A while ago we assembled a list of our favorite Asheville Instagram accounts. It was a fun way to acknowledge some of the people who’s work we really love. Playing off that theme we’ve decided to create a new list: Best Van Life Instagram Accounts.
Asheville Van Life – Stay up to date with the Asheville Van Life Rally and get a daily dose of sweet rigs from the southeast and beyond.
Camper Lifestyle – Vans and campers that make you go ‘WOW!’
Chloe Mayne – This wandering DJ might have you rethinking your life and trying to catch up with her on the road or at the beach.
Dustin, Noami + Irie – Digital nomads and sustainable thinkers with a beautiful feed.
Franzi and Toni – Two humans and two pups, all of them living in a 27 year old VW van.
French Vanlifer – Have yellow van, will travel. If his rig doesn’t make you drool, we don’t know what will.
From Our Vantage – Excellent photography, a kick ass van and all around good vibes.
GoWesty Campers – If you’ve got thing for VW’s then brace yourself. This Instagram account has been known to suck IG users into the vortex, only to return hours later.
Harriet Carpenter & Dan Ingram – Great landscape photography and sneak peaks into their van.
Noël Russell – Cute pictures of pups and vans and mountains. Need we say more?
Peter and Shruthi Lapp – Love their photography and their captions are often short stories worth reading.
Pine Pins – Two German travelers and a two tone van named Rudi with a very clever inside.
Slow Car Fast Home – Not exactly a van per se, but you know how we have a thing for Toyota Motorhomes. We’re living vicariously through their adventures in their 1992 Toyota Odyssey.
The Bus and Us – A teal VW bus and one that you’re probably already following. You and 108K others!
The Ladies Van – Bre and Lacey did their own van build out on the weekend. Lots of photos of the process as well as tons of positive vibes about love.
The Van Nation – Cool vans in epic locations. Hardly a boring shot in the lot.
Travel Many Roads – Full-time van lifers living the dream in Europe. Incredible rig, too. It’s a Volkswagen LT28D.
Vanlife Diaries – One of the biggest van life Instagram accounts around. Daily features of awesome vans.
Van Life Explorers – Need a little motivation to go exploring? This is one of the best van life Instagram accounts for stoking wanderlust.
Van Life Magazine – More dreamy pictures of vans. Volkswagen gets a lot of love on this account, all kinds of Volkswagens.
Van Lifer – Doodles of awesome vans. This account is basically a continuous stream of square happiness.
Van Lifers – Another monstrous account, it’s still one of the best Van Life Instagram accounts around.
Vehicle Living – This IG account has more than just vans. It’s got all kinds of overland vehicles, trucks and buses on it. And all of them are awesome.
Viktoria and Michael – Lots of gorgeous mountain shots and photos of their blue VW van with a pop up roof.
Wayfarer Vans – These guys are the ones who helped us with our van conversion. They took our Dodge Ram Promaster City and turned it into an adventuremobile! To read more about our van life conversion kit go HERE.
Women on the Road – Not everyone featured on this account lives the van life but all of the women are badass adventurers worth learning about and learning from.
Best Van Life Instagram Accounts
We didn’t put ourselves on the list of the best van life instagram accounts to follow but if you’d like to follow us on Instagram, you can find us at @authenticasheville and @carolineperdue and @e.mcgrady
Before living in Asheville, North Carolina, I lived and worked in Frederick, Maryland. It’s a great small city (about 70,000 people live there) with close proximity to Washington, DC and Baltimore. It’s also got enough of a fun food scene that you don’t really need to leave to get a great meal. Here are our best places to eat in Frederick, Maryland:
Ayse Meze – Greek, Lebanese and Turkish food. Nice little spot for happy hour.
Black Hog – This is where you go to get your barbecue fix in Frederick. If the smells from the parking lot don’t have you drooling by the time you hit the door …
Brewer’s Alley – It’s fun to sit out on the patio and people watch while you eat and drink. The burger is good and so is the crab dip.
Cacique – Really good margaritas. Almost always get the chips and salsa (add guacamole!) Nice little happy hour menu.
Cakes to Die For – Brownies, cake, cookies … get one while you stroll up Market Street.
Family Meal – Fried chicken, the burger, the duck fat fries and dipping sauces … oh and brunch is good here, too. Easily one of the best restaurants in Frederick. Plus the parking is easy.
Firestone’s Culinary Tavern & Raw Bar – They have a steak there that cuts with a butter knife. Don’t want to spend a lot? Go for the steak salad or the chophouse burger and fries.
Frederick Coffee Co. & Cafe – Love the black bean burger (it comes with a small side salad). The breakfast bagels are good, too.
Glory Doughnuts and Diner – Get there before the sell out. The flavors are unique and the doughnuts are vegan! (They’ve also expanded their menu beyond doughnuts so you can order things like salads and Banh Mi Tacos).
Il Porto Fine Italian Restaurant – Romantic, intimate atmosphere. Solid Italian food. Ziti for me please.
Jojo’s Restaurant and Tap House – Big menu of American food. Pretty much something for everyone. They also have happy hour drink specials and live music.
Isabellas Taverna and Tapas Bar – Asparagus fries, goat cheese fritters, mussels. So many good small plate things to eat and share here. The paella is good, too!
La Paz Mexican Restaurant – [EDIT] The outside patio and margaritas are good but the food seems to be a hot topic. Seems like people are really passionate about the place – they either love yet or hate it. I honestly had no idea people felt so strongly about it one way or another! Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts.
Lazy Fish – Always had a great experience at this sushi restaurant but I never think about it! Could be because it’s upstairs location isn’t at eye level?
Lucky Corner Vietnamese Restaurant – Probably my favorite restaurant in Frederick. The chicken pho is so damn good. Also love the vegetarian spring rolls.
Pistarro’s – Wood fired pizza. You can build your own or pick from one of their specialties. One of my favorite pizza places ever. This will probably spark a debate but I think it’s one of the best restaurants in Frederick.
Sabor De Cuba – Can’t really go wrong with anything here though I’m partial to the Ropa Vieja (pulled flank steak) and the Papa Rellena (a mashed potato stuffed with ground beef) YUM.
Sumittra Thai Cuisine – Lots of stir fries, some soups and a red, yellow and green curry on the menu. I almost always get pad thai and they give you so much there’s enough for lunch the next day.
Tasting Room – One of the fancier places in town. Filet with lobster whipped potatoes. Yes, please. (Cover photo is of the Tasting Room).
The Orchard – Their homemade tomato tamari dressing is delicious – tangy and light. Start with the hummus appetizer (it comes with homemade flat bread) and get the crispy southwest chicken sandwich or one of their amazing stir fries!
The Wine Kitchen – Locally sourced food. Never had a bad meal here. Be careful how much wine you pair with the food lol.
Volt – Beautiful presentation. A place to go for a fancy date or celebration. Tasting menu is $125.
Places we are looking forward to visiting after hearing about:
Hootch and Banter
White Rabbit Gastropub
Doner Bistro – been there once when they first opened. Eager to go back.
Best Places to Eat in Frederick, Maryland Recap
How many of these places have you been to? Did we miss any of the best restaurants in Frederick? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.
Looking for camping near Asheville? Check out the Mount Pisgah campground! We stayed up there for three nights in our Dodge Ram ProMaster City with a Wayfarer Conversion Kit. Here’s the things to know before you go camping at the Mount Pisgah Campground aka the Mt. Pisgah campground:
Directions to the Mount Pisgah Campground
- Know where you’re going! If you put in the address of the campground, 408 Blue Ridge Parkway, Canton, NC 28716, into Google Maps or even just the Maps app on your iPhone, there’s a good chance you’re going to end up near Cruso on a dead end road scratching your head and going “what the heck.” Trust us, we did this. Now before you think, what a bunch of idiots, we decided to let the GPS take us on a “new route” thinking we might see something new or learn a new way. Well we definitely saw something new but we ended up driving twice as long to reach the campground! If you want to use your GPS, use these coordinates instead:
- Coming from Asheville, take Brevard Road (Highway 191) all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway and then head south. When you see mile marker 408, go just a little further and the campground will be on your right. (You’ll pass the Country Store and the Pisgah Inn on your left.)
Mount Pisgah Campground Info
Sites are $20
The campground is open from late May to late October.
Elevation is around 4,980 feet!
There are 52 sites available for advanced reservation and 74 campsites which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Reservations can only be made online. They can be made as early as 6 months ahead of time or 2 days ahead of time. To make a reservation, go HERE.
The Mt. Pisgah Campground is dog friendly.
Amenities at each campsite include: picnic table and fire ring. Some campsites have a food locker for bear safety.
Campground amenities include: showers with hot water (it was clean!), flush toilets, potable water and wi-fi near the ranger station. Some of you will be ecstatic to know you can stay connected. Others will probably dread having it available. Note that it only works near the ranger station and is “on” from 6am to 10pm.
Cell phone service is almost non-existent up at the campground. I did get a couple texts but wasn’t able to send any out. We have Verizon cell phone service but it mostly bounced between 1x and No Service. You can get a signal once you’re back on the Parkway headed back towards Asheville.
For those of you who are van lifers, there is no overnight camping at the nearby Pisgah Inn.
There is a dump station at the campground.
A camp host is also on-site in case you have questions or concerns. There are also ranger programs – look for the schedule of events on the bathrooms and at the ranger station.
Are you looking for some awesome hikes in the area? We recommend heading over to our friends at Asheville Trails. They’ve got details like maps, directions and photos to help you make a good decision.
Mount Pisgah Campground Recap
We visited the Campground three days in early July because we wanted to avoid the heat in Asheville. Though it meant leaving town to sleep, we felt it was worth it. The temperatures were in the sixties at night and there was very little humidity. The bathrooms were also clean and the campground was quiet. Unlike some other campgrounds where you can literally hear and see your neighbor, this one is a bit more spread out so you have a good bit of privacy.
We recommend this campground to anyone looking to enjoy all that Asheville has to offer but also wants to get away from the city and be in nature. Was this information helpful to you? If so, please like, pin or share with a friend.
Curious what we packed? Check out our Summer Packing Guide HERE.
Recently we’ve gone back and forth about whether or not to buy a bike rack for our van. Turns out it’s a little more complicated than just getting a bike rack. We’ll need a hitch and a part that allows the rack to pivot out and away from the vehicle so that we can still access the back of the van. It hasn’t been an easy decision but after riding in Key West and on Jekyll Island we realized just how much we love our bikes. It’s one of the main ways we get around when we’re in Asheville. Why not do it on the road? After weighing the pros and cons we chose the Yakima Backswing Bike Rack for our Dodge Ram Promaster City.
Yakima Backswing Review
Pros of the Yakima Backswing
- The rack was easy to install. The directions were simple and clear. All you need is an adjustable wrench. The whole thing took about 20 minutes to install.
- It fits nicely onto our 2 inch hitch. (This didn’t come with the van or the rack. It was something we had installed after we bought it.)
- The pivot system of the Yakima Backswing opens up to 90 degrees. This allows us to access the back of the van and even open the doors.
- Once open, the rack will lock in place which is great in windy conditions or on a slope because it won’t swing back at you.
- The Yakima Backswing can carry up to 250 pounds (rack plus bikes).
- It’s easy to uninstall. You simply loosen the bolt and slide it out of the hitch.
Cons of the Yakima Backswing
A lot of these cons are actually overall cons to having a bike rack. They’re not specifically limited to the Yakima.
- Putting a bike rack on your vehicle means it’ll no longer be stealth. It’s pretty obvious that you’re either living or traveling in your van when you’ve got a couple of bicycles attached to the back.
- Theft is an added worry. We got a lock for the rack and also have one for the bikes but no system is perfect. When we really worry we throw them inside the van.
- Finding a hitch for our van was difficult. U-Haul and even the Ram Dealership both told us we could expect a hitch to come out soon but that newer models sometimes takes a while. After about a dozen phone calls we finally found a hitch in Maryland at the Fruitland Pasco.
- It makes the length of the van a bit longer.
- Hitting your shin on the rack hurts so. damn. bad.
- The pivot arm is not for standing on. Hopping in and out of the van, we have to constantly remind ourselves not to use the rack as a way to get down since it’s not meant to support additional weight.
- The rack is fairly low and will hit the curb if you’re not careful.
- Our bikes extend a couple inches past the side of the van (this will vary based on the size of your bike and van.)
- The bikes impact the view in the rearview backup camera which is a huge piece of information when driving this van site we don’t have windows.
Van Life Bike Rack Considerations:
- We wanted something that allowed us to get into the back of our van. We found three companies that make something like that: Thule, Yakima and Kuat. The part works with a 2 inch receiver. There might be others out there but those are the three we’ve considered. Thule’s were backordered around the country for 6 weeks. Our local REI had a couple Yakima’s in stock. We ended up ordering the Yakima Backswing through Amazon.
- The bike rack that I bought to use with my old Toyota Matrix will actually do the trick. Though I sold my car in an effort to downsize (more on that HERE) I kept the rack thinking, well maybe someday it’ll come in handy. And it has! It’s a simple system, a Thule 958 Parkway 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack (2-Inch Receiver) (pictured below).
Why we did not buy a roof rack:
We’re short. Caroline is 5’6 and I’m 5’4. I’ve had a roof rack for bikes before that went on top of my Toyota Corolla and it was a struggle to get them up there. I could do it but I had to be next to a curb. And I almost always dinged up the paint on my car getting it up there. I know there’s ways to prevent this but the van is even higher and we don’t really want to have to drag a ladder out (not to mention carry one) with us just to get our bikes up and down off the van.
Reduced gas mileage
I’ve read that having things on the roof can really negatively impact your gas mileage. How much depends on what you’re carrying up there. We’re getting about 24 miles a gallon in our Dodge Ram Promaster City (21 city / 28 highway) and we’d like to keep it there because fuel is one of our most expensive costs. To learn more about how certain gear impacts your gas mileage, check out this piece by Men’s Health: How Adventure Gear Strapped to Your Roof Affects Gas Mileage. We were shocked to realize just how much two mountain bikes on a roof will impact gas mileage. No joke, the fuel economy impact percentage is 31%. As in a 31% reduction in gas mileage.
Access to parking garages
Sounds like a weird thing to be worried about but we do a good bit of city travel for work and there are numerous times when the only option for our vehicle has been a parking garage. We want to be able to get in and out of these places when we need to rather than become limited due to our rack.
Yakima Backswing Review and Recap
If you are doing a bit of traveling in a van and want to bring your bikes, we recommend the Yakima Backswing. We think it’s the best bike rack for van life (at least for us). It allows us entry to the back of the vehicle due to it’s unique pivot system. In addition, we can still gain access into the back of the car without having to take the bikes off the rack.
Do you have a bike rack for your van? If so, we’d love to hear about the pros and cons of your setup.
Chincoteague Island is small but there are a surprising number of great places to eat. If you’re heading there for vacation, be sure to check out some of our favorites. They’ve got several great seafood restaurants, some nice family dining options, a couple fancy restaurants and of course food trucks and trailers. Here’s our picks for the Best Places to Eat on Chincoteague. Meet us there, it’s time to eat!
AJ’s on the Creek – Crab cakes are the name of the game here.
Bill’s PRIME Seafood & Steaks – They’ve been in business since 1960 and for good reason. Locals call this one of the best places to eat on the island.
Black Narrows Brewing Company – They’re the first brewery on Virginia’s Eastern Shore!
Captain Zack’s – The hours changing depending on the season but the seafood is on point. Especially the crab cakes. Some say it’s one of the best seafood restaurants on Chincoteague.
Don’s Seafood Restaurant – This is where you go on Chincoteague for oysters. This is another one of those mentioned when they talk about best seafood restaurants on Chincoteague.
Etta’s Channel Side Restaurant – Looking for waterfront dining? Head to Ettas!
Famous Pizza – Putting out delicious pies for over 25 years. (There’s a coupon on their website for a $1.00 off)
Island Creamery – Homemade dessert? Heck yeah! There’s a lot of flavors to choose from so save room for dessert!
J & B Subs – Grab a sub before you head out on a fishing charter. They make the best cold cuts on the island.
Maria’s Family Restaurant – Went there on a Sunday and the breakfast buffet was in full effect. Locals love this place.
Mr. Whippy’s – Amazing soft serve. You’ll be thinking about it long after the last bit is gone.
Pico Taqueria – The Chincoteague Classic is your choice of chicken, pork, beef, or fish, with lettuce, pico de gallo, cotija cheese and crème fraiche. Do it.
Pony Tails – If you like salt water taffy, you’re not going to want to miss this place.
Poseidon’s Pantry – Great sandwiches as well as growlers to go. (You can bring your own growler or buy one of theirs. Beers are always changing.)
Right Up Your Alley Also known as RUYA, this lil’ food trailer cranks out some top notch tacos.
Ropewalk – A seafood heavy menu with outside seating. It’s a small chain (there are other Ropewalks in Ocean City and Baltimore.)
Saigon Village Restaurant – Huge portions and vegetarian options.
Sea Star Cafe – Excellent sandwiches and wraps made to order. They have vegetarian and vegan options.
Smokey’s BBQ and Grill – It’s all about the barbecue here. Tender meat and full of flavor.
Steamers – If you’re looking for an All You Can Eat seafood place, this is the one on Chincoteague. They have steamed blue crabs, shrimp, snow crab legs and more.
The Village – Some say this is one of the best restaurants on the island. There’s white tablecloths, candlelight and a great view of the water.
Woody’s Beach BBQ – A tiny little place to eat some BBQ with a beach / surf vibe.
Best Places to Eat on Chincoteague
Eating on Chincoteague Island is a treat. There’s so many great options! How many of these places have you tried? We’d love to hear from you, especially if we missed a place you think should be on our list of the best places to eat on Chincoteague!
If you’re visiting Chincoteague, be sure to check out our top Fun Things to Do on Chincoteague.
Chincoteague Island is a small barrier island off the coast of Virginia. Only about 4,300 people live on the island but over a million people visit each year. The local vibe is strong (locals are called Teaguer’s) but it’s a friendly vibe and tourists are welcome. It’s a beautiful place to visit. Come see what it’s all about. To help you we’ve come up with a list of 25 fun things to do on Chincoteague!
Fun Things to Do on Chincoteague
On the water
- Daisey Island Cruises – Sit back and relax, this pontoon boat tour will give you a close-up view from the water of the ponies.
- Go fishing! – Fishing is one of the quintessential things to do on Chincoteague. Take a charter with a local who can put you right on some fish.
- Ride the Pony Express! – This little trolley makes seven stops around the island and is an easy way to see Chincoteague. Plus it only costs a quarter!
- Teaguer’s Tump Tours – Take a tour in a passenger van and learn about the island from a local.
- Chincoteague Island Museum – Get a little bit of history with your vacation.
- Captain Timothy Hill House – It’s free to visit this historic house though donations are accepted.
- NASA Visitors Center – Head to the visitors center (it’s FREE!) to learn about the space program and if you’re lucky, watch a rocket launch.
- Self – guided historic walking tour – The Chamber of Commerce has brochures for a self guided walking and biking tour. Pick one up and choose your own adventure.
- See the area from a plane! – Ever wanted to fly in a Cessna 172? Now’s your chance. Flights depart from Accomack County Airport (about 30 minutes south of Chincoteague).
- Chincoteague Pony Centre – Get a lesson, check out the stables or even attend a camp. It’s all about the ponies here!
Parks and Entertainment
- Funland – Bumper boats, arcade games, go-karts, mini golf. Be prepared for tons of kids and families.
- Maui Jack’s Waterpark – Waterslides, a splash zone, a cabana area and a lazy river.
- Visit the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge – Ponies, ponies, ponies and even a lighthouse! (Tip: Bring bug spray!)
- Ride bikes! – If you need to rent them, check out The Bike Depot.
- Shop til ya drop – Easy to find some Chincoteague souvenirs.
- Sundial Books – Grab a book for the beach!
- Ride a horse! – Queen Hive Farm offers riding instruction, boarding AND trail rides for tourists!
- Take a hike! – There are several short trails that you can hike as well as a service road that’s about 7 miles long. For more info and a map, go HERE.
- See the ponies swim! This is an annual tradition. Come see the Saltwater Cowboys swim the ponies from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island at Pony Swim Lane. Chincoteague provides a free Pony Shuttle service that starts as early as 4:00am.
- Mariner’s Point – Check out the view from this spot and be sure to bring your camera!
- Libertino Bowling Alley – When’s the last time you went bowling? It’s affordable and fun family entertainment. Whatcha waiting for?
Fun Things to Do on Chincoteague!
How many of these these fun things to do on Chincoteague Island have you done? If you visit, we’d love to hear what you think. Also be sure to check out or Best Places to Eat on Chincoteague!
This post was made possible with the help of my Aunt Dawn who’s lived on the Island for the last eight years.
Are you staying on Chincoteague but interested in a day trip off the island? Check out our top Things to Do in Ocean City and the Delaware Beaches!
Traveling is awesome but spending money never is. It’s actually one of the most stressful things we deal with on the road. Over the past couple of months we’ve figured out a few ways to cut down on our expenses. Following these money saving travel tips might just help you save enough to stay on the road a little bit longer.
Come up with a spending plan.
The first step is to figure out where your money is going. Save your receipts for everything for a couple of days and then add up your expenses. Analyze your spending and figure out where you could improve. For us, our two biggest expenses are fuel and food. We love to drive and eat. A lot. Our plan for spending less starts here: with cutting down on our miles and eating “at home” a little (sometimes, a lot) more. Once you’ve got a plan then start tracking your expenses to see if your changes are working. Oh and if you’re traveling with someone else rather than alone you’re both going to have to buy into the plan.
Eat cheap and eat in.
We eat a lot of cup noodles, macaroni and cheese and of course salad in a bag. It’s a struggle to keep our food cool but it’s way cheaper than eating out. If you’re thinking uh, I can’t eat like that…we get it. But at $.28 cents for a Cup of Noodles, it’s pretty much the cheapest thing you can eat. If Cup Noodles isn’t exactly your thing, come up with a bunch of easy meals that you can cook up or at least assemble pretty easily on the road. Things like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, bananas, yogurt and cheese. You get the idea.
Stay with friends and family
So many of our favorite people in the world have given us a place to crash when we’ve been on the road and honestly, we probably couldn’t have stayed on the road for as long as we have without their help. Because even though we can sleep in our vehicle, nothing beats an actual bed and a shower. It’s a double-bonus, too, to spend time with people we love and catch up with them.
Make your own coffee
Going out every morning for that Tall Frappa-Grande-Mocha-Latte-Soy Milk beverage is going to cost ya. Don’t get me wrong, we have a VERY soft spot, a downright certifiable weakness when it comes to coffee and coffee shops but if you’re really trying to keep some cash in your wallet, bring your own beans and make a fresh pot of french press in the parking lot. We love what our friends in Asheville at Rebel Pine are roasting these days.
Bring your own mug.
Some mornings we just can’t muster up the energy to make coffee (like when it’s 20 degrees outside and we woke up with cold noses). A lot of places will give you a small discount by bringing in a reusable mug so take ’em up on it and bring your own.
Don’t buy bottled water.
I’m a germaphobe and sometimes have a hard time with water fountains and sketchy water spigots but the days of purchasing water are over. Get a good jug or two and fill up when you can. It’ll save your wallet and the environment.
Map out your route.
Sometimes this might be the last thing you want to do because you just want to wander and discover things along the way. But if you’re short on money you can save a lot by being smart about your fuel consumption.
Watch your speed.
This also has to do with gas consumption. Going fast is going to cost ya. According to fueleconomy.gov “While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. If you have cruise control and feel safe using it, give it a shot! Most of the time it will help you save on gas.
Nothing burns fuel like walking. Caloric fuel, that is. And when you can’t walk, consider taking public transportation. And if you’re staying in a city for more than a couple days, look into getting an unlimited pass rather than single use fare cards. Walking is a lot cheaper than driving and it often feels great after a day behind the wheel.
Sleep in your vehicle.
Van life means living and sleeping in your vehicle. Though we love sleeping and waking up in amazing spots, we’ve been known to sleep in the parking lots of hotels and motels (with permission, of course) and sometimes laugh at the irony that a bed is literally steps away. But when we crawl into the back of our Dodge Ram Promaster City Van with a Wayfarer Conversion Kit and shut the door, we take a big sigh of relief that we just saved ourselves a big wad of cash.
Have you tried any of these cash saving tips?
Did they work for you? Let us know what you thought and stay tuned for more tips on how to save money on the road.
We’re currently living in our Dodge Ram Promaster City with a Wayfarer Van Conversion Kit and recently wrote a story about van life workouts. Many of you wrote in wanting to know more so we decided to follow up with some more workout ideas. The following activities are things you can do at rest stops, gas stations, parking lots … basically anywhere you can find when you’re traveling. After a long day on the road we often can’t wait to stretch our bodies and move around a bit. Here’s how we maintain fitness on the road: Van Life Exercises (Round Two!)
Workout gear essentials:
Are you ready for Van Life Workouts?
As you would with any other fitness routine or regimen, consult your physician to make sure this is a healthy option for you. Consider working with a personal trainer to make sure your form is correct and, as always, be sure to workout in a safe area. If you’re in a parking lot, make sure you are visible to other drivers and not putting yourself in harm’s way.
To perform mountain climbers, get into the pushup position. Then, bring one of your legs up towards your chest while the other one stays extended. Switch positions and repeat 20 times for each leg or for time. Try not to let your back arch or sag. Activate your core and keep your body moving!
Get those knees up, y’all! Try to do 2 or 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions. Use your arms to help drive your knees up and do them as quick as possible. Aim to get your thigh parallel to the ground.
This one is performed just like it sounds. In rapid succession, kick your butt! Aim for another 2 or 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
Also known as grapevine, this is one of those van life exercises that might make you think of middle school physical education. It involves moving laterally and placing one foot in front of the other as you go sideways. Take it slow at first and then go faster as you feel more comfortable with it. We typically carioca for about 20 feet in both directions.
Legs Up the Van!
Grab your mat for this one (or park in a grassy area) and literally lean your legs up against the van. This is not an active exercise so much as it is a stretch. It feels great after a lot of driving as well as after long hikes and runs.
Make your legs about shoulder width apart. Rotate your trunk slowly until you feel a slight pulling in your abs. Repeat!
In this photo we’re using a surfboard leash. Use whatever you have in your van. A clothesline or some rope will do. If you don’t have any of those things you can always just draw a line in the sand or dirt. The idea is to jump as quickly as possible for 30 seconds at a time without losing any intensity. Do one round front to back and one round side to side.
Van Life Dips
Open the back doors of your vehicle for this exercise. Slowly lower yourself until your arms are 90 degrees. Do not go lower than 90 degrees because it can be bad for your shoulders. Aim to do 12 to 15 repetitions. If one set is not enough, add more.
Walk out 15 paces from the bumper of your van and lay something in the dirt to mark the distance. (Kudos to you if you want to go further than 15 paces.) We laid the surfboard leash in the ground but a shoe or something else from your van works just as good. Put one hand on the bumper of your van and then sprint to the marker. Touch it and head back to the van. Repeat. We do ten and it thoroughly kicks our butt every single time.
Staying Healthy and Fit While Traveling
Getting enough exercise while on the road can be hard to do. But with a game plan, determination and motivation, traveling shouldn’t impede your fitness. Some might argue that you can manage to not only maintain your fitness but improve it.
If you liked this post, be sure to check out our first go-round of Van Life Workouts. Oh and if you’re ready to update your gear or are interested in learning about some of our favorite workout items, check out some of our favorite exercise gear HERE.
Looking for a bit of motivation? Check out how we do find motivation on a daily basis HERE.
Are you taking your vacation time in Ocean City and the Delaware beaches? If so, chances are you’re going to want to go out at least once for a beer for four (or more?) We’ve put together a list of the best bars in Ocean City and the Delaware beaches for you to help you pick the perfect place to grab a drink at the beach.
- Bethany Boathouse – close to downtown, easy to park and a hop, skip and a jump from Sea Colony.
- FIN’s Alehouse and Raw Bar – Their happy hour features $2.50 domestic bottles and all kinds of seafood. If you like peel and eat shrimp, raw oysters, or fish and chips, come grab a beer and a bite.
- Mango’s – Their signature drink, the Mango Margarita has left me feeling good on many an occasion. And their “No Shower Happy Hour” means you can come as you are, sandy feet and all. Plus, Happy Hour goes from 1pm – 6pm!
- Bottle and Cork – Start hydrating well in advance if you know you’re headed here. Never had a bad time here and seen a lot of great live music.
- Dewey Beer Company – They brew their own beers on site and some of them are strong. Real strong. Like 12% strong.
- Nalu – If you’re looking for a little bit of Hawaiian at the beach, this is the place.
- Northbeach – Spent a good bit of my twenties here. It’s right on the water and you can literally get your feet in the sand. Plus there’s free tacos on Friday.
- Starboard – They have a Make Your Own Bloody Mary bar right in the heart of downtown Dewey. Discount on tequila on Thursdays.
- Catch 54 – Sweet location on the water and a little fancy. The perfect place to go on a date. Plus they have a lot of wine to choose from.
- Harpoon Hannah’s – This has been one of my favorite places to hang out for years. They have a tiki bar that sits right out on the water and a pretty big bar indoors when the weather isn’t cooperating.
- Smitty McGee’s – Specials every day of the week. Saturday’s and Sunday’s are a bloody mess with bloody mary’s starting at $6.99.
- Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon – Any Pittsburgh fans in the house? This bar is your home away from home. Come on in and cheer your Steeler’s on.
- Dead Freddie’s – It’s kid friendly. The kids have their own separate play area so the adults can chill and watch the game on several of their large TV’s.
- Fager’s Island – Live music, a great view and tons of craft brews to choose from.
- Fish Tales – A dock bar. The very best kind. Watch boats come in and out, hang out on the water and relax in their sky chairs.
- Macky’s Bayside Bar & Grill – wanna drink on the beach? You’ve come to the right spot. Plus, they have a happy hour from 3-6 (bar and cocktail lounge only) where canned beers are $3.00!
- Purple Moose Saloon – Live music/entertainment every night of the week. AC/DC, Judas Priest, and Alice in Chains cover bands rule the roost here.
- Ropewalk – Crushes, slushies, beer and wine, heck they even have Frosé.
- Seacrets – Does it really need any explaining? Jamaica, USA is has so many bars and stages that you can get lost inside (or out) if you’re not careful. You can literally spend an entire day here (and people do!) Float in a tube, pull up in your boat, dance, drink, eat…Seacrets has been drawing people to Ocean City for years.
- Skye Bar – Drink up on the roof! Join them for their Big Champagne Happy hour which is from 11:30am – 3pm when you can get half price bottles of Moet & Chandon, Dom Perignon and Veuve Clicquot.
- The Original Greene Turtle – The Greene Turtle has expanded to several states but the original is located in Ocean City. Come on out for some beers, wings and maybe leave with a Green Turtle t-shirt.
- Irish Eyes Pub and Restaurant – On the water. Happy hour with $2.50 domestic drafts. Fish and chips. Guinness. Life is good at Irish Eyes.
- Kindle – Cocktails and $2.00 Natty Boh’s.
- On the Rocks – Drink at the Cape May Lewes Ferry. No, really. The patio is sweet and you can watch the boats come and go.
- The Pig and Publican – Lots of wine, lots of craft beer and a handful of specialty martinis.
- Aqua Grill – Gay friendly and drag brunches. Need we say more?!
- Arena’s Deli – Come to drink and watch sports. Order the nachos. Trust me.
- Big Chill Surf Cantina – If you like a beachy, surf board kind of vibe, this is the place for you. Plus they’ve got tons of beers and a really good lemon crush.
- Dogfish Head Brewery – Dogfish head beer was the first craft brew I ever drank. Their new space in downtown Rehoboth now includes an outside patio.
- Purple Parrot Grill – Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 3-6PM at the bar. And it’s half off! Plus there’s karaoke several nights a week as well as a drag show on Sundays.
- Rehoboth Ale House – 20 draft beers, open mic comedy nights. And the shows never have a cover.
- The Pond Bar and Grill – Trivia night is a fun thing to do here. Had so much fun one night I left my sweatshirt there lol. LGBTQ friendly.
Burley Oak Brewing Company – It’s not really at the beach but you should make a special trip to visit this brewery in Berlin, Maryland. The beers are freaking delicious and they make a big can of root beer for anyone wanting to be the designated driver.
Best Bars in Ocean City and the Delaware Beaches
How many of these bars have you been to?! Looking for a place to eat after drinking? Or before? Check out or Best Places to Eat in Ocean City and the Delaware Beaches. We’ve also got a list of the Best Things to Do in Ocean City as well as 25 Free Things to Do in OC and the DE Beaches. Give ’em a look and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below!
Oh and if you haven’t left yet, be sure to check out our story on the Things to Know Before Visiting Ocean City and the Delaware Beaches.
Before you pack the car and head for the shore, check out our story on the things to know before visiting Ocean City and the Delaware Beaches! We’ve got you covered on the best time to visit, packing, parking and of course, travel tips.
Best time to Visit Ocean City and the DE Beaches
Honestly, it depends. Here’s the breakdown of reasons.
Fall: The water is still warm in the fall and the crowds have dropped off a bit making fall a wonderful time of year to visit.
Spring: Many a spring breaker has shrieked when they dip their toes in the water. The water temperature hovers in the high fifties and low sixties often until mid-June. Still it’s a great time to visit and get out on the water for boating, fishing, kayaking, etc. even if you’re not getting IN it.
Summer: The most popular and busy time of year to visit the beach is in the summer. Memorial Day weekend kicks off the start of the summer and things (traffic, tourists, wait times in restaurants) steadily increases until July 4 and doesn’t really let up until kids go back to school. Labor Day is the official end of summer and Bethany Beach even has a funeral procession to mark another great season. Locals tend to breathe a sigh of relief once the population shrinks back to off-season/shoulder season numbers but many have remarked that the shoulder season gets longer and longer. There are a number of events that tend to bring people back to the beach.
Winter: If you visit in the winter you’ll most likely be able to get a place to stay for fraction of the cost. Though not all of the restaurants are open, those that are often have great specials. And though you might have to bundle up for a stroll on the beach there’s something really sweet about seeing the surf in the cold.
Packing List for the Beach:
Sunscreen: No matter what season you visit, pack sunscreen. Even in the off-season, the sun can be strong and the last thing you want to ruin your trip is a bad sunburn.
Layers: Mornings and evenings by the water can be cool so make sure you have something you can add after the sun goes down.
Flip flops: Okay so you might not be able to rock flip flops in the winter, but you can almost definitely get away with them in the summer.
Casual clothes: Pretty much anything goes at the beach. There are some restaurants that are pretty fancy but if you’re looking for a place with a laid back, anything goes kind of vibe, this is it.
For more info on what to pack, head on over to our Beach Packing Guide
Getting to OCMD and the Delaware Beaches:
There’s a tiny airport in Salisbury/Ocean City that you can fly into. American Airlines flies into the Salisbury Regional Airport six times a day. Give them a look if you want to get to the beach without a whole lot of driving. It’s 27 miles to the beaches once you touch down. In addition you can rent a car at the airport!
Most people drive and have to battle the Bay Bridge. If you’ll be driving to the beach, make sure you check the Bay Bridge website before you leave. They have several web cams that show you the traffic in real time. They also show you lane closures and report delays. If you can’t get to a computer you can also call the phone number which also gives updated traffic reports. 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726). For those of you who have traveled this way before, you know that timing is everything. Leave early or leave late, especially on weekends. Don’t make the mistake of many a tourist who leaves mid-morning and then sits in traffic for hours waiting their turn to cross the bridge. Uh uh.
If you have an EZ Pass bring it with you! These lanes often go a tad faster than the cash only lanes. Don’t have one? Get one HERE.
Go the speed limit. There are speed traps all over the place on the way to the beach.
Ocean City Parking:
In the off-season, you can park for free. Once April 1 arrives, however, you’ve got to feed the meter (up until October 31) or use the Parkmobile app. For more specific parking information about Ocean City go HERE.
Fenwick Island Parking:
Fees begin May 15 and end September 15. More parking information is located HERE. Their system uses parking permits but the permits don’t guarantee you a spot. Be sure to check their site for more info.
Bethany Beach Parking:
You must pay for parking from May 15 to September 15. Outside of that window it’s free! Bethany also uses the Parkmobile app. For more information about parking in Bethany, head HERE.
Rehoboth Beach Parking:
Rehoboth Beach has parking permits, meters and also uses the Parkmobile app however not all methods are available at all locations. Parking fees begin the Friday before Memorial Day and continue through the second Sunday following Labor Day. Fees are in effect from 10am to midnight. In addition, all 30 minute parking spots are enforced year round! Avoid the ticket and feed the meter! Click HERE to learn more about Rehoboth Beach Parking.
Want to go out but don’t want to drive? We don’t blame you! The good thing is, Uber and Lyft are both available at the beach.
Are the beaches guarded?
Yes! Beaches are guarded in Ocean City the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. They’re guarded up until Sunfest weekend which is typically the third weekend following Labor Day (September.) This year the last day of guarded beaches in Ocean City is Sunday, September 24. Guards are on duty every day from 10am to 5:30pm.
The beach patrol in Bethany Beach guards from Memorial Day Saturday until Labor Day Monday and weekends throughout September. Typical hours are 10am – 5pm but weekend hours are 9:30am to 5:30pm except for weekends in September which are 10am to 5pm.
Fenwick Island beach patrol guards from 10:00am -5pm from Memorial Day weekend and the first weekend in June. They go full time starting on June 10 until Labor Day Weekend. September weekend hours are determined per weather conditions and staffing.
The Rehoboth Beach Patrol guards on weekdays from 10am – 5pm and on weekends and Holidays from 10am- 5:30pm.
Other Things to Know for Visiting OC and the Delaware Beaches
If you love shopping, you’ve come to the right place. You can shop tax free in Delaware and there are tons of outlets in Rehoboth to visit.
Crabbing season in Maryland began April 1 this year. To find out more about crabbing and rules and regulations about catching you own, visit the Maryland DNR site HERE. To learn more about crabbing in Delaware waters, go HERE.
Old Bay Seasoning 6 oz each (1 Item Per Order) is a seasoning and we put it on everything! Chips, popcorn, french fries and of course, CRABS! If you’re crazy about Old Bay, check out this Old Bay Limited Edition Baseball Cap Hat.
Last call at bars for drinks in Delaware is 1am and last call in Maryland is 2am.
When it’s time to leave, check the Bay Bridge Website again and leave early or leave late.
Watch for turtles, tourists, bikers and runners on route one when driving. Ocean City recently installed a fence in the median to discourage people from cutting across the road but some have decided to go under it. Keep your eyes peeled and stay alert.
Things to Know Before Visiting Ocean City and the Delaware Beaches
What did you think about our list of things to know before visiting the beach? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments below. And if you found this interesting, be sure to check out the Best Places to Eat at the Maryland and Delaware Beaches, 53 Fun Things to Do, 25 Free Things to Do. You might also be interested in How to Avoid a Tourist Trap!
There are a ton of fun things to do in Ocean City, Fenwick Island, Lewes, Bethany Beach and Rehoboth. Lots of them cost money but we’ve come up with a list of 25 Free things to do in Ocean City and the Delaware Beaches so that you don’t have to break the bank on vacation.
- Catch a sunrise or sunset.
- See live music at the Bethany Bandstand.
- Visit the Boardwalk! Bethany Beach, Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach each have one.
- Ocean City Air Show (June).
- Build a sandcastle.
- Watch a movie at the Bethany Beach Bandstand (Mid-June to late September).
- Take a free brewery tour! Dogfish Head offers free samples.
- Get a free sample of popcorn at Fisher’s Popcorn. (June 7 – August 30).
- Take a tour of the Indian River Life Saving Station.
- Movies on the Beach at 27th Street in Ocean City at the Carousel Hotel. Bring a towel or a chair.
- See horseshoe crabs spawn in June during a full moon at a night time high tide.
- Explore the six mile Breakwater Junction Trail.
- Ride a bike!
- Ocean City Art League is always good for a free lecture or opening reception.
- Rehoboth Beach Farmer’s Market (every Tuesday, 12-3 in the late spring/summer).
- There’s always a calendar of events at the South Coastal / Bethany Beach Library.
- DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum.
- Window shop at Penny Lane Mall in Rehoboth.
- Northside Park in Ocean City. There’s often free fireworks on Sundays in the summer but it’s also just a fun place to hang out.
- See the light show from the boardwalk in Ocean City. (9pm – 11pm every night from late May to early September.)
- Nassau Valley Vineyards has a self-guided tour. Be sure to get a taste of the wine before you leave!
- Lay out at night on the beach and watch for shooting stars.
- Go to a book signing or author talk at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach.
- Bethany Beach Farmers Market (June 3 to September 2).
- Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes commemorates Delaware’s first European colony.
- Go surfing!
Free Things to Do in Ocean City, Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and Lewes Recap
How many of these have you done? We’d love to hear your thoughts about our list of free things to do in Ocean City and the Delaware Beaches it as well as any other suggestions that you might have!
If you like this, be sure to check out our list of 53 Fun Things to Do at the Maryland and Delaware Beaches as well as the Best Places to Eat at the Beach!