Nikki is a writer and editor for Do It Yourself RV, RV LIFE, and Camper Report. She is based on the Oregon Coast and has traveled all over the Pacific Northwest. You can follow her on Twitter at @nakeycleveland.
When most campers think of scenic RV destinations for winter, places like the Florida coast come to mind. But America is a big country with much more to see. Some of the best off-season camping getaways are in places most people only visit in summer.
Why Try Winter RV Vacations
Do you love national parks but dislike staying in crowded park campgrounds? If so, then winter RV vacations might be just what you need. You’ll find plenty of snowbird RV resorts open during the coldest part of the year. But did you ever consider winter camping at national parks?
Zion National Park is a perfect example. For most of the year, it’s one of the most visited sites in the entire park system. According to the Zion Traffic & Travel Tips page, “From early February through late November, visitation at Zion is extremely high. There may be significant delays entering the park, and once inside there is limited parking. Parking is usually full by 8-9 am.”
Nobody likes camping in a crowded place, even if it is beautiful. That’s why winter RV camping in Zion National Park is even better than going there on a summer vacation.
Enjoy a Warm, Winter Campground in Zion National Park
With over 70% of visitors come to Zion between April and September. This means you have six months to go winter camping in Zion without too much crowding.
The good news is Zion National Park’s Watchman Campground has electricity hookups for RVs. According to the park service, all sites include a place for a tent or RV, a picnic table, and access to a fire ring. But, all spots at Watchman Campground require reservations year-round. You can reserve up to six (6) months in advance.
If Watchman Campground is full, you have other choices.
One of the top rated RV parks near Zion National Park is Zion Canyon Campground & RV Park, open all year nearby. Many sites have a beautiful view of the Virgin River, and the campground is within walking distance of the park entrance. You can’t get any closer to one of the country’s most scenic RV destinations for winter.
Do your research before RV camping in Zion during winter. Learn the most essential winter RV travel tips like:
- Service your furnace, LP gas, and water heater ahead of time
- Inspect your RV plumbing system for leaks
- Consider adding a catalytic propane heater for RVs
- Insulate drafty spots
Scenic RV Destinations for Winter South of the Border
RVers who hate cold typically do the snowbird thing and go RVing to Quartzsite during winter. Thousands of campers descend on this desert playground known for wide open space and beautiful sunsets. The only problem? Quartzsite crowds can be overwhelming. With one grocery store, post office, and a short list of services and restaurants, any kind of long-term winter camping at Quartzsite can be a hassle.
Don’t fight crowds. Just fly a little further south to another one of the most scenic RV destinations for winter: Mexico.
Mexico is full of free and cheap scenic RV destinations for winter. But you might wonder if RVing in Mexico is safe. If so, Paul Beddows of Caravanas de Mexico RV Tours will tell you it is absolutely safe for RVers. This Canadian resident flies south every year to beautiful spots most snowbird tourists in Mexico don’t know about. For over ten years his company has taken RV caravans to explore off-the-beaten-path places like Guanajuato.
Beddows says he’s aware of the occasional story about hijacked RVers in Mexico. But says there’s often more to the negative stories. “Usually when you look more closely at it, you’ll find they (the victims) were involved in the drug trade. Do that and you’re just asking to come home in a body bag. If you’re just going down as an RVer, drug cartels aren’t interested in hassling you.”
Things to consider to go winter camping in Mexico
Before you head to the border, do your homework.
- You’ll need the right kind of RV insurance. A special Mexican auto insurance policy is required to take your RV across the border.
- Certain permits are necessary, like the Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit (TIP)
- And you must be easygoing and ready to cope with quirky RV park hookups and some bad roads
A winter RV trip to Mexico requires up-front effort but the rewards of RVing in Mexico are worth it. Staying at a warm winter campground on the beach is just one of many benefits of being a Mexico snowbird.
Snowy RV campgrounds and laid-back Mexican winter RV resorts aren’t everyone’s idea of the perfect getaway. But if you’re looking for unusual and scenic RV destinations for winter, these two off-beat and beautiful places could be just what you need.