Most people think sun and sand destinations for spring break, but for students and families looking to get away from the overpriced and crowded beaches, national parks are a great alternative that have the ingredients to create unforgettable memories. This is also a great year for everyone to check national parks off their bucket list, since the National Park Service system turns 100 in 2016 and will be hosting centennial celebrations throughout the parks.
Renting a recreational vehicle (RV) is a great option that allows families or students to drive to their spring break destination at their own convenience, while also saving money and creating a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience. Yet, for first-time renters or novices, renting an RV can be daunting.
To help provide greater RVing peace of mind, Coach-Net, a trusted RV industry partner for nearly 30 years, has put together a list of RV rental tips that will help ensure a successful rental experience for a first-time RVer – as well as a list of national parks to consider visiting during spring break.
It’s important to consider the following key factors when renting an RV:
- Cost – Consider the cost of the rental and verify if the company charges extra for mileage or if it is included in the rental price. Also, know in advance how many total miles the trip will be, and budget accordingly for gas money.
- Insurance – Check your car insurance to see if it covers RV rentals. Additional coverage may need to be purchased from the rental company, and some companies also have minimum age requirements for a rental.
- Preparation – Most RV rental companies offer test drives and information to help inexperienced operators feel comfortable behind the wheel and learn how to check fluid levels, monitor tire pressure, empty sewage lines, etc. When renting an RV, check what type of maintenance coverage plans are available and if they specify working with certain dealers for repairs. Easy, 24/7 access to roadside assistance and technical support is certainly a key to having a worry-free vacation. Coach-Net offers products and services, even for short-term RV renters, that can keep your vacation running smoothly and your family safe while on the road.
- Size – Large RVs can be difficult to maneuver for an inexperienced driver, so take driving abilities into consideration. Also, make sure to consider factors like the number of people, amount of luggage and length of the trip before deciding on an RV size.
- Cooking – Determine what kind of cooking will be done during the trip and if that RV has the capabilities (large enough fridge, included cookware, stove-top burners, etc.). Buying bulk food items and making meals can save money on a trip, if the RV has the storage capacity.
- Parking – It’s a good idea to plan some overnight stops in advance and be knowledgeable about places that are available for parking in the general travel area. Also check and confirm the length and class of RV, and if it can be accommodated at the final destination.
If your spring break destination is a park, remember that not all of the national parks are open the entire year, and that not all of the national parks can accommodate RVs. Advanced research on the selected destination’s website – or even through a phone call – is critical.
According to the National Park Service, below are some of the most popular national parks to check out during spring break, from the most popular, to the less-visited-yet-worthwhile parks to consider if you want a more secluded vacation spot. All of these parks are open during spring break and can either accommodate RVs within the park or at a nearby RV park or resort.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee)
- Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)
- Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)
- Yosemite National Park (California)
- Zion National Park (Utah)
- Olympic National Park (Washington)
- Joshua Tree National Park (California)
- Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)
- Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)
- Everglades National Park (Florida)
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)
- Big Bend National Park (Texas)
- Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve (Colorado)