Updated: Oct 25, 2022
The way we travel is constantly changing. While many still enjoy the traditional—and still valuable—model of staying in hotels, others are trying out different travel experiences. For decades, traveling in and living out of a vehicle was the fringe way to holiday. Now, it’s gone totally mainstream and is easier than ever.
With the world opening up and restrictions lifting, you’re probably thinking about those holidays you put off, asking yourself where to go now that things are improving in the travel sector. If you fancy connecting with your country of choice on a more intimate level, consider an RV adventure.
Although there are many options to choose from, we’ve narrowed down the very best. Let’s look at the top RV destinations in 2023. Remember: if your 2023 travels take you to Iceland, you’ll need a vehicle to get around.
Top Popular RV Destinations
Here are some of the best RV destinations for 2023, written from a Northern Hemisphere perspective, or those that have summer from June to August. As such, for readers from the Southern Hemisphere, the best summer destinations will be your best winter destinations.
The Best RV Summer Destinations
The great outdoors has attracted thrill-seekers and adventurers since the beginning of time. And when the warm weather comes in, it's time to head off on an adventure!
Of course, this is the first stop on our best RV destinations list. Iceland's natural wonders are open all year long, but visiting in Iceland’s summer months will ensure the best chance of good weather and access to the most gorgeous hikes. Numerous cultural and music festivals take place between June and September as well, fitting all tastes and preferences.
The country is well-connected by its main highway that circles the coastline, known as Route 1, or the Ring Road. Since the island is fairly small, it can literally be driven around in 24 hours. However, you’ll want to set aside at least seven days to have to chance to explore. This will mean a few hours of driving per day, plus leaving room to hike and join in on excursions.
RV camping in Iceland
Regarding where you can stop at night, know that free camping in Iceland is not allowed. You must stay at a registered campsite, but these are affordable and numerous. While some have only the simplest facilities, such as a bathroom and kitchen, others have hot tubs, on-site restaurants, and more. They’re often well-placed next to landmarks or at the start of hikes.
Although Iceland’s main highways are well-maintained, there are still many unpaved gravel roads. Therefore, make sure you have the correct insurance and prepare for a bumpy, dusty ride. Some of the best spots in the north are only accessible via gravel roads, so it’s worth the journey.
If you want to guarantee yourself fantastic hot weather, then California is your ultimate RV destination. Despite having a population of around 39 million people, there is still plenty of open space. With some of the most famous beaches and national parks on earth, it’s well-suited for those who love the outdoors.
Renting an RV in California is simple, and you’ll have no trouble finding places to park, sleep and eat. Just make sure you don’t accidentally pull into a homeless camp, as there are plenty in the big cities.
California has more than enough to explore, but it’s still easy to pass from one state to another. If you want to drive across the whole country in an RV, from California to New York for example, then the US has a little bit of everything when it comes to ecosystems, weather patterns, forests, and wildlife. A road trip through multiple states would be incredibly enriching.
Hawaii is a particularly unique state in the US. With its active volcanoes, palm trees, and black sand beaches, it’s viewed by many as a paradise destination. Of the many islands in the chain, several are suitable for road trips. This RV destination has one of the most famous driving routes: the Road to Hana, on the island of Maui.
This route is perfect for an RV adventure, with multiple places to stop along the way. The road travels along the north coast of the island, passing waterfalls, botanical gardens, and other wonderful landmarks. Hana, the small town at the journey’s end, offers accommodation and restaurants to cater to visitors. This is truly the road trip of a lifetime.
The Big Island and Oahu also provide some great road trip opportunities, with each one having a slightly different vibe. You can even take ferries to transport you between the islands.
When it comes to open space, Canada is perhaps top of the list. With around 38 million people and an area of 9,984,670 km2, it has one of the lowest population densities. This means huge parts of Canada are almost completely uninhabited and full of wilderness to explore.
The ten provinces and three territories are connected by well-maintained highways, so you’ll have no trouble getting around. Although a lot of people have an idea that Canada is perpetually frigid, some areas are surprisingly warm in summer. In fact, the interior of the western province, British Columbia, can reach 35°C+.
Where is the best RV destination in Canada?
Regarding where to go in this massive expanse, British Columbia is always a great RV destination. With a healthy mixture of big cities, small towns, and national parks, you can experience both nature and culture. The sea to sky highway, linking Vancouver to Whistler Ski Resort and beyond, is a phenomenal route to drive.
Canada has some of the finest hiking trails in the world, with varying levels of length and difficulty. Climbers, mountain bikers, and water sports enthusiasts will be in their element. The driving will also be a thoroughly enjoyable part, with incredible scenery to take in as you traverse the long highways.
5. Mainland Europe
Your access to the countries of the EU and EEA will depend on where you’re traveling from. For those who are European citizens, all of Europe is open to you with relatively little bother. For natives of other continents, you will need a visa for each country you plan on traveling through. In any case, border countries are fairly straightforward within the EU.
Europe contains so much diversity in the forms of language, architecture, and landscape, making it the perfect place for an RV adventure. Spend anything from a few weeks to several months driving around the continent and you’ll see plenty to amaze you.
When driving through Europe, try not to see it as ticking items off a list. Instead, spend more time in fewer places so you can really get a sense of how each feels. Since moving between them is straightforward, spending at least a week in each country you enter is advised.
Most of mainland Europe experiences great weather in summer, so pack your towel and swimming costume. Even the land-locked countries will have lakes and rivers to swim in.
The great thing about European countries is that the capitals will often have big campsites on their outskirts, so you can stay far enough away from the cities to avoid the noise, but close enough for easy access.
The Best RV Winter Destinations
We know that winter RV experiences can be a bit different from what you are used to depending on where you are from, but traveling in winter can help you discover the outdoors from a different perspective.
1. New Zealand
New Zealand is in many ways similar to Iceland, with its glaciers and volcanic activity. And just like Iceland, there are companies which will be happy to hire out campers for your trip. Free camping is not allowed here, although there are places you can park overnight for free. This often depends on the type of vehicle, whether self-contained or not.
The Department of Conservation manages hiking trails and affordable campsites, often located at the beginning of said trails. These sites are basic, often only containing a drop toilet, but you have the bonus of staying somewhere very remote. These as well as the hiking trails are generally easy to find, and marked with good signage.
Winter turned into summer
New Zealand’s summer weather (from December to January) is often a comfortable 20-25°C. Although you can expect a fair amount of rain and biting insects, it’s one of the best road trip and RV destinations. With ocean and mountain views peeking out from every corner and wide stretches of grassland and forest, driving here feels remarkably peaceful.
A good trip would be to traverse the whole country from top to bottom; make your way from the top of the north island all the way down to the bottom of the south. This way, you’ll see the major cities, and pass some of the famous Great Walks and beaches. Be sure to stop at Hobbiton if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, and pay a visit to the Waitomo glow worm caves.
This island is one of the most popular RV destinations in the world. With the guarantee of meeting many other travelers, beach parties, and superb weather, this is the ideal ‘winter’ destination. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere and want to avoid months of coldness, head to Australia between December and February.
You’re sure to have a fun-filled adrenaline holiday on an RV trip in Australia. The Aussies love their extreme sports, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities to surf, bungee jump, skydive, and more. It’s another country with a low population density, with 25 million in a space 32 times bigger than the UK.
Boasting huge gold-sand beaches drives along coastal highways, and extremely hot temperatures, Australia is a place that caters very well to tourists, especially those in an RV.
Like New Zealand, renting a campervan in Australia is straightforward, and there are many free campsites around the country.
Make sure you fill up on petrol before heading into the outback, as there’s sometimes a big gap between urban areas.
Dare to Enjoy the RV lifestyle
If you feel like taking a holiday that puts you out of your comfort zone, pick any of these RV destinations. You’ll learn more about yourself, your travel partner/s, and the value of living without modern comforts. With a properly stocked RV, you’ll have everything you need for a great road trip.
Traveling a country in an RV somehow feels like it brings you much closer to that country, and you might find that the stories you collect along the way will be some of your most cherished. Are you intrigued? Book your camper today and point it in the direction of the open road.