When Brewster, NY native Danielle Thompson decided she wanted to be an RVer, she tapped into her “can do” family attitude and dove right in. A CPA by trade in her family’s historic NYC construction business, Civetta and Sons, Danielle is used to “big deals.” She is the third generation to work at the business started by her grandfather that has had a hand in some of the biggest “digs” in NYC, excavating for the buildings that silhouette the Big Apple’s skyline.

Growing up with her older sister and younger brother, she recalls a camper they owned being used more in the backyard as a playhouse than for actual camping. Because of the nature of her dad’s business, summer was always his busy season, so vacations with the whole family became winter ski trips in Vermont and Colorado. Her mom, however, thought nothing of throwing all the kids in the station wagon while dad was working and hitting the road. Whether it was Long Island for a day of discovery, or the family favorite “epic” Niagara Falls their mom had the spirit of adventure that Danielle and her sister and best friend Regina inherited. Danielle credits her mom with instilling in her the feeling that she can “do anything and go anywhere.”


The family camper turned playhouse that Danielle and Regina dreamed and played in as girls. 


When Danielle had her first baby she began feeling the pressure of motherhood, a career, and being a wife to a golf pro instructor. There was always something that needed to be done and juggling all of her responsibilities left her with “mixed up priorities.” It was then that Danielle picked up camping. She says, “When I was camping I was just in the moment. I didn’t care what was going on at work. I didn’t care what my house looked like – honestly I didn’t even care what I looked like. I was just in the moment. I cared about what I had to eat at the next meal, when I got to nap with my daughter and relax. This is what got me hooked.” Danielle began camping with her sister and her now two kids a couple of times each summer and when she did, she said she was so relaxed that the few days she was able to get away felt like weeks.


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Most RVers put a ton of time into researching the best campgrounds for their family vacations and weekend getaways. They will pour over catalogues, read online reviews, post questions in forums, and binge listen to podcasts.



But when it comes time to reserve a campsite, these same research junkies just put in their travel dates and leave the actual campsite selection to an impersonal computer algorithm.


Not us.


We have stayed at hundreds of campgrounds around this country and can say one thing for certain: even the best campgrounds and RV parks have a couple mediocre (or just plain bad) sites. Even more importantly, there is no one-size-fits-all ideal. The best campsite for a family with small children might be a young couple’s worst nightmare.



The key to enjoying campground bliss lies in knowing the exact type of site you want, and then making the effort to reserve that spot. Here are ten questions we recommend asking before booking your next great adventure.

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RVing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My very first RV memory is sleeping on the convertible dinette bed in a borrowed truck camper. When I was in middle school, my parents bought a 1970s Starcraft travel trailer that my dad towed with a gold 1969 Buick station wagon. I’d take along a friend on family camping trips and we would cram ourselves into the tiny bathroom spraying Aqua Net onto our teased bangs. Clearly, I knew how to “glamp” even before “#glamping” was a thing.


By the time I was in high school, my parents had changed RVs again and I had changed my hairstyle. (Thank goodness, four-inch tall bird nest shaped bangs aren’t flattering on anyone.) This RV was a Type C. It was our first motorized RV and I can remember hanging out with my siblings or reading in the back bedroom while we traveled to our destination. Cool beans!


Once my parents even let me drive it while they took a nap in the back (before seat belt laws required all passengers to be buckled in). That was back in the day when kids could stay out wandering the neighborhoods alone until dark. My brother sat shotgun and we chatted away until my dad woke up from the rough ride and decided I wasn’t ready to be driving the RV after all. More than 20 years later, we still laugh about it. Today I wouldn’t even dream of letting Thing 1 drive while we even relaxed in the back, let alone sleep, but that was a different, more innocent time…


The RV I supposedly drove “100 MPH” when I was a teenager. Right!!!


The cousins and my sister (I was way cooler in middle school ;-)) camping with Papaw.


My parents were not and still are not the only ones in our family with an RV. For as long as I can remember, my mom’s parents, Junebug and Papaw, had an RV. If a weekend at grandma’s house was fun, a weekend in grandma’s RV was even better.

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Image via Flickr/ChrisDag


The American Northeast is a land of cool green forests, deep clear lakes and sparkling waterfalls. Its wild coastlines and mercurial climate will test the mettle of even the hardiest traveler, and its brilliant autumn colors call to road trippers from all over the country. It’s hard to know where to start, so we’ve thrown together a list of sights you really don’t want to miss.


Taughannock Falls State Park


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James and I have a woodpecker that’s taken up residence in a huge Silver Maple tree in the backyard of “The Fit RV” Headquarters.



In fact, I can hear him as I type, which is why he’s made his way in my article. He’s up on the roof pecking at the metal flashing on our chimney. It echoes down into my office, but doesn’t bother me. On the contrary, I find it amusing. He’s like an adorable little pet doing a silly trick.


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