I shared so much of our road trip with you on Instagram, but wanted to compile all the details in one spot if you are looking to plan a similar trip! First off… if you have ever had a desire to travel in an RV and see the country with your kiddos.. DO IT! You will never regret it. In my opinion, there is never a perfect time… do your research, plan and pick the right time for YOU!
I’ve wanted to do an RV trip with our family for a few years now. We’ve done long road trips with our kids in a minivan, but as our family has grown, logistically, it helps to have something bigger. Plus, I’m always up for learning and trying new things. One of the joys of a big family, is that we can adventure together! Our kids have each other and the more teamwork is involved, the more memories are made! Covid pushed our timing back 1 year. My oldest is 15 and my youngest is 2. Like I said, there’s never a perfect time, so we decided to go for it!
We have good friends in Colorado and we have always wanted to take the kids there. There are so many amazing sights and activities jam packed in Colorado and Utah. Our friends were going to camp in Arches National Park and had an extra campsite. I wasn’t it aware, but getting campsites in popular national parks is incredibly difficult. Spots are released 6 months in advanced and are snatched up in minutes! So of course, We could NOT pass this up! We worked the rest of our trip around our Arches dates.
We are complete RV newbies and was a bit nervous about handling and maintaining one on the road. But it was super easy honestly! We decided to go through Outdoorsy which is similar to an airbnb site for RVs and campers. You work with individuals who are renting out their own vehicles. This suited us best because we needed a fully stocked RV with bed linens, towels, kitchen cookware, accessories and basic camping equipment. There are other RV rental sites like Cruise America, that offer great RVs but they are rented as empty units. The family we worked with was amazing, had great photos, great follow up and we would totally recommend them!
We rented a 32 ft. Class C rv. It had 2 bunk beds and slept 10. It was perfect for our family. It came equipped with everything we needed. The fridge was a great size, storage area below accommodated our suitcases and it was in great condition and drove well! It was a great home on wheels for us!
We rented the RV for 8 nights and 9 days. We flew in and out of Denver and was able to easily coordinate with the owner RV pick up and drop off. Of course, it’s always easiest and most economical to travel in a loop where you are picking up and dropping off the RV in the same location. Here’s our itinerary to help you get an idea of drive time and sightseeing time. We wouldn’t change a thing. This itinerary fit our pace of travel. No more than 5-6 hours of driving, more typically 2-3 hours. One outing per day and back to the RV park for dinner.
THE RV PARKS
I mostly tried to look for KOA parks, only because I heard of them, but I had no idea what they were like. We stayed in all KOA parks except for the first one, which ended up being my favorite. It was the smallest of all of them. All the KOA’s we stayed at were wonderful. Easy check in, clean accommodations, all had a small park, and laundry and shower facilities if needed. I also looked for sites that could accommodate a 32 footer and had full hook up, electricity, water and sewer. Super important! Sites were roughly $50/night depending on the size of the site.
DAY 1: Get RV in Denver and drive to Alamosa. Overnight in Alamosa, CO
Day 2: Great Sand Dunes National Park and drive to Cortez. Overnight in Cortez, CO
Day 3: Mesa Verde National Park. Overnight in Cortez, CO
Day 4: Drive North to Dinosaur Monument in Vernal, Utah. But stopped along with the way to see Goblin Valley State Park in Green River, UT. This was our longest day of driving. Maybe 6 hours. Overnight in Vernal, UT
Day 5: Dinosaur National Monument and drive to Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. Overnight in Arches
Day 6-8: Camp in Arches National Park
Day 9: Drive to Denver and return RV. This was the next longest leg. 5 1/2 hours.
I first thought we would save money by rving… but there are significant costs to consider too. For an RV our size, it was roughly $350 per day for rental. RV parks are typically $50 per night depending on the size and we spent roughly another $1000 on gas. Also keep in mind mileage limits with your rental. We went over our mileage allotment. We covered close to 1300 miles.
Other costs to consider is groceries for your family and park/tour tickets. National Park entry fees are typically $25-$30. You can also purchase a National Park Pass for $80 which will cover your fees for 1 year. Get it if you think you will do 4 or more parks in 1 year! Also, 4th graders qualify for 1 year of free park admission. Such a great opportunity!!
We kept things simple. A few tips:
- Packing cubes! Game Changers. Perfect for moving items in and out of the RV. Helps to save space and stay organized.
- Pack light and in layers! We had temperatures ranging from the high 30s to the 90s! Pack a little bit of everything. We had everything from t-shirts to heavy sweatshirts.
- Loved having 1 baseball cap, 2 pairs of shoes, a small sling backpack and
- A diffuser came in so handy in a small space! It was used for so many things, bathroom odors, nighttime winddows and morning wake me ups!
- Bring 1 electric toothbrush and toothbrush heads for each person. Beats packing 8 different toothbrushes!
- Journals for everyone to reflect and document.
THE HIGHLIGHTS AND TAKEAWAYS
- We really would not change anything about the trip. Every spot was special and different. Our National Parks System is truly amazing. I left with a greater appreciation of the work and dedication it takes to protect our natural national treasures. Great Sand Dunes and Goblin Valley were the 2 that surprised us the most because the landscape in both places were just completely out of this world. Nothing we had every seen before. The pace worked well for our family. We didn’t feel rushed our harried. Of course, there were stops that we could not make due to time, and we will just save those for next time.
- 8 nights in our RV was just the perfect amount of time for us newbies. By the end, we were looking forward to getting cleaned up and having more space. We stayed in a condo for a few more nights before flying home. That condo felt luxurious! :).
- Teamwork literally made this dreamwork. We were so proud of the kids and how quickly they learned to work together and contribute. There were many lessons for all of us in patience, sacrifice, serving and putting others first. We loved experiencing so many firsts together and figuring things out along the way.
- There are lots of awesome and good people out there. We met some amazingly kind and generous people!
I hope this recap has inspired or helped you to plan your next family adventure! I can’t recommend a trip like this enough. It’s so doable and you will make memories that will be treasured forever! #liveloudlivewell