With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, now’s the time to start planning for a sweet RV retreat with your significant other, family or friends
It probably doesn’t occur to you as you’re draining the black-water tank or chasing out the mice that may have called your RV home over the winter, but RVing can be a very romantic activity. Picture you and your significant other snug in your own private honeymoon suite and the possibilities for a romantic getaway are endless.
Well, maybe not endless at this time of year, which is why we’ve compiled a list of couples’ activities in the warmer parts of the country. Take a look at some of our finds for cities that offer romantic RV getaways during the cold months. We’ve included some RV parks nearby where you can park your home on wheels while you explore. But don’t wait too long to make reservations. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and some campgrounds and attractions are bound to be crowded as peak romance season approaches.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, the oldest and largest city in South Carolina, is rich in history. The downtown area is known for venues dedicated to the arts, fashion, music and unique local cuisine. Charleston’s Historic District, in particular, is an ideal place to stroll down narrow cobblestone streets and alleyways past ancient oaks, hidden gardens and antebellum houses.
The Charleston City Market calls itself “the Cultural Heart of Charleston Since 1804” and features restaurants serving certified local food, Gullah artisans weaving traditional sweetgrass baskets and special events throughout the year.
Charleston is the home of America’s first theater, and is rated as one of the top 10 cities for theater in the United States. The Dock Street Theater is home of the Charleston Stage Company, the state’s largest professional theater company.
For the ultimate romantic experience, book a sunset sail on the Schooner Pride. Cruise the peaceful waters of Charleston Harbor and see the city from a new perspective while watching for pelicans, gulls and dolphins.
Charleston’s famous Southern hospitality with its streets lined with moss-draped trees, white-sand beaches, fine food and mouth-watering cuisine all make it an ideal place for couples to connect or reconnect.
Charleston County Parks Campground has 124 RV sites in a 643-acre park with many recreational possibilities. All sites have picnic tables and most have full hookups, with some electric and water only. A campground store, bathhouses, laundry facilities and accessible sites are available.
Oak Plantation Campground, a Good Sam Park, is one of the closest campgrounds to Charleston, just minutes away from its historic plantations, the downtown historic district, beaches, shopping and golf. There are more than 200 campsites in a parklike setting with a pool and a convenience store.
Las Vegas, Nevada
There’s no shortage of ways to say goodbye to your money in Las Vegas, but there are plenty of places away from smoke-filled casino floors and the deafening noise of slot machines where your dollar actually buys you something.
Start with the High Roller at the Linq. At 550 feet high, it’s the world’s tallest observation wheel. One revolution takes 30 minutes, and around sunset is the prime time to book a turn on the wheel. Upgrade to the open-bar ticket for as many drinks as you want from start to finish.
Gondola rides at the Venetian offer a four-seat shared ride or private trips for two. If you’ve always wanted to visit the real Venice but couldn’t find a Good Sam Park in Italy, this could be the next best thing.
The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is a great way too cool off during the heat of the day. The aquarium is home to more than 2,000 animals including endangered green sea turtles, giant rays, saw fish, piranha and the rare golden crocodile. Become Aquarists for the day and feed stingrays, sharks or turtles in the Animal Encounters program.
Hitchin’ Post RV Park is gated and has almost 200 RV sites with full hookups, a heated-year-round pool, on-site fitness center, two dogs runs and a dog wash, and a golf practice facility. There’s also a saloon and gaming on the premises.
Las Vegas RV Resort is restricted to guests 18 years of age or older, and is just minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. It has full hookups and accommodations for pull-throughs and multiple slideouts. A fitness center, spa, pet area, laundry and 24-hour guard are all included.
Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort is beautifully landscaped and has full-hookup sites. It includes a beachfront family pool and waterfalls, an adult pool and spa, 24-hour courtesy patrol, an on-site fitness center and complimentary WiFi at each site. A fully stocked convenience store, laundry facilities and free showers are on-site.
The Napa Valley, in Northern California, is a hub of romantic adventures, including picnics in vineyards, spa treatments at natural hot springs, gourmet dining and hot-air balloon rides.
Start by exploring the justly famous wineries of the area, including Inglenook, originally founded in 1879 by Finnish sea captain and wine connoisseur Gustav Niebaum. Film director Francis Ford Coppola bought the winery in 1975 and meticulously restored the 19th-century chateau and its formal gardens. Advance reservations for tastings are recommended. Newton Vineyard, on a terraced mountain estate, has rose gardens, a French garden, an Asian red gate, a pagoda, lanterns and an English phone booth on the grounds. Wine tasting tours take you below ground to Newton’s barrel caves.
Get up early at least one day for a sunrise flight in a hot-air balloon over the Napa Valley with Balloons Above the Valley. Various balloon flight packages are available, including one that ends with brunch at C Casa restaurant with champagne and Mexican coffee.
The city of Napa itself is worth exploring, this time on foot instead of from the air. Have a drink at the rooftop bar, Sky and Vine with live music Thursdays and Sundays, enjoy a picnic lunch at The Village on the expansive lawn, and wind up your stay with a visit to a 13th-century Tuscan castle winery. Castello di Amorosa offers tours and wine tasting, as well as events from grape stomping to a Royal Hearts Italian-style dinner on Valentine’s Day. RV parking is available.
Napa Valley Expo RV Park is nestled in the heart of downtown Napa at the Napa Valley Exposition Grounds, which boasts a year-round state-of-the-art Bingo hall and hosts special events throughout the year.
Vineyard RV Park in nearby Vacaville offers pull-through sites and premium pond-front sites. It’s conveniently located to both the Napa Valley and San Francisco, and offers cable TV, laundry facilities, pools, a clubhouse, free WiFi and two spacious off-leash dog areas.
San Diego, California
A city the size of San Diego is bound to have some unique adventures in store. If amazing food is your pleasure you’ll find it almost everywhere. Atypical Waffle, tucked behind a laundromat, is home to sweet and savory Belgian waffles. Underbelly reportedly has the finest ramen bowls in town. For dessert visit Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro and see how many of the hundred-plus handmade chocolate creations you can make it through.
Rooftop bars and restaurants are another San Diego specialty. Share a cocktail at Top of the Hyatt 40 stories high, which looks out over San Diego Bay (and on a clear day, Mexico on the horizon). The GlassDoor in Little Italy, atop the Porto Vista Hotel, features high-back chairs that line the al fresco viewing area.
No trip to a city on the water is complete without a romantic cruise. The Bahia Belle is a Mississippi-style sternwheeler that cruises Mission Bay for sunset and night cruises (operates seasonally; cruising resumes the first week of March 2020). Or if shipping out on a more stately vessel is your dream, climb aboard one of San Diego Sailing Tours’ vintage yachts and book a group tour or an individual charter.
There are miles upon miles of walking and biking trails in the San Diego area, from casual waterfront walks to bike trails with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean to stunning Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The Reserve is a special place to enjoy nature and has certain restrictions in place (no dogs allowed).Chula Vista RV Resort (shown above) is situated right on San Diego Bay and on 17 beautifully landscaped acres with convenient access to the Chula Vista Marina and Bayside Park. The campground includes amenities such as a swimming pool and spa area, a clubhouse, and picnic and pet areas.
Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve 20 miles west of San Diego includes amenities such as WiFi, an off-leash Bark Park, showers and restrooms, two swimming pools, a spa and laundry facilities in its 300 full-hookup-site campground.
St. Augustine, Florida
Founded in 1565 by the Spanish, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the United States. Its location on Florida’s Historic Coast makes it the ideal base for experiencing attractions like the Marineland Dolphin Adventure and the St. Augustine Aquarium where you can go on a snorkel adventure, feed the sharks (hopefully not at the same time) and hike the nature trail.
Keeping fit on vacation is a challenge, so give yourself a workout by climbing the 219 steps of the 165-foot St. Augustine Lighthouse for a breathtaking (if you have any breath left) view of historic downtown St. Augustine and the nation’s oldest port.
Less strenuous entertainment is on hand at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall where you can enjoy intimate concert sessions by performers such as Graham Nash (March 2020) and the Florida Chamber Music Project (May 2020). Al Stewart fans can be treated to a concert on Valentine’s Day! Or opt for an open-air concert at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre and sing along with John Fogerty (February 2020) or Ringo Starr and His All Star Band (June 2020).
For a much-less-structured visit stroll at your own pace along the 42 miles of beaches in Florida’s Historic Coast, the perfect place to watch the sun rise or set, or book a private carriage ride through the streets of St. Augustine.
Beverly Beach Camptown RV Resort and Campers Village (shown above) in the nearby retro town of Flagler Beach (35 miles) is convenient to St. Augustine and Daytona Beach. With 1,500 linear feet of Atlantic Ocean shorefront, it’s located directly on the seawall along the beach. This year-round park has laundry facilities and bath houses and welcomes pets.
Compass RV Resort offers full-hookup sites, patio sites and buddy sites. Three sections: the Grove, the Pond and the Oasis each deliver a different experience. Attractions include a spacious dog park, a swimming pool, a fitness center, a laundry room and a nature trail that winds through the resort.
North Beach Camp Resort is bookended by the Atlantic at one end and the saltwater North Tolomato River on the other on 30 wooded acres. Riverfront sites are available in the 162-RV-site park. A top-rated casual-dining seafood restaurant in on the premises with deck seating riverside. The camp resort also has its own ship for scenic and narrated St. Augustine cruises.
Stagecoach RV Park is a pet-friendly campground with 80 RV sites all with 30/50-amp electric, water, sewer, cable TV and WiFi. Sites are gravel or concrete and surrounded by grass.
Temecula, California: Pechanga RV Resort and Casino
For a sweet way to spend time with your sweetie, the 12th annual Chocolate Decadence and Pechanga Wine Festival, March 6 and 7, 2020 is a delectable event to attend. Hundreds of sweet and savory chocolate confections are yours for the tasting, as are a variety of wines and gourmet-food samples. Bring your sweet tooth, dance to live music and make a bid at the silent auction. Proceeds from the auction benefit the Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley’s programs that provide housing needs and home repairs to senior citizens and those unable to do the work themselves.
Start the weekend off with the Chocolate Decadence from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, March 6, featuring more than 30 wine varietals and chocolate confections and desserts as far as the eye can see. Admission is $60 and includes a souvenir wine glass and unlimited samples of wine, spirits and, of course, chocolate. Designated driver tickets are $35. VIP tickets for $80 include early entry and passed hors d’oeuvres.
Saturday, March 7, from noon to 5 p.m. guests can sip and savor wines, gourmet finger foods from Pechanga’s 13 restaurants and more chocolate at the Wine Festival. Admission is $65 and includes a souvenir wine glass and unlimited drink and wine samples. Designated driver tickets are $40, and VIP tickets go for $90 and allow early access to the more than 100 wine selections. General admission combination tickets for both events are $100 and VIP combo tickets are $140.
The casino features more than 150 table games, a nonsmoking poker room, 4,500 slot machines, Bingo and private gaming rooms. Journey, the resort’s par-72 links-style golf course, is surrounded by rolling hills and views of Temecula Valley’s Wine Country.
Pechanga RV Resort has more than 200 spacious sites that can accommodate any size RV, including luxury sites with an oversize picnic area and open-air pergolas. As part of a recent renovation, the resort has added a lounge with a giant flat-screen TV and games, and newly opened stores are at the Great Oak Marketplace shopping center. The RV park offers incentives for frequent visitors with pets, and park guests receive discounts on day passes to the 4.5-acre Pechanga Resort Casino Cove pool complex.
The RV resort has a pool, a fenced pet area, horseshoe pits, wireless internet access at each site and laundry facilities. Mobile detailing is available. A free 24/7 shuttle service will pick you up at your site and take you to anywhere on the Pechanga property, including to the 200,000-square-foot casino. And take you back to your RV site, of course.
Jerry Smith has been a freelance writer for more than 30 years. He’s not picky about the topic as long as it rolls. If it has two, three, four or more wheels, he’ll write about it. He travels with his editorial assistant and morale officer, a golden retriever named Dickens, from their home base in Oregon to wherever the sun is shining that day.