Thursday, November 16, 2023

RV Vacations on the Coast

RV Vacations on the Coast

A coastal road trip is a great way to get away, and a rental RV road trip is the perfect way to explore the coast with all the comforts of home. States like California, Washington and Florida have hundreds of miles of beautiful and diverse coastline. So if you are lucky enough to live near the coast, you don’t have to go far from home to escape to the beach. 

There many fantastic coastal sites to choose from with crashing surf, wide sandy beaches and rocky coastal trails. At this time not all State Parks and campgrounds may be open, so check out the State Park website, or the ocean and coastal parks area on the National Parks Service website to find out which parks and facilities are available. If you are planning on staying in a coastal or beach Park campground, book in advance where possible as options may be limited and reservations are often required.

Exploring Coast and Marine Parks

All the amazing beach spots and fun activities at the coast, can make deciding where to go a challenge, so here are some useful links and ideas to help your trip planning as you head for the coast.

Florida State Parks 

Gulf Islands National Seashore over 200 miles of shoreline sparkling waters and wide sandy beaches.

Everglades National Park protecting an amazing landscape and diverse ecosystems home to rare creatures like the manatee with over 2,400 shoreline miles this World Heritage Site is spectacular. 

Dry Tortugas National Park – only accessible by boat or seaplane the birdlife, coral reefs and sparkling blue waters this park is just over 100 km west of Key West.

Washington State Parks

San Juan Island National Historical Park – hike, have a picnic and spot marine wildlife like orca, from the bluff trails, particularly between April and Sept. Explore one of the last remaining prairies in Puget Sound.

Olympic National Park – where the mountains meet the sea, wild rivers flow from glacial peaks through growth forests and nearly 100 miles of rugged shoreline. 

California State Parks

Redwood National Park – famous for the forest home to world’s tallest trees, this park also contains over 40 miles of shoreline and a great place for biking, hiking and exploring. 

Point Reyes National Seashore over 100 miles of spectacular coastline, with wide sand beaches and crashing ocean waves, a great place for wildlife viewing  close to San Francisco.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area –with over 500 miles of trails and 40 miles of shoreline this is a great place to explore without the need to travel far from Los Angeles.

Channel Islands National Park –  these five islands have nearly 250 miles of shoreline is a great way to experience the isolation of these islands so close to Los Angeles. 

Ocean-Friendly Activities on Your RV Road Trip 

Exploring rocky shorelines and tide pools, spotting marine wildlife, swimming, surfing, hiking or relaxing, exploring and enjoying coastal parks is a great way to spend a summer vacation. If you are on a coastal road trip find out if you are near one of America’s network of national marine sanctuaries. These underwater parks are home to diverse ecosystems and support rich marine life, similar to national parks they protect important species and habitats on land.  To get inspired for your trip check out these virtual dives in marine sanctuaries before you go. There are lots of fun opportunities to learn about our oceans, like the Junior Ranger underwater explorer program.

The excitement of spotting a pod of dolphins, or a majestic whale surfacing on its migration path is always an exhilarating experience. If you are exploring the coast over summer wildlife viewing opportunities are plenty.   A bit of research will help you find the best spots to spot marine wildlife locally where you are visiting, then it just takes patience and keeping a lookout. If you are lucky enough to have an encounter with marine wildlife here are some important ocean etiquette principles to follow to keep you, the environment and wildlife safe and healthy. 

How You Can Help Protect the Ocean 

Did you know that California has the largest network of no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the United States, over 1200 square kilometers, protecting marine environments, species and ecosystems from impacts from fishing, habitat loss and other damaging activities. There is a lot of great information about Marine Protected Areas available if you want to learn more about conserving and protecting our coasts and oceans and the places you are planning to visit. As over 50 % of the population of America lives in a coastal watershed even if you live a distance away from the ocean you can still help look after the coast and marine environment here are some tips.

5 Things You Can Do to Care for the Coast and Oceans While RV’ing

Volunteer – join a local beach or creek cleanup day, or get involved in a a local conservation or restoration project in your local area. In Los Angeles Heal the bay produces annual beach water quality report and has opportunities for volunteers to support coastal cleanup month in September. 

Say no to single-use plastics - debris from plastic is a major threat to ocean heath, by avoiding single-use plastics you are helping reduce the amount of plastic that can enter our waterways. Ocean plastic pollution is hugely damaging for marine wildlife that become tangled in discarded items like fishing lines and can confuse plastic for food.

Choose sustainable seafood – unsustainable fishing practices have a devastating impact on fish populations and the ocean environment. So you are looking to enjoy seafood on your trip, find out where it is from and how it was sourced. Check out these seafood watch consumer guides more information on more sustainable seafood. 

Learn about the issues facing our oceans and waterways and how you can help, for more information on ways you can help protect marine environments or find out if there is a wildlife refuge near you to visit, or see if you can get involved in a marine citizen science project and follow these Living Blue tips.

Reduce your energy use, - CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are a major contributor to climate change which has huge impacts on the health of our oceans, by saving energy you can reduce your emissions and the impact of climate change on the oceans. This infographic on marine protected areas and climate change shows the connections and impacts and the importance of marine protected areas.

As you enjoy your coastal road trip remember the seven principles of Leave no trace and to #RecreateResponsibly. We hope these Travel with Heart tips for responsible RV’ing to help you have a more sustainable vacation.

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