Roost-Worthy Campgrounds and Top-Flight Sights
If you’re like many snowbirds, you no doubt follow one of several popular interstate routes to and from warmer winter climes. On the east coast, many RVers use I-95 to wend between Maine and Florida. In the Midwest, I-35 moseys between Minnesota toward Texas. On the west coast, I-5 provides a route between Oregon and southern California. Here are some great spots to stop en route to or from your winter haven.
I-95: Cape May, NJ
The seasonal Seashore Campsites is a 90-acre wooded campground with 600+ RV and tent sites. RV sites are generously spaced and include hookups for electricity, water, and sewer. If you can’t get to the Jersey Shore (the Atlantic Ocean is only 5 miles away), Seashore has sand of its own around a filtered lake, not to mention a heated swimming pool. Be sure to check out the nearby Cape May Lighthouse (circa 1859), where you can climb 199 steps to the top for terrific peninsula and bay views. At the Lobster House, you decide where you’d like your lobster served: in the restaurant; aboard a 130-foot schooner, or at the raw bar.
I-95: Virginia Beach, VA
The Holiday Trav-L-Park is a pet-friendly, mega-campground with 800 wooded or open sites—328 are RV sites with full hookups. Park free one block from the beach or stay onsite to enjoy the four swimming pools. More than 9,000 acres at Bay National Wildlife Refuge provide a home to more than 350 bird species and a variety of other wildlife. Whether you dine inside or on the porch, dinner—usually a seafood dinner—starts at 5:30 at Tautog’s Restaurant in the restored, 1920s Winston’s Cottage, a block from the beach.
I-35: Des Moines, IA
Recreational opportunities abound at the four campgrounds on Saylorville Lake. There are 5,000 wooded and prairie-like acres here under the auspices of the Army Corps of Engineers. All 500 sites are paved, though not all have full hookups. There are, however, lots of onsite amenities and outdoor activity options on land and the lakes. Plus, the price is right. Not far from here, Hollywood icon John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907, in a four-room house that’s now the John Wayne Birthplace Museum. It houses family photographs, letters, and movie props like the eye patch he wore in True Grit. Flying Mango has created a smokin’ menu loaded with barbecue offerings—many with a Caribbean twist.
I-35: Kansas City, MO
Although the adjacent Kansas City theme parks Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun are only open seasonally, the Worlds of Fun Village RV Park is open year-round. It can handle the big rigs and is loaded with free facilities and amenities. Exhibits at the National WWI Museum tell the story of the Great War (1914–18) through the experiences of those on the battlefield and at home. You’re greeted with “Hi, may I help you?” at Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q, which has been serving tasty barbecue pork, beef, chicken, and lamb since 1946.
I-5: Canyonville, OR
At Seven Feathers RV Resort, a valet guides you to one of the 191 RV sites—with full hookups and concrete pads—set amid 23 landscaped acres. A concierge can help arrange activities. Amenities include an indoor heated pool, a hot tub, and a fitness center. Pets are welcome. Seven Feathers Hotel and Casino Resort started as a bingo hall in 1992. Today, it has 1,300 slot machines; more than 20 table games; and, of course, bingo. There’s also live entertainment and several restaurants. The Stix Sports Bar at Seven Feathers Casino has a full bar menu and 10 beers on tap.
I-5: Plymouth, CA
Size counts at the pet-friendly Far Horizons 49er RV Resort. Among its 329 full-hookup sites, you’ll find premium sites designed for RVs or RV-tow-vehicle combos that measure up to 70 feet. Onsite amenities include a swimming complex and a pool hall. If you’re around on a weekend, be sure to visit Jeff Runquist Wines, where the wines served are made with grapes from throughout California. The specialty Basque cake (a pound cake with a creamy filling) is one reason customers at Andrae’s Bakery like to eat dessert first. There’s also plenty of artisanal bread baked daily in a French hearth.