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If you want to take a swing at van life or RV living in 2023, you might want to plan ahead. For instance, some states, like Texas, are more accommodating of the nomadic lifestyle than others. So, which states are your best bet for van life or long-term on-the-road travel? 

What states are best for full-time RVers?

If you’re looking to ditch the home or apartment in favor of driving an RV or van life full-time, these states might be your best bet. 

  • Texas
  • Florida
  • South Dakota
  • California
  • Virginia
An RV drives through Texas and New Mexico, two of the best states for RV and van life.
An RV | Robert Alexander via Getty Images

According to, Texas, Florida, and South Dakota are the best states for van life and full-time RV living. Specifically, all three states have no income tax, accessible domicile requirements, and favorable mail-forwarding systems that make living on the road realistic. 

Moreover, for fans who worry less about running a business on the road and more about breath-taking parks, California and Virginia earned top spots with California might have high fuel costs and tax structures, but it boasts 91 federal parks and over 420 public beaches. Better yet, California’s climate supports a nomadic lifestyle all year long. 

Also, Virginia offers a manageable climate and no shortage of natural beauty. For instance, the state has 48 federal parks, including the stunning Shenandoah National Park.

What are some of the best routes for RV and van lifers?

While the United States has expansive parks and awe-inspiring landscapes, some of the country’s routes are a must for van life and RV living. For instance, Route 66 spans from Southern California to Illinois, with iconic Motor-Americana along the way. Moreover, the Blue Ridge Parkway twists through some of the most stunning parts of Appalachia. 

A driver takes a break from van life in one of the best states for RV and van living.
A van on the side of the road | Archive Photos via Getty Images

Of course, no cross-country trip would be complete without a journey through the Rocky Mountains culminating in a visit to the historic Yellowstone National Park. Still, Montana’s van life and RV living compliance depend on the weather, which could be frigid in the winter months. 

Are there any states you should avoid?

According to Mount Comfort RV, New York’s roads could be restrictive to larger RVs, and some streets have low clearances that could make RV living difficult. However, van life travelers will find that New York’s roads aren’t as inaccessible to a smaller application. 

Beyond some problematic roads, weather conditions could affect your van life or full-time RV living plans. For instance, California, Arizona, and Texas might be compliant with year-round RVing, but states like North Dakota or Montana might be challenging to negotiate in winter months. 

A Sprinter Van parks in a RV living space in the desert.
A van in the desert | Josh Brasted via Getty Images

Is van life or RV living right for you?

RVs are larger vehicles, often with more amenities than converted or purpose-built vans. However, RVs also have unique challenges for full-time RV living. For instance, some class A RVs are around 14 feet tall, meaning owners must pay attention to road accessibility and overhangs. 

On the other hand, van life is more minimalist and allows for easier access to cities and small roads. However, converted vans will have less space for creature comforts and storage, so packing light is vital.


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