Visiting national parks, museums, zoos, and other attractions are all obvious must-dos when traveling in your RV. That said, as full-time travelers, my family has also found other, less obvious things we enjoy finding in a new place. One of these things is checking out small, local coffee shops.
Below are the top six things that make the local coffee shop experience what it is and make that expensive cup of joe a good value for our family. These are the reasons we visit these shops wherever we go, and why we think you should do the same.
1. Try area treats
Obviously, you’re going to buy some sort of treat or drink during your time in a coffee shop. Sure, you could get one of the traditional menu items such as a cappuccino, mocha, or drip coffee. However, we’ve discovered that many local shops carry treats and drinks that are unique to the area.
For instance, the coffee shops in Maine tend to sell whoopie pies. Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania shop might carry locally-made mocha syrup. Finding these unusual offerings always makes our trips to coffee shops more interesting and helps us get a feel for the local flavors.
2. Meet the locals
Coffee and treats are great, of course, but one of the things found at these shops that I like even more than the coffee are the friendly faces.
Coffee shops are almost always filled with interesting and friendly people. This makes them the ideal place to meet some locals, chat about the area, and learn a thing or two about the community you’re calling home for the time being. We’ve actually met a surprising number of people in coffee shops.
Who knows? You may even meet your next best friend!
3. Learn about events
Because coffee shops are such a hub in so many communities, they’re a great place to learn about upcoming events in the area. Most of these establishments have bulletin boards full of flyers about festivals, performances, camps, and classes that are happening in the neighborhood and surrounding area. Others may not have a board, but offer a table full of flyers and cards instead.
In addition to these things, you can likely learn about events and things to do just by chatting with the locals who frequent the shop.
4. Enjoy local art
Sometimes you need not look any further than the coffee shop itself for a great local event. Many small coffee joints make a point of featuring local artists by displaying paintings and other visual art, hosting open mic sessions, and having local musicians play from time to time.
Find out when these things are happening and make a point of stopping by. This is a great way to support up-and-coming artists while also trying a new coffee shop and getting in a bit of entertainment. Often, these events are some of the most memorable of all.
5. Get out of the rig
There’s no denying the fact that RVs can feel cramped from time to time. Obviously, you’ll get out of your tiny home-on-wheels to go sightseeing. However, sometimes you want to escape from the cramped space, but still need to get work done or simply kick back and relax.
This is where the coffee shop comes into play. Mom-and-pop coffee shops nearly always boast couches and upholstered chairs for guests to get comfortable in, making it possible to escape the RV, grab a drink, stretch out, and make yourself right at home.
6. Find free Wi-Fi
Finally, we adore the fact that coffee shops have a tendency to offer decent free Wi-Fi. This is a major bonus for those who need to work on the road and don’t have an unlimited data plan, because it means you can do your work without using any of your own precious data.
Sometimes it’s nice even if you do have an unlimited data plan, simply because cellular hotspots don’t always offer the greatest connection. Either way, you’re sure to love having carefree access to the internet to get stuff done.
As you can see, there are several great reasons to visit local coffee shops while traveling. Why not give it a try during your next trip and see what you think? You might just find that you don’t mind spending $5 on a drink when it comes with so many added benefits.