Top 4 Cities for Party RVers- Urban Adventures for RVers

Texas flag in foreground of view of Austin Texas skyline
Boondocking is amazing. I love the desert sunsets and finding great places to listen to nature and hike and explore.  But occasionally we want excitement, we want parties, great restaurants, breweries, live music, and a city to explore.  Here are four of my favorite places to take my RV for a bit of a change of pace, where I can explore nightlife, try the local favorite eateries and drinks, all within a reasonable walk or drive from my RV! Party RVers, this is where it’s at!

(Due to nationwide COVID-related restrictions at the time of publication, some of the following recommendations may not be available, but there are still plenty of options in each area to keep you entertained! Please respect local ordinances wherever you visit.)

Austin, Texas- All the Outdoor Adventures, Food, and Drink You Could Want

The Texas capital has long been known for its great music and wonderful BBQ.  There are also great entertainment options and beautiful sights to explore.

 Where to Stay

If you are lucky enough to snag a spot, try Pecan Grove RV Park.  This quirky spot surrounded by old-growth pecan trees is mostly filled with monthly sites, but they have a few overnight spots that put you within a short walk of dozens of great restaurants and bars. If you find Pecan Grove is booked, as it often is, try McKinney Falls State Park on the southeast side of town. While it will require a short drive to get into the downtown area, you’ll spend your downtime surrounded by waterfalls, hiking trails, and Texas wildlife.

Outdoor Activities

Start your day with a hike through Zilker Park, a green space near the shores of the Colorado River that runs through town. Rent a kayak for a paddle or try swimming in the cool natural spring waters of Barton Springs. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to check out a free outdoor performance such as the symphony at the Long Center or Blues on the Green at Zilker Park (you’ll want to resea. If you happen to be in Austin March through October take in the view of tens of thousands of Mexican Freetail bats taking flight from downtown underneath Lamar Street Bridge.

Where to Eat & Drink

Consider visiting the original Chuy’s, a well-known chain of Tex-Mex restaurants, or one of the many food truck parks near Pecan Grove RV Park or on the ever-popular South First.

As the sun sets, head across the river for happy hour on Rainey street, a popular afterwork gathering spot with many outdoor bars and patios.

Entertainment

For some of the funniest entertainment in Austin, take in a late-night show at Esther’s Follies. This long-running, ever-changing comedy skit show that will leave you in stitches.  If you are still up for fun afterward, late-night is when Austin comes to life. Head to 6th street for drinks, dancing, and people watching, or venture to dirty 6th and find the real party.  Live music abounds and the party rages until 2 am.  Every type of music is on offer, from country to rock, it’s all there on 6th.

If you have any energy left and you’re ready for one of the must-dos, get in line at Franklin BBQ no later than 7:30 the next morning. The line can be a lot of fun with Shiner bock beers usually shared with strangers and chairs for rent if you didn’t bring your own. The brisket is to die for here and considered some of the best in Texas.

Las Vegas, Nevada- Finding Fun Off the Strip

Fremont Street Las Vegas, great for party RVers

I think a lot of us had had the traditional “Vegas Strip Experience.” There is a lot more to Las Vegas than the expensive high rises along the strip, teaming with weekenders and gamblers.  If you are looking for excitement and affordability, consider downtown Las Vegas (DTLV).

The original Las Vegas strip was only about 5 blocks long and was in desperate need of revitalization. DTLV may have found its savior in the recently deceased founder of Zappos. When Tony Hsieh moved into an Airstream trailer in downtown Las Vegas, he set about turning it into a walkable, livable downtown that is a great place for RVers to let their hair down. 

Where to Stay

We all wish we could stay at the private RV park that Tony built for himself, his pet alpacas, and a few lucky people, but that probably won’t happen. Luckily, Main Street Station RV Park is next to downtown. Main Street Station is a no-frills, but safe parking option under a freeway but a short walk from the excitement. 

Entertainment

Fremont Street is always a good time, even if just for people watching, and is very affordable for entertainment.  Las Vegas is one of the few places that allows, if not encourages, people to walk down the street with drinks in hand. Grab a few friends and a few cans of beer and hit the street.

There are entertainers, magic shows, and music for free or for tips all along the five pedestrian blocks of Fremont.  Every half hour after dark, the canopy over the street comes alive with a light and sound show that will knock your socks off. For late-night dancing and partying, check out the Gold Spike. This former casino is now the host to multiple late-night party options every week and has a wonderful outdoor area for a cool fall night. For the after-party, head to the oldest bar in Las Vegas at the end of Fremont Street, Atomic Liquors, which stays open as long as there are people there.

There is also fun to be had for daytime visitors as well. Grab a donut at Donut Bar, and a coffee at Public Us, two quirky early morning haunts for the locals, then delve into the history of Las Vegas at the Mob Museum.  Built-in a former federal courthouse, this interactive exhibit will take you back to the infamous early days of Las Vegas. Or, you can head to the nearby Neon Museum for a look at some of the old signs and glowing history saved from the wrecking ball. A staple in many Las Vegas-based movies, you are sure to recall a few scenes as you stroll the rows and rows of vintage neon.

Where to Eat & Drink

If Freemont Street gets too busy head over to a nearby brewery. Able Baker has wonderful brews and an indoor/outdoor patio complete with delicious nosh and light bites. But If craft beer isn’t your thing, Las Vegas is now considered one of the best cities in America for craft cocktails.  Fancy drinks made not by bartenders but by skilled mixologists. Pro tip: Never take the menu as the last word.  Talk to the mixologists and ask them for a recommendation, tell them what flavors, juices, and spirits you like, and they will surely come up with something memorable. My favorite place for a great cocktail and a delicious meal is just a short ride from downtown, Herbs and Rye. Call several days ahead for a reservation and try for a seat at the bar.  It’s guaranteed to be a memorable show and a delicious meal and if you are a night owl, the reverse happy hour has amazing deals. 

New Orleans, Louisiana- Exploring the Big Easy

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New Orleans is another great place for RVers to explore. Parking in NOLA can get pricey, but there are a couple of options.

Where to Stay

If you want to splurge French Quarter RV Resort comes in around $100 a night or for $35 a night you can stay at Bayou Segnette State Park and it’s about a $25 uber ride into town.  Or split the difference by staying outside of town for a few days and explore by car.  Then, when it’s time for a couple of late nights, splurge on one of the in-town RV parks, or even consider boondocking in one of the parking lots in town that allows RV parking for a price. 

Entertainment

Everyone knows about Bourbon Street, but the new hot spot in town is  Frenchmen Street, a slightly more subdued area of the Big Easy. It is filled with cafes, bars, and live music. Often, the street corners become the main attraction with great jazz musicians or groups setting up shop, just working for tips. Or dip into one of the tiny little bars that looks certain to collapse with the next category 3 hurricane.

There are a few must-dos for anyone’s first trip to “The City That Care Forgot.” Consider visiting Mardis Gras World, for an insight into how the floats are built for the month long party that NOLA has become famous for.  

Finally, consider taking an open-air streetcar into the Garden District to tour some of the classic coastal Louisiana architecture and old homes. There are many companies that do walking and biking tours of this area and most will include a trip into the Cities of the Dead. These beautiful tributes to those who have passed exist above ground due to the high water table in the area. 

Where to Eat & Drink

Make sure to have a beignet and some chicory coffee at Cafe Du Monde,  New Orleans institution. This little pastry shop off of Jackson Square only sells one type of food, a beignet, and only closes when it’s ordered to do so due to a hurricane or pandemic. These pillowy fried dough treats are covered with powdered sugar and will surely be a fond memory of a trip to the Cresent City.

San Diego, California- Beaches & Beer For Everyone!

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My favorite city for exploring from an RV is San Diego.  This vibrant coastal city can be easily explored by public transportation, or on foot once you get your RV into town.

 Where to Stay

Campland on the Bay is not the cheapest RV park in the country but it boasts a great location on the bay with beaches just steps from your rig, on-site kayaking and paddleboarding, an activity coordinator for the kids, and an on-site bar for the adults. The park has great amenities, but you can also step outside the gate and hop onto a waiting electric scooter or jump into an Uber and be at any one of the many bars, pubs, and restaurants, most having outdoor patios.  

Where to Eat & Drink

There is almost no bad time weather-wise to visit San Diego. Even in February, the weather can be quite pleasant and makes for great bar hopping outdoors.   Consider checking out Pacific Beach. Many outdoor venues boast a view of the ocean and great happy hour specials.

Miles of bike trail follows the ocean that can safely lead you from one neighborhood to the next and the food in San Diego covers all manners of cuisine.  From seafood fresh off the boats in Tuna Harbor to handmade pasta in Little Italy or take a walk from the RV park down Grand Ave and find just about any type of food you can imagine.

If beer is your thing, the San Diego craft brewing scene is one of the best in the country.  The North Park neighborhood boasts more than a dozen breweries all walking distance to the next.  While I don’t recommend it, I’ve been told It is possible to visit 8 breweries in one afternoon and try a beer at each (right Will?). I can’t wait to get back to San Diego soon, since this eighth-largest city is always changing, and new places are popping up to explore.

Whats your favorite city to explore with your RV?

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JP Smith

Author

JP Smith - Xscapers Convergence Director

JP has been on the move full time for almost 20 years, working as a tour guide around the world and specializing in the national parks of America.  His travels have taken him to more than 75 countries and all 7 continents. An adventurer at heart, he’s walked across Spain, sailed the Virgin Islands,and  ridden a motorcycle from Alaska to Argentina. Originally from Texas, he’s also lived in both New Zealand and Europe. About 5 years ago JP started living in a motorhome between trips as a tour guide.  He now lives full time in his motorhome, traveling the country organizing convergences for Xscapers!

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