Want to explore a few van life gatherings? With van life growing in popularity, more and more events are popping up every year!
- 1 Want to explore a few van life gatherings? With van life growing in popularity, more and more events are popping up every year!
- 2 What is a Van Lifer?
- 3 7 Van life Gatherings to Explore
- 4 Tips for Your First Van Life Gathering Event
- 5 Do you have a list of van life gatherings you want to share? Put them in the comments – we’d like to see them!
- 6 Looking for more Expert RV Trip ideas and RV Travel suggestions?
One of the newest trends when it comes to living an RV lifestyle is Vanlife.
Jennifer and I loved hitting the open road in all our Class B vans in the past – and Class Bs are considered a camper van – the staple in #vanlife, so we can see why they are becoming so popular!
Not only are Class B vans compact and easy to drive, but they make accessing boondocking on public land easy to do.
If you own a Class B camper van, you can explore national parks and other outdoor spaces, but you can also park in urban areas. It is a great way to see what different cities have to offer.
What is a Van Lifer?
Van lifers are a group of people that have, for the most part, decided to travel (and work) while living in a camper van full time. Why not work and have a road trip simultaneously?
Many people in this awesome community embrace having an open mind and living in tiny spaces. They like knowing that their lifestyle leaves a tiny footprint on our Earth.
7 Van life Gatherings to Explore
There are many people that organize Vanlife events across the United States. The following is a list of events where you can meet other people in the Vanlife community.
Adventure Van Expo Series (April-October)
Adventure Van Expo meets in different cities to showcase all things Vanlife. If you are in the market to build a van, add to your van or buy a van, then this is the event for you.
They can show you different types of vehicles that offer a lot in a small space. In recent years the event had van supply vendors, van builders, and influencers at the event. Meet interesting people and see what van life is all about!
Events run Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the following locations this year:
- April 30-May 1: San Juan Capistrano, CA
- June 4-5: Placerville, CA
- June 25-26: Hood River, OR
- July 16-17: Eagle, CO
- Sept. 3-4: Bend (Redmond Expo), OR
- Sept. 17-18: Lake Tahoe, CA
- Oct. 1-2: Chattanooga, TN
- Oct. 15-16: Big Bear, CA
The events have a small fee for anyone 18 and over and are open to anyone. They offer food and beer (where possible) and all of the events are near fun things to do, like bike paths and hiking trails.
Black Nomads Meet (June 4th-June 5th)
Celebrate black Vanlife culture at the Black Nomads Meet Vanlife event. This event occurs in June each year and is focused on bringing together everyone interested in the black tiny home community.
The goal of this event is to support the current black nomad community and inspire new people to learn more about this lifestyle. They believe that the Vanlife, tiny-home nomadic lifestyle can help you take control of your life and live the way you want to with less.
This year, the Black Nomads Caravan & Campout is June 4th-June 5th. The caravan starts in Dacula, Georgia and travels up to Villa Rica, Georgia.
Tickets are $100 ($185 for couples).
The event offers events and virtual projects, as well as collaboration with other platforms.
Open Roads Fest (July 15-18)
The Open Roads Fest is relatively new but has been a big hit. It’s located at Jug Mountain Ranch in McCall, Idaho, which is a beautiful setting.
The event offers “community-based events, educational workshops, live music, yoga classes, van tours, and more” for aspiring or current van lifers.
Workshops include Van Power Systems 101, Renting Out Your Van, Mindfulness for Van Lifers, and much more.
Passes range from $139-$184 for adults, $29 for 11-17-year-olds, and free for 10 and under.
Do you enjoy your Small House and BIG Yard RV Lifestyle experience? Maybe you need a t-shirt or hoodie to tell the world. This saying is a favorite in our community. Don’t need a hoodie? We have mugs.
Descend on Bend (August 26-29)
Every September, Descend on Bend offers hundreds of people the opportunity to enjoy a variety of activities together in the Oregon outback. Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and morning yoga, or chat and meet other van dwellers.
This is one of the most popular and talked about van life gatherings. You will not want to miss the next one!
The event normally sells out, so get your tickets as soon as possible. Prices are $160 for a 3-day pass or $200 for a 4-day pass. Tickets are nonrefundable but are fully transferable.
Asheville Vanlife Rally (September?)
This small town in North Carolina offers up big fun in the shadow of the Smoky Mountains.
Gather with other members of the Vanlife nomadic community at this event which features food, beer, excellent art, and music. Asheville is known for its delicious vegan food restaurants and craft beer breweries.
The 7th Annual Asheville Van Life Rally was postponed in 2021 due to COVID, but it’s looking like it’s going to happen this year! The problem is, they haven’t released any dates or details just yet. Their website says they can’t wait to “spill the beans” any day now.
The event is usually held in September as a 3-night / 4-day weekend of fun. But we’ll all need to stay tuned to see how they’ve adapted since COVID. (That’s why September has a question mark!)
There is sure to be good food and fun!
TinyFest (Sept. 10-11 & Dec. 3-4)
TinyFest focuses on tiny houses, but that includes vans and bus conversions and more. The event has a Simple Living Marketplace, live music, and good food!
You can meet builders, tiny dwellers, and fellow van living fans. You can attend workshops, speaker presentations, or just explore the grounds with lots to see.
TinyFest currently has two festivals scheduled this year but has 3 more pending. Here are the currently scheduled festivals, including one for early next year:
They say stay tuned for TinyFest Texas 2022, TinyFest Midwest 2022, and TinyFest NorthWest 2022.
VanFest Utah 2022 (Sept. 22-24)
If you are already a van lifer or want to become one, this event is for everyone interested in the van lifestyle! It centers around campervans and current van influencers.
You can embark on different van tours and converted vehicles, see different DIY and professional builds, and talk to famous van lifers.
Expect live music, great food, workshops, yoga, outdoor movies, hundreds of vans, and much more! Thanks to the generous donations from their sponsors, they’ve been able to keep ticket prices low while bringing in some amazing entertainment and accommodations. They’re expecting almost 2000 attendees from all over the vanlife community and can’t wait to party this September!
VanFest 2022 is September 22-24 and tickets are now on sale for $20-$150.
Tips for Your First Van Life Gathering Event
If it is your first time attending a van gathering, then you might not know exactly what to expect. It might feel intimidating meeting so many new people especially if you are an introvert and like spending your time solo, on the road.
If you give it a chance, a van gathering might be an excellent time for you. There are a few things you can do to help feel more at ease at your first event:
- Be Yourself: Van lifers are all different and special in their own ways. Do not try to change yourself to fit in. Just be you!
- Get Your Van Picture Perfect: You can boost your confidence by getting your van “Instagram ready” for the event. That way, you will feel good when people peek inside.
- Keep an Open Mind: If the event ends up not being for you, then you do not ever have to attend one again. But keep an open mind. You never know what you might discover!
Also, If you would like to learn how to build your own van life van – we have some ideas for you, too!
Looking for more Expert RV Trip ideas and RV Travel suggestions?
We’ve written a library of RV Travel books that lay out guided RV explorations of scenic areas of the US that we’’ve explored and think would make an excellent RV trip for you.
In each location, we provide a suggested route and itinerary (7 stops in each guide, one for each day of a week trip!) as well as links to multiple campgrounds and boondocking spots, local tips, and interesting things to do at each location.
You can hit everything in seven days, do a whirlwind weekend tour, or you can take your time and explore the area over a 2+ week period.
Planning an RV trip can be very time-consuming so that’s why we’ve done the research for you! Just take our guides and use them, we’re sure you’ll have an RV trip for the ages! Instant download. CLICK HERE for information on our RV Travel Guides