Get on the Road in 2023!
Planning an RV trip for 2023? The best of this beautiful country is just waiting to be explored. Check out some of these great RV trip ideas for the New Year!
On this list there are some RV trip ideas that are very familiar, some are great for families, others allow you to take in nature and its beauty, and some might have a little more urban flair.
Winners of the Best RV Trip Ideas of 2023
Check a few of these RV trip ideas off your must-do list and add your own. Make sure you plan your travels with RV LIFE Pro to find campgrounds and get RV-safe GPS directions.
1. Disney World
Disney World is one of the best RV trip ideas for families. With 6 theme parks, including 2 water parks, Disney is one of the top places to take the kids.
With its on-site campground, Fort Wilderness, you will find tons of amenities, including shuttles to the parks, heated pools, trails, campfire activities, and much more.
2. Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge
The small town of Gatlinburg is nestled in the middle of the mountains, and you can walk the streets to visit locally owned shops and restaurants.
SkyLift Park, reopened in 2019 with a walk in the clouds known as the SkyBridge, is a must-see. It’s the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. Walk across glass panels for a view of the canyon, or look up for the best views of the Smokies.
Take a short drive to Pigeon Forge to check out Dollywood, water parks, musical shows, and much more. The area hiking trails have beautiful mountain views that will satisfy the nature lover. Nearby RV parks abound with plenty of fishing, hiking, and relaxing.
3. Charleston, SC
Charleston is one of the best RV trip ideas for those who like history. Some say the Battery, a stretch along the city’s southern tip, is a can’t-miss. Check out the southern-style mansions overlooking Charleston Harbor, and spend time in nearby White Point Garden to see Civil War relics and memorials.
You can start at the 12-acre Waterfront Park, and follow the walking path for a nearly one-mile stroll to White Point Garden. Don’t forget to sign up for a horse drawn carriage ride, a ghost tour, or check out the Charleston City Market, one of the oldest in the country.
Nearby RV parks are plentiful. Be sure to check out the Mount Pleasant/Charleston KOA Holiday with its fishing lake, nature trails, and access to the Oakland Plantation.
4. Niagara Falls
Of course, Niagara Falls is full of attractions, events, festivals, and much more, particularly in the summer. Niagara Falls State Park is really the highlight of your visit to this quaint town.
On the U.S. side, the falls straddle the U.S. and Canada. Don’t miss a ride on the Maid of the Mist, which takes you on a boat ride up to the falls. Yes, you will get wet.
You can also descend 175 feet into the Niagara Gorge. An elevator takes you down to a series of wooden walkways to Hurricane Deck where you will be within feet of Bridal Veil Falls. You might want to plan your trip for the fall when you can add the beauty of the changing colors to your already stunning views.
Spend your evening checking out a local restaurant or winery and then return to see the falls lit at night.
5. Williamsburg, VA
Another one of the best RV trip ideas for history buffs is Williamsburg, VA. The true heart of Williamsburg is, of course, Colonial Williamsburg. History comes to life as you explore life in the 1800s. The grounds are open to visitors for free so you can explore historic buildings, see historical interpreters, and visit shops, museums, and restaurants.
During the summer, you might find a free concert. You can visit the post office and mail a letter with an official Colonial Williamsburg stamp.
Take the Jamestown-Scotland ferry, its free, across the James River to Scotland and Surry to see the plantations and other historic sites. You can bike the Virginia Capital Trail, one of the first inland paved pedestrian and bicycle trails in North America. Take in musical performances, as well as arts and crafts vendors, walk through the historic campus of William & Mary, the second oldest college in America, or enjoy cuisine from the 1800s.
Drive the 23-mile scenic parkway and take in nearby Yorktown, Jamestown, as well as Williamsburg.
Check out American Heritage RV Park below.
6. Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is one of the most popular parks in the Western United States and for good reason. The park sits on top of a dormant volcano and has more geysers and hot springs than any other place on earth. The 3,500 sq. mile wilderness recreation area is mostly in Wyoming, but also spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho. There you will find lush forests, canyons, alpine rivers, geysers, including the most famous, Old Faithful. The park is also home to bears, wolves, bison, elk, and antelope.
There are five campgrounds within the park. Be sure and check for any length restrictions. Fishing Bridge Campground is the only place with full hook-ups. There are private campground options outside of the park. You will want to make your reservations well ahead of time to make sure you can stay.
7. Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is a massive canyon with layers of red rock that are millions of years old. Some 277 miles of the Colorado River runs through the canyon which is one-mile deep and up to 18 miles wide. Hiking, ranger tours, river trips, and backcountry camping are just a few of the things you can do while in the park.
The Trail of Time is a nearly 3-mile walk that traces the Grand Canyon’s geologic history. Along the way, rocks and exhibits explain how the Grand Canyon and its rocks were formed.
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park has one campground with full hook-ups inside the park. It can accommodate RVs up to 50 feet in length and is open year round. You will need to get your reservation at least 6 months in advance. There are plenty of private campgrounds nearby.
8. Redwood National And State Parks
Redwood National Park is home to some of the tallest trees in the world. The park also encompasses prairies, rivers, woodlands, and 40 miles of coastland. Tall Trees Grove is the best place to see the towering redwoods, and Red Creek Overlook is a great place to see the sunset.
Elk Meadows is the most reliable place to see elk in the park. Don’t miss the Avenue of the Giants. Although not technically in the park, this 31-mile drive through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park is a must-see. Make it a day trip; there is plenty to see along the way.
The Del Norte Redwoods State Park is one of four parks in the National and State Parks. It can accommodate RVs up to 31 feet for dry camping. Nearby Ramblin’ Redwoods Campground is one of several that provide full hook-ups and 50-amp electric.
9. Arches National Park
Utah has five National Parks, all of which are beautiful, very different, and very busy. Arches National Park has more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including Delicate Arch, Devils Garden, and other sandstone features such as Balanced Rock, The Three Gossips, and many more. The park is bordered by the Colorado River to the south.
If you are not up for a lot of hiking, you can see much of the beautiful scenery with a car ride. You can stop at one of the many overlooks and take pictures of the unique rock formations.
There are several parks to choose from when visiting Arches National Park. Moab Valley RV Resort is just a short drive from both Arches National Park as well as the town of Moab.
Portal RV Resort, situated between Moab and Arches, is another great place to stay. About a mile north of Moab and about three miles to Arches, the park has a pool and a hot tub, as well as a small, fenced dog park. Sites are level gravel.
10. Zion National Park
Zion is my favorite National Park in Utah and one of the best RV trip ideas. Here are a few hints to get the most out of your trip to Zion.
During peak season from March through late November, cars can’t drive through the park, so you must take the shuttle to the different sites and trailheads. Be sure and get up early to find a parking place at the visitor center. The shuttle begins at 7 a.m. so it’s best to get there as early as possible.
Zion is home to some famous (or perhaps infamous) trails including one of the most dangerous parts of a trail called Angel’s Landing. The Chains Section is a ½ mile route set on top of a 1,488 foot rock section. The path provides a chain to hang onto, but is only a few feet wide in some places.
There are RV spaces in Zion National Park, but they have no hookups. Your best bet is to find a campground nearby and use the park’s shuttle. Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort offers the best RV camping near Zion, with spacious RV sites and other accommodations, as well as a wide variety of activities on the eastern border of the national park.
Zion River Resort in nearby Virgin, Utah has full hook-ups sites. The resort amenities include a pool, hot tub, laundry facilities, and is situated along the Virgin River with walking access to the river from your site.
11. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is another one of those bucket list RV trip ideas you can’t miss while you spend time in the West. The park is located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains and is famed for its giant ancient sequoia trees, Tunnel View and the stunning Bridalveil Fall, and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome.
An easy hike to Bridalveil Fall will take you right to the base. You can feel the spray and hear the water as it crashes on the boulders. From Tunnel View, you get a good look at the falls from a higher vantage point.
Yosemite has some great hiking trails for all abilities. Some are wheelchair accessible paths and others will take one day or several days to hike. The shorter trails are usually busiest, but you can avoid the crowds by tackling some of the longer hikes. Some trails are only accessible in the summer.
When you’ve had your fill of the beautiful scenery, head to Yosemite Village where there are shops, restaurants, and the Yosemite Museum and Ansel Adams Gallery, with black and white photography prints available of the landscapes of the area.
Most campgrounds in Yosemite allow RVs, but you will need to get a reservation at least 6 months to a year in advance. There are only 8 sites that allow for longer rigs. Some sites are first-come, first-served. Be aware there are no hookups anywhere in Yosemite National Park.
12. Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is a 1,583 sq. mile wilderness area in Montana’s Rocky Mountains. Visitors can see glacier-carved peaks and valleys while hiking some of the 700 miles of hiking trails. You can also enjoy backpacking, cycling, and camping, and see the area’s diverse range of wildlife including mountain goats, grizzly bears, moose, coyotes, wolves, elk, deer, and many others.
One of the most popular things to do at Glacier is to drive the scenic 52-mile highway through Glacier National Park called the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It crosses the Continental Divide and provides some spectacular views.
Inside the park, only primitive camping is allowed. Sites are first-come, first-serve. Just outside the park inside the Flathead National Forest you can find dispersed camping, and there are a number of RV parks nearby with full hookups.
13. Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
Choosing just one place to go in Colorado is difficult. There are so many beautiful areas. One of the most visited attractions is Garden of the Gods. You will be in awe of its enormous sandstone formations. Don’t miss a photo op of gravity-defying boulders such as Kissing Camels, Balanced Rock, Tower of Babel, and Pig’s Eye. You won’t need your wallet because Garden of the Gods is free to explore.
While you are in the area, don’t forget to take a drive or a train ride to the top of Pikes Peak. Plan for a three hour roundtrip to the top and get your tickets in advance for the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The 14,115 foot peak is located in Pike National Forest, 12 miles west of downtown Colorado Springs. The town of Manitou Springs lies at its base.
“There is a free public bus system with a stop near the campground entrance and goes to Manitou Springs for shopping and eating options. Better than trying to take a big tow vehicle into Manitou Springs (its pretty tight all around). Campground location is close to the entrance to Pike’s Peak and Garden of the Gods Nature Center. 30-45 minutes away is the Crags Trail – a ~5 mile out/back moderate hike with great views (gets to almost 11,000′ elevation). And nearby to that trail is the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Wander in to Colorado Springs about 20 minutes to Ivywild School – a decommissioned, remodeled elementary school built in 1916 that is family friendly with several eateries and a micro brew. It has outdoor seating and saw several furry friends enjoying the atmosphere.”
14. Bar Harbor, Maine
There is a such a beauty to this area, you won’t be sorry for taking some time, either in summer or fall, to explore Bar Harbor and the surrounding area. Located on Mount Desert Island, next to Acadia National Park, this favorite tourist destination offers historic charm, a beautiful coastline, and a plethora of activities for the whole family.
The national park, located on the island, is a rugged 47,000-acre Atlantic Coast recreation area which features rocky beaches, granite peaks, and Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. Visitors can enjoy hiking, climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and birdwatching. From the town pier, the Shore Path winds along the bay overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Porcupine Islands.
Don’t forget to take a whale watching trip, or explore the Village Green in Bar Harbor to enjoy its history and see its landmarks.
There are plenty of private RV parks near Bar Harbor, as well as in the National Park. Just make sure to make reservations well in advance.
15. Mount Washington and the Cog Railway – New Hampshire
Look down on the tops of clouds or view four states on a clear day from the top of Mount Washington, the highest elevation in the northern Appalachians. The best way to get to the top is via the Cog Railway, which has been carrying tourists since 1869. At the top, visit the Sherman Adams Visitors Center, which houses a small museum, a cafeteria, and the Mount Washington Observatory, a research station that studies the mountain’s extreme weather conditions.
Check out the Tip-Top House, a historic former hotel in Mount Washington State Park. Built in 1853, it is the oldest surviving building in the summit area and is believed to be the oldest mountain-top hostelry in the world. It features exhibits about the mountain’s history and is located near the visitor’s facility. It is open to visitors from early May to early October.
Check out the 5,775-acre Crawford Notch State Park, which is a major pass through the White Mountains. The park includes the Willey House historical site and the Dry River Campground with some RV sites (no hookups). Hiking trails in the park lead to popular destinations such as Ripley Falls and Arethusa Falls.
16. Mustang Island
Mustang Island is an 18-mile barrier island on the Gulf Coast of Texas. If you like everything to do with beaches, water, and fishing, you will love this area. You can access the island via the Causeway Bridge from Corpus Christi, or over the Port Aransas Ferry which runs continuously.
Watch the boats from Roberts Point Park, or explore nature at the Leonabelle Turnbill Birding Center or the Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture. Throw a line in right from the beach or take a walk down the Horace Caldwell Fishing Pier, some 1,200 feet long. In April, brave the crowds and check out the Texas Sandfest. Sculptors from all over the world turn sand into beautiful art pieces.
After a day in the sun and sand, take in some nightlife in Port Aransas. There are many restaurants, bars, and shops to fill an evening with fun. Don’t forget to get fresh shrimp off the Peggy Ann for a tasty treat.
Find a spot to boondock at Mustang Island State Park, get a permit and park on the beach, or check out some great RV resorts in Port Aransas.
Galveston is an island city on the Gulf Coast of Texas. While there, you can enjoy the long stretch of beaches with plenty of room to claim your spot and play in the shallow water. Check out Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier with rides, suitable for all ages, as well as games and activities. The 1,130-foot pier is a great family destination and is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and on weekends during the winter.
Stewart Beach is a family-friendly beach with chair and umbrella rentals, a children’s playground, concessions, and a lifeguard. Head to Galveston Island State Park, walk along the boardwalks, kayak and birdwatch on the bay or the ocean.
Moody Gardens is where giant glass pyramids house sharks, monkeys, and other animals. The Moody Mansion, a 28,000 sq. ft. home, is on the National Register of Historic Places and features stained glass, custom carved woodwork, decorative tiles and plasterwork, along with fine stencil work throughout. Guided tours are available, as well as special events and programs. Don’t forget to check out the vintage Cadillacs parked in the garage.
There are many RV resorts and parks that you can stay right along the Gulf with beautiful views and full hookups.
18. Beaver Lake/Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Arkansas isn’t called the Natural State for no reason. Whatever place you pick is going to be beautiful. Beaver Lake and Eureka Springs are a great combination of outdoor fun together with shopping, shows, activities, spectacular views and more.
At Beaver Lake don’t miss War Eagle Cavern. This is a one hour, one-mile guided walking tour that follows a wide, easy walkway beside a stream flowing through the cavern. The cavern features domes, streams, waterfalls, and many formations. During the tour you will learn about the Indians and outlaws and maybe see a bat up close. Above ground are hiking trails and picnic and play areas for the kids. Although not for everyone, you can join the Spelunker Tour that begins where the public tour ends. It takes at least three hours, a group of four or more, and reservations.
In Eureka Springs, make sure you see Thorncrown Chapel with its 425 windows and some 6,000 sq. ft of glass. Ride the tram for a guided tour of historic Eureka Springs. You will see Victorian buildings, landmarks such as Grotto Spring, and hear stories of Eureka’s history.
Ozark Cabins and RV provides full hookups with beautiful views near Beaver Lake and the White River. Book a trout guide or explore many trails on the grounds. You can also get your fishing supplies at the on-site convenience store.
Spider Creek Resort has just one RV pad with full hookups that can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length. It has a beautiful view overlooking both Spider Creek and the White River. The pad includes a separate, private bathroom and shower, as well as a charcoal grill and patio furniture. The resort offers fishing guides, and rentals of jon boats, river boats, kayaks, rafts, and canoes.
19. Upper Peninsula, Michigan
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is one of the most popular RV trip ideas. The Upper Peninsula region borders three of the Great Lakes and is connected to Michigan’s Lower Peninsula by the five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge. In between the two peninsulas is Mackinac Island, a car-free vacation destination accessible by ferry and a must-see on your UP adventure.
While on the island, check out Fort Mackinac with its 14 historic buildings. Check out the museum and listen to interpreters as they depict life in the fort in the late 1900s. See Arch Rock or visit the Butterfly House and Insect World. Stay at the Grand Hotel on the island, play a round of golf, or take a carriage tour.
If you want to get away from the crowds, choose the lesser traveled Drummond Island, known for its wildlife and ORV trails, or Grand Island for wilderness camping and mountain bike riding along scenic overlooks. The Les Cheneaux is a series of islands, great for protected paddling.
Park your RV at Straits State Park with a high, straight view down the center of the Mackinac Bridge. It was used as a survey point during its construction. Also, you can choose a beachfront campsite on the shoreline of the Straits of Mackinac.
For trip inspiration, check out this Road Trip On The Upper Peninsula Of Michigan.
20. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
As you spend time in Michigan, check out Sleeping Bear Dunes in the state’s Lower Peninsula. The park is known for its scalable dunes at the Dune Climb. Beaches include Platte River Point, where the river flows into the lake. The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail winds through the forest with views of 19th century farmsteads.
The park is a great place for stargazing, so be sure and plan to attend a star party. Rangers share the best spots for sky viewing. Check out the historic village of Glen Haven with some of the park’s prettiest beaches. Watch a smithy hammer hot iron into horseshoes, get penny candy at the general store, and visit the neighboring museum.
Paddle, fish, or just enjoy the views. Don’t forget to catch a beautiful sunset as well.
Make an online reservation for the Platte River Campground, which is open year round with RV spots with electrical hookups.
21. Door County, Wisconsin
Why is Door County, Wisconsin one of our favorite RV trip ideas? Try 5 state parks, 19 county parks, and 300 miles of shoreline. Don’t miss the wineries, quaint bed and breakfasts, and unique inns. Pick your own cherries or apples, enjoy a fish boil, or visit Peninsula State Park for views of Green Bay from the top of Niagara Escarpment.
Door County Maritime Museum is also a popular place to visit. This museum has interpretive and educational programming on unique maritime topics and preserves the maritime history of the Great Lakes. Tour a restored tugboat, take a shipyard tour, or enjoy one of the seasonal festivals.
Peninsula State has a number of campgrounds but few with any amenities. Nearby Egg Harbor Campground & RV Resort has 78 full hookup sites with a game room, heated pool, playground, picnic area, and pull through sites. It is also adjacent to Orchards Golf Course.
22. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
As you travel this beautiful country, make sure you don’t consider Missouri just a pass-through state. For those who like the outdoors, there is an abundance of beautiful state parks, rivers to kayak and canoe, and lakes to enjoy. One of my favorite spots is Lake of the Ozarks. I’ve been visiting there since I was a young child, swimming, skiing, boating, and exploring the 84 sq. mile lake.
If you are ready for a break from the water fun, head out to explore Bridal Cave with its massive rock drapery formations, or Stark Caverns with a large underground lake. Ozark Caverns is famous for its Angel Shower cave phenomenon where a constant shower of water streams from the cave ceiling.
In the area you can find something to suit everyone in your family including spas, golf, go-karts, water parks, local wineries, or lakeside dining. Make a rainy day a shopping day at Osage Beach outlet marketplace.
Lake Of The Ozarks State Park has nearly 17,000 acres of place to hike, ride horses, hit the beach, or launch your boat for a day on the lake. Nearby Ha Ha Tonka State Park was named one of the four most popular state parks in the nation by 10Best. Check out its natural springs, awesome landscapes, and beautiful castle ruins.
Some 20 RV campgrounds are nearby with excellent reviews. You can even find some with lakeside parking for larger RVs.
Start trip planning today
For all of your camping and trip planning needs, look no further than RV LIFE Campgrounds and RV LIFE Trip Wizard. RV LIFE Campgrounds is a trusted source of campground and RV park reviews offered by camping and RV enthusiasts just like you. With its accompanying RV LIFE App, RV LIFE Trip Wizard gets you to your camping destinations utilizing RV-friendly routes specific to your RV and travel preferences.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.