Winter Camping in the Southwest
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Is the cold weather starting to get to you? Is staying indoors instead of going out and enjoying nature in your RV starting to give you a sense of cabin fever?
No matter what the weather might be like outside your door, it’s always possible to plan and look forward to a great RV camping experience -- even in the dead of winter. That’s because warm weather is always only a road trip away. Tired of the cold? Go somewhere where it’s warm! In this case, we’re talking about the American Southwest.
The American Southwest -- comprising the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and southern California -- offer incredible camping experiences full of mountains, cities, deserts, lakes and more. What’s even better is that this part of the country is the perfect getaway to escape that deep freeze, because nowhere else in the US can you find a milder, more comfortable winter.
So, where should you go on your Southwestern Adventure? Here are a few suggestions:
San Diego, CA
If you’re looking for mild temperatures no matter the time of year, you can’t find a much more reliable sport than San Diego. This huge city boasts temperatures that always seem to hover right around 70 degrees, no matter the time of year, making it the perfect destination for someone trying to get away from extreme weather.
One of the great things about San Diego is that this huge city has something for just about anyone -- as you might imagine a city of over a million people would. Shopping, restaurants, and a lively entertainment scene mean that you will always have something to do.
San Diego is also close to the beach, which means if you ever wondered what it would be like to go to the beach during the winter and still enjoy it, this might be your chance.
Of course, there’s also the San Diego Zoo, which is one of the most famous zoos in the entire world, and pretty much makes the entire trip worth it by itself. And for those looking for a little international excursion, the border to Tijuana, Mexico is less than an hour away.
There are several RV parks around San Diego, so finding a place to set up that still keeps you close to the hustle and bustle of the city isn’t hard to do at all.
Palm Springs, CA
If RV-ing near a huge city isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, southern California has plenty of other spots you can check out, as well. One spot that tops a lot of lists is the area around Palm Springs.
Palm Springs is a moderately-sized town that just happens to be smack-dab in the middle of a pretty amazing part of the country. If you decide to stop here for a while, you’re pretty close to some can’t miss destinations.
One nearby attraction that doesn’t seem to get as much attention as it should is Joshua Tree National Park. This lesser-known park might not get the attention that other parks like Yellowstone or Yosemite receive, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out.
Palm Springs is also close to the San Bernardino National Forest, the Sheephole Valley Wilderness and the Salton Sea -- all of which are worth visiting.
In town, Palm Springs has more than you would expect from such a moderately-sized town. World-class spas, resorts and golfing make this a popular travel spot in its own right.
So, whether you’re looking for natural wonders, majestic scenery or just a touch of living the good life, Palm Springs is a great place to go.
The Grand Canyon, AZ
Let’s be honest: if you decide to visit the Grand Canyon during winter you might actually still find some colder weather. December, January and February do seem some pretty cold temperatures here, and winter precipitation isn’t out of the question.
Still, there’s a good chance that these temperatures are much milder than wherever you’re coming from, and with a view like the one this National Park offers we think it’s definitely worth the trade-off.
The Grand Canyon is without a doubt one of the most spectacular sights on the face of the planet, and anyone who enjoys traveling across this country owes it to themselves to see it at least once. The problem is, it’s also one of the more popular destinations, meaning that much of the year this stop is pretty crowded.
In the winter, however, the crowds die down, and you can look forward to unimpeded views of this canyon just about anywhere you stop. If you don’t mind braving some of the colder temperatures that hit at nightfall, stopping at one of the many viewpoints to watch the sunset is an absolute must.
New Mexico is a well-known area for rugged terrain, Spanish architecture and Mexican-inspired food. Carlsbad is a great place for all of these things, and is a great spot for those seeking a break from the colder temperatures up north.
Carlsbad is most famous for the caverns that share its name -- and with good reason. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a popular destination due to the immense caverns that can be explored by amateur and professional spelunkers alike. With over 70 miles of subterranean tunnels, caverns and features to check out, you can easily spend your entire vacation here.
However, there’s much more to enjoy in this area. You’re not far from Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas, which, like Joshua Tree, is one of the lesser-known parks that don’t get the attention they deserve.
In addition, Carlsbad has a decent collection of other things to do, including shopping and dining, making this another great warm-weather destination for those trying to escape the winter blues.
Big Bend National Park, TX
If you’re really looking to escape the cold, Big Bend is probably the ultimate warm-weather spot in the Southwest. This national park never really sees prolonged cold temperatures -- although in the winter it can get chilly at night, during the day it shoots right back up to pleasant and mild again.
Straggling the border with Mexico, and carved out by eons of work from the Rio Grande River, Big Bend really is a place unlike any other in the country. Big Bend is out of the way and relatively remote, which means that you can expect to see wildlife and other things here that can be found nowhere else. This is one of the reasons why Big Bend is a popular spot for visitors.
Another reason is that Big Bend boasts one of the darkest skies in the world. If you’re into astronomy, then you could do much worse than checking out the night sky here, miles and miles away from any man-made sources of light.
Because Big Bend is so remote, there are fewer nearby RV parks than in other parts of the country, which means a little bit of planning is involved to make sure you have a place as close as possible, and know how much driving will be involved back and forth. Still, if you’re willing to go through the extra bit of hassle, Big Bend is definitely worth it.
Corpus Christi, TX
Our last spot on this list isn’t technically in the Southwest -- at least, not like the other destinations. However, since it’s still in Texas we figure it can get included, because it’s such a great place to visit during the winter.
Corpus Christi is located in the southern part of the State on the Gulf Coast. This location practically guarantees mild temperatures all winter, and being located right on the gulf only sweetens the pot. There are many, many RV parks to choose from up and down the coast in this area, and no matter which one you pick you can expect great temperatures and an exciting location.
Corpus Christi has a lot to offer. It’s proximity to the water means it’s a mecca for seafood lovers, and there are plenty of water sports and water-based activities to keep you entertained.
Even more, Corpus Christi is a large city -- although not as large as, say, San Diego -- so there’s plenty of city-based attractions as well, including shopping, dining and a vibrant nightlife.
All in all, Corpus Christi is a great place to check out when you’re trying to stay out of the cold.
As you can see, the American Southwest offers plenty of great destinations, regardless of whether you enjoy cities, nature, the coast or a mix of all of the above. RV parks can be found just about anywhere, so what are you waiting for? Get out of the cold, get into your RV and hit the open road for warmer destinations!