Find the right RV site — select carefully before you pull into your next destination.
Good Sam gives you all the tools you need to find the right RV park for your destination. But before clicking to secure your online reservation, make sure you get an RV site that meets your needs.
This may be one of the most important judgment calls to make on your trip. The quality of your outing may rest on whether you’re near the hustle and bustle clubhouse or in a remote site under shady trees; near a noisy playground or backed up against a busy highway.
So choose wisely. Consult the guest reviews in each park’s information page as you and consider the following 9 things:
1. Size and Configuration
Nobody likes trying on a shoe that’s too tight. The same goes for RV sites: You want something that gives you plenty of room and comfort.
Pull-Thru sites: Do you drive a long RV and like getting in and out of the site easily? A pull-thru site allows campers to enter and exit a site without backing — it’s ideal for RVers who tow trailers and/or folks who are staying for just a short while. The drawback is that it backs onto a road, reducing the privacy that may be available in back-in sites.
Back-in sites: Backing an RV into a site is one of the most unappealing chores in the RV lifestyle, but it’s worth it once the vehicle is in “park” and your awning is unfurled. If you’re a privacy-craving snowbird who plans to hunker down for weeks on end, a roomy back-in site is probably preferable.
Big Rig sites: If you drive a long motorhome and tow a dinghy vehicle, a big rig site is the answer. These spaces accommodate RV configurations that are more than 60 feet in length and wide enough for a large array of slide-outs.
2) Power Hookups
Make sure you’re able to feed your RV’s appetite for electricity. If you’re tent camper or tow a folding camping trailer, then your power requirements will be minimal (and cheaper). Campers with big motorhomes and trailers, on the other hand, will likely require 50-amp service for all of their appliances. Make sure you know your RV’s electrical requirements before determining a site.
3) Water & Sewer Hookups
Keep in mind that sewer service may vary at RV parks. Some waterfront sites, for example, don’t offer sewer for obvious sanitation reasons. But the sacrifice may be worth it for the view, and some RV parks offer honey wagon service to empty the holding tanks. If you’re parking in a spot without sewer, note the location of the restrooms. Also, be aware that some RV parks in remote parts of Alaska and the Yukon don’t always offer sewer service; it’s a small tradeoff for camping amid rugged scenery.
4) Location, Location, Location
Every spot in an RV park has its pluses and minuses. A site near the pool and recreation room is convenient, but the foot traffic and noise might pose an annoyance to some guests. The same goes for sites near the playground or athletic field. If you pick a more remote spot, you’ll want to avoid getting positioned near a busy highway. Study the park map to get the lay of the land. If the RV park has an adjoining golf course and you’re itching to hit the fairway, you probably want a site that’s a short walk from the tee box.
5) Site Amenities
Consider the perks that you like in an RV site. Fire Rings and picnic tables are musts for some campers. Do you have room to unfurl the awning, fire up the barbecue and watch the big game from one of your outsideTVs? If you’re camping in the height of summer, look for a site with shade so that you can save on the air conditioning cost. If possible, choose a north-facing site so that the summer sun has limited penetration into RV living quarters. Again, this will help you cut down on air-conditioning usage.
6) A Site with a View
How important is the view to you? Do you want to wake up to the view of a scenic bay like some spaces at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina in California? Or do prefer mountain vistas, like the skylines surrounding Idaho’s Red Rock RV and Camping Resort? Finding a site with a view can add an extra magic ingredient to your trip.
7) Camping with Buddies
Are you RVing as part of a group? Many parks allow many RVers to park in contiguous spaces, giving you a chance to stay with your fellow club members. You can also arrange a “buddy site,” like those offered by Cedar Cove RV Park in Elephant Butte, New Mexico. These sites accommodate two RVs parking end-to-end so that the guests’ street-side doors are facing, forming a common area for socializing and cookouts.
8) Non-RV Alternatives
Inviting non-RVing buddies to your outing? You’ll want to camp close to the park models/cabins/tents where they’re staying. And If you’re not an RVer but would like to enjoy a campground experience in a yurt or park model, many of the same rules outlined above apply.
9) Canine Considerations
Dogs make great traveling companions, but these furry passengers sometimes can be challenging. If your canine barks at everything that moves, you’ll want a site as far away from foot traffic as possible. The same goes for cats that are prone to stress. And if you opt to camp close to a dog run, you can give Fido a chance to burn off steam nearby. Check out these 5 tips on camping with your dog for a hassle-free experience.
Once you’ve completed your campground stay, don’t forget to share your experiences with your fellow RV travelers. Our RVer Park Reviews feature gives you a forum with which to share your own camping tips with like-minded people.