Everyone is looking to get outside this summer. The warm weather, the gorgeous sunshine, and the call of adventure is drawing people out of lockdown and onto journeys around the country. With continuing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, many travelers are looking for a more socially distanced vacation. Camping, RVing, National Parks, State Parks, and small towns close to nature are at the top of everyone’s list, and why shouldn’t they be?
This is the summer of outdoor adventure, of road trips, and new and wonderful experiences. And what better way to help you on your journey than with some amazing apps? With all the information you need at your fingertips, you’re bound to have the perfect summer. Here are a few apps you need to check out to make your travels more enjoyable.
For when you just gotta’ go
We’ve all been there. What do you do when you’re traveling, “nature calls.” and you need to find the closest bathroom? Well, Flush, the GPS-based bathroom app, tells you just that. It’s a giant database of public bathrooms. It also goes as far as to rank each bathroom as well! After your experience, simply swipe left (don’t recommend) or right (recommend) to help give other users a sense of which bathrooms are clean and tidy, and which ones should be avoided. Best of all, you can use the app offline!
For the adventurous spirit
Geocaching is a giant, global, untamed treasure hunt. And how could that not excite you? The app is like a digital treasure map that leads you to different caches left all around the world. Sometimes, it’s a simple notebook that you sign along with everyone else who’s found it. Sometimes, there’s knickknacks or antiquates, sometimes you can trade one of your items with an item in the geocache…and sometimes, it’s genuine treasure. Whether hunting in a park down the street, or on a deserted island, geocaches are literally everywhere. Geocaching coordinates can also be downloaded to handheld GPS devices.
For the hiker within us all
All Trails is hands-down the best app for finding trails of all kinds. From metro parks, to State parks, to National parks, all the way to the behemoth Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails. The app (and website) has over 100,000 trails in its database. It also has user ratings, difficulty rankings, trail length, estimated time it takes to hike, and photos to give you an idea of the area. It’s the perfect app for anyone who wants to scale the famous Half Dome…or someone who just wants to find a new trail to walk their dog on.
For those who need to hit the road
Technically speaking, Outdoorsy is an app and website that helps you find RV rentals. In reality, they provide RVs, trailers, pop-ups, and even pickup trucks, like a Ford F150, to help you pull a trailer that you may already own (or that you’re borrowing from a friend.)
The trailers and RVs are owned by adventurers just like you. With Outdoorsy, you can explore what’s available in your area, as well as check out the owner you’ll be renting from. Through the owner’s profile and user reviews, you can get an idea of who you’ll be renting from. Plus, to ensure safety, all users on Outdoorsy need to go through an ID-verification and have a good driving record. It’s the easiest (and cheapest) way to get behind the wheel of an RV this summer.
For anyone visiting national lands
While the name of the app may not be very exciting, its function is incredibly helpful (and sometimes needed) for your trip to national lands – this includes National Parks, National Forests, National Historical Parks, National Moments, and more. The app helps you find and compare campgrounds, allows you to sign up for activities like ranger-guided tours, and lets you enter the lottery for high-demand experiences with limited slots (like climbing Mt. Whitney).
The website and app also help you obtain permits (if needed) and find spots for things like hunting, fishing, and bird watching. For each destination, it also lists its amenities, activities, and nearby attractions. It’s really a one-stop shop and should be downloaded by anyone visiting national lands this summer.
For the first-time RVer
Driving an RV for the first time can be a little nerve-racking. Most people have never driven something the size of a school bus before. Luckily, RV Life is here to help. The app offers RV-specific GPS directions, cutting out any steep inclines, low-hanging underpasses, roads with weight limits, and more. It’s the easiest way to get yourself feeling comfortable on your journey.
The app also using data from CampgroundReviews.com to show you all the RV-inclusive campgrounds around the country, along with user reviews, and a list of amenities. It even lets you know if the campground has good cell coverage and whether or not it’s kid-friendly.
For those who like to get wet
If you’re heading to a lake or ocean during your trip, downloading Swim Guide is a great idea. The app gives you weather information and water quality for beaches around the world. From the oceans to the Great Lakes, and even inland lakes, this app provides you all the info you need to have a safe and healthy day at the beach.
The app also lets you know what amenities each site has, as well as any pressing info there may be, such as algae outbreaks and locations closed due to COVID-19.