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You’ve purchased your RV and are ready to hit the road. You’ve loaded your RV with clothes, food, and supplies for an extended trip. You have mapped out your trip and picked a destination. Now all that’s left to do is to pick where you want to stay whether it be just for the night, for a weekend, a week or for a couple of months. You will need electricity, water and sewer unless you are boondocking with a generator. You now have three choices to consider:
- 1 RV Park
- 2 RV Resort
- 3 RV Campground
- 4 Sites in RV Parks, Campgrounds and Resorts usually come with these basics:
- 5 How to Find the Best RV Parks, Resorts and Campgrounds
- 6 Things to Consider when Looking for that Perfect Park/Resort/Campground:
- 7 Discounts
- 8 Choosing the Best RV Parks/Resorts/Campgrounds
- 9 Best of the Best
- 10 Finding Your Best RV Park/Resort/Campground
RV Parks accept all RV’s and may or may not accept tents. These parks can accommodate the bigger RV’s: Fifth wheels and Motorhomes. They have the basic amenities along with electric, water and sewer. They also have dump stations. The number of RV spots varies from 10 to 400 plus. Neighbors are closer together, sometimes on top of one another. You can spend a night, weekend, week or on a monthly basis. They do cater to permanent residents also. Geared towards kids and adults.
RV resorts cater to the bigger RV’s: Fifth wheels and Motorhomes. They also cater to Park Models for permanent residency. They do not accept tents or pop-up campers. They have the basic amenities which include electric, water and sewer. RV Resorts also have higher-end amenities like pools, golf courses, and clubhouses. RV’s are usually not parked on top of each other like in the RV Parks. Geared towards adults.
RV campgrounds do not accept bigger RV’s. They cater to the smaller pop-ups and travel trailers. They allow tents. Many times they do not include the basic amenities: Electric, water and sewer.
Length of stay is limited. Geared towards everyone.
Sites in RV Parks, Campgrounds and Resorts usually come with these basics:
Other amenities can include the following:
- Fire pits
- Picnic tables
- Bath houses/showers/restrooms
- Convenience store
- Dump station
- Exercise equipment
- Gift shop
- Golf courses
- Hot tubs
- Horseshoe pits
- Swimming pools
- Pool room
- Game room
- TV/Activity rooms
- Dance halls
- Tennis/Pickle Ball courts
Which basic or luxury amenities you get depends on which of the three options you choose. RV Parks come with all the basic amenities; campgrounds are more rustic and contain the least amount of amenities; resorts come with amenities such as pools, clubhouses golf courses and restaurants.
How to Find the Best RV Parks, Resorts and Campgrounds
Finding the best RV Parks, Resorts and Campgrounds will take quite a bit of research. You will want to make sure they will take your RV and that you get the amenities you need and want. Reservations will need to be made in advance depending on where you go and what time of year it is. Destination parks require reservations, whereas non-destination parks do not.
RVing has become very popular in the last ten years and there is a lot of competition for sites in the more popular destination parks. There are waiting lists to get into certain parks and other parks require you make reservations a year in advance.
There are online sites to help you navigate through all the RV Parks/Resorts out there. These sites list amenities, contain pictures and have timely reviews from actual RVers. These are a great place to start:
Here are a few sites for the national/state public campgrounds:
These sites usually have links to the RV Park/Resort/Campground official website where there are more pictures, a complete amenity list, rates, maps and contact information. If not you can easily find these websites yourself through thorough research. Many parks also have Facebook pages where you can see more photos and read more reviews; get a good feel for the place.
RV Forums are also great online places to get advice on finding the best RV Parks/Resorts/Campgrounds. Forums are a wealth of resources and knowledge; here are links to a few:
Things to Consider when Looking for that Perfect Park/Resort/Campground:
- What kind of RV’s do they accept
Many places have RV type, age and size restrictions. The length of your RV is important because of the length of the sites. Not all places can accommodate the longer rigs with multiple slide outs because of the closeness of neighboring sites. You will also need enough room for at least one vehicle at your site. Many places will also ask you the age of your RV preferring nothing older than 10 years. Save yourself the hassle of being turned away by doing your homework here.
- What kind of hook-ups do they have
Most parks and resorts have full hook-ups which include electricity, water and sewer, but you’ll have to make sure that they have what you need and expect. Most campgrounds will not have access to full hook-ups so you should be aware of this fact.
- What kind of WiFi do they offer, if any
Having internet access is very important for a lot of people who want to keep in touch with family or who actually work online. Every place is different and perfect it is not. It is a hit and miss situation. It is rare to find a place with a reliable, lightning fast internet connection and more often than not it is spotty. Sometimes it is not available at each and every site and you have to go up to the main building/office in order to get access. Campgrounds don’t usually have any sort of internet connection because you are basically out in the wild.
- Where are they located
You’ll have to use your research skills here because more often than not, especially with non-destination parks, there will be noise. Two of the biggest culprits are highway and train noise. Think Jake Brakes and blaring train horns. You can go to Google Maps/Earth and really zoom in to see roads and railroad tracks. You can also see if there are any industrial buildings nearby. There are quiet parks out there but for the most part there will be some noise, unless you’re at a campground in the mountains.
- What extra amenities do they have
Amenities like cable television, pools, golf courses, tennis/Pickleball courts, game and fitness rooms and hair dressers are just a sample of what you can get at parks and resorts. Some parks/resorts have it all and others just have the bare minimum like an office, restroom, laundry and antennae television. You’ll have to do your research and decide what you can and can’t live without. Just remember the more the amenities, the higher the rent.
- What kind of mail service do they have
A lot of parks/resorts will accept mail delivery which is important if you want to be gone for an extended amount of time. There is also UPS and FedEx delivery inside parks/resorts. Now not all parks/resorts will accept mail so you can get a local P.O. Box or sign up with UPS to get mail delivered to where you are. You will have to check before you leave home.
- What kind of activities do they have
Parks like the 55+ Resorts have a plethora of daily activities. If you love to socialize this may be the place for you. Or if you have kids, you may want to look into the Jellystone Parks that have a lot of activities for the kids. Or if you want to keep to yourself and enjoy all that nature has to offer a campground may be better for you.
- What kind of leasing do they have
Some places only let you stay for a limited time, say up to two weeks. Other places you can stay for an extended period on a monthly basis. If you are planning a short stay say two weeks you may want to look into staying a full month to save money.
Having answers to these questions will ensure that you stay at the right park/resort/campground for you and your family. You’ll have to do a lot of online research and know what you want and expect in order to find the best place for you.
For discounted prices at parks/resorts/campgrounds you can look into joining an RV club for a yearly membership fee:
There are also discounts for military families and such. You just need to check with the places when you call to inquire about staying at their park/resort. There are also passes available for national parks:
You just need to do your research to find the best option for you when it comes to getting more bang for your buck when camping, whether it is at an RV Park or a national park.
Choosing the Best RV Parks/Resorts/Campgrounds
There is no “best” RV Park/Resort/Campground out there, but there is a “best” RV Park/Resort/Campground for YOU. YOU decide what you need and want and then go out and find it through research:
Do you want public or private?
A national or state park versus a privately owned and operated RV park or resort
Do you want city or rustic?
Do you want to be close to cities with zoos, museums, ballparks, restaurants and shopping or do you want to be in the mountains/woods far away from people and traffic.
Do you want luxury amenities or do you just want the basics?
The basics are electric, water and sewer whereas luxury includes golf courses, pools and clubhouses
Are you going to entertain yourself or do you want someplace that offers lots of activities?
Do you want to go sightseeing in and around the area outside of the park/resort or do you want to stay inside the park/resort and participate in planned activities with other campers
Are you traveling as a couple or as a family?
Is it just the two of you or will you have the whole family/kids along
Are you staying for a week, for a couple months or an entire season?
Will you be just passing through on your way to a destination; snowbirding for a couple months or making it your home
There are a lot of different options out there and you don’t have to settle for less than what you want and need. It’s all part of the planning:
- Where do you want to go
- Lay out your route
- How long do you want to stay
- Find places to visit
- Budget your time and money
- Check out the parks/resorts/campgrounds in and around the area
- Decide what amenities you can’t live without
- Find a place to stay
It will take some time to thoroughly research all your options, but taking the time to do so will make your trip and stay a good one.
Best of the Best
There are online guides to the “best” places to stay in many different categories. These links can help you find the best RV parks/resorts/campgrounds, but remember; only YOU can decide what is best for YOU and your situation. These links are worth checking out:
- America’s Best RV Parks
- America’s Best RV Campgrounds
- Best RV Parks in Florida
- Best Campgrounds for Families
- Best Waterfront RV Campgrounds
- Best Snowbird RV Parks
- Best California RV Parks
- Top Luxury RV Resorts
- Unforgettable RV Parks in Colorado
- Best National Park Camping Sites
There are many “best of” links; this list is non-inclusive. It just gives you an idea what is out there and what can be found online.
Finding Your Best RV Park/Resort/Campground
You will find your best RV Park/Resort/Campground if you are true to your wants, needs, and budget. Being realistic about what is out there will help you in the long run. You can find the park that meets your expectations where you will be happy. So pack up your RV and head out onto the road confidently and prepared. Knowing what is out there is half the battle; the other half of the battle is choosing what is best for you.
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