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Football and Phoenix: Planning Your Arizona Getaway

Football fans (and fans of multi-million dollar commercials) rejoice because the 57th installation of the Big Game is upon us. In the spirit of its return to Arizona, we figured it was time to start planning that next Phoenix adventure. So whether you’re looking for a home base away from the tailgate, or just an excuse to take in the beauty of the desert, we’ve got you covered with a list of activities and campgrounds to explore in the Valley of the Sun.


When it comes to gorgeously painted landscapes and outdoor excursions, Phoenix is pretty tough to beat. Here are a few reasons why.

Desert Botanical Garden

Image via Shutterstock


Founded by the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society, this 140-acre botanical garden has preserved the beauty of more than 50,000 plants for over 85 years. Come for the vegetation, stay for a cocktail, and leave with some prickly pear jelly. Just what the doctor ordered.

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The Ultimate List of Major RV Repairs To Expect and How to Prepare

Most RV owners can tell you about the freedom and adventure the lifestyle allows but they will also likely follow by telling you just what an investment it’s going to be to maintain that RV.

From plumbing to brake pads, fuses to hydraulic fluid, and anything in-between, owning an RV can be an education in DIY maintenance, resourcefulness, and handiwork. And even then, with the best upkeep and care, there are still inevitable repairs that require professional help.

To plan for and stay ahead of potentially expensive and inconvenient RV issues throughout the years of ownership, we’re looking at a wide-ranging list of major RV repairs to expect and what you can do to prepare.

Plumbing and Water Systems

Let’s start with what many dread: plumbing and water. Not only can plumbing be potentially unpleasant, water systems in general can lead to significant damage to your RV. Knowing common problems and repairs is a good defense. 

Clogged toilets

Clogged toilets are a crass reality of RV ownership, but certainly, one that can be mitigated with proper care and attention.

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Camping News Highlights: January 2023

Welcome to the Good Sam camping news spotlight, where we cover some of the month’s notable trends, events, news stories, and information helpful to campers and RVers. In the first month of 2023, we’re making note of fuel price projections for the year, recent winter camping popularity, RV and outdoor shows in January, camping predictions for 2023, and more. 

Winter Camping

This year saw more RVers and campers enjoying the outdoors this winter. Recent poll numbers indicate winter camping has been more popular in 2022 and 2023 than a year ago. Over 8.2 million households said they planned or plan to camp this winter, and 15.3 million planned to travel in RVs between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. 

Winter camping means a lot of different things depending on which part of the country you go to. While sunbelt states like Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona offer warm temperatures for snowbirds looking to escape the cold, more moderate climates like those in the Pacific Northwest offer more traditional winter weather camping while avoiding many travel hazards caused by snow and extreme temperatures. 

Ultimate RV Show

January kicks off the 2023 Ultimate RV Show with January events in Denver, Syracuse, and Nampa, and a February event in Minneapolis, MN. These events showcase new and used RVs for sale of various types, sizes, and classes, with many shows featuring outdoor vendors displaying countless products and accessories. Unique to these events are the special show pricing on both new and used RVs unavailable anywhere else.

Special VIP appointments are available at each event and include such perks as:

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Do You Need Roadside Assistance? Get the Answer in Five Steps

You turn the key, and the engine roars to life. That low rumble in the engine compartment is music to your ears and the perfect soundtrack to what’s shaping up to be a perfect trip. You’ve followed all the checklists for a trouble-free journey and you’re confident that the sunny weather will hold up. As you guide your RV out onto the main highway, you ask yourself, what could possibly go wrong?

An hour later, you get your answer. You hear a loud pop, and the vehicle shakes and loses traction as your right-front tire disintegrates into tatters. With white knuckles, you limp to the shoulder as cars whiz past. You evaluate the damage to your vehicle and realize that you’re going to need professional help, stat. Now what? You’re stranded on the side of the road and the dream of a trip to America’s top national parks melts away.

Getty Images

Breaking the Ice on RV Breakdowns

Let’s face it: We don’t like to think about RV breakdowns. Our beautiful machines were meant for fun and exploration, not for getting stranded on the edge of the highway. But bad things happen, and a decent roadside assistance plan can bring unmatched peace of mind to travelers who want a worry-free vacation. 

That begs the question: How much protection is enough protection? Do we really need more than the emergency road service that we already have for our automobiles? 

Giant tow truck ready to rescue fifth-wheel trailer.
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Campground Review: Cherry Hill Park Near Washington, D.C.

Urban camping isn’t for everyone, but if your camping adventures take you to Washington D.C., you should take your RV along, as one of the nation’s best campgrounds provides a perfect base camp for exploring the city. Cherry Hill Park, located in College Park, Maryland, offers an outstanding camping experience and easy access to the nation’s capital. 

While my family had a lengthy debate while picking our summer road trip destination, once we selected Washington, D.C., we didn’t have a hard time choosing a place to stay. Cherry Hill Park is a renowned camping destination that visitors brag on far and wide. We were eager to camp at a park we had already heard so much about.

Photo: Kerri Cox

When camping, my family (which includes my husband and two young adult sons) has three main requirements: electricity, cell service and a safe, clean environment. Beyond these, our favorite campgrounds have run the gamut from rustic state parks to over-the-top resorts, as we easily find things to enjoy about each. Our goal is constantly to find ways adjust our expectations for the type of park we are visiting.

After a quick check on the Good Sam website, it was clear that Cherry Hill Park should easily meet our initial requirements — and more with high Good Sam ratings on all aspects. But would it live up to our expectations in person?

Flowers near an RV site.
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Everything You Need To Know About a Roadside Breakdown


Travelers everywhere fear the dreaded roadside breakdown. Aside from an injury-causing event, these are worst-case scenarios for your trip. Breakdowns interrupt plans, delay arrivals, cause reservation cancellations, put an unexpected expense into the budget, and, perhaps worst of all, add an element of the unknown to your trip.

Often with a roadside breakdown, we just don’t know just how bad it’s going to get in terms of delay, cost, repair, and hassle. Even a problem as simple as a flat tire could escalate into a bigger, more formidable issue

If you don’t have a spareIf the flat damages the wheel or vehicleIf the service center doesn’t carry your tire sizeIf you don’t have cell service If the weather is badIf you’re stuck in the middle of nowhereIf you’re towing a trailer or driving an RV

And that’s just a flat tire. The more serious the reason for the breakdown, the worse the impact. For trucks, semis, and RVers, the problems can escalate when you incorporate larger vehicles and tires, towables and towing setups, additional weight, and more.  

All travelers should have a plan for roadside breakdowns. The better you can prevent, predict, or quickly resolve on-the-road problems, the less danger, stress, delay, and expenses you’ll encounter. 

Tow truck towing SUV
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An RV Renter’s Guide to Guadalupe Mountains National Park


This Good Sam RV Rentals series highlights locations across the US we think are well worth the trip. Check out this guide for everything the RV renter needs to know about Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is regularly called a “hiker’s paradise,” and for good reason. More than that, it’s also a perfect place to visit on an RV road trip. Texas is known for being a huge state, so taking the state in by road means you get to see a lot. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is no different.

The Guadalupe Mountain range runs for 40 miles. It also contains the tallest peak in Texas (no small feat there) and is also home to El Capitan, one of the world’s most famous climbing rocks. Its close proximity to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico also makes it an obvious place to stop for a while and enjoy the many acres of hiking and other recreational opportunities.

Why Visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Your Rented RV?

Image from Getty

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Enjoy the Island Experience at Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground

Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground off the coast of Massachusetts offers everyone a unique family camping experience. It began as a vacant wooded lot in 1968 when the land was purchased by Charles and Jeanne Feeney. Charles’ dream was to have a place for the family to camp and call their own. The family fell in love with the island and discovered all that the island has to offer: beautiful beaches, fabulous fishing, quaint villages and unforgettable sunsets. They found it irresistible. From the rolling hills of Aquinnah to the dunes of Katama, there is no place on earth like it.

The campground was officially opened in the spring of 1972 and has been a family-run operation ever since. Today the campground is managed by a third generation of The Feeney Family. The goal has always been to provide a quality camping experience for families who visit this wonderful island.

A ship ferries passengers and vessels from the mainland to Martha’s Vineyard. Photo Courtesy of Martha’s Vineyard Campground

Getting to the island starts the adventure. The Steamship Authority leaves from Woods Hole and travels to Oak Bluffs Terminal, approximately 5 miles from the campground or Vineyard Haven, which is 2 miles away.

For those adventurers who like to explore using public transport, we have a bus stop right at the campground. For more information, visit the VTA website at

A white lighthouse risees against a cloudy sky.
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Lavaland RV Park Brews Up Adventure in New Mexico

Thirsty for a relaxing vacation? Lavaland RV Park in Grants, New Mexico, serves up a refreshing getaway just 78 miles west of Albuquerque. With only 39 roomy spaces and plenty of shade trees, the uncrowded park offers ample amenities on a sprawling property close to some of the Land of Enchantment’s most stunning attractions. Wet your whistle at the brewery next door to complete the vacation menu. 

As the name implies, Lavaland RV Park is surrounded by rugged, rocky landscapes formed eons ago by hot volcanic activity. Nowadays, guests can cool down under the shade trees, including soaring pines, that block the sun from the roomy sites, which include 10 pull-throughs and have a maximum length of 75 feet. Powered by 30- and 50-amp electricity, each site has a table, and there’s plenty of room for slideouts. 

Lavaland RV Park

Guests can access a slew of entertainment options. The park’s free Wi-Fi supports streaming, and cable TV is also available. A rec hall, horseshoes, and pavilion keep travelers busy, and restrooms and showers, laundry facilities and RV supplies provide onsite convenience. Get the blood pumping on one of the nearby nature trails. Dog owners turn their pets loose at the enclosed dog run.

Elkins Brewing Company

Row of beer taps.
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The New Good Sam Campground Guide Is Here

Those familiar with Good Sam’s comprehensive campground and coupon guide know the value and information contained within this single publication. Now the latest edition, its 88th, is available to campers and RVers everywhere with new and improved design and content. 

With information for over 12,000 private RV parks, public campgrounds, and services, including 2,000 Good Sam Parks — and over $1500 in coupons — there’s enough to keep any RVer’s itinerary full and affordable for far longer than a single season. 

So what should campers and RVers expect to find in this latest release? The Good Sam North American Campground Guide features over 300,000 campgrounds, ratings, and map updates, plus savings and discounts, and more — with this issue including new special features that can improve and enliven campers’ North American travels.

With the use of this guide as a hands-on resource, campers can plan trips, save on costs, and gain access to endless locations and itineraries all across North America. Let’s check it out. 

What’s New


Perhaps the most notable update to the new campground guide is the inclusion of Wildsam, the newest addition to Good Sam’s team of travel and camping experts. The field guides from Wildsam bring an expert approach to new places, and at the beginning of each section of the campground guide, they offer a more in-depth analysis of each location, including a recommended event, restaurant, outfitter, drink, institution (museum), and scenic route for each state. 

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Winter Camping in the Pacific Northwest

Winter camping in an RV can be a gratifying experience, especially in parts of the US where the weather is snowy and cold, but not extreme. But finding this balance is a challenge. In the Great Lakes region, stunning snow-covered landscapes provide a wonderland setting, but extreme weather fluctuations can make for risky winter RVing. Southern states offer winters so mild you can enjoy summer activities in the off-season — like biking or boating — but these locales lack the wintry backdrop we picture at the mention of winter camping. 

The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is an exciting middle-ground. The colder environment allows for a proper winter experience, but it’s often milder — wet instead of iced-over, snowy at high elevation but usually temperate once out of the mountains. Then there’s the coast which offers its own unique winter camping experience. 

So if you get the winter RV camping bug this season, consider a PNW adventure, and prepare with these winter RV camping and travel tips. 

Leave the house prepared for winter camping.

Winter RVing requires some additional forethought before hitting the road, even in the PNW where winters are comparatively milder. Without proper preparation, you and your RV could be at risk. Prep for the road and campsite with these recommendations. 

Plan for wet conditions as much as cold conditions. 

Rain is likely in the winter months of the PNW, with some parts of Washington receiving up to While many winter RVers are thinking about sustaining themselves through colder temperatures, PNW travelers should have rubber boots, good-fitting rain gear, pop-up tents, tarps, and old towels to wipe off mud. Also, general comfortability driving on wet roads goes highly recommended. 

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Impeccable Camping: 156 Good Sam Campgrounds Earn Perfect Ratings for 2023

If you’re looking for the perfect camping experience, then we’ve got the places for you. For 2023, a total of 156 Good Sam Campgrounds scored flawless 10/10★/10 Good Sam ratings based on our trusted and time-honored evaluation system.

Our rep teams travel across North America and check parks for the cleanliness of restrooms and showers; environment and visual appearance. Each category is rated on a scale of one to 10, and a star is added for exceptionally clean restrooms. You’ll also find these campgrounds listed by state and province in our Find a Campground page and in the latest edition of the North American Good Sam Campground Guide.


Sugar Sands RV Resort

Alabama 10/10★/10 Campground

Sugar Sands RV Resort, Gulf Shores

Superstition Sunrise RV Resort

Indoor pool
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Handle Winter RV Driving Challenges Like a Pro

Winter weather driving is not something that springs to mind when we think of RVing. However, most recreational vehicle owners have or will be exposed to it at some time during their travels. It can occur to snowbirds during their journey to the Sun Belt or during their spring trek back home. Winter conditions can present themselves in higher elevations or during mountainous travels on an otherwise tranquil day. Deteriorating winter-like conditions can descend without warning. Many travelers can’t avoid crossing a wintery area to reach a destination or to escape an approaching weather system.

Getty Images

Some of the challenges that winter weather can produce are freezing temperatures, precipitation in the form of snow or freezing rain, icy, slippery road surfaces, reduced visibility in blowing snow and vehicle ice buildup that hampers windshield wiper function and forward vision, to name a few. These conditions can make travel extremely challenging, or at times, impossible.

Eluding Inclement Conditions

So, let’s look at ways to help avoid winter hazards and some tips that may help RVers deal with these wintery perils.

First, the best way to mitigate the risks of such events should be obvious: Avoid traveling any routes and times that may be subject to this type of weather. While this strategy may work, it also seriously limits RV travel plans.

Aerial shot of RV campground
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Last-Minute Holiday RV Camping Gift Guide

There are people who do their holiday shopping in July. And then there’s the rest of us. If you’re as panicked as I am about finding the perfect presents for RVers, relax. Your search for the best gifts for RVers is over. Check out some of my favorite holiday picks for campers, whatever your budget.

RV Stocking Stuffers

Kids aren’t the only ones who get to have fun with Christmas toys. Even adults can enjoy one of these presents under the tree.

Realistic Die-Cast RV Models for Big Kids


Photo: Camping World

Do you know someone who’s dreaming about the RV life? These adorable and affordable RV collectible toys inspire and encourage future road-trippers to chase their wanderlust. Available in a collector’s series box, the realistic die-cast models look great on any desk and include a truck and fifth wheel trailer, cute SUV and travel trailer, modern Class A coach, a Class C motorhome and boat, or a rugged jeep and off-road camper.

An array of game pieces
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52 New Good Sam Parks in the Sun Belt Welcome Winter Travelers

Here’s a cure for the winter blues: Good Sam has added 52 campgrounds to its network in America’s Sun Belt, giving RVers more chances to find savings and value on the road while enjoying warm-weather adventures. Good Sam members can save big with the 10 percent discount, and while you’re having fun in the sun, discover all of the RV campgrounds in the Good Sam Network. You’re bound to find a warm place under the Good Sam halo.

If you’re not a Good Sam member, it’s easy to join: Purchase a membership at any Good Sam Campground or sign up online. Check each campground’s link to determine seasonal availability and to make reservations.


Gulf Shores RV Resort, Gulf Shores

Located on the Gulf Coast, this resort offers 170 sites, most of which enjoy waterfront locations on stocked fishing lakes. Campers relish the splash pad, pavilion and pickleball courts.


Catherine’s Landing at Hot Springs

Catherine’s Landing At Hot Springs, Hot Springs National Park

Nestled on 400 acres on the shore of Lake Catherine, this resort helps guests fulfill their boating and fishing dreams. Prefer warmer water? Hot Springs is only five minutes away.

Aerial view of three pools in an RV resort.
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9 Mistakes Diesel Pusher Owners May Make

Diesel Pusher

Diesel Pushers are a whole different breed when compared to their gasoline powered cousins.  Not in cost as some top of the line gas coaches can be higher in cost than an entry level DP.  But, when it comes to complexity and things that are similar and can be related to that of an automobile, it becomes clear, the DP is a totally different animal.

But, by reading their vehicle manuals and their years of general automotive mechanical knowledge, the diesel RV owners manage quite well. However, there are operational mistakes that many make.  Most of these we were probably unaware of and are not found in the operator’s manual.  So let’s take a look at some.  See if you were aware of all or some.

Air fully Up Prior To Moving:  Failure to fully enable your air suspension to ride height prior to moving your coach may result in front fender body damage.  If the air suspension is not fully inflated the turning wheel cut may cause the front tires to come in contact with the fender flares.  This can grind off, or rip, a portion of the fenders if the steering is turned at a fair angle.  Additionally, driveline universals joints can be damaged if high torque is applied due to an acute angle between transmission output and the differential.

Applying Hard Service Air Brakes While The Parking Brake Is Enabled:  Applying the brake pedal hard while the park brake is on, an air brake equipped vehicle has the potential to cause mechanical damage. This damage can be done to the brake cams, push rods, and related components.  Fortunately, for many years now, anti-compounding valves have been standard on all domestic air braked vehicles that prevents this issue.  However, it is a common practice to avoid such action to safeguard an issue should the valve fail.

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Step into the Great Outdoors at San Bernardino County Regional Parks in SoCal

With more than 8,000 acres of open space, San Bernardino County Regional Parks offers natural, diverse outdoor recreational opportunities for everyone to enjoy whether your taste is for camping, fishing, picnicking or even exploring a ghost town. We have it all at a low cost for the entire family.

San Bernardino County Regional Parks

Amenities range from playgrounds and splash pads to swimming pools and waterslides. A golf course, equestrian center, archery and Olympic shooting range are available at Prado. Adjacent to Cucamonga-Guasti is a brand new Topgolf entertainment venue. Our parks also are home to native species of plants, birds and wildlife, and offer great photo ops for nature enthusiasts.

Tent and RV campgrounds are available at Calico Ghost Town, Glen Helen, Mojave Narrows, Mojave River Forks, Prado and Yucaipa. Calico also offers cabins and bunkhouse rentals.

A new RV rental experience is now available at Calico, Mojave Narrows, Prado and Yucaipa, with 22-, 28- and 30-foot Evo Select travel trailers by Forest River to choose from. Photos and details can be found on our reservation website at

Collage of photos showing wildlife with callouts and a rugged desert background.
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December Regional Travel — Celebrate the Season in the Southwest

The Southwest welcomes the holiday season with candlelight celebrations and novel ways to welcome St. Nick.

Southern Arizona

During the holidays, southern Arizona lights up with luminarias and centuries-old festivals.

See Light in the Valley of the Sun

See our Regional Travel Calendar for more year-round destinations.

Taking up 140 acres in the heart of Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden serves as a home to more than 50,000 plants, including many indigenous cacti and agave. During the holidays, the landscape basks in the soft glow of hundreds of luminarias — along with electric holiday lights. Known as Las Noches de las Luminarias, the event guides guests through a desert wonderland that will make you see nature in a whole new way.

Luminarias glow in the night. Getty Images

An aerial shot of an observatory overlooking the grid of a metropolis at night.
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5 Dos and Don’ts of Working While RVing

The recent pandemic was no fun, but I can think of one good development: working while RVing is now easier than ever. If you’re also thinking about trying the lifestyle, don’t turn the key just yet. My five best tips for working while RVing from anywhere are critical reading before you give it a try.

The 5 Dos and Don’ts of Working While RVing

Many aspiring nomads enjoy browsing the social media profiles of full-time RVing influencers. It’s a fun way to daydream and do your research, but be warned: you may only be seeing the extremes of nomadic living. Most profiles tend to focus on the good days of this lifestyle. Some like to share a gritty story, but rarely do full-time RV influencers expose the whole truth about living and working on the road. If you’re planning to travel and earn money, my five reality checks about combining work and RV travel will put you on the best path forward.

Don’t Let Work Take Over Your RV Adventures

Work isn’t always a four-letter word. My husband, Jim Nelson, and I have spent the last 15 years working on the road and it pays for full-time RV travel and living expenses. We don’t work every single day, but as two self-employed people in a 27-foot fifth-wheel, the line between work and home life is razor thin — even more than when we had a sticks-and-bricks business in Northern California. We’ve discovered that separating work and play on the road is difficult at best. But when we prioritize fun at great destinations, our effort to clock out reminds us why we full-time RV in the first place. For instance, a trip to Dinosaur National Monument in Utah reminded us that walking away from work a little more than usual rewarded us with unforgettable experiences at park attractions, like Dinosaur’s gorgeous hiking trails.

Mobile Workspace. Office setup at Crowley Lake, California.

Have Multiple Ways to Get Online

New nomads working on the road quickly discover that relying on RV park and campground wifi is a fool’s game. Although many top-rated RV parks have installed wifi networks throughout their campsites, the sad truth is that rarely does the technology keep up with everyone’s needs — especially now that more of us are working online. So if your job or nomadic business depends on internet access, don’t leave home until you buy the best RV internet connectivity hardware and service plans you can afford. And always have service with at least two different providers. That way, when (not if) one service goes down, the other is your backup way to get online, so you can keep bringing home the bacon.

A man in red shirt examines trees in a ravine.
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10 Winter Festivals to Put on Your Radar

If any of these winter festivals are within visiting distances of you and yours, we highly recommend the trip to fully enjoy the season. 


Temperatures may be dropping, but the festival season is just warming up. Whether you’re looking to extend your holiday vacation or get your family uncooped from the house, there are still plenty of events to keep you busy.


To help you make the most of the frigid temps, here are 10 winter festivals to put on your radar.

winter festivals
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