Remember living in your parent’s house and abiding by their rules? Welcome to the life of RV Parks.
In fact, with so many new RVers on the road, RV parks have become more crowded than ever.
Today we’re sharing five reasons to avoid RV parks this year. We’re also giving you a few amazing alternatives to camping at RV parks.
Let’s dive in!
RV Parks are Cramped and Crowded
Campgrounds make money by renting out their campsites. The more sites they have, the more money they make.
However, for the RVer, squeezing into a site, having 8 feet between your front door and the RV next to you, it’s not comfortable. You will need more space if you like to sit around your campfire with a group of friends.
Hanging by the pool or playground will also be an exercise in patience. These public areas usually have several people around.
Camping at RV Parks is Expensive
When we first started RVing, we thought it was normal to pay $35 a night or more at an RV park. After research, we were getting a deal.
RV Parks can charge upwards of $85 a night depending on hookups, amenities, and location. When you consider that many free camping or boondocking sites cost nothing…you could blow your whole budget staying in an RV park for any length of time.
There are RV discount clubs like Passport America and Good Sam. These can help lower your nightly rate, but restrictions apply.
RV Parks are Often Noisy
When an RV park is full to capacity, it’s hard to stop the ambient noise from drifting to your site. Kids hollering at the playground, adults playing a rousing game of cornhole, or a campsite resident playing their twangy country can ruin an outing.
An afternoon nap mzy never happen.
And, bedtimes? If you’re one of the early to bed people, it might be impossible to get a good night sleep without earplugs.
So. Many. Rules.
Rules are in place to keep everyone using the facility safe. But, why are there so many of them?
There’s a rule for everything at some parks. It can take some of the fun out of the experience when you’re afraid you’ll do something against the rules and get kicked out.
Know the rules and abide by them, but don’t let it take all the fun out of your camping experience.
Pro Tip: These RV Rules Will Catch You Off Gaurd.
Other rules come in the form of restrictions. These will be spelled out on the RV park’s website.
Age (like 55 and up parks) – If you’re not 55 or older, and you have little kids, you’re most likely not welcome at these parks. Parks like this don’t cater to children or families. They have horseshoes, morning pool Zumba and other activities geared toward their target demographic.
Pet Breed or Size Restrictions – Some RV parks will allow dogs, but only if they are small, or weigh under 80 pounds. Some come right out and say, “no Pitbulls, Dobermans or aggressive dogs allowed”. If you have a wonderful pet who falls under one of those categories, you’ll have to find another place.
RV Age (10 year rule) – Do you have an older RV? Even if it’s fixed up to be the cutest bell at the ball, it won’t be allowed at some parks if it’s more than 10 years old. They even ask for pictures and the DOB of your rig.
RV Type (skoolies and vans often not permitted) – If you’re the do-it-yourself type and you have put your blood, sweat, and tears into an amazing van or school bus (called a skoolie) build, it won’t matter at some parks who only welcome traditional RVs.
Alternatives to RV Parks
So if you’re not up for the noise, rules, restrictions and drama of an RV park, here are some options.
State Parks – State parks take some of the most beautiful locations in their states and make them available to campers for a small price. The only restriction is to make a reservation before all of the spots are taken. They usually have water nearby, playgrounds, and space for walking.
National Parks – National Parks are great places to camp near amazing natural attractions. There is a cost to stay at the parks, but by purchasing park passes the prices can be reduced. The only restriction is that some National Park campgrounds don’t have sites for larger rigs. When the campgrounds were created, the larger RVs didn’t exist.
Boondocking on BLM Land – For some, the word boondocking is intimidating, but after a shakedown trip on BLM land, it is such a freeing experience that it becomes the preferred method of camping. To boondock, you have to be able to provide your own electricity, have your own water and have a place to capture your gray and black water.
Are RV Parks for You?
There’s nothing that says that RV Parks are bad for all people. They have electrical hookups, water, pools, dump stations, and playgrounds.
However, there are alternatives for camping that you might want to explore when you’re done living under someone else’s rules.
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Thank you for this article. I am 66 and bought a 2015 350 Ford Econoline for $53,000 and got fleeced but I was living out of my Kia Rio for 8 years and running a business out of the trunk cleaning houses and washing dishes at dinner parties and I have been camping on the streets successfully to avoid being on welfare. I am still in business since 2009 now doing petcare overnights and house sitting by word of mouth marketing to be safe. My challenge is to relocate to a warmer climate and still work without a partner which makes workcamping almost impossible . Your article nailed it, no RV parks or old people homes for me. I am an educated professional who doesn’t want to be pidgeon holed and thrust into an old peoples box or stereotype homeless. Dont want to be thrown into the RV mix because I maintain my vehicle in pristine condition as my person. You not only affirmed me but provided useful alternatives that will give me resources as I continue on this pilgrim pathway. Thank you.
I agree with all the points you’ve made about RV Parks, especially that they can be expensive and all the rules. But sometimes you get what you pay for. One time we were camping at a state campground and woke up to the neighboring campers screaming at their kids and not using nice language. In fact, it started with “GD” and that is when I said to my fellow campers, that is why I don’t mind paying more at the RV park; it keeps the riff raft out! I know, that’s a very judgmental statement but true in a way. We never had unsavory neighbors when we were in the RV park as we did on the aforementioned sate park experience. At this point, it makes no difference as I no longer own a camper. But am thinking hard about buying a pickup or van to convert. That is all!
I agree with the gist of your piece regarding the expense of RV parks (when we started RVing, $20/night was common), but I don’t think you should lump Good Sam in with Passport America as ways to reduce the nightly cost. PA can reduce the cost by 50% (with restrictions of course) but Good Sam drops the rate by an amount usually equal to the tax you pay on the nightly rate. Certainly not a compelling reason to seek out Good Sam parks.
This is so true! I recently converted a cargo trailer into a camper/RV. The RV park in San Antonio never never said anything about restrictions, nor did they ask for pictures, but after being there 5 days, an employee rolled up on a golf cart and said the property manager said I have to leave the following morning because they only allow “certified RVs” in their park. This is after I had already paid for the entire month. I argued at length with another employee on the phone, but in the and, they still told me to leave and only gave me back half of the monthly rate I had paid, with only being there 5 days. Never again.
Having worked in RV parks, NWR, state parks and private they were out of line to ask you to leave. You should have been told up front. The RVIA sticker is a mandate for some parks. Insurance purposes we have been told. This sticker is supposed to signify that the utilities within your RV have been installed to a standard. You are owed a complete refund!
I agree with David. They were out of lne. If they accepted your money for a month’s stay, you have a contract. They can’t just change their mind after the fact.
I would’ve politely told them what I just said above, and if they insisted on booting me out anyway (which would only happen if they called the police), I would sue them for breach of contract, tortious breach of the implied covenant of good faith & fair dealing, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and punitive damages.
I go rving BUT i pay a yearly lease and have it parked on a lot so thaf way its not bad and able to store at ths campground
Your statement with regards to the 10 year limit, is not exactly 100% correct. I have send RV parks pictures of our older 2005 Holiday Rambler pusher. The rig looks like brand new, and I have not had one park so no. They are mainly concerned with how a rig is taken care of. I have seen 90’s Prevost Converted buses done by Marathon, Liberty and Country Coach in parks, probably because people like to gawk at these awesome rugs. I do think that since the Pandemic has been around RV parks may possibly be more picky, because there are more people living and using their RV’s. Like wise, the prices of all RV’s has risen so high, especially the used market, that some parks don’t want to turn business away. I am retired military and there are lots military family campgrounds all over the world, and they are fair less picky about the RV’s age. I also find that casinos with attached RV parks are not inclined to turn away anyone, since they want RV’ers spending money in their casinos.
I dunno, like them sometimes. I do it all, a few weeks boondocking, a couple weeks in a state or national park, a month at an RV Park…. all the different flavors of RV life. I think I’d get bored if I didn’t switch it up. As far as rates, a month will usually save a ton of cash over nightly. And, rules? I love rules. Quiet hours from 9pm-10am and no wood fires? Sounds great to me!
I enjoyed the daily news letter!
And have found the best places to stay for free or cheap…
we enjoyed reading your articles, they are very interesting and a lot of good info and tips, thank you
Thanks to all for the great tips and ideas. I loved the legal note listed above, and wrote it down in case someone ever needs this advice.
Bad is koa for cramp craude.more expensive the wave and surf …avoid all time
There are so many dogs, and big dogs at campgrounds. Poop everywhere that some owners Don’t pick up.they even bring dogs into showers+ restrooms!
For a stay at a quiet and peaceful rv park visit brierycreeklakegetaway. Call 1 434 547 7480 or 1 434 223 7663. Email. [email protected]
Nice to see the comments section back after a L O N G absence!