RV camping can make for the ideal socially distant vacation. With your own shelter on wheels, you can avoid having to stay in a hotel and any attendant risks of a shared elevator or eating in an indoor restaurant.
And since many of us are now teleworking and remote or home-schooling, we have no reason to stay inside our same four walls. Indeed, there's not even any real reason to limit our search for "camping near me" or "camps near me." Now, this is the time to start thinking bigger about the places we've always wanted to see.
Nevertheless, it's important to use caution while planning travel during the pandemic. Here are some suggestions for planning a safe trip:
- Choose a destination with lots of outdoor attractions and plenty to do outside.
- Always check local conditions to ensure that visitors from out of town are being welcomed.
- Wherever possible, don't plan to go at the height of the tourist season. That way your campground is less likely to be crowded and you will be more likely to have your own personal space.
Due to COVID-19, some campgrounds have been closed or restricted. Before you go, please check with local state regulations regarding current conditions. Many resorts also offer COVID-19 specific conveniences such as touchless online check-in and check-out and curbside registration service.
The following is a list of eleven super cool campgrounds to inspire your next RV adventure.
(For ideas on getting active without having to necessarily hitch a trailer, see our list of cities for outdoor enthusiasts.)
This seaside park in South Carolina is a favorite of RV blogger Tina Klinefelter of Free as Wheel Ever Be, largely due to its unusual policy of allowing visitors to park their vehicles right up on the waterfront. "If you like fishing, water sports, or excursions, there are always boats coming in and the sunsets are awesome," she says. "You can buy your camping site there or rent it from another owner, and because they are owned by individuals, many of them are decked out with nice tables and chairs and umbrellas." The upscale onsite restaurant, the Sunset Grill, is another bonus, she adds, often attracting diners from outside of the RV Resort for its button-down shirt-worthy cuisine. Use the park as a jumping-off point to visit nearby golf courses, hiking, wineries, beaches, and low country tourist sites.
43 Jenkins Island Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee is another park that tops Klinefelter's list. "What I love about this resort is that it's a nice getaway—you're close to the more popular family resorts in the mountains but this is quieter, although there are plenty of children's activities, like a kiddie pool and water slide." Klinefelter and her husband Craig primarily visited the region for the hiking in the stunning Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but a big draw for them in choosing this resort was the custom firepits/outdoor fireplaces at every site where they happily roasted marshmallows on cooler evenings. Additional nearby attractions include Dollywood, Dollywood's Splash Country, Gatlinburg, and infinite outdoor excursions.
1703 Highway 139
Dandridge, TN 37725
No need for camping tents or even camping gear at this high-end "glamping" resort halfway between Boston and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Check-in with your own RV, borrow a pop-up trailer—or even step it up to a deluxe cabin. Then take advantage of the truly spectacular array of activities, including an arts and crafts barn, bike park, four different swimming pools, an arcade, and a spa, among many others. Venture out from the massage table and explore the nearby area's many attractions, including hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing in Foxboro State Forest, tour Cape Cod's wild landscapes, and oceanfront villages, or check out the city of Boston and its innumerable historic sights. If you're stuck for ideas, the in-house concierge (yes, this campsite has a concierge!) can also help plan an itinerary.
72 West Street
Foxboro, MA 02035
The beauty of this camping site near the Grand Canyon is that it's not just a place to park the RV, but also a convenient depot for riding into the Canyon itself. Open year-round, the resort has convenient amenities such as fitness facilities, free wi-fi, and digital TV, and also offers access to an indoor swimming pool and hot tub at its next-door sister Hotel. The titular train delivers visitors deep into the Canyon for three-hour tours of its historic sights. Or opt to tour this magnificent natural wonder by helicopter, water float, or by foot.
233 N. Grand Canyon Boulevard
Williams, AZ 86046
There is a proverbial something for everyone at the seasonal campground on Big Timber Lake in Cape May on the Jersey Shore. Back in and pull-through sites accommodate RV drivers, be they hardcore fifth-wheelers traveling year-round to the casual vacationers pop-up camping for a week. Once you're in, there's not much reason to leave—from the mini-golf course and zipline to the water activities at the eponymous Lake. However, the town has many charms from its Victorian architecture, antique shops, and birdwatching coves to its eclectic restaurants, art galleries, and wineries, so there's always a reason to stay a little longer.
116 Swainton Goshen Road
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
You can't really go wrong at a resort overlooking the Pacific Coast in Malibu, CA. The Malibu Beach RV Resort caters to tourists rather than long-staying campers with 142 RV and 35 tent sites. While it's relatively low-key on fancy amenities, the setting is so magical that this resort is worth adding to the itinerary. "You'd think a place in Malibu would be extremely expensive, but it's actually pretty affordable," says blogger Lindsay McKenzie of Follow Your Detour. "We saw dolphins and whales leaping in the ocean from our back windows." Add to that, tons of nearby activities—beaches, Los Angeles, art museums, Will Rogers State Historic Park, MGM Studios and you might want to book a few extra nights.
25801 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
McKenzie also highly recommends this family-friendly campground near the coast in Galveston, Texas. When you're not checking out local attractions like the beachside Seawall Urban Park, the Historic Pleasure Pier, or the Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, the resort itself has plenty to keep you active: mini-golf, pools, hot tubs, all manner of athletic courts, and food trucks. "To us, the coolest part was the lazy river—we'd never seen that at any other RV park we visited," McKenzie says.
17200 Termini-San Luis Pass Road
Galveston, TX 77554
Colorado's River Run Resort seems to recognize that the term "camping" has different connotations for different travelers. That's why this recently opened park outside of Denver and less than 20 minutes away from Rocky Mountain National Park offers a full slate of accommodations, from seasonal RV sites, to decked-out retro airstreams, to actual sites to pitch a tent and set a camping chair by the fire.
1051 Summit Trail
Granby, CO 80446
It's the rare RV park that offers the experience of a private island, but that’s the feeling at Sunshine Key Resort in the Florida Keys, McKenzie says. "For a lot of people, the Keys are one of those bucket list places. This campground gives you amazing access so that you're basically camping on what feels like your own beach area," she says. Even better, the athletic facilities and group fitness activities (though likely not all will be offered during the pandemic) will keep you busy in between the sunsets.
38801 Overseas Highway
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
If you're an RVer with a boat and a fishing rod, you have officially found heaven. This Washington park is largely used as a base camp for anglers who come for the salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, shad, and smallmouth bass in the Columbia River, Drano Lake, and Wind River. The resort itself is simple and spare, but the emphasis here is on the great outdoors. Count on 24 full hook-up RV sites which can also accommodate boats.
50561 State Hwy 14
Stevenson, WA 98648
When you're ready to get away and to a more rustic, secluded spot, this Wisconsin park tucked into the North Woods offers just two RV sites, along with two cabins. What you get here is a lakeside view, an onsite bar and grille, and miles of nearby trails. Visit in winter for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, or in the warmer months for fishing, swimming, and watersports. Either way, you're guaranteed beautiful surroundings and a truly socially distant respite.
16095 S. Chipmunk Hollow Rd.
Gordon-Wascott, WI 54838
Cabin fever has taken hold of most of us, but there are still adventures to take while being socially distant and responsible. Go to your RV storage space and get traveling. There's a cool campground near you!
Are there campgrounds we missed that belong on this list?