The Best RV Road Trip Routes Around the World

a RV in a road trip route

blog authorBy Samuel Hogarth shield verificationVerified Expert

Holidays don’t have to include hotels, or indoor accommodation of any kind. If you want to maximize your travel time and connection to nature, RVs and campervans are the way to go. You have the freedom to travel as little or as much as you want in a day, with the ability to stop and rest in your mobile ‘home on wheels’ whenever you’re tired.

A campervan trip means you’ll always have everything you need with you. If you want to avoid the crowds, you could pull into towns only to pick up supplies. Best of all, you can complete the world’s most famous road trips which are popular bucket list items for many.

Here we uncover these RV road trip gems that everyone is talking. And if you choose the Iceland one, remember we’ve got you covered with our affordable, up to date vehicles. Visit Campervan Iceland to secure your rental. But first, some general notes on RV road trips.

Things to Know for a Road Trip

  • Check the free camping laws of the country you’re travelling through before arrival. Even the best RV trips will have limits on where and when you can stop and sleep. In Iceland, for example, free camping is prohibited, so you must find a designated campsite each night. In other countries, stopping in a lay-by to spend the night is perfectly legal.
  • Take account of your space. When you’re renting a campervan or RV, the aim is not to pack it to the brim with belongings. Remember that the vehicle will double as your living space, so take only what you need to allow for sufficient room to move around. An RV road trip isn’t meant to be luxurious or ultra-comfortable; it’s meant to be an adventure.
RV parked at a camp
  • Be aware of local speed limits and potential hazards. The maximum speed limit in Iceland is low compared to other countries, but you may come across features you aren’t used to such as single-lane bridges and sheep on the road. Read up a bit about these differences beforehand so there are less surprises in the moment.
  • Research the best times to travel. Severe winters or rainy seasons will make a road trip in certain places more difficult, less enjoyable, or both. Look into recommendations for the ideal time to complete your chosen road trip. For Iceland, the summer months mean a better chance of good weather and more access.
  • Create a fitting playlist. Music, podcasts, or audiobooks will set the mood for your long-distance trip. To really soak up the local environment, pick music from artists who are from the country you’re travelling through. For example, Kaleo, Sigur Rós and GDRN are artists from Iceland whose music is great to listen to while driving.

Iceland’s Ring Road

Iceland’s main highway, Route 1 (the Ring Road) circles the entire country, cutting off only the corners and larger fjords.

The road’s total length is 1,322 kilometers (821 miles), so driving and exploring it can easily fill a whole holiday. As well as linking the island’s main towns, the road also provides easy access to popular natural features.

Best RV road trip: Iceland's Ring Road

Ideally, you’ll want to give yourself at least seven days to complete the Ring Road. This will mean a few hours of driving per day and plenty of time to hike and join excursions.

  • Seljalandsfoss. A tall, thin waterfall you can walk behind on the south coast.
  • Skógafoss. A waterfall which falls onto flat ground, so you can practically stand under it. It's found further along the south coast.
  • Vík (Reynisfjara black sand beach). A small village halfway along the south coast. Reynisfjara beach is famous for its hexagonal basalt columns and Reynisdrangar rock formation.
  • Jökulsárlón. A glacial lagoon on the south coast. The water is bright blue and has pieces of glacial ice floating in it. You may even spot a few seals resting peacefully nearby.
  • Egilsstaðir/Hallormsstaður. A small, peaceful town on the east coast. Hallormsstaður is the largest forest in Iceland and is sprinkled with a handful of gorgeous hiking trails.Hallormsstaður is the largest forest in Iceland, containing multiple hiking trails.
  • Dimmuborgir/Mývatn. A lava field containing natural columns and arches. Found in the north of Iceland, next to Iceland’s largest lake, Mývatn.
  • Akureyri. The second largest urban area in Iceland, outside of the Capital Region. Located halfway along the north coast, it’s a wonderful place to whale watch and snowboard.
  • Borganes. A peaceful town slightly above Reykjavík, found on the west coast.

Maui, Hawaii’s Road to Hana

This is a trip across the north coast of the Hawaiian island, Maui. On this journey, your eyes will be blessed with some incredible scenery and picturesque waterfalls.

The road itself is just over 100km (62 miles), so it can be tackled in a day. However, it’s best to stretch it out two or three days, for a chance to experience all the great stops.

Best RV Road trip Route: Hawaii

While the route is called the “Road to Hana”, it is the journey that carries the real value. You’ll be stopping frequently to hike, take pictures and admire the views.

Keep in mind, with this and all trips, you should only stop where it is safe to do so. Hint: the side of the road doesn’t count. Find a lay-by or car park that will keep your car away from passing traffic.

The route generally begins in Kahului or Paia, close to the island’s main airport. From there, you follow Route 36 east, and this transitions to Route 360. The road is very windy and narrow in places, so take it slow and be aware of other cars. Here are some ideas of places to stop.

  • Twin Falls. This trail is 2.9km (1.8 miles) and features stream crossing. You’ll come across the smaller waterfall first, then the larger one further along. Both have pools beneath them that you can swim in.
  • Garden of Eden. This is a botanical garden with multiple trails passing through it. You can see both native and introduced flowers and trees in settings that resemble something out of a dream.
  • Hana Lava Tube. A hollow cavern you can walk through. One of many lava tubes through Hawaii.
  • Hana Town. This small town doesn’t have to be the end of the journey, but it is where most people stop.

New Zealand’s North Island

New Zealand is very well suited for having a phenomenal RV road trip. With affordable, simple campsites ideally located near to hiking trail entrances and landmarks, you’ll easily find your way around. A good route is from Auckland to Wellington on the North Island.

Best RV road trip routes: New Zealand

For those fans of The Lord of the Rings, the journey between these two cities will be perfect for you. You’ll be able to see a lot of places that were used in filming, as well as some natural wonders.

The campsites managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) are remote and rustic, perfect for adventurers. Hiking trails and landmarks are clearly signposted, with approximate durations clearly stated. Here are some of the best stops along the North Island route.

  • Matamata (Hobbiton). The film set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit has been turned into a must-see tourist attraction. You can take a tour around this small section of the Shire while a guide offers up some fun facts.
  • Mount Maunganui. This is a small hill overlooking a beautiful bay, with a great beach right below. This fairly steep hike to the hill’s summit takes around 40 minutes. The views along the way and at the peak make the hike very much worth it.
  • Waitomo (Glowworm Caves). This area is home to some of the finest glow worm caves in the world. Join a tour to be taken in a dingy and witness thousands of the insects nesting in caverns.
  • Tongariro National Park. This contains one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks”, the Tongariro Crossing. It is 19.4km (12 miles) long and can be completed in a day. The hike up to Mount Ngauruhoe, also known as Mount Doom, is a challenging side quest (as its name so aptly suggests).

BC, Canada’s Sea to Sky Highway

This route stretches from Vancouver, British Columbia to Whistler Ski Resort and beyond. The road is known as such because it begins at sea level and gradually rises to 700 meters (2297 feet).

For 125 km (78 miles), you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the ocean, mountains and small communities.

The journey can be completed in a day, but there are some great stops to discover while en route. Whistler, although it is well worth checking out, needn’t be your final stop. The highway continues for another 125 km to Lillooet.

You could easily fill three days traveling this route and exploring. Here are a few recommended sites to add to your list.

Best RV road trip routes: Canada
  • Stanley Park. This park essentially sits at the center of Vancouver city and is home to some giant Canadian trees. It’s a wonderful place to spend a few hours walking around.
  • Squamish. This is one of the most ideal locations for people who love the outdoors. With climbing, challenging hikes, mountain biking, canoeing and more, you’ll never want to leave this adventure-soaked haven. Hiking up the Stawamus Chief is highly recommended.
  • Whistler. This is best known as a ski resort and is one of the most famous in North America. The resort’s two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, are 1,530 meters (5,020 feet) and 1,565 meters (5,133 feet) tall. At the base, a large town full of restaurants, hotels and bars cater to the huge number of visitors.

In the summer, Whistler turns into a destination for hikers and mountain bikers, as well as offering other activities. Zip lining and bungee jumping are also available, so Whistler is really the best place to get your adrenaline on.

The USA’s Route 66

This is arguably the most famous and well-loved RV road trip route. Although the route doesn’t actually exist as one complete highway anymore, you can still drive most of it. You’ll just have exit on the parts that have been decommissioned and re-join further along.

Best RV Road Trip routes: US

The original Route 66 ran all the way from Chicago, Illinois in the east to Los Angeles, California in the west. You can still use these as your start and end points, but will have to join other highways at times.

Between Illinois and California, you’ll pass through a handful of states: Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The trip is around 4000 km (2,500 miles) so you’ll want to commit a few weeks to drive it. Here are some popular stops on the way.

Springfield, Missouri. Visit preserved Route 66 businesses that maintain a vintage feel. If you feel like learning some history, visit the Route 66 Car Museum.

Clinton, Oklahoma. This town features an indoor water park, the Water Zoo, which will come in handy to cool down from the bolstering heat in the summer months

Cadillac Ranch, Texas. Ten old Cadillacs are buried in the ground with their tails pointing upwards. The cars are from different years between 1949 and 1964, showcasing the model’s development.

Santa Rosa, New Mexico. The retro vibe of this town will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The state also has some incredible hikes to enjoy.

Santa Monica Pier, California. This famous spot with its beautiful beach and classic fair is a great place to start, or wrap up your journey.

Top road trips worldwide

Wherever you decide to travel in the world, you’ll find great road trips to enjoy. Ultimately, the best RV trips are those in which you leave the crowds behind in search of the country’s soul.

Sometimes this will mean changing plans and being spontaneous as new opportunities present themselves, and sometimes locals will guide the way forwards.

It’s always best to prepare for road trips by thinking about what to pack and what you’re prepared to do. The planning means that (probably) less will go wrong and you can focus on the experience more.

However, as we mentioned earlier, road trips aren’t meant to be luxurious. Prepare to make yourself uncomfortable and embrace it. Nail down your destination and book your vehicle today to begin the adventure of a lifetime.

a RV in a road trip route

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