You’ve got your RV and you’re ready to go: how do you find the best sites?
With so many new RV owners, this is a more important question than ever as so many people are anxious to get out into the great outdoors safely this year.
We have the tips you need for how to find RV sites and how to reserve RV sites once you’ve found them.
How to Find RV Sites
1. Know Your Options
You’ve basically got three types of RV sites: parks, resorts, and campgrounds.
RV parks are specially designed for RVs and may or may not allow tent camping.
These sites can typically accommodate RVs of any size, and nearly all have basic amenities like water, sewer, electric hookups, and dump stations.
These sites are great in that they are tailor-made to accommodate RVs and are typically designed for both adults and kids.
They aren’t so great in that they tend to put you on top of one another. If you’re looking to get completely away from it all, parks are rarely your best option.
Resorts are specially designed to accommodate motorhomes and fifth wheels: the biggest RVs.
Resorts also often offer permanent residency, too, and they never allow tent camping. Most don’t allow pop-up campers, either.
They come with the basics but also often with high-end amenities like golf courses, clubhouses, pools, saunas, and more.
These sites usually don’t put you on top of your neighbor, which is great.
However, many are adult-only or are at least geared primarily towards adults.
These are also your most expensive option.
Campgrounds are usually a mix of RVs and tent campers. Some will include electric, sewer, and water; but a lot of them do not.
They are also designed for smaller RVs, pop-ups, and travel trailers, and many will not accept bigger RVs at all.
These are great for people of all ages and for really getting into nature and away from everything.
They’re not good if you need more than the most basic of amenities or if you have a bigger RV.
2. Know What You Need
Most places that accept RVs offer sewer, water, and electricity, and many now also offer wi-fi.
But it’s worth making a list of the other amenities that are important to you and crossing places off your list according to how they rank on your list.
Some things to consider include:
- Dump station
- Fire pits
- Convenience store
- Game rooms
- Swimming pools
- Hot tubs
- Tennis courts
- TV rooms
There are lots more options: these are just a few to think about.
It’s also crucial to make sure a site will accept the size and type of RV you have, including your slide-out.
You also want to check on any age restrictions so you don’t get turned away with the kids in tow.
3. Know Where to Look
Once you have an idea of what the types are and what you need, it’s time to locate your RV options.
There are some great websites that will help you locate options.
Start with the National Park Service and the US Forest Service, which will allow you to explore all the options at national parks.
However, don’t limit yourself to these options.
There are lots of privately owned parks that can also be great.
Use sites like Trip Advisor to find places outside the park system that can be just as lovely.
These private sites also typically have up-to-date reviews that will give you an accurate picture of what the site is like now.
Bear in mind that the “culture” of sites can change over time: especially private ones.
4. Join a Forum
Finally, we recommend joining one of the many RV forums where you can talk with other RV owners about their experiences and get advice about where to go (as well as how to care for your RV).
Popular sites include RV Talk and RV.net.
How to Reserve RV Sites
1. Find Out If They Take Reservations
This is the biggest issue you need to be aware of: not all parks and campgrounds take reservations.
There are many parks that are first-come-first-serve, and there are others that will reserve a few sites for end-of-the-day arrivals.
Expect to pay a huge fee for this last. If you’re traveling any real distance, it’s always best to work only with RV sites that take reservations.
Otherwise, you risk being stranded with no place to hook up for the night.
2. Be Prepare to Talk on the Phone
It’s the age of the internet, but RV parks and campgrounds are all about getting away.
Don’t be surprised that a lot of them don’t have a website where you can make reservations.
And don’t be shocked when the few that do are completely full.
After all, everyone with an RV is trying to make online reservations: you’ll get ahead by being willing to make a phone call.
3. Always Confirm and Save Information
If you get an email or confirmation number, save it. You might need it at check-in.
If you paid a deposit, make sure you record that and print off the record of it.
Don’t rely on the park or campground to have the information: always bring it yourself to avoid any delays or issues.
Always confirm your reservation 24 hours before you arrive.
This lets them know you’re coming, gives your peace of mind that the reservation wasn’t lost, and gives you some leeway to deal with any travel emergencies that might come up.
4. Be Prepared to Be Late
It’s very common for RVs to be late: traffic and accidents can happen to anyone. But if you will be late, be sure to call.
Be polite, assure them that you will be there, and offer to pay any late arrival fees.
That’s the smart way to be sure they won’t give away your place.
RVing is all about getting away and putting stress aside. Know what you want, make a reservation, and call if you’re going to be late. Have a great time!
image credit: Flickr