There is no doubt in my mind that 2020 will go down in history as being the year of the camping vacation (well, amongst other historic events). Even more than a vacation rental, camping – whether with a tent, trailer or RV – is the ultimate social distancing vacation.
With that said, I’m sure I’m not alone in noticing that every single camp site in Oregon was booked solid through the summer and would continue to do so if it weren’t for the wildfires. So what to do? Luckily, there’s been a proliferation of companies offering alternatives to camp sites that are a lot of fun. Take Harvest Hosts, for example. For a very reasonable annual fee, you can camp at as many member wineries, breweries and farms as you want. Be prepared to wake up in the middle of a flock of sheep (or eschew the farm for the winery) and enjoy country life at its most romantic. The expectation is that you’ll do some shopping at the farm store or the winery, but that doesn’t sound like too much of a hardship – fresh goat’s cheese, anyone?
Another great resource is Hip Camp, which features a huge array of camp sites and unique outdoor stays. Their search engine lets you look for specific locations such as “lakeside camping” or “beach camping” so that you can find exactly the experience you’re looking for. If you like your creature comforts, glamping and cabins are available too.
As you’re browsing for your perfect vacation spot, keep in mind that many of the private land options won’t have hookups, so plan for the occasional campground stay to clean out your gray and black water tanks. Be aware of how long your generator lasts and how much fresh water you have. Also consider your vehicle and driving skills as you may find yourself maneuvering over squishy meadows (and mind those sheep!).
Both Harvest Hosts and Hip Camp have elements of the sharing economy, so as with AirBnB or VRBO, gather as much information as you can about your hosts to ensure you’re not scammed. Understand what the cancellation policy is – if you cancel, what’s the refund policy? If they cancel last minute, will they leave you stranded or help you find a different site?
So now that we’ve covered the basics, where are we headed? With temperatures cooling in the fall, let’s look south: Sedona is gorgeous and an ideal roadtrip destination. From there, it’s only a 2-hour drive to the Grand Canyon. For more stunning scenery, we make our way to Moab, which is the perfect base to explore Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks. And the beauty of it all? With so many options available to park your trailer or set up your tent, you don’t have to have the entire itinerary planned out in advance – make it up as you go along, shorten or lengthen your stays as you wish, and enjoy the freedom of the road.