10 places RVers should avoid at all costs

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By Adi Hed

In the immortal words of Tom Cochrane, life is a highway. That’s especially true when you’re in an RV. The world is your oyster when you’re in a home on wheels, as you get to encounter some of the most scenic and isolated spots in the United States.

Sometimes, however, your RV road trip takes you on the highway to hell. The following locations present a difficult challenge for even the savviest of RV drivers thanks to things like bad weather, congested traffic and high costs.

Whether it’s arid wastelands or crowded cities, be sure to bypass these spots next time you’re on the road again.

The Grand Canyon, Ariz.

Don’t get me wrong: The Grand Canyon is very much worth the trip. One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon’s massive size and unforgettable views helped it attract over 6 million people in 2017. Therein lies the problem.

Spaces fill up quickly, especially when you consider Trailer Village is the only RV campground with full hookups at the South Rim.

Many parts of the canyon are only accessible to RVs 22 feet and under, meaning you have to be very cautious when it comes to planning your trip. During the tourist season, you’re better off parking at a nearby RV park, commuting for a day trip, or camping the old fashioned way.

Death Valley, Calif.

They don’t call it Death Valley for nothing. Located in the Mojave Desert in eastern California, this desert valley is known for its mind sweltering heat. The fact that it’s located below sea level means there are plenty of droughts and hot summer days.

In fact, the average summer high rises to a balmy 117 degrees in July. That’s not to say you should steer clear entirely. Death Valley still attracts plenty of RVers in the winter thanks to its mild temperatures. Just be sure to head north for the summer.

Everglades National Park, Fla.

Heading to the Florida Everglades? You’d better remember your bug spray. Everglades National Park is a famous 1.5-million acre wetland preserve in southern Florida. Thanks to its rich ecosystem and wildlife populations, it’s a big tourist spot for campers and RVers.

Unfortunately, tourists aren’t the only thing Everglades attracts. In the summer, relative humidity can rise to more than 90 percent. Not only will you find hot and muggy days, but you’ll also have to deal with swarms of mosquitoes. You can limit the bug bites and heat by traveling south in the winter instead.

Lake Mead, Nev., and Ariz.

There are plenty of reasons to visit Lake Mead: the beautiful desert landscape, the flowing Colorado River, the picturesque sunsets. Though it’s one of the most popular national parks in America, Lake Mead also has plenty of drawbacks.

Outside Magazine named it America’s deadliest national park in 2017, citing 275 deaths in a 10-year span. Drowning and vehicle crashes are the biggest risks, and its proximity to Las Vegas tends to attract a party crowd.

Detroit, Mich.

It seems counterintuitive to put Detroit on this list. After all, Motor City is synonymous with the auto industry. But Detroit has popped up on more than a few lists of the worst cities to drive in.

Even worse, it consistently ranks as having some of the highest car theft rates to go with their blistering cold winters. Thankfully, there are plenty of forest areas with lakes and rivers just a few hours removed from the city.

Boston, Mass.

What do you get when you mix a highly-populous city with bad drivers? Boston. Bean Town may have great sports teams and universities, but it consistently ranks as one of the worst places to drive in America.

High accident rates, limited parking, and a lack of auto-repair shops make it a tough place for even the most experienced RV driver. Maybe take the walking tour next time you visit this historic city.

Anywhere in California

What’s not to like about the Golden State? California may be full of sun-kissed coastlines and gorgeous beaches, but it’s not necessarily an RVers best friend. California’s high taxes, gas prices, and parking costs make it one of the most expensive places to take a road trip.

Many roads also ban RVs over 40 feet. Add in the 55 mph speed limit for RVers and the notorious traffic and you might want to consider taking a detour on your west coast trip.

Seattle, Wash.

The Emerald City may be the crown jewel of the Pacific Northwest, but it’s no place for an RV. Seattle consistently ranks as having some of the worst drivers of major U.S. cities. Even worse, population growth and congestion have contributed to nightmarish traffic, especially around rush hour.

The rainy days and hilly roads can also make RV driving a slog. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel far to enjoy the best Pacific northwest has to offer. Legendary spots like Mount Rainier and Olympic National Park are only a few hours removed from the city.

Pikes Peak, Colo.

You can put your engine to the ultimate test at Pikes Peak. This Colorado hotspot is the highest summit of the southern front range of the Rocky Mountains.

Located just miles away from Colorado Springs, the 19-mile highway to the summit attracts nearly 500,000 people per year. The climb, however, proves to be too tough for RVs. An RV trip to the summit is sure to bring frequent brake check stops and hazardous climbs.

Raleigh, N.C.

Ladies and gentlemen I present to you…the worst city in America (to drive in, at least). That’s according to WalletHub’s 2018 ranking of the best and worst cities to drive in.

Raleigh earned the dubious award thanks to the overall cost of ownership and maintenance, traffic, safety, and its access to maintenance (or lack thereof). Raleigh narrowly edged out Corpus Christi, Texas and, surprisingly, Orlando, Fla. Now you have an excuse not to take the kids to Disney World on your next family road trip.

Are there other areas that RVers should avoid?  Let us know in the comments below.

Adi Hed

Adi Hed

Adi Hed is a writer and traveling enthusiast. He’s also the co-founder of Tadibrothers, which specializes in backup camera systems and safety equipment for RVs and other vehicles. When he’s not traveling or in the office, he can be found writing on The Tadibrothers blog at www.tadibrothers.com/blog

Leave a Comment

  • Greg Gerber says:

    I would add these to Adi’s list:

    1. Chicago via Interstate 90 through downtown. Save the aggravation and take the I-90 and I-94 bypasses.

    2. Atlanta during rush hour. Unfortunately, Atlanta’s rush hour extends from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m.

    • Mike says:

      We bypass CHI on trips south preferring to take a route through Illinois further to the west. We try to hit Atlanta at early hours before 9am on weekends. Remember the ATL snowstorm nightmare for travelers?

  • Marse says:

    Provincetown MA on Cape Cod is terrible for any Rav, even the smallest van! Very narriw streets, no parking to be found. If you must visit, park out of PTown and walk or bus in.

  • RICHARD / SHARON says:

    new jersey turnpike will make you a poor person. never never go there ever.

  • Jotsco says:

    As a Detroit area RVer, I disagree that Detroit is worse than Chicago, New York or Atlanta. While it is true we are having an existential crisis with our roads, drivers here are far more competent than average. We have a few simple rules: the speed limit is a defacto five to nine above the limit, so don’t lurk left. Use your blinker. We don’t honk so if we do, we’re pissed. Big rigs belong far right.

    But traffic is far far better. I just drove my rig from.one side of our city to the other without so much as a slow down. That’s normal.

    Noone parks overnight downtown yet, but Belle Isle may offer some soon. Judge each city neighborhood with your own eyes. You’ll catch on. But there aren’t places to park overnight
    anyway, so boondock Walmart
    or we have some great Meijer stores too. Yeah, use the campgrounds. Proud Lake is 40 minutes from downtown and 10 from my home.

    Detroit itself has a great down and midtown, and the best Riverwalk that looks south into Canada, one of two places you can do that. So you take a Lyft from Proud Lake. What’s not to love?

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