Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Itinerary: 1 Year Following The Weather In Our RV

1 year RV road trip planned out on a map of the continental US

In our first year of full-time RV travel, we set out on a mission to experience a year of as many outdoor experiences as possible, with weather suitable for RVing and camping. This article breaks our 1-year road trip that focused on National and State Parks, hiking, and time in some of the U.S.’s most beautiful places. Use it as a complete 1-year U.S. road trip itinerary, or as a guide for smaller road trips based on the time of year!

U.S. Road Trip Itinerary Map

This map includes our main stops and destinations from our first road trip around the U.S.! It was our first time exploring away from the East Coast and included 25 states and 19 National Parks! We work full-time while traveling and enjoy traveling slowly to experience places as in-depth as we can. Most of our stops were 2 weeks long and the “gaps” between locations were filled with stops at Harvest Hosts locations.

Planning & Designing a Road Trip

There are generally two mindsets when it comes to approaching road trips and RV life. You can plan everything to a T or you can “wing it” and keep your plans flexible depending on where inspiration strikes.

Either way, we have found that no matter what your plans are, when it comes to RV road trip routes it is important to keep those plans carved in jello. With uncontrollable factors such as weather, road conditions, and car, truck, or camper problems…even if you have a plan there might come a time when that needs to change.

Generally when planning a US road trip, here are some things to keep in mind to help design a trip that is fulfilling:

  • Think about the “why” of your trip. What do you hope to learn or get out of the experiences? This can help you choose destinations that feel meaningful
  • Understand the limitations of your RV or gear. This includes weather limitations, but also size limitations or drive train limitations (4WD or not)
  • Decide how much time you have overall, and how much time you want in each place to experience that place fully without feeling rushed or stressed. Traveling too quickly can lead to travel fatigue

Let’s break it down a bit further…

What kind of camping do you want to do?

If you are comfortable staying on free public land (such as National Forest Roads or BLM land) you might have more flexibility when it comes to your trip. This requires being able to boondock and be self-sufficient when it comes to energy and water but also provides the freedom of not needing to book campgrounds in advance.

What part of the country do you plan to visit?

As we are finding out, the area of the country you plan to visit can play a big role in how you camp and how much planning you need to do. Throughout Arizona, Utah, and Colorado, we encountered plenty of boondocking areas.

Now, looking ahead to some East Coast travel, we will be much more reliant on campgrounds. In addition, East Coast campgrounds in particular seem to book up quickly, with many being booked 6 months to 1 year in advance.

We have heard similar stories about the West Coast (more people, less land). Where you want to visit can really dictate how much planning you need to do for your RV road trip and how far in advance you need to do it.

We plan to visit the Florida Keys in a future trip and this will most likely require a reservation 1 year in advance!

READ MORE: Ultimate Guide To The Best RV Trips on The East Coast

What is your budget?

How much you plan to spend is an important factor when planning your road trip route. Boondocking will be free much of the time but will require an investment in terms of a solar setup or generator and fuel. In addition, boondocking sites can be less convenient to attractions and therefore require more travel.

Private campgrounds are often the most expensive option but can be larger and easier to score spots with shorter notice. We love staying in State Parks as they typically offer larger sites and other attractions right in the park, but these can be hard to book. If we know we want to visit a state or National Park campground, we will set a reminder of the day the booking period opens to secure a spot as soon as possible.

In addition, moving less frequently can help with getting long-term stay discounts at private parks, and also help save on fuel. Weeklong stays are typically cheaper than the average nightly rate, and monthly stays are typically the best value. State parks and national parks will have a maximum stay limit of 7-14 days.

Do you need to work or have cell service?

This is an imperative factor for us to consider. As digital nomads, we both work full time and need great internet. While Starlink has been a game-changer for us in terms of staying connected in more remote places, it will be difficult for us on the East Coast which has denser tree cover than some of the areas we explored out west.

Websites like Campendium are really helpful for checking cell service at different campgrounds or boondocking areas. And these great RV apps further help us navigate everything RV travel and camping.

We also use satellite maps on Google to check for tree cover when making decisions about where to stay. Be sure to check for this before you book or make your plans so that you are not left scrambling to find another option at the last minute! Our road trip routes will always include stops that allow us to work reliably (unless it is a planned vacation)!

READ MORE: How To Plan The Perfect RV Road Trip Step By Step

Our 1-year Road Trip Itinerary

A U.S. RV road trip route map built with RV trip wizard tool
RV Life is a great road trip planning tool that we use for all of our road trips!

This RV road trip itinerary focuses on visiting National Parks and places with great nature experiences and hikes, making one large circle and starting and ending on the East Coast (where we prioritize time with family).

It follows the weather, while also trying to hit a majority of the National Parks in shoulder season to enjoy smaller crowds. You could use this as a planning tool for a long-term RV trip, or pick and choose locations based on weather if you are planning a shorter trip or vacation.

1-Year Road Trip Stats:

  • 10,000 miles towing our fifth wheel over the course of roughly 1 year
  • 20 states visited
  • 19 National Parks visited
  • 700 + miles hiked
  • 5 Harvest Hosts (another amazing resource for RVers!)

U.S. Road Trip Stops By Month

In the following run-down of the main stops of our RV Road trip route, you will find campgrounds and boondocking areas we stayed at or considered (* = campground we stayed at) as well as great local attractions convenient to the stop.

The list of camping options is not exhaustive, and we recommend using Campendium to find what options might be best suited for you!

October: Bar Harbor, Maine

Bass Harbor lighthouse sitting along the rocky coast of Maine
Bass Harbor Lighthouse

We absolutely fell in love with Acadia National Park. Located on Maine’s rocky coast, this unique park is quaint in all the classic New England ways. Whether you are looking for scenic drives and overlooks, the charm of a historic New England coastal town, or hikes with breathtaking views, Acadia has it all. Acadia National Park is beautiful throughout the year, but we adored being able to visit in the fall and catch some foliage.

While many things (including campgrounds and stores in the local towns) shut down by the middle of October, we found early October to be the perfect balance of nice weather, autumn colors, and smaller crowds. Based on the National Parks we have visited during our RV travels, we found Acadia to really stand out as unique. It should not be missed and would be a great addition to a New England foliage trip!

Looking for an epic fall road trip? You can’t go wrong with an autumn foliage trip to New England or Maine’s rocky coast!

RV fifth wheel at oceanfront site at Bar Harbor Campground in Bar Harbor Maine
Bar Harbor Campground

Local camping options:

Local attractions:

November: Glen Jean, West Virginia

New River Gorge Bridge at New River Gorge National Park

As of 2021, New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia was the newest National Park! While we only spent one week here and lost a few days due to poor weather, we will certainly be back! Staring down into the gorge from above, or looking up at the fog over the New River Gorge Bridge from the waters below, really helps you appreciate this pristine landscape nestled in West Virginia.

Crisp forests, the clear water of the New River, and the sharp drop-offs of the gorge walls make for the perfect getaway for hiking, biking, and scenic drives. A great addition to any RV road trip route on the eastern side of the U.S.

Local camping options:

Local attractions:

  • New River Gorge National Park
  • New River Gorge Bridge
  • Canyon Rim Visitor Center
  • Arrowhead Bike Farm
  • Fayette Station Road Scenic Drive

December-Early January: Florida

The best RV road trip routes in winter as an RVer typically involve setting your sights on warmer weather. We spent some time in sunny Florida visiting family and walking our dog Azalea along white sandy beaches before rolling on down the road to the warm deserts of Arizona.

Florida can be a great place to spend in the winter, although it will most likely require reservations well in advance and has far fewer boondocking or free camping options than the desert of the southwest.

Early January: Biloxi, MS

Sunset over the water in Biloxi Mississippi

Biloxi was an unintended stop along our RV road trip route as we made our way west on I-10. After a campground in the Florida panhandle fell through, we found ourselves in this waterfront town and enjoyed some of the most picturesque sunsets we experienced during our trip.

As working full-time RVers, we typically try to stay in places for at least a week at a time and save traveling for the weekends. Biloxi made for a pleasant week-long stay with fairly mild weather in the middle of winter.

Local camping options:

Local attractions:

  • Biloxi Lighthouse
  • Ship Island
  • Biloxi Beach
  • Biloxi Bay Bridge
Biloxi lighthouse during a cloudy sunset
Biloxi Lighthouse

Late January: Austin, TX

Downtown Austin Texas at sunset

Keep Austin Weird! Austin Texas is a fun, vibrant city with great youthful energy. People are friendly, the food and drink scene is delicious, and it is extremely dog-friendly. Come for the BBQ or the breweries, but don’t forget to sneak off into nature as well!

We loved the tree-lined oasis we found at McKinney Falls State Park, only a few miles from downtown Austin. The perfect mix of nature and city for people like us who feel more at home in crowds of trees rather than people. Mild weather in January makes this location a good winter option for an RV road trip route, especially as summer weather here can be stifling.

Local camping options:

Local attractions:

  • Downtown Austin
  • Sixth Street
  • Texas State Capitol
  • McKinney Falls State Park
  • BBQ & Dog-Friendly Breweries!
  • Zilker Metro Park – a great off-leash dog area and walking/running area near downtown
Aerial view of an RV among the trees at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin Texas

Early February: Las Cruces, New Mexico

A couple and their dog during a stop at White Sands National Park while on an RV road trip

The magnificent white sand dunes of White Sands National Park might attract you to southwestern New Mexico, but don’t leave before you experience all that this area has to offer. Not far from the gypsum dune field of the national park you can hike in the stunning Organ Mountains and stroll around historic Old Mesilla Village.

With vast vistas and sharp mountains that cut through the skyline, this area is truly a treat. While we did get some flurries during our stay and hiked in the snow, it only added to the magic! Snow-covered White Sands National Park is a must-see, in our opinion. Not for you? Maybe wait to go until spring or fall – either way, this certainly deserves a spot on the list of best RV road trip routes.

Local camping options:

Local attractions:

Hiker and his dog walking into the sunset glow at snow-covered White Sands National Park in winter
Snow covered sharp peaks at the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

Mid-February: Tuscon, Arizona

Sunset among the Saguaro Cacti at Saguaro National Park near Tuscon

After dealing with a bit of cooler weather, we were thrilled to claim our spot under the glimmering sun and amongst the towering saguaro cacti of Tuscon. We were back in shorts and t-shirts during our daily walks, eating lunch and dinner outside, and had escaped far away from the gray gloom that can sometimes feel synonymous with winter.

Free camping where the weather is warm, hiking is abundant, and the sun is filling you with mood-boosting chemicals is hard to beat. Just one of the many great free camping winter destinations throughout Arizona worthy of an RV road trip.

Local camping options:

  • Pump Station Road BLM Camping*
  • Pipeline Road Dispersed Camping
  • Catalina State Park
  • Rose Canyon Campground

Local attractions:

  • Saguaro National Park
  • Sabino Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Mount Lemon
  • Ironwood Forest National Monument
  • Coronado National Forest
Two hikers exploring the Ironwood Forest National Monument during a winter RV Road Trip through Arizona
A fifth-wheel RV used for full time travel parked in the Arizona desert at Pump Station Road

Late March: Picacho, Arizona

A female hiker atop Picacho Peak in Arizona
Picacho Peak

You could easily visit Picacho Peak State Park from the Tuscon or Marana area. We chose to explore this state park separately and loved being able to hike from our campsite each day. This also got us a bit closer to our friends in Scottsdale!

Hiking Picacho Peak was one of the most unique trails we did all year! If you love a bit of a challenge and don’t mind steep drop-offs that require steel cables and wooden bridges to navigate around, we highly recommend adding this destination to your travel bucket list or RV road trip route.

Local camping options:

Hikes we loved in Picacho Peak State Park:

  • Hunter Trail
  • Sunset Vista Trail
  • Calloway Trail
An RV surrounded by green vegetation while camping at Picacho Peak State Park during an RV Road Trip throughout the southwest

Early March: Camp Verde + Sedona, Arizona

Fluffly brown dog hiking through the red rocks in Sedona Arizona

The red rocks of Sedona are truly breathtaking and one of the best stops along an RV road trip route when heading out of Arizona as winter turns to spring and more northern states start to warm. One look around and it is easy to see why this place has become so popular and loved by many. It’s magical. We enjoyed staying a bit further out in Camp Verde and found that to be a great location for exploring more of what this area of Arizona has to offer.

We are big proponents of not letting the “main attraction” of an area overshadow what the other local areas have to offer. Camp Verde, Cottonwood, and Jerome would be great additions to any Sedona trip. March weather was perfect and there were some crowds, but it did not feel overwhelming.

Local camping options:

  • Distant Drums RV Park*
  • Verde Ranch RV Park
  • Rancho Sedona
  • Forest Road 413 Dispersed Camping (Cottonwood)
  • There is also some boondocking in Sedona (such as Loy Butte Road), but they are making some changes to this area due to high use so it would be best to research before going!

Local attractions:

  • Sedona
  • Montezuma Castle National Monument
  • Tuzigoot National Monument
  • Jerome, Arizona “ghost town”
Looking out at the red rocks and green vegetation from the Subway Cave in Sedona Arizona
The Subway

Mid-March: Grand Canyon, Arizona

Hiking couple at an overlook at the Grand Canyon

During our trip to the Grand Canyon, we learned just how much we didn’t know about trip planning in this area of the country. While we checked the average weather prior to deciding on our route, we did not account for the middle of the month being a bit deceiving. We arrived at our desired boondocking area to find it covered in snow and ice, making it impossible to tow down. We then woke up the next morning at our last-minute campground to snow and a temperature of 8 degrees.

Snow at the Grand Canyon was beautiful, but the conditions made it challenging to complete many of the hikes we had planned. The smaller crowds were pretty great though! The Grand Canyon is truly breathtaking and we will be back…perhaps a few weeks later than this original trip! A must-see and perfect RV road trip route destination!

Local camping options:

  • Trailer Village RV Park* (a last-minute adjustment as the boondocking area was not passable)
  • Long Jim Loop Dispersed Camping
  • Forest Road 302 Dispersed Camping
  • Grand Canyon Camper Village
  • Mather Campground

Local attractions:

  • Grand Canyon National Park South Rim
  • Bright Angel Trail
  • South Kaibab Trail

Late March: Lake Powell + Page, Arizona

Late March in Page Arizona is sunny and mild. You can still expect crowds at popular attractions like Horseshoe Bend, should expect advanced reservations if you want to tour Antelope Canyon, and can expect it to be fairly busy at Lone Rock Beach, but wasn’t offputting for our stay. When we are boondocking we put high importance on mild weather since we won’t be running our A/C’s and the conditions during this time of year were perfect. Plenty of sun for our solar panels and mild days and cooler nights for perfect sleeping temperatures.

Blue sky kissing the red rocks at Horseshoe Bend in Page Arizona
Horseshoe Bend

Local camping options:

Local attractions:

  • Lake Powell
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Horseshoe Bend
  • Lee’s Ferry
  • Wahweap Overlook
  • Page, Arizona
  • Antelope Canyon
  • Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
  • Buckskin Gulch
  • Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
  • Glen Canyon Dam + Carl Hayden Visitor Center
  • Coconino National Forest
  • Rainbow Bridge National Monument
  • Tower Butte
  • Grand Canyon North Rim
An large RV, brown dog, and white Ram truck, boondocking on the beach at Lone Rock Beach Dispersed Camping area in Big Water Utah
Boondocking at Lone Rock Beach in Big Water UT

Early April: Kanab Utah

Hiker and his dog exploring Peek-a-boo slot canyon

Best US road trip route for spring? Southern Utah!

Kanab Utah has so many great outdoor activities to enjoy! We were excited to visit this area of Utah and early April was a great time to do so.

We were just in time to hike The Narrows in Zion National Park before spring run-off closures, and again enjoyed warm days and cool nights perfect for off-grid RVing. Major attractions like Zion National Park were busy, but this is to be expected. Hiking early and late is an effective way to avoid crowds, and we never had trouble with parking.

Local camping options:

Local attractions:

  • Kanab Utah
  • Zion National Park (East entrance)
  • Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
  • Belly of the Dragon
  • Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon
  • Moqui Cave + Sand Cave
  • Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
  • Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
  • Lake Powell & Page, Arizona
  • The Wave
  • Water Canyon to White Dome
Female hiker sitting in front of views of Zion Canyon in Zion National Park

Mid-Late April: Zion National Park – Kanab, Hurricane, & St. George Utah

Dog hiking at Yant Flats in southern Utah during an RV road trip

After exploring Kanab, we decided to hop over to the west side of Zion National Park. We loved kayaking in the Sand Hollow Reservoir, exploring other hidden gems in this corner of Utah that are overshadowed by Zion, and being close to the less visited Kolob Canyons section of the national park. This was the perfect last stop before heading up to higher elevations as the temperatures in this area started to rise.

Local camping options:

Local attractions:

  • Zion National Park
  • Zion National Park – Kolob Canyons
  • The Narrows
  • Yant Flats
  • Snow Canyon State Park
  • Kolob Terrace Road
  • Sand Hollow Reservoir
Couple sitting in a green field looking at tall canyon walls connecting with nature in Kolob Canyon at Zion National Park
Kolob Canyon

Late April-Early May: Bryce Canyon National Park

Late April and early May felt like the definition of shoulder season when it comes to visiting Bryce Canyon National Park. Temperatures were on the colder side, but the crisp air and smaller crowds made that completely worthwhile. We were able to hike some of the most popular trails in the park, such as Fairyland Loop and Navajo Loop, without feeling stuck among large crowds and never had problems with parking or a wait at the entrance gate.

The skies were clear, we never had rain, and the cool nights made for great campfire weather. Bryce Canyon National Park was one of our favorite parks for its unique features and visiting in shoulder season felt like a real treat.

Female photographer shooting the vibrant orange and white hoodoos along Peek-a-boo loop at Bryce Canyon National Park

Local camping options:

  • Tom Best Spring Road Dispersed Camping*
  • Sunset Campground (National Park Campground)
  • North Campground (National Park Campground)
  • Ruby’s Inn RV Park & Campground
  • Cabin Hollow Dispersed Camping

Local attractions:

  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Dixie National Forest
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument
  • Bryce Red Rock Highway
  • Red Canyon
Large fifth wheel RV and white truck boondocking among towering trees in the Dixie National Forest

Mid-May: Capitol Reef National Park

Best RV road trip route for Utah? Hitting all 5 of Utah’s stunning National Parks!

Another one of Utah’s mighty five national parks, Capitol Reef is less visited but no less worthy. As we learned, May is notoriously windy in southern Utah and we experienced that firsthand. This was the windiest location of anywhere we stayed during this year of traveling and it certainly made adventures a bit more… interesting.

If it wasn’t for the wind, the weather would have been great and again we found this park to be extremely picturesque, fun, and inviting. If you can visit all 5 Utah National Parks on a road trip, we can’t recommend doing so enough!

Gifford Homestead Barn sitting in front of towering red canyon walls at Capitol Ree National Park

Local camping options:

Local attractions:

  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Torrey Utah
  • Fruita Historic District
  • Cathedral Valley District
  • Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
Temple of the Sun and Glass Mountain in Cathedral Valley at Capitol Reef National Park
Temple of the Sun

Late May-Early June: Moab, Utah

Sunrise at Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. Moab, Utah

While we had great weather up until this point, Moab was HOT. So hot that we decided to forego dry camping and opted for a great local no-frills campground so that we could run our A/C’s.

With many days in the mid 90’s and a few more delightful days in the 70s, late May is the latest in the year we’d want to visit Moab until the fall or winter. We cooled off at Faux Falls, hiked at sunrise and sunset, and were able to make the most of this enchanting area of canyons, rocks, and arches.

Arches National Park is popular throughout the year (with it being the least busy in winter) and requires a timed entry reservation. We recommend getting these in advance if you are able, as the day before tickets can be harder to come by (they are released 3 months in advance). While we still enjoyed our visit, if you are able to visit a bit earlier or later in the year, you might enjoy some more mild temperatures!

Local camping options:

  • St. Danes Cabins & Campground*

Local attractions:

  • Arches National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park (Island In The Sky & The Needles)
  • Dead Horse Point State Park
  • Corona Arch
  • “Wall Street” (popular rock climbing area)
  • Ken’s Lake & Faux Falls
  • Fiery Furnace
  • Devil’s Garden
  • Delicate Arch
  • Cowboy Jacuzzis Hike
  • Mt. Peale
  • Colorado River
Hiking couple at Corona Arch during an RV road trip through Utah
Corona Arch

Mid-June: Telluride, Colorado

RV fifth wheel camping on Last Dollar Road in Telluride Colorado with sweeping views of the San Juan Mountains

Turning our sights away from National Parks for a bit, we entered Colorado ready for some time in the mountains and trees. Telluride is a stop along our best RV road trip routes as it is a place that quickly won a spot in our hearts. Gorgeous scenery around every turn, vibrant colors, and full of life. Telluride lives and breathes peace, adventure, and stillness.

The weather in mid-June was simply divine. Sunny and still days, clear and cool nights, highs in the mid-70s, it was everything you could ask for. We had successfully escaped the Moab heat and found ourselves in a mountain paradise. While this area is popular for skiing, as fair-weather RVers, we found early summer to be the perfect time for experiencing Telluride’s hiking, restaurants, and activities.

Local camping options:

Local attractions:

A double rainbow crossing the bottom of Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride Colorado
Bridal Veil Falls

Late June: Ridgway Colorado

Hiking couple and their dog overlooking a bright blue lake among vibrant green vegetation and wildflowers while hiking Ice Lake Basin trail in Colorado.
Ice Lake Basin

Just down the road from Telluride, Ridgway is another great summer destination in Colorado. Really, it feels like you can’t go wrong with visiting the San Juan Mountains in summer. The snow has given way to Alpine Lakes, hiking trails are blossoming with wildflowers, and local restaurants and bars have set up their outside seating.

One of the best RV road trip routes for summer? You can’t go wrong with southwest Colorado and the San Juan Mountains!

Local camping options:

  • Ridgeway State Park – Pa Co Chu Puk Campground*
  • Billy Creek State Wildlife Area Dispersed Camping

Local attractions:

  • Million Dollar Highway
  • Ouray, Silverton, Telluride, & Ridgway, Colorado
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
  • Blue Lakes
  • Ice Lake Basin
Male hiker sitting on a large rock overlooking the vibrant blue Ice Lake after completing the Ice Lake Basin hike in Colorado

Early July: Salida & Buena Vista Colorado

Panoramic view of mountain peaks from the peak of Mt. Elbert in Colorado

When RVing and specifically dry camping, the name of the game is elevation. Summer is a hunt for higher elevation and cooler temperatures for comfortable living conditions off-grid, as well as optimal conditions for hiking.

We found this perfect balance in the Salida and Buena Vista areas of Colorado where we were able to continue to enjoy mild temperatures and peak conditions for hiking our first 14ers! Summer is also a great time to enjoy outdoor entertainment and activities in these thriving and colorful Colorado mountain communities.

Local camping options:

  • Raspberry Gulch Dispersed Camping*
  • Forest Road 272 Dispersed Camping
  • Shavano Wildlife Management Area Dispersed Camping
  • Salida North Dispersed Camping
  • Twin Lakes Shores Dispersed Camping

Local attractions:

  • Salida
  • Buena Vista
  • Mount Elbert
  • Pike and San Isabel National Forest
  • Leadville, CO (the highest incorporated city in the U.S.)
  • Browns Canyon National Monument
  • The Decalibron
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park
RV boondocking in a field of wildflowers near Salida Colorado
Female hiker and her dog at Great Sand Dunes National Park during a stop on an RV road trip throughout the U.S.
Great Sand Dunes National Park

Mid-July: Colorado Springs Colorado

Orange rocks next to a daytime moon at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods

Back down at the lower elevations, things quickly heat up. Temperatures in Colorado Springs in July were not too far from our experience in Moab…hot hot hot. We had a great sight in the local state park and kept our hikes to early mornings and late afternoons to escape the warmth of the day.

The good news is there is still plenty of elevation around (hello Pikes Peak!) to venture out to. Even with the warmer weather and being in more of a “city” environment than many of our other destinations, we were surprised by all this community has to offer! Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak of course, but also so much more. If you don’t mind the heat summer is great, but we also think this would be a great place to visit in spring or fall.

Local camping options:

  • Cheyenne Mountain State Park*

Local attractions:

  • Garden Of The Gods
  • Pikes Peak
  • Manitou Incline
  • Red Rock Canyon Open Space
  • Seven Bridges Hike
  • Old Colorado City
  • Historic Molly Kathleen Gold Mine in Cripple Creek
  • Cave of the Winds
  • Straton Open Space
  • The Broadmoor
Female hiker standing on the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs

Late July: Rocky Mountain National Park & Estes Park Colorado

Hiking couple standing in front of Sky Pond, a beautiful alpine lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Sky Pond

At this point in the trip, we came to our first National Park we would be hitting truly in peak season. We did our best, but you can only do so much! Rocky Mountain National Park was busy. This being said, by sticking to our general plan of hiking early or late and by venturing out onto more challenging hikes, we were able to avoid crowds a lot of the time and were always able to find parking. Yes, even at Bear Lake!

The weather in Rocky Mountain National Park is great in the summer and the views, hikes, and wildlife are hard to beat. We had high hopes for this park, especially after falling in love with the San Juan mountains, and it did not disappoint.

Like Arches National Park, you will need a timed entry reservation to visit Rocky Mountain National Park

Local camping options:

  • Moraine Park Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park*
  • Snagging a spot in a National Park Campground requires reservations well in advance (typically they are released 6 months in advance). Here are other great options in the area

Local attractions:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Estes Park
  • Grand Lake Colorado
  • Trail Ridge Road
  • Less than 2 hours from Denver Colorado
Clear blue waters and wildflowers at Chasm Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Looking up at Long’s Peak on our way to Chasm Lake

Early August: Wind River Range, Wyoming

Travel couple sitting on the roof of their RV while boondocking along a river in the Wind River Mountain Range of Wyoming

Another great way to beat the summer heat other than elevation is to find water! In this area of Wyoming, we not only got to explore the magnificent Wind River Range and Grand Teton National Park but also enjoyed our own private riverfront site…completely for free. August days here were warm and nights were cool and the river refreshing. The perfect place to unplug and relax for a while as your worries wash away downstream.

Local camping options:

  • Warren Bridge Dispersed Camping*
  • Warren Bridge BLM Campground
  • Sinks Canyon Campground

Local attractions:

  • Wind River Range
  • Grand Teton National Park (yes, very busy during the summer season)
  • Bridger-Teton National Forest
  • Bridger Wilderness Area
Dog hiking in the Wind River Range in Wyoming
Photographer’s Point

Mid-Late August: Island Park, Idaho

Female hiker overlooking the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park

Summer tucked in the corner of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming offers blissful serenity tucked among the towering pines. At our particular boondocking area we got to witness a very active moose population, see some of the best night skies we have ever witnessed, and be close enough for day trips into Yellowstone National Park.

Not shoulder season, but a great summer destination nonetheless, especially if you are looking for off-grid RV adventures. We plan to visit Idaho again to explore Sawtooth National Forest and spend more time in Yellowstone National Park during an off-season time frame.

Local camping options:

  • Bootjack Road Dispersed Camping*
  • Henry’s Fork Dispersed Camping
  • Henry’s Lake State Park Campground
  • Elk Lake Dispersed Camping

Local attractions:

  • Yellowstone National Park (also very busy during the summer season)
  • Henry’s Lake State Park
  • Grand Teton National Park
Milky Way sky over an RV while on a road trip in Idaho
Bootjack Dispersed Camping

Late August-Early September: Medora, North Dakota

Female hiker standing in grass looking out over the badlands in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Lesser visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a reason to add North Dakota to your future travel plans! Small crowds even in summer and an abundance of wildlife make this a great place for photography, hiking, and reconnecting with yourself and nature. If you are looking for large herds of bison without the crowds of people, look no further.

While we originally intended to boondock in this area, we did arrive in the middle of a heatwave and booked a last-minute campground nearby. We have heard great things about Scoria Pit and would love to stay there one day. Medora is quaint and historical and the people in this area are extremely friendly. The perfect place for a slower-paced getaway.

Local camping options:

  • Trapper’s Kettle RV*
  • Scoria Pit Dispersed Camping
  • You can read more about camping options near Theodore Roosevelt National Park here

Local attractions:

A colorful sunset sky on the Painted Canyon at Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Mid-Late September: Custer, South Dakota

Male hiker and his dog looking out at the Black Hills from Little Devil's Tower in Custer State Park South Dakota
Custer State Park

Custer wins our award for the area that surprised us the most! We had no idea the landscape we would encounter in South Dakota and were pleasantly surprised by the amount and variety of outdoor adventures present here. Custer State Park is amazing and the late summer/early fall weather was perfect. As the season was winding down, crowds were small. Typically campgrounds in this area shut down by October.

Local camping options:

  • North Pole Road Dispersed Camping*
  • Rafter J Bar Ranch* (we moved over to this highly rated full hook-up campground when our family came to visit)
  • Read more about camping in the Black Hills in our Black Hills South Dakota Guide
  • Read more about camping in Custer State Park in our Custer State Park Guide

Local attractions:

  • Custer State Park (Needles Highway, Wildlife Loop Road)
  • Wind Cave National Park
  • Jewel Cave National Monument
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Black Hills National Forest
  • Crazy Horse
  • Hell Canyon
Baby bison among adult bison in Custer State Park

Early October: Wall, South Dakota

View from "the wall" overlooking the badlands in Wall South Dakota

Made famous in the movie “Nomadland,” staying at The Wall was every bit as special as it seemed on the big screen. Dramatic otherworldly landscapes as far as the eye can see, met with spectacular sunrises and dreamy sunsets each day.

The weather we experienced in October was a strange mix of unusually warm and unusually cold, but overall was a great stop for fall. A few days to a week would be perfectly sufficient to explore Badlands National Park and soak in the views of this one-of-a-kind boondocking area.

Local camping options:

Local attractions:

  • Badlands National Park
  • Wall Drug
  • Buffalo Gap National Grassland
Female hiker staring out over the landscape at Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park

Late October: Nashville Tennessee

Exploring downtown Nashville with friends

While heading back to the East Coast to spend time with family for the holidays, we decided to venture back into the city for a vacation with friends. Nashville is great fun, delicious food, and amazing music! It was the perfect location for a trip back on the grid after months of climbing mountains and getting out as far into nature as we could. And Nashville in autumn is the perfect mix of beautiful foliage, crisp weather, and festive activities!

Local camping options:

  • Grand ‘Ole RV Resort*
  • Anderson Road Recreation Area Campground
  • Seven Points Campground

Local attractions:

  • Downtown Nashville
  • Music Row
  • Broadway Street
  • Grand Ole Opry
  • Parthenon
  • Cumberland Park
  • Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Ryman Auditorium
  • Nashville Goat Yoga
  • Nashville Bar Bike

South for Winter!

After a whirlwind year, it was nice to take some time to spend with family, reflect on our experiences, express gratitude, and look to the year ahead. Our first big U.S. road trip while traveling full-time in our RV and working from the road was fulfilling in so many ways and taught us more about ourselves and the country we live in than we could have ever imagined.

1 Year U.S. Road Trip Routes Following the Weather Overall

We are looking forward to exploring new places, meeting new people, and continuing to advocate for and empower others to get out into nature in meaningful ways that are good for you as the adventurer and good for the planet.

Harnessing the power of mindful travel and mindful living, focusing on experiences, and embracing the present moment. Tomorrow is never guaranteed and everyone deserves to lead a life that is fulfilling and supports their overall well-being today.

This breakdown of our U.S. road trip route following the weather is just the beginning of our quest to find ideal itineraries for exploring the world by RV. Stay tuned for more RV road trip itineraries and travel guides as we continue to explore, roam further, and grow on our journey of wellness and mindful living!

Ultimately the best road trip routes for you will be based on your personal preferences, the weather and activities you enjoy, and what you find most meaningful.

Live your most authentic and fulfilling adventure – we would love to hear what that looks like for you!

Other RV Itinerary Resources:

Please protect the natural areas you visit - for the wildlife, the environment, and for the enjoyment of future generations. Practice Leave No Trace 

Other articles & resources you might be interested in:

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