As Jennifer and I travel the country, one of our favorite things to do is ask RVers about their favorite places to visit.
While there are plenty of standard bucketlist destinations like Alaska or Yellowstone, we also get a fair share of more obscure places. Like the kind that you won’t find in the major RV guidebooks, but should definitely consider checking out if you get a chance.
To make it easy, I’ve put together a handful of them here, in our collection of Five Bucketlist-Worthy Places Not On Most Bucketlists (in no particular order).
Beach campers might want to think seriously about this one known as “The Cure for the Common Beach.” As John and Jennifer Mills told us, you take a ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke — the only way to get there — and have an opportunity to enjoy a beautiful island that features a national seashore and village. Visitors enjoy the solitude and quietness of the island, along with the convenience of coffee shops, restaurants, and book stores.
Drive off Interstate 10 and go north towards City of Rocks. As Jim Blair told us, you will suddenly come over a rise and see a bunch of boulders (an estimated 100 or so) the size of houses. There are campsites in amongst the boulders, where you can boondock (there are a few sites with electrical), and it’s in the middle of nowhere, so at night the stars really shine. You’ll be treated to magnificent views of the Milky Way from a spot that is just absolutely magical. There are some great biking and hiking trails in the area, including up to Table Mountain. There’s also a visitor’s center so be sure to check that out.
AKA “The loneliest highway in America,” as declared by Life magazine in 1986. Gary and Caril Wormus recommend heading east away from Carson City, Nev. on this particular section of U.S. Highway 50. The two-lane highway is not very well-traveled, meaning you can take your time traversing several large desert valleys separated by numerous mountain ranges towering over valley floors. Visitors will enjoy the beautiful scenery, hot springs, little mining towns, the Great Basin National Forest, and more. Gary and Caril recommend allotting three or four days so you can really enjoy stops along the way.
Hot Springs Tour Along U.S. 395 (Oregon and California)
A number of places along U.S. 395 in Oregon and California can make for an unofficial hot springs tour. Dinah Davis described such a trip where she stopped at hot springs every night for five nights running. The first stop was in southeast Oregon at Summer Lake Hot Springs. It’s about 60-90 minutes southeast of Bend, Ore. The next stop was at Surprise Valley Hot Springs, which is not an RV park. It is a motel, but each motel room has its own spring-fed hot tub. Next up was Sierra Hot Springs, near the town of Sierra in north California, before moving further on down the Sierras on the eastern side, staying at Grover Hot Springs, which is a state park featuring a beautiful campground (very inexpensive) and a big bathhouse with a huge, heated swimming pool and — yep, you guessed it — hot springs. The last hot springs stop was at Keough Hot Springs, which was a commercial place, but they have a lovely campground and a very nostalgic bathhouse.
Debbie Cook and John Fisher told us about this unique place right outside of Death Valley. The spot can be found when coming in from the Pahrump side of Death Valley, just before you get to Death Valley National Park. If you look off to the left, you will see flat, concrete pads (about 50 of them) that used to be the concrete slabs for mobile homes that local miners once used. Now, however, the slabs are empty and perfectly flat. You just drive right up on top of the pads. No leveling, no nothing. Debbie and John report that it can obviously be hot, but also quiet, peaceful, and gorgeous. And the nights are spectacularly dark at this spot where it’s free to stay.
As the map shows below, not too many ways to get turned around once you're in the neighborhood of The Pads!