Canada is a beautiful, diverse, and wonderful place. There’s lots to experience here, and (we think) you could easily spend a whole lifetime exploring! Our location makes us a great jumping off place for an epic Canadian road trip.
However, we are also located very close to the US border…. and there’s lots to see THERE too! (I know. Too many options!) Some of the common destinations for customers crossing the border are Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, the National Park corridor in Utah (Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches, Monument Valley, Capitol Reef), and Disneyland.
(Fun fact…. did you know Disneyland has a special lot for visiting RVs? At lunchtime, you can see lots of RVers heading to their tiny homes to whip up a meal and escape the Southern California heat.)
If you’re heading to one of these places, we’d be happy to help you plan your trip! But to start, we’d just like to impart a few tips and tricks that (we’ve found) make the trip across the border a breeze!
1) Have your paperwork completed before you pick up your RV. Whatever visa, or visa waiver, or documentation you need in order to enter the US – have it completed well in advance. That way, the day you pick up your RV can be simple! Have this paperwork in an organized, easy-to-access place (like in a certain pocket in your carryon), and when you pick up your RV, move it to the front console. That way you ALWAYS know where it is, and when you need it, it is close at hand.
2) Figure out what type of currency you’d like to use. Whether that means your credit card (our favourite, as it is the easiest and simplest), traveler’s checks (which are starting to be accepted at fewer and fewer locations), or cash, have a plan in mind. Hint: if you’re using cash, the casinos are a great place to change out your bills. They’re usually better equipped, faster, and have better rates – and there are a few just across the border! (Just don’t exceed $10,000 – that’s the limit!)
3) Download the Allstays app. This app lists all the possible locations for campgrounds, overnight parking, dump sites, service locations, etc. for RVers. It costs about $13, but we find it is well worth it. Using this app, you can find a few places to stay that are free- and that way you can spend your money to stay in the campgrounds closest to the attractions, when you arrive! There are also all the campgrounds listed, with contact info and reviews. Hint: For free parking, we have stayed in many places, but we find casino parking lots to be the easiest, safest, and cleanest. There are lots of RVs, good security, and usually great locations (not to mention an economical buffet)! On our last trip into the states, we stayed at a casino for 2 nights – because it was so beautiful and peaceful!
4) Allow time to enjoy the road. The US has beautiful, wide open spaces and easy to drive, wide, flat roads. Try to get up early and enjoy the road as much as possible – some of the views from the freeway are absolutely breathtaking! Also – truck stops are a safe and convenient way to stop for fuel, grab a bite, or even (in some cases) spend the night! Most truck stops have large, easy to navigate fuel pumps, convenient locations, and at least a sit-down restaurant where you can get freshly prepared food.
5) Road clearances. When you cross the border, and even in Canada, be aware of the height clearances! Not every road is suitable for the height of your RV. If you want to be truly safe, you can get what is called a “Trucker’s Road Atlas” – they’re usually about $10, can be purchased at most truck stops, and give the clearances of most major roads. (Note: If you purchase the all stays app, that also includes all the road clearances.)
6) If you’re traveling the west coast, I-5 is gorgeous through Oregon and Northern California – but switch over to the US 101 when you get just south of San Francisco. I-5 south of San Francisco is lined with slaughterhouses, dusty farms, and the road itself is TERRIBLE and mostly used by commercial traffic. It is called the “dust bowl” – and the 101 runs along the coastal mountains and the beach! It only adds about 1 hour to the total travel time, and is a switch that is well worth it.
7) There are lots of beachside campgrounds in Southern California; make sure to give them a shot! Some of them have no facilities, but hey – that’s what your RV is for! Wake up to the sounds of the surf, and spend your days basking in the sun at Pismo Beach or Oceanside, and you’ll find yourself completely unwinding. Don’t let the parking lot style sites fool you – these are great places, filled with great weather and great company.
8) If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland, PLEASE let us know. We have a resident Disney expert who would LOVE to help you plan your trip! Our daughter-in-law, Leah, grew up in Southern California, has been over 600 times, and has a brother-in-law that works for disney. We’re serious. She knows her stuff. (For more about her and our son, click here.)
9) Make sure to enjoy the truly “American” things – like huge portion sizes, quirky food combinations, and Root Beer! Love it or hate it, Root Beer and Cream Soda are truly American inventions. Give them a shot! We’ve found a love for cream soda, and our daughter – in – law swears root beer goes best with hot, greasy pizza.
We hope you found these tips helpful! We have had many, many customers travel to the US and love it. If you’re looking for a great way to see the wild west, look no further – RVs are everywhere, and truly are the best way to see the country!