Where can I camp in my RV

Where Can I Camp in My RV? Short and Long-Term Stays

Embarking on an RV adventure offers a freedom often unmatched by other forms of travel. Determining where to park and camp in your RV is a key component of planning a successful trip.

RVers have the luxury of conceiving their route around various scenic landscapes, from national parks to private resorts. Making informed decisions on where to stay ensures your journey maximizes both legal compliance and enjoyment.

An RV parked in a wooded campsite, with a fire pit and picnic table nearby. Tall trees and a clear sky in the background

Many RVers find joy in the wide array of available camping options. Options such as workkamping allow travelers to exchange services for a place to stay, creating a sustainable travel lifestyle. Others prefer the amenities and social environment offered by traditional RV parks and campgrounds.

For the more adventurous, free or cheap RV sites provide a way to enjoy nature at a reduced cost, adding an element of exploration to the camping experience.

Key Takeaways

  • RV camping locations range from full-service campgrounds to free natural sites.
  • Securing the right spot can involve work exchanges, reservations, or exploring lesser-known areas.
  • The right equipment and awareness of camping etiquette enhance the RV experience.

Types of RV Camping

An RV parked in a forest clearing, surrounded by tall trees. A campfire burns nearby, with a family of four sitting around it

RV enthusiasts have a plethora of camping options to suit various preferences, ranging from the amenities-rich RV parks to the ruggedness of boondocking in untouched locales.

RV Parks and Campgrounds

RV parks and campgrounds generally provide guests with a range of facilities such as electric hookups, water, sewer services, and often Wi-Fi. Sites like KOA RV Campgrounds are known for their well-equipped sites and family-friendly environments, offering everything one needs for a comfortable stay.

State Parks and National Parks

Many state parks and national parks offer beautiful RV sites set amidst natural splendor. These parks typically feature basic amenities and the chance to explore outdoor activities.

For instance, state park sites can offer unique experiences and are ideal for those looking to connect with nature.

Boondocking and Dry Camping

Boondocking, or dry camping, refers to RV camping without any hookups, often in remote areas. This type of camping requires self-sufficiency, but it rewards campers with peaceful settings and untouched landscapes.

Boondocking is a favored option for those who seek solitude and adventure off the beaten path.

Other Options for Overnight Parking

There are alternative options for overnight parking where one can stay in their RV, such as certain retail store parking lots or truck stops.

However, it’s important to seek permission from the property owner and adhere to any specific rules or time limits they may have. These spots usually offer no amenities and are best for a single night’s stay.

Planning Your RV Trip

An RV parked in a scenic campground, surrounded by towering trees and a serene lake, with a map and guidebook on the picnic table

When planning an RV trip, it’s important to have a well-mapped route, know what essentials to bring along, and understand the local laws that could affect your journey.

Utilizing apps and websites can streamline the planning process and ensure availability at your chosen campgrounds.

Mapping Your Route

Travelers can use the Roadtrippers app to plot their journey, adding up to 150 stops with interactive maps that highlight campsites, attractions, and eateries along the way.

For an inclusive plan, they might consider RV Trip Wizard via the KOA blog, which also estimates travel costs, including fuel and fees.

It’s essential to check campsite availability, especially during peak travel seasons, and use filters to find spots that cater to specific RV needs.

What to Pack

Packing for an RV adventure means balancing comfort with practicality. A checklist should include:

  • Essentials: First aid kit, tools, and essential RV components.
  • Comfort items: Bedding, clothing suited to the climate, and cooking equipment.
  • Entertainment: Games, books, and digital devices for downtime enjoyment.

Cash might be necessary for locations where digital transactions aren’t accepted, so visitors should plan accordingly.

Understanding Local Laws

Travelers must research and abide by the laws that govern RV parking and camping in their destinations.

This includes rules about length of stay, waste disposal, and specific restrictions on RV sizes at certain sites.

RV Travel Planner Apps can provide information on state-specific regulations to ensure compliance.

Maps integrated into these apps often have icons indicating where certain laws apply, making it easier for RVers to stay informed.

Booking RV Campsites

An RV parked at a campsite with a fire pit and picnic table surrounded by trees and nature

When planning an RV adventure, understanding the booking process for campsites is crucial. They must choose the right type of site to accommodate their needs for a seamless travel experience.

What are the different types of RV campsites?

Full Hookup Sites: These offer complete services, including electricity, water, and sewer connections, allowing travelers to enjoy the comforts of their RV without limitations.

To reserve a full hookup site, travelers often look to well-known platforms such as Campspot for a wide selection of campgrounds and RV resorts.

Partial Hookup Sites: Offering electricity and water but typically not sewer connections, partial hookup sites can be ideal for shorter stays.

For these, one might utilize a resource like BookYourSite where they can search and book from a variety of campgrounds.

Dry Camping or Boondocking: This is for the more self-sufficient traveler, as these sites do not offer any hookups.

Adventurers can find these spots on public lands or by using apps that cater to off-the-grid camping.

Pull-Thru Sites: These sites are designed for ease of access, allowing the RV to pull through without needing to back up.

Useful for large RVs, they’re often listed on campground booking sites, with KOA offering numerous pull-thru site options.

Back-In Sites: Requiring the RV to be backed into the spot, these sites are standard at many campgrounds.

They may offer more privacy and scenic views than pull-thru sites and are a common find on all major RV campground websites.

RV Camping Amenities and Utilities

An RV park with full hookups, including water, electricity, and sewer connections. A campground with amenities such as showers, laundry facilities, and a dump station for waste disposal

When one plans an RV adventure, the availability and quality of amenities and utilities can greatly enhance the camping experience.

From the convenience of full hookups to essential recreational facilities, it’s important for travelers to understand what services they can expect at their chosen RV campground.

Amenities Offered

RV resorts often provide a broad range of amenities catering to the needs and enjoyment of campers.

Campers might find sites with shade trees or even pet-friendly areas, ensuring comfort for both themselves and their furry friends.

Additionally, campground activities, from bingo to ice cream socials, can be an integral part of the community experience.

Moreover, clean restrooms and laundry facilities are a staple for a comfortable stay, with some locations offering high-tech conveniences like card-operated or app-connected laundry machines.

RV Hookups and Utilities

The types of hookups available at an RV park can vary, ranging from primitive sites with no utilities to those offering full hookups.

Full hookups generally include:

  • Electric: Power connections to keep the RV’s electrical systems running.
  • Water: A supply for drinking, cooking, and washing.
  • Sewer hookups: For convenient waste disposal directly from the RV.

Some sites might provide partial hookups, lacking sewer connections. In such cases, a dump station on the premises is invaluable for managing waste tanks.

Accessibility and Accommodations

Many RV parks and resorts are designed to accommodate vehicles of varying sizes and types.

Whether a camper brings a large class-A motorhome or a compact camper van, campgrounds aim to have spacious campsites that can accommodate bigger RVs as well as smaller ones.

Some sites even cater to off-grid preferences by allowing the use of generators, although campers should always check the specific rules about generator use to respect noise levels and quiet hours.

Popular Destinations for RV Campers

RVs parked in a scenic campground surrounded by tall trees and mountains. A campfire is burning with people sitting around it. A lake or river is nearby for fishing and water activities

RV camping offers a wealth of diverse locations across North America, from the majestic national parks to serene state park settings, and the unique experiences offered on private lands.

Each destination presents campers with distinct sceneries, amenities, and attractions suitable for every age and interest.

Exploring National Parks

Zion National Park, nestled in Utah, is a top choice for RV travelers, with its striking red-rock cliffs and canyon scenery.

Grand Canyon National Park is another awe-inspiring destination where one can gaze into the immense depths of geologic history with must-see expansive canyon vistas.

Discovering State Parks

RV campers often find tranquility in state parks. These parks can be less crowded than national parks and offer a variety of natural environments. State parks may provide easier access to local communities and cultural experiences.

For example, there’s Roland Cooper State Park, which is close to the historic Gee’s Bend Ferry in Alabama.

Unique RV Camping Experiences

Beyond the traditional grounds, RV campers can stay on BLM land or with Harvest Hosts. Harvest Hosts allows overnight parking at wineries, breweries, farms, and museums. These settings offer unique experiences such as sipping local wines or learning about farm operations. This provides a different twist to the typical camping adventure. It’s a fantastic way to explore the local flavors of the United States and Canada.

Alternative RV Camping Opportunities

For those who enjoy the RV lifestyle, traditional campgrounds are not the only options available. They can also experience more unique and often quieter stays through various programs and locations that cater specifically to RV owners seeking a different kind of adventure.

Membership Programs

Many RVers have discovered the convenience of using membership programs such as Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. These clubs offer access to a network of private parking locations, including businesses and private properties, where members can stay, typically for a single night. Memberships usually require an annual fee, but the spots offered are unique and can add a new dimension to the RV experience.

Businesses Offering Overnight Parking

A number of businesses are known to offer overnight parking for RV travelers. Large retail stores like certain Walmarts, as well as some truck stops and restaurants like Cracker Barrel, allow RVs to park overnight.

However, policies can vary widely from location to location. It is crucial for travelers to obtain permission from the store manager or property owner before setting up for the evening.

Farms and Wineries

For a more scenic and serene stopover, RVers can look to farms and wineries across the country. Programs like Harvest Hosts connect travelers with agricultural properties where they can stay amidst nature. The hospitality at these rural retreats often comes with the added benefit of beautiful landscapes, local produce, and wine tasting opportunities right where you park. It’s an enriching way to support local businesses while enjoying a peaceful night under the stars.

Equipment and Gear for RV Camping

When preparing for an RV camping trip, ensuring you have all the necessary equipment and gear can make a huge difference in your experience. Each piece plays a role in creating a memorable adventure.

Essential RV Equipment

  • Towels and Pillows: Never underestimate the importance of dry towels for bathing and beach visits, as well as comfortable pillows for a good night’s sleep.
  • Stove: A reliable camping grill is crucial for preparing hot meals, especially when RV hookups are not available.

Gear for Comfort and Convenience

  • Camping Chairs: Durable and comfortable camping chairs are a must-have for lounging outside the RV.
  • Sleeping Bags: Even with the comfort of an RV, sleeping bags provide additional warmth and can be vital for chilly nights.

Staying Connected on the Road

  • GPS: A reliable GPS system ensures that travelers can navigate to their destinations efficiently.
  • Apps like iOverlander and Google Maps: These apps help find camping sites and essential services, making them indispensable for the modern traveler.

Recreation and Activities During Your Stay

During their stay, guests can immerse themselves in a variety of recreational activities. These activities cater to both the adventure-seekers and those looking for peaceful retreats in nature.

Outdoor Adventures and Hiking

Many campgrounds provide access to hiking trails that range from leisurely walks to challenging treks. For example, guests at Little Heaven Ranch can explore paths just south of the Grand Canyon, embracing both the grandeur of the landscape and the opportunity for outdoor exercise.

Enthusiasts can expect to encounter diverse fauna and experience the serene beauty of the natural surroundings.

Fishing and Wildlife Spaces

Fishing enthusiasts often find comfort in the tranquil settings that accompany campground fishing spots. Be it riverbanks or lakeside retreats, campers can partake in the joy of casting their lines and waiting for a catch, all while being surrounded by local wildlife.

For instance, places like Florida’s RV camping spots offer a blend of beachside relaxation and the chance to engage with marine life in their natural habitats.

Campground Recreation

Campgrounds may offer structured recreational spaces, such as a game room or a pool, to provide guests with places to unwind and socialize. These facilities are great for families and individuals alike to take a break from their adventures.

Visitors might also find unique accommodations such as glamping options, offering a more luxurious camping experience without forgoing the essence of being amidst nature.

RV Camping Etiquette and Best Practices

When venturing out in an RV, campers should adhere to specific practices and etiquette guidelines to ensure a harmonious experience, both for themselves and those around them. This includes responsible boondocking, diligent campsite maintenance, and being considerate neighbors.

Respectful Boondocking

Boondocking, or camping without hookups in remote areas, is a favorite for many RV enthusiasts. Those looking to boondock should always follow local laws and regulations.

It’s important to ask permission from store managers or landowners before settling in. Campers must ensure they leave no trace of their stay to protect the natural environment.

Campsite Maintenance

Campsite upkeep is crucial for a pleasant camping experience. Campers should dispose of waste properly, adhere to fire regulations, and keep sites clean.

If an RV has a generator, it should be used considerately, avoiding late-night or early-morning hours to not disturb others.

Being a Good Neighbor

RV campers share the space with numerous other outdoor enthusiasts. As good neighbors, they should observe quiet hours, control pet behavior, respect privacy, and participate in friendly interactions.

Understanding one’s impact on nearby campers and following campground-specific rules can make a significant difference in the quality of everyone’s stay.

Frequently Asked Questions

When planning RV camping, different people have different needs. These frequently asked questions address a range of common concerns RV users may have regarding places to stay, amenities provided, and costs involved.

What are some recommended RV camping organizations for long-term stays?

Organizations such as Escapees RV Club offer valuable resources and community support for RVers looking into long-term stays. Another notable entity is Good Sam Club, providing discounts and services for members at various RV parks and campgrounds.

Can you suggest good full hookup campgrounds in popular areas?

The Campspot guide provides a detailed directory to help one find campgrounds with full hookups—offering power, water, and sewer—in sought-after destinations across the country.

What amenities should I expect at a permanent RV site?

Permanent RV sites typically offer electricity (30 or 50 amp), water, and sewer hookups. Add-on amenities might include Wi-Fi, cable TV connections, onsite laundry facilities, and sometimes even a personal patio or yard space.

Do truck stops welcome RV’s?

Many truck stops accommodate RVs, providing services such as fuel, food, and sometimes overnight parking. Flying J and Loves are well-known chains that often have dedicated RV lanes and, in some locations, amenities like fresh water and dumping stations.

Is there free overnight parking available for RV’s?

Several businesses such as Walmart, Cracker Barrel, and Cabela’s may allow free overnight parking for RVs. However, it’s always best to ask for permission at each individual location to adhere to store policies.

How much does it cost to stay in an RV park or campground?

Costs for staying in an RV park or campground range widely depending on location, amenities, and time of year. On average, one might expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $80 per night, with luxury RV resorts charging more for premium features and locations.


Choosing the right location to camp in an RV is essential for an enjoyable experience. Many opt for long-term RV parks that permit year-round residence. These parks offer the necessary amenities such as utilities. Often, there is a fee for their use. For those looking for more than just a temporary stay, some locations even offer the option to purchase a site.

In areas like Eureka Springs, Arkansas, RV travelers find a tranquil living option. They embrace all four seasons and enjoy the natural beauty the region has to offer. Meanwhile, places like Silver City, New Mexico, appeal to those seeking a serene lifestyle.

An alternative is Workkamping, which combines employment with a place to park the RV. You can often find this arrangement in campgrounds, national parks, or event venues. It provides a mutually beneficial situation.

Lastly, if the goal is merely to store an RV, considering an RV storage facility can be an effective solution, especially during off-season periods.

You must always be mindful of the local laws and regulations pertaining to RV living. By considering the factors of legality, cost, and lifestyle preference, you can make a well-informed decision on where to establish their home away from home.

Charley Waters

I've traveled to 49 states and 3 provinces in Canada living in my RV full-time over many years. I've stayed just about everywhere possible. National parks, state parks, parking lots, BLM land, Independent RV parks and friends and family's driveways. I lived through a crazy Derecho windstorm in Iowa. I got stuck in a winter freeze in Texas.

Living on the road in your RV can be challenging at times. But the good times make up for the bad. I'm here to share my experience and help fellow RVers good decisions while enjoying the great outdoors and vast camping opportunities this country has to offer.

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