Camping

What to Keep In Mind Before Reserving Your Spot at an RV Park

By Darla Preston 7/14/2019

As when taking on any new interest, learning the nuances of the RV lifestyle takes some time. From learning how to properly dispose of grey and black water to getting comfortable actually driving such a large vehicle, all new RVers go through a learning curve. Even the aspects about RVing that seem the most straightforward can be a bit more complex than they initially appear, including securing a campsite at an RV park.


When it comes to actually finding an RV park and making reservations, it’s a bit more complicated than simply driving along and keeping your eyes peeled for a road sign for a campground. 


While the joy in traveling has much to do with the spontaneity of the road, keeping a few things in mind about where you’ll park your RV and bed down can save a world of frustration. That being said, here are a few tips on ensuring your campground needs and expectations are met on your next road trip:

Reserve Your Campsite in Advance


For highly sought-after destinations, RV parks can fill up months in advance, especially during pique travel season. After a long day on the road, it’s easy to start fantasizing about setting up your RV and getting some much needed rest. The last thing any tired traveler wants to find out is that all campgrounds in the area are fully booked.


While there is merit to the venturesome nature of simply hitting the dusty trail and seeing where your wanderlust takes you, ensuring you have secured a place to lay your head down will prevent an exhausted disappointment. 


Because you can never fully bet on finding an RV park with vacancy, it’ll spare you a big headache if you reserve a spot in advance. 

Inquire About Campsite Logistics

Before reserving an RV park spot, make sure you inquire about the site’s logistics with an attendant (when possible).  Each RV park operates differently, and asking the right questions will help ensure you get the experience you want. 


Here are a few major items to ask the RV park attendant about:

  • How close will your campsite be to other campers? If you’re the type of person who doesn’t mind being in close quarters with other RVers, this may not matter to you. However, if you prefer a bit of seclusion in order to fully relax, this is definitely a point to consider before committing to a spot. 

  • Will you have enough room to set up your RV awning and/or slideouts? When it’s a hot summer day and all you want to do is relax in the great outdoors, few things are better than basking leisurely underneath the shade of your RV awning. That being said, some campsites are arranged in a way that you wouldn’t be able to comfortably retract your awning or open your RVs slideouts without encroaching in a neighbor’s space. On the other hand, RVers who are traveling together but driving separate RVs may request a buddy site, which is a large site where you can have your RV awnings face each other. This creates a large, shaded common area. Getting the full dimensions of the campsite in-question, or giving the attendent your RV details, can help you decide whether or not a spot is a good choice for your needs. 

  • Will you be able to hook up your RV the way you want? Some RV parks allow full hook ups with 30 and 50 amp service, while others only offer 30 amp service. Similarly, some can provide full hookups, meaning electric, sewer, and water, while others only provide partial (water and electric). 

  • What amenities are included? The type of amenities included at the RV park can further help you decide if it’s a good spot for you. For example, if free shower and bathroom access are included, you may decide that a spot with partial hook-ups will work just fine. Similarly, you may want more luxurious amenities, such as hiking trails, boat access, clubhouse activities, WiFi access (free or paid), off-leash pet areas, playgrounds, etc. 

  • Can you pull in, or will you need to back into the campsite? For those who aren’t fully comfortable driving their RVs in tight spots, or those who have clunky big rigs, pull-through sites are generally easier to navigate Just like the name sounds, back-in campsites require the driver to back into the campsite, which can be challenging. 

  • What is the ambiance like? If having a shaded, private area with lush vegetation is important to you, communicate this to the attendant. They will know of the best spots to fit your desires. If the surroundings don’t matter as much to you as the hook-ups or the ease of being able to access the campsite, then mention this. The point is to figure out what is important to you before your trip rather than after.  

Understand RV Park Rules

Just as the amenities will influence what kind of experience you have, the unique rules of the campground will too. 


A family looking for a quiet vacation probably wouldn’t mind a dry campground (meaning no alcohol) that enforces strict quiet hours, while an energetic group of young adults would probably find these limitations stifling. Similarly, fire bans and no-pet policies are advantages to some and deal-breakers for others. 


Understanding these rules before making a reservation will allow you to isolate any potential hindrance that could dampen your journey. 

Be Aware of Seasonal Crowds

Keep in mind that even if an RV park isn’t fully booked, it doesn’t mean you won’t be faced with swarms of seasonal crowds. 


When traveling to a popular destination, the campground amenities themselves may be hard to access if every tight-fitted campsite around you is full. Similarly, if you planned on going to nearby attractions, such as a world famous hike or a tourist-magnet of a landmark, you may not be able to indulge in the peace and quiet you were hoping your trip would provide. 

Consider Alternatives to Traditional RV Parks

If you can’t find any traditional RV parks that meet your desires and wants, there are always alternatives you can consider. For example, boondocking is a great option for those who don’t mind RVing without hook-ups. Similarly, you can find unique options, such as farms and wineries, where you can park your RV overnight and enjoy a non-traditional experience. 


Closing Up
Hopefully this information will help you find an overnight destination that helps you experience the overnight RV stay you crave. If you take the time to ask the right questions and sort through the necessary details, you’ll be well on your way to a memorable and cozy experience.  


Happy travels!

Darla Preston




Thank you, Darla, for your article, RVwithME.

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