As the snow melts and we start daydreaming about getting our RVs out of storage and back on the road, the eternal question is, where should we go? There are so many choices, so many beautiful places to see and explore, but the season is short, so we need to choose wisely.
Perhaps the best choice is the place we can get to in a reasonable amount of time, and still have time to enjoy the destination. With that in mind, I tried to identify scenic RV destinations around the country that not only offer excellent spring scenery but also have unique recreational activities once you get there. With that in mind, let’s get started!
1. Ottawa, Illinois
Ottawa is located less than 100 miles southwest of Chicago off Highway 80. It’s a vibrant little city that is the perfect destination for experienced skydivers or people who have always wanted to learn to skydive.
There’s an RV park right at the skydiving park, and there are over a dozen other campgrounds within 20 miles of downtown Ottawa. So if jumping out of an airplane is your thing, this is the spring destination for you.
Ottawa also has a spring kite festival, wine festival, downtown tours, horseback riding, lots of great eateries, and numerous state parks along the Illinois River, all within a short drive from town.
2. The Oregon Coast
If you start in Astoria, Oregon and follow Highway 101 south to Brookings, you’ll drive over 300 miles along one of the loveliest coastlines in the country. The entire route is manageable for big rigs, but I’d advise you to take your time. The road is two lanes and passes through many small towns with lots to do.
There are dozens of campgrounds and RV parks along the route, so you won’t have trouble finding places to camp. As far as activities, you could rent ATVs in Winchester Bay and play all day in the sand dunes, or go on a jet boat ride up the Rogue River out of Gold Beach, or go on a whale watching cruise out of Depoe Bay.
If fishing is your thing, you won’t be disappointed on the Oregon Coast. Pick up a license and go surf or jetty fishing, rent a boat and catch your own Dungeness crabs, or go deep sea fishing for salmon, bottom fish, or halibut.
See our Complete Guide To RV Camping On The Oregon Coast
3. Lake La Pointe, Louisiana
Situated a few miles south of Interstate 10, Lake La Pointe is steeped in the Cajun culture of the Louisiana Bayou.
Here you can take a swamp tour through the moss-drapped cypress trees with their roots permanently submerged in swamp water, and see alligators, turtles, and unique waterfowl in abundance, then enjoy the delights of an authentic Cajun dinner in Breaux Bridge, Long Bridge, or Lafayette.
Lake La Pointe, Louisiana is a scenic RV destination. Photo by P. Dent
Spring is the best time to visit Bayou country because it’s not too humid, the wildlife is active, and migratory waterfowl are heading north.
If you like an active resort-style RV park, check out Cajun Palms which is a beautifully maintained park with over 400 deluxe RV sites in Breaux Bridge.
4. Mojave Desert, California
Spring is the best time to visit the Mojave Desert which includes Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley. It’s a little late for the 2021 season but be sure to mark it on your calendar for 2022, since the floral explosion in the Mojave occurs in February and March.
But even if it’s past the blooming season this year, the desert in the spring has a beauty unlike anywhere else on earth. Take your mountain bikes and a jug of water and get off the beaten path to feel the desert’s all-encompassing serenity. Take a compass so you don’t get lost!
5. Galveston, Texas
This exciting old city is located on a barrier island off the Gulf Coast via Highway 45. It’s just 50 miles south of Houston but it leaves the hustle and bustle of the big city behind and slows the pace down to a barefoot beach town.
The Gulf of Mexico laps the sandy beaches that stretch the full length of the island. You can enjoy the relaxing beachfront atmosphere, take a dip in the warm gulf waters, walk along the seawall, or go through the shops in the historic downtown area where cruise ship passengers disembark to get a taste of this historic city that was established in the early 1800s when it was still part of Mexico.
The Spanish influence is evident in much of the old-town architecture, Bishop’s Palace, historic churches, and the Moody Mansion.
Fun and exciting amusement rides and restaurants on the pier. Photo by P. Dent
The weather is perfect in the spring and spending an afternoon in the Moody Gardens and Pyramid Aquarium will not disappoint. If you’re looking for a bit more of an adrenaline rush, check out the rides on the Pleasure Pier or the waterslides in the Schlitterbahn Waterpark.
There are many campgrounds and RV parks in Galveston and the road down the island is big rig friendly, making Galveston the perfect scenic RV destination.
6. Lakeview, Oregon
If you like to drive the back roads and get away from the crowds, Southern Oregon will fit the bill. Use Highways 395 or 140 and enjoy an RV-friendly spring drive into Oregon’s unchanged frontier.
In this sparsely populated portion of the state, we were able to stop in the middle of the road to take pictures of a rattlesnake sunning itself and were never in anybody’s way because there is hardly any traffic in this area.
The scenery is remarkable and if you’re a birder this area is a paradise. Several lakes in this area are little more than spring marshes which disappear completely in the hotter summer months, but they provide abundant feeding opportunities for many migrating avian species.
The huge expanse of Summer Lake appears in the spring and disappears completely in the summer. Lake Abert is a large alkaline lake teeming with brine shrimp. Many different migratory species use Lake Abert to refuel for the rest of their journey to and from the Canadian tundra. Patient birders can even see the reclusive Sage Grouse in the grasslands in Southern Oregon.
Migratory waterfowl stop at Lake Abert to feed on brine shrimp on their way to and from the Canadian tundra. Photo by P. Dent
There is a unique RV park in Lakeview called Juniper Reservoir RV Resort. It is a private campground located in the middle of a 5000-acre cattle ranch and the beauty and serenity of this setting is stunning.
Take a jaunt out to the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge east of the RV park, or drive through the Sheridan National Wildlife Refuge, a few miles south in Nevada. However, big rigs beware. We’ve driven a 33’ motorhome through the Hart Mountain Refuge, but I would not recommend taking one into the Sheridan Refuge as the grades are steep, the road is narrow, the turns are tight, and the drop-offs are precipitous. Use an RV GPS like the RV LIFE App to ensure you’ll have a safe route.
7. Homestead/Miami, Florida
This section of South Florida is perfect for a spring outing, before the heat and humidity overwhelm the south. From a base camp in any one of the campgrounds in and around Homestead, you can take Highway 1 to drive down the Florida Keys.
This is a big rig friendly road and offers all that you might have imagined for this 100-mile-long string of islands that juts out into the Gulf of Mexico. The entire archipelago is linked together by Highway 1 and the beautiful blue gulf waters border both sides of this drive.
Key West is the southwestern terminus of this drive, and it is a charming little town with a distinct Caribbean feel. There are numerous RV parks in the Florida Keys, but you should make reservations early, as many of these parks are full in the winter and spring.
Another destination from your base camp in Homestead are the Everglades, and any trip to Southern Florida would not be complete without a jet boat tour of this unique watery grassland. The Everglades are a significant ecosystem in Florida and much more than just a tourist attraction.
Taking the tour will show you the vastness of these watery grasslands, introduce you to the wildlife like alligators, snakes, birds, turtles, and more, and educate you on the importance of protecting and preserving this massive ecosystem.
Southern Florida is a scenic RV destination during the spring and summer. Photo by P. Dent
8. South Padre Island, Texas
South Padre Island is a barrier island at the southernmost tip of Texas just north of the US/Mexico border. You can reach this scenic RV destination by traveling south from Corpus Christi on Highway 77 to Port Isabel, then cross from the mainland to the island on the bridge out of Port Isabel.
Because it’s an island surrounded by the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it doesn’t get as hot as other places in Texas, but spring is still the optimum time to visit this beautiful island because the weather is perfect and the sea turtles return to this island by the thousands in early April to lay their eggs in the sand.
Watching this annual tradition unfold is a unique experience. It’s like the salmon returning every year to the place of their birth, but this occurs above the waterline. Watching mature turtles crawling up the sandy beaches to lay their eggs, then watching the baby hatchlings find their way back into the ocean, is an annual wonder.
While you wait for the baby turtles to hatch, you can enjoy amusement and waterparks, sailboat or breakwater cruises, snorkeling, surfing, horseback riding, or try ziplines or skydiving to get the adrenaline flowing.
There are about 17 RV parks in and around the island. Use RV LIFE’s Campground Reviews to find the perfect park for your South Padre Island adventure.
9. Leavenworth, Washington
Spring is a beautiful time to visit Leavenworth, Washington. The snow will still be on the mountains, but the roads should be clear, and you’ll beat the summer crowds that flock to this popular destination.
Leavenworth is both a winter and summer destination, so spring will let you enjoy all this town has to offer without the crowds. This Bavarian-style village has seasonal festivals including Oktoberfest and a famous Christmas Lighting Festival, but during the spring and summer, their location in the mountains provides the perfect home base for all kinds of outdoor activities.
There are a couple of RV parks on the outskirts of town and a few others within a twenty-mile radius. You can use one of these as a base camp and spend some time on the slopes skiing or snowboarding or take your backpack or mountain bike and go explore the rugged Cascades Mountains.
Leavenworth is a scenic RV destination with Bavarian-style buildings and lots of outdoor activities. Photo by P. Dent
In keeping with its Bavarian theme, many restaurants in Leavenworth offer great beer, bratwurst, and other traditional German cuisine. Visiting the gift shops that line Main Street and enjoying some ice cream in the town square are all part of the fun.
A little later in the season, visitors can enjoy tubing down the Wenatchee River, but spring is the best time to go fishing in Icicle Creek and the Wenatchee River. Leavenworth is Bavaria in the US and you’re sure to find activities that are right for you. There’s horseback riding, a beautiful drive along Icicle Creek, or you can take a walk on the Riverside Trail at Waterfront Park or visit the unique Nutcracker Museum.
10. Hermann, Missouri
If beer and brats sound good, but Leavenworth is a bit too far away, you can find a similar experience in Hermann, Missouri. Spring is a great time to visit this historic town that was established on the Missouri River in the mid 1800s.
It’s on Highway 19 south of Interstate 70 about 80 miles west of St. Louis, MO. Hermann has an old-world charm with a German flair and you can find great beer and bratwurst eateries in the Historic District. Locals and tourists alike flock to this destination to sample the beer and wine, enjoy authentic German food, and make a day of visiting the antique shops that line the streets.
Enjoy wine, beer, bratwurst in old town Hermann MO, a scenic RV destination. Photo by P. Dent
One not-to-miss destination is the Hermann Wurst Haus. It is a casual German market and restaurant with every type of frozen bratwurst and sausage imaginable. You’re immediately treated to fresh grilled samples upon entering the market, and by the time you’ve dined on some of their favorites you won’t be able to leave without taking a few frozen packages back to the RV.
The Lazy Days RV Park in nearby Danville is only a mile off Interstate 70 and makes an excellent base camp for your spring exploration of Hermann, the Missouri River, and the surrounding countryside.
If you like watching deer and rabbits, wait until dusk, then check out the edges of the cultivated fields surrounding Danville. You’re sure to see dozens of white tail deer feeding on the local vegetation and an occasional rabbit. You may even get lucky and see an armadillo.
Plan your spring road trip with the RV LIFE App
Spring is a great time to get your RV adventures started and these are just a few of the possible scenic RV destinations and activities you can enjoy around the country. There are hundreds of out-of-the-way, roads-less-traveled, and places to explore, so don’t wait, get that RV out of storage, and get back on the road. Adventures and memories are waiting for you.
Travel safely with the RV LIFE App, which can give you RV-friendly GPS directions as well as campground information, reviews, and more. You may also like these 8 Spring Road Trips To Celebrate The Changing Of The Seasons.
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