Whenever fellow RVers come into PPL Motorhomes to talk about their winter trips, Florida is always a topic of conversation. While Florida is a fabulous destination (we still have our favorite spots)we hear things like: “It’s too crowded. It’s loud. Florida? Isn’t it getting dangerous?” Of course, we get many more positive comments, but that got me to thinking…Why not travel to the southwest? Specifically a Southwestern desert destination!
Basically, if you can’t take the humidity, don’t like the crowds flocking to Disney World, are not a fan of lush foliage and winter rain storms that are common to Florida, try the Mojave and Sonora Deserts in Southeastern California and Southwestern Arizona. No I’m not kidding! I did a little research and came across a good article on Southwestern Desert RVing on blog.rv.net. It sums up the experience much better than this tired old brain could : )
Here’s the rub, RVers head south to the deserts mainly to leave behind the frigid and wet northern winters. Days in most of the low desert destinations will warm to the mid-50s even on the coolest days, while most of the winter rising into the middle and upper 60s and even warmer on both ends of winter. You will experience a few cold days with a cold wind and blowing dust, and snow sometimes will appear on the highest ridges.
But winter rains are generally light, soaking into the soil rather than running off, and don’t last long. Otherwise the deserts might have some of that lush foliage common to Central Florida. Those dangerous desert flash floods that you may have heard about happen mostly during summer thunder storms in areas with steep canyons. This is not usually a winter threat.
But another reason for heading to the deserts is that you can find just about any type of desert camping that you want on hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands. You can choose locations with lots of friendly human neighbors, or with only coyotes, jack rabbits, and turkey vultures as your neighbors.
Your boondocking options include:
• Primitive, no hookup campgrounds. Sometimes a water fill station and trash dumpsters. Dump station nearby. No other amenities, other than possibly hiking and birdwatching and enjoyment of the desert landscape.
• Designated campground, un-designated campsites. Usually a large area of land that has been allocated for boondock camping, sometimes called a Short Term Visitor Area (STVA), with no defined campsites or other amenities. Seldom a trash dumpster. Free but usually limited to two weeks camping, then requiring changing to a location at least 25 miles away.
So there you have it, Snowbirds: options. If you are looking for another destination this year besides Florida, be adventurous and check out destinations in the Southwest. Plus, if you happen to be swinging through Houstonand check out PPL Motorhomes and , maybe even have them give your RV a good “once over” before you continue heading west!