Our family was freed up last minute from some obligations Keith and I thought were going to have us staying put for Spring Break. Which left us wondering what we could do on short notice that we would all enjoy. Crowds and crowded places really make me crazy. I need personal space. And don’t like traffic, lines, waiting. Patience is not my strong suit. So count me out on anything that pops up on a Google search for “Spring Break activities.” We typically rent a house vs. going the hotel route when vacationing so we can spread out more. Houses were sparse in beach towns that we would consider. And we were tired of the cold, so that took out skiing, which we sometimes do over Spring Break. After some brainstorming, Keith and I landed on renting an RV and heading to the TX Hill Country. Short time traveling, got the ‘place to stay’ situation covered, low commitment and hopes of avoiding crowds.
I’ve been camping with my family since I was a little tot. First tent camping and then my parents bought a pop-up camper, and we’d often coordinate with my grandparents who had a larger trailer. While I’ve been many times in my life, I’ve never gone as an adult, so I’ve just been along for the ride. Keith took the ball and ran with it once we had a general plan in mind.
I was surprised at how many people were curious about our RV’ing adventure when I mentioned we were going. For those of you interested, here is some info that will hopefully be helpful if you’re considering renting an RV.
- We rented from a place in Fort Worth called Sportsman’s RV Rentals and had a great experience! This is the specific one we rented here. It says it sleeps 8-10. It would be a packed place if you actually had that many people staying there, but we were comfortable with our family of five. Also, see above for my personal space requirement. 😉
- If DFW is not in your range, I would suggest looking for an RV dealership and calling them to see if they recommend a reputable place to rent RV’s.
- We took a walk-through with a rep from the company before getting the keys where they told us all the how-to’s and what we needed to know. Be sure to ask any questions you have at this time.
- I think this is standard, but ours popped out on the sides once parked and you pressed the button to expand. It expanded in the main area with the kitchen to give more area space and outward in the bedroom to provide a walkway by the cabinets.
- It was $350/night. Of course prices will vary depending on where you rent from, the size and model you get, etc.
- I did not drive the RV at all. Keith took the wheel the whole time. It drives like a truck, but you have to go a bit slower than you would normally, and the wind can be a larger factor due to size.
- There is no special driving permit required to drive the RV that we rented. I’m not sure if it is required of any size, but ours was quite large, and didn’t have additional requirements.
- Our LO’s are still in cars seats/high back boosters. The RV has the same seat belt laws as a bus, so no car seats were required. I suppose you could install car seats somehow if you were really set on it, but I just had our kids sitting unless they were changing places to sit or sleep or going to the bathroom. I would do the moving around to get things for them as needed. Note, there are lap belts in certain areas and of course seat belts in the two seats in the drivers cabin.
- We left in the evening and I changed the kids into jammies while driving and they fell asleep in their beds, which was amazing!
- Yes, you can use the bathroom while the RV is moving.
- On the way there, I didn’t feel any kind of motion sickness. On the way back, I felt a bit like I had “sea legs”… like I’d been on a boat all day. Maybe I did more moving around on the way back. Either way not, bad, but something to keep in mind.
- You of course have to take into consideration size when driving. Parking, overhead clearance, trees, etc.
- Depending on your trip plans, you might want or need a car once you reach your destination. We did not have a car in addition to the RV and stayed put once we hooked in. You can always unhook and drive somewhere, but it was not necessary for us, and we planned in advance with the food and everything we needed for a couple of days.
- Hook-ins were easy at the campground. I say this… and I didn’t have anything to do with it. But I know it took Keith a matter of minutes and didn’t require my assistance. When renting, the company or owner should explain the hook-ups.
- There was a shower on our RV, but it’s very small and the hot water tank is small. There was a new shower facility at the RV park where we stayed, so we all took our showers there instead of in the RV.
- You do have to dump the “gray” and “black” water. We only had to do this one time, but it will depend on your length of stay and how much water you use. Again something that Keith handled, but I believe it was quite easy and should be something the RV company should explain to you how to do.
- We pulled the RV up to our house and loaded everything directly in there to avoid having suitcases, etc.
- I packed the kids an outfit per day each in a gallon sized ziplock bag and added a couple of extra things as well for backups.
- There were a good number of drawers, so I loaded the clothes into a drawer per person.
- I pre-made one dinner from Hello Fresh and packed a frozen lasagna. I loaded the fridge with foods we normally eat – fruits, yogurt, lunch meat, avocados, etc.
- We brought the kids’ scooters and Del’s bike. I’m not sure how much room there would have been for additional bikes, but bike riding in RV parks is a good activity for kids.
- Bring paper plates, plasticware, paper towels so you don’t have to deal with dishes. Roaster for marshmallows, hotdogs, etc. We packed sandwiches in sandwich bags for a picnic lunch on a hike.
- We brought a bluetooth speaker that I would recommend.
- If you plan to hike, I’d suggest a backpack.
- We brought our own pillows for more comfortable sleeping.
- I put all of our dirty clothes in one big trash bag. It kept things picked up and made laundry easy. It’s crucial to keep things tidy because there’s not much room for clutter.
- The first night, we stayed in a Walmart parking lot. True story. This is apparently allowed based on what we read online and on the fact that we didn’t get booted out. We did get the remainder of our groceries and supplies there the next morning so we were officially paying customers. 😉 Point being here, it being a last minute trip, there were no RV sites available the first night. So that’s why we stayed there. And if you’re going a long distance, this could be an option to stop along the way.
- The next two nights, we stayed at Inks Lake State Park. It was $23/night for a site with electricity. This is seriously a beautiful spot in Texas that makes you feel far from home if you live in a metropolitan area in Texas.
- We went to two different stops after leaving our luxurious stay at the Walmart parking lot. Krause Springs and Longhorn Cavern State Park. From there, we rolled into the Inks Lake State Park campground, hooked up and remained hooked up the next two days.
- There was plenty of hiking to take out a chunk of the day. Bike riding and sitting by the campfire, and roasting s’mores, of course, were other activities. There were games in the RV, plus we packed a few. For the readers in your family, this is the ideal time to read. We had a strict ‘stay outside’ policy and no electronics.
There’s my long winded dump with all I know about RV’s from our experience! Our family loves to be outdoors, so the kids were in their element, and it was a great mix of being active and relaxing. Unlike many vacations where you spend so much time and energy figuring out entertainment and meals, this was really a go with the flow kind of trip and worked out perfectly. The kids got a kick out of the RV and Keith and I enjoyed the convenience of having everything there for us and the bonus of happy kids while on the road and even sleeping in their beds before we had reached our destination.