Your Guide to RV Camping
Your Guide Guide to RV Camping
The content in this guide is provided for general information only, and is not intended to address specific circumstances of any particular individuals. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.
An Introduction to RV Camping
RV camping, often referred to as auto camping, car camping, caravanning and sometimes glamping, is a form of extended travel wherein campers use a recreational vehicle as their lodging and means of transportation. The RV is not only used to get campers from one campsite or point of interest (national park, monument or leisure destination) to another, but also as a primary domicile over the duration of the prolonged journey.
Allowing travelers the freedom to roam along the expansive countryside, highways and terrain of the region, RVs have long served as the conduits through which the naturally curious adventurer explores the unknown. Dating back to 1910, the first of the world’s recreational vehicles (also known as motor homes) were created, reigniting the perpetual pursuit of freedom and leisure associated with the American spirit. While camping existed long before the first RVs rolled off the assembly line, auto campers combined the freedom to travel anywhere at will with the creature comforts associated with the modern home, except for a bathroom.
Today, strides in modern amenities and technological advancements have boosted the comforts and abilities of modern recreational vehicles. Because of the premium offerings integral to a caravan or RV, auto camping is often referred to as glamping, a form of glamorous camping, which emphasizes the use of gadgets, crafts and creativity to cultivate a superior experience in both comfort and style while still enjoying the nature aspects of camping.
At the heart of it, RV camping is popular among snowbirds, families, young couples and nature lovers in general due to its ability to satisfy one’s need to explore. The comforts afforded by RVs are for more attractive than the alternative option of having to set up a tent and sleep outside, where campers are often subject to rain, extreme heat, cold and predators, not to mention mud, dirt, moisture and mosquitos.
The 1930s brought new innovations to the RV, including beds, electricity, dinettes and running water. Until this point in time, the idea of a fully functional motor home was unheard of. The upgrades sparked a boom in the RV camping industry after WWII, which progressed into the 1950s and 60s, when several of today’s most prominent names in RV camper production started manufacturing their own product lines.
Pioneers of RV camping are known as Tin Can Tourists, who traveled across the country before highways were paved. These RV camping forefathers drove their Tin Lizzies (old slang for RV) on rugged terrain to explore the continent. They’d often park on the side of the road to camp, subsiding off of [tin] canned foods cooked on gas stoves, and would bathe using cold water (it was all that was around at the time). While old-time RV camping may be considered rough by today’s standards, things have certainly smoothed out over time.
Today, many explorers are drawn to RV camping for both the comfort and the associated freedom that doesn’t always come with other forms of travel. Families can take cost-effective vacations without leaving their beloved pooch at home or a kennel. Retirees can live part-time out of their caravans. Couples can get away for an intimate and romantic weekend alone. Sports fanatics can tailgate like champs and off-road enthusiasts can haul their 4x4s to Moab and beyond—the list goes on.
Any number of activities and events can be turned into a road trip with the addition of a caravan, trailer or full-on RV without the stress of finding appropriate or affordable lodging. Many private and state parks allow for full RV plugins for a reasonably low charge compared to standard hotel rates.
RV camping has become so popular over the decades that subcultures have developed from impassioned RV travelers. Snowbirds, sometimes known as part-timers, travel south for the winter. Larger groups of young nomads are quitting their jobs to pursue RV camping while taking on remote work.
There is also a rise in the number of workampers (people who work at an RV park in exchange for RV parking and plugins). Additionally, modern hippies, music festival lovers and even DIY enthusiasts have been known to convert or renovate full size vans, old school buses, old caravans and even Jeeps to better accommodate their nomadic lifestyles. And while a modified Jeep can be appreciated, it will never offer the space, comfort or amenities of an RV, such as running water, a bathroom, kitchen and bed. RVs will always be a symbol of American ingenuity and the need to explore in comfort among those who are dedicated to getting nowhere fast.
RV Camping is Best For . . .
RV camping appeals to a broad spectrum of people. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like the idea of a house on wheels? Whether you’re retired and itching for adventure, self-employed and full of wanderlust or a weekend wanderer and festival enthusiast, RV camping is a perfect fit for your way of life. While an RV may be considered a major expense, they are relatively inexpensive if you choose to make it your domicile, even if only for a few months out of the year. Your investment will quickly start to pay off with memories, fun and experiences.
If you’ve ever considered hitting the road in style for a prolonged period of time, you may count yourself among those for whom RV camping is truly best.
Retirees & Snow Birds
Retirees who no longer have the obligation of working eight hours per day have the freedom to pursue the dreams of their younger selves. Having a recreational vehicle is the perfect way for senior citizens to grab hold of their destiny and explore the world at their own pace. Because RVs are smaller than a typical apartment, they can be perfect for individuals or couples who have downsized substantially, especially if their children have all grown up and moved out to start their own families.
Similarly, snowbirds can take a leisurely trip south in the comfort of their own home away from home and discover new destinations and places of interest. Having a caravan or RV takes away the rigidity of schedules that impinge on free travel. Grandparents can plan the perfect road trip to visit family members spread far and wide while exploring the countryside and making the rounds.
There is a growing population of self-employed and remote workers who can complete their daily work tasks without having to be tied down to one location. Shedding themselves of the eight-hour day office lifestyle, remote workers (travel bloggers, I’m looking at you) can divide their time between working, driving toward their next adventure and experiencing the local vibe, food, culture and wildlife of their latest destination.
With Millennials and the younger workforce trending toward self-sufficiency and investing more in experiences than possessions, RV camping sits at the unique intersections of freedom, expression and livelihood.
Downsizing isn’t only appealing to senior citizens; a flourishing group of younger home buyers have done everything from convert buses and industrial shipping containers to renovate mobile homes in an attempt to avoid the high costs associated with home-ownership. A younger group of consumers is breaking away from the status quo to invest in experiences in lieu of amassing possessions.
What better way to stick it to society’s imposed perception of success while simultaneously getting to travel anywhere you want, whenever you want, all within your own means? Minimalists love RV camping because it is an affordable way to declutter and experience the country while remaining self-reliant.
The Event Attendee
Sports fanatics and modern hippies may not have the same interests (there is a cross-section here as well), but both groups agree that there is no better way to attend an event than doing it in an RV. Events such as Burning Man and other popular multi-day music festivals encourage attendees to camp onsite for the duration of the festival. RV campers with extra space for boarding becoming popular people in these circles because the RV offers respite from the extreme weather and overall energy of the events.
Festival fanatics get plenty of miles out of their RVs, so to speak. Likewise, sports fans can travel up the street or across the country to make it to the big game without having to take on the added costs of hotels or plane fares. Talk about next-level tailgating–having an RV can enhance the game-day experience with a comfortable place to sit (or lie down if you’ve had a few too many), a full kitchen with abundant supplies and a camp to set up for pre and post-game shenanigans. Anyone who frequents similar events, like Renaissance festivals, clearly understands the benefits of RV camping.
Gear You’ll Need for RV Camping
RV camping is a unique style of getting away; you get to have virtually all the comforts of home, like the ability to plug in and power up, while still having the freedom to pick up and explore at a moment’s notice. With the vast set of amenities an RV affords you comes the need for a lot of other items to maintain a house on wheels. Because the luxuries of RV camping are far greater than that of a regular outdoors camping trip, this means that packing for your getaway involves many more steps.
But don’t fret – we’ve already come up with an essential packing list for you. You don’t have to worry about forgetting anything before you set out on your next big RV adventure!
Every trip requires essentials. For the most part, essentials include your phone, phone chargers, cash and credit card, reservation confirmations, batteries, medications and prescriptions, travel maps and campground directories, a laundry bag, clothes and all the toiletries you use daily. Don’t forget your ID, proof of vehicle registration and insurance.
Because you will likely be spending a long time traveling to your destination and various campsites across the country, the last few items mentioned are of obvious importance. Make sure all your paperwork is up to date, easy to locate and retrieve and in good standing – the last thing you need is trouble with the law.
Kitchen and Cooking
One of the greatest assets of your RV (aside from protection from the elements, warmth and electricity) is that it’s equipped with a stove, allowing you to cook meals without the need to be outside or having to use firewood or charcoals. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely hold a cookout over an open flame and fire up the grill, but you will not have to depend on these methods when it’s raining or bitter cold.
With the ability to cook in a dedicated kitchen space, you will need cups, mugs, plates, bowls, utensils, mixing bowls and spoons, pots and pans, matches, cleaning supplies, napkins and paper towels, dish soap, sponges, rags and towels, plastic containers, storage bags, aluminum foil, a bottle opener, can opener, canned goods, salt and pepper and cooking oil.
As the popular saying goes, “with great power [ahem, plugins] comes great responsibility [otherwise known as your ability to pack everything you need].” Or something like that. Of course, with all the supplies you are bringing, you’re going to need enough food to last you a while; you can either plan to refill provisions at shops along the way or pack as much as you will need for the duration of the trip. If you are planning to bring all your food with you, make sure you bring along and have enough space for coolers and ice.
Depending on the size of your RV, your home on wheels will likely come with at least one bed and may provide space for other sleeping arrangements. Home goods you will need for your RV camping trip include sheets and linens for all the beds, pillows and pillow cases, extra blankets and sleeping bags. Towels, washcloths and cleaning agents are also needed to make sure you keep your space as clean as possible. Don’t forget the little things, like framed pictures or favorite books, which can help make your RV feel more like home.
Remember, having a home on wheels comes with a lot of perks. One of the drawbacks of RV camping, however, is the amount of time and money it takes to pack everything needed. So far, we’ve only scratched the surface regarding necessary supplies. Have a look at the chart below for a more detailed view of the items you are going to need based on RV maintenance, standard maintenance and camping activity gear.
RV MAINTENANCE GEAR
|RV Camping Item
|Battery jumper cables
|$8 – $30
|RV friendly toilet paper
|$5 – $15
|Emergency road kit
|$30 – $70
|$15 – $20
|$50 – $80
|Tire pressure gauge
|$7 – $30
|$50 – $120
|$30 – $105
|$10 – $20
|$30 – $45
|Sewage hose with hookup fittings
|$13 – $40
|$2 – $15
|$14 – $38
|$7 – $19
|$3 – $5
|$1 – $3
|Spare electrical wire
|$15 – $22
|Extra motor oil and transmission fluid
|$25 – $40
|Spare gas tank
|$35 – $50
|$30 – $75
|$12 – $70
|$5 – $15
|$4 – $11
Rev A Shelf
|$30 – $50
|$10 – $30
|$3 – $13
|$10 – $30
CAMPING ACTIVITY GEAR
|RV Camping Item
|$5 – $15
|$5 – $10
|$25 – $85
|Sports and activity gear (football, frisbee, etc.)
|$40 – $80
|$15 – $50
|$5 – $10
How to Prepare for RV Camping
Because RV camping involves a lot of planning, packing and scheduling on many fronts, one can easily find themselves frazzled or downright stressed when it comes to preparing for what’s supposed to be an amazing and care-free jaunt into a personalized journey. While the act of RV camping requires a lot of focus and dedication (after all, you’ll be piloting a behemoth of a vehicle across all sorts of terrain for several hours each day), simply preparing for the trip can be an undertaking by itself. Luckily for you, we make preparing for your RV camping trip a breeze with the information below.
First, building a budget and working within the confines of it will be the basis for all other planning. This will affect the duration of the trip, amount of supplies needed and the distance you will ultimately be able to cover. Next, you will want to book a location and reserve a space at one of many local or state parks that have RV plugin accommodations.
Now that you know where you’re heading and the relative distance from your current location, you can outline a route and create a timeline. Both the timeline and route will need to account for stops you make for resting and acquiring more provisions and incorporate the number of hours you will be driving in a day.
Before embarking on your RV vacation, take care to get your RV serviced as needed. Make sure all of the fluids are topped off, the filters are cleaned, the tire pressure and wear look good and that your lights and turn signals work. Don’t forget to test your holding tanks for leaks by filling them, and be sure to inspect all hoses and electrical wires. Inside, test to see if all appliances work, inspect propane tanks for leaks and flush or sanitize your fresh water holding tank. Once everything is inspected and in working order, fill your propane tanks and fresh water reservoir fully, and add water to your grey water tank and black water tanks up to a third of the way full with their respective chemical solutions.
Lastly, ensure your RV insurance is current—the last thing you need is a ticket (or worse). Another helpful tip would be to understand the RV’s electrical load; a 30-amp RV is not meant to run every appliance at once, so marking the amperage on your individual appliances will help you remember to turn others off when taking on a new task. For example, shut off a 15-amp appliance when you plan on using two 10-amp appliances together to avoid shorting out.
Pack in Stages
All the items you will need to pack are covered in “Gear You’ll Need for RV Camping” section, but packing all of those provisions at once will only lead to chaos. Allow yourself a week or two to pack, compartmentalizing related tasks and confining them to one day each. For instance, choose one day to pack all things related to clothing; the next day may be used to pack all relevant paperwork and important documents, followed by electronics, camping supplies and more. This way, you can check off everything you need slowly without overwhelming yourself and only eliminating a few items from random sections.
Before you Go
Before heading out, consider securing all the items within the RV and noting the total weight of the RV after everything is packed (including people). Secure everything using a combination of cabinet locks, bungee cords, zip ties or other tie-down solutions. A speed hump or pothole can send all of your canned goods and dishes flying, leaving you without food and reducing the number of bowls and cups you have to serve. As far as your vessel’s load, there is a legal limit to maximum capacity with which you can travel, so do a dry run.
Pack everything you plan to bring with you and take your recreational vehicle to a commercial truck weigh station. If you’re over the limit, one good solution is to get the water and fuel you need at each stop instead of carrying it all from the start. This can reduce overall weight and help improve gas mileage.
Top 10 RV Camping Destinations in the U.S.
If you’re looking to take a voyage in your RV but don’t know where to go, the United States has an abundance of private and national parks with full RV plugins, or at the very least, water, sewer and 30-amp hookups. For sites that don’t have any hookups, dry camping, or “boondocking,” is always an option. Whether this is your first time piloting a recreational vehicle or you’re a certified road warrior, there is no shortage of RV-friendly parks to hunker down and call home for a while. Curious about where you should be planning your next RV trip? Strap in and enjoy the ride as we take the scenic route along the top 10 RV destinations in the U.S.
Yosemite National Park
Best known for its waterfalls, giant sequoias and valleys, Yosemite National park features 10 campgrounds that accommodate recreational vehicles and fifth-wheels, also known as trailers or caravans. Due to the park’s popularity, campgrounds which require reservations are typically fully booked from April through September. 12 sites in Yosemite permit RVs at a maximum of 40 feet, with trailers allowed a maximum of 35 feet. These sites can be found in Lower Pines and North Pines areas, open from the spring through fall seasons. Other sites accommodate for 35-foot RVs and 24-foot trailers.
Yosemite does not provide electrical, water or sewage hookups for your RV, but dump stations with fresh water can be found year-round at the Upper Pines campground and in the summer at both Wawona and Tuolumne Meadows campgrounds. While hookups are not an option, generators may be used between the hours of 7 and 9 a.m. and 5 and 7 p.m. Drivers can access Yosemite year-round from Highway 41, Highway 140 and Highway 120 approaching from the west. Hetch Hetchy is open all year as well, but may close periodically due to icy conditions. A GPS system, while handy, may not accurately direct you to specific locations on site. Be sure to have a map prior to approaching Yosemite to get to your designated campground without getting lost.
USA RV Park
Gallup, New Mexico
Located along the famed Route 66, USA RV Park is just up the road from some of New Mexico’s most notable national parks, including Mesa Verde, El Morro and the Painted Desert. Guests can choose between daily, weekly and monthly rates. There is plenty of space here to accommodate any size RV or fifth-wheel, with enough fresh water, sewer, electric and cable plugin features for everyone. In addition to spacious lots for RV guests, USA RV Park features additional amenities for your convenience, such as a gift shop, convenience store for grocery and supply refills, a heated outdoor pool, barbeque and cookout area, an area to walk and exercise your dog, a playground, a game room for the kids and a computer room with free internet access for your convenience.
The park also offers discounts to veterans, AAA and AARP members. It has space to accommodate additional tents as well as cabin rentals. Active Duty military personnel stay free of charge (RV campers only). The grounds and facilities are kept in immaculate condition and are safe, thanks to day and night security patrols. Enjoy the park’s putting green and laundry facility in between excursions to the local attractions while refueling and recharging on your next RV adventure in New Mexico.
Acapulco USA Campground
Leesville, South Carolina
Established more than 40 years ago, this popular RV campground was originally intended to be a gold course. Today, it caters to RV campers, both short and long-term, who want to experience all the fun available on Lake Murray. Most of the RV campers onsite stay for a minimum of 30-90 days, but shorter durations are welcome when there is space. With most of the surrounding campgrounds transitioning to residential areas in the early 2000s, Acapulco USA is among the few remaining campgrounds serving RV camping and boating enthusiasts.
Some of the sites offer 30-amp maximum plugins, while others boast 50-amp service. All sites feature full water, sewer and electric plugins for your recreational vehicle. With only one public restroom onsite, the campground does not have extra space for tents or popup campers. Guests staying at Acapulco can offload their boat from the boat ramp, or make good use of the fishing pier, unsupervised swimming area, grill stations, beach volleyball court, boat parking, laundry facilities and cabin and boat rentals. The campground is conveniently located minutes from Lexington, and grants access to downtown Columbia, Aiken, Fort Jackson and Spartanburg. The camp also features hiking and biking paths, free internet access and even allows for golf cart usage on the grounds.
Wahweap RV & Campground
Take to the desert and experience all Lake Powell has to offer in Arizona’s most popular RV campground. When it comes to RV camping accommodations, Wahweap RV & Campground has it all. To start, it features 139 RV sites equipped with full hookups. With 30 and 50-amp service, water and septic, there is enough space for 45-foot RVs and a limited selection of camping areas for recreational vehicles over 70 feet long. In addition to RV parking accommodations, Wahweap features tent-only sites, self-contained RV sites and a group tent area for groups of up to 30 people. Naturally, the camp features everything you need to complete the experience, including free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities and Wahweap Beach, which is just a short walk from the campground.
All sites come with restrooms, picnic tables and fire rings or grills. Wahweap Marina is located a quarter mile from Lake Powell’s shores, where campers can lock up the RV and head out for a day of boating, kayaking, canoeing, wakeboarding, ski tubing and paddle boarding. To save the canned or evaporated food stores you’ve packed for your journey, Wind restaurant and Wahweap Grille are available near the beach for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enjoy the food and the lake year-round, as Lake Powell is especially beautiful in the winter season.
Graceland RV Park & Campground
If you’ve got a hunk of burnin’ love for Elvis or Graceland, this RV park is the one for you. It’s just a short walk from the legendary singer’s home and is situated on 19 sprawling acres just behind Heartbreak Hotel. Make this unique haven a destination on your next cross-country trek. With 30 and 50-amp hookups, a bathhouse and laundry facilities, a swimming pool, a store for supplies and free wireless internet, guests camping here will have everything they need.
The campgrounds also feature a tent area for regular camping, and Memphis cabin rentals with heat and air conditioning. Guests can get out and stretch their legs after a long haul by taking to the bike and walking trails, or get some exercise and sun at the onsite pool. The site has 24-hour security to keep you and your RV safe, with daily, weekly or monthly stays available depending on the season and availability. The friendly staff will guide you to nearby attractions, tours, dining options and places of interest. It’s Memphis – there are hundreds of barbeque spots for you to try. If you’re not a fan of meat, there are other healthy options as well. Don’t forget about the assortment of record stores and be sure to visit the Memphis Music Hall of Fame while you’re out and about exploring the town.
Ruby’s Inn RV Park & Campground
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Ruby’s Inn RV Park & Campground is the closest campground to Bryce Canyon National Park. Equipped with 150 campsites that accommodate RVs, fifth wheels and campers, all sites conveniently come with either water and electric or full hook-ups, as well as pull-through spots for easily maneuvering throughout the site. Cabins, tent areas and even tipi lodges are available, along with indoor and outdoor heated pools, hot tubs and a spa. Like other RV resorts, Ruby’s Inn offers a general store, business center, free Wi-Fi, showers and a laundry facility. In addition, this quaint and well-kept campground has an onsite liquor store, restaurant and even a post office (do people still send postcards?).
Nearby activities include a Western Arts Gallery, photography, horse rides, rodeo, ATV tours and scenic flights of the nearby area, including Bryce Canyon. Those who want to experience the beauty of Bryce Canyon, otherwise known as the forest of stone, can take the shuttle from Ruby’s Inn a mile up the road the get to the park. Once there, travelers can take in full views of the waterfall at Mossy Cave Trail, steep plateaus and Bryce Amphitheater, a rocky blend of jagged formations of reds, tans and browns. Back at the resort, take a load off in the RV to recharge or visit the restaurant for a great meal and hospitable service.
Hidden Valley RV Park
Del Rio, Texas
Hidden Valley RV Park is not set up along the highway like most RV parks in the area, which makes it the most private and quiet spot to park your recreational vehicle. Here, your family will appreciate the abundant shade from the nearby trees, patio areas, picnic tables and charcoal grills that come with virtually every lot. In addition, many sites come with water and sewage hookup, electrical plugins for 20, 30, and 50-amp capacities and spectrum cable. There’s even an herb garden, which guests are encouraged to use for preparing meals. Their onsite hub called The Wash features cable television, free internet access, exercise equipment, reading and sitting areas, laundry facilities and a large patio with rocking chairs.
Just a short drive up the road is Amistad National Park, which features boating and fishing, Native American Rock art viewing, swimming, hiking, birdwatching, scuba diving and hunting. Other attractions in close proximity to Hidden Valley RV park include a winery, White Head Museum and all the Texas barbeque you can handle. There are also frequent art walks, golf courses, farmers’ markets and movies under the stars. Just out of the way for peace and quiet, but close enough to local attractions and supplies, Hidden Valley RV Park has all the makings of a perfect RV destination.
Miami Everglades RV Resort
Miami is a tropical destination and cultural melting pot not particularly known for its RV parks, but Miami Everglades RV Resort breaks the mold by offering premium amenities for guests getting acclimated to the legendary Florida heat. This tropical RV oasis features basketball, volleyball, shuffleboard (Floridians know), mini golf, pickleball, swimming and horseshoes. It’s no secret that Floridians like their outdoor activities, despite the sweltering heat. In addition, the RV park has all the standard amenities you’d expect to find, including laundry, bathrooms, showers, Wi-Fi, cable television, a general store and even a dog park. RV lot options include 30-amp spots with electric and water or 30 and 50-amp full hookups.
Located near Everglades National Park, South Beach and Key Largo, Miami Everglades RV resort grants access to a plethora of South Florida attractions, beaches, restaurants, bars and nightlife. Back at the campgrounds, guests can take advantage of the dump station, fire pits, playfield and picnic areas. The resort also has a tent area, cabins and lodge rentals available for travelers looking for a place to settle for a short time before continuing their voyage. With a huge assortment of activities and amenities to keep an RV owner entertained, this campground is a pleasant surprise to Miami RV enthusiasts.
Aspen Ridge RV Park
South Fork, Colorado
Surrounded by Rio Grande National Forest, guests of Aspen Ridge RV Park are welcomed to experience comfort, peace and quiet in South Fork’s top-rated RV camp. The grounds’ many RV sites each come with patios, picnic tables and 20, 30 and 50-amp plugins. It has 13 pull-through sites, a dog park area, recreation hall and fish cleaning station. Inside the recreation hall, guests can find bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities, a full kitchen, coffee, free Wi-Fi and games for the kids. For those interested in yearly visits, Aspen Ridge also has RV storage options.
Summers in South Fork are prime time for fishing and rafting on the Rio Grande River. Hiking, biking, horseback riding and ATV off-roading are also popular activities common in the area. History buffs can discover Colorado’s mining history at Summitville Mine, or take scenic drives along San Luis Valley to view old mining structures and ghost towns. Known for its mountainous terrain, Colorado has several rock climbing opportunities and challenging nature walks. Enjoy golfing amidst the forests and mountains, the Great Sand Dunes near Sangre De Cristo mountains or even scenic railroad rides. Guests making their way to the resort should note that GPS systems aren’t always accurate for pinpointing the exact location, and are encouraged to reach out to management for clear directions on the way in.
Brooklyn, New York
Where else could you expect to go birdwatching, kayaking and hiking while also being able to tour the Statue of Liberty and see a Broadway show? Brooklyn’s Camp Gateway offers RV campers the ability to take in nature and outdoor activities while still being able to visit the Concrete Jungle for shopping, tourist attractions and entertainment. Discover a side of New York you never knew by taking ranger-led tours through historic forts dating back to the War of 1812. “Tranquil” may not be the first word that comes to mind when you hear “Brooklyn,” but the camp is located on Floyd Bennet Field, which is surrounded by forests and equipped with miles of scenic views, hiking trails and birdwatching opportunities.
Sitting on 26,000 acres across New Jersey and three New York City boroughs, Gateway National Recreation area offers campers the opportunity to experience sand dunes, beaches, forests, grasslands, ponds and salt marshes. The camp does not have RV hookups, so dry camping will have to suffice in exchange for this amazing experience. However, generators are permitted. Onsite amenities include a fishing dock, restrooms, grills and a visitor center. With the Statue of Liberty and the city within 10 miles, campers can take a day trip into the city for a famous slice of pie, ice skating or any number of attractions for which New York City is famous.
Top 10 International RV Camping Destinations
When you’re in an RV, all you need is the open road and a general idea of where you’re going. Sometimes you don’t even need that. The best part of RV camping is having nowhere to be with all your favorite people along for the ride. For wanderers beyond the U.S. borders, taking an RV to unchartered territories can mean learning about new cultures and ideologies, new flavors and cuisine or historical lessons through landmarks and museums. Those who camp in a recreational vehicle have the opportunity to meet other travelers who share their passion for discovery and exploration. For all those who have been bitten by the travel bug with their engines running, here is our list of the top 10 international RV camping destinations.
Piomboni Camping Village
Marina di Ravenna, Italy
Our first stop brings us to Marina di Ravenna, where the secular pine forest surrounding Piomboni Camping Village offers plenty of shade for RV pitches, caravans and bungalow rentals. The camp has a full suite of amenities, including a snack bar, pizzeria and a separate restaurant with a full menu. Guests can log on for free internet access, choose one of many cycling routes, hit the sports facility for basketball or take a dip in the ocean. The beach is set just 50 meters beyond the wooded area where all the RVs are parked.
Guests love to lounge on the beach under a giant shade umbrella while kids try their hand at archery and kayaking. The camp has bike rentals for independent exploration and a fun playground for the little ones. RV campers can get their fill of nature, as well as Italian art and culture, eateries, shopping and nightlife. For quiet time activities, there is a small library, video game room and access to nature walks. Enjoy the surf, sand and plenty of pizza on your Italian RV holiday.
Hidden Valley Campground
British Columbia, Canada
Open from April through October, Hidden Valley Campground offers Canada’s best in RV camping with clean asphalt pitches that come with picnic tables (some of which also have privacy fences), communal fire rings, laundry facilities, hot showers and full 15, 30 or 50-amp hookups. The site also comes with heated washrooms, pet-walking areas, a small convenience store for new provisions and a playground. Just seven minutes from downtown Salmon Arm and two miles from the village market and public beach, Hidden Valley is centrally located for convenience. The Trans-Canada Highway runs just north of the grounds.
The camp offers a mix of activities to engage residents and guests alike, with entertaining acts like local singers, communal cookouts and social gatherings complete with popcorn and fun snacks. Guests can go canoeing at the Shuswap Lake area just four miles from the site, or visit one of the many coffee shops or bistros located along the nearby beach. Active guests can visit Club Shuswap for a driving range or putting green session, or visit the local amusement park for go-karting and mini-golf. Other attractions you won’t want to miss include the Enchanted Forest, the Crazy Creek hot pools and suspension bridge.
Hallsdown Farm Touring Park
Barnstaple and North Devon, England
For RV enthusiasts and caravan campers looking to find a peaceful stay in Devon, this adult-only RV site is a great sanctuary for lowkey getaways. Just one mile from Exmoor National Park and Exmoor Zoo, Hallsdown Farm Touring Park is a great jump-off point for exploration and outdoor activities. Travelers will never leave Devon looking for more adventure; golfing, beaches, surfing, sea kayaking, hiking, fishing and cycling are all available at a moment’s notice. Other attractions in close proximity include Wistlandpound Reservoir, the Arlington Court, National Trust Carriage Museum, Broomhill Art Gallery and Watermouth Castle, just to name a few.
The camp offers asphalt pitches with full hookups along with chemical disposal availability. The grounds are kept immaculate with an accompanying laundromat, restrooms, showers and washing areas. Use this farm backdrop as a peaceful part of your RV journey. Be sure to visit the historical sites, gardens and local eateries for the authentic English experience. Pets and children 15 years of age or younger are not permitted, but the friendly hosts will make your party feel right at home.
Les Portes d’Alsace
Known for its romantic tendencies, France is among the most popular international destinations for Americans traveling abroad. Don’t start wondering what’s gotten into you when you’re camping at Camping Les Portes d’Alsace. Encircled by nature on all sides, this campground is peaceful, playful and simply romantic. Just a short drive from the camp is Chateau du Haut Barr, a medieval castle with beautiful views and rich history. Onsite, there are many peaceful trails offering stunning vantage points to take in and reflect upon with a loved one. Experience forests, valleys, castles and horseback riding in this magical French location.
Trailers and RVs are accommodated with chemical disposal and electrical plugins. The camp comes with free Wi-Fi, a grocery store, restrooms, showers and a laundromat. Bring your significant other, children, four-legged friend or all of the above as you discover Saverne. Go for hikes, take a bike ride, discover the archeology and religious history of the area or visit the nearby castles. Visitors can float down Marne-Rhine Canal or tour the local areas, including the Hunawihr otter and stork park. Of course, a visit to France isn’t complete until you’ve visited a winery, for which you can take the Alsace Wine Route and get your fill of French wines.
Experience the sun and sand like a true Spaniard at Playa Almayate. With RV camping featuring direct access to the beach, you’ll get to work on your tan while sipping from a glass of refreshing sangria. Campers looking for the ultimate beach getaway can count on endless waves, social lounging, savory barbecues and cool tropical breezes throughout their stay. Take your pick of beach activities like sunning, swimming or playing volleyball to keep you busy during the day.
Aside from gravel pitches with full hookups for RVs and other dry camping lot options, Playa Almayate also offers lots for tent camping. This campground is quite popular, so the vibe is energetic and lively. Enjoy free Wi-Fi, authentic Spanish paella at the onsite restaurant and your pick of basketball, football or table tennis at the designated sports area. Hot running water is available at their modern facilities center, along with a launderette, playground, TV room and grocery store. Nearby activities include bicycle rentals, fishing, horseback riding, sailing and surf school. Visit the ancient city of Vélez-Málaga to see Picasso’s birthplace or stop by the Moorish Alhambra palace. There several other popular tour options, including trips into local caves, the Roman Theater and Gibralfaro castle.
Healesville Holiday Park
RV campers who find themselves Down Under will love the location of Healesville Holiday Park. For one, it sits just 45 minutes away from bustling Melbourne and boasts easy access to Yarra Valley, domestically renowned for its wineries producing sparkling wines, chardonnay and pinot noir. Schedule a tasting and tour or bring a few bottles back to the RV to top off a lovely evening. Onsite, the camp features a pool, playground, business center, barbecue and picnic area, TV room and launderette. Each pitch at Healesville Holiday Park has full hookups for your convenience.
Campers looking to get in some daily physical activity can opt for hiking or cycling at the nearby Maroondah Reservoir Park or Yarra Ranges National Park. Otherwise, horseback riding and golfing are short distances from the campgrounds. For those looking to learn a bit of history about the region, TarraWarra Musuem of Art and Mont De Lancey Historic Homestead are both within 20 miles. Unlike many other campsites, Healesville only offers spaces for RV and caravans, so you can compare notes with other road warriors as you plot your next destination.
Anwoth Caravan Park
Gatehouse of Fleet, Scotland
Most of the time, couples and families undertaking an RV vacation are looking for a little peace and quiet. At Anwoth Caravan Park, guests will find the peace they are seeking with herds of deer, hawks and even otters roaming freely about the surrounding grounds. Spend hours fishing for salmon and trout, birdwatching or meditating in this serene Scottish locale. Guests get free access to the camp’s sister park, which has a gym, pool and solarium. Additionally, level and spacious asphalt and grass pitches are available with full hookups, and a launderette, shower and restrooms are conveniently located onsite.
A short walk will lead you to a convenience store, restaurants, craft shops and bars for a night out on the town. This wildlife haven is the perfect getaway voyage to reconnect with family and let go of the daily hustle. Those looking to take on a day-trip or two have access to a bus which makes it rounds to nearby leisure activities like canoeing, cycling, horseback riding, golf, sailing and many authentic Scottish restaurants. Discover the rich history of the town by visiting castles, towers and abbeys, and return to your campsite for evenings of peaceful leisure and relaxation.
Carra Caravan and Camping Park
Belcarra, County Mayo, Ireland
Experience traditional Irish village living at this quaint and comfy RV campground. Complete with space for RVs, tents and charming little pod rentals, campers get to slow the pace and live like the locals. Visit the nearby pubs, shops and butcheries for your needs, and get a glimpse of the villagers’ sweet, small-town lifestyle. The site has updated amenities with disabled access, a laundromat, Wi-Fi and a kitchen. Just a few yards from the main camp lies a convenience store, village fishery and sporting area for badminton, handball and racquetball. Carra Caravan Park is popular with guests for its countryside walks easily accessible from the site.
With asphalt and grass pitches with full hookups, you’ll have everything you need to feel comfortable for your stay. However, you’re going to want to get out, meet the local people and enjoy the wonder of this small village. Nearby Eviction Cottage, an Irish historical museum, is in good company with golf courses, traditional pubs and other historical landmarks like Castlebar. Bring the whole family, including pets, for an enchanting romp in this RV campsite, brilliantly located in a small Irish town.
Perfect for winter and summer excursions, this Swiss RV campsite is beautiful and accessible year-round. This ideal base for family vacations serves as the perfect hub for those looking to get active with hiking, biking, skiing and snowboarding. Set on a field of lush, firm grass, Camping Flims offers tents, pods and cabins in addition to paved and grass RV pitches. The site comes with free Wi-Fi, showers, toilets, laundry facilities, tennis courts, a food shop and a café.
A bus stop offers free rides into town and some of the four local snow parks. Campers have easy access to local shopping, entertainment, wineries and eateries without having to haul around the RV. To experience the natural beauty of Switzerland, campers can take photos at Rhine River, the Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona or the mountains at Glarus, all of which are within a short driving distance of the camp. RV pitches come with full plugins, waste disposal and fresh water, as well as charging facilities and propane. Grab your fill of locally-grown fruits and vegetables before heading to the next stop on your RV camping vacation.
Hovet, Buskerud County, Norway
Norway’s Birkelund Camping is nestled into Hovet, a mountain village where the locals practice traditional mountain farming. Families will love this RV and camper destination for its serene setting and plentiful amenities. The site is situated on lush, vibrant green hills, complete with a playground, sandpit, trampoline, sauna, pool, volleyball, table tennis and badminton. There are two buildings situated at the site which house the showers, recreational rooms, laundry and communal kitchen facilities. Release your RV waste at the chemical disposal station near the main service building or fill up on water for the vehicle. Join in on the fun at the communal fire pits and throw a picnic using one of the many benches or tables available.
Birkelund Camping offers paved or grass lots, suitable for Class B motor homes, trailers and RVs. Make the best out of this remote location with long quiet hikes, biking and fishing. Adventurous types will love the rock climbing opportunities and winter sports, including skiing and sled racing. Wind down after a long day of exploration, shopping the farmer’s market or sporting by taking in the glorious mountain views, breathing in the crisp air and noshing on a few bits of fresh local cheese and wine. The staff speaks several languages, including English, French and Dutch for your convenience.