A woman sunbathing in a bikini on a paddle board on a lake.

What Is the Open Roads Van Life Festival?

Nomadic life can offer plenty of adventures and out-of-this-world experiences. However, the road can get lonely, especially for those traveling solo.

Making meaningful connections with other nomads can be challenging. Luckily, the Open Roads Fest brings together those embracing the lifestyle or are considering jumping into it.

Today, we’re sharing everything you need to know about this unique weekend festival. Whether you want to connect with others or learn from the experts on how to get the most out of van life, you can do so at Open Roads Fest.

What Is the Open Roads Van Life Festival?

The Open Roads Van Life Festival is a weekend of workshops, social events, and many outdoor activities for all ages. Organizers want to “build community, share knowledge, and foster a deep respect for the public lands we explore” while having a fabulous time. 

This festival initially launched in 2019 and had to take a short break due to the pandemic. So if you want to plan a trip to this festival, come expecting two years’ worth of excitement as they celebrate all aspects of van life.

Check out the recap of the inaugural Open Roads Festival in Idaho.

Who Is the Open Roads Fest For?

This festival is for anyone interested in van life. You’ll find all types of people at the Open Roads Fest. Attendees range from those considering van life to veterans who have been doing it since before it was trendy.

The festival is a great opportunity for those interested to brush elbows with experienced van lifers. You can get pretty much any question answered about the challenges of van life, and you may even find you have more questions than you had imagined.

We love this festival because it’s not just for rookies or experts; it’s for everyone in between. The workshops and events do a great job of ensuring that everyone leaves with resources and knowledge that can help them in their future adventures.

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When and Where Is the Open Roads Fest?

The Open Road Fest 2022 is from July 15 to July 18 at Jug Mountain Ranch in McCall, Idaho. Throughout the 10-acre ranch, you’ll find some incredible trails and open spaces to spread out and enjoy yourself during the weekend. 

Attendees and their vans will park in rows to help promote a community-like feel and encourage socialization. If you plan to camp in a tent, the sites make it easy to cool off beside the crystal clear Boulder Creek. 

What to Expect at the Open Roads Fest

While we think this festival is for just about everyone, there are a few things you should know before purchasing a ticket.

Outdoor Adventures

One of the festival’s goals is to encourage and give opportunities for attendees to get out and explore. It’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy Idaho’s best mountain biking trails. And a free shuttle will transport you and your bike to the top of the trail system.

If mountain biking isn’t your thing, you can find hiking and trail running opportunities. The Open Roads Adventure Hub will have trail maps available to attendees to help you not get lost along the way.

The festival also has plenty of aquatic opportunities. A free shuttle will take you to the ranch’s private lake, where you can swim, float, or paddleboard at your heart’s content. 

Pau Hana Surf Supply will be on-site during the festival to provide guests with a free demo of their inflatable paddle boards. They’ll also have some available for purchase if you’re interested in picking up a new hobby.

A woman sunbathing in a bikini on a paddle board on a lake.


The festival will have more than a dozen workshops available. These workshops are perfect for those preparing you to jump into the lifestyle.

You can learn from experts to help build your confidence and ensure you start your adventures on the right foot. Even if you’re already on the road, you can use these workshops to get the most out of your van life experience. 


You should plan to bring your own food unless you want to purchase all your food from one of the local food and coffee trucks on site. Because of the risk of fires, you can’t have charcoal or campfires at the ranch. You’ll need to use propane when cooking, so plan accordingly.


There is no shortage of activities at Open Roads Fest. You’ll find wellness sessions for stretching, yoga classes, and a 75-minute class to improve the connection within yourself through breathing exercises. Staying healthy on the road is essential to enjoying the lifestyle fully.

Not every activity at the Open Roads Fest is peaceful and tranquil. You’ll find live music and dance parties throughout the weekend to help you cut loose as the sun goes down. It’ll have various music genres, so expect something for all preferences.

What Should You Bring to the Van Life Festival?

You’ll need to be as self-sufficient as possible during the festival. Come with everything you would need for a camping weekend. And you’ll need enough water to last you the weekend.

The festival will have some water available to fill water bottles at workshops and other activities, but you should be self-sufficient for the festival’s duration.

It’s also crucial that you pack out whatever you bring at the end of the festival. Take all of your trash and recyclables with you and ensure you properly dispose of them.

It’s a good idea to scan the area around your campsite before leaving to help avoid leaving anything valuable behind at the ranch.

How Much Does It Cost to Attend the Open Roads Fest?

Tickets for the Open Roads Fest range from $0 to $184, depending on your age and camping style. The most expensive option is van camping, which costs $184 (plus a $12.83 fee) for the driver and $139 (plus a $10.10 fee) for all passengers.

If you plan to tent camp, it’ll cost $169 (plus an $11.92 fee) and $139 (plus a $10.10 fee) for additional people. Guests 10 and under are free no matter which type of camping they’ll do.

By purchasing a ticket to Open Roads Fest, all guests get three nights of camping, an all-inclusive pass for the weekend’s activities, and the opportunity to connect with other adventurers. It’ll also include $2500 in raffle prizes throughout the weekend handed out to guests.

The event organizers describe it as a rain or shine event with no refunds on registrations. If you can’t attend, you can sell or transfer your ticket registration. However, you’ll need to update the name and email through the Eventbrite system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pets: When it comes to the FAQs for this event, many wonder if they can bring their pet. It has the same policies as pet-friendly campgrounds. Keep them on a leash and clean up after them.

However, dogs can enjoy an off-leash area. Be mindful that Idaho summers can get hot, and you’ll want to come with plenty of water for your four-legged friends.

Hygiene Facilities: If you don’t have a bathroom in your van, you can use the porta-potties. The bathrooms will get cleaned throughout the weekend. The ranch has no showers, so put on extra deodorant or dip in the creek.

Coming and Going: If you want to explore McCall or the surrounding area, make sure you do it before or after the festival. Once you arrive at the ranch, your van will need to stay put.

Those who leave the festival grounds can’t reenter. The festival wants to do everything to keep guests safe and avoid any conflicts with the nearby Jug Mountain Ranch’s golf course.

Is the Open Roads Van Life Festival Worth Attending?

With so many things that divide and separate us from each other, events like the Open Roads Fest bring people together. When at the festival, you can unite with other like-minded people passionate about the outdoors and enjoy adventures.

The Open Roads Fest can help you broaden your experiences and meet new people from all walks of life. The last festival had around 450 people and the organizers expect about the same this year. We think it’s worth attending any event that brings people together.

What’s been your favorite festival or rally to attend during your adventures?

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