A weekly podcast from the writers of rvfamilytravelatlas.com, focusing on topics that relate to RV family travel. We review campgrounds, discuss tips and tricks for traveling with kids, and answer our readers' most common questions. We also chat about food, gear, and those times when everything doesn't quite go as planned.
RV Lengths in NPS Campgrounds, Pigeon Forge Activities, Dewinterizing (RV Atlas Q+A)
We are back with another Q+A episode of The RV Atlas podcast. On this week's show we tackle questions about the following three topics from the RV Atlas group on Facebook:
Is a 37' 6" rig a good choice for someone who wants to camp in national and state parks?
What are the best family friendly activities in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee?
Should an RV Atlas group member dewinterize before heading to Florida? Or when they get there?
To listen to Jeremy and Stephanie answer these questions and share answers from the group--click on the media player above or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your favorite shows.
RV Lengths in NPS Campgrounds
Kelly Harper wrote in to the RV Atlas group on Facebook and asked....
"Is 37'6" too big to park at state parks and national parks? That's where we plan to do most of our camping."
Jeremy Puglisi answered...
I think 37’6” is gonna be really tough for getting into most National Park campgrounds. The vast majority of them were built in 40s, 50s and 60s when RVs (generally speaking) were much much smaller. As for state parks—that’s going to vary widely and also depend on when the campgrounds were built.
Craig Dashner answered...
In state and national parks, the longer you are, the fewer options you will have, and there will be more competition for those fewer sites. Camping is a game of give and take. The benefits of a longer camper cost you access. Good access costs you size of camper - you have to find your sweet spot between the two. We've always tried to stay on the shorter end of what we want in a camper to maximize the sites we can fit into.
Kristin Seals answered...
It depends. It can be hard to get into some campgrounds in National Parks because of road conditions. For example you cannot get into the Chisos Basin Campground in Big Bend National Park with more than a 24ft trailer (I might not have the exact measurement correct) due to a tight, narrow road with switchbacks. I have seen the same type of situation in several other NPs. However, you can usually find another campground outside the park in those instances….and sometimes even within the National Park. As far as state parks that will depend on the state and each park. We live in Texas and only 1 time in our 6 years of camping have we had trouble at a campsite with our 29ft TT, and that was more due to my error as a newbie RV camper. I booked a site that was much too small. Most of our state parks here in Texas are massive and have very accommodating RV spaces
Judy Tanner Taylor answered...
GA and surrounding states have state parks with larger sites. Some even have full hookups. Not all sites are that large, but some are. I am 38 ft (plus my tow bar hitch) and have stayed at GA, SC, AL state parks within the last year. I do usually have to make reservations early for weekends, especially at busy places like Myrtle Beach State Park.
Pigeon Forge Activities for Families
Clay Johnson wrote in to the RV Atlas group on Facebook and asked things to do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with kids…
This is such a great group! I thought I'd see if anyone had suggestions of things to do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee? We'll be staying at the KOA so close to the action. Planning a five day stay for Spring Break. Of course there is the obvious Dollywood, but what else do you recommend for a family with younger kiddos?
Thanks in advance, and happy motoring!"
Jeremy and Stephanie responded...
There are so many things to do in and around Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. First and most importantly--get yourself into Great Smoky Mountains National Park for some scenic drives and amazing hikes.
An Epic Road Trip with Spacious Skies Campgrounds
Spacious Skies Campgrounds burst onto the scene three years ago when they opened their first campground in Alfred, Maine. Since then they have grown into a robust and diverse collection of 15 campgrounds from Maine to Georgia. Their brand may only be three years old--but they have made quite the impression on campers and industry insiders since opening that first campground in March of 2021.
All of their campgrounds are geographically unique--but there are common factors that unify all of them into a cohesive collection. Their 15 campgrounds are all situated in naturally pretty locations and offer a back-back-basics camping experience at a budget-friendly price.
But while the emphasis may be on a classic camping experience--there are lots of creature comforts like pools, playgrounds, well-stocked camp stores, and full hook up sites. Each Spacious Skies Campground also offers tenting sites and there is a mix of cabins, yurts, and comfortable lodging (and glamping!) options spread throughout their system.
No matter how you like to camp--Spacious Skies Campgrounds has something great for you. They welcome all campers from every type of background to join them for a great camping experience filled with fun and warm hospitality.
Here is a brief overview of the 15 campgrounds in the Spacious Skies Campgrounds collection. For more information about each campground please click on the links in the descriptions. We hope to see you at a Spacious Skies Campground this year and in the years ahead. This is just the beginning for this welcome addition to the world of American camping!
The RV Atlas podcast is sponsored by Spacious Skies Campgrounds. Our thoughts and opinions are always our own.
Spacious Skies Campgrounds in New England
Spacious Skies Balsam Woods (Abbot, Maine)
Spacious Skies Balsam Woods is located in a stunning and peaceful region of Maine just 30 minutes south of Moosehead Lake. They offer full hook up sites (both wooded and open) with 30 and 50 amp hookups. Tent camping is a great option here--and there are deluxe and rustic cabins as well. This campground is great for stargazing and also has direct access to excellent ATV trails. Kids will also enjoy the pool, playground, jumping pillow, and gem mining.
Spacious Skies Walnut Grove (Alfred, Maine)
This is where it all started for Spacious Skies Campgrounds. Their very first campground is located in southern Maine just 30 minutes from Wells Beach. The sites here can accommodate anything from pop up campers to big rigs--and tent campers are welcome as well. Retro RV rentals and rustic cabins are also available for those without their own rigs. The campground here is well-stocked with merch and goodies and there is a pool and brand new playground for the kids.
Spacious Skies French Pond (Henniker, NH)
Spacious Skies French Pond is a deeply wooded campground nestled along the edge of French Pond in southern New Hampshire. The campsites here can accommodate everything from tent campers to those in large motorhomes and fifth wheels. Retro RV rentals and the "Lily Pad Cottage" are also available. Spend your days fishing at the lake or kayaking and spend your nights around the campfire surrounded by fragrant trees. This is Granite State camping at its coziest and most comfortable!
Spacious Skies Seven Maples (Hancock, NH)
Spacious Skies Seven Maples is surrounded by beautiful country for hiking, biking, fishing, and so much more. It is also located just minutes away from Keene, New Hampshire--which has great options for locally roasted coffee, craft beers, and farm-to-table food. Back at the campground you will enjoy the stocked trout fishing pond, kayak rentals, and a swim complex with waterslides for the kids. The RV and tent sites offer plenty of space for stretching your l...
Rockwood Roo Hybrids, Myrtle Beach Campgrounds, Portable Tote Tanks (RV Atlas Q+A)
On this week's RV Atlas podcast Jeremy and Stephanie are tackling three questions from the RV Atlas Group on Facebook. We answer a question from Jessa Dittberner about whether she should get one of the Rockwood Roo Hybrids, along with a question from Mathew Falls about choosing a campground in Myrtle Beach. Then we wrap up the show by discussing why RVers buy portable tote tanks, and which sizes and models are the best.
Spring camping season is around the corner and we are itching to hit the open road and we know many of you are too. While many of us are waiting for spring we welcome you to join us around the digital campfire for another great Q+A episode of The RV Atlas.
To listen to Jeremy and Stephanie discuss the pros and cons of Rockwood Roo Hybrids, the best Myrtle Beach Campgrounds, and which portable tote tank is best--click on the media player above--or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your favorite shows!
Pros and Cons of Hybrid Travel Trailers
Jessa Dittberner wrote in to the RV Atlas group on facebook and asked...
We have a Springdale Mini and are looking for a possible change. I am really interested in the Rockwood Roo Hybrid. Curious if anyone has one or a similar hybrid and their thoughts? I am tired of feeling like I am in a closet when inside the camper. Hehe.
Jeremy and Stephanie explained why they love hybrids and pointed Jessa to some RV Atlas resources like this episode with Johann Schnell--who owns a Flagstaff Hybrid (same as a Rockwood Roo Hybrid) and loves it.
Megan Beller Sterett answered...
We love our Rockwood Roo! Ours is 23 feet with 3 tent beds and 1 slideout. We're on a year-long camping trip with our 3 kids and I wanted to maximize space without having a massive rig, plus I really wanted to still preserve the closeness with nature that the tent beds allow. The Rockwood Roo Hybrid has delivered on both counts - it really feels very spacious inside for a 23 foot camper, and we love hearing the sounds of nature and being able to unzip all the bed windows to enjoy the breeze, etc. One obvious downside is that it's pretty chilly in winter (though you can get the insulated covers for the tent beds), so something to consider depending on your usage. Overall we're very happy with ours!
Nathan Rathmell answered...
We had two hybrids. The quad bunk was nice (aren’t made anymore) but we don’t miss setting up our bed on multiple stop trips. Or any really. it was nice on the right site in mild weather having the bed windows open with a view. Now we have a traditional quad bunk longer than I ever wanted to tow.
Where to Camp in Myrtle Beach?
Mathew Falls wrote into the RV Atlas group on Facebook and asked...
We are headed down to Myrtle Beach during the last few days of March / first few days of April. The 3 spots listed below have come recommended. We'd love to know your thoughts through a vote. If you've ever stayed during that time frame we'd like to hear what amenities were available (since it's still off season). The KOA is no longer an option. As much as we love KOAs, the information we received from them via email and phone was downright rude and unhelpful.
Jeremy and Stephanie talked at length about how much they loved the Myrtle Beach KOA in the past--and how they are both sad to hear that Matthew had a bad customer service experience there. They also discussed a bunch of their favorite Myrtle Beach Campgrounds--including what was formerly known as Carolina Pines, along with Lakewood, Ocean Lakes, Myrtle Beach State Park, and Huntington Beach State Park.
Stacy Kropf Johnson answered...
Kids? Mine love Carolina Pines but it’s not on the beach....
24 Tiny Trailers That We Love in 2024 (Part 1)
We love tiny trailers here at the RV Atlas--and we always have. This year we wanted to do a roundup of the best tiny trailers on the market right now and highlight their best features and options. There are so many great companies making smaller trailers in 2024 and many of those companies have loyal followings and terrific reputations for quality and innovation.
We invited our longtime friend and RV Atlas podcast correspondent Casita Dean May onto the show to help us round up the best and the brightest small rigs on the market today. This will be a two-part series on the podcast and right here on the blog. So buckle up buttercup--these are our first 12 picks, with 12 more to come. We love the variety of options on display here--and we know you will too. So without further ado let's dive in to part one of our two part series.
To listen to Casita Dean May and Jeremy discuss the tiny trailers that they love the most click on the media player above or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your favorite shows!
Casita Dean May's Tiny Trailer Picks
The Aero Sellwood (Starting at $41,499)
It would be easy to mistake the Aero Sellwood for a vintage "canned ham" trailer from the 1950's or 1960's. It passes the vintage vibe check with flying colors. But this trailer (which weighs under 3k pounds dry) is made in Oregon right now and is packed with modern features and gorgeous of-the-moment design touches. There is a model with a spacious kitchen and no wet bath (that does have a cassette toilet) and there is a model (pictured above) with a smaller kitchen and a comfortable and attractive wet bath. Casita Dean May loves the wet bath floorpan (which adds 3k to the price)--but Jeremy loved the model with the larger kitchen. Both of them are drop dead gorgeous and worth taking a look at if you want a retro trailer with a high-quality build.
Safari Condo Alto R1723 (Starting at $32,739)
Safari Condo photos by Kirstin Burrows
The Safari Condo Alto R1723 is one of the most unique travel trailers we have ever laid eyes upon. The retractable electric roof creates an incredibly aerodynamic shape that is easy to tow when in travel mode--and when in camping mode, the stunning windows fill the trailer with natural light. These stunning windows forge a direct connection to the natural world and provide panoramic views of the campsite around the coach. The frame, walls, and floor are made of aluminum and the dry weight clocks in at under 2k pounds--making this towable by a wide variety of SUVs. The bed is up front, and a seating area is in the rear--allowing one camper to stay up and read while the other sleeps in comfort.A toilet and shower are available midship--but the top of the shower is enclosed by a curtain. Certainly not a deal breaker for us. Every inch of this trailer feels fresh and innovative. We would love to take one camping.
Taxa Cricket (Starting at $30,331)
The Taxa Cricket doesn't have much in common with with most RV's--in fact we think of it as more of a camping machine or camping support system. Taxa calls the Cricket a "habitat" or an "adventure vehicle" and both of those work for us too. We love the open and airy feel created by the pop-up roof and we are also big fans of the front kitchen and its modular storage systems. A convertible dinette/bed is located in the back of the Cricket--with a rear cargo door that can be thrown open for fresh air--or for storing bikes and other gear for transport. The Cricket comes in a variety of ridiculously cool color options (Chocolate Chip Tropical Camo Wrap please!) and can be stored in a garage when not in use.
Nücamp Tab 400 (Prices Vary from 40K-55K)
nüCamp makes beautiful RV's with a reputation for style, comfort, and quality.
RVing in Cape Hatteras, Long Driving Days, State Sticker Map Rules (RV Atlas Q+A)
On this week's RV Atlas Q+A podcast we discuss the following topics from the RV Atlas Group on Facebook:tips for things to do on an RV trip to Cape Hatteras, rules for your state sticker map (can they be transferred to a new RV?) and how many hours is too many hours to drive in an RV? Jeremy and Stephanie answer each question but we also share answers from the group!
State Sticker Map Rules for RVers
The Question from Nathan Wentworth:
“Okay gang--serious question! When you upgrade to a new or different RV--do you start over with your state sticker map… Since you haven’t camped in the new RV, do you get credit for camping in all of the states you visited with your previous RV?”
Stephanie Puglisi responded….
”It’s the experiences that count--the rig is just a really fun accessory”
Aaron Hall responded...
“No we consider it a camping map not an RV specific map. That is why we made ours magnetic so we can move it from RV to RV”
Hannah and Will Clay responded...
“I continued the state sticker map…but everyone has their own house rules!”
Shannon Lamb responded...
“Our map is in a picture frame--so it can go from camper to camper.”
Duane Bell responded...
“We will carry our state sticker map over to our next RV, although I didn’t count places I had camped as a kid or places we camped before we bought our rig. Our rule is also that we have to actually camp in the state to earn the sticker, not just drive thru or Walmart etc.
So far we have hit everything East of the Missippi. We had hoped to hit 49 states with our two youngest still at home, but with sports and jobs etc that is no longer realistic. Beth and I will have to finish off the rest ourselves.”
Erik Anderson responded...
If and when we get a new RV, we’ll “transfer” our U.S. and Canada state sticker map to the new rig. Like Stephanie Puglisi writes, we also feel it’s the experiences we’ve personally had and not RV-specific. But everyone has their own “rules of thumb” which is cool!
We’ve “stickered” 49 states and 6 Canada provinces, so we’ll want to continue enjoying seeing all those on a new rig! 😁
Mike Hoffman responded...
You have a box of ice cream sandwiches... You eat all of them.... Just because you get a new box doesn't mean you didn't eat all of the other ones.... It all counts as pounds under the belt... Miles during camping…
Ted Moore responded...
I looked it up in the Code of Federal Regulations: new trailer = reset on places visited. Which means I have to return to Glacier, Zion, Yellowstone, Shenandoah, Great Smoky Mountains, and Rocky Mountain.
Damn. What a burden.
Jeremy Puglisi responded...
The state sticker map definitely transfers over. I think you do have to spend the night and drive through. Even spending a night at Wal-Mart is okay.
How Much Time Driving on Travel Days?
The Question from Steph Wagner:
What is your upper limit on miles per day between destinations? We are planning a longer trip with our 6 and 8-year-olds from Kansas to Disneyland.
Kerri Cox responded...
Our upper limit is 500-600 miles, but we aren’t traveling with younger kids. When our boys were younger, I added approximately 50% to whatever Google Maps estimated the drive would take. That rule of thumb covered the slower RV travel, stops for gas, meals, restroom breaks, and some leg stretching.
We had a successful road trip once where we paid our kids $1 an hour each to behave on the way. They got pretty competitive about keeping their cash!
Jason Richards responded...
A Solar Eclipse RV Trip: What You Need to Know
Here's everything you need to know about planning a solar eclipse RV trip for the April 8, 2024, total eclipse.
Rubbing poker chips?
ugh: the audio feedback the entire episode. So gross.
Another to my list!
I have just added this podcast to my subscription list for auto download. I found them a couple months ago and have listened to a few of the latest episodes. After listening to Cumberland gap national historical park (we happen to be 3hrs west at mammoth cave! So I was intrigued, will definitely be adding that to my places to see list!) it was a great episode. The interview was so interesting and informative. Overall I have found it to be a great podcast show. First and foremost the sound quality. So many, even the “big dogs” sound quality can Be so bad a lot of times. That makes me skip it. The content is great. Lots of facts which I look for. I am usually looking for information mainly with some entertainment but not just story telling. This podcast hits the mark for me. Also the description is great! In this episode they even put the site number they mentioned for big rigs at the park! Super helpful! I’m sure I’ll find more helpful information as I continue to listen. Thanks for a great podcast!
Excellent RV and national park podcast
I love the interviews and questions that Jeremy asks. I get a lot of great information from this podcast. Thank you.