Since the pandemic hit, RV travel is a retro travel trend making a massive comeback in 2021. Comfortable social distancing, meals without crowds and a constant change of scenery makes it the perfect pandemic pick. If you’re ready to plan that perfect family getaway on wheels, then keep scrolling for the best places to park.   

 

Chattanooga, Tennessee - 8 hours 45 minutes

The town that won Outside's Best Town contest twice is undoubtedly a stop the whole crew will enjoy. The riverfront city is home to hikeable mountains and waterfalls, rock-climbing, a mix of delicious food and a funky arts district.

 

Where to Stay

 

The 20-minute drive out of town to McDonald, TN, is worth the miles to stay at the KOA. The rural location and super friendly staff make for a family-friendly place to call home away from home. Insider Tip: Ask for site 107. It opens up on ample green space perfect for little legs to burn off all that energy. 

 

What to Do 


Don't miss Lookout Mountain while you're in the area.
Ruby Falls is a series of stunning underground waterfalls, a popular attraction for over 90 years. Rock City is breathtaking. Your kiddos will love the glow-in-the-dark fairytale room inside a cave. Everyone will love the view from Lovers Leap. On a clear day, you can see seven states from one spot. Head up and down the mountain on the Incline Railway, the steepest incline in the world.     

 

Where to Eat

 

Stop by Vibrant Meals for one of their healthy and delicious grab-and-go dishes. You can pack it for a quick and easy meal back in your RV or use their onsite microwave if you prefer to find a sunny spot close by. The Hot Chocolatier is a sweet chocolately dream spot for dessert, and just across the street from the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. The Chattanooga sign is a fun photo op.

 

Chattanooga North/Cleveland KOA
648 Pleasant Grove Rd.
I75 - Exit 20
McDonald, TN
423-472-8928
Online: koa.com

Charleston, South Carolina - 7 hours and 45 minutes

Walk the cobblestone streets, take a horse-drawn carriage ride and dream about those Easter egg-colored houses in this beautiful historic town. Or, pick one of the many beaches to throw out a fluffy towel and soak up the sun together. 

 

Where to Stay

 

Location, location location, that's what The Oaks at Point South offers during your vacation. Drive 45 minutes to Hilton Head, Savannah, Georgia and the Atlantic Ocean. Or, you can hike their onsite trails that might have an alligator sunning nearby. With onsite laundry, feel free to let your little ones get a little muddy. 

 

What to Do

 

Grab tickets to the South Carolina Aquarium, where your kids can feed stingrays and see a turtle rehab up close. Or, take in all of historic downtown Charleston from the cart of a horse-drawn carriage. The funny and educational trip around the city will keep even the smallest passenger engaged. Get your social distance on at the top hidden gem in the area. Take your crew to Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve on Edisto Island. The 4,600-acre preserve includes almost three miles of undeveloped, breathtaking beachfront that you'll never forget.    

 

Where to Eat

 

Stop at Henry's on the Market for kid-friendly rooftop dining. There's something on the menu for everyone to enjoy, and the views are worth the three flights of stairs. After lunch, head to Byrd's Famous Cookies, where little hands can fill up boxes with crunchy little cookies. Their famous Scotch Oatmeal cookie recipe has been around since 1924. 

 

The Oaks at Point South RV
1292 Campground Rd.
Yemassee, SC
888-481-6348
Online: thousandtrails.com

Littleton, North Carolina - 3 hours and 14 minutes

For this trip, you aren't traveling for the town (it's cute, though!). This spot is all about lake life. The Gaston Dam forms an inland lake 34 miles long and 1.3 miles across at its widest point, providing more than 350 miles of shoreline fun for the whole family. 

 

Where to Stay

 

Since you're there for the lake, why not stay at the Lake Gaston RV Campground for a lakeside retreat. Spend Saturday afternoon on a pontoon with your crew and Saturday evening dancing away to the campground's DJ. If you prefer the shore, there's lake swimming and a crystal-clear pool to splash around in. 

 

What to Do

 

Spend the day on a jet ski or pontoon boat from Lake Gaston Summer Rentals. Every rental is full of gas and ready to go. Looking for an outdoor activity the kids will love? Check out Sylvan Heights Bird Park. It is designed to give visitors an unforgettable up-close experience with over 2,000 waterfowl, parrots, toucans, flamingos, and other exotic birds from around the world. 

 

Where to Eat

 

The Pointe at Lake Gaston offers yummy eats with flip-flop style. Dine inside or out, it doesn't matter, because every spot has a great view of the lake. If you'd rather stay close to your home on wheels, grab a quick bite at the campground store cafe, walk out on the deck and pull up a chair for one of the best sunset views around. It is a must-see nightly show.   

 

Lake Gaston RV Campground
561 Fleming Dairy Rd
Littleton, NC
252-586-4121
Online: rvonthego.com

Jacksonville, Florida - 10 hours

If the last stop on our list was all about lake life, then this town is all about beach vibes. A hopping city with lively beach life, Jacksonville has something for everyone. Be sure to make your reservations far in advance because this snowbird town fills up fast in the winter months. 

 

Where to Stay

 

Budget-friendly and oceanfront, yes, please! Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park and Campground is an epic spot to park your rolling vacation. Rent a bike from the onsite store, and you can ride 5 minutes to the beach or 5 minutes to the lake. This campground has it all, including a 24-hour guard to keep your crew safe. 

 

What to Do

 

Grab your sunscreen, beach chair and flip-flops and head to Atlantic Beach. The locals are friendly, and you can head back to your RV for lunch since the campsites are so close. Rainy day? Don't worry, the Museum of Science and History has got you covered. The interactive exhibits and educational animal presentations are the perfect way to get out of bad weather. 

 

Where to Eat

 

Hawkers Restaurant looks like a hipster hangout at first, but it's OK; your kids are welcome anytime. They'll love the family-style Asian dishes that encourage little fingers to grab a bit of everything. After dinner, head to Whit's Frozen Custard to visit a neighborhood establishment. The delicious frozen custard is made fresh every single day.    

 

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
500 Wonderwood Dr.
Jacksonville, FL
904-249-4700
Online: coj.net

Manheim, Pennsylvania - 2 hours and 15 minutes

Bring home priceless memories of the expected - farmlands, family-style feasts and the Amish. But also the unexpected - city life, epic adventure and tons of family fun.

 

Where to Stay

 

Take a trip to PA Dutch Country RV Camping and discover a perfect getaway for your gang. Located in Lancaster County's heart, this family spot in Pennsylvania is surrounded by the sights and sounds of Amish Country. Your little ones will head straight to the playground and ask for a daily game of onsite mini-golf too. 

 

What to Do

 

Is there a tiny daredevil in your crew? If so, Adventure Explorations has the perfect family adventure, and you won't have to plan a thing. Kids as young as three can try their hands and toes at rock climbing. Big kids can hop in a boat and test the rapids. If you want to skip the adrenaline rush and go straight to farm fun, the Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Fall Festival is full of hay bale sliding, baby chick holding and carnival food eating goodness. 

 

Where to Eat

 

Kountry Kitchen Family Restaurant is a local hidden gem that serves Greek/American dishes and the town's yummiest breakfast. With vegetarian, vegan and gluten-Free options, even the pickiest eater will leave full and happy. Top it off at Isabella's ice cream parlor, a destination for hand-dipped cones and sundaes with various toppings.  

 

PA Dutch Country RV Resort
185 Lehman Rd.,
Manheim, PA
888-481-6348
Online:  thousandtrails.com

Worth the Drive

 

Melbourne, Florida – 12 hours and 30 minutes

Where to Stay

Wickham Park is the perfect choice for a family getaway. Swim in one of the multiples lakes, park your mom-mobile at the Friday drive-in movie and food truck night or ride your bikes from the campground to the playground. Centrally located, this county-run park and campground are so popular, you need to call well in advance for a reservation. Tip: check back every so often because they do have cancellations.

What to Do

I hope you have a space or beach-lover in your house because they’ll be thrilled in Melbourne. The Kennedy Space Center is the first thing to check off your family bucket list. The brand new Planet Play is epic. Kids play and learn on a giant solar-system-themed wonderland. Grab a photo op with an astronaut or “look up” at the Rocket Garden. If you prefer the beach, pack a picnic for Rotary Park. Pavilions with picnic tables, riverfront space for splashing and sun and the perfect launch spot for a paddleboard or kayak. And that’s just the river. There are tons of great oceanfront destinations too.

Where to Eat

With multiple locations in the area, Long Doggers is excellent for lunch, dinner or anytime carryout. The outdoor, covered decks make for the perfect place for a family meal. Or, visit the world-famous Dixie Crossroads for Rock Shrimp, and feed the fish and turtles on your way out. This restaurant teems with local history and local shrimp.

Wickham Park
2500 Parkway Dr
Melbourne, FL
321-255-4307
Online: brevardfl.gov

—Angelica Kajiwara

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