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The best way to find the perfect campsite

| Updated Mar 7, 2024

This week on Episode #487 of The RV Podcast:

  • The best way to find the perfect campsite – how to see it before you book it, no matter where you happen to be
  • A dozen RVers from the RV Lifestyle Community share their favorite campsites. They reveal some hidden gems we bet you’ll want to try.
  • Thieves impersonating a Florida business scammed $80,000 out of people who thought they were buying motorhomes. But the RVs never existed
  • All this plus the RV News of the Week, the Social Media RV Buzz, and your questions coming up in Episode #487 of the RV Podcast

You can watch the video version from our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel by clicking the player below.

If you prefer an audio-only podcast, you can hear us through your favorite podcast app or listen now through the player below.

We’re in the midst of a series of on-the-road test drives and camping in a series of different Class B RVs.

This weekend we traveled to Tennessee in the first of what will be five or six different campervans – a Coachmen Nova. Sunshine State RVs in Gainsville, FL is providing the different models for us to test drive and this should be a fun, multi-week project.

We will be trying out a different model each week and have full reviews when the project finishes, though we are showing on-the-road snippets on our RV Lifestyle Community at https://community.rvlifestyle.com

SOCIAL MEDIA RV BUZZ – Wendy Bowyer

The best way to find the perfect campsite 1

Wendy Bowyer reports on the hot issues most talked about this past week on social media and our RV Lifestyle Community group.

Over in our RVLifestyle Community in the Boondocking Space we asked: What is the most memorable boondocking spot you've discovered and why?

Ari & Jessi shared their favorite spot is BLM land outside Goblin Valley State Park in Utah. They said the Milky Way spread at night from horizon to horizon and it was just amazing! They even shared a photo.

Beth said there are just too many, but the first to come to mind was a location she found in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska where she pulled off next to a small lake. She said she woke up to a mom and baby moose just outside her window that she spent hours just watching.

I had to chuckle and could relate to what Ron shared – he said his favorite spots are in national forests, near little no-name lakes located along no-name roads.

But truly there are so many good locations shared, you need to check it out.

Also in our community, in the Mods and DIY Space, folks were sharing pictures of some of  improvements they had made in their rigs. And I don't know about you, but I love these sorts of personal touch posts.

Walt shared a picture of this gorgeous walnut cover he made to go over his stove to create more counter space. It was just stunning.

Wendy added vinyl tiles to their metal backsplash in their kitchen to make it look a little homier and it was super attractive.

And Lynnette shared she had two pages of modifications, which I think is just great!

Meanwhile, over in our Facebook Group,

Lee said he was a newbie and he asked: Do you leave things out at your campsite when you take off for the day with your toad? (Chairs, etc.)

Mia said they lock up their bikes, but don't worry about the other things like chairs.

Several people said to always lock your ebikes, if you have them.

Many got geographically specific. Charles said they camp mostly in south Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida and they never put anything away and never had anything stolen. 

And the majority of the folks said the same thing, regardless of whether they were in northern California or Pennsylvania and many places in between.

But still, many of the nearly 300 responses said they always lock everything up.  Bottom line, where you camp makes a difference – is it in a safe place, or not a safe place, and many believed that while rare, thefts were slightly more common at places where non-campers could also go, like a state park.

Hopefully Lee found the answers helpful and they were certainly interesting to read.

RV INTERVIEW(S) OF THE WEEK – to find the perfect campsite

find the perfect campsite

We have a two-part interview section for you this weekend.

First, something we know many will be very interested in… finding the perfect campsite. And knowing what it is like BEFORE you book.

That is just what you can do with an awesome website called CampgroundViews.com

Campgroundviews.com lets you virtually drive through nearly 2,500 campgrounds across North America.

We’ve known the developer, Mark Koep, for years and his site lets you see the actual campsites you’ll be booking. He explains how it works in our first interview.

For the second part of our interview of the week, we have contributions from real RVers who share their favorite campgrounds. The folks you are about to meet are members of our RV Lifestyle Community and when we asked members of the community to share their favorites, we were overwhelmed with how many awesome campgrounds there were that we never heard of.

We have a dozen of them for you. And to entice you to watch the YouTube version of the podcast, here are the locations we highlighted.

Campground: Arch Ray Resort, Texas, Submitted by Julio

Campground: Fort Robinson State Park, Nebraska, Submitted by Suzanne

Campground: Bend/Sisters Garden RV Resort, Oregon, Submitted by Mark

Campground: Normandy Farms Campground, Massachusetts, Submitted by Richard

Campground: Woodland Park Campground, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Submitted by Melissa

Campground: Silver Falls State Park, Oregon, Submitted by Brad and Xiaoling

Campground: Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, New Mexico, Submitted by Dallas and Donna

Campground: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California and Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area in Arizona, Submitted by Stephen and Dede

Campground: Yogi Bear's Jellystone Camp Park Resort – Golden Valley, North Carolina,   Submitted by Randall

Campground: Elkmont Campground, Tennessee, Submitted by Marilou

Campground:  Platte River Campground, Michigan, Submitted by Wendy

Campground: Pikes Peak State Park, Iowa, Submitted by Traci

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK

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 California expects spectacular wildflower bloom this spring

Wildflower fans may want to consider heading to parts of California this spring to see what's expected to be a spectacular wildflower display.

The wet winter means this year's wildflower bloom, which runs from mid-March through May, is expected to be better than average and possibly even a super bloom, depending upon what happens over the next few weeks.

San Diego's Anza-Borrego State Park has started to see the native primrose, phacelia, and wooly sunflower sprout.

And a little north of LA, the vibrant California poppies and other flowers are starting to sprout at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.

For the 10 best places to see wildflower blooms, check out our story here.

Thieves impersonate Florida business to sell motor homes that did not exist

Scammers impersonated a Florida company, stealing some $80,000 from people who thought they were buying motor homes from a legit business, but weren't.

Thieves impersonated BBA RV and Auto Sale in Panama City, Florida. They created a fake website with the company's logo, posted motor homes for sale that did not exist, and pretended to represent the company, taking money and setting up appointments, stealing some $80,000 in all.

This company does not sell motorhomes yet in November the company started receiving calls asking about RVs for sale on their website, sparking the investigation. They even had one man fly in from California to buy an RV, saying he had an appointment, when he did not have an appointment and there was no RV.

We recommend always looking up an RV's VIN when buying. To learn more read our story here

Reservations to view April 8 eclipse in Texas parks opens Friday

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will open sales on day passes for the April 8 eclipse at 8 am this Friday, March 8.

Much of Texas is in the path of totality, which passes through the state in a northeast angle, crossing the whole country, up through Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, through Maine and several other states. (See NASA map here).

The eclipse has become a major RV event, with many campgrounds in its path sold out for months. Some parks, like Texas, are selling day passes. 

And other places are getting creative, such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is opening for day long educational opportunities (click here). Sites like HipCamp are providing information and tips for out-of-the way places to go.

This will be the last total eclipse in North America until 2044.

If you are planning on being in the path of the eclipse, make sure you have proper eye protection and don't wait until last minute to order because they could sell out. The Amazon Choice glasses that caught our eye are here.

Wildfire in Texas panhandle largest in state history

If your adventures this week have you traveling through the Texas panhandle, be sure to check conditions as the Smokehouse Creek Fire is now the largest in the state's history.

More than one million acres are scorched, two lives taken, and hundreds of structures destroyed. The amount of land burned is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

It is not clear what started the fires, which also are also burning in Oklahoma, but dry grass, strong winds and warm temperatures all contributed to the dangerous conditions.

lf you find yourself near the wildfire areas, be sure to take precautions. Our story on wildfire smoke details some dangers.

RV QUESTION OF THE WEEK

QUESTION: Is it possible to boondock with AGM batteries? Lithium is way too expensive and besides, I’d also have to upgrade the wiring and my inverter on my 2012 motorhome and probably get some solar. That is an awful lot of money. I read on an RV forum somewhere – not yours – that you had to have lithium batteries to boondock. -Brad

ANSWER: That is so not true, Brad. Yes, lithium batteries and a big inverter are nice and let you run more things off the grid, but RVers can campers have been boondocking long before lithium became available.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2024-03-06

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

2 Responses to “The best way to find the perfect campsite”

March 06, 2024at11:21 pm, Barbara Longeway said:

The favorite campground section was so interesting, with one exception. We visited Woodland Park and decided not to stay there. It was very cramped, crowded and not very clean. Offered us a no hookup site for $35. Nope!! Kept driving and boondocked down the road.

Reply

March 07, 2024at3:29 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks for sharing, Barbara! Obviously the person who shared here had a different experience. Happy Trails! Team RV Lifestyle

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