Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have been 3/4-time RVing for several years. We feel like we have seen everything that interests us. We like biking, hiking, kayaking and nature watching. Our travels have been mostly National Park/Forest hopping. We are at a point in our lives when we would just like to sit somewhere warm and natural for a few months in the winter. We are turned off by commercial RV parks. The South is full of them. We are not into potluck dinners, line dancing, pickle ball and all the rest. We just want dark, quiet nights, natural surroundings, and interaction with like-minded people. Is there such a place, or are we pipe-dreaming? Maybe finding this place with a quaint nearby town is not being realistic. Any advice on how to be happy with what we can find?
--Looking for Oz in Arizona
I don’t think that is asking too much. The problem is finding the right fit. I assume you have considered continuing your present mode of travel and just staying at your favorite parks for the full allowable time limit which is usually 14 days. That would only move you a dozen times a winter from one awesome place to another. You could also consider volunteer work in a park you really love. That would give you the opportunity to stay much longer in one spot.
You might consider looking for a home or lot to rent in an area that fits your needs and allows RV parking. If you spend the time and money to become as self-contained as possible you could find a quiet place on BLM land that would allow you to stay much longer. Many sites are near small towns that you might find interesting. I know people that have registered mining claims, just to have privacy and boondock-type surroundings, with room enough to invite friends to stay.
You might consider buying or leasing land with others who are looking for the same camping opportunities you are. Having a small private campground with people you enjoy can be a great opportunity to enjoy the place you love, make a small investment, plan your own parking space, and enjoy the things that interest you. Not very different from a condo, a time-share or investing in a lot in an RV park. It just gives you a bit more control over your surroundings.
While you contemplate what will make you happy, I would just keep doing longer stays in parks you enjoy. After 14 days, you probably need to dump and water-up anyway. Find the primo parks you love, reserve your whole winter in the sites you like the most, and continue to enjoy the lifestyle you always have.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink