Road Trip Van
We have started to see that road tripping is becoming more frequent in people’s vacations. With some of the prettiest places in North America and the beautiful national parks, there are endless places to visit with friends & family.
The difference in taking a camper van on that road trip is having the freedom and flexibility to enjoy the journey as much as the destinations. When you are traveling in a converted van, you’ll have the opportunity to stay overnight in the areas that typically don’t have hotels or even campgrounds. It also allows you to explore areas which are more often desolate and untouched.
The United states is one of the best places to take a van road trip and we’ve curated our top spots to visit.
The most popular state to visit with your camper van is CA probably because of the diversity it provides; Whether it’s the mesmerizing coastal pullouts along Highway 1, the magnificent Sierra Nevada’s or the majestic deserts they will all continue to bring you back every time. Here is the list of hot spots where we and our customers love to take their home on wheels.
There are hundreds of reasons to visit this national park and it hosts some of the best hiking, photography and climbing in the world. The best time to go for weather is May and September but if you’re looking for a smaller crowd and you don’t mind the cold (meaning your van has a heater) then we recommend you go February to March; It may be covered in snow but you could potentially see the famous firefall.
We would recommend you start in San Diego and take the 1 or 101 all the way up to Oregon. The charming cities of Pismo Beach, Carmel-by-the-sea, and Humboldt will be perfect for trying delicious restaurants and depending on the right city and swell, you can surf the majority of the coastline.
Other California Standouts
Obviously, Joshua Tree is a must-see and has some world class rock climbing if you’re into that. After your stay in J Tree head over to Sequoia National Park to see the largest tree (by volume) in the world! Lake Tahoe in the summer is a paddle boarders dream to explore the waterways, also long overnight hikes too.
5 National Parks, 45 State Parks, and 27 Scenic Bypasses make Utah one of the most sought-after places for van lifers. You might have to extend your weekend adventure to a week long road trip if you want to visit all of these places. For extended trips make sure to put together an outline or use a road trip planner to build your itinerary.
From slot canyons to petroglyphs this place has much more than the breath-taking hikes and is a breeding ground for outdoor photographers. Take your time as you drive through this park, you’ll be tempted to pull over at the many spots along the way and enjoy the panoramic views. We recommend you start in the South Entrance and head north, it’s best for sunrise.
If you’re seeing orange, then you’re in the right place! Throughout this park you can see tons of road trip vans pulled over for famous climbs like the Elephant Butte or the Tower of Babble. It’s camper van friendly as there are 52 campsites, 28 of those you can reserve ahead of time and tons of free camping just outside the park’s boundaries – see below.
You definitely won’t feel out of place camping in a van in Utah, this place is teeming with van lifers on road trips all mostly dispersed camping. Dispersed camping is allowed on public land for up to 14 days within a 28 consecutive day period. Utah has some of the best BLM land from highly developed campgrounds to wide open spaces and it’s mostly all free. Download iOverlander to see the full list.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, then Colorado is the state that has activities during all 4 seasons. There are so many adventures to do it’s hard to not participate in all of them – check out the 10 best hikes in CO, fish for some 35 species of warm and cold-water fish, and camp in one of the 4,000 state sites.
Colorado has their fair share of amazing National Parks too; Learn about the history of Mesa Verde, get a glimpse of the wildlife in the Rocky Mountains and climb to the top of the Great Sand Dunes (Largest in North America).
Hot Spring Hot Spot
Colorado boasts a variety of year-round hot springs from free to full packages. Both paid and primitive hot springs can be found throughout this state and there are even some nudist friendly ones. The benefits of natural spring mineral spring water paired with the relaxation of sitting in one on a snowy day is what puts this high on the Colorado road trip itinerary.
Best Vans for Road Trips
The most ideal van for a road trip would be a self-contained campervan that has at least a bed, kitchen and sink; One that has a toilette and a shower is a luxury but will make the road trip easier. In addition, a 4×4 vehicle would be advantageous because you have the potential to access more locations than a two-wheeled drive. You may want to look into a smaller campervans as they will have far better gas mileage and may be less intimidating to drive than a Sprinter or RV.
Road Trip Van Rental
Looking to rent a camper van and check off all the places we spoke about? We build some of the best vans for road trips and offer a lineup of van rentals for you to try one out. Change up your outdoor vacation and rent a van to get off the beaten path and spend more time outside. Having a camper on a road trip will provide your transportation in addition to your lodging and kitchen which will save you money during your trip. Lastly, these people have down great job breaking down a budget for a van road trip and the daily van life costs.