Van Life? Real Life.

If you spend any time on social media sites like Pinterest or Instagram, you know the photo: A couple of craft beers in artistic cans and a few hand picked wildflowers sit on the adorable fold-down table inside a Scandinavian inspired vehicle. The curtains and pillows are earthy and subtle, accented by a gorgeous wood interior – and just blurred out of view are unwearably fashionable hats, a vintage camera, artwork, and rope for climbing. The surfboard is always a mint condition singlefin and there’s always an acoustic guitar.

Van life, or, as we should say #vanlife, has hit its stride as a 2020 trend – while many people tired of staying home, the allure of an open road and a safe little luxury home to travel in was at a peak. The reality of living in small spaces with a partner or a family is slightly different than the pinterest-shots – but we believe that you can absolutely make your best memories while in an RV or van. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

Pack for Real Life:

You’ll need more than two outfits, more than 2 perfectly matched plates, and plenty of storage that’s functional, not just beautiful. Remember that your vacation, trip, or life are really lived – not just photographed. Ensure you pack functionally, with intention.

Expect the Unexpected:

You may lock yourself out, find yourself in two weeks of rain, run out of gas on the side of the road, have a mattress choice go horribly wrong, or a host of other less-pinnable problems. The truth about any adventure is that the unexpected makes the stories worth telling. Our friends at LOST Travel have an entire podcast about travel gone wrong (link here:

Document the Memories:

Even if everything goes wrong, or if the paper plates aren’t as picture-perfect as you imagined, take the photos and keep a journal. Some of your most meaningful conversations, funniest anecdotes, and memorable sights may take place while you live a real life in a van or RV for a weekend, a week, or more.

Encourage Others:

Part of exploring a campground, National Park, open road, or new place is staying open to meeting others. And when you do, stay positive! Encourage those you meet to try out their own adventure. While RV or van life may not be for everyone – the lessons of staying flexible, making do with less, and finding joy in the journey translate no matter the situation!

If you haven’t joined Midwest Outdoor Resorts for a camping or cabin adventure, we encourage you to check us out. We have vintage trailers, tiny homes, and RV spots in midwest states with beautiful views and awesome communities.

This Weekend, Try Soo Line Trail Campground!

Winter is what we make of it. It’s often difficult to escape the drab monotony of never-ending snow, small windows of daylight and clenched fists on icy roads. If we let it, winter can really get to us mentally, physically and emotionally.


Maybe we don’t have the money to get away and take the family on a two-week vacation to the Bahamas. We might not have the time for a road trip to California. If so, we need to embrace winter rather than escape it. If we can leave the day-to-day toils of home-life behind, even for a weekend, it can give us the rejuvenation we need to make it to spring.


It may be time to check out Midwest Outdoor Resort’s (MOR) Soo Line Trail Campground. This is the only MOR getaway that is open on weekends in the winter. Located in Onamia, MN (about 90 miles Northwest of the Twin Cities), minutes from Lake Mille Lacs, the Soo Line Trail Campground has plenty to offer, even during Jack Frost.


Lake Mille Lacs –


Lake Mille Lacs offers fantastic fishing (especially Walleye, Northern Pike, and Bass), no matter the season. Rent an ice fishing house if needed, or explore one of the many charming towns around the lake. Onamia is the gateway to Lake Mille Lacs, and offers the jumping-off point to great snowmobiling on the Soo Line Trail. There is plenty of hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and even kiteboarding in the area as well.


Grand Casino Mille Lacs –


Grand Casino Mille Lacs is dubbed “Minnesota’s Most Liked Casino,” and for good reason. Offering plenty of entertainment year-round, Grand Casino Mille Lacs offers entertainment from boxing to concerts to comedy. Of course there is gaming and excellent dining throughout the casino as well.


Mille Lacs Indian Museum –


If you’re looking to shop, the Mille Lacs Indian Museum Trading Post “interprets the contribution of the Ojibwe people to the culture, history and contemporary society of Minnesota and the nation.” While the museum is unfortunately closed until April 1st, the Trading Post is open from 11am-4pm Wednesdays through Saturdays and offers large exhibits, as well as jewelry, books, music and even wild rice. The Trading Post also has its own interesting history.


Or you could just stay in…


There’s nothing wrong with just wanting to relax. The Soo Line Trail Campground offers a unique blend of amenities that allow for a fantastic getaway without breaking the bank (or giving you frostbite). With comfy overnight suites with free Wifi, a large clubhouse including a convenience store, game room and library, you don’t necessarily need to leave the resort to leave the stresses of winter life at home. A weekend getaway with your family or significant other might be just the fuel you need to make it all the way to spring.
As always, happy exploring!