Our new favorite way to explore the USA: in an Escape Campervan. We completed an incredible family road trip up Florida’s Gulf Coast in one and have since seen them all around the USA. On our Escape Campervan road trip we visited four different National Park sites and saw more wildlife than we expected, and did it all from the comfort of our campervan.
We were a little hesitant to go the Escape Campervan route at first just because we weren’t sure how camping-friendly Florida would be, but it turned out to be the most fun and exceptionally cost effective way to experience the many state and National Parks we visited. Having just completed this one trip, we’re already thinking about where we might go next in an Escape Campervan.
What you'll find...
Picking up our Escape Campervan
We started our journey in Miami Beach, Florida (now the office is in Orlando). The neighborhood itself looked awesome, but we weren’t there to reenact The Birdcage. We were there to get our Escape Campervan! (Check out the Shelborne South Beach if you want a hotel stay before getting your van!)
I went into the Escape office and met Ed who got me set up with some hand materials about camping in Florida. We went over Escape Campervan policies and I opted for the additional insurance coverage (because why not?). Then he took me to our lady.
Our Escape Campervan was called the Palm Beach. Each campervan is painted differently and all are awesome. Our particular model had a vintage Florida pinup girl sipping a dirty martini on the side. It was perfect.
Escape Ed showed us the ins and outs of converting the inside of the campervan from a kid-friendly touring vehicle to a luxury hotel on wheels. He showed us how to properly fill and use the on board water system in the built in kitchen and made sure we had all the bedding linens we needed.
Note: we now have our own camper and its water system is different. If you’re outfitting a campervan or camping trailer for yourself, check out the Berkey water filter system.
Finally, he taught us how to properly operate the Escape Campervan’s rooftop sleeper, which was much cooler than we expected. Boom! We had the perfect setup for a family of four to go camping up and down the Florida Gulf Coast.
Note: Florida, and many other states, has a good number of toll roads. The Escape Campervans office will help you arrange a pre-paid SunPass (or other applicable pass) before heading out.
Equipment Included with the Escape Campervan
If you’re familiar with any of our camping posts, you know that we’ve got a system for tent camping that keeps us happy and is pretty easy to work with. Being in an Escape Campervan was an adjustment for us initially because we didn’t have to worry about most of the stuff we normally tote around, which was actually really great.
Our rig included:
- Seat belts for five passengers (driver included)
- Convertible queen bed
- Dining table in van
- Storage bins
- Hand pump sink with grey water storage
- Propane stove w/ fuel
- Small electric refrigerator (solar powered)
- Kitchen supplies (utensils, plates…)
- Camp chairs
- Rooftop sleeper (not standard)
Seriously, all we had to supply were our clothes, towels, food and beach toys. It was the easiest camping situation ever.
Tip: check with the Escape Campervan office you’re going through to confirm availability of rooftop sleeper, car seats or other equipment you might need. Also, the Miami Beach office had loads of random supplies to be helpful, from bug spray to local information.
On the road in our Escape Campervan
We set out from Miami Beach at headed for the Everglades! Luckily for us, we’d made camping reservations along our planned route, but being in a campervan you have the freedom to be flexible where you can stay.
Tip: most state parks around the USA accept reservations up to a year in advance, and many county parks do as well. MAKE RESERVATIONS if you have a set plan, as campground fill up quickly. Florida is exceptionally difficult to get camping reservations in.
We took our Escape Campervan to all kinds of places. We did the swamps of Florida and were thankful to have sheltered indoor space to escape the mosquitoes at sunset. We did the beaches along the Gulf Coast and loved being able to sweep out the sand as it fell off our legs. We pulled off the side of the road in the rural back country and cooked up mac’n’cheese for the kids, creating a family-gourmet meal on the go. We swam in the crystal blue springs of the sub-tropical Florida forests and could change out of our swimsuits in private.
Really, having the Escape Campervan for our family road trip made it so easy to enjoy our time together. The kids probably won’t want to go tent camping after this fun experience. We’ll see…
Tip: check your campervan for a small broom before you leave the depot. You’ll be living in there for a while and you’re going to want to keep it clean on your adventure.
Need-to-know for planning a Campervan Trip
Escape Campervans is a really cool company full of really awesome people. The three I worked with to arrange and close out our trip were all so friendly and you could tell that they believe in their product and the experience they provide. We would recommend booking an Escape Campervan to almost any traveler on any budget.
The key to making it work is planning. Although the van is well equipped and very self-sufficient, you’ll still need to plan appropriately for having places to stay. In recent years, boondock camping has been getting cracked down on and many states and counties require people to stay in campgrounds… which get full fast!
Campervan Trip Budget
What does it cost to do the Escape Campervan road trip? It’s pretty cut and dry. Here is the fee schedule at the time we did our trip (Spring 2022), but always go directly to the source for the most up-to-date pricing, and if you’re doing one of their specials, you might get a super amazing deal:
- Daily rate – about $100 *includes 100 miles per day (dependent on model)
- Additional mileage – 100 more for $30 per day
- Rooftop sleeper – $30 per day
- Additional insurance – $13-$30 per day
- SunPass/Tolls – about $5 per day depending on region
- Campsites – $17 – $35 per day w/ hookup *hookup isn’t necessary if you are continuously going
- Gas – $100 per 25 gallon fill up at ($4.00/gallon)
- TOTAL for seven days in Florida: about $220 per day
- COMPARISON to rental car and hotels: about $360+ per day
We loved our entire trip in our Escape Campervan and going with this option made our whole vacation very budget friendly. A big road trip is something that can be expensive and when you’re planning a family vacation for four or more you really have to be thoughtful about it.
Feel free to ask us anything about our experience, including our road trip ideas that an Escape Campervan would be perfect for! And let us know if you book one, because we’d love to follow along on your journey too!
Escape Campervan Road Trip Plans
You know we love road trips and do them all the time (I wrote the book on it!). And it’s great because when we’re out traveling and we see an Escape Campervan the kids always yell and point them out. We’ve seen them all over the place and know their drivers are having a great time.
With that, here are some awesome road trip itineraries we’ve done where Escape Campervans are available, with their depot locations noted:
- Florida Gulf Coast – Orlando
- Utah National Parks Road Trip Loop – Salt Lake City
- Puget Sound Area – Seattle
- Washington and Oregon Coast – Seattle
- California Coast – San Francisco or Los Angeles
- Oregon Coast Road Trip – Portland
- West Coast Mountain National Parks – Los Angeles
- Northern Cali Coast Experience – San Francisco
- California Central Coast Road Trip – San Francisco
- Valley of Fire and Zion/Bryce Road Trip – Las Vegas
- Banff and Jasper NPs Road Trip – Calgary
- Florida Keys Road Trip – Orlando
- Arizona Kayaking Road Trip – Phoenix
- Rocky Mountains Road Trip – Denver
- Southern Wisconsin Road Trip – Chicago
- Adirondacks Kayaking Road Trip – New York
Escape Campervans rental depots include: Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Orlando, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Portland, Salt Lake City, Vancouver BC, Calgary AB, and Phoenix.
So whadya think? Are you ready to plan and book your own crazy awesome road trip in an Escape Campervan? We’re ready to do another and cannot wait! If you have any questions, either about booking and using an Escape Campervan or just road trip planning in general, please leave a comment or send us a note!