Our Favorite RV Destinations – 1 Year of Full Time Travel
We’ve been traveling full-time for over a year and one of the most common questions we get asked is: What is our favorite place that you’ve been to it?
Embarking on our dream of full-time travel has made this past year truly incredible. Just over a year ago we set out on our madden voyage in our self converted MCI D3 40 foot bus in search of adventure, culture and community. And boy did we find them!
It feels like we’ve crammed 10 years of sticks-and-bricks life adventures into the last 365 days so this week we are going to take a look back at our favorite Campgrounds, Resorts, Harvest Hosts, last minute overnight, favorite boondocking spots, favorite hike, favorite town, gathering, sightseeing and our favorite National Park visit. Plus we will answer the common.
Favorite Boondocking Spots
If you don’t know what boondocking is, it’s free dry camping with no hook-ups. That can be in Bureau of Land Management land (BLM) forest service land (US Forest Service) and there are even some free Army Corps of engineer campgrounds out there that count.
There’s lots of free camping across the country and one of our favorite places we stayed at we almost don’t want to tell you because I don’t want keep it for ourselves. It isn’t super popular like a lot of boondocking spots we found in Arizona, but for sure our favorite spot was Mittry Lake just north of Yuma Arizona. After being in the desert for months it was a wonderful to find a spot to camp for free right on the water by the lake. It didn’t even feel like we were in the Arizona desert because of the lake.
Camping at Mittry Lake was like you were suddenly in a different state and the palm trees. It was a great spot it was easy to park at for the week with hiking trails, paddle boarding or just relax on the beach. The sunsets were amazing but I think what really made the place was the people we camped with. I think that’s going to be true of all the experiences that we had in our first year of full-time travel.
Another personal favorite spot was when we stayed out in the Olympic National Forest at Forest Road 29. We love the Northwest and in particular we love Washington State. It is a really beautiful area and so calming to be in the middle of the forest. You really felt like you were in the middle of nowhere but the camping area had enough open sky so we still managed to get a Starlink for work and enough Sunshine for solar.
Favorite Harvest Hosts Locations
The host Rick was very so kind and uh he took us on a tour in a side by side without into the middle of 200 plus Bison! Mela was frightened to death but like having survived such a close encounter with so many massive majestic beasts it is a stand out for sure!
I think another Harvest Hosts favorite the places we stayed was the Blue Heron French cheese company in Tillamook, Oregon. They had a huge spot for parking and could host up to 50 RVs! They also let you stay for up to three nights which is kind of unique for a Harvest Host. But during the high travel summer season finding a free place to stay for three nights near the Oregon coast was incredible! They had a little petting zoo area with donkeys and sheep and goats.
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There’s a little Campground right outside of the western part of Tucson called the Gilbert Ray Campground. It felt like you were like in the middle of the Sonoran National Forest with beautiful Desert with all variety of Saguaro cacti and barrel cactus surrounding the campground. You’re just 20 minutes away from Tucson shops and supplies but feel like you are miles away from civilization.
Another favorite campground the Oliver Lee Memorial campground in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The views were amazing and there are some hikes that are just off the campground into the canyons or over the mountains. The New Mexico State park campground system has some very affordable options for frequent camping and visiting the state, but for snowbirds like us, the higher elevation make it a little cold for winter camping.
We were there during Mela’s birthday and we got visit White Sands National Park which is just a 30 minute drive away. it was just like a fun experience
We also have an honorable mention here for favorite campground which is Estes Park Campground at Mary’s Lake. It is a nice little campground with an easy 15 minute drive to get you right into the Rocky Mountain National Park. A highlight for staying at Mary’s Lake was seeing a family of Elk wandering the grounds and feeding on the vegetation right in the middle of the camp.
Favorite RV Resort
Once in a while we will splurge and stop at an RV resort. RV resorts tend to offer more amenities than campgrounds with many offering swimming pools, tennis courts, landscaped grounds, as well as full hookups for your RV.
Our favorite resorts we stayed at this year were the Turtle RockRV Resort in Gold Beach, Oregon. They have hot tubs RV sites, not just a communal hot tub, but your own hot tub right at your RV site. We love camping by the water and the sites next to the creek are gorgeous and the fact that you could walk directly onto the beach right from Turtle Rock was amazing.
Our other favorite was the Inn Town Campground right in heart of Nevada City, California.
Even though technically they call it a “campground” not do not label it as a resort, it has a swimming pool, great communal kitchen and even an an outdoor movie theater. We loved this campground with options for RV, tent and glamping tents set in the natural beauty of the pine forest and just a mile walking distance to get to downtown Nevada City.
Favorite Last Minute Overnight
You don’t always get to pick a wonderful spot to stay. Sometimes you have to pick a last minute place to stay overnight and one of our favorite last minute overnights was at the Three Rivers Casino in Florence, Oregon. We had a tough time finding places to camp as we traveled up the Oregon coast in the middle of summer so when we found Three Rivers allowed a one night for free with a players card we couldn’t of been happier. You can stay longer by playing games at the casino and getting players points so we went in and played three-car poker the first night I won almost 300! The next day we found out we had earned enough points we could stay for a week and a half if we wanted to! Any place that it’s a free overnight and they pay you that’s going to go on the top of our list.
As we spent the year traveling the country we found casinos to be some of our favorite overnight parking in general. It’s not that we always go to gamble but that many casinos offer large flat parking areas designated for RVs, 24 hour security and usually have nearby shops and restaurants. That was definitely the case with the Morongo Casino in Cabazon, California. We were on our way to Joshua Tree and we saw that the weather was going to be really bad there so we decided to just stop at Morongo Casino and wait for the bad weather to pass.
I think you can stay a week for free there and inside the casino are some great restaurants as well as a travel center on the property and outlet malls right near by. The views of the mountains were inspiring and we had several quite nights were we got some good sleep.
We love to camp in places where we can get out and go for a hikes. Our favorite hike this year was in the Rocky Mountain National Park and hiking up to Lake Haiyaha. We originally set out to hike the Dream Lake trail. While we were on the trail another hiker stopped and told us about the occurrence at Lake Haiyaha so on the spot we added an extra 3 miles to our hike to go up to see the once in a lifetime occurrence of the glacial slurry sliding in to the lake. Because elf this occuenece the lake was a beautiful green color and is something that rarely happens in North America.
Another favorite hike was while we were staying at the Beverly Beach State Park on the Oregon coast. While the campground it self was very busy, the little hiking trails off the sides of the park had almost no one on them. We camped in the back of the park and could hike to the beach, via the rain forest, in about 20 minutes. We didn’t film much while we stayed at this park as we were having some downtime. But walks to the beach and the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean made this hike a stand out.
We got to visit so many friendly, colorful and quirky towns over the last 365 days but one that stood out was Nevada City California. We loved that this small town in the western Sierras is sloped in the middle of the woods surrounded with pine trees and great little hikes right from downtown.
The town itself is super cute and we loved getting to know some of the amazing people who live there. This town has our kind of culture and community. The town has a very artistic feel and we found options for hearing local live music and seeing a show on a Wednesday night.
We felt like we fit in Nevada City and if we weren’t snowbirds, chasing good weather we might be able to settle down there.
Another town that stands out is Bisbee Arizona. This former mining town just 12 miles from the US / Mexico boarder is so colorful and artsy. We only visited during a day trip, but we would definitely go back to spend more time there.
We couldn’t create a list of our favorite destinations without inlacing out favorite Gathering. Over the last year we have been to the Overland Expo, Tiny Fest California but the ones that made our list include the 2023 Skooliepalooza un-gathering. Although it wasn’t an official event, nearly 1,000 bus conversions, Rv’ers and van lifers showed up in the Arizona desert for a week of community. It was our t was the first time meeting so many like-minded nomads. We had so many “wow” moments and felt like wow were embraced by our new community. We also filmed 2 of our favorite videos form the year, one video shared getting help from new friends to install more solar at the un-gathering and one video sharing our experience attending Skooliepalooza. What a great event!
Another stand out event was attending the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. We spent two days filming this beautiful and inspiring event which featured over 500 balloons taking flight in the largest ballooning event on earth. It was absolutely stunning to see so many magnificent balloons set off into the sky. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience filled with magic.
Want to see even more of our favorite spots? Watch our video up top to see all our picks for our favorite RV destinations after one year of travel.