The temperatures are dropping and the kids are back in school, but that doesn’t mean you have to pack up your camper for the season! In fact, fall is one of the best seasons for camping – the bugs are gone, it’s not as hot or humid (but not that cold yet), and of course those wonderful fall colors are out in full. Fall camping can be just as much fun as spring or summer camping, so this season take the family out for a few last long weekends before you stow your RV for the winter!
Fall Camping Tips
Pack lots of extra clothes – fall is a tricky season – one day it could be 70, the next day it could be 50. Bring plenty of extra clothes, including t shirts, sweatshirts and light jackets, just in case you need to layer up one day. Don’t forget to include rain gear, including jackets and boots, in your packing. Fall rains can be just as frequent as summer rains!
Bring plenty of hot and cold drinks – this one kind of goes along with the first one. Since you never know what kind of weather you’re going to have, you never know if you’re going to need ice water or hot chocolate! Bring a lot of both just in case (besides, what’s better than hot chocolate around a campfire?).
Keep track of the US Forest Service Fall Color Guide – if you’re out to see the fall colors, keep an eye on the US Forest Service Fall Color Guide (http://www.fs.fed.us/fallcolors/). Don’t forget to find out if any of your travel destinations have fall foliage festivals or events to make your camping trip even more fun!
RV Guide to Fall Colors
Have some spooky fun on Halloween – Halloween celebrations are the ultimate send off to the RV camping season, with haunted houses, pumpkin patches, ghost tours and hay rides popping up almost everywhere. A lot of RV resorts have huge, month long Halloween celebrations, so be sure to find out what kind of bash your favorite park is throwing!
Whatever you do, don’t start to put away your RV just yet – there’s still a lot of RVing to do this season!
We all love to bring our kids along with us on our RV adventures! But this may not always be the easiest things to do. With all the stimuli children are accustomed to, sometimes it can be difficult to convince them of the greatness of the outdoors. While this might be difficult, but with some planning and ingenuity, you can help create a wonderful atmosphere that you will all enjoy!
Seven strategies for traveling families:
- Leave a bit of give in your schedule. Most youngsters usually are not naturally continuous do-ers on a vacation. If you have an agenda packed end to end with activities, the kids will start complaining and need to stay somewhere and just hang out. Think of your kids sweating in Washington DC, hiking from monument to monument with the blistering heat and waiting in the sun at the Spy Museum. All good ideas but some down time is needed for them to retain their trip enthusiasm.
- Don’t expect kids to be grateful for all of the sacrifices it takes to travel on a trip. They are not going to thank you profusely or act wonderfully. Instead, watch for that moment of wonder or the pure joy smile – it is these ìmomentsî that make the trip happy and memorable. Photograph those moments and it will be all you might remember later.
- Set the expectation – traveling may be a nightmare. Whether by plane or car, summer vacations are filled with other people on vacation and there can be inevitable delays, traffic and waiting. Have a plan for the long waits. Donít expect a really perfect trip; if everything goes swimmingly, then it’s a bonus. Electronics might be your best friend during these moments.
- Let everyone choose one event/activity and one restaurant destination for the trip. After we select our destination (even if it’s a repeat), we put out a menu of options and every child can choose one of those options or propose something else. If one child chooses swimming, we make sure we get some swimming into the holiday, whether in a hotel pool or a beach. In addition they get to choose one kind of food that we will be sure to eat. This is a huge hit with our kids and helps us minimize complaints in the middle of trip. Our youngest and oldest like to do very different things but each knows that their treasured turn will come.
- Try to pack light and smart. It is a basic but all of us still ìoverpackî and drag around things we just donít need. So now we sit down and make a list together, then make it an event. Okay everyone bring down three pairs of pajamasî, then ìeveryone go get five shirts and one has to have a collarî, etc. And they need to carry what they pack.
- Everyone has to take a book. This is the big rule and my kids now look forward to going to the bookstore to select a special book for the trip. We have a kindle and the kids love to borrow the kindle to read. I also give extra credit for creating and writing inside a journal; they can write words or draw or both. I give them $1 a page for quality journal writing. It is almost certain the youngsters will be asked to write down something about their summer when school resumes so they have gotten a head start.
- Electronics are awesome but you’ll want to set some ground rules about usage. The ipods, phones, ipads, DSs, and other devices are amazing and really help children stay distracted during the hectic travel challenges but they should not check out and not participate in your trip.
RVing is nothing if not kid-friendly. Think of all the “extras” sported by recreation vehicles. Comfortable beds. Fully stocked, on-board snack center. The kids’ favorite toys, games, books and videos – all within arm’s reach. And because of these comforts, there are certain things you’ll be able to do without – like the sound of “Are we there yet?” Check out some of the on-the-road games to make travel time more fun.
The nation’s commercial campgrounds and resorts catering to RV travelers feel like small, friendly towns. Your children will find plenty of other children eager to make friends. And in a safe environment, you’ll feel comfortable letting them explore the campground where they’ll find amenities and activities galore, like mini-golf, arts and crafts, swimming, movies under the stars and organized kids programs.
Kids Love to Help. Get them involved in preparing for the trip by following the basic packing list under What to Bring. Have them add their personal favorites so everyone will arrive at the final destination with their most prized and important possessions.
Thrilling Rides. Take a trip to an amusement park. Most parks allow you to exit during the day, and you can head to the RV for a refreshing lunch away from the crowds, saving money and empty calories of typical restaurant meals. Best of all, the kids will have their own beds to collapse in after a long, exciting day.
Panoramic Drives. Head out on one of the many National Scenic Byways. Travel in style and comfort, while taking time to enjoy some of the country’s best scenery through large picture windows. Be sure to make stops at scenic overlooks and plan to have a picnic at one of the breathtaking sites along the way.
Be Starstruck. Take your RV to the next solar or lunar eclipse or meteor shower. Head outside the city limits to where the sky is clear of ambient light, get a blanket, sit outside your RV, listen to your favorite tunes and enjoy the sky show. And when the show’s over, tuck the kids into their own beds.
A Classroom on Wheels. The number of historical sites, national monuments, museums, art galleries and cultural festivals in the U.S. is endless. Your RV allows you to experience it all without ever feeling like you’ve left the comforts of home behind. And who said learning had to be boring? RVs help make everyday excursions more exciting and special events, moments to be remembered. Best of all, with kids, they’ll just think they’re having fun.
Keep your RV stocked, and you’ll be ready to go anytime, anywhere. But before you leave home, be sure to balance your load – and don’t overpack. (Consult the weight label on your RV for more information.) Here’s a list of some stock items to keep on board.
Camera and film
Grill and fuel
Maps, road atlas
RV toilet paper
Nature field guides
Rope, cords or wire
Shovel (small folding type)