Table of Contents
- 1 RV Park Types
- 2 RV Park Amenities and Services
- 3 RV Park Etiquette – How to Make Friends, Not Enemies
- 4 Finding an RV Park, Reserving a Space, and Paying
- 5 Are RV Parks and Campgrounds Worth It?
- 6 Related Pages
RVing is more than just taking to the road and choosing a destination – it’s about community. Staying at RV parks across North America is a great way to make friends, explore new areas, and learn more about the RV lifestyle.
We recommend RV parks to all first-time RVers because they allow you to rest and hook up to various utilities in a safe environment. In addition, they’re run by experienced RVers and outdoor enthusiasts who can help you explore the area they call home.
We’re passionate about RV parks, campgrounds, and resorts, but there’s a lot for beginners to learn before they arrive. Read on for more information on the various types of parks available, visitor etiquette, and how to plan a trip.
RV Park Types
There are five types of places to park your RV:
- Parks: They come in all shapes and sizes, and can accommodate most motorhomes and trailers. Not all RV parks will offer full utility hookups, and some will only offer dry camping spots.
- Campgrounds: They offer RV parking spots, as well as space for traditional camping (tents, campfires, etc.). Not all motorhomes and trailers will fit, so you’ll need to call ahead to find out what’s offered and if it’ll work for you.
- Resorts: Perfect for travelers looking for an extended stay and above-average amenities. They can accommodate all RV lengths, and typically charge much more than standard parks due to their quality.
- Private Parking: This includes parking at a friend’s house, staying the night at a casino, or taking up space in a local WalMart parking lot. While it’s free, you’ll be without utility hookups and could get a parking ticket depending on city ordinances. Check out Boondockers Welcome to find fellow RVers from around the country offering free parking on their property.
- Boondocking: Also known as dry camping, this type of RVing has a dedicated following. It consists of parking with no utility hookups, typically far away from civilization. The big draw is that it puts you up close and personal with nature and far away from other RVers.
RV Park Amenities and Services
RV parks, campgrounds, and resorts offer a wide range of amenities and services, and they vary from place to place. Many parks offer everything from restaurants and grills to full bathrooms with showers. Some offer laundry facilities, rec rooms, playgrounds and dog parks. If you stay at an RV park network, such as a KOA park, they will offer activities like ice cream socials and barbecues. Many of these locations also operate swimming pools and hot tubs for visitors. Fire pits, wood delivery, propane fill-up and dump station action will vary from park to park.
You should also consider bringing your own food, as many destinations will allow you to cook your own meals. Some will prepare or deliver food on-site, but it can be expensive depending on where you stay. Or, if you stay in a park surrounded by locals, restaurants may offer an alternative to preparing meals yourself. Make sure to check out the local community around your park, because you may find farmer’s markets, dive bars and more fun to experience.
If exploring dining options ahead of time is important, consider research on utility hookups crucial. Some destinations will offer water, sewage, and electric hookups for your vehicle, however others will not. It’s also important to note that not all electrical hookups are the same – some parks offer 30/50 amp hookups, while others offer one or the other. If you plan to stay at a park that offers one or the other, make sure you have an electrical hookup converter; otherwise you may blow out your electrical system. As you can see, scoping out which utility hookups will be provided is a crucial step in choosing where to stay.
Another thing to be on the lookout for when choosing an RV park is whether they have dump stations available. Before you head out, you should be dumping your RV tanks to ensure they’re not spilling out on the road. Not all RV parks offer dump stations and some that do don’t offer them in an accessible location for larger RVs. If a park doesn’t offer a dump station, or it’s not accessible to your type of RV, you’ll want to search the surrounding area for somewhere to stop and dump before getting back on the road.
RV Park Etiquette – How to Make Friends, Not Enemies
The RV community is a big deal for those who travel often. You make new friends, learn more about RVing, and get to experience some of the most beautiful areas of the country. This “all in it together” mentality is something you don’t find in many other travel circles. All RVers have an unspoken etiquette for how to treat one another, their RVs, and the world around them.
Interacting With Others
RV parks can range in size, but the one thing that stays the same from park to park is how much space you share with the people around you. Be mindful of your noise levels, especially at night. Most RV parks have regulations about quiet time, which usually begin around 10 PM so that everyone can get a good night’s sleep. If you’re cooking, watch how the wind can blow smoke into your neighbor’s spot. The key is to pay attention to how you, those with you, and any pets are behaving in order to ensure you’re being respectful of fellow visitors.
RVers are a friendly bunch, so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to neighbors. You never know whom you might meet or what you might learn about the area. Invite them over for a cookout and see what they’re up to the next day. You may just discover new places to visit and new things to try during your stay.
Maintaining Your Parking Spot
Most RV parking spots are either on dirt or concrete. As most parks will need you to pull through or back in to a spot, you’ll want to make sure you’re following the direction given to you during the check-in process.
You’ll also want to follow all regulations about the proper care of your RV spot, which will vary from park to park. Depending on the type of site you have, you may not have much cleanup during your stay. If you’re given a concrete site, chances are you’ll only be required to pick up trash and anything you may have set up outside. If you’re given a dirt site, you may need to use a rake to pick up any food, trash or other debris that get mixed in during your stay.
Taking Care of the Environment
The most important aspect of RVing is taking care of the environment. In camping and RVing, there’s a concept called ‘leave no trace behind.’ Whenever visiting an RV park or campground, or boondocking, you want to make sure that you leave it as it was before you left. The space should look like there was no one staying there to begin with.
This preserves the environment for future use, and it also shows you have a respect for the great outdoors and your fellow RVers. This is especially important if you’re doing any backwoods or dry camp RVing on your trips. While there may not be any rules about taking care of the environment where you’re staying, always leave no trace behind.
Finding an RV Park, Reserving a Space, and Paying
One of the best ways to take advantage of an RV is to plan your trip ahead of time. This means choosing a destination, picking out where to stay, and planning out what you’ll do once you arrive. The following tips will help as you plan your journey.
Planning an RV Trip
It might surprise you to know how many RV parks and campgrounds there are throughout North America. When it comes to planning any RV trip, you want to start with where you will go and where you’ll stay. The park or campground you decide on can make or break your trip, so it’s important to choose one that you’re sure to enjoy.
Once you’ve decided where to go, choosing where to stay comes down to the following factors:
- Can the park accommodate your RV length?
- How close is the RV park to what you want to see and do?
- What amenities does the park provide that your RV doesn’t?
- Are RV hookups and dump stations provided?
From there, you should be able to narrow down your options. Now, considerations like how much it’ll cost per night, how long you will stay, and how you’ll get around town come into play. For most RVers, owning an RV brings with it the perk of staying as long as they want. Depending on your destination, you may stay a few days, a week, or longer. Luckily, most RV parks can accommodate you long-term as long as you book in advance.
How to Reserve an RV Parking Spot
You will want to book a spot at your preferred RV campground as early as possible, especially once RVing season comes into full swing. Many RV parks offer online booking, while some only accept reservations over the phone. Once you’ve narrowed down where you’re going and how long you’ll be there, check out the RV park’s website and get to booking. If you have any questions or need any special accommodations, it’s better to call the park and speak with them directly.
Most RV parks need a deposit with a credit card, which you will get back if you cancel within a certain time frame. This process is very similar to how booking a hotel room works. It’s also important to note that most RV parks need an adult 18 years of age or older to check in and supervise underage guests.
How Much Does It Cost to Stay at an RV Park?
The most important thing to know about RV park rates is that they charge by the day. This includes the type of spot you want, any add-ons (such as utility hookups or Wi-Fi access), and the amount of people staying. The price will be determined by each park, so it’s important to double-check what you need with the park’s website or by giving them a call. Many RV parks offer free cable TV in rec rooms and Wi-Fi, although the latter tends to be spotty at larger parks.
For an example of what some parks charge, you could end up paying anywhere from $15 to $100+ per day. This price will vary depending on the time of year, whether it’s a tourist destination, and the add-ons you choose to get for your spot. Some RV parks charge for better views, the length or width of your rig, or even for requesting a specific spot. It’s important to understand how the booking process varies at parks so you’re not surprised by the cost-per-day during your trip.
There is a surefire way to reduce the price of staying at RV parks, and that’s by joining one of the numerous RV communities in existence. KOA Campgrounds, the Good Sam RV Club, and the Escapees RV Club are just a few. There’s a membership fee for anyone interested in joining these clubs, but they come with money-saving perks. In some cases, parks also offer discounts for staying longer, but this will vary from park to park.
For the moment, there’s no Expedia or Priceline equivalent for booking spaces at RV parks. While there are many websites trying to solidify the booking process into one place, there’s no easy option for finding and choosing the best deal possible. As a result, you’ll want to do your research.
Are RV Parks and Campgrounds Worth It?
Yes! Parks, campground, and resorts make RV travel that much easier on solo travelers, families, and anyone else embracing the RV lifestyle. If you’re new to RVing, staying at a few RV parks is a must on your first couple of trips. It’ll help ease you into the RV lifestyle and connect you with fellow travelers. Whether you’re looking to get away for a weekend or take a long trip, RV parks make it easy to make friends, see new places, and explore the world.