What is your all-time favorite place to campervan in the US?
My favorite place to campervan would be in the Southern Utah/Northern Arizona region. With vast wilderness of unchartered territory and desolation, it also boasts the largest area of easily accessible public lands ideal for camping. It’s an unforgettable otherworldly experience!
What spot is on your bucket list to campervan in the US?
Pacific Coast Highway – particularly the Big Sur area. There are tons of great camping spots along the most famous coastal drive in the world, especially given the lack of ‘traditional’ accommodations. Waking up to scenic mountain views, surrounded by the ocean, is the ideal camping adventure.
What is your go-to campervan meal?
My go-to camping meal is an egg and avocado sandwich. I toast bagels with cream cheese, cook eggs sunny side up, throw in some avocados seasoned with lemon and salt, and voila! Another great camping meal, especially in a campervan where cookware is provided, is Trader Joe’s Kale Pesto Linguine! Everything comes pre-prepped in a meal kit, and all you have to do is throw it in a saucepan with some olive oil.
What is the top tip you’d give to people who don’t campervan often or are headed out on their first trip?
Leave the land better than you found it: No matter your camping style, it’s essential to make sure you are a good steward of the land. This includes picking up all trash, securing trash and other items before you leave or turn in for the night, and avoid feeding wildlife (on purpose or inadvertently).
How we recommend you visit these places
Big Sur is sure to be on more bucket lists than just Soha’s! This spot of coastline south of San Francisco is as rugged and breathtaking as any spot on the west coast. If you’re looking for a great campervan road trip, the Pacific Coast Highway, where you find Big Sur, is definitely one of the best options available.
If you plan to spend any time in Big Sur, there are plenty of things you can do. First, you can check out Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and camp in the shade of the redwoods! Nicknamed “mini Yosemite,” Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has something for everyone. You don’t have to stray far off the PCH to enjoy camping in Pfeiffer Big Sur (although you can if you like), as the Pfeiffer Big Sur campground is a short drive away. Reservations are required as this is a highly sought-after camping spot, so make sure you have those ahead of time! If you don’t have luck with reservations, consider the Riverside campground. Those looking for a more affordable option can find one slightly deeper into the woods (and away from road noise) in the Indian Valley campground.
For hiking trails, the Big Sur River Gorge trail is a beginner-friendly option a bit over a mile long. For more experienced hikers, the Buzzard’s Roost trail can be a good challenge.
What else is in the area?
For starters, plenty of California wilderness. There are a number of state parks and beaches in the Big Sur area. If you’re more of a beach person than a mountain one, Pfeiffer Beach might be of interest to you. Pfeiffer Beach has Keyhole Arch, a popular photo destination. A similar phenomenon to Rialto Beach’s Hole-in-the-Wall that you might have stopped at if you visited Olympic National Park, this is a really fun photo spot. While you might usually consider a summertime campervan trip to Big Sur, Keyhole Arch is best observed in December and January when the sunset aligns with the “keyhole.” Around New Years’ is a popular time to see this phenomenon, but those who want to avoid crowds can opt for the first or second week in January.
Regardless, this beach is for day use only, so you’ll want to find a campsite in the area. The Riverside and Indian Valley campgrounds mentioned earlier are still convenient locations for those who want to spend some time in the sand.
If you can’t get enough of the PCH, take the drive south to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and spend a night there!
If you’re just stopping by the beach before continuing on your way north, the Laguna Seca Recreation Area is a good option, especially if you want to spend a day in the Monterey area.
Zion National Park
The Northern Arizona/Southern Utah area made Soha’s top pick for a place to campervan, and for a good reason! Zion National Park is an incredibly popular destination and offers a number of unique experiences. A hiker’s paradise (and a photographer’s too), Zion has picturesque hikes that are anything but common. Consider, for example, The Narrows. Zion has something for everyone. If The Narrows isn’t on your list for this round, maybe the Zion Canyon Overlook trail will be. Only a mile or so long, this moderately challenging hike is a nature photographer’s dream. If a sunrise (or sunset) hike is in your future, you can’t go wrong with choosing this as your destination. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, the famous Angel’s Landing trail is something you might want to try to conquer. If you plan to take on that hike, you’ll want to start early as, even though it’s difficult, it is quite the popular trail!
If you want to camp in the park, check out the Watchman campground near the south entrance. If Watchman is full, another campervan campsite is the South campground, located conveniently in the park.
What else is in the area?
As Soha mentioned, there are many boondocking options as southern Utah and Northern Arizona have plenty of BLM land you can camp on. If you’re looking for something a little more rugged, the Sheep Bridge BLM Area near La Verkin, Utah, promises excellent sunrises and sunsets.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a bit of a drive east but stays on the theme of BLM land. If you plan to head out that way, be mindful of fire regulations, as southern Utah can be quite dry during the summer months. You can find some of the most interesting rock formations at Grand Staircase, and the bottom of the staircase actually ends at the highest bench of the Grand Canyon.
If you plan to camp near Grand Staircase, Hole-in-the-Rock Road, a dispersed camping site, is your best option. If you want a more private spot, you’ll need to get there early. You should still have privacy in the larger camping area available, but it all depends on your preferences.
Good luck on your travels!
If the places Soha talked about got you excited for summer road trips, you can rent a campervan in Las Vegas and hit the road! On the west coast, you can stop into our Los Angeles or San Francisco locations.
Thanks to Soha for taking the time to sit down with us! If you’re interested in learning more about Soha and her work, you can follow her on Instagram!
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.