Myself (F31) and my wife (F33)
Have booked a Cruise America trip in the USA via Trailfinders
We are going in early April 2024 flying into vegas for 2 nights. For the next 7 nights we have our very own RV, planning to visit The Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Monument Valley and some other national parks.
We have a C21 motorhome which sleeps 4 people, has a toilet/shower and is approximately 21feet in length
We have both travelled to the USA multiple times but have always opted for a hotel stay
We would love any input, recommendations and advice on the following please:
Where to camp – do we have to stay at an RV park every night or can we just pull in to a diner or roadside?
If we eat at a restaurant or diner, can we pitch up there for the night?
For two women, what do we need to be aware of from a safety point of view?
How long can the Rv maintain power without a hook up?
How long should we spend in certain locations during our week of RV-ing?
What is a Must for this trip?
What should we avoid?
Any advice greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance
Honestly, you are are going to the wrong location. If you have a week, you should go to Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, and Moab, or some variation. These are probably the most bang for your buck in the US for rving. That is about 9 hours of driving.
Day One: Arrive in Vegas.
Day Two: If you new have been to Vegas, explore Vegas. You might pick up the RV a day early.
Day Three: Leave early for Zion. It’s about a three hour drive in an RV. If you can’t get in the park, there are some nice RV parks just outside. I would spend two nights here.
Day Four: At Zion.
Day Five: Drive to Bryce and spend the night there. We did a donkey/horse ride. It was cool but much like Grand Canyon, it’s sort of hard to enjoy as it’s a valley. So, you spend your time looking from vistas.
Day Six: Hit Capital Reef, or skip it, on your way to Moab. Spend two nights at Dead Horse Point State Park (or, a park closer to Moab). Dead Horse is very cool and the vista is amazing. Do at least a sunset there. I like hitting arches in the afternoon.
Day Seven: Another night in Moab area.
Day Eight and Nine: It sounds like you are not from the USA and I can understand why you would want to hit the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is very cool but not a ton to day. I will sunrises and riding along the path. It will be a good long day of driving but you can hit Monument Valley along the way.
This would be an epic week. Lake Powell? The only reason I would stay there is to do the Antelope Caverns/Caves (?) that are around there.
As someone else has said, you will want to be in a park. The US is safe but you won’t sleep well in a parking lot and you won’t be comfortable. Like I said, you have the opportunity to hit some of the best parks in the US and a week is a perfect amount of time.
To answer your general questions about just pulling up to a place, in the US, there are few places that you can just pull up to and stay. I don’t think there will be a lot of these places in the area but Walmart and Cracker Barrel are known to allow it. Most places will not want you parking in their parking lot for the night. As for dispersed camping, there is probably a good amount in the area on Federal land. Your issue will be water and power. If you try and use your house batteries, you will be running your generator a good amount. There are a ton of RV parks that will have both water and power. It just makes it much more enjoyable. It’s all power, waste and water management. I suspect your grey/black tanks are pretty small. Depending on use (showers, toilet, etc.), you will fill them up sort of qucik.
If you want to stay in national parks (and you should) make your reservations now. April isn’t quite the high season at the Grand Canyon but I’d still get a reservation. It’s one of the more popular national parks and not one you can usually just show up at and hope to get a spot. There’s a free shuttle that runs around the south rim of the Grand Canyon so once you’re parked there you won’t have to move.
To follow your planned itinerary. Stop at Hoover dam for the view.
May need to make reservations for camping at Grand Canyon, check before you leave. See the south rim. When heading to Page go to Marble canton lees ferry, walk across the old bridge nice views may see California condor can camp here if late. Head to page, stop at Horseshoe bend for the sights stretch legs. At page you have lake Powell with camping, also visit the Antelope slot canyons east of town, need to go on a tour, can book in page or internet, it’s on the Navajo Nation with Navajo tour guide, there are three or four different ones, different parts of the canyons, research online, went to upper and lower both good, upper they drive from town, lower there is a parking lot.
Head across the reservation to monument valley, Navajo NM is a short stop if on the way. Monument Valley is a tribal park, so separate fee from National Parks.
From here it depends on time go north to Natural Bridges NM, then Bryce Canyon NP and Zion NP back to Vegas. This is 20 hours of driving, not on the same road twice, make sure you top off with fuel when able. There is camping at the National Parks and Monuments, may need reservations. Can camp most any place on National Forest or BLM, road side rest areas also. On Navajo Nation there isn’t much place to stay, Monument Valley I believe there is a campground.
If that’s too much, cut out Monument Valley, head North from Page to Zion/Bryce. If Monument Valley is bucket list, maybe Canyon de Chelly, Hubble trading post across the Hopi reservation, mostly vistas, not many stops.
Many of the stops so not take all day, mostly driving to get there.
For weather it will be variable, could see a little snow, but won’t stay around, could be warm or cold, cold nights, it will be windy some days.
You have lots of time to plan, the roads are not bad. Note if you tend to go to Zion the east entrance has height/size limits make sure motor home makes it.
If you are spending all that money to travel to one of the most scenic spots in the world, why would you can in some ugly diner parking lot or roadside parking area? geez, get a good campsite. Safer. Not as noiser. Cleaner. Or rethink the RV and just do motels.
But note that the campgrounds book up REALLY quickly. So go to recreation.gov and learn the opening days for reserving the dates you want.
If an RV has solar or a generator it can electrical devices quite a while without a hookup, but it depends on what power you use. Air conditioning? it will use a lot. Ditto for anything with a big power draw like say a blender. Be frugal with your power use. Be aware many campgrounds limit the number of hours you can use a generator, and the RV rentals often charge money for every fraction of an hour you use a generator.
I would concentrate on the Zion to Bryce, Escalante, Boulder, Torrey, Fruita, Hanksville, and Moab (Arches, Canyonlands) route. It is the most scenic route in that part of UT. Note that there are restrictions on UT rte 9 for RVs of a certain size.
For a short trip like yours, do yourself a favor and stay at proper RV parks every night, with hookups. You’ll be more comfortable. I don’t know if Cruise America RVs have generators, but relying on generators for power is unpleasant. You can’t always run them where you’re camping, even when you can it’s rude and annoying to others around you. You won’t have any power without either a generator or a hookup.
Very few non-campground places will let you park overnight. Cracker Barrel (low-end chain restaurant) and some stores (Walmart, Cabela’s, a couple others) will often–but not always–let you stay overnight, but you can’t set up a comfortable camp. You’re expected to stealthily park for the night and then leave in the morning.
Your list of places to visit sounds great, and there will be plenty of campgrounds you can stay at near all of them. I think that’s a decent set of close-by destinations for seven nights. I wouldn’t try to add much more, or you’ll spend too much time driving. The western US is deceptively-large. For example, Las Vegas to Lake Powell is about 7-8 hours of driving. If you’re more into the road trip than the destinations, you could maybe squeeze another park in, but I think you already have a good itinerary that allows for a couple two-night stays and a couple long days of driving.
I’m a large male, so maybe not the best person to advise on safety, but I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Our national/state parks are safe places. You’ll be traveling on busy highways most of the time, with plenty of safe places to stop, and someone (police or good samaritan) will come to your aid immediately if you break down. Use common sense, trust your gut, and make sure you have a working cellphone, and you’ll be fine.
Add Valley of Fire State Park to your must visit list.