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When traveling in an RV, you have an endless list of destinations. With over 13,000 RV parks in the United States, it can be difficult to narrow down your options and choose a site. During our three years of full-time RV travel, we have camped at a few doozies. We have now learned that more research leads to a better camping experience. In this article, I share the process we use to find the best RV sites across America.
Step 1: Write a List of your Must Have Features
The first step is to pinpoint what you are looking for in your camping experience. You should write down a list of the amenities that are most important to you. Then, narrow the list down to your top five priorities and order them from most to least important. Below is a comprehensive list of RV site features to help you get started.
- Pet friendly
- Dog run
- Swimming pool
- Boat or bike rentals
- Free WiFi
- Concrete or asphalt pad
- Full or partial hook-ups
- 30 or 50 amp service
- Big Rig friendly
- Waterfront or scenic view
- Cable service
- Fire pit
- Pinic Table
- Near hiking trails (or a beach or a golf course)
- Within a certain distance from your current location
Step 2: Set your RV Site Budget
RV site rent can range from free to over $100 per night. Set your budget early in the process to avoid overspending, especially if you are living in your RV. Full-time RVers should set a goal for monthly rent, and track their average expenditure over the year to make sure the total budget is not exceeded. We aim to spend an average of $800 per month on rent, which allows us to splurge on fancy RV resorts once or twice a year. You can read more about our full RV living budget here.
Be realistic when setting your price range. If your must have list includes a pull-thru site, a swimming pool and a water view, you better be ready to open your wallet.
Step 3: Pick a Location
You might wonder why location isn’t the first step in this list. With so many places to explore, setting your intention and your budget first can help you think outside of the box with location. If proximity to a specific attraction is not on your must have list, keep your options open by selecting a region or a state instead of a specific city.
Some of our favorite RV camping destinations, have been in towns we never heard of before we starting researching RV campgrounds.
Step 4: Search for RV Parks and Select your Site:
Start your search for the perfect RV site at Go Camping America. Their advanced search allow you to filter by every amenity imaginable. You can also search for campgrounds that accept your discount club memberships. The location filter allows you to search a large radius, so you can see a range of destinations. Browse their results, and select one or more RV parks that meet your needs.
I prefer Go Camping America’s search engine because of the long list of filters. However, AllStays is also a great tool for finding campgrounds. AllStays allows you to filter results by price and type of campground. Then, you can move around the map to find a spot in your desired location.
If you are only looking for free camping spots, you can use the Campendium app or site to find sites that won’t cost you a dime.
Step 5: Vet your Decision
The last step before making your reservation, is to double-check that your selection is truly perfect. Google the RV park or campground and read reviews to make sure that other campers had a positive experience and received good customer service. Also look at pictures posted from reviewers and the street view on Google Maps to check if the images match your expectations.
Once you have verified your decision, book your reservation and start planning fun activities for your trip!
- Plan in Advance: Many campgrounds in or near popular destinations book up months in advance. Try to plan 4 to 6 months out if you are visiting a national park or hot snowbird destination.
- Request Specific Sites: Most campgrounds have a park map on their website. Review the map and pick your top site choices before calling to make a reservation. If a map is not available, ask the receptionist which is the best site in your price range.
What is your favorite RV campground in America? Leave your answer in the comments below.