Rain, wind, and storms might feel like a total vacation killer. How are you supposed to relax in your new hammock or go for a swim? Bad weather, however, especially rain doesn’t have to interrupt your vacation! Here are some of our favorite things to do when the weather isn’t quite optimal.
Go for a drive
Why not sightsee from the warmth and comfort of your RV or vehicle? Take a scenic byway or explore local roads (with the help of a map or GPS). You may even spot:
- Waterfalls cascading of rocky slopes and faces
- New streams and growing rivers
- Impressive cloud formations
- A lightning show
*Safety note: high winds, muddy roads, and flooded areas are not safe driving conditions. Stay inside your vehicle if you see lightning or hear thunder. Pull over in torrential rain, blizzard conditions, and heavy hail storms. Stay safe!
Visit museums, centers, and indoor exhibits
This might be a great excuse to check out the visitor center, explore town, or see other indoor places of interest. Learn about the history, ecology, and culture of the area by visiting museums. Try a popular restaurant or explore the less tourist-y places like libraries, college campuses, historical sites, and parks. If you’re far away from humanity, go for a drive and stop at the pullouts you passed on the way in to read the signs.
Have a day in
You probably brought books, crafts, or games with the hope of finding some time to dedicate to them. Now is your chance! Alternatively, you could build a pillow fort, catch up on some z’s, tell stories, play charades, or share your favorite memories of the trip so far. We also love making delicious food on indoor days.
Soak in a natural hot spring
We love this option so much that we sometimes plan trips in bad weather just to visit hot springs. This may not be an option for every area, but you might be surprised. A quick search will help you find hot springs near you. Didn’t bring any swim gear? You might be able to find a clothing optional spring.
Cave exploring, or “spelunking”, is a pretty sweet way to be “outside” without being exposed to the elements. Like the hot springs, there may or may not be caves nearby. It’s worth a shot, and many national parks, monuments, and public lands offer guided tours of prominent caves. Unless you’re an experienced spelunker, stick to more popular caves for safety reasons.
Train, tram, bus…
Bad weather probably won’t stop tour buses, ferries, boats, trains, or trams/gondolas. Many cities offer bus or boat tours. You can typically ride ferries for relatively cheap and see places many others never bother to visit. Scenic train rides are great for all ages and will keep you well sheltered and entertained. If you’re near a ski resort you might want to see if they run a gondola or tram year round. They typically have centers at the top to enjoy the scenery and even a treat!
Journal or write postcards
You probably weren’t going to do this, but now you have time, so why not? Reflect and write about your trip. Check out local shops and centers for postcards and have fun sharing your memories with loved ones. This is a great activity for all ages and helps make the trip that much more special.
Yeah, we know this one isn’t much fun but this needs to happen (especially on longer trips). Go grocery shopping, do the laundry, shower, and clean out your vehicle or RV.
Brave the weather
One of the best parts of inclement weather is that you’ll likely have most outdoor places to yourself. With the right gear and attitude, you can still do almost everything you were planning. Surprisingly, some of your best days may be the ones where you come back to camp chilly, soaking wet, and muddy.
Another safety note: become familiar with the possible dangers associated with inclement weather in your area. For example, exposed mountain peaks and passes are extremely dangerous in the event of a thunderstorm. Some areas, especially mountain streams/rivers and desert canyons, are highly prone to flash flooding with heavy rain. High winds bring dangerous waves and currents in larger bodies of water. Always ask a ranger or local authority about potential hazards and conditions before you venture out in bad weather.