Lynn Houghton takes an RV road trip in Northern California, a mode of holidaying that gives clients control of both their itinerary and travel choices

Feeling of freedom

On arrival in San Francisco, I made my acquaintance with my Cruise America camper truck. After a thorough orientation and a chance to stock up on supplies, I hit the road – and the freedom to go wherever I want immediately felt intoxicating

Heading up Northern California’s photogenic cliff-hugging Highway 1, it is easy to be distracted by the natural vistas and unending views over the Pacific.

Turn inland and the terrain is awash with monumental, ancient Redwood trees populating the shoreline for 800 kilometres up to the border with Oregon.

Due to the popularity of this region, I’ve organised campsites in advance. With road trips equally in demand among U.S. travellers, booking overnight stays ahead of time guarantees a place to lay my head.

On the road

The romance of a road trip is undeniable and is often a bucket list choice for clients – and North America’s wide-open spaces and empty roads are a much sought after choice for these holidays. This trend seems to run in tandem with the desire to social distance and for controlling one’s own environment.

More than ever, a road trip appeals to crowd-averse travellers and means being able to avoid crowded airports, mixing in hotels or finding open restaurants. And, of course, the beauty of a mobile home is that you have your own portable accommodation.

Since these vacations appeal to a large range of holiday makers – from families to couples, young and old – it appears the road trip is well and truly in vogue and not going out of fashion anytime soon.

RV travels in Canada

Alberta, located in Canada’s soaring Rocky Mountain range, is renowned for its dramatic scenery and diversity of wildlife. Covid restrictions likely mean the province will not open for international travel for some time yet but it is a destination that is perfect for a future road trip.

“With its wide-open roads and easy driving, Alberta is a dream destination for motorhome trips. Unique landscapes range from lush, mountainous national parks to the prehistoric Badlands and prairies or breathtaking lakes,” says Lyn Naylor, UK Business Development Director for Travel Alberta.

“Jasper and Banff National Parks get a lot of attention but lesser-known parks like Waterton Lakes are equally stunning. Self-driving gives clients the chance to explore at their own pace, taking time to discover small, friendly towns with great local restaurants and shopping.”

Campers are increasingly on the lookout for unusual campsites, with popular overnight spots including blueberry farms, turkey farms, breweries, vineyards and more.

Tracey Thompson, International Sales and Marketing Manager for Cruise America UK, says: “There are 16,000 campsites in North America to choose from, with everything from KOA campgrounds to Disney campsites and overnighting on farms. Though it is the national and state parks (all have campgrounds) that are the most sought after as they bring guests closer to what they come to see.”

She adds: “We are seeing renewed confidence from our International guests, particularly for 2022 bookings. The allure of the great outdoors and open spaces plus connecting with nature is drawing travellers towards choosing an RV experience.”

Camp chairs, personal kits (towels, duvets, sheets) and a vehicle provision kit which includes cooking and dining utensils are available at an additional cost if not specifically included in the package price.

Five iconic North America road trips

Washington State’s Vineyards & Volcanoes: 

Take in the best of the Pacific Northwest and enjoy the cultural and culinary scenes of Seattle and Portland. This itinerary focuses on Washington state’s sprawling landscapes and includes the glaciers and colourful alpine meadows of Mt. Rainier National Park. Washington is the second-largest premium wine producer in America, second only to California, with over 1,000 wineries. Part of the trip includes passing through the Walla Walla Valley, named America’s Best Wine Region in 2020 by USA Today.

America’s Canyonlands:Arizona and Utah is the focus of this itinerary which departs from Sin City, Las Vegas. Highlights include Grand Canyon National Park, Lake Powell, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Zion National Park. The terrain is varied and some of the most dramatic in the U.S.

Whales, Bergs and Birds: A 13-day itinerary through Newfoundland, the easternmost region of Canada, takes travellers from coast to coast to coast, along ocean and inland drives, with mountains as a backdrop. Along the way see seabird colonies, the largest concentration of humpback whales on the planet, and the annual parade of massive icebergs. A highlight is the old port city of St. John, which holds a year-round appeal for birdwatchers.

Natchez Trace Parkway: 

Fans of Cajun and Creole food, and jazz, country and popular music, will truly love this journey. Music City USA, Nashville, Tennessee, starts everything off with backstreet honky-tonk bars. While in town, be sure to include the Country Music Museum, Johnny Cash Museum and Grand Ole Op.

Natchez is a must-stop along the way, with over 500 antebellum and plantation homes to see. End with a romantic stroll through New Orleans’ French Quarter while enjoying street corner musicians and a superb oyster dinner at Antoine’s.

Best of the Florida Keys: 

This road trip begins in Miami, where a journey to the Everglades on an iconic airboat awaits. Then continue down to Marathon and visit the Dolphin Research Centre. This week-long itinerary can include snorkelling in Key West, a fishing trip off the coast of Islamorada and also a day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park.

Where to book it

America as you like it – 0208 742 8299: The ‘Icons & National Parks of the Great American West’ trip costs from £1,355pp for May 2022. The 20-night Denver to Salt Lake City itinerary features stops in Colorado, Wyoming, both Dakotas, Montana, Idaho and Utah plus Yellowstone National Park. Includes flights and RV rental.