A solar-outfitted RV is like a backstage pass to some of the country’s most beautiful scenery. Winter’s cooler temperatures mean you don’t have to worry about running an energy-gobbling air conditioner. That stretches out the useful life of your solar panels, increasing your boondocking options.
The best winter destinations for solar RVs share three important characteristics: gorgeous views, fun things to do, and plenty of friendly spots to park. Here are our picks for the best winter destinations for solar RVs.
Death Valley, Calif.
This is the be-all and end-all of winter RV destinations. Unlike the 100-degree plus summer temps, Death Valley’s wintertime weather is sunny, crisp, and comfortable, with highs in the 60s and 70s, and lows in the 30s and 40s. Hike gorgeous trails, visit a ghost town, and watch the sunrise and set your parking brake on some of the most unique and beautiful terrain in the country. But be sure to make a reservation well in advance if you want full hook-ups, as spots are limited. Then again, with solar panels, you won't have to worry about full hook-ups.
Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
This entry is not remote or secluded, and unlike the other spots on this list, the Smokey Mountains aren't a sunny destination. But if you’re looking for some fun this winter, the charming community of Pigeon Forge is the destination for you and your RV. A stone’s throw from both Smokey Mountains National Park and Dollywood, there’s a wide range of interesting things to do. Since most of the attractions in the area are kid-friendly, it’s a great place to enjoy with the family. Note: Dollywood is closed from early January to mid-March each year, so schedule accordingly!
Fredericksburg, Texas: Source
Central Texas is an incredible place to install solar panels on just about anything. But Austin’s traffic-laden streets aren't nearly as appealing to many RV operators as what you’ll find a few miles outside the city.
Take advantage of the mild Texas winters and see what the smaller communities have to offer. Sample some authentic Texas barbecue in Lockhart, take a brewpub tour in San Marcos, or go shopping in historic Fredericksburg. The occasional ice storm is not unheard of, so extra-remote locations might not always be accessible. If you somehow exhaust all your options, another great perk of parking the RV in central Texas is that you’re only a few hours from the Gulf of Mexico.
Port Aransas, Texas
Port Aransas (or “Port A,” for short) is a small beach community located on an island in the Gulf of Mexico, a little offshore from Corpus Christi. Beaches in the winter aren't everyone's cup of tea, but if you enjoy quiet nights and long stretches of coastline to yourself, this could be your spot.
Port A sits on Mustang Island, which is accessible on one end by bridge and on one end by ferry. The ferry is free and regularly shuttles large RVs. Vehicles are allowed to drive on the beach in designated areas, though some sand conditions can make beach driving difficult.
If you’re looking for a unique travel experience, Roswell is the destination. Located close to two of the least depressing places to spend the winter, this city has lots of sunshine and plenty of friendly places to park. Whether or not you believe aliens crashed a spaceship in the desert outside town, the way some locals embrace the mystique surrounding the legend makes for some good times and extra-terrestrial kitsch. Possibly the best thing about staying in Roswell, though, is its location. Once that alien charm wears off and you can ride your motorcycle along the famous Route 66, or you are just about halfway between two other mind-bending attractions: the lights of Marfa, Texas, and the puzzle of Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, N.M. — two winter destinations that each make a perfect next place to stop!