As the weather cools down and the leaves slowly start changing from vibrant greens into burnt, rustic hues, many RVers are starting to put their homes-on-wheels into storage until next year. While it’s clear why the warmth and spirit of summer make it such a popular travel time, there are many reasons to keep the fun alive with fall RVing.
Campgrounds and attractions tend to be less crowded and less costly, the color changes are beautiful to witness, temperatures aren’t unbearably hot, and bugs aren’t a problem. If you plan right, an autumn RV trek can rival the most idyllic of summer trips.
When planning a fall adventure, keep the following points in mind:
Like any trip, the location you choose will shape the type of experience you have. It’s important to plan your RV trek based on activities you want to do or sights you want to see and then look at if the weather of that area will realistically permit you to do those things. For instance, if you want to swim in the ocean, Oregon probably isn’t the best option.
When planning to take in the majestic colors and go on fall drives, research when peak color season is for the area you’re considering going. Each state has a different timeline where it’s best to view the fall foliage.
If you want to escape the cool, Florida stays warm pretty much year-round. If your main goal is hiking, keep in mind some mountain towns tend to get early snow, so you may want to opt for areas where the temperature is more moderate.
There are also many exciting festivals in autumn around the country dedicated to wine, beer, food, film, Halloween, music, hot air balloons–you name it.
The point is that doing some research will help you plan a trip that’s comfortable and conducive to your interests.
Make Sure RV Parks Are Open
While there are tons of RV parks open year-round, some close after the summer season or part-way through autumn. Their websites should say if they’re open or not, but if you can’t find the information, always call before heading out. The last thing you want is to pick a destination based on its activities only to have no access to hook-ups or heat, as moderate temperatures during the day can quickly turn into chilly nights.
Summer makes packing easy. The weather is warm, and while it can occasionally get chilly at night, you can most often get by with a light jacket and some pants in addition to your summer attire.
Fall is a little bit more tricky because the weather can vary significantly between different regions of the country, and it can so be noticeably different between day and night in the same location. For instance, you may be comfortable wearing a t-shirt during the day only to need to put on several layers of warmth when it gets dark.
You don’t want to dress warmly and burn up during the day, or dress lightly and be freezing at night. Try to be strategic in packing layers and more blankets, and consider taking layers with you if you leave your RV to explore the area. This way, you can change into leggings or pants if shorts weather quickly turns brisk. If you think ahead and come prepared, temperature-related discomfort shouldn’t damper your adventure.
Understand How to Use Your RV in Lower Temperatures
While it’s unlikely that fall temperatures will fall to freezing levels, it’s important to know how to disconnect and drain your water line in case temperatures can fall extremely low; otherwise your water and waste systems could get damaged.
Similarly, make sure you know how to hook-up and/or use the heating system. If you’ve only RVed in warm weather, you’ve probably never used it. It’s always best to have a trained RV inspector look at your system to make sure your furnace is in working order and that your carbon monoxide detector is functional, especially if you’ve never used your heat. An inspector can also cover any other specific steps you should take to best care for your RV during low temperatures.
Keep an eye on your tire pressure throughout your travels, and make sure it stays within the limits described by the owners manual. Cold temperatures can cause tire pressure to lower, which can result in tire damage or even blowouts. To avoid any issues, make sure you stay on top of it as well as bring a spare with you.
It’s also a good idea to inspect your RV for any gaps or holes that could cause heat to escape and cold air to enter.
Lastly, be mindful of your RV awning in colder temperatures. The sun doesn’t go away in the fall, so RV awnings are still great for lounging under on a crisp, cool day. That being said, if temperatures were to get cold overnight, it could be difficult to retract your awning in the morning. Similarly, if it were to snow or rain, the buildup could damage your awning’s canopy and structure. Keep an eye on the weather, and retract your awning when necessary.
Be Mindful of Wildlife and Hunting Activity
In the fall, it’s especially important to be aware of your surroundings when in nature. Bears tend to hibernate in late November, which means they’ll be scrounging for food beforehand. This means they’ll be more active, so pack bear spray and take precautions if you want to venture out in the wilderness. Similarly, keep your food locked away and your RV locked up.
Moose are also more likely to be seen in autumn, as mating season is in effect. Be mindful with Moose, as they will charge if they feel threatened. If you see one, back up slowly, give plenty of space, and keep dogs on leash at all times.
It’s also important to be conscious of hunting season to protect you and your family from any accidents. It’s easy to find out where hunting is/isn’t allowed so that you can choose an area where it’s not an issue, but if you’re ever unsure, stay on trails, wear bright clothes, keep dogs on leashes, and make noise as you hike.
Hopefully this information helps shed some light on how to have an adventurous, comfortable, and safe autumn RV trek. If you take the time to research, plan, and prepare, you’ll should be well on your way to a colorful extended RV season!
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