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17 RV Staycation Ideas to Save on Fuel Costs

Staycations Can Be Just As Fun As Long Trips

Rising fuel prices are making traveling for vacation especially expensive this year. This, paired with the inflation rate in other areas, may leave many people skipping travel altogether. Not traveling doesn’t mean not having a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There are many ways to have fun near home while also spending less money on gas. In some cases, a staycation can be even more fun than a vacation, especially when you throw an RV into the mix. Hoping to plan an RV staycation for yourself this year? Below are some of our favorite staycation ideas that are sure to help you make fantastic family memories without spending an arm and a leg.

Where to Stay

First, let’s talk about where to park your RV for your family getaway. Whether you want to stay somewhere for free, or you don’t mind spending a little on lodging, there is a fuel-saving option for you. 

Park at Home 

The first option is to take the term “staycation” very literally and simply stay in your RV while it is parked at your home. This is great because it’s 100% free, doesn’t require any driving, but still allows you and your family to experience sleeping in a “new” place. 

Stay on a Friend’s Land

Want to get away from your own yard while still taking advantage of free camping? If you have friends or family members with land, you might consider asking if you can park there. A generator and full water tank should keep you comfortable for a couple of days without hookups. You won’t even need to park near your friend’s house as long as the plot of land is large enough. 

Look for Free Camping Opportunities Near Home

Depending on where you live, you might even have free boondocking options near your home. Look for BLM land and lands owned by the National Forest Service. You can also check sites like freecampsites.net, Campendium, and RV LIFE Campgrounds to find free and/or super inexpensive boondocking and campground camping nearby. 

Head to a Local State Park

If you don’t mind spending a little bit on campground fees, a nearby state park might be the ideal staycation idea. Camping fees at these parks tend to be inexpensive and often include hookups. The parks also tend to be quite pretty and usually provide some outdoor recreation opportunities, meaning you’ll get entertainment and lodging all rolled into one. 

Splurge on an RV Resort Staycation

There is also the option to splurge on staying in an actual RV resort. While this will mean paying a bit more in camping fees, it will also give you access to amenities like a pool, playground, and possibly even organized activities, meaning you won’t have to drive for your entire staycation, as entertainment will be provided in the park.

RV resorts tend to be less expensive than hotels, and choosing one near your home means you don’t have to spend much on gas. 

Marshmallows roasting on campfire
Sometimes it’s not about the journey but the quality time with the family.

Spending Time at the Campsite

Once you decide where you will be staying, the next step is to find ways to fill your days. Obviously, you will want to schedule plenty of downtime for rest and relaxation, but some organized activities are fun. 

Here are some of our favorite staycation ideas for spending time at the campsite. 

Go on a Nature Walk

What’s one of the best things about staying in nature? You have free entertainment at your fingertips. Going on a nature walk to do some bird watching or sending the kids on a scavenger hunt is a great way to fill some time while also reconnecting with nature. 

Enjoy the Water

If your camping spot is near a body of water, be sure to take advantage of that. Go swimming if it’s allowed, or do some fishing if that’s an option. Kayaking and canoeing can also be tons of fun. 

Have a Campfire

No camping trip is complete without a campfire. Even if you’re just camping in your own yard, pull out the firewood or propane fire pit to build a fire and eat s’mores. Not allowed to have a fire where you are? A charcoal grill works for roasting marshmallows, and campfire songs are just as fun to sing by lantern light as they are to sing by firelight. 

Host an Outdoor Movie Night

Watching a movie is always fun, but it’s even more fun when done outside. A cheap projector and a small speaker are all you need to set up your own outdoor movie theater on the side of your RV. So pop some popcorn, settle into your camp chairs, and enjoy a new movie while listening to the sounds of a summer night. 

Put Together a Game Night

Game nights are also tons of fun and a favorite of all the staycation ideas. If you see rain in the forecast, this is a great option to fill that rainy night (or day), but it’s also great fun to play some games around the picnic table before the sun sets. 

Serve Special Foods

Every vacation needs to include some special foods. Even if you aren’t wandering far from home, there is absolutely no reason you can’t stock up on special foods and drinks you wouldn’t normally buy. Make sure to include s’mores in the mix, and fill the freezer with popsicles or ice cream. Eating some meals out is another excellent way to make your staycation feel special. 

Ideas for Exploring

While you could definitely spend your entire staycation near the RV (especially if you’re staying in a state park or RV resort), you might find yourself itching to get up and go. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to have fun exploring your hometown without spending a fortune. 

Here are some awesome staycation ideas for exploring close to home. 

Go on a Hike

Hiking is totally free, and almost every place has a nearby hiking trail. This makes hiking a fantastic option for a budget staycation outing. To find a hiking trail near you, check out AllTrails

Check Out a New Park

City parks are always fun to visit. Make a point of seeking out a new-to-you park with a fantastic playground or splash pad, pack a picnic, and make an afternoon of it!

Head to a Swimming Pool or Beach

Obviously, summertime can be scorching. Cooling off at the pool or a local beach can be a super fun way to spend a steamy summer day and is one of our favorite staycation ideas. Just check prices before you go, as some pools can be pricey, and you will want to seek out a decent deal if you’re on a budget. 

Take Advantage of Library Programs

Most public libraries offer remarkable programming, especially during the summer months. These programs are free to anyone and might be the perfect addition to your staycation plans. Check the schedule at your local library to see if there are any workshops, performances, or other events that might interest you. 

See Local National Parks Sites

Along with full parks, the National Park Service manages tons of monuments, historical sites, and other recreation areas as well. If you are lucky enough to live near a site run by the National Parks Service, your staycation is the perfect time to check it out. We’ve yet to find an NPS site that wasn’t fantastic. On top of that, many of these sites are free, and those that aren’t are relatively inexpensive. 

If you plan on visiting more than one NPS site that charges a fee this year, consider getting an “America the Beautiful” pass. 

A tour of all 84 National Monuments run by the NPS.

Invest in Local Attraction Passes

Most museums, zoos, and theme parks offer some sort of membership or pass. Some even offer reciprocity with other attractions, making them an even better value. Investing in one or two passes to local attractions might be the perfect way to fill your staycation days and will leave you with something to do when you have free time throughout the rest of the summer.

Conclusion

High fuel prices don’t have to take the fun out of your summer RVing or camping adventures. We hope these staycation ideas can help you have a blast while staying local. Have gas prices affected your summer RV travel plans this year? Tell us what you plan to do instead in the comments.


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5 thoughts on “17 RV Staycation Ideas to Save on Fuel Costs”

  1. We had to cancel our trip this summer due to fuel prices. Were going to Santa Fe, NM. 1200 miles one way. Smokies are close, so we had a wonderful week in a beautiful place. Santa Fe will still be there when fuel prices go down.

  2. Never cancel a trip if you are older than 65 as the candle is burning on the short side of your life now.
    Try to save money on other ways to help offset the costs. Eating in, boondocking on the way to and from, etc

  3. More close destinations are in my future with crazy gas prices. Not sure but RV campgrounds appear to be raising camping prices as fast as inflation!

  4. We cancelled a 2000 mile trip due to gas prices. Not willing to pay more in gas than the rest of the trip cost. Found a nice campground on a lake in Wyoming near where we live, Keyhole State Park. Had a great trip there in May and are going back next week. Funny how the gas prices are helping us find great places right near where we live. We can do the longer trips when we get back to where we were 2 years ago and driving was affordable. For now, we stay close to home and enjoy what is right near us.

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