An RV vacation with the entire family can be one of the most memorable trips you will take as your children grow up.
Typical vacations with little ones involve keeping a tight schedule, a stressful day of flying, and a high price tag. On the flip side, an RV road trip is a flexible and affordable way to enjoy a weekend getaway. Amenities in an RV are closer to that of home than a hotel and are just an arms reach away. Even eating a simple meal together at the end of an evening turns into a full-blown adventure around a campfire.
With a new view out of the window every day, you can say goodbye to cramped airplanes, and hello to extra leg-room in your rig.
With all of this in mind, it’s important to note that not all RV parks are created equal, and you’ll need to be mindful of whether your final destination is kid-friendly or not. Planning is a crucial step to keeping children engaged, and fending off the dreaded “are we there yet?”.
The list below features 7 kid-friendly locations with outdoor adventures, children’s museums, theme parks, and more to help you easily plan your next family vacation.
1. Yellowstone National Park –
In the northwest corner of Wyoming and expanding into Idaho and Montana, Yellowstone is the world’s first ever National Park. It boasts jaw-dropping hydrothermal features, like Old Faithful, housed in a caldera that was formed years ago. The wildlife, endless hiking trails, and ever-changing ecosystems are enough to impress both you and your young ones.
When RVing to Yellowstone, Old Faithful is a must-see. The geyser erupts every 45 minutes, giving you ample opportunity to experience its magnitude. When traveling with kids, try and hold off on viewing the site mid-day on weekends to avoid some of the crowds.
Another lesser-known geyser to check out is the Lone Star Geyser. It erupts about every three hours for an entire thirty minutes. This site has one of the few bike trails you can take within the park, so take advantage of the two-mile journey with some wheels! There’s a stream nearby that both you and your kids can cool-off in and wait for the geyser to erupt. There’s no visitor center to tell you when that next eruption will be, so this could also be a great opportunity to enjoy a leisurely picnic lunch as a family while you wait.
There’s no better place for your kids to begin the Junior Rangers Program than Yellowstone. This program is an excellent way to get your children involved with National Parks, and they’ll enjoy learning through earning each of the accolades offered. Yellowstone has three different badges for kids in various age groups, ranging from 4-13+ years.
This park offers diverse features to its guests, and we recommend setting aside time to explore a few off-the-beaten-path trails. Keep in mind Yellowstone is a seasonal park, and you’ll want to keep an eye on current weather conditions before heading out on your adventure.
2. Walt Disney World, Orlando –
A family RV trip to Walt Disney World is one that your kids won’t soon forget. With its fully-equipped on-site campground, Fort Wilderness Resort, a trip to Disney has never been easier. The park is considered one of America’s favorite campgrounds and often fills up quickly, so make sure you book this one as far out as you can to secure your spot.
When you’re not in the theme park, the whole family can enjoy campground amenities like the pool, horseback rides, the notorious Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Pioneer Hall, and singalongs around a campfire with Chip and Dale.
With so much to enjoy at the campsite, you won’t need to blow your entire budget in the theme park. Get there bright and early, hop on the most popular rides, and grab a fast pass for the rest of the morning. You’ll be home in time to enjoy a meal in your home-on-wheels once the kiddos are tuckered out.
With the park in such close proximity to Universal Studios, you can double your fun from one trip, and cast a few spells at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
3. Galveston, Texas –
Although a lesser-known destination, Galveston doesn’t fall short of fun for the whole family. From 10 miles worth of sandy beach to a bustling boardwalk, you can spend a weekend relaxing and playing in the water or get some thrills out of the many other activities this city has to offer.
A cost-effective vacation option, Galveston offers the 10-mile seawall where you can swim in the ocean, build sand castles, and have a picnic all while enjoying Texas’ warm sunny weather.
Head to the Pleasure Pier where your kids can enjoy a Ferris Wheel and hours of gaming fun. Purchase a weekend adventure pass and you and your family will have access to this Pier, the Kemah Boardwalk, and the Houston Downtown Aquarium with unlimited re-entry.
Already been to Galveston? Check out these 5 beach camping spots to continue the sandy fun, especially during Memorial Day weekend!
4. Crater Lake National Park –
Get back to nature with this magnificent landmark. Crater Lake was formed thousands of years ago by a volcanic eruption, and your kids will enjoy education throughout your trip with this real-life example of a collapsed volcano illustrating the scope a volcanic eruption has on our ecosystem.
Rim Drive will take you and your adventure crew along the edge of this stunning lake for a perfect photo op at one of the most picturesque National Parks in the country. Alternatively, you can take the family on a boat cruise or hike along one of the many trails around the area.
Camping within the park at Mazama Village will give your clan a chance to disconnect from the world of WiFi, as many of the campsites in this RV park have no hook-ups and limited amenities.
5. Redwood National and State Parks –
These wooded behemoths make you feel small, no matter how tall you are! In these California National and State Parks, you’ll be able to view some of the world’s final remaining redwood trees. Don’t forget to make a stop to get your National Parks Passport stamped while you’re here!
With isolated back countries and short trails, these northern California redwoods are the perfect introduction into nature travel for the youngins. Start with the Simpson Reed Grove Trail, a short one-mile hike with well-marked paths. About an hour south of Simpson-Reed trail is Patricks Point State Park. With its tidepools and ranger programs, this destination is an excellent kid-friendly option.
RVing through these parks gives you the opportunity to teach your mini-me’s about the importance of conservation and its implications. Just be aware that driving a rig through National Parks can have a learning curve. Follow these tips to ride successfully when the time comes!
6. Niagara Falls, New York –
Niagara Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in America. Collectively, it’s three separate falls formed between the Canadian and U.S. border, so don’t forget your passports when you’re visiting this State Park!
You can view the falls via observation deck or park tour boats. The tour boats will drench your family head to toe so be sure you have dry clothes ready to go!
Many people don’t realize that Niagara Falls is an entire city, and can take more than a few hours to visit! Take your time, and book a campground with our northern neighbors to access all the sights the area has to offer.
If you’re state-side, head to the Niagara Power Vista where your kids will have an interactive experience depicting how the tourist attraction converts to an electricity source. You can even challenge them with a simulation to operate the transmission network on their own!
7. Dinosaur National Monument –
Coined from the fossils found throughout, this National Monument is nestled between Utah and Colorado. The area has embraced its ancient past with gusto.
This trip will be a step towards a dry-camping experience, so make sure you stock up before heading into the monument. Make your way to the Visitors Center at the entrance to pick up the Junior Ranger books before setting up at camp. Without hook-ups, this is another opportunity for you and your family to disconnect and enjoy the trip together.
Dino skulls, bones, and petroglyphs can be found throughout the monument – but the real showstopper is the Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry that showcases over 1,500 dinosaur bones. A ranger lead tour on the Fossil Discovery Trail will show your young ones how to find un-excavated fossils around rocks.
This monument is a gold-mine for unearthing our prehistoric friends and educating your kids on what walked the earth long ago.
To keep your kids occupied when you’re not exploring one of these amazing locations, put them to work! From setting up to packing up, and planning everything in between, they’ll feel a sense of accomplishment being able to contribute to the memories that you make together.
Need more activities to occupy your little ones? In your downtime, try geocaching your adventures or getting them inspired for the trip with movies that feature a rig.
We often consider the destination of our trips the end-goal of the vacation, when really it’s the journey that you’ll never forget. At the end of the day, traveling with kids in an RV can be a cost-effective, fun, and memorable way to take a family vacation. Your kiddos will get an invaluable education about the ecosystem, our planet, and our beautiful national parks.
Have you taken a family vacation in your motorhome? Let us know in the comments!
Diane Cremens says
I don’t think Old Faithful erupts every 45 minutes, it’s more like every 68-94 minutes.