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RV Camping

RV campers offer plenty of flexibility. [©Jupter Images, 2009]
©Jupter Images, 2009
RV campers offer plenty of flexibility.

RV camping brings families together under one small roof, to experience the joys of the road and the countryside. Renting or buying RVs brings a set of options to travelers, but it's important to understand the how RVs work.

Popular Types of RVs

RVs come in many different sizes with an array of features, designed to make the trip both relaxing and fun. The most common types include:

Motor Homes: A motor home is probably the most popular kind of RV. The living space and the cab are attached and cant be separated

Fifth Wheels A fifth wheel is a unit towed behind a truck. It can be parked while the truck can be detached and used to travel back and forth throughout the duration of the camping trip. More recent designs of fifth wheels can be pulled behind SUVs.

Top 10 RV Camping Sites at National Parks

Best Sites for RV Camping

Go Camping America provides a comprehensive listing of parks by state. There are more than 16,000 campgrounds on Americas public and private lands.

Privately Owned RV Parks and Campgrounds

There are more than 8,500 privately owned family-oriented properties, which are located near national parks and forests and popular tourist attractions. Many of them offer additional amenities including pools, playgrounds, organized activities, convenience stores and more.

National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) offers campground information for 3,700 member properties. Campers can also confirm their travel plans through an online reservation system.

Kampgrounds of America offers a complimentary Directory, Road Atlas & Camping Guide when individuals visit one of more than 550 campgrounds. The directory can be ordered by mail by sending $3 to cover postage to KOA Directory, P.O. Box 30558, Billings, MT 59114-0558.

RV Camping on Public Lands

The U.S. offers campgrounds and facilities for RV camping at public parks. Campers can search for camping areas by state at Recreation.gov, which provides information about federal recreation areas, including national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management sites, Army Corps of Engineers projects and Tennessee Valley Authority sites.

National Parks

There are more than 440 campgrounds offering 29,000 campsites found within the nations 384 national parks. Camping facilities are simplistic but are set in the nations richest scenery. Reservations at National Parks should be set up about three months in advance by contacting the National Park Service toll-free at (800) 365-2267. (A National Parks pass is a $50 annual passport to all National Parks charging entrance fees. The National Parks Pass may be purchased online at, by telephone at (888) GO-PARKS or in person at park entrances and visitor centers. Also ask about discounts for senior citizens.)

National Forests

The USDA Forest Service has more than 4,300 campgrounds in 155 forests, covering more than 192 million acres of forest and grassland in 48 states, with 133,000 miles of trails, 95 wild and scenic rivers, 136 scenic byways and 1,500 picnic sites. Reservations may be made for Forest Service campgrounds through the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) toll-free at (877) 444-6777 or at www.recreation.com.

National Wildlife Refuges

The nation has 520 National Wildlife Refuges dedicated to wildlife conservation. (RV camping is allowed if compatible with conservation efforts at each location.) A list of refuges that permit camping is included in National Wildlife Refuges - A Visitor's Guide, which can be obtained by writing: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Conservation Training Center, Shepherd Grade Road, Rt. 1 Box 166, Shepherdstown, WV 25443, or calling toll-free (800) 344-WILD.

State and Local Parks

The nation also has thousands of state and local facilities that can accommodate RV camping. Local travel and tourism bureaus can provide more information about these facilities. Individuals may write for a free brochure at: Discover America Vacation Guide, Travel Industry Association of America, 1100 New York Ave., N.W., Suite 450, Washington, DC 20005.

Other Resources

Checklists are useful for first-time RV campers they guide individuals in planning the trip, from an overall gear list to items needed for food preparation. RV Camping Intro Guide provides campers with complimentary downloadable checklists.

Many local sporting goods stores and shops that carry camping equipment and gear offer their customers bulletin boards that display information about trail conditions and weather forecasts.

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