RV Parked In State Park

State Parks vs Independant RV Parks

If you’re new to traveling you’d probably figure this stuff out eventually. But it’s always good to know what you’re getting into when traveling from park to park. I listed below some of the things I like and dislike about State Parks vs independently owned RV Parks below. 

State Park vs RV Park: What’s the difference?

State Park Benefits 

State and National Park campgrounds are a great way to explore and experience the most beautiful parts of this country. Here’s some of the benefits when compared to a private RV park:

Cost: State park campgrounds cost anywhere from $10 to park overnight to $40 dollars a night. The cost usually varies depending on the amenities you receive (water, electric, etc), activities to do and the popularity of the park. 

Activities: Every state campground has something new to offer. This is why they became a protected parks in the first place. Activities usually depend on the terrain of the park. Mountain areas have beautiful hiking trails, lakes allow for fishing, swimming, kayaking and boating. Every park is unique so be sure to read up on each park to know what type of fun adventures you can expect when you’re planning your trip.

State Park Negatives

Stay Time: Most parks have a cap on how long you can stay. Usually around 14 days then you have to move on to your next destination. Although two weeks is plenty of time to get the most out of you stay. 

No Sewer Hookups: State park campgrounds have limited hookups compared to RV parks. Sites will range from having no hookups (boondocking) to water and electric only sites. Almost all parks will have a dump station (I’ve only been to one that didn’t), so you will be able to refill your clean water reservoir and empty your waste tanks without having to leave the park. 

RV Park Benefits 

Full hookups: RV park sites usually have full hookups at each site. Full hookups means water, electric, sewer and sometimes even cable. The sewer access is great for longer stays so you don’t have to keep making trips to a dump station. If you’ve been boondocking a while, staying somewhere with full hookups for a couple nights can be a nice opportunity to clean your tanks thoroughly and recharge your batteries. 

Time: RV parks don’t have a limit on how long you can stay. You can oftentimes find monthly and even yearly options at a discounted rate. However, some parks do discriminate against vehicles older than 10 years for longer stays. Some even on short stays. And many private parks in southern states are age restricted to 55 years or older, catering to the needs of snowbirds. So be sure to check out the details on their website before showing up. 

RV Park Negatives 

Cost: Some RV parks can cost more than a hotel. Ranging upwards of $80+ for a small space with full hookups. Especially around tourist attraction areas like Orlando or Southern California. If you’re on the move and just need a place to stay for a night or two, you can usually find a cheaper, if not free, alternative elsewhere. 

Age Restrictions: As mentioned above, some RV parks don’t allow older vehicles and younger people. Certain parks cater only to snow birds (retired folks coming south for the winter). So if you’re under 55, make sure you check out the restrictions before you get there. If you’re 55+, you can move this up to the “benefits” section. 

Scenery: Many RV parks are just glorified parking lots. Although there are some you can find near a lake or river that feel more like a campground to be fair. In general though, you’re not going to an RV park for the sight-seeing. You’ll usually have to leave a private RV park to see anything worth getting your camera out for. 

If you’d like to add any more positives and negatives about independent parks vs state parks please leave a comment below to help out our fellow travelers. 

Charley Waters

Hey! I have been fond of the topic of RV for more than 5 years. I have experience in the features of life on wheels. I'm a member of various RV communities and support communication with people who living in RV full time. I hope my articles will be useful to you.

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