The secret is out: RVs are the way to travel in a pandemic world. In 2020, RV sales across the country skyrocketed as individuals, couples and families found a way to explore while following social distancing and other safety protocols. But as a sense of normalcy comes within reach, the RV travel trend isn’t slowing down. RV travel saw a 143% increase in 2020 over 2019, and in the first two months of 2021, it was already up another 114% over 2020, according to California Campers, a Bay Area-based RV rental outfit. RVshare released a report that found 57% of responders convinced that RV travel is more appealing now than before the pandemic.
Because so many people are taking advantage of road trips, state parks and national parks are booking out faster than ever before. RVers also have embraced one-of-a-kind stays throughout the country. For example, membership-based Harvest Hosts has more than 2,000 partners offering stays at golf courses, wineries, breweries, marijuana farms and more. Harvest Hosts connects RVers looking for a place to park with businesses making extra money by lending their land and, as an added bonus, often pulling in customers to their on-site business. “Across America, many are realizing the value and safety RV travel provides, and it’s showing,” says Alex Libutti, senior account executive at Harvest Hosts.
Don’t have your own RV? That’s hardly a problem. Choose between renting an RV from a company or driving to a location that offers RVs or similar accommodations on-site to rent— such as the popular covered Conestoga wagons at Yosemite Pines or a parked retro RV at Inn Town Campground in Nevada City.
One tip from Dyana Kelley at Camp-California.com: Look beyond big destinations that may have booked up. While campgrounds inside state and national parks may not have any availability, it’s likely one of the independent campgrounds nearby will. The more you plan ahead, however, the more options you’ll see. “We do anticipate it to still be a very, very heavy season,” Kelley says.
Spend the Night
Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA
This Kampgrounds of America site has plenty of amenities including a pool and hot tub, jumping pillows, bike rentals and more—perfect for people traveling with kids. Plus, it’s just a quick drive to Santa Cruz’s big destinations including the beach and the boardwalk.
This historical site where James Marshall discovered gold and sparked the California Gold Rush will interest history buffs young and old. Reserve a riverfront RV site.
Yosemite Lakes RV Resort
Located in Groveland just 10 minutes from the Yosemite National Park entry gate, this campground has 400 acres of its own to explore.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort: Tower Park
At this family-focused Lodi RV resort, you’ll find a miniature golf course, a new fishing pier, “red carpet” pull-through RV sites and a dog park. The biggest feature, however, is the 40,000-square-foot water park boasting two 165-foot-long water slides, two kiddie water slides, 13 water blasters, two water cannons, a 750-gallon hydro storm bucket and a 127,000 gallon lazy river.
San Diego Metro KOA
It’s a long drive south, but this KOA in Chula Vista is another family-friendly option with a pool, climbing wall, game room, horseshoe ring and basketball court. Also, it’s close to the region’s big destinations for families, including LEGOLAND California, SeaWorld San Diego and the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park.
Pismo Sands Beach Club
In Oceano, this resort offers beachfront parking, access to the water, local restaurants and other attractions. Rent kayaks or paddleboards from Avila Beach Paddlesports.
Lassen RV Resort
Located between Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen, this 68-acre campground is set in the Fall River Valley. Visit Lassen Volcanic National Park, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park and the Lava Beds National Monument.