Readers in the northern states and neighboring Canada might wonder why RVers flock to the desert southwest to dry camp each winter. Following are eight factors (among many) that attract RVers to the desert:
1) There are no crowds. While thousands of snowbirds flock south each winter most stay in conventional RV parks leaving the balance dispersed throughout the sprawling desert. You are likely to feel like you have the whole desert to yourself.
2) There is no snow to shovel! Winter in the desert southwest consists of plentiful sunshine with daily high temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s Fahrenheit. Yes, occasionally the wind will blow and you will have a cloudy day now and then when the temperature won’t make into the 60’s. It may even rain, but even if it does rain, desert flowers blooming in the spring make it all worthwhile.
3) The desert is nearly bug free. If you have ever had a summer campout spoiled by flying insects like mosquitoes, flies or bees, you will love camping out in the desert where the arid climate limits bug habitat and reproduction.
4) The scenery. Those that have never visited the desert southwest may believe it to be a vast wasteland, but nothing can be further from the truth. The desert is much greener than you might think and the vibrant and sometimes flowering desert plants set against a rugged mountain backdrop can make for a stunning scene.
5) The sunrises and sunsets are amazing. Make it a point to get up and watch the sunrise every morning as it is much more inspiring than watching the morning news on TV. Conversely, plan your dinner (preferably outside) when the sun is scheduled to set as you will want to have a 360° view as old sol makes its way over the western horizon while casting shadows all across the desert floor and sky. Think of it as dinner and a movie every night!
6) Stargazing. There are many places in the desert southwest recognized as dark sky areas where light pollution is minimal providing for some awesome viewing of the heavenly bodies above. If you don’t already have one, invest in a camera that will take long time- exposures. Your friends in the cold back home will be oohing and ahhing over the night sky photos posted on your social media account.
7) It’s free! The majority of the expansive desert southwest is managed by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and allows free dispersed camping. (aka Boondocking).
8) Save money. Not only is the camping free in the desert, but just think of the money you will save by not staying home and heating your home during the frigid winter in northern climates.
In the next installment we will look at what there is to see and do while camped in the desert.
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
Can’t wait until we can go boondocking!
Dave Helgeson - Adventures in RVing says
I think you will enjoy it.
William Scott says
Wouldn’t it cost more gas to get there and back than it would cost heating your house for the same time?
Not really. There was a report on the Seattle news last night about a woman that had a $800 heating bill over the last two months. Seattle has MUCH milder winters than say somewhere like Fargo, North Dakota, so the savings on your home heat bill by going south could be significant. I suspect there are snowbirds reading this that can confirm that.
Jerry Oglesbee says
Exactly what areas define this desert southwest you speak of?
Dave Helgeson - Adventures in RVing says
Jerry – Primarily the Sonoran and Mojave Desert.