5 Ways To Find Showers on the Road
Residential-style hot showers are not something you have to live without while living on the road. If your digital nomad style is of the RV, Vanlife, or car camping variety you do not have to go without gloriously hot, full-pressure showers. Jon and I jumped into RVing head-first, hardly knowing how to camp or RV, so we barely knew hot showers would be a concern. Once we figured out RV showers aren’t exactly residential quality, we thought we would miss them, but we quickly learned we didn’t have to go without them. If you are struggling with cold showers, weak water pressure, or frequent baby-wipe-showers, here are 7 ways we find great showers on the road.
1. Gym Membership
We can’t believe it took us into our second year to figure this one out! One of the best decisions we made was to join Planet Fitness. For about $20 a month Jon and I have, what PF calls a black card membership which allows us both to use any Planet Fitness gym in the country. If you are just one person you will pay the same, but you can always bring a guest. We have always enjoyed our workout and the showers at the locations we’ve visited have been clean and hot. Every now and again we have run into some issues with the hot water, but it is very, very rare.
Our second choice was Snap Fitness. Either one is fantastic option for showers on the road because their gyms are built on a franchise business model so they have the most locations nationwide. This works for us because we like to travel around the entire country. Both of these are not limited to large urban centers. Planet Fitness had a fantastic location in Las Cruces, New Mexico and Snap has locations as remote as Grands, New Mexico and Casper, Wyoming. Snap even has locations in Canada. Planet Fitness is the least expensive of the two, but Snap does have more varied gym equipment. We wouldn’t mind having both eventually. Sedona is a good example of why. There is a Snap Fitness, but no Planet Fitness, and Sedona isn’t very shower friendly.
2. Recreation Centers
Upon our visit to Moab, we discovered the “rec center shower”. Most towns have either a rec center or a community swimming pool of some kind. Often times you can purchase a day pass, or in the most camper/hiker friendly towns, even just a shower. If you have the option for both, the rec centers, especially if they have a gym, are almost always better. Some swimming pools don’t have private showers or worse, they don’t have hot showers so beware.
Moab has the best rec center shower experience we encountered (see a full list of public showers in Moab here) and it’s very common for people to walk in looking to purchase just a shower. A shower costs just $5 and if you would like to use the gym it’s only $7 for both the shower and the gym. Snoqualmie, WA had a phenomenal YMCA that offered free showers. New Bend, WA had a good rec center/community pool shower. It’s always a good idea to call ahead or check the websites as there are sometimes specific times or even days that these centers are open to the public. These days and times depend on the season and how often the facilities are used by local sports teams for practice.
3. Campground Showers
We rarely stay at campgrounds, but when we do we always use the shower facilities. Almost without fail, the water will be hotter and the water pressure will be far better. We’ve also found that some campgrounds be they private RV park campgrounds or state park campgrounds will sell showers to visitors. Most of these showers are coin operated and timed unfortunately (especially out West), but conserving water in our rig and having good water pressure is more important to us than having a non-timed shower. We do hate it when we pay for a campground and still have to pay for a timed shower.
Out East we have found great showers on the road while staying at state parks and Corps of Engineer campgrounds in north Georgia and Virginia (if you’re ever in Virginia, Pocahontas State Park is excellent!). North Carolina tended to be hit or miss with the water temperature and many of their state parks had push button showers (which we hate). Push button showers don’t allow for controlling the temperature and the water is constantly stopping after a set number of seconds.
4. National Parks
We have also found fantastic showers at National Parks. By far the best deal and best shower we have encountered was at Yellowstone. Best. Shower. Ever. The water was hot, there were more than enough stalls--it was just perfect! The showers were open to any park visitors as long as they bought a shower. Outside of Zion there were expensive, but quality showers. Those showers were timed, which is what made them expensive, but you had your own private bathroom and the water was hot. Not every National Park has these amenities, but when they do, they tend to be worth it.
5. Truck Stops
We have on occasion done the truck stop shower. They have always been great, they’re just on the pricey side at around $12 a shower. Still, if you enjoy boondocking, but don’t want to forgo residential quality showers while on the road, it’s not a bad option. It’s still less than most campgrounds charge per night. By far our favorite truck stop is Little America. We LOVE Little America! For $12 you get your own shower room complete with a shower AND bathtub! They provide you with towels, soap, and shampoo just like a hotel.
We have not missed residential style showers while living the RV Life full-time. We actually have a great deal of fun looking for great shower spots. We also started out RVing in the Southeast where humidity is a big concern for RVs. We wanted to keep any moisture in our rig to a minimum. Though when we were first shopping for RVs, the thought of a “wet bath” was too extreme for us, we would actually love a wet bath in our Class C for space saving, since we rarely use our RV shower.
Do you prefer to shower in your rig or do you also choose to shower at different facilities as we do? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to share any awesome showers options you have come across while on the road that you would recommend.