National Park RV Camping

National Park RV Camping
By Jody Halsted

Most of the United States' national parks are found in remote areas and often cover hundreds, or even thousands, of acres of land. These destinations are perfect for an epic RV road trip!

When including a national park in your RV vacation, forward planning is key. For the most popular parks you should begin planning at least nine months in advance. This gives you enough time to find the right RV, plan out your route and campgrounds, and reserve your spot before they book up (see below).

RV camping in US national parks

Can you RV camp in national parks?

RV camping is welcome in the national parks that can accommodate them. Not all national parks are accessible by road, while other parks may have short tunnels, narrow roads, or bridge weight limits that restrict RV access. Some national park campgrounds simply don’t have the space to accommodate large rigs.

Do national parks have RV size limits?

Some national parks do have RV size restrictions due to limited space, narrow or obstructed roads, and campground vegetation. Always check the official website of the park you are visiting for specific camping information.

To do this access www.nps.gov, click ‘plan your visit’, then ‘eating & sleeping’ learn more. Keep in mind that each campground within a park will have different restrictions.

Are RV hookups available in national parks?

Most national park campgrounds are ‘standard non-electric’. This means that there are no RV hookups. You will need to fill your RV water tank before parking in your site and if you require electricity you will need to run a generator.

Research your campground thoroughly before booking. Some parks will have a water filling station for your RV’s fresh water tank, and some campgrounds may have a dump station for the black and grey waste tanks. Other campgrounds may not offer any amenities, and most have ‘quiet hours’ when a generator can not be run.

How do I book a national park campsite?

Individual campsites at national parks can be reserved on a 6-month rolling basis, meaning the earliest date you can book your campsite is 6 months from the current date. Campsites at popular campgrounds book up quickly so plan to make your online reservation on the date it becomes available promptly at 8am EST.

To make your national park campground reservation visit www.recreation.gov, choose your national park, then choose the campground you wish to reserve. Be sure to do your research in advance so you know exactly which campground and campsite you need. Wasting time deciding while you are making your booking can result in missing the reservation.

Most campgrounds also have non-reservable, or first-come first-served, sites. To obtain one of these sites you need to arrive at the park early and queue, usually at the ranger station, for open spots. There are no guarantees of receiving a non-reservable spots and during high season these fill quickly (often before 8am!) so if you want one you must be near the front of the queue.

Are there private campgrounds near national parks?

If you prefer to plan your vacations earlier, need more amenities, or your RV won’t fit into the national park you intend to visit, you can opt for a private campground instead.

Bookings at privately owned campgrounds can usually be made a year or more in advance, campsites can often accommodate larger rigs, water & electricity hookups are routinely provided, as are other luxuries such as pools, showers, and a camp store.

National Park RV Camping

Jody Halsted

Jody Halsted is her family’s chief vacation planner and publisher of Camping Tips for Everyone. While Jody has experience with all types of camping, from ‘roughing it’ to luxury glamping, she prefers the spacious comfort of her 36’ Class A RV.

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