Spring break is nearly upon us, and that means it’s time for everyone to plan their spring break RV trips. The problem? Everyone else is doing exactly the same, meaning it’s going to be a little bit tricky to avoid large crowds—something that can totally ruin an otherwise perfect vacation.
The key to less crowded spring break RV trips? Choosing the right destination and the right type of travel. That’s what we’re here to discuss today!
Spring Break RV Travel
First, let’s address the type of travel. Sure, you could book a hotel room and hop on a plane like the rest of the country, but that would mean booking months in advance, putting up with higher room rates and plane tickets—it is spring break week, after all—and then dealing with the crowds that come along with airports and hotels during a school holiday.
The better option? Spring break RV trips. Choosing to travel in an RV rather than a plane means your vacation starts the minute you hit the road. It also allows you to avoid the crowds and hassle that come along with other types of travel. Finally, renting an RV might just save you some money, meaning more left over for your summer adventures.
Best for Family-Friendly Activities
Next, we have to talk about where to take your RV. Fortunately, there are tons of amazing options out there, but finding spots that offer plenty of fun without all the crowds can be tricky.
Below are our top picks for families looking to have exciting spring break RV trips that don’t involve masses of other people.
Instead of Disney World, try Dollywood
There’s no way around the fact that Walt Disney World is going to be absolutely packed to the gills during spring break. For this reason, we recommend saving the most magical place of earth for a different time of year and hitting up Dollywood instead.
Located in Pigeon Forge, TN, Dollywood is a super fun amusement park with something for the whole family. Here you’ll find seriously thrilling coasters, excellent musical performances, and enough kiddie rides to keep the little ones happy all day long.
Yes, the park does see more visitors during spring break than it does the rest of the spring season, but if you visit during the weekdays, you should be just fine.
Where to Stay
There are tons of great camping options near Dollywood. Pigeon Forge Jellystone has to be one of our favorites. This is the closest campground to the amusement park and it is home to tons of amazing amenities and activities for families. Here you’ll find swimming, movies, fishing, and a whole lot more!
Instead of Chicago, try St. Louis
Not into amusement parks? You might be considering heading into a city with the kids. After all, what could be better than exploring the museums, zoos, and other family-friendly attractions found in most bigger cities?
Usually, Chicago is a great pick for seeing these kinds of things! The thing is, Chicago is pretty busy even on a regular day, and spring break there can be pretty crazy. For this reason, we highly recommend heading to St. Louis, MO instead.
While the city’s attractions do see a slight influx of visitors during the local spring break week, the crowds are very manageable. To make a good thing even better, many of the attractions in St. Louis are totally free. Our favorite St. Louis attractions for families include the St. Louis Zoo, the City Museum, the Magic House (check the website for free times), and the St. Louis Science Center.
Where to Stay
There are a few great camping options near St. Louis. One favorite is Horseshoe Lake State Recreation Area, where you can dry camp for just $8 a night. Potable water and a dump station are available and the city is just a few short minutes away by car.
Best for Adventure
Hoping to squeeze some adventure into your spring break week? Great news! That’s totally doable. You could of course visit one of the more popular adventure spots, but we recommend checking out the lesser-known destinations listed below instead.
Instead of Grand Canyon, try Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
Okay, so the Grand Canyon is an absolutely amazing place and everyone should visit there at least once. If spring break is truly the only time you can go, go ahead and brave those crowds because you need to see this gorgeous place. However, if you can go earlier or later in the spring or during the fall months, plan on doing that and head to Vermillion Cliffs National Monument for spring break instead.
Vermillion Cliffs National Monument is located just a few hours from the Grand Canyon and offers some seriously amazing scenery. You’ll definitely want to take the scenic drive around the Vermillion Cliffs and do the White Pocket Hike. If you can get a permit, a hike through The Wave is also amazing.
Need more ways to fill your trip? Vermillion Cliffs is very close to Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon.
Where to Stay
When it comes to places to stay near Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, we have to recommend Lees Ferry Campground. This campground is located in the nearby Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and offers inexpensive dry camping with a dump station, potable water, flush toilets, showers, and trash cans.
Instead of Aspen, try Crested Butte
If skiing is your ideal spring break activity, Colorado is an awesome place to go! That said, there are some ski areas that are going to be much more crowded than others. For instance, if you’re looking to avoid crowds, we highly recommend running to Crested Butte rather than its neighbor town, Aspen.
Not only is Crested Butte much less crowded than Aspen, it’s also a whole lot less expensive. The focus in Crested Butte is on nature and you’ll find plenty of hikes to squeeze in between ski sessions. That said, you will still find plenty of great eateries in town, and the prices won’t break the bank.
Of course, if you just want a little taste of the glitz and glamour Aspen has to offer, you can just do a day trip into the town from the Crested Butte area to check it out!
Where to Stay
Crested Butte RV Resort is the place to camp when in Crested Butte. This park is in an excellent location and includes everything you need to be comfortable. Here, you can expect sites with electricity and water, free Wi-Fi, a playground for the kids, restrooms with showers, and even a dog run for your furry friends.
Best for Beaches
Nothing says spring break like relaxing on a beach. There are tons of great beaches out there that are perfect for hosting you during spring break. That said, some will definitely be more crowded than others. If crowds aren’t your thing, you’ll want to try our alternatives for less crowded spring break RV trips.
Instead of South Padre Island, try Padre Island National Seashore
Everyone knows that South Padre Island is the place to party during spring break. Unfortunately, not all of us want to join a massive party on the beach. If you’re just looking to kick back and relax while hanging out on the beach, consider heading to Padre Island National Seashore Instead.
Despite having similar names, these two parts of the state are actually completely different from one another. While South Padre Island is full of shopping, dining, nightlife, and crowds, Padre Island National Seashore is a nature park that is run by the NPS.
While in Padre Island National Seashore, you can enjoy sunny days relaxing on the beach, swimming in the ocean, and plenty of amazing bird watching.
Where to Stay
Padre Island National Seashore is actually home to a couple of campgrounds. If you’re visiting in an RV, you will want to head to Malaquite Campground. Here, you can camp right by the water and fall asleep to the sound of the ocean. It’s important to note that the sites at this campground do not include electricity. However, potable water and a dump station are available.
Instead of Myrtle Beach, try Jekyll Island
Myrtle Beach is another popular spring break destination, and for good reason. The place is chock-full of places to eat and shop, fun attractions, and of course, miles of beautiful beaches. Unfortunately, the crowd levels in Myrtle Beach during spring break can become pretty overwhelming. This is where beaches such as the ones found on Jekyll Island come into play.
A tiny island off the coast of Georgia, Jekyll Island is an incredible outdoor destination. The miles of wide-open beaches found here are completely untouched and offer an incredible escape from the hustle and bustle.
Besides amazing beaches, this island also plays host to beautiful marshes, moss-covered live oak trees, a nature center, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and more.
Where to Stay
There is really only one place to park your RV on Jekyll Island. Fortunately, Jekyll Island Campground is a lovely place to stay. It’s filled with beautiful, moss-covered live oaks, offering shade from the southern sun. Amenities include full hookups, Wi-Fi, bike rentals, trails, restrooms with showers, and a camp store. Plus, the location is fantastic!
Best for Relaxing
Visiting a beach is one way to relax during spring break, but it’s far from the only option. If you’re looking to let go of stress and really relax during your vacation, you will want to take a look at the relaxing vacation alternatives we’ve listed below.
Instead of Williamsburg, try touring Virginia Wine Country
One of the most popular areas for tourists in Virginia is Williamsburg. This city is a great place to visit for a relaxing peek into the past as you explore the many living history museums and experiences in the town. On top of that, the food and shopping found here are fantastic.
Unfortunately, because it’s such a good place to spend a vacation, Williamsburg can become very crowded during spring break. The good news? There is a secret Virginia getaway that is just as good but not nearly as busy.
Enter: Virginia Wine Country.
Yes, you did read that right. Central Virginia is home to a whole collection of wineries, something that was born when Thomas Jefferson made it his mission to bring wine culture to the States. In recent years these wineries have really grown and flourished, and the products offered here are fantastic.
Not sure where to begin your tour? We recommend following the Monticello Wine Trail to squeeze a little taste of Virginia history into your vacation.
Where to Stay
Of course, you will need someplace to park your RV while you explore these wonderful wineries. For this, we recommend the Charlottesville KOA. This lovely RV park is located just minutes from all of the wineries on the aforementioned wine trail. It offers full hookups, Wi-Fi, and clean restrooms and laundry rooms.
Instead of Yosemite National Park, try Mammoth Lakes Area Hot Springs
Yosemite is another popular spring break destination. Even if some of the roads are not yet opened during spring break, many hiking trails are available and the waterfalls have usually begun running again. It’s a great place for a relaxing escape into nature!
The problem? Yosemite is a hugely popular park, and with fewer areas being open during the spring, the crowds that come along with spring break must fit into a relatively small amount of space. For this reason, we recommend heading to the Mammoth Lakes area and hitting up the hot springs there instead.
Mammoth Lakes is a great destination even without hot springs. It boasts the beautiful Mammoth Mountain and plenty of skiing opportunities. That said, if you’re looking for relaxation, you will want to check out the hot springs. Our favorites include Wild Willy’s Hot Spring and the further-out Little Hot Creek. However, they are all wonderful and worth visiting.
Where to Stay
One of the most magical things about the hot springs near Mammoth Lakes is that most are set on BLM land, meaning you can boondock right by the pools. This is probably easiest to do near Rock Tub Hot Springs. You can also pay to camp with some amenities at Camp High Sierra.
There you have it, 8 awesome less crowded spring break RV trips! Choose one of these destinations and you’ll spend less time fighting crowds and more time enjoying your getaway.