Camping is arguably the best way to immerse yourself in nature, but for those not keen on sacrificing all the creature comforts, RVing is the perfect middle ground. In Park City, the RV scene caters to everyone from seasonal workers and weekend warriors to summer road trippers and international vacationers. Here we meet a few.
Three years ago, Meg Palmer and Colter Wade, owners of The Back Door Delicatessen (136 Heber Ave), said goodbye to sky-high rent in town and bought a 17-foot trailer. It came well-equipped for living (bed, fridge, great insulation), but space was tight. “I feel like we lived the whole Marie Kondo thing to pare down to the essentials,” says Palmer. “We weren’t sure if we could live like this. But, as it turns out, we both love it.” The couple rents a storage unit for their bulkier collection of outdoor gear.
Palmer and Wade spent their early RV days camping in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Now, they’re regulars at River’s Edge RV Park. The amenities (laundry and hookups) make daily life and commuting to work easier, especially in the winters. “We’re really busy with the deli most days, so we don’t have as much time to explore,” says Palmer. “But we do like to take weekends off during spring and fall to get out in the region, and we encourage anyone who’s interested to just have fun and do it.”
Since purchasing their RV in 2011, Monica Chiarenza, her husband Carl, three kids, and 11-year-old schnauzer have spent an average of 26 weeks between May and November frequenting the area’s state parks and resorts. “We always wanted to have an RV because my husband grew up RVing with his family and has fond memories of it,” explains Chiarenza. “For me, being out in nature all day, but sleeping in your own comfy bed with a bathroom under the same roof—instead of across the dark campground—was a huge selling point!”
Whether they’re basking in the amenities of an RV resort or boondocking in the woods, the family never lacks for things to do. “We love to hike, swim, fish, bike, and cook our own food. A good book and a comfy chair under a tree are pretty amazing too,” notes Chiarenza. “RVing is family time when we can connect with each other away from the screens and the pressures of everyday life. There is nothing better than sitting around the campfire, gazing at the starry night with your kids. Mine still love it, even as teenagers.”
Every Father’s Day, Michael Gilchrist sets up camp at Smith and Morehouse, just outside of Oakley. “I have a few family members who have trailers, so it’s nice to just send out a message and say, ‘This is where we will be.’ And whoever shows up, shows up. It could just be me and my daughter Mersadies or the entire family.”
Gilchrist heads into nature to rejuvenate from his stressful job at Hill Air Force Base. “I love to lie in the hammock or trek down to the water and kayak while the family is still sleeping and just relax,” says Gilchrist. Perhaps the greatest gift of RV camping for him, however, is the access it affords his fiancée, Christina, whose medical condition prevents wandering too far off the grid. “She gets infusions every week, so I needed something she would be comfortable in,” he says. “I picked up my trailer at quite a deal and worked on it for a year, getting it all perfect. She loves the outdoors, so it’s nice to still be able to take her camping.”
Where to go
To camp in the forest or alongside the water, check out state parks: Jordanelle, Deer Creek, Wasatch Mountain, and Rockport, as well as the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, including campgrounds near Smith and Morehouse Reservoir. Stays are limited to 14 days within any 30-day period at state parks.
Go full-on glamping with pools, recreation facilities, internet access, and more at local RV resorts: Mountain Valley (mountainvalleyrv.com), River’s Edge at Deer Park (riversedgeatdeerpark.com), and Park City RV Resorts (parkcityrvresort.com). Plan early and call ahead; summers are busy. Nightly, weekly, maximum stays apply.
Gear Up for the Open Road (or site)
WindyNation 100W Solar Panel Kit
Going off-grid is easy with this kit offering everything you need to generate free, clean energy from the sun’s rays. windynation.com
GSI Destination 24-Piece Kitchen Set
Includes four cutlery sets, folding tools, a cutting board, utility knife, cheese grater, spice shaker, and more. llbean.com
Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven
Make perfect pizzas in this outdoor oven designed to replicate the performance of a wood-fired brick oven. campchef.com
GCI Outdoor Zero Gravity Chair
Experience weightless comfort in this foldable, outdoor recliner.