Looking forward to leaving winter in the rearview mirror? We don’t blame you. Wherever you choose to venture in the next few months, take advantage of spring’s prime conditions–warmer weather, fewer crowds, and beautiful nature–to take up a new hobby or revisit an old favorite. To give you some ideas, we’re sharing ten of the best spring activities for van lifers.
Winter can lead to cabin fever, even for the most adventurous nomads who make their home on the road. That’s why all ten of our picks take place outdoors, where you can top up on fresh air and sunshine. These suggestions can also be done almost anywhere in the United States and are well-suited to van life. Whether you’re drawn to relaxing activities straight out of a cottage-core Pinterest board or extreme sports that are sure to get your heart pumping, you’ll find an appealing pastime on this list.
Go Off Grid
Spring is an ideal season for camping in general and boondocking in particular. The temperate weather across the country means you won’t need to run your heat or ac as much, which is one of the largest energy drains when van camping. Cooking outdoors with off-grid options like propane stoves and campfires is also convenient in these temperatures. Plus, you can avoid the busy summer season of national parks. Looking for destination inspiration? Check out our top 10 national parks to visit in spring.
Go on a Wildflower Walk
Admire the show put on by Mother Nature by visiting some stunning seasonal blooms. From delicate bluebonnets to vibrant orange poppies, there is an impressive variety of spring wildflowers across the country. We’ve compiled ten of the best places here so you can beeline straight toward your favorite destination or group several spots together for a botanically-focused road trip.
Hike or Backpack
In addition to the colorful explosions of wildflowers, nature is generally at its most verdant in springtime. Explore these newly lush landscapes on a hike or backpacking expedition. As long as you don’t choose a location that gets a lot of rain in spring, you’ll have optimal conditions, including warmer weather and longer daylight hours. While you can feasibly hike in any season at the right time of day, spring or fall are best for full-day hikes and backpacking trips because summer afternoons can become blistering and winter days are so short.
Visit a Farmers Market
Thanks to all of the growth happening during this season, farmers markets return to many cities and towns. Stock up on the freshest produce possible along with tasty delicacies like pastries and piping-hot meals. Besides treating your taste buds, farmers markets provide opportunities to meet like-minded people in a new place. Some markets have live music, activities for kids, and local crafts that only add to the celebratory spring ambiance. For a double-feature activity, head back to the van to cook a meal that highlights your market haul.
Explore by Bike
Whether you’re into mountain biking or just taking leisurely rides on paved roads, bicycles let you travel farther than you can on foot. This compact mode of transportation also means you can leave your van at the campsite, save gas, get a workout in, and experience more of a connection with your surroundings. Biking is perfect for exploring small cities and beachside communities–you can easily hop off to get a smoothie or pop into a tempting thrift shop.
Plan a Picnic
Speaking of food, picnics are one of those quintessential spring activities. Van lifers get unique benefits when it comes to picnic practicality–they can cook meals in a real kitchen parked near an ever-changing variety of picturesque wilderness areas. Enjoy this lazy day pastime with your traveling partner, solo, or even with some new friends. Bonus activities like playing cards, painting, and reading are nice additions. For a detailed van life picnic how-to, check out our post.
Fly a Kite
One of spring’s less-loved traits is the wind. Harness this natural phenomenon for good by flying a kite. This lighthearted activity is somehow both exciting and relaxing. Kite flying isn’t just for kids, though little ones do love it. Double the fun by heading to a kite festival to marvel at tons of colorful shapes flying together. Adrenaline junkies can take advantage of the wind in a different way by trying out paragliding or parasailing.
Check Out a Spring Event
After a general hiatus in winter, spring is the start of a long season of outdoor festivities. Get tickets to an epic multi-day music festival, many of which welcome van campers. Or simply look up local events wherever you travel. That small cultural festival or block party could be quite memorable. Looking for laidback live music to pair with a glass of wine? Many botanical parks and zoos offer concert series in spring and summer.
Take Up Birding
Birdwatching is an easygoing hobby that provides a reason to wake up early and get outside. You’ll hear the most birdsong in spring and early summer as our feathered friends defend their territories and try to attract a mate. Grab a pair of binoculars and a book or app to help you identify what you see. Then relax into the stillness and feel your connection to the natural world grow.
Go Rock Climbing
Whether you’re a seasoned climber or a first-timer, you can enjoy the challenge of scaling cliffs and the reward of a thrilling panoramic view from the top. Experienced climbers should check out our guides to the best rock climbing spots in New Mexico and Colorado. Newbies can also find guided experiences at many popular sport climbing locations to learn the ropes.
Whichever of these spring activities sparks your interest, a camper van will serve as the ultimate adventure partner. Van life provides the flexibility to explore breathtaking national parks, electrifying cities, and charming towns in complete comfort.
Looking for a traveling home to call your own? Visit RecVan to browse our large selection of vans from brands dedicated to excellence. Ready to build your road trip bucket list? Check out “10 Natural Wonders to See in the New Year.”