularity in numerous states including:

  • Washington: Crow Butte State Park
  • Utah: Jordanelle State Park
  • Louisiana: Fontainebleau State Park
  • Georgia: Red Top Mountain State Park
  • South Carolina: Edisto Beach State Park
  • Indiana: Indian Lake State Park
  • Michigan: Ludington State Park
  • Iowa: Lake Mcbride State Park
  • Kansas: Ponoma State Park
  • Delaware: Delaware Seashore State Park
A+ Motel & RV Park, Sulphur, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Camping at A+ Motel & RV Park, Sulphur, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While these camping sites and other campgrounds listed in the Triple Blaze infographic are deemed by many campers as the most popular in their respective state, numerous other special RV parks and resorts are situated in some of the most attractive destinations in the US and Canada. These campgrounds with a view offer outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation including birdinghiking, biking, fishing, and boating.

Vogel Talks RVing selected the following top RV parks from parks personally visited.

Moab is known as Utah’s adventure capital, offering activities such as biking the Slickrock Trail, off-road routes, rafting down the Colorado River, and hiking to Delicate Arch, Utah’s famous icon. Enjoy the breathtaking natural surroundings of Moab at OK RV Park. The park provides easy access to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park. From scenic parks to adventure, Moab offers something for everyone.

A+ Motel & RV Park is centrally located in Cajun Country near Calcasieu “Big” Lake and other great fishing, hunting, and birding destinations and the Creole Nature Trail All American Road.

JGW RV Park, Redding, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
JGW RV Park, Redding, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Family-owned JGW RV Park welcomes RVers to enjoy its 32-acre facility nestled among the native black oak trees along the scenic Sacramento River. The park has a grassy, natural setting for viewing birds and wildlife and for strolling along the riverbank. You can also fish for steelhead, trout, and salmon.

A wonderland of scenic beauty and outdoor recreation, the Redding area offers unique experiences that include glistening lakes and world-class rivers to scenic drives and backcountry roads. Vibrant attractions include Lassen Volcanic National Park, Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Shasta Lake, and the Sundial Bridge, a Redding icon.

Wake up to a breathtaking sunrise; wind up the day with a spectacular sunset at the Van Horn KOA, set in a beautiful desert valley surrounded by mountains. This country setting, landscaped with native plants that attract wildlife, is filled with the sounds of birds. Visit Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns national parks, Fort Davis and the town of Marfa, whose “Ghost Lights” have defied explanation since 1883. The full-service KOA Cafe can deliver a Texas dinner to your campsite.

Van Horn KOA, Van Horn, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Van Horn KOA, Van Horn, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Enjoy the Old West in and around Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada. Some of the least known, pristine outdoor recreation areas in the West is all easily accessible. Deer, antelope, and other big game populate the surrounding back country. Anglers will find nearby lakes, reservoirs, creeks, and streams much to their liking. Angel Lake, tucked into the East Humboldt mountain range, is a particular favorite for its fish and striking 8,400 foot scenery.

Worth Pondering…

May all your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view……where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you.

—Edward Abbey

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Top Campgrounds, RV Parks & Resorts Near Popular Travel Regions & Cities

These RV Parks stand out for their close proximity to popular travel regions and cities from Las Vegas to the Space Coast and Santa Fe to Boston.

Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nestled on the western slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains looking out upon the vast Rio Grande Valley, the City of Santa Fe has stood for nearly four hundred years underneath beautiful blue New Mexico skies. Santa Fe Skies RV park is located just south of the city on the top of a hill. Enjoy the wonders of the nation’s oldest capital city, take in the spectacular beauty of the region, and the beautiful panoramic view of the Santa Fe area with unobstructed sunrise and sunset views from the Turquoise Trail.

Nestled Between Cape Cod and Boston, Normandy Farms is located just 30 miles from Boston where you can walk the Freedom Trail viewing unique historical sites and just 50 miles from Cape Cod where you can enjoy the salty air and the area’s unique flavor. The resort is also just 5 miles from Patriot Place and the Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. Not to mention a short distance from Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, a commute made even easier by public transportation.

Just five miles from downtown, Austin Lone Star RV Resort provides 158 spacious, tree-shaded sites complete with full hook-ups, complimentary cable TV, and wireless internet. Local attractions include Texas State Capitol, Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, Zilker Park, Austin Children’s Museum, Austin Museum of Art, and Lake Travis.

The closest RV park to Capitol Reef National Park, Wonderland RV Park is located in Torrey at the junction of Scenic Byway 24 and All American Highway 12, just 3 miles from Capitol Reef. Big RV sites feature 75-foot x 26-foot pull-through and 60-foot x 31-foot back-in sites, full hook-ups with 30/50-amp electrical service.

American RV Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
American RV Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A southern Arizona desert oasis, Tucson/Lazydays KOA offers 65-foot pull through sites with full 30/50-amp hookups. Tucson is a city of unique and interesting places to explore including the Barrio Historico, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Pima Air and Space Museum, Sabino Canyon, Saguaro National Park, Catalina State Park, Tohono Chul Park, Tucson Botanical Gardens, Arizona State Museum, Mission San Xavier del Bac (“The White Dove of the Desert”), Titan Missile Museum, Old Tucson Studios, Biosphere 2, and Kitt Peak National Observatory.

Las Vegas RV Resort is a 398-site RV Resort with a great location just minutes from the action of The Strip. Subject to a stunning mountain view, staying at Las Vegas RV Resort comes with 5-star amenities and luxurious facilities. Las Vegas RV Resort is a premier RV Resort offering great value.

Lazydays RV Resort offers 300 sites with full utility hookups, entertainment, breakfast and lunch in The Front Porch Restaurant, sports facilities, complimentary morning coffee and newspaper, and much more. Close proximity to the Tampa Bay area and Orlando attractions and events ensure there is always something going on. Whether the goal is to relax and unwind, or explore the area attractions, Lazydays RV Resort offers the complete RV campground package.

Located in historic and beautiful Albuquerque, American RV Park is conveniently located to downtown Albuquerque and makes the perfect Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta camping location. Attractions of note include Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Old Town Albuquerque, Petroglyph National Monument, Sandia Peak Ariel Tramway, Turquoise Trail, and Rio Grande Nature Center.

Canyon Gateway RV Park, Williams, Arizona  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Canyon Gateway RV Park, Williams, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Williams, Arizona, is an extraordinary way to enjoy Grand Canyon National Park. With only an hour’s travel time to the Grand Canyon, you can stop in Williams for breakfast at a Route 66 corner café, grab your souvenirs, hop on a train, visit a wildlife park, take a hike, grab a pole and head out fishing, or simply stroll the streets before your drive to the Canyon. Canyon Gateway RV Park is set atop a hill just minutes away from the famous Grand Canyon Railroad Station.

Vogel Talks RVing selected the list of top campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts from parks personally visited.

American RV Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Austin Lone Star RV Resort, Austin, Texas

Canyon Gateway RV Park, Williams, Arizona

Columbia Sun RV Resort, Kennewick, Washington

Crystal Lake RV Park, Mims, Florida

Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada

Columbia Sun RV Resort, Kennewick, Washington  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Columbia Sun RV Resort, Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lazydays RV Resort, Seffner, Florida

Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort, Foxboro, Massachusetts

Pony Express RV Park, North Salt Lake City, Utah

Santa Fe Skies RV Park, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Tucson/Lazydays KOA, Tucson, Arizona

Wonderland Resort RV Park, Torrey, Utah

Worth Pondering…

This is not another place.

It is THE place.

—Charles Bowden

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What Do Campers Want?

Families are camping mostly for recreation and are taking camping trips to spend quality time together as well as engaging their kids in outdoor activities.

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

According to a recent survey conducted by Aramark’s leisure division, a food and hospitality partner for national and state parks, 56 percent of the respondents camp with children under the age of 18.

Being intimate with nature and enjoying outdoor recreation is a huge impetus to planned camping trips.

In releasing the survey results, Aramark said 76 percent of survey respondents placed a high value on proximity to hiking and biking trails and 83 percent valued water recreation. Thus, camping in national and state parks is an ideal way to ensure plenty of scenery and access to outdoor activities.

In addition to the importance of outdoor recreation, other things families often consider when selecting a campground include:

Amenities: While some enjoy traditional camping in tents with limited amenities, others are evolving with more modern tastes, placing a large importance on the availability of retail stores, showers, bathrooms, washers and driers, free Wi-Fi, or even zip lines and heated pools.

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Proximity to Recreation: Many campers take part in activities such as boating, fishing, ATV riding, and mountain biking.

Safety: While camping is meant to be stress-free, safety should always be considered when selecting a site or area. For example, the presence of animals, falling rocks, troublesome plants such as poison ivy, or an area that is a target for lightening are all things families think about when planning a trip.

Scenery: Since being outdoors is the main reason families enjoy camping, selecting a scenic location can make it that much more enjoyable. Properties around lakes, mountains, or colorful trails are desired locations for camping excursions.

Proximity to Water: Although some don’t mind dry sites and they tend to be more secluded and quiet, it is important to consider how far away the site is from a water source. Being close to water is helpful for cooking as well as providing fresh water for drinking.

Destinations and Cultural Attractions Managed by Aramark

Almost 22,000 campgrounds exist across the United States. Below are examples of sites with a large variety of outdoor recreation making for great options for family vacations:

Lake Powell/Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona, Utah: Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Bullfrog RV Park & Campground, Halls Crossing RV Park & Campground, Hite RV Park & Campground

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado: Morefield Campground, Fairview Lodge

Lake Tahoe Basin National Forest, Nevada: Zephyr Cove RV Park & Campground

Olympic National Park, Washington: Log Cabin Resort Campground, RV Park at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort

Olympic National Forest, Washington: Lake Quinault Lodge

Details

Aramark’s Leisure Division

Aramark’s Leisure division delivers authentic and memorable experiences at national and state parks, national forests, conference centers, specialty hotels, museums, and other tourist destinations throughout the United States.

In partnership with its clients, Aramark seeks to enhance the guest experience by offering industry-leading hospitality, environmental stewardship, recreational and interpretive programs.

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Address: 2850 E. Camelback Road, Suite 240, Phoenix, AZ  85016

Phone: (602) 331-5200

Website: www.aramarkleisure.com

Worth Pondering…

Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes — every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man.

—Orison Swett Marden

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Accessing The Internet From Your RVing

Hitting the open road is an American dream. But doing it in an RV means that you can bring all your amenities with you including your desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet computer, e-reader, and smartphones.

Wi-FiThere are three main ways to access the internet while on the road: Satellite connection, wireless service, and Wi-Fi.

Satellite Connection

Through the use of a satellite dish your RV uploads and downloads data. This service tends to be more expensive and equipment heavy than other options.

Wireless Internet

Cell phone carriers offer wireless Internet services designed specifically for the laptop. Most services in this category are based on cellular technology.

Through the use of a MIFI “Mobile WIFI” stand alone device or a smartphone, the device becomes a wireless connection device that uses wireless towers to send and receive data. Recently plans are the cheapest they have ever been and they are pretty reliable.

Your service relies heavily on coverage and the quality of the network you choose to use. The two most common hotspot recommendations are Verizon and AT&T. We prefer Verizon because they have the best nationwide coverage. Be sure to review the coverage map before buying to make sure service is available at your travel destinations.

Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi )

Wireless Fidelity (or WiFi) is a technical term for the wireless network cards in laptop computers.

Most RV park directories including the Good Sam Travel & Savings Guide indicate when Wi-Fi is available.

wi-fiimagesWiFi is the technology that links your laptop to a provider using two-way radio signals, and the provider further connects you to the Internet. The actual speed at which you browse the Internet depends on several factors including the connection speed between your computer and the WiFi receiver and between the WiFi receiver and the Internet.

WiFi has a very limited range. An area within range of the WiFi signal is called a hotspot.

Be aware that if an RV park offers Wi-Fi Internet access, you may not be able to access the network from all sites in the campground, so ask when you make the reservation or check in.

Many RV parks offer Wi-Fi free and others charge a fee for service, in some cases through a Wi-Fi provider. Daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal rates are normally available.

RV park and campground managers are beginning to think of Wi-Fi as the fourth utility that RV parks offer consumers after electricity, water, and sewer. A service that was once considered a perk is quickly becoming an expectation for most, if not all, RVers.

Just a few years ago, 50-amp electric moved from a “nice to have” to an essential service to some degree at any 21st century park. As difficult as it has been for some parks to upgrade, for the most part successful parks have accomplished it. So it will be with Wi-Fi.

Campers demand a connection and if they have to pay an additional fee, it better be good. Following these demands, RV parks are adapting in a variety of ways. Access is no longer a ‘want’; it has become a ‘need’.

Missouri-wi-fi-for-web-smallToday’s RVer expects to be able to get online, quickly, easily, and reliably.

When I’m in an RV park Internet access is a true need. I use it for everything from this website, to buying goods and services, entertainment, and interacting with family and friends.

Wi-Fi or other internet access at each site whether free or a paid service is, I consider to already be an essential utility in a campground or RV park. Park owners must figure out how to deliver this service regardless of difficulty.

One of the first questions I ask prior to making a campground reservation relates to Internet availability: “Do you have Wi-Fi and is it available from each RV site?”

My reservation is contingent on whether the RV park has reliable Wi-Fi available at the site.

I’ve stayed in campgrounds that didn’t provide adequate Wi-Fi connectivity as promised, where the Wi-Fi network was as good as none. Being told that I can come to the office or sit on a picnic table outside of the office and use it, just doesn’t cut it anymore.

A growing number of RVers expect the campground to deliver reliable online access and will choose not to stay in a park unable to provide it.

Worth Pondering…

What’s the Wi-Fi password?

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Selecting the Perfect RV Park

RV travel is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding ways to travel.

RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino at Redding, California,
RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino at Corning, California, is a great travel stop on I-5. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

But finding the perfect spot to park your recreational vehicle can be a frustrating experience—especially if you want a spectacular view along with all the amenities of a full service RV resort.

Choices for RV parks and campgrounds include luxurious RV resorts, activity-filled family destinations, 55+ parks, secluded natural settings, and basic parks conveniently located for an overnight stay. Prices also run the gamut.

Just what makes an RVer conclude that this is a campground that surely deserves a return visit, a park that meets both short-term and long-term needs?

First Impressions

What happens when you first walk into the office? Are you greeted warmly and treated in a friendly manner? Are the office staff approachable, friendly, and helpful?

The importance of first impression simply cannot be overstated. Once you’re all signed in, have your park map in hand, and headed to your site, you begin seeing this new and unfamiliar park through either the lens of a good feeling, which tends to make everything look just a bit better; or through the more critical lens of a less-than-welcome feeling derived from the sign-in process. You will begin to see the park in either a more or less favorable light.

Orange Groove RV Park, off US-99 in Bakersfield
Orange Groove RV Park, off US-99 in Bakersfield is a perfect spot for both short-term and long-term stays. It’s a 40-acre orchard where you park your RV between row after row of beautiful orange trees. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

Site spacing

As a general rule are sites spacious enough to accommodate any size RV.

Is there sufficient space? Is the site long enough for your RV and toad/tow vehicle?

Do the sites offer a sufficient feeling of space? Is there ample room on either side of the RV for that pleasant feeling of light and air? Or do the sites look more suitable for RV storage?

If the park design has resulted in sites which preclude any sense of privacy because of an unacceptable spacing, it’s not very likely we’ll stay for more than one night. And surely not again on a return trip. With the increased size of RVs, a park which is not designed to accommodate at least some big rigs and units with full wall slides is ensuring a diminishing clientele over time.

Site landscaping

After settling into Flag City RV Resort, a 5-star RV park, we started our seven-day tour. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Flag City RV Resort, a 5-star RV park at Lodi (California) is conveniently located near the Lodi wine country and the Sacramento River Delta. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Individual site landscaping is really an element of overall park design. We find parks which show a bit of imagination in avoiding the “parking lot look” to be much more pleasant in overall appearance.

The availability of spacious common areas such as a large grassy field, a woodsy space with trails, or a stretch of beach also contributes to a pleasant environment.

Is the site to which you’ve just been assigned aesthetically pleasing?

Is the site reasonably level? Are there low-hanging branches?

If having satellite TV is important to you, then look for an unobstructed view of the southern sky. Remember that the tradeoff of no trees may mean no shade.

Amenities

Our needs and requirements in an RV park vary depending on length of stay. If overnighting few, if any, amenities are required though we desire to have a minimum of 30-amp electric service and water. The longer we plan to stay at a campground, the pickier we become.

Are the campsite utilities in a convenient central location?

Is there cable TV? Additional fee? Availability and clarity of channels? Available at all sites?

The Cajun Palms RV Resort (Breaux Bridge, Louisiana) swimming pool contains a big plastic pirate ship for children to board and a gigantic purple-and-green dragon stretched across the middle of the water.  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Cajun Palms RV Resort (Breaux Bridge, Louisiana) swimming pool contains a big plastic pirate ship for children to board and a gigantic purple-and-green dragon stretched across the middle of the water. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Availability of Wi-Fi and location of towers? Is there an additional fee or required log-in password?

Availability and cleanliness of restroom and shower facilities? Additional fee for showers?

Contact the RV Park

Whether you plan to stay one night, a weekend, a week, or longer, there are RV parks throughout the country to meet your needs. All are unique. No two parks are the same. Each campground will provide something a little different.

To help avoid unpleasant surprises contact the campground and ask specific questions about their policies and their park. Questions to ask include rental rates (nightly, weekly, monthly per your needs), availability of Wi-Fi and cable TV, park’s amenities, and pet policy.

Is the park big-rig friendly? Length and width of sites? Are sites relatively level? Do the sites have concrete pads, grass, gravel, or dirt? Will I have difficulty obtaining a satellite TV signal?

Worth Pondering…

Never stay at an RV park that charges ten dollars and is run by a man with more tattoos than teeth.

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RVing in Europe

If you enjoy the RV lifestyle, RVing is a fun way to travel in Europe.

RVing in Europe
RVing in Europe (Source: camperissimo.de)

Most RV enthusiasts rent or purchase their RVs in Europe. When renting an RV for your European vacation, consider the type of vehicle you are paying for and where you plan to travel and camp. Most companies offer campervans and motorhomes for rent in various sizes.

Study the rules of the road. Do this for each country you plan to drive through and learn about any extra rules for driving a motorhome. For instance, in England you drive on the left side of the road. Keep in mind that some smaller towns or villages have very narrow roads that cannot accommodate larger motorhomes.

To locate campgrounds that fit your needs, obtain a comprehensive guidebook or search websites such as eurocampings.co.uk. These resources will give you an idea of the location, cost, and amenities of campgrounds across Europe.

Motorhome rental involves two key decisions: Who to rent from and what type of vehicle. Before you book a rental, do your homework. This is a big decision and requires time and effort to do your research.

When comparing rental quotes, be sure you compare apples to apples. There are variations of rental policies, rental company reputations, rental motorhome age, quality, and specifications. Variations exist between motorhome rental companies in terms of inclusions and optional extras and specials.

Obtain answers to the following questions:

  • Is there a minimum or maximum rental period?
  • What supplies are included—kitchen, linens, camping table, etc?
  • Is there unlimited mileage?
  • Is VAT included?
  • Can you take the vehicle to all the countries you intend to visit?
  • How will you get to the rental facility from the airport?
  • Can you drop off at a different location and are there additional fees?

europe IMG_6471_2_3_fused-2And now, what type of motorhome to rent? Consider the following factors:

  • Your budget
  • Amount of space you require to sleep comfortably, sit at the table, prepare meals, get dressed, and store your stuff
  • Your need for a toilet and shower on board
  • Appliances your require, e.g., microwave, electric coffeemaker, TV
  • Length of time you will travel
  • Type of travel, e.g., will you be on the move most of the time, or will you stay put in a campground for days or weeks at a time (This may impact how you think about the trade-offs between cost, comfort, and navigability)

There are numerous reliable companies from which you can rent an RV.

A good place to start is Ideamerge.com for obtaining a quote and to learn about renting a campervan or motorhome in Europe. Here you’ll learn that motorhome hire in Germany is considerably cheaper than elsewhere in Europe. Add to this its central European location and a leading international airport at Frankfurt. Indeed, you should strongly consider starting and ending your RV tour of Europe in Germany—even if the bulk of your travels lies elsewhere in Europe.

RVing in Europe
RVing in Europe (Source: visitscotland.com)

Ideamerge arranges motorhome hire tours of the more extended parts of Europe including Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and Greece, as well as neighboring France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal.

Motorhomesworldwide.com is a large booking site that handles rentals in over 35 countries around the world.

With 50 rental stations, Mcrent.eu is Europe’s largest motorhome rental company. You can find a McRent motorhome rental in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Great Britain, and Iceland. This vendor also sources to other rental companies including Ideamerge.

For a carefree all-inclusive European motorhome tour consider rvtoureurope.com. You travel in small groups caravan style. Your hosts stay with the group and are available for you throughout the entire tour. Only the best campgrounds are selected. You also have the option of going on your own.

Start planning your 2015 Europe RV dream vacation now.

Worth Pondering…

The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.

—Marie de Vichy-Chamrond

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