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Old 02-09-2022, 01:23 AM   #11
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East coast camping (as Two can attest and others out there) is (mostly) different bc you have to stay in campgrounds most of the time, State, NP, FS off roading or a road that would require 4x4 are rare...I would go with Two's suggestion of the Pleaser-Way route...seems like quite a few lower mile, in your price range possibilities...
if you don't camp much, the amenities of bathroom/shower, stove/range, AC/Furnace, fridge will definitely make you use it more...I don't know how big passenger #3 is, but I am pretty sure they sell an aftermarket bed (single) that stretches across the front seats...
As you move out west to camp explore, there are plenty more campgrounds and places to (maybe/eventually)start your boondocking adventures(no campgrounds, just open-legal places out in the boonies/nowhere) my vote is a used Pleasure-way

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Old 02-09-2022, 01:52 AM   #12
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Sarah, I think you will be fine with your budget if you allow yourself to the top end of your stated budget. We have a 2-wheel-drive Sportsmobile and it takes us most everywhere we want to go. You can get a solid example for under $30k if you’re patient. Use to search all the Craigslist sites from one place, and also RVTrader. And this site in the classifieds, as members post nice deals they see elsewhere. Pleasureway vans are also very nice…just maybe a bit more nice vs rugged…which sounds like it will be fine for you. If you’re patient you will find something…took us a couple of years to find the right one. Good luck and welcome!

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Old 02-09-2022, 03:52 AM   #13
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East coast camping does include some dispersed/boondocking options in national forests (NF) and possibly state forests. More campground availability as stated. Humidity does become an issue in the summer so elevation helps.

There are four wheel drive opportunities, but one can access many/most NF dispersed locations and all campgrounds in 2wd although wet weather could result in mud. Some dispersed locations might require 4x4. I spent some time in a George Washington NF dispersed site recently. There were 4 sites, 4wd not required although clearance would help.

I would say all RVs will require maintenance over time, how much depends on many factors like age, use, complexity, previous maintenance, etc.
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Old 02-09-2022, 03:44 PM   #14
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Schedule to rent one locally for $300/day, try it out for 3 days, experience the whole mini-RV camping thing. It'll be the best money you ever spent.

Then sit down and evaluate to thought of ownership. I'll tell you, owning an RV of any size is like owning an older second house. A house with an engine, transmission, brakes and tires to maintain, registration and insurance and maybe storage to pay, then plumbing and appliances, a roof, that you slowly rattle apart while driving down the road.

If you don't absolutely love the heck out of the camping out in nature part, You'll hate the cost and hassle of upkeep.

If the 'juice isn't worth the squeeze', you can always rent once or twice a year
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Old 02-09-2022, 04:13 PM   #15
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Thank you for all the great advise. It’s surely going to help me with my decision. Much appreciation to you all for being so helpful.
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Old 02-09-2022, 04:54 PM   #16
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Sarah, if a 4wd isn't necessary, look at ads in Florida. There are many retirees down there had exactly the same desires in a van. Then they find out they just don't (or can't) use it as much as they thought they would and they sell them fairly reasonably with little rust.
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