Discount Camping: Passport America and Good Sam Compared

Before joining a camping club it’s worth your time to carefully research those available since no two are the same in terms of benefits and costs

Most RVers look for ways to save money when traveling. After all, the more you save, the longer you can keep touring and camping in your RV lifestyle.

Although there are numerous RV memberships available, Passport America and Good Sam are two discount camping clubs that most often come to mind.

With both offering discounts, which one is better?

Following is a review of Passport America and Good Sam based on our experiences.

Sundance 1 RV Park in Casa Grande, Arizona is a Passport America park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Passport America

Passport America has more than 1,600 member campgrounds across the US and also some in Canada and Mexico. Its annual registration fee is $44 a year and offers a standard 50 percent discount to all members. Thus, you will save the cost of the membership in a very short time.

You can save further by selecting a multi-year membership plan. Passport America’s 2 year pricing is at $79 and $109 for 3 years which is at 10 percent and 17 percent discount respectively. It also offers lifetime membership at $349 and with this you don’t have to pay annually for renewals. They also have a reliable iPhone application that enables you to find an RV park at any time.

Flag City Resort in Lodi, California is a Passport America Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

However, each park has its own stay limitations regarding the availability of the discount—when it’s available and the number of nights. Some parks are significantly restrictive but most are not.

Don’t expect to get the discount during peak travel times. What you will get is a 50 percent discount for one or more night during low season or under used nights of the week (non-weekends).

Double-check the RV park profile to see if they are currently honoring the discount. It’s always best to call ahead and confirm.

Overview: Passport America offers a 50 percent discount at 1,600+ participating campgrounds

Yearly membership cost: $44/year

Savings: 50 percent at each participating campground.

Number of participating campgrounds: 1,600+

Sea Wind RV Park in Riviera, Texas is a Passport America Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Great discounts—50 percent is a ton of savings
  • Large number of available campgrounds
  • Pays for itself with two or three stays
  • Website and app easy to use


  • Some parks are less than desirable
  • Stays can be limited by number of days/season/day of week
La Quintas Oases RV Park in Yuma, Arizona is a Good Sam Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Good Sam

Good Sam is easily the most popular and well-known of the clubs. Good Sam offers much more than just campground discounts. However, the discount on Good Sam-approved parks is nothing to write home about—you only get 10 percent off the 2,100+ campgrounds in their network.

However, this membership is still a good value. Good Sam also offers discounts on RV-related items. They discount propane at Camping World, free dump at select Camping World stores, discount on gasoline and diesel at Flying J stores, and discounts on Camping World purchases.

The annual registration fee is $29 and offers members a 10 percent discount at participating parks. You can save further by selecting a 2 year or 3 year plan. It will cost you $55 for 2 years and $79 for 3 years.

Good Sam also sells an annual RV Parks & Campground Directory filled with great information that will assist you in your travels and selecting RV parks and campgrounds.

Good Sam also offers travel protection policies and road service. You don’t need to have an active membership to purchase these services.

Hacienda Resort in Las Cruces, New Mexico is a Good Sam Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Overview: Get 10 percent off your stay at all Good Sam parks + discounts at Camping World and Pilot Flying J

Yearly membership cost: $29/year

Savings: 10 percent at each participating campground

Number of participating campgrounds: 2,100+


  • 10 percent off 2,100+ campgrounds
  • Multiple benefits other than just campground discounts
  • Good Sam triple rating system ranks each park by completeness of facilities, cleanliness/physical characteristics of restrooms and showers, and visual appeal/environmental quality so you can know more about the park before arriving
  • You won’t have an issue finding a Good Sam park wherever you travel—they are everywhere


  • 10 percent savings means you need to use the discount at least 10 times to start saving money
Creek Fire RV Resort in Savannah, Georgia is a Passport America © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Comparing Passport America and Good Sam

Let’s compare each of these on different parameters. This will give you some idea and based on what you feel is important, you can decide for yourself.

Membership cost

In terms of annual membership cost, Good Sam is cheaper at $29 per year as compared to Passport America that costs $44 per year.


When it comes to saving, Passport America is the better deal. Passport America provides a 50 percent discount. On the other hand, Good Sam only provides a 10 percent.

Sunshine Valley RV Park near Hope, British Columbia is a Passport America Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Number of participating campgrounds

Good Sam has more than 2,100 parks while Passport America has about 1,600 parks.

Campground Quality

Most of the Good Sam campgrounds have a generally higher level of upkeep and cleanliness.

Good Sam ranks every park by cleanliness, professionalism, and friendliness to familiarize you with more about the park before arriving.

Frog City RV Park in Duson, Louisiana is a Passport America Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


In general, I would recommend Good Sam club parks. I would also recommend purchasing their RV Travel Guide. Although their parks are generally of lesser quality I would also recommend Passport America. It helps travel to popular destinations off-season and a convenient way to save money during one-night RV camping. For the record we are members of Good Sam and Passport America.

Other discount camping clubs

RV camping is hugely popular and that means the market is large. For this reason you will find other RV membership and discounts clubs competing with Good Sam and Passport America. Many offer different services that you can combine with the above two options.

Canyon Vista RV Resort in Gold Canyon, Arizona is a Passport America Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


Escapees (SKP) RV club has celebrated over 40 years in business (founded in 1978) and offers much more than campground discounts and is well known as an RV lifestyle club. They offer mail-forwarding services, campground membership and discounts, RVer advocacy, Xscapers club, rallies, meetups, CARE, and educational offerings including a boot camp program.

Escapees members can benefit from their three different types of RV camping: Rainbow parks, Co-op parks, and discounts on 800+ private RV parks. They have seven of their own Rainbow parks and 11 co-op parks. Your membership provides a 15-50 percent discount at 800+ other commercial parks. Membership is $49.95 per year.

Harvest Hosts

Harvest Hosts is the best RV membership for experiencing, well, experiences! They offer up unique places to park for the night—primarily dry camping stays at wineries, farms, breweries, museums, and golf courses. In exchange, it is implied that you patronize the place you visit, if applicable. However, the bonus is that you get a fun and unique experience and a camping spot for the night. Harvest Hosts has over 4,504 locations you can experience. The program also provides an opportunity to support local businesses and meet the people who run them.

This membership club goes for $99 per year. At time of writing a 15 percent discount was available.

Boondockers Welcome

Boondockers Welcome is another unique RV membership club that connects members with free RV parking on private property. Boondockers Welcome is pretty much like it sounds. Locals invite RVers to park on their property, share their stories, and get a good night’s rest. This is a perfect chance to meet new people and make memories. For $79 per year you can boondock at over 3390+ locations with no camping fees.

Colorado River Thousand Trails in Columbus, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thousand Trails

Thousand Trails offers multiple plans each with different options and discounts. Knowing if this membership club would benefit you depends on how you camp and where you want to stay. There are five Thousand Trails zones: Northwest, Southwest, Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast. Each zone includes between eight and 23 campgrounds. New members can opt to include additional zones in their membership.

Pick one of five regions and pay $495. At time of writing a $175 discount was available. Add additional regions for $90. Get 100+ more campgrounds nationwide with The Trails Collection for $370.

Spartan East/Gaffney KOA in Gaffney, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Kampgrounds of America (KOA)

Kampgrounds of America (KOA) is the largest system of privately held campgrounds with more than 500 locations across the United States and Canada. Their huge number of parks means that most RVers will stay at a KOA at some point in their travels.

KOA has its own rewards program and does not participate in other RV discount clubs. The KOA Value Kard membership offers a 10 percent discount off your rate at all KOA campgrounds. Members also earn rewards points which can be redeemed for free nights at KOA RV membership parks.

Since KOA parks do not accept other RV membership discounts such as Good Sam or Passport America, KOA Rewards is the only way to obtain a reduced rate at their campgrounds.

KOA Value Card membership is $36 per year.

Rincon Country West RV Resort in Tucson, Arizona is a Passport America Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


With both passport America and Good Sam providing a way to save some money, it is my recommendation that RVers join both membership clubs especially if you spend considerable time on the road.

However, if you had to pick one membership club based on the amount of savings provided, it would be Passport America. Now that you have gone through our camping club review, the rest is up to you to choose. Happy trails!

Worth Pondering…

There is adventure in any trip; it’s up to us to seek it out.

—Jamie Francis

10 Questions to Ask When Choosing an RV Park

RVING IS BEING confident in the campground

When you’re prepping for an RV trip the RV parks you’ll be staying at might be the last thing on your mind. After all, there’s so much other, more exciting stuff to think about—like where you’re going and all the fun things you’ll do along the way and once you get there.

But it’s called RV camping for a reason. No matter how amazing your destination is you’re going to spend a considerable amount of time at your RV Park. You want to make sure you find one that fits your needs and will ensure your family is safe, happy, and comfortable.

River Run RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fortunately as RVing has grown in popularity, more and more RV parks have popped up across the country ranging from cheap lots with no services to luxurious affairs with every amenity you can imagine. When it comes to deciding which is right for you, much will depend on personal preference and travel style. Maybe you don’t need all the extras and just want to be in close proximity to the sightseeing attractions you came for. Or maybe you want the full-on resort experience complete with water slides, ice cream socials, and a day spa treatment.

No matter where on the spectrum you find yourself there are a few questions to ask that will help you find the perfect RV Park and campsite.

The wonderful web is so informative for campers. In fact, RV park websites carry an abundance of information—even offering ways to reserve sites online. However, many of us simply prefer to call and SPEAK to a human! (You’ll see a few reasons why here: Don’t Book a Campsite Online. Call the Reservation Desk!).

Irvins RV Park, Valemount, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How RV parks work

Before we dig into these RV travel questions and ideas, let’s talk about how to find RV campgrounds in the first place. After all, you can’t ask these questions if you don’t have anyone to call.

Since RV Parks can be found all across the US and Canada no matter where you’re headed, you’re sure to find at least a few options. A great way to get started is to check online by searching “RV resorts near me” or using your destination zip code. Also check out sites such as Campground Views, RV Park Reviews, Allstays, and Good Sam.

Once you have a few RV parks to choose from, it’s time to dig in and figure out which one will best serve your needs. Here are 10 questions that will help you make your decision.

Creek Fire RV Resort, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. What does your standard site offer and what is the cost?

RV Parks usually advertise a daily rate but what’s included for that cost can vary from park to park. Will you have electrical and sewer hookups? Water at the site? Cable TV? Wi-Fi? And if you do have hookups will they be the right amperage? (Most sites offer either 30 amps or 50 amps and which one’s right for your rig will depend on its size and type.)

2. Do you have pull-through sites/back-in sites/pull-in sites?

Some travelers prefer pull-through for quick and easy departure in the morning. Others may prefer back-in sites given the layout or how their windows face in the rig. Pull-in sites generally are for motorhomes; for example, pulling-in a site right on the waterfront.

Whispering Hills RV Park, Georgetown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Can your RV Park accommodate an RV of this size?

If you drive a big rig, you’ll want to double check to make sure it’ll fit in their available campsites. Not every RV Park is set up for a 43-foot diesel pusher with slide outs—especially if it’s an older campground that was designed before that technology existed.

4. Does your RV Park have pet restrictions?

Are certain breeds excluded? (If you’re traveling with pets, it’s critical that you make sure they’re actually allowed on the property.)

Lakeside RV Park, Livingston, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV park rates

How much do RV Parks charge and what does it cover? Here are some money-related questions to ask.

5. What fees aside from the advertised daily rate can I expect?

Even less expensive RV parks might not actually be all that cheap. Quoted prices don’t always include every fee you’re responsible for. For example, the park may allow pets but charge extra for them. Some parks charge a fee for Cable TV and/or Wi-Fi. To avoid sending your camping trip with a case of sticker shock make sure you’re aware of additional fees.

6. How long can I stay and can I decide to extend?

Looking to get away for longer than a weekend? Different parks have different restrictions as to how long you can stay so if you’re looking to stay for a month or longer you might have to specifically seek out long term RV parks. Most state and county campgrounds impose a two-week camping limit. And even if it’s a shorter trip, be sure to ask ahead of time if an extension is possible. That way, if you decide you haven’t had enough fun yet it’s easy to keep the party going.

Hacienda RV Park, La Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Best RV campgrounds

You likely already know you should check your RV campground’s reviews before you book—but even the top-rated RV campgrounds might be incompatible with your needs. Here are some questions to ask before you get there.

7. Does your campground offer shady spots with tree cover or will my rig be in the sun?

Even if you plan on running your AC, camping in the sun will make for a much hotter experience than you’d find under the natural shade of trees. But at the same time, trees can make for a sticky mess of sap and bird droppings on your RV roof. Also consider that during a severe storm wind can break off large branches with the potential of damage to your RV or toad/tow vehicle. (Decide whether you want to camp in the shade or in the sun and be sure to ask the campground ahead of time if they have a site that fits your preference.)

8. Is the campground quiet?

If there’s one thing that makes every single camping trip better it’s a good night’s sleep. Be sure to ask the RV Park representative if the park is quiet or if it’s in range of highway traffic and other nearby noise sources.

Two Rivers RV Resort, Sevierville, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Luxury RV resorts

If you’re planning to camp in an RV resort you might desire specific experiences. Make sure your campground offers what you want.

9. What amenities does your RV resort offer and what are the hours?

What’s important to you in your RV campground? Do you want to lounge by the pool while the kids while away the afternoon in the game room? Maybe a grill or a fire pit is your must-have—nothing beats fresh s’mores while you’re camping, after all. No matter what’s on your list of dealbreakers make sure your campground meets them before you book a site. That way, you won’t face any disappointment when you arrive.

Katy Lake RV Resort, Katy, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Are there organized activities?

Luxury campgrounds often hold organized events ranging from ice cream socials to game or movie nights. If you’re interested in such activities be sure to ask what’s on the schedule and when so you can plan accordingly.

RVING IS BEING adventurous.

Worth Pondering…

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

—Lewis Carrol

Increased Investors Interest in RV Parks and Resorts

RV parks have grown in popularity with consumers during the pandemic. Investors have noticed the trend.

For years, RVs have been associated with retirees who spend their golden years traveling the country. But that’s changing and real estate investors have noticed. Encouraged by these changes and seeking higher returns than those offered by traditional property types, these investors are putting more of their money toward RV parks and campgrounds.

“We have seen investor demand for outdoor hospitality properties explode as other sectors have continued to erode,” says Yogi H. Singh, partner of National Land Lease Capital (NLLC), a private investment firm that owns close to a dozen campgrounds, RV parks, and marinas across the nation. “The national shortage of professionally developed, resort-quality assets along with the high barriers to entry, provide insulation to the sector that we find attractive.”

Ambassador RV Resort, Caldwell, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

New generation of RVers

Since the start of the pandemic, a growing number of Americans have vacationed in RVs or gone camping. After being cooped up for months, people craved wide open spaces and the opportunity to see new places. Today, RVing and camping remains a popular alternative to other types of travel.

While the traditional RVing retiree segment has expanded due to the aging of the baby boomers, its younger generations that are currently driving most of the growth in the outdoor hospitality sector. Valuing experiences over possessions, millions of millennials and Gen Z are choosing to spend their money on travel.

Colorado River Thousand Trails, an Equity Lifestyle Property (ELS), Columbus, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Underlying consumer demand drivers for outdoor hospitality are strong,” says Carl Kruelle, chief investment officer of Blue Water Development Corp., an Ocean City, Maryland-based firm that develops, acquires, and operates resort-level outdoor properties including RV parks and campgrounds. “There’s heightened interest amongst consumers to get outdoors and experience nature. That’s been a consistent trend over the last several years.”

>> Related article: The Best Collection is Recollection: 2023 RV Resorts Guide

Moreover, younger people are also taking advantage of remote work opportunities that have emerged throughout the pandemic. For many people, this newfound freedom means visiting new places. An increasing number of Americans are adopting a transient lifestyle that RVing offers and taking their work on the road.

“Because younger generations don’t have to be in an office every day from nine to five, being in one location and dumping their money into a home is not necessarily the American dream anymore,” notes Tristan Farrell, president of Sunlight Resorts, a Georgia-based RV resort developer with 30 years of real estate development experience in the housing market. “I think the American dream now is traveling.”

Bella Terra of Golf Shores, Foley, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Few similarities between old and new properties

Older RV parks were mostly just a place to park and campgrounds were just a place to set up a tent. Beyond communal bathrooms and showers, these properties rarely offered any additional amenities.

Today’s new and updated RV resorts and campgrounds couldn’t be more different. They often offer a level of comfort and convenience that was unheard of in the early days of RVing. Some even offer a range of luxury amenities including swimming pools and fitness centers as well as daily activities such as yoga classes, kayaking, and golf.

Vista del Sol RV Resort, Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For example, Sunlight Resorts has implemented fresh design concepts for its two new luxury RV parks in Florida. The firm’s Champions Run Ocala Luxury RV Resort features 482 oversized RV sites combined with park model cottages for short-term and long-term stays, high-end landscaping, and a 12,000-sq.ft.-clubhouse with a state-of-the-art fitness center and a ballroom with a performing stage.

>> Related article: Campgrounds, RV Parks, and RV Resorts: How Are They Different?

Other luxury amenities include a resort-style swimming pool with two hot tubs and a rock waterfall as well as tournament style recreational courts for pickle ball, bocce ball, and shuffleboard. There’s also a signature Tiki Bar.

Sun Outdoors RV New Orleans North Shore, Ponchatoula, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Both Champions Run Ocala and Resort at Canopy Oaks have received the 10/10/10 rating from Good Sam, a leading RV industry organization. The three-number rating is earned based on the property’s superior amenities, cleanliness, and environment. Less than 1 percent of all RV properties in the U.S. receive this recognition.

Sunlight Resorts plans to develop several more luxury RV parks across Florida and the Southeast. Currently, the firm has two parcels of land in Florida under contract and expects to develop at least two new properties annually.

The Springs at Borrego Golf and RV Resort, Borrego Springs, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ultimately, Sunlight Resorts’ goal is to sell its RV properties once they’ve reached stabilization as the firm has no desire to become an owner/operator, Farrell said.

“RV parks and campgrounds are cash cows and they almost run themselves,” he added. “That’s what makes them so attractive to investors.”

Recent entrants into outdoor hospitality ownership such as Sunlight Resorts are joining a handful of investors that have been active in the space for quite a while. For example, the two largest outdoor hospitality investors—Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc. (ELS) and Sun Communities—have been investing in RV parks for decades.

>> Related article: Good Sam Releases 2023 Top Rated Parks

Similarly, Blue Water has been active in the outdoor hospitality industry since 2002. The firm prefers to invest in properties located on water—hence the name Blue Water. Additionally, it gravitates toward assets close to population centers which provide a strong demand base.

Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Most of Blue Water’s properties range from 200 to 700 sites each which provides scale and allows for significant investment in resort amenities to further drive demand, according to Kruelle. It looks for assets that are either under-managed or have significant expansion opportunities.

During the second half of 2022, Blue Water made two significant acquisitions: Endless Caverns, an RV property located in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and Badlands/White River KOA Holiday, an RV resort and campground adjacent to Badlands National Park.

At the time of purchase, Endless Caverns offered 148 pull-through and back-in RV sites, nature trails for hiking and biking, a zero-entry pool, and a catch-and-release fishing pond as well as kayaking, rafting, and tubing on Shenandoah River. The firm has expanded the property by more than 300 sites.

Cedar Pass Campground in Badlands National Park with Badlands/White River KOA in background © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Meanwhile, Badlands/White River KOA Holiday presented an opportunity for Blue Water to add a “unique destination getaway” to its portfolio. The area is a popular dark skies location for stargazers and photographers and visitors can view the Northern Lights from the site in late fall and early spring. The property’s 146 sites offer a mix of RV sites and unique glamping options including a yurt with a skylight for prime star viewing, teepee, and camping cabins.

>> Related article: 10 Luxurious RV Resorts for Summer Travel

However, rising fuel prices and inflation are beginning to take a toll on the industry. As fuel costs increase, the price of RV travel goes up as well. This makes it more difficult for people to afford to take trips and many are cutting back on their travel plans as a result. In addition, inflation is driving up the cost of RV parts and accessories, making it more expensive to own and operate an RV.

The Motorcoach Resort, Chandler, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

However, the fundamental fact remains that camping is the cheapest way to recreate domestically.

Worth Pondering…

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.

—Peter Drucker

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Reclaim the richness of the moment

During this first month of the New Year, do you hear the open road calling? Are you reading’s travel blogs wistfully thinking of your next road trip? Or are you out and about in your RV now, looking to add to your adventures? 

Many people prefer to have a plan. It’s just human nature. The planning could involve the number of hours you log on the road each day (330 Rule), atlases and apps that enhance your journey, podcasts to pass the time, easy campsite recipes, events, and bucket list destinations.

My suggestion: Make a plan, however extensive or simple it is and go for it. I hope the information that follows provides you with some inspiration to do so.

Travel…be free…in 2023!

A recent survey has found that 37 percent of American leisure travelers representing 67 million plan on taking an RV trip this year, according to a News & Insights report by the RV Industry Association (RVIA).

When planning a road trip be aware of low underpasses and tunnels © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Know before you go

RVing with Rex provides an RV Checklist for RVers to use as they start planning their upcoming adventures. The RV Checklist is a valuable tool you can use to help prevent setbacks and costly repairs while ensuring your next RV trip starts with a smooth ride.

Check out my arrival and departure checklist here

Road tripping on Utah Scenic Highway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plan a road trip

There are a variety of tools you can use to plan your next road trip. However, the preparation can be a little more challenging when you travel in an RV. You face obstacles other drivers don’t such as locating large enough fuel stations, nearby campsites, water, and electric hookups, and avoiding low-clearances bridges and tunnels. I have found some of the top RV road trip apps to help you select the best ones for you:

  • RV Life Pro is a platform/app designed by RVers that gives you info about campgrounds and RV parks including reviews plus tips and suggestions for your next destination. It also provides an RV-safe GPS for navigating allowing you to add the height and weight of your RV. Quickly access your planned trips and get GPS directions to the next stop.
  • Roadtrippers Plus lets you create and edit a road trip, estimate your fuel costs, and indicate cool points of interest for your journey. If you prefer, choose from premade road trip itineraries. Live traffic updates are available as well as hotel bookings if you need a night away from the RV.
  • Campspot lists top-rated camping destinations available for online booking in North America. Discover campgrounds big and small, RV parks, glamping, cabins, and lodging. Book all listed campgrounds on the app instantly—no membership fee is required.
  • The Dyrt Pro features predesigned road trip maps and the ability to unlock discounts. This app includes offline maps and cell-service maps and it allows you to contact campgrounds and to ask other members for reviews. Many features are free but it is not accessible in Canada at this time.
Cave Creek Regional Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Folks who do not enjoy the process of planning trips and booking campgrounds might consider another idea: an RV travel agent. This may be an attractive option for RVers who just want to travel with no fuss and no stress, and enjoy things as they come. However intriguing as that may sound, this obviously would be more expensive than the do-it-yourself option. Also, make sure your travel agent has the skills to book campsites and to plan an RV itinerary—and knows the difference between campsites, RV parks, and resorts as well as your preferences in that regard.

Lost Dutchman State Park campground, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Difference between RV parks, campgrounds, and RV resorts

Asking what the difference is between RV parks, RV campgrounds, and RV resorts is a bit like asking the difference between a condo, a cabin, and a mansion. Think about it. They’ll all give you a place to stay. But, similar to the types of houses, the RV park, campground, and resort all offer different amenities. 

Portland Fairview RV Park, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV parks are generally located either in town or just outside of town proper. Their pricing can range anywhere from $35 a night to $70 a night. Many RV parks also participate in discounted camping programs such as Passport America or Good Sam making their nightly rates even cheaper.  Many will also offer weekly and monthly rates upon request. Typically RV parks will have full hook-ups at most sites but some will offer dry camping for a reduced cost to you. Most will have laundry facilities on site, Wi-Fi available (but often sketchy), along with showers and restrooms. 

Lake Osprey RV Resort, Elberta, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Campgrounds are located in places of scenic beauty such as a national park, state park, county park, or regional park. Being located in nature-surrounded areas you’ll usually have more space between sites than you would in a typical RV park. Most campgrounds have shower facilities and restrooms and electric and/or water hookups. Typically, the utilities do not include sewer at your site. In most cases, a dump station is available. Most campgrounds have hiking and biking trails right outside your door.

Vista del Sol RV Resort, Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Want it all?  Including the cell service, the WIFI, the nature trails, the full hook-ups, the privacy, and the space? RV resorts can give you that and more. With prices ranging anywhere from affordable to well over $100/night, usually you get more if you pay more. Some RV resorts are truly lavish in their resort style. From hot tubs to swimming pools to private dinner clubs and massage therapists, you can get it all. A word of caution: Some RV parks are billed as RV resorts when truly they are your typical RV park maybe with a tree or two more in between spaces.

Road tripping on Newfound Gap Road through Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

330 Rule of RVing

While the excitement of picking your next RV destination may be at the forefront of your 2023 plans, it’s also important to consider how you’ll stay safe while on the road. Even if every second of your itinerary is perfectly calculated, you still want to keep safety in mind so you can enjoy every minute of your trip. Try using the 330 Rule while driving. This rule contains two pieces of advice to make traveling by RV more comfortable and to help keep you focused: Stop when you have driven 330 miles or its 3:30 in the afternoon.

Road tripping from Flagstaff to Page, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To a seasoned traveler, 330 miles per day may not seem that long, but driving, especially on long stretches of highway, can be very tiring, no matter how comfortable you are. Since trailers and motorhomes are larger vehicles more focus and caution are needed to operate them which can lead to fatigue as well. It’s also a good idea to reach your destination before 3:30 p.m. as most RV parks still have working attendants at this time and you will have plenty of daylight to set up camp. And because exploring your destination can take some time, consider staying several days to allow time to enjoy the place you are at while taking time to refresh.

Keeping these rules in mind can help you have a successful 2023 travel season!

Worth Pondering…

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.

—Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Best Collection is Recollection: 2023 RV Resorts Guide

Get highlights and the low-down from over 50 favorite RV resorts across the country

Whether you collect mementos from your travels or just store away memories in your mind, it’s all about the road trip. According to a release from Newmar, the 2023 RV Resorts Guide makes it easy to pick a location and hit the road.

“With 55 traveler-favorite places across the United States, the 2023 RV Resorts Guide from Newmar offers a variety of places to stay—whether it’s along the way or your final destination. This year, you’ll find several that are brand new to the guide as well as a new map that makes searching for resorts along your route even easier.”

Bella Terra of Gulf Shores © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newmar Corp. published its first RV Resorts Guide in 2017 and highlighted 30 of North America’s finest RV parks and campgrounds. These would be considered the best of the best resorts and especially accommodating for the more discerning owners of Class A motorhomes.

Since then, the Guide has grown to not only include more resorts—there are 55 listings in the 2023 edition—but it has become a valuable resource used by thousands to plan their RV trips and destinations. In fact, over its lifetime, the digital publication has generated 41 million impressions, downloaded over 140,000 times, and introduced over 123,000 unique people to the Newmar brand.

Seven Feathers RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But the positive marketing is only a side effect of the Guide’s primary motive of being a trusted resource for RVers. There are no ads in the current 32-page Guide and save for being mentioned on the front and back covers, you’d never know it was published by Newmar.

Having visited seven of these top parks, I’m pleased to see some old favorites and new RV resorts to check out in future travels.


Bella Terra of Gulf Shores © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bella Terra of Gulf Shores

Get the best of the coast experience at Bella Terra of Gulf Shores. Rated as the 6th Best Luxury RV Resort in America by USA Today, Bella Terra of Gulf Shores guarantees an unforgettable experience. With nearly perfect weather all-year-round, a host of high-quality amenities, and located only minutes away from white sugar sand beaches, this resort offers endless opportunities to make lifelong memories for you, your family, and your furry friends.

Bella Terra of Gulf Shores © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • 9-acre lake
  • Lush, tropical landscaping
  • Clubhouse with movie theatre and fitness center
  • Optional grills, fire pits, storage units, and carriage houses
  • Fenced in dog parks
Bella Terra of Gulf Shores © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Address: 101 Viabella Terra, Foley, AL 36535
  • Minimum stay: 2 nights
  • RV nightly rate: $57-125
  • Availability: Year-round
  • RVs permitted: Class A only, 32-foot minimum, 15 years or newer
  • Power: 30/50 amp


CT RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

CT RV Resort

Whether you’re escaping the cold winters of the north or just looking for a place to relax and enjoy the dry heat, CT RV Resort is for you. This luxury RV resort—and community of four neighborhoods—sits in Benson, Arizona, home of Kartchner Caverns State Park. This welcoming resort is your home away from home with mountain views and neighborly group cookouts, campfires, and get-togethers.

CT RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Exercise equipment
  • Putting green
  • Heated pool and spa
  • Pet friendly
CT RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Address: 1030 S Barrel Cactus Ridge, Benson, AZ 85602
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • RV nightly rate: $42-49
  • Availability: Year-round
  • RVs permitted: All (contact if 10+ years old)
  • Power: 20/30/50 amp
Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort

This active 55+ resort takes relaxation seriously. Situated in Casa Grande, Arizona, the Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort welcomes guests with many amenities and a par 3 championship golf course with 9 or 18 holes. Surrounded by magnificent views, Palm Creek boasts a bistro and sports grill on the property, crafting classes like stained glass, and plenty of outdoor activities so you can play all day.

Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Onsite gourmet bistro
  • Pickleball and other courts
  • Pet friendly
  • 4 swimming pools
  • Par 3 championship golf course
Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Address: 1110 North Henness Road, Casa Grande, AZ 85122
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • RV nightly rate: $67
  • Availability: Year-round
  • RVs permitted: All
  • Power: 30/50 amp


Golden Village Palms RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Golden Village Palms RV Resort

Discover why sun-seeking snowbirds and long-term RV park guests flock to this pet-friendly oasis hidden in the Desert of San Jacinto Valley in Southern California. With more than 320 days of sunshine, Golden Village Palms RV Resort is known for over 60 seasonal activities aimed at those 55+, ranging from water volleyball to pickleball and ballroom dancing. When it’s time for a little me time, visit the fitness center, putting green, or one of the pools and spas.

Golden Village Palms RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Largest luxury RV resort in California
  • 10 professional Pickleball courts
  • 3 unique heated pools
  • Regular group activities
Golden Village Palms RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Address: 3600 West Florida Ave, Hemet, CA 92545
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • RV nightly rate: Call for details
  • Availability: Year-round
  • RVs permitted: All
  • Power: 30/50 amp


Seven Feathers RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Seven Feathers RV Resort

With twenty-three acres of lush lawn, enjoying the outdoors has never been easier. Enjoy a heated pool and hot tub, 24/hour grocery, deli, and ice cream, and make some fun friends and memories at the Seven Feathers Casino. Rent a yurt or RV site, or, if you want more space, stay in a comfortable cabin and purchase luxury packages for enhanced leisure.

Seven Feathers RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Indoor heated pool & hot tub
  • Across the street from Seven Feathers Casino
  • Garden walk
  • Barbecue pavilion
  • Table tennis, cornhole, and horseshoes
Seven Feathers RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Address: 325 Quintioosa Blvd, Canyonville, OR 97417
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • RV nightly rate: $82
  • Availability: Year-round
  • RVs permitted: Call for details
  • Power: 30/50 amp


Buckhorn Lake Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Buckhorn Lake Resort

Deep in the heart of the Texas Hill Country where the stars are big and bright, you’ll find Buckhorn Lake Resort. Located in Kerrville, the resort is your perfect jumping-off point for the charming towns and festivals that dot the region—and only about an hour from historic San Antonio. On-site, mosey up to the premier amenities including pickleball and tennis courts, a fully equipped fitness center, pools and spas, and a 9-hole putting green.

Buckhorn Lake Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Private stocked catch-and-release fishing pond
  • Short drive to many quaint towns
  • Country store onsite
  • Adults-only areas
  • Swimming pool and whirlpool spas
  • 9-hole practice putting green
Buckhorn Lake Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Address: 2885 Goat Creek, Kerrville, TX 78028
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • RV nightly rate: $46-68
  • Availability: Year-round
  • RVs permitted: All
  • Power: 30/50 amp service
Jamaica Beach RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jamaica Beach RV Resort

Explore the island destination Galveston at Jamaica Beach RV Resort. Enjoy a luxurious stay at an RV site or cottage only a five-minute walk from the beach. Spend your stay enjoying the extensive amenities available like the 700-foot lazy river, pickleball courts, infinity spa, outdoor theater, and more. In Galveston, enjoy bird watching, biking, hiking, and fishing.

Jamaica Beach RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Lazy River
  • Mini Golf course
  • Splash pad
  • Beach access
  • Outdoor theater
Jamaica Beach RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


  • Address: 17200 Termini-San Luis Pass Road, Galveston, TX 77554
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • RV nightly rate: $50-88
  • Availability: Year-round
  • RVs permitted: All
  • Power: 30/50 amp

Worth Pondering…

For all of us have our loved places; all of us have laid claim to parts of the earth; and all of us, whether we know it or not, is in some measure the products of our sense of place.

—Alan Gussow

Campgrounds, RV Parks, and RV Resorts: How Are They Different?

Difference between RV parks, RV resorts, and campgrounds

When you’re looking for a place to set up your RV you may find several different options depending on the location you are planning to stay. You will probably come across three very common terms: campground, RV park, and RV resort. They may raise some questions especially if you are new to RVing.

12 Tribes Casino RV Park, Omak, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Asking what the difference is between campgrounds, RV parks, and RV resorts is a bit like asking the difference between a cabin, a condo, and a mansion.

Think about it. They’ll all give you a place to stay. But, similar to the types of houses, the campground, RV park, and resort all offer different amenities. 

Today I’ll break down the difference between these three types of RV camping experiences. Let’s dive right in!

Irvins RV Park, Valemount, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What to look for in a campsite

What you want in a campsite is highly dependent on personal preference. Something that is an absolute must for one person might be at the bottom of someone else’s list!

The best way to approach this is to ask your self a few questions:

  • What amenities do I need or desire? (Consider: flushing toilet or vault toilet, shower facility or not, full hookups or partial or no hookups, Wi-Fi or no internet)
  • What is my goal when RVing? (Consider: adventure, work while enjoying nature, getting away from it all, and experiences)
  • How much are you willing to pay? (Consider: < $35, $35-$60, >$60)
Roosevelt State Park, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And live by one statement: You will not be able to see everything, do everything, eat or drink everything, or experience everything. So live in the moment, you’re in. Go ahead, repeat that last sentence. I will live in the moment I’m in. You’ll be much happier for that.

Great! You’ve adopted a new life mantra. However, you will still have plenty of choices to make.

Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And depending on where you are, when you are, and your preferred activities/experiences, your choices and answers to those questions may be different every time you decide where to stay.

Once you have answered those questions, though, it is quite helpful to have a basic understanding of the differences between campgrounds, RV parks, and RV resorts.

Pro tip: Here is an RVers guide to campground etiquette

Frog City RV Park, Duson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV parks

RV parks are generally located either in a town/city or nearby. Their pricing can range anywhere from $35 a night to $60 a night. Many RV parks also participate in discounted camping programs such as Passport America or Good Sam, making their nightly rates even cheaper.  Many will also offer weekly and monthly rates upon request. 

Most RV parks have space for overnight campers as well accommodations for long-term campers, seasonals, and full-time RVers. Some RV parks have a mix of mobile homes and RV sites.

The Barnyard RV Park, Lexington, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Typically RV parks will have full hook-ups at most sites but some will offer partial hookups and/or dry camping at a reduced rate. Most RV parks offer laundry facilities, Wi-Fi (but often iffy), showers, and restrooms. 

Sites are generally spaced fairly close together. Except for a few extremely old RV parks, most have available space for big rigs to access and get in and out of fairly easily.

Whispering Oaks RV Park, Weimar, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In general, RV parks will have the basics that every RV needs, but without all the fancy bells and whistles. You will typically get what you pay for with the basics. RV parks cost less than RV resorts, but not always less than campgrounds.

Pro tip: Here are 10 RV parks across America that are one step above the rest

White Tank Mountains Regional Park Campground, Maricopa County, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


Speaking of campgrounds, if you are paying more than an RV park for a nightly stay, what you’re really paying for is the natural beauty that surrounds you. Consider this when you’re looking for amenities at a campground. Pricing can vary from about $15 per night to $40 or $50 a night depending on the location and amenities offered or lack thereof.

Campgrounds are more like what you would get if you’re staying in a state park, national park, or county/regional park. Because campgrounds are normally located in nature-surrounded areas such as forests or water, you’ll usually have more privacy here than you would in a typical RV park.

Palm Canyon Campground, Anza-Borrego State Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The sites are often larger but the maneuverability for big rigs might be more difficult due to dirt roads, narrow roads, and all the trees. Most will have shower facilities and restrooms and partial hookups. Oftentimes the hookups do not include sewer at your site but a dump station is usually provided.

What you may not get in RV amenities, you’ll get back in natural ones. Most campgrounds have hiking and biking trails right outside your door.

Laura S. Walker State Park, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And, some campgrounds have campstores and rental places on site allowing you to learn how to canoe or kayak. But don’t count on great cell service. You are, after all, tucked away in a forest of trees.

Pro tip: Explore America’s beauty at these scenic campgrounds from coast to coast

Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV resorts

Want it all? Including cell service, Wi-Fi, nature trails, full hook-ups, privacy, and ample space.  RV resorts can give you that and more. With prices ranging anywhere from affordable to well over $100/night, usually you get more if you pay more.

Some RV resorts are truly lavish in their resort style. From hot tubs to swimming pools and golf courses to private dinner clubs and a spa, you can get it all. Of course, you can get all the amenities in a typical RV park, but be wary, some are billed as RV resorts when they resemble a typical RV park, maybe with a tree or two more in between spaces.

Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One drawback of RV resorts may be the numerous rules and restrictions that are often in place. Although, that may be one thing you desire when choosing your campsite giving you the ambiance you seek. One of those rules may state how new your rig must be and another could be dictating whether you can or cannot have children or pets. And some resorts are restricted to Class A motorhomes

Whether or not you like that type of organizational style is up to you. Maybe all those rules are well worth the fancy amenities. After all, you are spending your well-earned money and you should get the level of luxury you desire.

Pro Tip: For resorts that have it all, here are 10 luxurious RV resorts for summer travel

Vista del Sol RV Resort, Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV park, campground, and RV resort: Which is right for you? 

So you think you now know your exact needs and wants when it comes time to choose between an RV park, a campground, or an RV resort. Good for you! Hold on to that thought! Your needs and desires may change based upon traveling to scenic destinations or camping in a big city.

Pro Tip: Prioritize your wants and needs when choosing RV parks and campgrounds

The Springs at Borrego RV Resort & Golf Course, Borrego Springs, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

My best advice: Go with what you need and want in that moment. Traveling in an RV has probably made you pretty flexible and has taught you how to go with the flow. From that lesson, your new mantra of living in the moment you’re in and knowing the differences between RV parks, campgrounds, and RV resorts, you’re prepared to know which one is right for you when that moment arises.

Worth Pondering…

Life is like an RV, always moving, always different, and always an adventure.

21 Arizona RV Parks You Must Visit

Explore this guide to find some of the best places to camp in Arizona

The state of Arizona is an ideal destination for anyone who loves to travel and camp with an RV. Known as the Grand Canyon State, Arizona is famous for its low amount of rainfall, stunning natural scenery, and plenty of sunshine. Temperatures stay relatively warm throughout most of the year, even in January and February making the state a prime escape from the winter weather elsewhere.

A key factor in planning an RV road trip is selecting RV campgrounds. Choices for RV parks include public campgrounds, luxurious RV resorts, activity-filled family destinations, 55+ parks, secluded natural settings, and basic parks conveniently located for an overnight stay. The quality varies from budget to high-end resorts. And prices also run the gamut.

Here are my top 21 picks for Arizona RV parks, campgrounds, and resorts.

Vista del Sol RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Vista Del Sol RV Resort, Bullhead City

This area needed a new 5-star RV resort and in November 2015 a new Roberts resort opened with paved streets. The 88-wide concrete sites are terraced both back-ins and pull-ins in the 65-foot range with paved sites and patios.

The pull-in sites face the west-northwest with views of the hills and mountains as well as Bullhead City, Laughlin, and the Colorado River. 50/30/20-amp electric service, water, sewer, and cable TV are conveniently located. Resort services include Wi-Fi, two pools, one spa, a fitness room, a billiards/game room, daily activities, Doggie Park, gated entry, and a clubhouse with a commercial kitchen and serving area for groups. Within this gated 55+ community, one can also purchase a 400 sq. ft. model home or a manufactured home in varied sizes.

Catalina State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Catalina State Park, Oro Valley

Catalina State Park sits at the base of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains. The park is a haven for desert plants and wildlife and nearly 5,000 saguaros. The 5,500 acres of foothills, canyons, and streams invite camping, picnicking, and bird watching—more than 150 species of birds call the park home. The park provides miles of equestrian, birding, hiking, and biking trails that wind through the park and into the Coronado National Forest at elevations near 3,000 feet.

The camping area offers 120 electric and water sites with a picnic table and BBQ grill. Amenities include modern flush restrooms with hot showers and RV dump stations. There is no limit on the length of RVs at this park

Eagle View RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Eagle View RV Resort at Fort McDowell, Fort McDowell

Eagle View RV Resort is far enough away from the hustle of Phoenix and Scottsdale but still close to numerous attractions. The resort has 150 full hookup sites with beautiful views of Four Peaks, part of the Mazatzal mountain range. Amenities include a swimming pool, dog run, fitness center, complimentary pastries and coffee in the mornings, and a clubhouse with an HDTV, pool table, computer room, and library.

If you feel like trying your hand at blackjack or poker, Fort McDowell Casino is less than a mile up the road. The park is also a short drive from the city of Fountain Hills which is home to golf courses and one of the largest fountains in the world.

Canyon Vista RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Canyon Vistas RV Resort, Gold Canyon

Canyon Vistas RV Resort is nestled at the base of the Superstition Mountains in the Gold Canyon area southeast of Phoenix. Here you’re beyond the noise and congestion of the city, yet minutes from shopping and entertainment. Enjoy a morning walk or bike ride amid a stately hundred-year-old Saguaro cactus or keep in shape at the state-of-the-art Fitness Center.

Meet your friends for a round of golf at the pitch and putt course followed by a cool drink on the covered veranda. Go hiking, boating, and horseback riding in the nearby mountains. Other amenities include ceramics, wood carving, lapidary, pickleball, computer lab and classes, quilting and sewing room, pools and spas, tennis courts, and a pet area.

Grand Canyon Railway RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Grand Canyon Railway RV Park, Williams

Set in the mountain community of Williams—Gateway to the Grand Canyon—the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park is the ideal place to unwind and relax. The park has three types of RV spaces: select from pull-through, buddy spaces, or back-in sites. All spaces are 50-amp and large enough for big rigs. Each space comes with high-definition digital TV provided by DirecTV, wireless Internet, and access to the indoor swimming pool and hot tub at the adjacent Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. The property has coin-operated laundry machines and a common picnic area with gas grills and a fire pit.

Take the historic train from Williams into Grand Canyon National Park. Adjacent to the historic train depot, Grand Canyon Railway RV Park is just two blocks away from Route 66 and downtown Williams.

Arizona Oasis RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Arizona Oasis Resort, Ehrenburg

Located on the Colorado River in Ehrenberg, Arizona Oasis RV Resort is a perfect RV park getaway spot. Just across the state line from Blythe, California, Arizona Oasis is just 20 minutes from Quartzsite. Big-rig friendly the resort has over 150 RV sites on or near the Colorado River. The gated resort offers 50/30 amp service, water and sewer hookups, full-through and back-in sites, 1,000 feet of Colorado River beach, a boat launch, heated pools and a spa, a dog park, free Wi-Fi, and a clubhouse. 

Tucson/Lazydays KOA © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tucson/Lazydays KOA, Tucson

Tucson/Lazydays KOA Resort features citrus trees throughout the park and offers pull-through RV Sites with full 30/50-amp hookups, grassy luxury sites, and new RV sites with a patio and fireplace. Whether you want to relax by one of the two pools, soak in the hot tubs, play a round on the nine-hole putting green, or join in the activities, this park has something for everyone to enjoy.

Two solar shade structures allow guests to camp under a patented structure that produces solar energy. The structures shade more than two acres of the campground giving visitors room to park RVs on 30 covered sites. Lazydays, a full-service RV dealership with a service department is located next door. Other campground amenities include a bar and grill, meeting rooms, fitness center, three off-leash dog parks, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Butterfield RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Butterfield RV Resort and Observatory, Benson

A 5-star park, Butterfield RV Resort, and Observatory is a 55+ park with pull-through and back-in sites. Our back-in site (#120) is 55 feet in length and over 30 feet in width. 50/30-amp electric service, water, sewer, and cable TV are located near the rear of the site. The park is clean and well-maintained. Interior roads are asphalt; back-in sites are gravel with pull-through sites asphalt. The park is easy-on easy-off (I-10 at Exit 304, south one-half mile on Ocotillo Avenue) and is conveniently located immediately behind Safeway and near downtown. The highest-rated park in Benson we’re pleased with Butterfield and would return.

Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort, Casa Grande

All RV sites at Palm Creek are back-ins with a minimum of 50 feet in length and 40 feet in width. All sites come equipped with patio pads and full hookups, including 50-amp electric service, cable TV, water, sewer, and Wi-Fi service. Amenities include a championship Par-3 golf course, 4 swimming pools, Jacuzzi tubs, an on-site bistro, pickleball, and tennis courts, lawn bowling, a softball field, a fitness center, a ballroom, 4 laundry facilities, and 9 dog parks.

La Quintas Oasis RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

La Quintas Oasis RV Resort, Yuma

Big-rig friendly, La Quintas Oasis RV Resort is a 55+ park with 460 full-service sites. Easy-on easy-off (I-8; Exit 12 on North Frontage Road) the park has wide paved streets. Pull-through sites are in the 70-foot range with ample space. Back-in sites are 60+ feet in length and 35 feet wide. La Quintas Oasis has a heated pool, hot tub, horseshoes, recreation hall, game room, planned activities, shuffleboard, exercise room, pickle ball courts, and mini golf.

Sonoran Desert RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sonoran Desert RV Park, Gila Bend

After a day of rolling through the dramatic and diverse Sonoran Desert, you can roll your rig right into this oasis in the desert. It’s so convenient with the easy-on/easy-off access from both I-8 and SR-85. Formerly, Gila Bend KOA, the campground was built for RVers by RVers and it shows! You’ll find roomy, 100-foot full-hookup pull-through sites throughout the park—all big rig friendly.

Relax by the heated pool or just soak up the desert views and dark evening skies from your site. Fido will love the 4,000-square-foot Canine Corral with three separate corrals (two with grassy areas). Amenities include Wi-Fi throughout the park, a laundry facility, a putting green, a heated pool, and a recreation hall Ranch House with a 2,500 sq. ft. veranda that’s perfect for savoring a brilliant sunset at day’s end. 

Picacho Peak State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Picacho Peak State Park, Eloy

Visitors traveling along I-10 in southern Arizona can’t miss the prominent 1,500-foot peak of Picacho Peak State Park. Enjoy the view as you hike the trails that wind up the peak and, often in the spring, overlook a sea of wildflowers. The park offers a visitor center with exhibits and a park store, a playground, historical markers, a campground, and picnic areas. Many hiking trails traverse the desert landscape and offer hikers both scenic and challenging hikes.

The campground has a total of 85 electric sites suitable for RVs and/or tents. Four sites are handicapped-accessible. No water or sewer hookups are available. Access to all sites is paved. Sites are fairly level and are located in a natural Sonoran Desert setting.

Rain Spirit RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Rain Spirit RV Resort, Clarkdale

Overlooking Tuzigoot National Monument and Verde River, Rain Spirit RV Resort is a new park with 63 full-service sites including 30/50-amp electric service, cable TV, and the Internet. Amenities include private restrooms/showers, a fitness room, laundry facilities, a recreation room, a library lounge, a pool and spa, and a dog run. This 5-star resort is a great home base from which to explore the historic town of Jerome, Sedona Red Rock Country, and Old Town Cottonwood, and book an excursion on the Verde Valley Railway.

Usery Mountain Regional Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Usery Mountain Regional Park, Mesa

Usery Mountain Regional Park is set at the western end of the Goldfield Mountains adjacent to the Tonto National Forest. The park contains a large variety of plants and animals that call the lower Sonoran Desert home. Along the most popular feature of the park, the Wind Cave Trail, water seeps from the roof of the alcove to support the hanging gardens of Rock Daisy. The Wind Cave is formed at the boundary between the volcanic tuff and granite on Pass Mountain. Breathtaking views from this 2,840-foot elevation are offered to all visitors.

The park offers a campground with 73 individual sites. Each site has a large parking area to accommodate up to a 45-foot RV and is a developed site with water and electric service, a dump station, a picnic table, a barbecue grill, and a fire ring. The park provides restrooms with flush toilets and hot water showers.

Lost Dutchman State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lost Dutchman State Park, Apache Junction

Lost Dutchman State Park is your gateway to amazing Sonoran Desert experiences and memories. Named after the fabled lost gold mine, Lost Dutchman State Park is located at the base of the Superstition Mountains on Apache Trail (SR-88), 5 miles northeast of Apache Junction.

The campground has 138 sites: 68 sites with electric (50/30/20 amp service) and water and the remainder of non-hookup sites on paved roads for tents or RVs. Every site has a picnic table and a fire pit with an adjustable grill gate. There are no size restrictions on RVs. Well-mannered pets on leashes are welcome. Five camping cabins are situated perfectly so visitors can take advantage of both the sunrise and sunset right from the porch.

Leaf Verde RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Leaf Verde RV Resort, Buckeye

Leaf Verde RV Resort offers spacious back-in and pull-through RV sites with full hookups including 20/30/50-amp electric service. Enjoy gravel pads with concrete patios, complimentary Wi-Fi to keep you connected, and a picnic table for your outdoor enjoyment. Other amenities include a swimming pool, shuffleboard, game room, clubhouse, pet area, laundry facilities, restroom, and shower facilities. Located in the West Valley off Interstate 10 at Exit 114.

White Tank Mountains Regional Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

White Tank Mountains Regional Park, Waddell

Nearly 30,000 acres make this the largest regional park in Maricopa County. Most of the park is made up of the rugged and beautiful White Tank Mountains on the Valley’s west side. The range, deeply serrated with ridges and canyons, rises sharply from its base to peak at over 4,000 feet. Infrequent heavy rains cause flash floodwaters to plunge through the canyons and pour onto the plain. These torrential flows, pouring down chutes and dropping off ledges, have scoured out a series of depressions, or tanks, in the white granite rock below, thus giving the mountains their name.

White Tank Mountain Regional Park offers 40 individual sites for RV camping. Most sites have a large parking area to accommodate up to a 45-foot RV and all offer water and electrical hook-ups, a picnic table, a barbecue grill, a fire ring, and a nearby dump station. All restrooms

Destiny RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Destiny RV Resort, Goodyear

A walled and gated community, Phoenix Destiny RV Resort offers 20/30/50-amp service on every site, a heated pool and spa, fitness center, laundry facility, shuffleboard courts, horseshoe pits, pickleball courts, putting green, billiard room, and fenced-in pet areas and a shaded turf dog run. The RV resort is clean, well-maintained, and attractively landscaped with an abundance of citrus and other trees and shrubs. Interior roads and sites are asphalt; the picnic table is conveniently located on concrete. Destiny offers a quiet, peaceful, and friendly atmosphere with easy access to I-10 (Exit 123; Citrus Road). Our pull-through site (#263) is in the 55-foot range.

Blake Ranch RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Blake Ranch RV Park and Horse Motel, Kingman

Easy-on easy-off (I-40, Exit 151), Blake Ranch RV Park is a convenient location to overnight and for a longer stay to explore the area. The RV park offers long and wide and level pull-through and back-in sites with 30/50 electric, water, sewer, cable TV, and Wi-Fi. Amenities include a park store, private showers and bathrooms, laundry facilities, a dog run, a recreation room, and a horse motel. There’s plenty to do and see in the area. The park is 12 miles east of Kingman and Historic Route 66 and the ghost towns of Chloride and Oatman are easy day trips.

Twin Peaks Campground © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Twin Peaks Campground, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Stop by Twin Peaks Campground, and you’ll feast your eyes on a fantastic collection of plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert as well as some stunning vistas. You’ll find a showcase of nature’s creatures who have adapted to the extreme temperatures, intense sunlight, and little rainfall that characterize this region. Thirty-one species of cactus have mastered the art of living in this place including the park’s namesake and the giant saguaro. The location comes with a 360-degree view of gorgeous desert scenery including a broad valley to the south and small hills to the north and west, all packed with huge cacti. It is a perfect setting for colorful sunrises and sunsets.

The main campground at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Twin Peaks Campground is a sprawling outfit that boasts 208 sites. January through March is the peak season for the campground and reservations are required. Sites don’t offer hookups (but do allow generators) but with all the spectacular scenery, you won’t miss that convenience at all.

Distant Drums RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Distant Drums RV Resort, Camp Verde, Arizona

Distant Drum RV Resort is conveniently located along I-17 (Exit 289) across the Interstate from Castle Cliff Casino and a short distance from Montezuma Castle National Monument. The interior roads and sites are paved and the park is well maintained but many sites are not level.

The park features 157 spacious RV sites with concrete pads. Each site comes with full hookups, including 30/50 amp electrical service, cable TV, and Wi-Fi throughout the park. All brand new amenities include an events center, lending library, heated pool and Jacuzzi, laundry facilities, exercise room, spacious dog run, and country store.

Worth Pondering…

Newcomers to Arizona are often struck by Desert Fever.

Desert Fever is caused by the spectacular natural beauty and serenity of the area.

Early symptoms include a burning desire to make plans for the next trip “south”.

There is no apparent cure for snowbirds.

Are You Ready to Live the RV Lifestyle? 11 Tips for Getting Started

An RV Lifestyle can be very rewarding for those who are prepared

You’re ready to live that RV life? How exciting! There are many things to know before you hit the road, so I’ve rounded up a few essential tips to get you started.

Camping at Tom Sawyer RV Park, West Memphis, Arkansas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Go old school

While we’re all pretty used to having Wi-Fi and phone service everywhere we go, you might find yourself in some off-the-gird situations. So, I suggest you go old school. Take photos and screenshots of all of your necessary documentation that can only be found online. In addition, it’s never a bad idea to have photocopies and printouts.

The same goes for your maps and reservation information. Those hard copies could be your saving grace if you find yourself in a pinch, either out of service or with a dead or broken phone. Imagine making the whole trip without internet or access to your devices. Round up everything you’ll need. If you don’t need those hard copies, no problem. But if you do, you’ll never regret having them.

Camping at Capital City RV Park, Montgomery, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Checklists for everything

Before you go, make sure you have everything you’ll need during your trip with an RV camping essentials checklist. Just like pilots have a pre-flight checklist it’s important to have pre-departure checklists for your RV.

Every checklist will differ depending on the RV type and gear. The important thing is to make comprehensive lists and check them EVERY time you leave.

There are certain RV camping essentials you need to take with you such as your RV paperwork (insurance, registration details, roadside assistance documents, and road maps). You also need to make sure you pack other RV essentials such as electrical or battery equipment, a tool kit, and a first aid kit. 

Related article: Why RV?

If you plan to prepare meals in your RV (and why wouldn’t you?), you’ll need to ensure you have all the equipment and supplies you need. For example, you’ll require bowls, plates, cutlery, cups, pots and pans, knives, chopping boards, and matches. You’ll also need to pack products to clean these items once you’ve used them such as sponges, detergent, and trash bags.

Camping at Arizona Oasis RV Park, Ehrenberg, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Seize the opportunity

If you come across a fuel station, a place with a clean shower, or a grocery store with RV parking, take the opportunity to stop. You never know when you might find yourself in a pinch, so grab those opportunities when they arise.

Camping at The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course, Borrego Springs, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Start with your needs

As you’re packing, consider what you need rather than what you want. You can expand your packing list as you gain experience but starting with the essentials will help you pack efficiently and save space. Packing the non-essentials makes it easier to forget the things you really need. Aim to have as little clutter as possible and keep it simple.

Camping at Ramblers Rest RV Park, Venice, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ask for advice

Remember the community that surrounds you. Get involved! Don’t go it alone. Your fellow RVers are your friends. Networking with them will produce a more successful experience for everyone. They can provide moral support, maintenance help, babysitting for your pets and belongings while you’re away, and guidance when planning your routes. Ask about the best places to go, stop, and stay. Reviews can be misleading and you can only learn so much online. Personalized recommendations are ideal when possible.

Related article: 11 Ways RVing Beats Flying

Consider following some RV bloggers online and on social media to get an idea of how they live their lives and get recommendations for the can’t-miss places. Join a forum to get started and don’t be afraid to keep an open mind.

Camping at Creek Fire RV Resort, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Know your RV inside and out

You need to know everything there is to know about your RV from the exact exterior measurements to your plumbing and electrical systems. You need to be the expert.

Each RV we’ve owned has come with a suitcase of user manuals. There is an instruction booklet on everything from operating the furnace and air conditioner to cleaning and servicing the RV and awning and everything in between. There is even a manual on RV tires.

Read through every manual. There are also build sheets, diagrams for each fuse box and information on proper tire inflation. We’ve referenced all the information many times throughout our years of RVing.

When a fuse goes out at 1 a.m. you’ll want to know which fuse box to check. Our current motorhome has three fuse/breaker boxes and one of them is outside. When it’s pouring rain outside, it’s not fun to run around wondering which breaker box to check.

Gather all documentation and study it as much as possible before heading out. It’s always a good idea to do a few shorter practice trips before you drive into RV living.

Camping at Whispering Hills RV Park, Georgetown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Save money on camping

Of course, RVing comes with its own expenses and also certain sacrifices; like anything in life, it’s a give and take. But if you do it right—by, for example, joining a discount camping club like Passport America to save 50 percent on your campground accommodations—this unique traveling life can give you physical as well as financial liberation. In fact, many RVers are drawn to the small life in order to pursue minimalistic, debt-free living.

Camping at Poche’s RV Park, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Everything has a place

Just like the cupboards in a house, everything has a place in an RV. The difference is, when the RV is going down a bumpy road and that bottle of vinegar gets loose because it was put back in the wrong place, you might end up with a mess on your hands.

Related article: Why are RVs So Popular?

It also makes packing up a much faster process because you know where all the pieces of the puzzle go—and where they are when you unpack.

Camping at Buccaneer State Park. Waveland, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make sure you’re insured

You’ll want to talk to your insurance provider and learn about all the types of insurance you might need. From RV insurance to medical insurance, you don’t want to find yourself in a sticky situation without proper coverage.

Boondocking along Scenic Utah Byway 24 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Budget for RV living

As mentioned before, one of the advantages of RV living—or at least one of the reasons people most frequently site for taking on this lifestyle—is its affordable nature. But it’s not always that simple.

RVing does include many costs and they’re quite variable so there’s no way to really talk about the average cost of RV living. For example, you might spend $85 a night at a posh RV resort with all the amenities or absolutely nothing for a great boondocking site on public lands. Your fuel cost will vary depending on the model of rig you purchase, your speed, weather conditions, the terrain, and how often and far you drive.

Related article: 7 Confessions of a Snowbird Living the RV Lifestyle

With careful planning, RVing can be a viable way to save on your living expenses. For one thing, you simply can’t buy as many new items when you don’t have very much room to store them in.

You can create a budget either through the many budgeting apps or the old fashion way. Be sure to include major camping expenses such as campsite fees and fuel and also food, license and registration, maintenance and repairs, and entertainment. Don’t forget about regular expenses like cell phone bills and the occasional purchase of new clothing and supplies.

Camping at Seabreeze RV Park, Portland, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Enjoy the Journey

Most importantly, enjoy the journey. There are headaches associated with RV living but there are many more pleasures.

Worth Pondering…

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

—Benjamin Franklin

More Campsites Coming

The physics of the camping industry dictates that it takes a lot longer to build a new campsite than it does the RV that’s waiting to fill it

The past winter saw the construction of more than 50 new campgrounds and RV parks offering more than 15,000 new RV sites. At the same time work continued coast to coast on the expansion of many existing parks.

An estimated 81,000 new outdoor recreation sites could be constructed within the next year. That’s according to the 2022 Industry Trends and Insights Report released by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
It’s all a result of record recreational vehicle sales which gained a big boost from the pandemic-sparked drive to spend less time indoors and more in the great outdoors. Increased interest in the recreational vehicle lifestyle has also flowed from the ability of many to leave offices in the rearview mirror and work remotely from their RVs.

Lake Osprey RV Resort, Elberta, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why are so many RV parks opening and expanding?

The pandemic changed many things. It ignited record sales of RVs as people sought to spend more time outdoors while enjoying all the comforts of home.

In 2021, it seemed everyone wanted to buy an RV of some type and go exploring. Also, the phenomenon of working remotely became the norm for many workers. When you work remotely it doesn’t matter where you are as long as there is a good Wi-Fi signal. RV parks can be as good as anywhere else for working remotely. Many remote workers found RV living to be ideal for work and play.

Vista del Sol RV Resort, Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As more people got into RVing, campgrounds struggled to keep up with the unprecedented demand for campsites. In 2021, campsite shortages became a real challenge for many RVers. RV parks responded by expanding existing facilities to have more RV sites available. Landowners realized that developing their land into RV parks and resorts would meet a market need and could be very lucrative.

Related: Campgrounds and RV Resorts Can’t-Wait To Go Back To

Another thing that RV campgrounds started doing was adding unique or luxury accommodations for those who want to get away but didn’t own an RV. Many RV owners want to vacation at parks with family and friends who don’t own their recreational vehicles.

Rain Spirit RV Resort, Cottonwood, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Non-RV camping at RV parks ranges from site-built cabins to furnished glamping tents, covered wagons, treehouses, and a wide range of other distinctive lodging options. Among the newer twists is the offer of yurts, also known as gears, which are circular structures that are both lightweight and portable and are held up without center supports. The ability of parks to offer lodging aside from RV sites can help businesses claim distinct competitive advantages.

Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, Gulf Shores, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Florida on track to add more than 5,000 campsites by next year

By early next year, RVers will have thousands of new campsite options in Florida. Florida will see an additional 5,300 campsites by 2023. That will come as the result of the opening of 15 new RV resorts and the expansion of 13 already existing parks.

“It’s all to meet the needs of the ever-expanding interest in outdoor recreation,” said Bobby Cornwell, Executive Director and CEO of the Florida RV Park and Campground Association.

Related: 10 Luxurious RV Resorts for Summer Travel

That organization hosts, a travel-planning website that features more than 400 campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts, totaling more than 120,000 campsites.

The Springs at Borrego RV Resort, Borrego Springs, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Snowbirds have been spending their winters in Florida for decades but now it’s not just retirees who are coming here but working people with mobile jobs who are discovering they don’t have to wait until they’re retired to enjoy the winter in Florida,” Cornwell added.

The additional campsites don’t even include the addition of 2,100 RV sites that took place between 2017 and 2020. That’s when 14 other parks expanded and seven new parks were added. Several RV parks are also making significant improvements to their sites as well.

Sonoran Desert RV Park, Gila Bend, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

New RV parks opened in 2022

Camp Margaritaville, Auburndale, Florida: Camp Margaritaville is a new RV resort (opened January 2022) in Auburndale, Florida where you can choose to stay in your RV in a well-appointed RV site or in a Margaritaville cabin. Camp Margaritaville has 400 RV sites plus 75 cabins. Amenities include full hookups, 110/30/50-amp breakers, free Wi-Fi and cable, picnic table, outdoor kitchen, outdoor TV, Adirondack chairs and hammocks. The 66-acre, island-themed resort also offers a pool complex with a waterslide, a pawsome dog park, a dog grooming station, a golf course, and even a pizzeria.

Related: 6 Casino RV Resorts Where You Can Stay and Play

Pala Casino RV Resort, Pala, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pine Mountain RV Resort, Pine Mountain, Georgia: Located in Pine Mountain, Georgia, Pine Mountain RV Resort boasts 225 RV sites plus cabins and glamping tents. The park just opened in January 2022 and has already earned many positive reviews from guests. Amenities include a swimming pool, a playground, and a dog park for the furry glampers. The owners of Pine Mountain RV Resort are RVC Outdoor Destinations, a well-known name in the luxury RV resort business with RV parks in 10 states.

The MotorCoach Resort, Chandler, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Red Coach Resort, Toney, Alabama: Located 15 minutes northwest of Huntsville, Alabama, Red Coach Resort opened in early 2022. At the outset, the park has 47 sites that include 17 full-hookup RV sites and 30 “primitive” sites. At full buildout, the 60-acre RV park in Toney is destined to have 177 sites. Another 20 acres will be reserved for a horse farm accommodating those who travel with horses. The park stretches along a half mile of riverfront where park visitors will be able to swim, raft, and kayak. Additional acres being maintained as a nature preserve overlooking the river may within the next couple years host glamping cabins.

Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona

Gulf Shores RV Resort, Gulf Shores, Alabama: Opened this summer Gulf Shores RV Resort’s first 175 RV-level full hook-up sites encircle a quartet of stocked fishing ponds. Five rental cottages that can sleep up to six guests also came online in Phase I. In addition to amenities considered standard at upscale resorts, Gulf Shores RV Resort will feature a pool and hot tub as well as fishing ponds, bike rentals, hiking paths, a dog park, and a pair of pickleball courts. Developed by Memphis-based RVC Outdoor Destinations, this Alabama park has the capacity to be expanded by as many as 500 sites.

Creek Fire RV Resort, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

River Ridge Retreat, Gunterville, Alabama: Unveiled last fall, River Ridge Retreat sits on over 670 acres of beautiful property that boasts both mountainside views and over a mile of waterfront on Guntersville Lake, Alabama’s largest lake. Miles of hiking and bike riding are available on the property. You can enjoy fishing from their banks or large pier. The property is home to abundant wildlife such as whitetail deer and bald eagles. The park currently offers 12 modern tiny house cabins and 54 full hookup 30/50 amp RV sites as well as a unique wedding chapel. All sites include a grill and fire ring, RV sites include a picnic table as well. The next developmental stages include a swimming pool, boat ramp/docks, and more RV sites.

Related: Highly Rated Snowbird Resorts, According To RVers

Katy Lake RV Resort, Katy, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Wilds in Ohio, Cumberland, Ohio: Construction of a new 59-acre RV park has begun in The Wilds in Ohio. This park will connect visitors with the great outdoors and provide a unique camping experience. The Wilds is a safari park and conservation center that is spread across more than 9,000 acres. It includes multiple conservation areas and is managed by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The park was opened in 1984, and it has continued to evolve and grow over the years. The upcoming park doesn’t currently have a name, but some details and plans for future amenities have been released. It will span across 59 acres and include 46 RV sites and 27 tent sites. A majority of this campground space will be devoted to the preservation of natural areas.

Worth Pondering…

Shoot for the moon, Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.

—Les Brown

9 Things to Consider Before Making an RV Park Reservation

Finding a good campsite begins at home when you are planning your road trip

Finding the right RV site may be one of the most important decisions to make as you plan your next road trip. Before you book online or over the phone ensure you have a site that meets your needs. This may be one of the most important judgment calls to make on your trip.

Club house and pool at Red Bluff KOA Journey, Red Bluff, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The quality of your time at the park may rest on whether you’re near the hustle and bustle of the clubhouse or pool, in a remote site under a shady tree, or backed up against a busy highway or railway tracks.

A+ Motel and RV Park, Sulphur, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For the best results phone RV parks to make reservations. You can find out about any specials going on, any activities or events you might be interested in, and have a better opportunity to secure a prime site in the park. Calling also allows you to have your questions or concerns answered. You can also find out about the park’s amenities such as Wi-Fi, cable TV, pool access, and special activities.

Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Most parks will require a credit card number for the first night to secure the reservation. Some RV parks will assign a site number when you make your reservation while others will wait for you to check into the park. Make sure to keep the reservation confirmation number or e-mail confirmation.

Related: How to Choose the Perfect RV Park and Campsite?

Choose wisely, consult guest reviews, and consider the following nine things:

Pull-in site at Vista del Sol, Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1) Size and Configuration

Most RV parks offer several types of sites: pull-through, back-in, and drive-in. A pull-through site allows you to enter and exit a site without unhooking the toad or backing up. Backing an RV into a site is one of the less appealing chores in the RV lifestyle but if you plan to hunker down for several weeks or more, a roomy back-in site may be preferable.

Pull-in sites at Bella Terra Resort, Gulf Shores, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some of the newer parks offer drive-in sites. This is particularly appealing for RVers with a Class-A motorhome. The site may face a river, fountain or water feature, or scenic vistas like the sites offered at Vista del Sol RV Resort in Bullhead City, Arizona (see photo above) or Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, Alabama (see photo above).

Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4) Location, Location, Location

Each site in an RV park has its pluses and minuses. A site near the club house and pool is convenient but the foot traffic and noise may pose an annoyance. The same for sites near the playground or a dumpster. Study the park map to get the lay of the land.

Related: Consider Your Needs When Choosing RV Parks and Campgrounds

Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5) Site Amenities

Consider the amenities that you like in an RV site. Fire rings and picnic tables are musts for some campers. Do you have room to unfurl the awning, fire up the barbecue, and watch the big game from your exterior TV? If you’re camping in the height of summer, look for a shady site. If possible, choose a north-facing site so that the summer sun has limited penetration into RV living quarters and your refrigerator is in the shade.

Dog wash station at Sun Outdoors Pigeon Forge © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7) Camping with Buddies

Are you RVing with friends? Some parks allow RVers to park in contiguous spaces giving them a chance to camp next to each other. You can arrange a “buddy site,” like those offered by Red Bluff KOA Journey (formerly Durango RV Resort, in Red Bluff, California (see photo above) . These sites feature pull-through sites up to 90 feet in length with a common grassy area.

Related: What Makes an RV Park A Five-Star Resort?

Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8) Non-RV Alternatives

Do you plan to meet up with non-RVing friends? Many parks offer adjacent motel units, cabins, or park models. Then consider the following RV parks and resorts: A+ Motel and RV Park in Sulphur, Louisiana (see photo above); Canyon Vista RV Resort in Gold Canyon, Arizona (see photo above); Leaf Verde RV Park in Buckeye, Arizona (see photo above); and Cajun Palms RV Resort in Henderson, Louisiana (see photo above).

Dog washing station at Tucson/Lazy Days KOA, Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9) Canine Considerations

Dogs make great traveling companions but these furry passengers sometimes can be challenging. If your canine barks at everything that moves, you’ll want a site as far away from foot traffic as possible. The same goes for cats that are prone to stress. And if you opt to camp close to a dog run, you can give Fido a chance to burn off steam nearby. Some parks even offer a dog washing station including Sun Outdoors Pigeon Forge (formerly River Plantation RV Park) in Sevierville, Tennessee (see photo above) and Tucson/Lazydays KOA (see photo above).

Related: What to Look For in an RV Campground?

The RV site is an important part of the travel experience. A good site can contribute much to a great road trip and a poor site will deter from the overall experience.

Worth Pondering…

If a man does not know what port he is steering for, no wind is favorable to him.