Skip to Content

5 Worst Cities for RVing

Some of the most famous cities in the United States are terrible for RVers. These cities can turn a fun day of RVing into a stress-filled nightmare.

While we love sharing the best places to explore America with your RV, we also want to inform you about the cities to avoid.

From steep roads to densely populated and congested areas, your stress levels (and your co-pilot’s) will thank you for avoiding these worst cities for RVing. 

Along with the worst cities, we’ll also provide great nearby solutions.

Let’s roll!

What To Avoid When RVing

RVing should be fun. Being exhausted at the end of a travel or exploring day from being stressed out all day is no fun for anybody!

Whether you’re an experienced RVer or a newbie, here are some things you should always avoid when driving your RV: 

  • Steep, winding roads
  • Crowded metropolitan areas
  • Congested highways
  • Places without easy and quick access to RVer must-haves like camping, dump stations, large gas stations

Many major cities lack important RVer amenities. If you have to drive through a major city, be sure to fill up with gas and dump your tanks beforehand. 

If you’re planning to visit a major city in your RV, you may want to reconsider!

Here are the 5 worst cities in the US for RVing:

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is one of the hilliest cities in the US, and that alone makes it one of the worst cities for RVers. Coupling the hills with the dense population and small streets and you have a nightmare for any RV driver! 

If you have to go to or through San Francisco, stick to the major streets and highways. This is a beautiful city to visit and explore, no matter what. But you may be white-knuckling the steering wheel the whole time while pulling or driving your RV.

Let’s not forget the homeless population of San Francisco!

If you need even more reasons not to visit, here are 5 unique reasons to avoid San Francisco.

Where to stay instead…

Try your luck in Lodi, California. The town is full of history and, better still, if you’re a CCR fan you can keep the lyric “stuck in Lodi again” on repeat.

We stayed in the surrounding area once and easily took a day trip into the big city. From your Lodi base, you can also visit Sacramento and Napa.

Also, the camping prices are much more reasonable in and around Lodi.

We stayed at Park Delta Bay – The YouTube video is below ⬇️

New York City

Not only is New York City the most populous city in the US, it’s a terrible city for RVers. The crazy traffic is only the beginning! 

New York City isn’t an RV-friendly city to begin with. There are a few RV parks near the city center, and other than that, RV amenities are hard to find.

The RV Parks are:

  • Liberty Harbor in New Jersey (a Subway ride into the big city bustle) with rates starting around $150.
  • Camp Getaway in Brooklyn. The place is supposedly a “free for all” according to reviews and a challenge to access. Also, getting into the city will be much more of a challenge for here. But, the rates are around $30/night.

For any more reasons not to visit…here are the most dangerous creatures in New York.

Where to stay instead…

Stay away from New York City in an RV. Period. Get out, and enjoy the amazing nature in New York State.

We recommend any of these 5 Free Campsites in the State of New York. You can see mountains, lakes, waterfalls and the wildlife. All the things RV life is meant for.

If you must take a Big Apple road trip, do it by car or plane. Don’t suffer through the city in your RV.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is a big city with a lot of traffic and congested streets. Not only that, the closest RV campground to Chicago is 50 miles away! That doesn’t sound very RV friendly. 

If you want to boondock (aka free camping), you can find places to stay in or around Chicago. But if you need any RVer facilities, it’ll be quite a drive. 

Chicago, Illinois, is a great city to visit and explore. Just don’t expect it to be easy if you’re bringing an RV!

If you want to take a deep dive, here are 5 reasons you may want to avoid Chicago.

Where to stay instead…

Take your pick, 50 miles north or south of Chicago but still on the Lake Michigan shore. Illinois Beach State Park is a great option. The campsites are grassy and shaded, and the beach is a short walk away.

Better still, rates are around $25 a night.

Dallas, Texas

Dallas, Texas is more than just a big city. It’s part of a metroplex, which means many big cities and towns in close proximity to each other that have grown together. 

Dallas, Texas is urban sprawl for miles and miles. This means traffic is terrible, and the highways are scary. If you’re RVing in the Dallas area metroplex, staying on the highways is your best bet. 

There are plenty of RV parks surrounding the metroplex, but they’re usually always full. Dallas isn’t a great city to visit as an RVer, especially for those with big rigs. 

Where to stay instead…

Stay just outside of the city at The Vineyards Campground & Cabins. It’s a top-tier RV park with plenty of nature surrounding it.

You can still access the city easily, but also enjoy peace and solitude at your campsite.

Los Angeles, California

Last on our list is Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles is the second most populous city in the United States, and is known for endless traffic jams. 

This city is so large that some highways have 5 lanes of traffic, and even still they manage to get gridlocked for hours. 

Los Angeles city streets can be narrow and confusing, which isn’t exactly fun for RV drivers. 

There are some RV and state parks throughout L.A. and the surrounding area, but getting to them might be a pain. The city of Los Angeles is definitely worth a visit, but maybe don’t bring the RV!

Where to stay instead…

We always stay at Lake Piru campground north of LA and a short drive to Santa Clarita and Ventura. The campground is at a slightly higher elevation and full of nature & wildlife. In our opinion, it’s a hidden gem for RVers exploring the area.

While staying there we took easy day-trips to Hollywood, Malibu, Santa Monica, and Santa Barbara.

Visiting Major Cities in Your RV

The cities on this list are some of the largest cities in the United States. Each of these cities are worth a visit and have many incredible sights, but they aren’t ideal for the RVer. 

If you’re planning a trip to or through any of these cities with your RV, do your research and route planning ahead of time.  You should seriously consider using RV Trip Wizard for your RV routing.

Stick to major highways while driving through. For an extended visit, find a campground outside of the city and plan to commute in a smaller vehicle or public transport. 

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

  1. Paula says:

    Well those are all places I don’t care to even go to anyways so I’m good with that list of the worst five cities to go to.

  2. Ed H. says:

    Having visited all 10 Canada Provinces & over 40 U.S. States in the last three years with our diesel pusher & Jeep in tow, i would say the worst city for RV travel is Vancouver B.C. Even the main roads are striped very narrow thru the city (as in our motorhome is line to line with the mirrors hanging over into the other lanes). Our practice is to stay way out of town with the motorhome & drive our Jeep in to visit. It parks & goes everywhere without much issue.

  3. Robert Slimak says:

    Shoot. Those are cities I hate anytime, not just with my RV.

  4. Roobah says:

    Saint Louis is horrible due to lack of parking, tight side streets, high crime, and over-zealous ticket-writing staff. The ONLY RV park in the city was recently leased to the city as a homeless shelter location with shed-style tiny homes. Go to the nearby national forests and camp there, or cross the border and visit Illinois (just stay away from Chicago). Missouri does have generous rest area stay times, though.

  5. Judy S says:

    I have an unexpected one to add: Portland, Oregon. Many narrow streets, often one lane due to parked cars, and rush hour traffic that starts early and ends late. A fun, funky city with fabulous creative food and so much to do, but stay on the outskirts.

Comments are closed.