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RV Podcast: Camping during the coronavirus crisis

| Updated Mar 18, 2020

Travel plans for RVers are being disrupted by fear of the coronavirus and state campground closures, interstate rest area closures and growing travel restrictions. But lost in the deluge of news is the fact that the vast majority of private campgrounds in North America are still open and still welcoming RVers.

Many are seeing increased bookings from RVers who want to hunker down there during the crisis

To get an idea of where RVers can still camp during this crisis, our guest is Mark Koep, of the website, which works very closely with more than 1,700 privately owned campgrounds in North America.

Show Notes for Episode #286 March 18, 2020 of The RV Podcast:



RV Podcast: Camping during the coronavirus crisis 1What a week it has been:

Many State Parks – New Mexico, North Carolina, Illinois, all 175 Florida State Parks and state and local parks in many other parts of the country  – have been closed to camping.

Schools, Bars, restaurants, movie theaters and businesses are shut down or have limited services pretty much nationwide. People are urged to stay home, indoors and practice social distancing. Some places have total lockdowns. Further restrictions are threatened and leaders are urging people to postpone all discretionary travel… which would obviously include RVing.

There are hundreds of thousands of RVers already on the road. Where can they stay until the immediate crisis has passed? In our interview of the week, we’ll talk about that  but even though the information we are giving you is current as we record this podcast, everything is changing… daily…sometimes hourly.

So… our best advice to you right now is… stay where you are. Or, if you must, try a private campground and then stay there.

We are in our condo on Okaloosa Island along the Florida panhandle’s Emerald Coast. Like many of you, we had travel plans. This week, we were supposed to be speaking at the RV Entrepreneur Summit in Lake Gunterson, AL. Like all RV rallies, RV shows and other events, it has been cancelled but moved to online. You can attend virtually by going to

After that, we were planning to head to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. But all those plans, as with millions of others, have been put on hold. So we are hunkering down on the beach… not a bad place to be at all.

So we don’t know where you are but we want you to know we are all in this together. We’ll try and stay in touch on social media as much as possible and we will use our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube to do live reports and updates about the coronavirus and its effect on RVing from time to time.

But we will all get through this and it’s our hope that as we follow our government’s recommendation to lay low and practice social distancing this will all pass and life will quickly get back to normal. So hang in there everyone!

Here is a link from our friends on Campendium that tacks the latest closings and openings of RV-related businesses, events, campgrounds and the like 

This part of the podcast is brought to you by the Nimble Pet Monitor 4G, the surest way we know of to have peace of mind that the temperature for your pets back in the RV is not too high. More information and a discount for listeners ot the RV Podcast is available at


Some states close state run campgrounds because of coronavirus
If you are planning to move into a new campground anytime soon, be sure to call ahead to make sure it is not closed because of coronavirus. State run campgrounds in New Mexico , Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania all have closed because of coronavirus concerns. Many tourist destinations are also closing. The changes are numerous.

Hotel reservations may be down, but campground reservations are up in some places as people seek to escape the coronavirus
Last week we told you how the coronavirus was the reason Japan was experiencing a surge in campground reservations. This week it is happening in California and some western states. As the virus spreads, many are leaving their neighborhoods and heading to the outdoors. One campground owner in California said people are trying to avoid airports and cities, and are turning in the last few days, to camping in large numbers. Stay tuned for our interview of the week, where we will talk much more about this.

Some events in National Parks canceled because of cornoavirus fears
The Washington Monument has closed because of coronavirus concerns, and a maple sugar harvesting event was canceled at the Indiana Dunes National Park, but otherwise things are generally going on as normal as of this writing at the nation's national parks. But the way things are changing so quickly, it wouldn't surprise me if we see certain things temporarily close in the weeks ahead. So far, all is open, but if you have any doubts, call ahead.

Strong winds rip through RV Park in Texas, injuring one
Strong winds, that may have been a tornado, struck the Highway 285 RV Park in Texas last weekend, injuring one. The park, near the New Mexico state line, was destroyed, with pick up trucks flipped over, slides ripped out of trailers, and many lives turned upside down. Witnesses said the RV park was the only place hit by the winds.

Two people bit by rattlesnakes in separate incidents while walking on Arizona trails
And one final story for those of you in the southwest. The rattlesnakes are waking up. As spring temperatures have been rising into the 80’s and above, the snakes are slithering out of their winter dens. At least two people have been bitten while hiking on trails in Arizona. A woman hiking Gateway Trail in Scottsdale had to be rescued when a snake struck   EDIT on Tuesday morning. She was alert and responsive before she was taken to a hospital. And over the weekend, crews helped a 77-year old man from another hiking trail near Phoenix and took him to a hospital when he was bitten. Both survived but the lesson for all of us is look down when hiking in snake country – which is all over the west and southwest – and if you see a snake, back away and give it plenty of room to slither away,

 This part of the podcast is brought to you by RadPower Bikes, America's #1 e-bike brand, offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  


From Nicholas – We are hoping to buy an RV in the next couple of months. What percent off off of the sticker price should I expect?  

From Angel – I’m interested in taking some drone video and was wondering if you could share what type of drone you utilize.

From Mark and Kathy – See you are on the Emerald Coast and I recall you promising a Sunday meetup this month. When and where… and we’ll be there!

We answer…. on the podcast

Do you have a question you’d like us to answer, or a comment on the things we’re discussing. If so, we invite you to leave us that question or comment on the special voicemail number we have for the podcast – it’s 586-372-6990.  If you are driving and can’t write it down right now, just go to the RV Lifestyle travel blog at and scroll down the page. You’ll see that number prominently posted on the blog.

This part of the RV Podcast is brought to you by Battle Born Batteries, maker of quality, safe and reliable lithium batteries that can be installed in just about every RV. Get in touch with Battle Born to find out what lithium batteries and an upgraded energy management system can add to your RV Lifestyle. Check them out at


As we’ve been talking all during this episode, travel plans for RVers are being disrupted by state campground closures, travel restrictions and fear of the coronavirus. But lost in the deluge of news is the fact that the vast majority of private campgrounds in North America are still open and still welcoming RVers.

To get an idea of where RVers can still camp during this crisis, our guest is Mark Koep, of the website, which works very closely with more than 1,700 privately owned campgrounds in North America.

Here’s a video version of the interview:

The interview of the week is brought to you by, where every new  motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country


RV Podcast: Camping during the coronavirus crisis 2By Tom & Patti Burkett

Almost all our reports are from RV travel here in North America, but we’d like to share an off the beaten path story from a trip we recently took to the eastern European nation of Bulgaria.  For the most part, Bulgaria is off the tourist maps, and that’s one reason we went there.  We spent more than three weeks exploring the country by car, much as we do in our RV, visiting small towns and out of the way attractions.  Before we went, I consulted my ever-growing Google map of things to see someday and noted that, if possible, we wanted to visit a place called Cherni Vit.

This little town in the Sredna Gora Mountains has, for generations, been a sheep herding center.  It’s also the home of a unique green cheese.  shepherds make the cheese in the spring and put it in a local cave to age.  It ripens all summer while the sheep and their keepers are in the high mountain pastures.  When cold weather returns, so do the sheep, and the cheese is brought out for winter eating.  According to our sources, the cheese could be sampled in the local hotel dining room.

We arrived in Cherni Vit on a Sunday morning and soon discovered that the hotel, along with most of the other local businesses, was permanently closed.  In that regard, it was unlike many of the small towns we’ve visited in the Midwest and South of the USA.  The only store in town was closed, and the bar next door looked like an unlikely prospect for any satisfaction.  As we took one last run through town, we noticed a group of old men sitting at an umbrella table on the sidewalk.  In Bulgaria, an umbrella table means a cafe or restaurant or coffee shop, so we pulled off the road for one last try.

The small modern building turned out to be half grocery store, half restaurant, and surprisingly modern.  Using Google translate and my very few words of Bulgarian, I inquired about the cheese.  The woman at the counter directed me to a cooler offering two pieces of feta and something that looked like sliced Velveeta.  Still determined, I tried again, and she waved me off as she went outside to serve her street side customers.  I sat down in the restaurant, determined, at least, to have some lunch.

Meanwhile, I had gone to the car to get something, and was stopped on the street by a young man who asked, in English, if I needed some help.  “My mother called,” he offered, “and said you were looking for something.”  Inside, he told us there was not a lot on the menu,  “My mother’s special soup, beans, and meatballs.”  I asked about the soup.  “Oh, it’s delicious.  It’s made with milk and (rubbing his stomach while he thought for a minute) guts!”

I said I’d take the beans.

I opted for the soup, and we ordered the meatballs too.  Why not?  While the dinner was being prepared, I explained we were looking for green cheese.  Looking downcast, he said he had no idea where to find it.  Then he brightened.  “Wait, though, let me ask.”  Out he went to the table of men and returned shortly with the news that, after lunch, he could take us to someone who made the cheese.

We piled into the car and drove a kilometer down the road where the cheesemaker’s wife invited us into her orchard of a yard and brought out a tray of cheese of various ages, insisting that we sample each, and plying us with her homemade fruit liqueur.  It was an altogether satisfactory ending to a foray that, at first, looked doomed to failure.  The moral of the story?  Sometimes it takes a bit of time for things to come together out here off the beaten path.


Mike Wendland

Published on 2020-03-18

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 “RV Podcast: Camping during the coronavirus crisis”

March 30, 2020at3:04 pm, COVID-19 and RVing Resources - Navigating Coronavirus and Campground Closures as a Full-Time RVer - WE'RE THE RUSSOS said:

[…] and Jennifer Wendland have also put up recent episodes related to RVing and COVID-19, and are releasing new episodes with updates each […]

March 21, 2020at9:38 am, Dan Galbreath said:

Im hauling a travel trailer and have been in Key Largo for 2 weeks. As of Sunday the 23rd of March 2020 we have to leave the keys because of the Corona virus. Wherr can we stay on our trek back to Denver? Seems like most rv parks etc are closed throughout Florida. Even truck stops are closing. Can we still boondock at places like Wallmart parking lots. Can we still by gas?

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