Are you a boater enthusiast and swimmer looking for a lakeside or oceanfront RV park? Prefer wide open spaces in the great outdoors with plenty of hiking trails? There are plenty of resources, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When deciding where to stay, whether for the night, the weekend, or the season, there are several things to consider.
If you’re looking for the perfect campground or RV park, then you’ve come to the right place. Whether a minimalist camper that is searching for a small campsite in the mountains or a glamper that prefers parking your rig at RV parks with plenty of amenities, it’s easy to find your ideal outdoor destination.
Find the Right Site
Many RVers spend a lot of time searching for the perfect campground, while overlooking the fact that finding the perfect campsite can be just as important. Terrain, location, amenities, water sources and crowds – just to name a few – play a big part in selecting the perfect spot. Here are some strategies to help you find the right site.
Rated and Inspected
Good Sam parks are rigorously rated with Good Sam’s exclusive triple rating system. Each campground, RV park and RV resort is carefully reviewed and scored every year. With over 2,400 Good Sam RV parks across North America, campers can easily search for an incredible RV campground with amenity information, details about the sites and facility, nearby attractions and outdoor activities. Your outdoor adventure is just a click away. And Good Sam offers a variety of services beyond the 10 percent discount at Good Sam RV parks, such as roadside assistance and online travel resources.
Questions to ask:
- What’s your budget? Having a clear budget will help you make your decision when looking at various campgrounds and resorts.
- Are you staying in an RV? Is everyone in your group staying in an RV, or will some prefer tent or cabin?
- What is your length of stay? Is this an overnight stop, few days with friends or a longer stay with your partner?
- What is your camping style? Do you prefer a lot of amenities or open space? What do your camping companions prefer?
- Is your campsite big enough to stay comfortably for more than a day? Will there be room for slide-outs and enough power to meet your needs?
- Is there enough space to back in your rig? Do you require a pull-through site?
- Are you bringing your pet? Does the campground provide pet-friendly amenities (dog park, dog wash, etc.)
- Do you want to a park with a bustling social scene, or are you seeking solitude?
Campgrounds are generally your most basic setup. They tend to be more rustic, have ample room for tent camping and cater to more outdoorsy types. They usually have greater emphasis on nature and scenic views than amenities and typical stays are shorter. It’s hit or miss as to the number of RV campgrounds that can accommodate large motorhomes, so always check the website or call the campground directly.
RV Parks offer more sites for RVs, typically with full hookups. RV Parks are usually privately owned and where an RVer would more typically “park” their RV when staying on a more permanent basis. However, they do still tend to have overnight and weekend campers as well. They tend to be the middle ground between a campground and a resort. Many RV parks offer free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, showers, and sometimes added perks like pools/spas, dog parks and general stores.
RV parks tend to be more of a woodsy or park-like setting. Some parks will have paved driveways and sites, while others may not. If you have a large rig, research the park to see what sites can accommodate it, as it varies park to park.
RV Resorts offer more amenities for the outdoor adult lifestyle. This is the top tier of RV camping, so you should be able to expect some extra features not normally found at parks or campgrounds. Nearly every park that deserves the title of “resort” is in a good location. It’s either in peaceful surroundings with beautiful views. Or, they tend to be closer to civilization, which may include shopping, restaurants or entertainment venues.
They will be well manicured and in good condition. The roads in the park should be wide enough to allow RVs of all sizes to enter and leave sites easily. Some RV resorts are gated with manned gate houses and you might find that your RV must be of a certain caliber in order to gain entry. There is no industry standard; you may notice more luxurious amenities and surroundings according to price. These amenities may include exercise rooms, Jacuzzis, lap pools, in-house restaurants and/or bars, or golf courses.
If your family and friends are more interested in interacting with other campers, engaging in events or relaxing poolside, this is likely the option for you.
- Planning: Take the time to research not only the campground or RV resort, but your route, when you’ll be arriving and of course any current possible restrictions related to COVID-19 or weather. And with today’s travel challenges, it’s even more important than ever to stay safe and be prepared. The Good Sam campground finder is a great place to start. Feel free to supplement this with online reviews and tried-and-true personal recommendations. Avoid arriving at the RV park or campsite at night. If camping in the Southwest for example, set up where you have shade in the afternoon and sun in the morning. This will allow for warmer mornings, but a cooler space in the hot afternoon. Many campgrounds offer full hookups, while others limit travelers to dry camping. Not all campgrounds allow generator use, and some only allow it for certain periods of the day. So, if you hope to run the appliances at your convenience, call the campground/park and ask about their policy. And when you do call for reservations, be sure to give them a detailed description of your RV (size, height) and what your requirements are in the way of hook-ups and additional services.
- Make a reservation: Because camping has become more popular over the recent years, we suggest booking a campsite well in advance. Travel days give you enough to think about, take the pressure off finding a spot. This also gives you something to look forward to! And it maximizes your likelihood of securing your top choice spot. Depending on the park, we recommend calling to make a reservation. Reserving online isn’t always a possibility. You’re also more likely to snag a great spot if you’re more flexible with your dates. Popular destinations occasionally have campsites available mid-week. And consider booking after the Labor Day holiday, when school is back in session.
Pro tip: Discounts are typically given for longer stays. Are you able to escape for a week or even a month? Ask about specials and you’ll likely received a lower price per night.
- Personal Preferences: What kind of rig do you own? You will need a campground that has sites large enough to accommodate the size of your trailer, fifth-wheel or motorhome. Many RV parks post their campground maps online. You can even check out the satellite view on Google Earth for a bird’s-eye view of the campground below. If you’re traveling with kids, you might prefer a spot near the pool or playground. Would you rather a rustic ambiance with a focus on nature? When picking the right campsite, you may face a trade-off and need to prioritize which elements are most important to you.