Best RV Trips for Families: West Coast to East Coast

The thought of going on an RV trip with your family might sound exciting and overwhelming at the same time. What is the best RV trip for families? How long should our trip be? Where should we go

A family RV trip is a lot of work, but it’s also a wonderful way to create lasting memories, bond, and explore the diverse landscapes that America has to offer. We at Explore VanX are no stranger to family road trips, and have traveled extensively with our toddler, as well as alongside other families with family members of varying ages. 

In this blog post, we will share some pro tips on how to make your next RV adventure the best one yet, and we’ll even provide a few itinerary suggestions spanning across the US. 

Table of Contents

family camping in tent trailer pop up

How Long Should a Family RV Road Trip Be?

Deciding on the duration of your family RV road trip can be a tricky task. It really depends on your personal preferences, schedules, and how much time you have available. Some families opt for shorter trips of 3-5 days, while others plan longer adventures spanning weeks or even months.

We’ve found that a shorter 5-day RV trip is a great option if you’re looking for a taste of the RV lifestyle without committing to too much time away from home. It gives you enough time to explore a few destinations but also allows for a quick return if needed. Assuming you have a whole week off work, this also gives you an extra few days to prepare prior to your trip and a few days to decompress afterward before you head back to work or school.  

best RV trips for families

Tips on Traveling With Your Family in an RV

Traveling with kids in an RV does come with its own set of challenges. From limited space and potential cabin fever to the need for constant entertainment and keeping a routine, it’s important to have a well-thought-out plan to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.

But fear not; with the right tips and tricks, you can make traveling in an RV with your family a truly unforgettable experience. 

These are some of our top tips on making your next vacation the best RV trip for your family!

Research the RV campground

Although you can certainly boondock during your family camping trip, if this is your first time out, we suggest staying in campgrounds to take advantage of the amenities they offer for families. This will give you a taste of what an RV trip with your family will be like, and next time, you can venture to more remote places to explore with confidence. 

  • Ask for referrals! Sometimes, a simple post on social media asking for recommendations can provide some great ideas. You can also join a Facebook group specific to family RV trips like this one to ask for recommendations.
  • Look at the campground layout on Google Maps. This is a great hack – what might sound good on a website might not be as great in person. Check Google Maps to see how close you are to train tracks and airports, or even to see the layout and size of the campground itself. 
  • Call the campground and ask about specific amenities. If you’re stoked about that pool or playground for the kids, there’s a chance one could be closed or not completely meet your expectations. 
  • Read the reviews! This might be a no-brainer, but you can learn so much from reviews. If there haven’t been any reviews for a year, there might be a reason why. Additionally, if it has a high-star rating but recent reviews are very poor (or vice versa), there might have been a change in management that influences the shift of opinion.  

Ultimately, doing thorough research before booking an RV campground can help to ensure a more enjoyable and comfortable experience for the entire family. Finding a campground that aligns with your preferences and requirements is worth the effort.

RV trips for families with young children

Plan for extra stops

Try to map out your stops beforehand to ensure that you’re making the most efficient use of your time while also allowing for plenty of breaks. It’s also important to expect that you may need to stop even more frequently than you originally planned. There may be unexpected detours, construction, or simply a need for extra breaks due to fatigue or other factors.

By accounting for the possibility of additional stops and factoring in the time it takes to make each stop, you can more accurately estimate the duration of your trip. This can help you avoid feeling rushed or stressed if you find yourself running behind schedule. 

We always prefer to feel ahead of the game than always rushing to catch up!

Be prepared for inclement weather

These days, we feel like we can’t trust the weather more than a day in advance. That ten-day forecast can change twenty times over ten days…

If unexpected inclement weather strikes during your RV trip, it’s important to have a plan in place to keep the family entertained and comfortable.

Here are some tips for how to handle rainy days in an RV:

  • Bring games. A board game, a deck of cards, and a puzzle can go a long way on a dreary day!
  • Arts and crafts are always fun, and there are lots of things you can bring that don’t take up too much room. A shoebox full of construction paper, crayons, scissors, and glue can provide some great creative time.
  • If you’re camping near a city, you could shift plans and explore the city’s indoor attractions. Visit a historic museum or check out the aquatic center. Stop at the visitor center and ask what local attractions might be fun for a family. 

By planning ahead and having these activities in mind, you can turn a dreary day into a memorable and enjoyable experience for the whole family.

first family road trip in RV

Get familiar with your RV's accommodations

If you are renting an RV you’ve never used before, understanding the layout and functionality of your RV can help you make the most of your time on the road.

Before you head out, open all the cabinets, push all the buttons, and try the appliances. Get familiar with the space so you’re not scrambling to find somewhere to charge your phone because you don’t know where the USB ports are.

Keep up on cleaning

Small spaces get dirty incredibly quickly. One dirty pot and one shirt on the floor make a small space feel like a disaster. 

By cleaning dishes immediately after use and planning for things like where to put dirty laundry and garbage, your tiny space will be much more pleasant to live in during your trip.

Plan your meals (and snacks!)

It can be tempting to rely on fast food or convenience store snacks while on the road, but planning ahead can save time and money and promote better eating habits.

Having a variety of snacks available is important for keeping energy levels up and avoiding the temptation of unhealthy options. This will also help cut down on unnecessary stops and allow you to make the most of your travel time.

Prep your meals ahead of time by pre-chopping veggies and pre-cooking meat. Ground beef makes a great pre-cooked option that you can add to a variety of meals. Remember that there is limited space for refrigerated food storage, so you may want to opt for canned veggies or dehydrated fruit to save on space and not worry about spoilage.

Be adaptable

Plan for unexpected closures of roads and attractions. It happens, and without a backup plan, it can make what otherwise could have been a fun, adventurous day very frustrating. 

Additionally, be ready for possible mechanical issues with your RV. Ensure you have a good roadside assistance plan and understand the policy’s limitations. Make sure you have a spare tire, a good tire iron, and a proper jack; you know where they are located. You should also be comfortable using them. 

Pack a first aid kit and any necessary medications, and be prepared to adjust your itinerary if someone in your family gets sick or becomes injured.

Itinerary Ideas for a Family RV Trip

Obviously, listing all of the best RV trips for families in one article would be impossible. However, we selected a few itineraries in various regions across the US to spark some ideas for you. 

Remember that many campgrounds get booked six or more months in advance, and some are first come, first served, so plan ahead and have a backup if a campground is full.

mapping driving route for family RV road trip

San Francisco to Big Sur

One of the most iconic drives in the US, Highway 1, has breathtaking scenery, wildlife, culture, and attractions that will entertain the entire family. 

Day 1: San Francisco to Santa Cruz

Day 2: Santa Cruz to Monterey

Day 3: Monterey to Big Sur

Day 4: Big Sur Exploration

  • Spend the day hiking in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and enjoying the McWay Falls Overlook.
  • Afternoon: Relax at the campsite or explore local trails.
  • Evening: Come back to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and enjoy a campfire.

Day 5: Big Sur to San Simeon

Orlando to the Florida Keys

If you’ve only thought Florida was a family vacation destination to Disney World, there are so many more things to explore!

Day 1: Orlando to Cape Canaveral

Day 2: Cape Canaveral to West Palm Beach

Day 3: West Palm Beach to Miami

Day 4: Miami to Key Largo

Day 5: Key Largo Relaxation

  • Spend the day at the campground’s family-friendly amenities and enjoy the Florida Keys’ laid-back atmosphere.
family picnic outside of RV

Chicago to Wisconsin Dells

The Midwest might not have ocean beaches, but waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and hot springs are among many attractions in this country. 

Day 1: Chicago to Starved Rock State Park

Day 2: Starved Rock State Park to Galena

Day 3: Galena to Wisconsin Dells

Day 4: Wisconsin Dells Water Adventures

  • Spend the day at Noah’s Ark Waterpark, known for its fun water attractions.
  • Afternoon: Relax at the campground or explore local trails.

Day 5: Wisconsin Dells Departur

  • Morning: Explore the scenic Dells of the Wisconsin River.
  • Afternoon: Wrap up the trip with a visit to any appealing local attraction before heading home.

Where Will Your Family RV Trip Start From?

Many RV rental companies provide shuttle service to and from major airports, so remember that you can literally start the best RV trip for your family from almost anywhere! 

Just remember to plan ahead, be adaptable, and have fun!

Where will your family RV trip take you? 



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