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June 22, 2022 5 min read
Nothing says summer like an epic road trip—windows down, sunroof open, inviting landscapes, and open stretches of highway in front of you. But with more than three million miles of road in the US, selecting the best summer destinations for your camper van can be a bit tough.
To make things easier for you, we have put together the top van and travel destinations for summer 2022. They range from glimmering lakes, incredible mountain vistas, national parks, charming towns, nomad festivals to classic road trip routes. Whether you're taking your first van or RV life trip or you’re a seasoned nomad, you’re sure to have a blast.
For convenience, don’t forget to bring the right van life gear, including everyday carry items like a multi-tool equipped for the wilderness.
Crater Lake National Park, in southern Oregon, packs a pretty heavy punch in scenery and history. Its namesake, Crater Lake, was formed over 7,000 years ago after the violent eruption of a 12,000-foot volcano. Today, this vibrant blue lake is the deepest in the US at almost 2,000 feet.
The extraordinary park has plenty to keep you busy, from exploring well-preserved old-growth forests to scouting for wildlife. You'll love the star-filled skies, hiking up Mount Scott, and the sailing and fishing opportunities.
Without a doubt, Colorado is one of the best states for van life in the US. Its most impressive destination for campervans is Mesa County. The place is home to the city of Grand Junction, the Colorado National Monument, the Colorado River, and Grand Mesa—the world’s largest flat-topped mountain.
Take a drive on the Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway and enjoy mesmerizing views extending from the valley floor to the mesa top. You'll also get a chance to take in beautiful views of the fruit orchards and vineyards that fill the landscape. Other attractions include canyons, aspen groves, arches, turquoise lakes, and even a dinosaur museum.
Van lifers looking to escape into small-town life will appreciate the Texas Hill Country for sure. A road trip to this destination allows you to experience two worlds—magical parks with natural wonders and charming tiny towns that carefully preserve remnants of the Wild West.
Whether you want to jump into swimming holes, taste fine wine, visit a barbecue joint, hunt for antiques, or hike at beautiful State Parks, this place is home to endless recreation and sightseeing. Some must-visit sites include Dripping Springs, Hamilton Pool, Westcave Preserve waterfall, Fredericksburg town, and Guadalupe River State Park.
Photo Credit: Open Roads Festival Website
If you’re looking for the coolest van life gatherings in the US this summer, join the Open Roads Festival in the beautiful Idaho mountains. It’s an epic weekend of van life adventures and connections. Attending this big event is a sure way to create great memories and meet like-minded travelers.
The festival will be hosted in a beautiful field surrounded by forested hills from July 15th-18th, 2022. There will be workshops, live music, yoga classes, van tours, and epic outdoor activities like mountain biking and paddleboarding. The surrounding hot springs, alpine lakes, whitewater, and hiking trails will also keep you occupied.
Searching for campervan summer travel destinations with mild temperatures? Steer your mobile abode to the Great Lakes. They are five large lakes in east-central North America, and they hold 21% of the world's surface fresh water. They include Lake Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario.
The lake breezes are refreshing, the waters cool even at the height of summer, the views gorgeous, and many of the roads you’ll use pass just a few feet from the water. Take this chance to knock eight states off your bucket list. Also, don’t forget to check out the quaint, little lakeside towns and villages.
The Grand Canyon is one of summertime standbys for camping enthusiasts. It’s among the seven natural wonders of the world, making it a must-see for everyone at least once in your lifetime. Whether you want to park your rig on its rim and gaze at its jaw-dropping vastness or hike one of its many trails, it will leave you breathless and in awe of the majesty of nature.
If you want to explore all the popular viewpoints, start with the South Rim. To escape the crowds, consider staying at the quieter north rim, nestled among pines and aspens. For activities, there's an abundance of outdoor pursuits, from whitewater rafting, biking, mule rides to rock climbing.
A fabulous place to visit for cool weather and gorgeous sites, Glacier National Park is another top pick for camper van summer travel. It’s nestled in the northern corner of Montana State and occupies 1,583 square miles of wilderness. In the summer, the landscape comes to life, allowing you to soak in dazzling views of sunlit mountains and vivid green landscapes against brilliant blue glacial waters.
Even better, it never gets too warm, with temps hovering between 60 and 70 degrees. The park has over 700 miles of trails and 14 large and 50 small mammal species. You can also drive along the famous Sun Road Byway, spanning 53 miles. It meanders through steep cliffs and crosses the Continental Divide.
The Sunshine State is a place of beautiful nature, rich history, and endearing charm. But beyond its killer beaches, it has endless spots to explore, each one with unique attractions. One of the best places for a van camping vacation is the Northwest, also known as the Panhandle.
The region has impressive wildlife, nature trails, emerald green waters, soft white sand, and picturesque coastal communities. There are plenty of places to stay, from basic campgrounds tucked away in natural settings to sophisticated parks near cities. You’ll also find a wealth of activities, from zip-lining, kayaking to biking.
The Pacific Coast Highway is a dream road trip destination on many van lifers’ bucket lists. And with good reason. It takes you through California’s massive, crowded cities like Los Angeles to the dreamy Malibu beaches to the vistas of Sierra mountain ranges, all without leaving the state.
This road trip gives you the perfect opportunity to explore your adventurous side, as there are so many places to stop and discover. You can soak up the sun at the iconic Santa Monica beach, sample great wine at Santa Ynez Valley, and hike trails that lead to waterfalls and breathtaking coastal views in the Big Sur region.
An American classic, Route 66 makes an epic camper van trip that combines history, nostalgia, and the American Dream. Measuring 2,451 miles, this scenic byway will take you through dozens of old highway towns, old-time diners, vast desert plains, and campgrounds.
For generations, the Mother Road was the primary road across the country to the Pacific Ocean. It passes through 8 states and links Chicago to Southern California. Although officially decommissioned in 1985, people from around the world come to drive this mythic highway. Some great roadside stops on the journey include Route 66 Museum, Cadillac Ranch, and petrified National Park.
Summer is all about hitting the road with your loved ones and exploring new frontiers. But figuring out exactly where to visit isn't always straightforward. So, if you need inspiration for some new van life destinations, our list above has you covered.
So get out there and explore and make everyday an adventure!
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