Many travelers pack away their back pack and hiking boots for the winter assuming that it’ll be too cold to head out in a campervan to experience the sights but in fact, it’s one of our favorite times of the year to travel! With less people filling the national parks, more space in every campground, no summer bugs buzzing around and not to forget, JUCY’s low winter rates, the December through to March road trips should be on your winter activity calendar!
WHERE TO GO
Deciding where to go on your winter adventure does depend on when in the winter you are traveling. The coldest months of January and February may exclude some destinations due to snow and road closures so be sure to check the weather reports ahead of time.
A great option for the winter months is Death Valley - a no-go zone for JUCY customers in the summer months. Considered a winter park, from October to April the temperatures are far more enjoyable for a visit and JUCY has no travel restrictions! Explore canyons, craters, dunes and more. It has to be seen to be believed!
Zion National Park
Zion in Utah is a stunning destination at all times of the year and in winter you have the added bonus of being able to drive yourself through the park (in summer it’s too crowded so there’s a shuttle). Make sure you check in advance with the park if you’re going to need to purchase snow chains for the drive. The Watchman campground is a favorite but it can still get cold so make sure you add on a winter pack or bring an additional sleeping bag so you stay cosy in the Champ. Zion’s many trails are open year-round, though check ahead re their accessibility before setting off.
If a cold winters’ night sees you running for your onesie and duvet then Arizona’s deserts are going to be right up your alley. Our pick is Virgin River Canyon – nestled in the valley of Virgin River, this is a great spot for hiking, fishing and rock climbing and the mild winter climate make it enjoyable for everyone, including sun worshippers! Tucson is also a perfect winter getaway destination with desert canyons, wildlife and canyons to explore.
If you’ve the time to venture further, then west Texas has some inviting attractions that work well in winter. Big Bend National Park is a fantastic spot to hike, explore the canyons and take in a hot spring or two. In summer it’s a scorcher so it’s perfect to head there between November and March. An added bonus is that it is one of the United States least visited national parks so it won’t be crowded! We would add, if you’re passing San Antonio around Christmas time then the lights along the river walk are worth a detour.
Our USA VP marketing is a big fan of working a hot springs or two into a winter itinerary – a great way to heat up as the evening temperatures drop. Favorites include northern California’s wine country’s Calistoga – a center of geothermal activity and home to therapeutic mud baths in Napa Valley and the Desert Hot Springs near Palm Springs. Many JUCY travelers stop by Big Sur on their travels so it’s worth noting there are hot spring options there too.
WHAT TO PACK
Winter camping can require a lot of extra planning but with JUCY, we take care of a lot of that for you. During the winter months we include free bedding kits, free kitchen kits, two free camping chairs and 100 miles per day FREE! If you’re heading to very cool nights, add on our winter pack at check-out to give you that extra level of comfort. Per person, it includes a sub-zero sleeping bag, thermos drinking flask and hand warmers to keep you toastie as you drift off to sleep.
Aside from the kits that JUCY can provide, you’ll also want to ensure you have sturdy hiking boots with thick socks, waterproof boot covers, waterproof jacket or poncho and a good beanie and gloves are never a bad idea. Layers are always a great idea but particularly so in winter as some days may be a glorious 70-80f but the temperatures may plummet as the sun sets. We’re a big fan of Icebreaker’s merino products that keep you warm or cool when you need it. For night time, some flannel pyjamas and bed socks will be heavenly, along with some booties for those quick night trips to the bathroom.
That’s just some of our suggestions when planning your winter vacation – if you have others that are your must-dos, drop us a line on Facebook or post pics of your winter roadie!