Tag: rvs in winter

Dedicated RV campers don’t let a little snow and freezing wind stop them from enjoying the freedom of a camping trip! With the wintery season ahead of, and snow just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of where to go! If you’re planning your next cold-weather vacation, we have a few recommendations for your next Midwest winter campsite.

Read on to learn about some of our favorites here in the Midwest to help you plan your trip and get the most enjoyment out of your winter camping!

Safety First: Before You Plan Your Winter RV Camping Trip

If you’re new to camping or to the idea of winter RV camping, it does come with some caveats! Even if you’re a veteran of the type of cold Midwest winters can bring, you need to be prepared or you won’t get to fully enjoy your trip!

Before you head out on the road, we recommend you read these important cold weather RVing tips to get started on your first winter RV trip. They’ll guide you through the most common pain points of camping in the winter, along with ways to prepare your RV to make it safer and more comfortable even when the temperatures hit below zero!

Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Michigan

Boasting an area of nearly 50,000 acres, the Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a popular destination all year-round. The centerpiece of this beautiful state park is the Tahquamenon River and several waterfalls within it. Starting from the Upper Falls, which is one of the largest waterfalls this side of the Mississippi, you can witness the awe-inspiring 50-foot drop that brings thousands of visitors every year!

Of course, if you’re visiting in the winter, everything becomes that much more breathtaking. The snow-covered trees surrounding the river and throughout the park, along with the gorgeous river, present a winter wonderland straight from your dreams.

If your RV is a toy hauler, don’t forget to bring along a snowmobile or two. In addition to all the fun activities, this state park has trails designated for snowmobile use when there’s at least 4” of snow!

Maumee Bay State Park – Ohio

Right around the corner from our home in Sylvania, Ohio is the beautiful Maumee Bay State Park. It’s a favorite for our local campers, and if you’re in the area, it’s one you shouldn’t miss out on! Whether for an extended stay or just a weekend visit, the park provides spacious RV areas with on-site electricity ready to keep you warm during a chilly winter day.

It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for, Maumee Bay State Park has it all:

  • Beachfront view
  • Comfy Campsites
  • Special events all the time
  • Beautiful natural views
  • Great dry camping or hook-up experiences

There’s plenty to do around the park – especially if you love to wander. Plan to bring gear to enjoy winter activities like:

  • Cross-country skiing on designated trails
  • Ice Skating
  • Sledding

And since you’re staying overnight, you’ll get to enjoy the incredible view of the sun setting over Lake Erie.

French Creek State Park – Pennsylvania

This nearly 8,000-acre park is nestled in the heart of Pennsylvania, not too far from Philadelphia. It’s the largest area of contiguous forest between Washington D.C. and New York City, making it a favorite getaway for nature lovers throughout the east coast and Midwest areas.

The natural landscape of French Creek State Park has something for everyone, from wetlands to open fields to lakes and forests, making it great for hikers and travelers to experience much of what the natural area has to offer. Wildlife thrives throughout the park, even during the winter season, for those of you who love to camp to watch animals in their natural habitats!

Open every day of the year, with the large campground open from March through January. Most of the sites have electrical hook-ups, though depending on visitor volume, you may have to make use of the public charging stations between periods of camping without direct hook-ups.

Mirror Lake State Park – Wisconsin

In the heart of Wisconsin, Mirror Lake State Park offers a serene escape for snow campers seeking tranquility amid a winter wonderland. As the name suggests, the campground encircles the calm Mirror Lake, whose still waters reflect the snow-draped trees and skies, creating a picturesque scene.

As winter descends, the snow transforms the landscape into a peaceful retreat where the quiet is only broken by the crunch of snow underfoot. The snow-covered pines and oaks add a touch of magic to your camping adventure.

For those with a love for winter sports, Mirror Lake State Park does not disappoint. The park boasts well-groomed trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. And if snowmobiling is more your speed, there are designated trails that wind through the snow-clad forests, offering an exhilarating ride through the winter scenery.

Ludington State Park – Michigan

Stretching along the shores of Lake Michigan, Ludington State Park is a delightful destination for snow camping enthusiasts. The park covers 5,300 acres of scenic landscapes including forests, dunes, and wetlands – all of which take on a different charm under a blanket of snow.

The icy blue waters of Lake Michigan contrast beautifully with the white snow, creating a stunning backdrop for your camping adventure. The serenity of the snow-covered beach is a sight to behold, offering a unique snow camping experience.

Ludington State Park is well-equipped for winter fun. With miles of groomed trails, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are popular activities among campers.

Snowmobiling is also available, with trails leading through the varying landscapes of the park, each turn revealing another picturesque view.

Whitewater State Park – Minnesota

Tucked away in the blufflands of southeastern Minnesota, Whitewater State Park is a splendid choice for a snow camping adventure. The Whitewater River meanders through the park, its waters continuing to flow even as the surrounding landscape is enveloped in snow.

The towering bluffs and deep valleys become even more dramatic with a dusting of snow, adding a sense of wonder to the already beautiful scenery. The snow-covered hardwood forests invite exploration, with the promise of awe-inspiring views from the bluffs.

Winter activities abound in Whitewater State Park. The trails welcome snowshoers and cross-country skiers, offering a peaceful retreat into nature.

For a faster pace, nearby snowmobile trails provide the chance to race through the snowy vistas, making your snow camping experience a thrilling adventure.

Contact RV Wholesale Superstore 

The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (419) 786-1126

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Christmastime may have been warmer than Thanksgiving this year but there is still a chill in the air. You know that winter weather is inevitable, not to mention how it can drag on well past the date Punxsutawney Phil predicts spring to arrive. So are you ready to escape the onslaught of snow to warmer climates? Here are some great snowbird RV campgrounds, ready to keep you warm until spring weather makes its way back north. Depending on your snowbird lifestyle, you may even want to visit them all!

For many, camping is a warm weather hobby. When the temperatures drop and rain turns to snow, you might call it quits until spring. You have a few options for storing your RV during the winter – which works best for you? Learn the pros and cons of the most common ways to store your RV, along with tips to protect your RV through the harsh winter weather.

Best Options for Storing Your RV

When winter is on its way, you must make the decision whether to store your RV inside or outside. Consider your options carefully before making the decision because it could affect the longevity of your RV! If you’re a new RV owner, you may need to do a little research to learn what types of storage facilities exist near you.

Indoor Storage

There are a few different types of indoor RV storage, ranging from heated garages to basic interior storage. When you store your RV inside, you’re protecting it from most, if not all, of the common weather-related damage it might suffer.

Indoor storage in well-maintained settings also helps reduce standing water or moisture problems. Rust can be incredibly destructive to your RV, especially if stored for long periods of time.

The best option for interior storage is a heated garage. Storing your RV indoors will always protect it against rain, hail and snow, but typical garages tend to get cold. Low temperatures can wreak havoc on parts of your RV, like plastic components

Indoor storage does have one big downside: cost. While it varies from business to business, RV storage facilities can be an expensive monthly cost. If that has you considering other options, remember the potential long-term savings. Cheaper solutions may introduce more rust or weather damage to your RV, offsetting your “savings” by quite a bit!

Outdoor Storage

Many storage facilities offer a cheaper option using their unpaved lots for your RV. Typically, your RV won’t be protected from the elements. In some cases, the outdoor storage is covered, which can at least prevent snow from piling on your RV’s roof.

The biggest advantage to these outdoor storage lots is the additional security for your RV. These lots are fenced and well-lit. Many also have monitored security systems.

Outdoor facilities are cheaper than interior ones, but they still have a cost. If you want to avoid any monthly fees, you can consider storing your RV at home. On one hand, you’ll sacrifice any protection that a facility might offer from the weather or otherwise. However, you’ll also have easier access to your RV for maintenance until camping season.

Why You Should Avoid Storing Your RV Outside for Winter

You may not have access to a good interior storage location for your RV, and if that’s the case, you can certainly make do storing your RV outside. That said, if you’re on the fence about paying extra for interior storage, let’s go consider some of the downsides to storing your RV outside:

RV Plumbing

Have you ever had a pipe freeze in your home? Despite all the extra insulation, ground foundations and general frost protection afforded to a normal home, pipes are still susceptible to freezing in them. Well, your RV’s pipes are likely much more vulnerable to that same cold.

A cracked or burst pipe in your RV is something you’ll want to avoid. While proper winterization can reduce your chances of this happening, cold enough winters are always a risk to your RV’s pipes if any water is left in them.

Antifreeze and draining your pipes isn’t a recommendation – it’s a necessity for safe storage!

Uninvited Guests

When the snow starts to fall and the temperatures dip below freezing, you’re wrapped up nice and tight in a blanket in the warmest place you can find. Well, the wildlife around your RV stored outdoors are looking for the same comforts! A big RV provides a lot of shelter from overhead precipitation, and if they can find any route to the interior, they’re going to make use of it as their winter vacation home.

Even interior storage can’t always prevent this, since animals are always surprising us with how clever they are, but it goes a long way to reducing the risks. You’ll be happier if you never go to de-winterize your RV only to be greeted with a family of racoons wondering why you’re breaking into “their” new home!

RV Window Damage

The freeze-thaw cycle can wreak havoc on anything meant to be properly sealed. The constant expanding and contracting can put even the sturdiest structure to the test. When stored outside during the winter, your RV windows are more likely to experience the full force of weather shifts throughout the warm days and freezing nights.

Damaged RV windows can make it even harder to keep the inside warm (or cold, when you start RVing again in the spring.) They also introduce more moisture and even allow for critters to sneak their way in. Storing your RV inside helps reduce the amount of temperature swings your RV has to deal with.

Tire Damage

Your windows aren’t the only potential victim to the freeze-thaw cycles of winter. The most important part of your RV is too: the tires! RV tires do a lot of heavy lifting for your RV – literally! And months of road wear combined with a winter of expanding and contracting will leave them weary for the spring. The damage from temperature shifts when stored outside can cause them dry out and crack, which makes it a lot more likely for you to experience a flat next time you try to go for a trip.

Even without major damage like a flat tire, worn out tires are more likely to experience air leaks, making it cumbersome to keep your tire pressure at the right level for safe operation of your vehicle.

Say Bye to Spur of the Moment Trips

There’s nothing stopping RV owners from taking a nice winter vacation. In fact, we recommend it to those who can handle the cold! After all, the off-season is a great way to enjoy some great destinations without having to bump shoulders with the rush of other vacationers and RVers.

But when you store your RV outside, you’re going to realize that it can be harder to get things ready to go when you weekend plans open up and you realize you want to go for a nice trip. Whether it’s being snowed in, trapped in mud, or frozen shut, that outdoor storage facility may be storing your RV for longer than you want it to!

RV Storage Tips

#1. Remove Everything & Clean It

When you store your RV for the winter, make sure to take everything out that’s not part of the RV. Food, clothes, and everything else should be cleaned out. First, this helps prevent critters from squatting in your RV during the colder season. Secondly, it discourages theft. Even if you’re storing your RV at a secure facility, it’s better to be safe than sorry. While you might not miss some extra food, you’ll miss your collection of DVDs or other expensive travel tech.

With the entire RV empty, it’s a great time to clean it too. Your future self will thank you after the winter when you can hit the road immediately without having to clean up. Unfortunately, if you travel with pets, it may not take long before it needs another thorough cleaning!

#2. Clean Out Your Fridge & Leave It Open

Remove the food from your fridge and clean it thoroughly. The last thing you want is to come back on for your first big trip in the spring to an odor that stops you in your tracks. Keep the door open with bungee cords or ties to let it air out and help prevent mildew.

Some RV owners like to leave baking soda or an open can of coffee in their fridge too. This helps guarantee a fresh smell when they de-winterize their RV in the spring.

#3. Never Leave Your Propane Tank in the RV

For safety, you should turn off and remove your propane tank before you store your RV. Many hardware stores sell caps for your propane lines to keep them clean and insect-free until next season. Keep your propane tank somewhere that provides adequate ventilation and protects it from rust.

#4. Turn Off the Main Breaker & Remove Your Batteries

Since you’ll be storing your RV for a few months, turn off the main electrical breaker. This will protect your 120V electrical system. Unplug your appliances, too. When you switch the breaker back on after winter, you won’t have to worry about frying your electronics due to a potential surge.

You should also remove the main 12V battery from your RV. Store it in a safe place that will be protected from the cold weather. Additionally, this helps prevent corrosion during the long storage!

#5. Drain Your Plumbing Lines

Even if you plan to store your vehicle in a heated facility, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Empty your water lines and tanks and fill them with antifreeze. If you’re not familiar with the proper way to do this, ask your local dealer. Frozen pipes in your RV can be a nightmare.

#6. Cover Your Tires

If you store your RV outside, make sure to cover the tires. Despite being hard to see, UV damage from the sun can degrade the rubber and cause weather cracking. Inexpensive tire covers are all it takes to add years to the lifespan of your tires.

#7. Cover Your RV’s Access Points, Too

While your RV may be cold during the winter, it’s still warmer and safer for animals than being outside. Every critter in the area knows it, too. If there are any openings, such as access holes from the water lines, temporarily seal them.

For any damage or small holes, spray foam is inexpensive and works wonders. If you don’t take steps to repair your RV’s breaches, you may come back in the spring to an RV with more to clean than you expected.

Don’t Forget to Fully Winterize Your RV

For those living in chilly climates, it’s important to completely winterize your RV. While it takes a bit of time to do it properly, it can save you headaches and repair bills down the road. No matter where you store your vehicle, some of these steps are necessary. They don’t only protect against the cold – they also protect against damage or corrosion from a few months of inactivity.

How to Winterize Your RV

The winterizing process for RVs is pretty straightforward, but it can take some time. We already mentioned draining your plumbing lines up above, but the overall process is a bit more involved when freezing weather is a risk. Here are the basic steps towards winterizing your RV to store your RV throughout the season.

Removing Water

The number one goal for winterization is to remove all the water from your RV. When the cold hits, frozen water is going to do the most damage to your RV systems, whether that be your water tanks, water heater, or water lines. By removing the water from the RV, you can prevent major incidents related to freezing and get your RV ready for a clean tank of water when the warmer weather comes back.

Start by draining the waste water tanks. Every RV is different, but accessing and draining these tanks should be second nature to you if you’ve been on the road a lot. Once you’ve completely drained them, your next step is to flush the tanks and clean them. There are plenty of cleaning wands and cleaning solutions, so pick the one that works for you. You’ll want to make sure to get the black tank as clean as possible to make sure you start the next season off clean and fresh for the RV season.

After the waste water sources are clear, you need to drain the water heater. Before you get started, it’s important to practice safety. Ensure the water heater is off, has had a chance to cool down, and isn’t under any pressure. When it’s ready to drain, you’ll open it up for draining (which may include a rod or plug.)

When the water heater is drained, it’s recommended to use some water pressure to help force out sediment that has collected over the RV season inside. This process only takes a few minutes, and it’s easy to do, so make sure not to skip this step!

Lastly, you’ll need to drain your water lines. Some RV owners like to use an air compressor to help blow water out of these lines to ensure they’re clear. Anything you can do to help get them clear will help avoid freeze issues.

Bypassing the Water Heater

While some RVs have bypasses installed, you may need to manually bypass your water heater. This is a critical step to avoid getting anti-freeze in your water heater when you add it for the winterization process. Bypassing the water heater usually involves some tools and accessing a panel to adjust the valves.

Use a Winterization Kit

Siphoning anti-freeze into your RV’s water system can be done easily with winterization or siphoning kits available at most RV supply locations. Your RV may already be equipped with a system to do this, or you may need to retrofit one onto your system. In either case, using these makes the process of getting anti-freeze into your RV quick and easy.

Dump Anti-Freeze into Drains & Toilet

Lastly, to make sure your water system is as protected from the winter as possible, you should use some of the leftover anti-freeze and pour it straight into drains, including the toilet. This will help protect everything in your RV from winter damage, prolonging the lifespan of the general plumbing of your vehicle.

Do You Have RV Questions? Contact RV Wholesale Superstore!

The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find your first RV and answer any questions you may have about taking care of one. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at 844-601-1171

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