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Mobile Apps for the Outdoor Explorer

Mobile Apps for the Outdoor Explorer

Technology has made it easier than ever to plan the perfect road trip. In fact, there are so many trip-planning websites and apps available now that it can be difficult to select the best ones. So, in this article, we will take a look at why it’s important to plan ahead and detail the nine best websites and apps for planning your next RV trip.

Value of Using Trip Planning Websites and Mobile Apps

Planning ahead can sometimes be tedious, but it will make your trip much safer, easier, and smoother in the long run. Planning can also help you choose the most efficient route between destinations, and the safest roads to take with a large RV. For instance, you can be sure to avoid low clearances and unnecessarily steep mountain passes, as well as find the best price on fuel and search out the perfect campground or RV park based on crowdsourced reviews.

All of these trip-planning websites and apps were made to facilitate safe and easy road-tripping, many of them specifically for RVs. By using these apps, you won’t miss out on an amazing campground just because it wasn’t on the paper map or in the area guidebook. The websites and apps are updated regularly, full of unbiased crowdsourced information, and optimized for travelers.

Recommended Mobile Apps and Websites

Whether it’s planning the trip, navigating the trip, finding places to stay, or getting gas, this list will help you out. Take the guessing and stress out of your travels.

Mobile Apps for Hiking


I was going to create a section for Hiking Apps but almost all fall under mapping so combing them into one category for your consideration.

All Trails+

All Trails is a mobile outdoor activity app that allows users to have access to any mapped trails that are near them. These include hiking, biking, climbing, and snow trails with data on things like how long the trail is, its elevation, and more. The All Trails Pro version of the app is $35.99 a month and allows users to download maps and stay on track while offline, shows air quality and weather of the trail, allows for off-route notifications, and keeps friends and family members updated on where you are.

Avenza Maps

Avenza Maps is an app that allows you to download maps for offline use for Android and iOS. With this app, you can plot and record information about an area that you are in like placemarks, distance, and even photos. 

Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS is an app, like Avenza Maps, that allows you to download and use maps of an area that you’re looking to explore by using your phones built in GPS. Gaia has over 300 maps to choose from with trail guides and even land boundaries for private land to prevent accidental trespassing. This app allows for distance measuring of a trail, elevation profiles, as well as alerting you of any natural disasters that happen on a trail like wildfires or avalanches. 

Google Earth

Google Earth is an app, and program on the computer, that allows users to view the world through a 3d generated image taken from satellites up in space. While not necessarily as in-depth at identifying trails and hiking paths, Google Earth is great for those looking to set a route or plan in and around the city they are staying in with road views and an interactable map.

Google Maps

Google Maps is extremely helpful for general planning. You can view the entire region that you plan to travel to, pick out destination cities or attractions, and determine your mileage and travel time. You can also find tons of reviews anywhere that you might want to go. However, Google Maps isn’t specifically optimized for RV travel, so be careful not to be led down any routes that are only suitable for cars. You can check anything in advance by looking at the satellite image to determine road quality and width, and you can ascertain the elevation gained and lost by switching over to the bike travel option within your route. is a free app that allows you to download maps for offline use. You can choose to download the entire United States or just the states that you will be traveling in. Having offline maps can be a major lifesaver if you are driving through rural or remote areas and lose your navigation signal.’s navigation will begin and keep going even when you don’t have cell service, which can even be lifesaving if an emergency arises and you need to find the nearest medical services. is also an amazing resource for hiking, as it has almost any trail that you might hike in its database of offline maps. So, if you get lost while hiking during your trip, you can use it to orient yourself and determine how long it will take to get back to your RV.


Founded in 2009, onX is a pioneer in digital outdoor navigation, developing apps that help inform, inspire, and empower outdoor enthusiasts. onX Offroad and onX Backcountry are two of the company’s leading outdoor apps.

Click here to learn more about onX GPS Map App for Backcountry, Offroad, and Hunting.


PeakFinder is an AR, or augmented reality, app that lets users find the peaks of mountains nearby. Simply open you camera and point it at the mountain and the app will figure out which peak is near you with information on its peak elevation as well as solar and lunar orbits relative to the peak which can help time hikes that are dependent on where the sun is or if you’re trying to get a cool moon and space picture.


PeakVisor is another AR app that uses your phones camera to generate a 3d map of the mountains around you and their peak elevations. This app can identify mountains 100s of miles away as well as allowing you to plan hiking routes by showing a routes elevation profile and around how much time it takes to complete the route.


The Roadtrippers website and app is a free platform that allows you to enter your desired start and end locations for your trip, and it will not only show you the best route to take but also recommend “off the beaten path” places and attractions to stop at along the way. These recommendations can be personalized to your preferences and will help you avoid tourist traps and busy destinations while getting a more “locals only” feel during your trip.

Roadtrippers Plus is also available, which is a $29.99 per year paid version of the app that allows you to build longer itineraries, share your plans with friends, and use the app without ads. Click here to save $5 on your subscription to Roadtrippers.

View Ranger



Similar concept to, but with a better interface and a mobile app. You can also filter your search for nearby RV parks, public lands, free campsites, overnight parking, or dump stations. However, although the interface is nicer, there are not quite as many sites listed as on (depending on the area) and many sites have few or no reviews, which makes it hard to trust their quality. It is nice, however, to be able to filter results to exactly what you need at the time.

Free Campsites

The user interface of Free Campsites leaves something to be desired, but the content of the website is gold. There is no app available, so it’s easiest to access on a computer (although it’s possible on a smartphone). You can zoom in on your destination area and view color-coded sites on the maps, with the different colors indicating whether the site is free, requires a permit or has a nightly fee.

Each site listing tells you the maximum number of nights you can stay, the maximum RV length allowed, what amenities are available, whether there is cell service, which permits if any is required, and how far the site is from a paved road. There are also often reviews on the postings, which give you a good idea of how accurate the initial listing was and whether anything has changed since the campsite has been posted.


Another free app that’s similar to and Campendium. This interface is better than but not quite as intuitive as Campendium. The main advantage of iOverlander is that you can search for almost anything using different filters: established/informal/wild camping, hotels and hostels, fuel stations and propane vendors, mechanics, water and dump locations, restaurants and attractions, medical services, showers and laundromats, and even things like customs and immigration information, consulates, and vehicle shipping and storage facilities.

These additional features are extremely useful, especially for long trips where you need more services and if you are traveling outside of your home country.

Harvest Hosts

A membership-based website and app that requires a $79 annual fee but then allows members to stay at various host locations overnight for no additional cost, although a $20 purchase of the host’s goods and services is suggested. Host locations include breweries, wineries, farms, animal sanctuaries, museums, golf courses, and much more. Members are allowed to dry camp for 24 hours at a host location and must be in a fully self-contained RV with an indoor toilet, indoor cooking facilities, and a wastewater containment system.

Harvest Hosts can be an amazing way to experience businesses in ways that you never would be able to otherwise, and there are many host locations throughout North America so you can effectively travel almost anywhere you want to be staying at a series of Harvest Hosts.


A newer one that is perfect for those traveling in RVs. Hundreds of homeowners or landowners offer up spots to park your RVs or even tent camping. Some offer hookups, some just offer the space. Run similar to Airbnb, you find your preferred spot, book, and pay using the app.

RV Apps


RV Trip Wizard offers a free seven-day trial but the full web-based service costs $39 per year, which can be well worth it if you RV frequently. The app allows you to input your specific RV’s weight and height, and then it will choose your route to avoid low clearances, steep grades, and other potential hazards and roadblocks.

It has over 20,000 campgrounds that are reviewed by other RVers and more than 10,000,000 data points to bring you the most accurate information about each destination and campground. This tool provides a visual plan of your trip, drive time and distance information, and cost estimates for your entire trip, including fuel and campground costs.

Stargazing Apps

Star Walk

Click here to view our article on Tips for Stargazing in the Southwest.

Weather Apps


Trip Planning

RV Trip Wizard offers a free seven-day trial but the full web-based service costs $39 per year, which can be well worth it if you RV frequently. The app allows you to input your specific RV’s weight and height, and then it will choose your route to avoid low clearances, steep grades, and other potential hazards and roadblocks.

It has over 20,000 campgrounds that are reviewed by other RVers and more than 10,000,000 data points to bring you the most accurate information about each destination and campground. This tool provides a visual plan of your trip, drive time and distance information, and cost estimates for your entire trip, including fuel and campground costs.

Gas and Fuel


GasBuddy is a free app that can help you find the cheapest fuel near you, wherever you are. You can also use it to plan out your fuel stops in advance using the route feature to save as much money as possible throughout your trip. RVs are notorious gas guzzlers, so every penny saved on fuel is a penny towards more adventures.


Another great one is the UpSide mobile app. Good for fuel, restaurants, and groceries that can be used at hundreds of stations across the USA. Using this app can also help you earn cashback on spending inside gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.

With this list of recommended RV trip-planning websites and apps, you can be more prepared for your next RV renter’s adventure.

Nature Identifier Apps

Audubon Bird Guide

Audubon Bird Guide app is a free field guide app with a catalog of over 800 species of birds found in North America. This app can help you determine which bird you are looking at by assessing things like its size, color, location, and what time of year it is. 

Audobon Society Native Plants Database

Audubon Society Native Plants Database is an online tool that allows you to enter in your 5 digit zip code to find native plants and birds in your area. While you only have to enter in your zip code, entering in your email address will allow the website to send you a list of the native wildlife you are interested in as well as getting tips and tricks on how to create a brid friendly habitat.


eBird is a mobile app that allows you to track and create lists of birds that you encounter while out and about, even without wifi. This app will give real time feedback on how rare a bird is to encounter in your area as well as allowing you to track and time how long you spent bird watching in an area.


iBird is a database app that requires zero internet connection to use which is perfect for trails and hiking where internet connection can be spotty at best. iBird has over 4,000 photos of North American birds that range from hand drawn all the way to high-res full-sized images. Birds can be found by inputting data that you have collected about the bird near you into their search engine where it sorts and filters all known birds to closely match what could be around you.


iNaturalist is one of the most popular nature apps in the world with over 1 million plus downloads, and for good reason. This app can help you identify animals and plants around you by pulling data from over 400,000 naturalists and scientists into one, central database. By using this app, you also help contribute to the data by sharing and uploading species of wildlife for others to examine and understand.

Leps by Fieldguide

Leps by Fieldguide is a crowd sources resource that helps users identify and analyze different species of moths and butterflies. This app uses the input and data points from users to better help understand where you can find moths and butterflies at certain points in the year while also breaking down the morphology and phenology of the bugs found in your area.

MyNature Animal Tracks

MyNature Animal Tracks is a field guide app that helps people figure out which animals tracks they are looking at or standing in. This app features a database of 7 track categories as well as 5 categories for scat, which is often times found near and around animal tracks. MyNature Animal Tracks has full images of front and hind feet tracks that includes measurements of the feet as well as gait patterns to help narrow down what you’re looking at, all while being offline.

MyNature Tree Guide

MyNature Tree Guide is another field guide app created by the developers of MyNature Animal Tracks that helps users identify what trees are in the surrounding area through a series of 15 questions. This North American field guide has over 1500 full images of trees leaves and needlesm bark, fruit, and profile to make identifying trees a breeze. 

Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder

Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder is an app that allows you to search for nearby parks and activities near you by accessing a database of every national, state, and local park in the United States. Some of the activities you can look for include cycling, caving, hiking, RVing, watersports, and many more. This app also gives park overviews, important phone numbers in the park, lodging information, weather, and maps and directions.

Seek by iNaturalist

Seek by iNaturalist is another app created by the same people who made iNaturalist that uses the power of your phones camera to identify wildlife around you while earning badges, which can be great for those looking to turn exploring nature into a fun game or competition. This app can identify plants, fungi and wildlife and give brief breakdowns of what you’re looking at.

Mobile Apps for the Outdoor Explorer