While it might be tempting to take your camper or trailer everywhere you want to go, there are a few places in our country you will want to steer clear of.
These can include crowded parks, congested highways, crazy streets or steep, winding roads. While some of these places might be better during some parts of the year (or day), if you want to see them, leave the RV at home.
1. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park
The main road through beautiful Glacier National Park is Going-to-the-Sun Road—named after a Blackfeet Nation god. You are not actually allowed to take any trailers up this steep, winding road that goes over the 6,646 Logan Pass, and park rangers will stop you along the way if your vehicle is longer than 21 feet.
In addition, the road is closed a majority of the year due to heavy snow. The best way to see the stunning views from this road is to park your RV in one of the lower elevation campgrounds and explore in a smaller vehicle or via the park’s public transportation.
2. Downtown San Francisco, California
One of the most beautiful cities in the U.S. is also one of the most frustrating for drivers. While the traffic on the outskirts of San Francisco is excruciating on a good day, the hilly and crowded streets inside the city are worse.
Do not attempt to take your trailer or RV onto streets like Filbert Street for its views of San Francisco Bay or Coit Tower (and its 31.5% grade). Also, stay far, far away from crooked Lombard Street. In fact, keep your camper out of San Francisco altogether.
3. Tuweep, Grand Canyon
One of the best and most famous views of the Grand Canyon is shot from the Toroweap Overlook near the Tuweep Campground. This rugged part of the park is also a bad place to take an RV or to tow a camper. While there is a small campground, you will need to get a reservation permit before you go.
The 60-mile road to the overlook requires a high clearance vehicle and anything longer than 22 feet is prohibited. In addition, the campground doesn’t have any water, and should you have any vehicle issues, tow services can hit $2,000.
4. New York City, New York
Not too many people want to go camping in the Big Apple, but the bright light and many sights might tempt some RVers to head into the city. New York’s streets, bridges, and tunnels (particularly Queens and Manhattan) are crowded, frustrating, and you may spend many hours cursing out other drivers.
If you want to visit the city, stay safe and park your RV in nearby New Jersey and take the train.
5. State Route 1, California
One of the most beautiful roads in the U.S. is also one of the most frustrating, especially in an RV. State Route 1 runs along most of California’s coastline above steep cliffs that drop precariously down to the Pacific Ocean.
If that’s not enough, the two-lane road curves and twists along the ocean cliffs where rocks and boulders frequently fall.
Going a few dozen miles could take hours and you will have some angry California drivers behind you the entire way. In addition, if you have a Class A or trailer longer than 45 feet, State Route 1 is restricted.
6. Death Valley, California
During the winter and spring, camping in Death Valley is a delight. However, in summer, stay far away from campgrounds without hookups (and the necessary AC) like Furnace Creek or Sunset.
Temperatures in summer can reach 130 degrees F, cooking anyone inside a camper. Heat-related deaths are common during this time of year and tend to happen off of dirt roads that are not on any GPS.
7. Dalton Highway, Alaska
Most highways in Alaska are beautifully paved and well cared for. The Dalton Highway, also known as the “haul road” is the exception. This road begins 84 miles north of Fairbanks and ends near the Arctic Ocean.
The route twists and turns for 414 miles and is primarily used by commercial trucks. It’s so dangerous that twice a day, a helicopter patrols the road looking for accidents.
8. Madison Campground, Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most-visited National Parks in the nation and that means lots of summer and fall crowds. There are many great campgrounds within the park but stay away from Madison Campground on the west side of the park.
The campground is consistently full, it’s difficult to reserve spaces, and with the generator hours, the campground can be noisy. Instead, take your camper to the less popular Mammoth Campground, but only if you have an RV 30-feet long or less.
9. St. Louis, Missouri
According to a recent article by USA Today, St. Louis ranks as the most dangerous city in the U.S. This is based on the number of crimes committed per 100,000 people and St. Louis has 1,817 of those. Violent crime also outranks the national percentage.
The poverty rate and unemployment rate continue to also rank high in this city. Drive right by St. Louis and stop instead in Greenwood, MO., ranked by ValuePenguin as one of the safest cities in the state.
10. Interstate 90, Chicago
Every year the American Highway Users Alliance ranks America’s worst bottlenecks, and in 2015, Interstate 90 near Chicago O’Hare International Airport was the worst in the nation (and cost drivers 16.9 million hours of wasted time).
If you are in your RV, you have better things to do than wait in traffic. Steer clear of the Windy City.