If you’re a snowbird traveling south with your RV, you know how hard it can be to find a good RV campsite during the winter. Often, you need to book far in advance. Luckily, many new options are available to help you find a campground that meets your needs.
Here are some tips and tricks for finding the best campsites for snowbirds.
RV Travel in Canada or the United States During Winter?
Because of Canada's northern climate, you'll have more winter camping options in the United States. In recent years, however, winter campsites have been on the rise in Canada, mainly in British Columbia.
The benefits of spending the winter in an RV in Canada rather than the US include the following:
● You won't need to factor in the exchange rate because your expenses will stay in Canadian dollars.
● You will maintain eligibility and access to the Canadian healthcare system.
● You may receive services in both French and English (in some regions).
● You will reduce your travel time and the distance covered will be shorter.
● Your passport will not be required.
What You Need to Know About Winter RV Campgrounds in Canada
If your RV is winterized and you like cooler, even cold temperatures, you may decide to "really" experience the Canadian winter in an RV. More and more RV parks and campgrounds have been offering year-round camping. British Columbia is becoming an increasingly popular winter camping destination.
Thanks to the mild weather, there are plenty of winter camping opportunities on Vancouver Island and in the Okanagan Valley. There are also several interesting options in the areas around Vancouver, between the sea and the mountains.
Rates are generally lower during the winter than during the summer peak season when campers flock to the outdoors. Many of these RV resorts are open all year round, and some even have lodges where snowbirds can get together and share meals.
Those who seek warmer temperatures should head to Florida, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, California, Louisiana, or southern Mississippi in the United States.
Determine your Campground Options Based on your Vehicle Type
Depending on your vehicle type, you’ll have the option of camping with or without service. If your vehicle does not need electricity to function, you may want to consider a campground known as an "unserviced” campsite.
A number of RVs come with generators that allow them to be completely self-sufficient. Further energy savings can be achieved by turning off non-essential electronics such as the air conditioner or the television.
As a rule of thumb, you will want to have at least one working fridge to keep food cold, a BBQ or propane ring to cook your food, and ideally, a toilet or sanitary facility.
One, Two or Three Services
If your RV needs to be hooked up to your campsite, choose a campground that offers one, two, or three services.
In a campground with two services, you typically have electricity and water that can be connected to your vehicle. If you plan to use electricity, be sure you understand the amperage and current limitations. Most RVs are equipped with 30 or 50-amp service. You should always keep an adapter in your vehicle, just in case.
Those who choose the complete three services will also have access to the sewage system for disposal of greywater and blackwater (toilet waste).
Find the Style of Campground that Suits You
There are many different types of campgrounds, depending on what you’re looking for during your trip. Whether you’re looking for a wilderness escape or a luxurious retreat, these campsites have it all.
Luxury RV Resorts
You can find many amenities in the various pavilions of luxury resorts, such as infinity pools, spas, playgrounds, kitchens, and more. Depending on the resort, you may even be able to receive concierge service. A luxury RV resort offers the kind of comfort that most people associate with a 4 or 5-star hotel instead of camping. Of course, they also provide 3-service plans like full hookups and other services such as high-speed WiFi.
If you're looking for a more rustic camping experience (with or without amenities) in the United States, the National Park Service manages 63 national parks, the vast majority of which have campgrounds. Recreation.gov, a government website, is also useful for locating campgrounds in national parks and other federal lands across the United States. The wilderness is a wonderful place to escape urban life and rediscover your connection to the natural world.
Discover the Best Websites and Apps for Finding Campgrounds
There are many websites and apps that can help you find RV campgrounds. Here are a few:
iOverlander was designed for road trip enthusiasts, RV owners and for travelers who are living the van life. With this app, you can find camping options on a map based on your GPS location. The app provides information on nearby campgrounds (wilderness or official), propane refill stations, sewage dump stations, public restrooms, free Wi-Fi, and more. This community of overlanders provides descriptions (sometimes with photos) and reviews of the places they visit. In addition, you can contribute new sites to the app to help other travelers.
You can think of Hipcamp as the AirBnB of campers and RVs. With the help of the website and app, you can reserve camping spaces on private properties. Some owners will even give you a tour of the area if you are interested.
The Allstays app is one of the most popular and well-known camping apps. You may choose to use the free version or opt for the paid version. This application has a lot of valuable and up-to-date information that is difficult to find anywhere else.
Read the Reviews
It is important to read through some of the campground reviews carefully before booking. That way, you'll know exactly what to expect from the trip and whether or not it will live up to your anticipations.
Take a moment to read camper reviews on Campendium. This app and website rely on its active community of 350,000 members to rate and verify campgrounds.
Consider talking to other snowbirds to see if they have any recommendations for where to stay. There may be some great places they know about that aren't listed online. There are also specialized Facebook groups for snowbirds and RV travelers. These groups allow you to ask questions, ask for recommendations, and share information. For example, those interested in visiting Florida in an RV this winter can join state-specific Facebook groups like Canadian🇨🇦 Snowbirds ❤️Florida, Florida RV Camping, and Florida Snowbird :).
Don't Forget to Start your Search Early!
The earlier you start looking for a campsite, the more options you'll have. Many snowbirds book their sites months in advance.
Once you've booked the campsite of your dreams, you may want to think about purchasing travel insurance.