Last weekend we rented a Class C RV through Outdoorsy and drove the four hours east towards the South Carolina coast to stay at Carolina Pines RV Resort (see full resort review here). It was such a blast!
We chose to rent through Outdoorsy because David had heard good things about it. It works similarly to AirBNB. We entered our dates and specifications and saw what was available in our area. One model we’d been interested in was located within 10 miles of us and available for our dates. We booked it easily through the site and could communicate details with the owner through there.
You need a valid drivers license to rent, but no special license or certification. Unlike home rentals, there was no specified check in or check out time; we communicated with the owner about what we’d prefer and easily worked out the pick up and drop off time. They were really easy going and flexible, which was nice since we weren’t quite sure what to expect.
We picked up the RV on Wednesday afternoon. We spent about 30 minutes walking through the systems and use of the unit with the owner. It felt unrushed, but still a little crazy to be handed the keys to the big vehicle so easily. David drove it cautiously at first, quickly becoming comfortable.
We brought it home, backed it into the driveway, let the kids run out squealing to explore it, then started to fill it with our stuff. It was so neat to be able to carry clothes out and put them in a drawer versus pack a suitcase.
On Thursday morning we loaded the food and ourselves onto the RV and headed east! Since the goal was to see how this worked for our family in “real life,” the girls and I did school work while David drove. I’m not sure if I was expecting to feel like a floating living room or what, but it was less conducive to school work than I would have guessed. David drove smoothly, yet it was bumpier and louder than I expected, and books slid around the table. It was doable, but within an hour the girls switched to chilling and listening to their audiobooks and I buckled in up front next to David, where it felt like a smoother and more comfortable ride.
We stopped once in an abandoned parking lot to stretch the dog’s legs and make lunch. It was super cool to be able to make lunch with our own food right in the vehicle. A couple hours later we arrived at Carolina Pines!
I picked up our golf cart and followed the escort golf cart to our spot. David hooked up the black water drain and plugged us in all in about 15 minutes. We put out the one slide and that was it; we were ready to explore!
We walked Finley to the dog park and let her run before crating her in the RV and heading to the giant clubhouse/common area of the resort. The kids were getting hangry and they were about to be surprised with a visit from Mema and Grandpa, who happened to be staying in their RV only 20 minutes away.
I ordered some snacks from the snack bar and we explored the giant grassy area, surrounded by couch swings, the fire pits, the arcade, the bowling, and the other amenities in the area. When Mema and Grandma arrived, the kids squealed! After snacks we headed back to our spot to chat and and show them our set up.
The kids took off with bikes and walkie talkies (to easily stay in touch) in search of the giant jumping pillow. We toured the RV with David’s parents, chatted for a while, laughed at our rookie status of forgetting charcoal, not having a skillet, and misplacing the key to the golf cart, and overall just enjoying the beautiful evening. When they took off I cooked burgers in a pot on the stove because of the aforementioned “whoops.” It all worked out just fine and after a little campfire time we all tucked in for the night.
The next morning we woke up to drizzle and the promise of impending heavy rain. David and I got up and walked Finley to the dog park to let her get in about 45 minutes of exercise in sprinkling rain. We got back just as the sky started to open up, probably around 8:15. The kids were still snoozing, so we set up our work station, made tea and pour over coffee from my favorite electric kettle and cozied in for the morning.
I have no doubt the kids could hear us moving around but they stayed sleeping or at least relaxing in their bunks until 10:00ish. It was still raining hard so I made breakfast while they listened to audiobooks.
The rain was supposed to last through early afternoon, so after breakfast (brunch?) we made our way to the commons are on a rainy golf cart ride. We bought the kids credits for the arcade and they had a ball while David and I played around in the fitness facility. We got back to our site to make lunch, throw together the slow cooker ziti for dinner, and for the rain to finally made away.
We spent the afternoon at the dog park, the playground (where the kids met friends), taking showers, and then had dinner. That evening we returned to the main common area for bowling and the arcade, which was a ton of fun. We all acted like kids and had a blast!
We were pumped about Saturday because it was supposed to be gorgeous, and it was! Sunny at 60+ all day long; we were ready to spend some time outside. The morning filled up with the dog park, an organized Gaga Ball tournament for the kids, a trip to the gym, and grilling hotdogs and smores by the campfire.
In the afternoon we played putt putt, which is free and a ton of fun. The kids participated in kid trivia, we joined in the dance party at the outdoor commons area, we played bingo, we golf carted, we returned for more mini bowling, then ended the night with more marshmallows by the campfire. The kids loved it all; how could they not? It is resort living and this place is geared for families.
Sunday the rain returned and the time sprung forward, so after a long walk for the pup, we packed up and headed home. Returning the RV was easy, as our hosts were flexible with the timing. We returned it, cleaned out, by 5:00.
Overall, the weekend was a fun time and served its purpose well. RVing is something we are considering doing more of, as we’d love to hit up some National Parks, get off the beaten path, and then every once in a while live it up at a resort like this one.
After the weekend, we are thinking that maybe we are more 5th Wheel people, as it would allow for a little more kitchen space, a separate sleeping area for the kids, and a more smooth drive, as everyone would be in the truck. We’re continuing to noodle it around!
Looks like a blast. We’ve done two towable trailer trips and it’s been really nice. I love that you can go even if it’s going to rain vs a tent. Also can’t beat having your own toilet. Haha
Brittany Dixon says
Have you rented those? Or do you own one?
Looks like fun! We would love to rent an RV in the future. Thanks for sharing!
After our first rv experience we also decided that we would prefer a 5th wheel! It would also be a much better set up for camping as you can leave your home base all set up and just take the truck to hike.
We bought a travel trailer during COVID and never looked back. We live in Michigan so we primarily just camp in the summer, but we try to spend at least 30+ nights in it between May-September. It’s just a small Wolf Pup 16BHS but with 2 kids and no pets it meets all of our needs. We have a big group of friends that all have campers too and we have a blast traveling together and exploring the beauty of our state. Sometime I would love to take it farther when we have more time and flexibility. I loved reading about your first RV experience!
Love you guys had a good first experience! We have a 35 foot travel trailer (pull behind but not a goose neck) and love it! It has a kitchen with an island (more counter space!), a back bedroom with 2 bunk beds and a bunk/couch combo so it also can be used as a “den” of sorts, and a “master” (ha!) bedroom with a queen bed! Plus it’s nice to have the truck to go into town or hiking for the day more easily. We also have an outdoor kitchen with sink, mini fridge, counter/cabinet space, and a drawer that pulls out with a camping grill! That was probably way more info than you needed to say, I recommend looking into travel trailer or 5th wheel, ha! But we love having our RV and I think with young kids it would be an amazing experience for them.
Brittany Dixon says
Ohh I love your set up! The outdoor kitchen is one of David’s favorite features while the counter space in the kitchen and a dinette are mine. It’s so exciting for me to hear how many people love their RVs and experiences.
Brittany Dixon says
30+ nights sounds amazing; what awesome memories!
Something to consider when buying a trailer is the length! Larger ones makes it harder sometimes to find spots, especially in national parks. We’ve had a trailer for 5 years now and love it but living in Utah we have so much to explore.
Brittany Dixon says
That’s such a good point and one I’ve thought about. I can’t find a solid consensus, though. What is a good length to try and stay under that would work for a majority of places?
We have a 40′ 5th wheel that we love. We prefer to walk into our camper at the kitchen so when we’re cooking outside we do not have to walk through the entire camper to grab things… so ours has the door in about the middle. Up 3 stairs to the front is our queen bed, with a dresser, TV, and closet (it has a slide to let our bed expand). The bathroom is up there too – a door connecting our room and a separate door for others (stand up shower… our previous camper had a bath which was nice for toddlers/babies). Kitchen/dining/living room is in the middle and the rear has the bunkhouse. It has a separate door which we wanted so our girls can rest and we can come and go without disturbing them – 2 lofted beds, a TV, dresser, and a love seat. All 3 sections have a slide (bunkroom, kitchen/living, master) and we were adamant about wanting our slides on the left side (driver’s) only. With ‘little’ kids (now 5 & 8), we’ve witnessed too many head smashes on the slides that are on the camping side along with the fact the slide eats up a lot of your outdoor living space. In some of the parks, the spots are not that large, so we want to maximize all we can. We also have an outdoor kitchen which is under the one lofted bunk. We have had some small camp spots, but nothing that’s prevented us from staying… YET. I’m sure the time will come 🙂 However we haven’t ventured too far out of our state yet.
We love to bike, go to beaches, rent kayaks, fish, hike, catch bugs, and geocache (there is an app for this we love to use). Our oldest has even set up her own geocache that we check on at least once a summer. It’s a lot of fun to see who checks in on the app and leaves notes about enjoying the hunt, or reminding us to add more goodies (we just stick in small dollar store items .. marbles, erasers, etc). We also keep our camper stocked with board games, kinetic sand, and all sorts of little Target dollar bin/dollar store activities we can break out on rainy days.
And by separate door to the bunkhouse, I mean a legit door inside the camper creating an actual room as opposed to a curtain. I read this afterwards and thought it may lead one to believe we have a camper with 2 exterior doors, which we do not.