Why Go RVing in the South?
Of all countries, America is arguably the most instantly synonymous with the classic road trip. One of the country’s most popular tourist (and indeed domestic) pursuits, many famous routes cross the country from the eastern seaboard to the Pacific coast. Passing through scenes of outstanding natural beauty, thriving cities, historic towns and four time zones, classic routes such as the iconic Route 66 and the Pacific Coast Highway are famous the world over. America is a place to discover by wheel, and the South is no different.
Yet as much as it is the country of the automobile, America is also a place of off-road delights, nature trails and national parks. And for all of its culture and history, the Deep South is one of best places to go off-road, for camping or exploring behind the wheel of an RV. Renting an RV is proving to be one of the most popular ways to get off the beaten track and simply see more of the country. And if you are in the South, there is a great deal of country to see beyond famous cities like Charleston, Atlanta, Mobile and New Orleans.
Under the right circumstances and with proper planning, renting an RV is a sure way to take any Deep South road trip to the next level. Traveling in an RV allows you to relax and experience the landscape at your own pace, with the possibility of changing your itinerary at a moment’s notice and not being bound by hotel reservations. Given that there’s so much to explore, you might wish to extend your stay in a particular area or put your foot to metal to reach the next one as quickly as possible. In an RV, all of these possibilities open up.
The South happens to be one of the most accommodating places in the world for RV travel, with plenty of camp and parking sites in stunning locations for you to rest your head. Renting an RV is also highly affordable, and the vast majority of roads and trails will be suitable for RV use. RVs are great if you want to save overall on nightly accommodation, and they are a clear choice should you wish to prioritize more natural sites on your trip.
Renting an RV
If you don’t have an RV of your own, renting one for your trip is the easiest way to experience the unique thrill of traveling by motorhome. Companies such as Motorhome Republic can help you compare prices and book the RV that is right for you. If you decide to get an RV, it’s wise to factor in the costs of RV sites at which you can set up for the night, as well as the legality of parking in the areas where you wish to go. Considering general campsite fares is the best way to work out any additional costs that might not be immediately apparent at the point of picking up your RV—especially if you hope to explore more and plan a little less.
Beyond renting from a company, the motorhome peer-to-peer market is an excellent way to cut down on nightly fares. Without the overhead costs associated with running an RV rental business, prices can be kept down when you rent from a private individual. Of course, you’ll want to be sure they are fully accredited and the vehicle you receive is in working order before any transaction is made. Companies such as RVshare are useful for ensuring everything stays above board.
Whatever way you decide to get your hands on an RV, factoring in campsite costs is essential should you wish to budget your trip before setting off. And if you don’t know precisely where you’ll go and for how long, then it is possible to purchase nationwide travel passes, which will admit you to campsites and RV parking spots across the country, either free or at a significantly reduced price. It is certainly worth investing in one of these if you plan to take things free and easy over the course of your trip.
Driving in the South
The most fundamental thing to remember about driving in the South is something that applies to the whole country: Americans drive on the righthand side of the road, so you’ll need to bear this in mind when road tripping anywhere in the states from Europe. For those not used to it, it can be somewhat strange to have the steering wheel on the lefthand side of the car.
You’ll find that whether you’re on the highway or making your way into town, the South’s roads are very accommodating. Remember, however, that toll roads are a frequent feature (especially in Texas) and are typically placed before the entrance to cities. As you can expect to pass through a few cities on your road trip, you will need to be ready to pay between 10 and 20 dollars each time.
You’ll also need to be aware of a few American norms when on the road. For one thing, you can expect a completely different system from the UK warning signs you may be used to. For example, provided there is no oncoming traffic, motorists may turn right on a red light.
Top Southern RV Locations
When it comes to selecting the stopping points for your Southern RV adventure, you’ll want to find campsites with ease of access (for driving and hiking) to the attractions that they serve. Here are some of the best attractions in the South, all with ample provision for RV camping.
Tishomingo State Park, Mississippi
Situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Tishomingo State Park features endless routes and dreamy trails that penetrate right through this area of picturesque forest. Some of these are even accessible by RV should you wish to cover a bit more ground in a day.
William B. Bankhead National Forest, Alabama
For hiking trails and picturesque waterways, this is one of the finest spots in both Alabama and the entire American South. Well served by RV and primitive campsites alike, this is a particularly popular spot for canoers and horseback riders.
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia
If wildlife is a major attraction for you, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia is somewhere you will definitely want to include in your itinerary. The area is home to countless rare and endangered bird species and is known for its outstanding beauty. It is well served by peripheral campsites, but you won’t be able to drive throughout the bulk of the area.
Congaree National Park, South Carolina
The Congaree National Park in South Carolina is officially the largest expanse of old-growth hardwood forest in America. This dreamy landscape really comes into its own in the autumn and is well served by campsites and places to park an RV.