In the last entry we looked at all the reasons why there is no need to put the RV into hibernation after the Labor Day weekend, which for most is the last camping weekend of the season. Once you have enjoyed a few of the RV friendly fall activities we covered in the last installment there is no need to stop RVing when old man winter arrives. Let’s look at some of the winter activities that are even more enjoyable employing a warm and dry RV as a home base.
Hunting – Early winter offers opportunity for hunting geese and other foul. What better way to end the day than by retreating to a warm RV parked along the shore and enjoying a hearty dinner instead of a long drive home in wet clothes eating a sandwich? Many Washington Department Fish and Wildlife lands allow free camping for those that posses the appropriate pass. An access pass comes with a Washington State hunting license so why not make full use of it?
Shellfishing – Winter is prime time to chase the succulent Pacific razor clam and a RV parked at the beach or nearby campground provides a convenient and cozy place to escape the elements once you have bagged your limit. A RV also provides the means to cook some of your catch while it is fresh and freeze the balance to be enjoyed later. If you prefer to pursue shellfish that don’t try to escape, many Puget Sound beaches are open for the harvest of butter clams and oysters in the winter. Let’s not forget the prized Dungeness crab that can be harvested throughout the winter along the Pacific Ocean and occasionally a late Puget Sound season.
Storm watching – What better way to watch waves, wind and whitecaps than through the window of a warm and dry RV parked at the beach or high bluff overlooking the action? Hardy souls can don rain gear and search for elusive glass fishing floats or other treasures brought in by the waves knowing they can retreat to the RV for a hot shower and dry clothes after facing the gales of the storm.
Fishing – Many of Washington’s lakes and rivers are open to year ’round angling. Who wouldn’t enjoy hooking a winter steelhead along the banks of a scenic river? Ice fishing is becoming more and more popular and hundreds of lakes offer access for you and your RV. Free camping is permitted at many lake and river access points provided by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, especially in Eastern Washington. Check out this blog entry for more information
What would winter RVing be without a little snow and the fun activities that come with it?
Snowmobiling – Groomed trails for snowmobiling exist along the lengths of the Cascades and in the eastern corners of the state. Returning to a RV after touring scenic snow covered mountains is a great way to end the day. Rentals are available all across the state.
Cross country skiing – Marked and groomed trails for cross country skiing exist about anywhere snow falls in the state. RVs provide a great way to get the family and their gear to the trailhead, a warm and dry place to gear up, a convenient place to return for a hot lunch and a wonderful place for a family to gather at the end of day and enjoy dinner and relive the days adventure. After dinner the family can enjoy their favorite board game and settle in for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Snowshoeing – As this sport gains popularity, the cost of equipment gets more reasonable. Many of the big box stores offer snowshoes in season. Snowshoeing is a great excuse to get out of the house and out with the RV for a little winter exercise. You can snowshoe just about anywhere you can hike in the summer or, when the snow is deep enough, blaze your own trail to destinations of your choosing.
Washington State Parks administers the winter recreation program in Washington State. As part of the program State Parks maintains designated Sno-Parks where plowed parking areas provide access to groomed snowmobile trails, cross country trails and marked snowshoe routes. Most allow for overnight camping providing a low cost weekend of family camping fun. Permits are required to park in a Washington State Sno-Park. Want more information on Washington State Parks Winter Recreation Program? Then attend the 2014 Seattle Fall RV Show where State Parks will have an information booth and be conducting a daily seminar on all the winter camping opportunities available through the program. In addition, their partners, the Northwest Avalanche Center, will be presenting a Winter Snow Sports Safety seminar teaching you how to stay safe while enjoying a winter adventure.
Downhill skiing & Snowboarding – Ski resorts exist up and down the Washington Cascades from the Canadian border to White Pass. All provide for overnight parking of RVs and some offer electrical hookups. Compared to the cost of renting a ski chalet, RVs are a great way to spend a ski weekend with the family. You can enjoy your favorite food and sleep in your own bed in the evening.
Tubing centers – If you are not a skier or a snowboarder you can still enjoy a fun filled family weekend sliding down a snow covered hill. Many ski resorts also offer a tubing center with tube rentals and a lift to get you back up the hill. If a family member gets cold and wet, no problem. Head back to the RV for a cup of hot chocolate and a change of clothes.
As you can see, there is no reason to hang up the RV keys come winter in the Pacific Northwest. Just keep RVing year ’round!