The freedom to go anywhere you want, anytime you want, is a big reason why Americans have embraced RVing so passionately over the years.
But these days, a growing number of RVers are taking to the highways as part of organized tours or caravans, enjoying experiences without having to worry about details like choosing an RV-friendly route, figuring out where to camp, or making dinner reservations at the best restaurant in town.
“An organized caravan removes the uncertainties when traveling in an unfamiliar area,” noted Denise Yeager of Winnebago Outdoor Adventures, a division of Winnebago, and one of the oldest and largest tour organizers. “At the same time, a well-planned trip allows travelers to experience the best an area has to offer at every stop.”
According to Yeager, a typical Outdoor Adventures trip will accommodate up to 22 RVs, meaning you’ll have as many as 40+ new friends by the time the last campfire is doused. “Many, many lifelong friendships have been launched on our caravans. People will meet on one trip, then sign up as a group for another. And the experiences they share only help strengthen their friendships.”
For those new to RVing, a caravan is an ideal way to learn the ropes. All Winnebago Outdoor Adventures trips are planned by its highly experienced staff and hosted by professionally trained RVers. “Our guests enjoy traveling to incredible destinations in the comfort of their own RV. And thanks to the use of ‘step-aboard guides’ – local experts who join the caravan for a specific segment – they see and learn things the average tourist wouldn’t experience.”
Staff for each caravan includes hosts as well as “tailenders” – dedicated staffers who act as a sort of caboose, rounding up any stragglers along the way.
Typically, hosts are a retired couple who are already avid RVers and veteran caravaners. They enjoy the camaraderie, the lifestyle, and the chance to pay extended visits to fascinating places.
Upcoming trips hosted by Winnebago Outdoor Adventures include sightseeing, canoeing and hiking in the Driftless Area of the Midwest, a month taking in the best of upstate New York, a nine-state caravan along the Great Mississippi River Road, and an immersion into the sights and Cherokee heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains.
As hosts Dan and Patty Johnson put it, “nothing brings us more joy than to have a group of people sharing travel stories, laughing, and meandering across the country together experiencing the beautiful sights along the way.”