3 Tips for an RV without a Toad in the City

Peter & Kathy Holcombe Peter & Kathy Holcombe  |  10.15.2015

Winnie the View takes in the skyline of the Big Apple on a recent visit to Liberty Park in Jersey City, NJ.

When we first got our RV, we avoided metroplexes like the plague.  But after 50,000 miles behind the wheel, we are certainly more seasoned at congested turnpikes and bumper to bumper traffic jams than we ever dreamed possible.  While we still are learning, a year of experience of full time RV living without a toad, has taught us a few things that make our urban excursions more manageable and fun.  Here are a few tips to consider before your next visit to the big city.

1.  Research public transportation options. On our recent tour through the Northeast we were fortunate enough to spend time in both New York City and Boston.  While the thought of driving our View into either city left me dry mouthed at the wheel, they both have safe dependable subway systems.  With a few clicks of the keyboard, we discovered several oversized parking options that were within striking distance of where we wanted to be.  While in Boston, we parked at the Riverside subway station for $13/day ($26 overnight) and rode the train straight to the heart of the city.  The train ride took about 45 minutes (with some great people watching along the way) and deposited us right at the start of the Freedom Trail downtown.  Even returning late at night, we were pleasantly surprised by how safe and clean the train was.

DCIM109GOPROFamagogo swings by Paul Revere’s house along the Freedom Tail in Boston, MA.

We have been to NYC twice now in our View and have used two different strategies depending on what we had planned during our stay.  On our first visit, we parked at Liberty Park in Jersey City, NJ and rode the ferry across the harbor straight to the financial district.  It cost us about $8 each and was really a fun experience in it’s own right.  BEWARE!  The ferry does not run late at night, so it is not a great option if you are planning on a late evening in the City.  On our second visit, we had tickets to a Broadway show, so we knew the ferry was not an option.  Instead, we parked at the Tarrytown train station just north of the city and took a commuter train to Grand Central Station – the transportation hub of the Big Apple.  It was $20.50 each for a round trip ticket and the last returning train left Grand Central at 11:20 PM – perfect timing for a late evening on the town.

003Riding the ferry from Jersey City to Manhattan was a great adventure in it’s own right.

2.  Bike tours of the city are a great way to see a lot in a short amount of time.  When we visited Washington DC last fall, we only had a couple of days and a long list of things we wanted to see and do.  We parked our RV at the Greenbelt Metro Station and took our bikes with us on the subway.  Each train can accommodate three bikes inside the doors at either end of each car.  We then took the Green Line straight to L’Enfant Plaza and explored the National Mall by bike – a great way to cover a lot of ground quickly.  If you don’t have your own bikes with you, there are stands everywhere downtown that allow you to rent a bike by the hour or for the whole day.

DCIM101GOPROExploring Washington DC by bike allows you to cover more ground in a short amount of time allowing you to maximize your time in the city.

3.  When all else fails, rent a car.  Let’s face it, sometimes you just want to have your own wheels (the easy to park anywhere kind of wheels).  LA is a perfect example of a city built for cars.  On a recent visit to LA, we parked the View for the duration of our trip and enjoyed the freedom that a rental car afforded to explore the city.  It gave us the stress free flexibility we needed for a day at the beach, a trip to Disneyland and a drive up the coast.

DCIM100GOPROG0017101.Abby and Kathy brave (or not so brave) on a coaster at Disney (which happens to be a very RV friendly place).

So there you have it – no need to skip the wonderful opportunities that metropolitan areas afford just because you don’t have a toad.  Do your research ahead of time, come up with a game plan that works for where you are and what you want to do, and enjoy your time in the city – without driving your rig a single mile into the belly of the beast.

006As much fun as it is to spend time in an urban environment, we always breath a deep sigh of relief as we leave the city and head back to the land of big skies and wide open places.  Winnie the View stretches her wheels on the open road on the Hogback near Escalante, UT.

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  1. Dennis Pelaez Posted on 02.17.2018

    For me, the best form of transportation when I get to a city is my Radrover E Bike. I can go around town easily for over 50 miles and I enjoy it more than the RV!. I passed a thousand cars getting into balloon fiesta last year and checked it in at the free vale. It goes on a bike rack in my motorhome and its been in mountain trails in Sedona and chasing horses on the beach at Moro Bay! It gets me out of traffic jams all the time. I even go grocery shopping and the panier bags will store plenty of items. http://Www.radower.com

  2. Maureen Thomson Posted on 08.05.2017

    I was also thinking about Uber as I read the article. I was always under the impression that Uber would be less expensive than a taxi, so on my last trip to the Florida Keys I took an Uber about 3 miles from our campground to go snorkeling. After speaking to a local, I tried a taxi on the way back to the campground and surprise! The cost was about half of what I spent on Uber. So compare prices before choosing between Uber or a taxi.

  3. carol peterson Posted on 06.10.2017

    I want to second the motion about Uber. If your jaunts about town aren’t too long, there’s nothing like the convenience of an almost instantaneous pickup. We don’t tow a car either, and do a fair bit of renting, which works quite well. We’re pretty old and don’t really like driving ANYTHING in a city, so Uber is fabulous. When you add up the Uber charges, they might just be about the same as a car rental. Towing looks like a real hassle. It’s easy to pull a 31′ Class A into a Safeway parking lot, but with a toad it looks quite a bit more complicated.

  4. jennay hitesman Posted on 04.19.2017

    I am surprised you did not try Uber. We are from Ohio and last year we took a trip to Venice Beach, Calf. We flew instead of driving our sightseer. We used Uber to go everywhere all week and had no problems. We loved the door to door service. From now on we will use Uber when we take our RV on the road at campgrounds and Uber into town instead of towing a toad.

  5. Frank Kempf Posted on 12.17.2016

    When is Winnebago going to offer a repair shop on the east coast like the one in Oregon? There are a ton of sun-birds along the east coast traveling from the north to south and visa-versa without a good place to get their RV’s repaired. We are fed up with dealing with non qualified repair personnel at the Camping World facilities.

  6. Ron Tucker Posted on 10.29.2016

    Thanks for the good ideas. We’ve been to Boston and Manhattan on non-RV trips and think we may try your tips. We have a “classic” Rialta rigged with a Burgmann 200 scooter on a platform (not trailer). Haven’t had a proper trip test yet, but we hope this highway-capable machine (for 2) will give us flexibility and range, especially where public transit isn’t great. Any experience in using a two-wheeler?

  7. Janet P. Posted on 11.12.2015

    Interesting article, we bought a View recently and are debating on towing a car or just renting one where we need to. it looks like you have solar panels on your roof. If so how are they working out for you and who installed them?

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 11.13.2015

      Actually the Holcome’s coach does not have solar. If you are considering adding solar panels to your View, many owners like amsolar.com in Springfield,Oregon. There are lots and lots of postings about solar solution on the Yahoo View/Navion forum and you can both learn a lot and get some good firsthand advice from other owners.

  8. RICHARD DIXON Posted on 11.01.2015

    Why you don’t you have anything about Wiinebago Era?

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 11.02.2015


      It’s on the radar.