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The Ultimate Guide to RV Camping in the Summer 2023

Kyle Arnold-profile-image
Kyle Arnold
May 5, 2023

TL;DR: Summer RVing awaits! Explore national parks, enjoy outdoor concerts, indulge in sweet treats, and make memories with your family. Prepare your RV with maintenance, heat wave plans, and smart packing. Discover top destinations and make the most of your summer adventure with Harvest Hosts! 🌞🚐

The Ultimate Guide to RV Camping in the Summer 2023

Have you made your summer RVing plans yet? If you’re wondering where full-time RVers go in the summer, or how to make your RV livable comfortable all summer… Let Harvest Hosts help!

As summer approaches, RVers have a range of emotions. For some, this is the time to hit the road and explore new destinations. Other RVers see it as the season to head to the beach or mountains. And for some, this is the season you’ve been waiting for all year long. 

No matter which type of RVer you are, this is your guide to navigating summer with your RV. If you are still deciding where to go, perhaps exploring national parks or camping at state parks can provide some insight and help as you make your summer RVing decisions. And don’t forget to make a splash at water parks, relax at outdoor concerts, indulge in ice cream, and trick your kids into learning all summer long.

Summer RV Trips

If you love sunshine, a laid-back vibe, and bustling crowds, summer is the perfect season for you. When you camp in the summer, you get to enjoy all of these things as the world thaws and starts soaking up the sun.

Why You Should Consider RVing This Summer

Camping in the summer allows you and your family to experience nature in a whole new way. The sun might be hot, but there are plenty of reasons to get out there and enjoy it. And here are some of our top reasons for you to hit the road this summer.

Water Adventures

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy water activities like swimming, boating, creek stomping, fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and so much more. You can cool off in the water and enjoy the warm sun at the same time. Plus, there’s nothing quite like watching the sunset over the water.

Outdoor Concerts

Summer is a great time of year to enjoy outdoor festivals—specifically concerts. You can enjoy live music on lush lawns, in public amphitheaters, or legendary concert venues like the Red Rock Concert Venue in Colorado.  Whether you’re into country, rock, pop, jazz, or any other genre, summer is the perfect time to enjoy tons of music festivals.

Ice Cream and Other Sweet Treats

Everyone loves a sweet treat and summer is the best time of year for these indulgences. All over North America, there are local creameries that are ready to serve you their pride and joy. As you travel, you’ll notice unique flavors in each region. Be sure to try something fun in each place you go—don’t settle for vanilla at every stop.  In addition to ice cream, it is a chance to enjoy the fruits of labor from different states. If you make your way to Montana, you’ll get a chance to get fresh cherries and huckleberries. In Washington, you’ll see fruit stands with cherries and apples. There is so much to see and try. Summer is the perfect time to get the freshest flavors.

National Parks and State Parks Are Accessible

Summer is the peak season for national parks and state parks. You can explore all of the hiking trails, do all of the scenic drives, and see the wildlife in their natural habitat. And with longer days, you can spend more time in these environments. 

In addition to spending more time in the parks, they are at their peak in regards to staffing. This means all of the programming these parks offer are in full swing. Your kids can become Jr. Rangers—as they are tricked into learning all summer long.

Outdoor Activities

With the warmer weather, a different type of activity is waiting for you and your family. Volleyball, basketball, frisbee, disc golf, cornhole, and more are waiting for you and your family to bond over. You can get some exercise with other families, while you enjoy fresh air and a lot of laughs. And if you are camping with your kids, you can attempt to get your kids off their devices and introduce them to some of your childhood games.

Preparing Your RV For Summer Travels

If you are planning on hitting the road in your RV this summer, there are some important steps you will want to take to prepare your vehicle, your mind, and your plans for the warmer weather. Summertime means higher temperatures, longer days, and harmful UV rays. These are great in some ways, but can be harmful in others.  There are aspects you’ll need to give some extra attention to during your summer travels that you wouldn’t during the spring, fall, or winter. Let’s take a look at some tips for getting your RV ready for your summer travels.

Check and Maintain Your RV and Tires

Summer driving can take a toll on your RV—especially your tires, so it’s important to check their condition regularly. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, check for signs of damage—like cracking on the sidewalls—and keep track of their expiration date. 

A good piece of advice—especially for summer travels—is to cover your tires from the sun’s UV rays with tire covers. Tire covers help prevent your tires from drying out and cracking due to the direct sunlight. In addition to tires, there are other common RV maintenance issues you don’t want to miss. Be sure to check your yearly maintenance plan to help prevent missing out on these key needs. One last thing—Don’t forget to check your seams for new caulking. You don’t want to find water dripping on your head in the middle of the night.

Tips for Driving on Your First Trip

Is this your first time preparing to leave? Do you feel confident in taking off with your trailer hooked up to the back of your truck? If not, don’t worry. We have a guide to help you get more comfortable and answer those questionsHere it is for your first drive in an RV too.

Have A Heat Wave Plan

Even in cooler climates like Montana, there are moments where the temperatures can get extreme. Driving in those conditions can get tough on you and your RV. Have a plan and know what might go wrong on those extreme days. Or better yet, sit tight and drive during cooler hours. Check out some tips here.

Maximize RV Storage

When you plan a long summer road trip, there are a lot of things you are going to want to bring with you and other things that just make your RV feel like home.  While we aren’t recommending you over pack, it is important to make the most of the space you have.  Identifying and organizing your RV storage space is of the utmost importance for your preparations. You’d be surprised at all of the places you can identify for extra storage space

Before you start filling up your RV with stuff, check out the RV and identify every spot that has storage space. After that, gather your items and organize them. This will help you strategically place each item in the most efficient spot possible.

Clean and Prepare Your Sunshades, Awnings, and Tire Covers

The summer sun is harsh to your RV’s exterior and the enemy of keeping your rig’s air conditioning from keeping up. With awnings and sun shades, you can help yourself from discomfort and your RV from being overworked.  Be sure to do a full inventory of your shades, tire covers, and awnings. Are they clean? Are there spots of wear or mold? Do they need to be replaced or repaired? This is a sneaky item that gets overlooked until it is too late.

Do A Deep Clean

Before you hit the road, you might want to do a deep clean. This is a great way to take inventory, look for anything that might be wrong, and prepare yourself for the adventures ahead.  In addition, you might want to take the time to make a list of best cleaning practices while hitting the road. You can make a chores list to pass out to the kids or just help yourself not neglect some uncommon tasks.

Fill Your Fridge

There are a lot of things to consider when preparing to take off. There is a temptation to wait until you arrive at your destination to go grocery shopping and fill that fridge. In reality, traveling with a full fridge isn’t a bad idea. By starting at home with a full fridge, you can allow your RV to get to temperature—as well as all of your food—and this helps maintain a cold refrigerator.  Also, it can help you make traveling less expensive too. Instead of stopping off for food, you can eat food that is prepped and cold drinks on hand. Another bonus to filling the fridge at home is you can typically save on groceries where you live as opposed to those tourist destinations.

Tips For Keeping Your RV Cool This Summer

Perhaps the lone downside to camping in the summer is dealing with those extremely hot days. You’ll need to take precautions to stay cool and hydrated. Keeping you, your family, and your RV safe during the summer RVing season takes a little extra effort. But at Harvest Hosts, we believe it is absolutely worth it! Let us help guide you to the summer of your dreams.

Make a Plan to Stay in Cooler Temperatures

Chasing good weather is one of the best parts of living in an RV. And that doesn’t need to change in the summer. Slowly working your way north over those summer months is a great idea. If you can plan your RV travels to maintain that 70 degree weather, you’ll fall in love with the RV lifestyle.

Tune Up Your RV

One of the easiest ways to keep your RV cool is to maintain the quality of your air conditioning unit. There are some basic things to make sure your AC unit isn’t over working itself such as cleaning filters, removing debris around the unit, and maintaining proper air flow. Check out our guide to giving your ac unit a tune up here.

Cook Outside

Keep the heat outside. The thing that makes RVing a more affordable style of travel is having your kitchen with you. Avoiding the high costs of restaurants extends your budget, but it can also heat up your RV.  Be sure to take a small grill with you—or use the campfire. By cooking outside, you’ll help your air conditioning and keep yourself cooler. Plan on becoming a grill master this summer and you’ll be a happy person.

Spend Time Planning Your Trip

It is important to spend time planning your trip. This doesn’t mean it needs to be rigid, but it is important to have a plan. Here are some tips when preparing your trip.

Trip Planners Worth Utilizing

When you plan your summer trip, you will want to go ahead and get a good route planner. It will save you so much time and energy along the way. It prevents you from going through cities with propane bans, coming across bridges that are too low, and prevents you from taking those steep graded routes through the mountains. Here are some great tips for finding the best RV trip planners

Save Money While Traveling

Your biggest expenses when traveling in your RV are fuel and campgrounds. After those two, there are things that add up, but there are plenty of ways to minimize those. To help save on fuel and campgrounds there are some great tools out there. For fuel savings, you can lighten the load of your RV, keep your tires inflated to the recommended PSI, be sure to keep your engine running smoothly, and then find a fuel discount card like Mudflap to help save on every gallon you use. When you look towards campgrounds, CampersCard is an incredible way to save money on your stays. With a CampersCard membership, you can save up to 50% off on some of the best campgrounds around North America.

Find Alternatives to Campgrounds

While campgrounds are great for longer term stays, it might save you a bunch of money by boondocking on your way from here to there. If you were to boondock on travel days, you could save up to $100 a night. Consider using a Harvest Hosts All Access Plan to cut costs. In less than four nights at a campground, you’ll pay for the Membership. And it will give you access to 8,000+ unique overnight stays across North America. It is a great way to cut costs and increase the experience.

Gear That Helps Make Life Better

If this is one of your first trips, there is a laundry list of things you will want to be sure you have on hand. But if you’ve been out a time or two, there are still some things that might make an extended trip even better.  You can upgrade your chairs, add some comfort to your outdoor space, or even consider adding extra power to your set up. Consider using Jackery or EcoFlow – EcoFlow offers Harvest Hosts Members big savings on their solar generators.

Ideas To Help With The Planning

There are so many things you can do on a summer road trip. We have plenty of thoughts and strategies to help get you started. Here is a piece with 8 different ideas.

Plans For Down Days

You can’t be on the go constantly—it just isn’t sustainable. Sometimes you need a day to rest and relax. But if you are traveling with kids, they might not see it the same way. That is when you’ll want to come up with ideas to keep them moving while you catch up on work, relax, or just have a drink. Check out some of these ideas to solve those problems.

Fitness Plan

Being on the road doesn’t always mean you’ll be staying in shape. Remember all of those creameries, breweries, wineries, and fun restaurants you’ve been dreaming of? Well, they have calories attached to them. So coming up with a fitness plan is a good idea.

Find A Podcast

There are a lot of podcasts out there, but one of our favorites—we might be a little biased—is the Roads and Stays Audio Magazine. You can hear from some experts in the industry and get tips from experts on how to make RVing even better.

Best Summer Destinations

So you’ve decided to hit the road in your RV. More than likely, you are wanting to check out a national park. Well here is a list of some of the best national parks to head to during the summer months.

Western Washington: Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, Mount Rainier, and More

Western Washington is a gorgeous area of the United States that is packed with so much to see and do. The beautiful landscape, rushing rivers, old growth forests, and of course the rocky coastline makes it a perfect escape. Olympic National Park offers something for absolutely everyone. Tucked between the mountains and pacific ocean, you can find plenty of campgrounds, wide open spaces, and those coveted cooler temperatures. Visit Olympic National Park this summer and you’ll be glad you did. Mount Rainier is viewable from downtown Seattle on those rare clear days. In the summer, you can experience fields of wildflowers, great hikes, and fantastic views. North Cascades National Park is one of the least visited national parks in the country, but perfect if you are looking for isolation. There are plenty of places to boondock and amazing hiking trails.

Midwest National Parks

Believe it or not, the midwest has plenty of national parks too. There are several along the Great Lakes—Indiana Dunes National Park, Isle Royale National Park, and Voyageurs National Park. Plus, you can make your way to western South Dakota and see Mount Rushmore, Badlands National, or Wind Cave National Park. There are quite a few national parks in the midwest that are great to visit over the summer and incredibly kid friendly.

**Visit Alberta **

Just north of the US state of Montana is the Canadian province of Alberta. Alberta has great cities like Edmonton and Clagary, national parks like Banff and Jasper, and plenty of hidden gems too. Alberta boasts a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that makes it a perfect place for RV and outdoor enthusiasts.

Discover British Columbia

Explore the diverse landscapes and incredible cities of British Columbia—Canada’s western-most province. From subalpine areas to temperate rainforests, British Columbia has plenty of spots to get away. But don’t sleep on checking out Vancouver either. It is a world class city with great energy.

Consider National Forests Instead of National Parks

If you are trying to get away from the crowds, save money, or are traveling with pets, you might consider venturing into some of the national forests. Most national parks get incredibly busy on the weekends and over holidays all summer. Most national forests are ways less busy, offer similar landscapes, and the majority allow pets on leash.

Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Believe it or not, Cleveland, Ohio is a great city. It is known for its sports teams and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but there is more to it than that. The city has a fantastic food scene with eastern European food on full display at the Westside Market. Plus, it has a good microbrew scene too. While you are there, there are several other places to visit too. You could consider heading a little east of downtown to Geneva-on-the-Lake for its wine tours. Just south of Cleveland is Cuyahoga Valley National Park. And to the west, you can find one of the best amusement parks in the world—Cedar Point. And the city sits on Lake Erie for great fishing and other water activities.

Your Destination Awaits

There are some pluses and minuses in the RV life, but I think you’ll have a hard time finding anyone at Harvest Hosts who doesn’t think it is the best life. So get started planning your summer trip now and take advantage of those 8,000+ locations you have with your Harvest Hosts All Access Membership.

About Harvest Hosts
Harvest Hosts is a unique RV camping membership that offers self-contained RVers unlimited overnight stays at over 5,657 small businesses across North America with no camping fees. Boondock at farms, wineries, breweries, attractions, and other one-of-a-kind destinations throughout North America, and you’ll get peace of mind knowing that a safe place to stay is always nearby!
Kyle Arnold-profile-image
Kyle Arnold
I'm a freelance adventure travel copywriter. My wife, 2 dogs and I have been on many adventures together in either a big, blue bus or our camper van. While touring the country, we take advantage of checking out new towns, hikes and waterways. We are often found hiking, paddling or drinking coffee and love meeting new people.