With America’s National Parks Week just around the corner, it’s time for RV camping fans to start planning for national park camping. For one hundred years, the National Park Service has managed our country’s most beautiful destinations. In honor of their centennial, from April 16-24, 2016 they’re waiving entrance fees for all national park visitors.
With more than four hundred destinations to choose from, finding the perfect national park for your April camping adventure might seem difficult. Never fear! We’ve gathered tools to help our readers locate national park campsites and attractions from Acadia NP in coastal Maine to California’s Joshua Tree National Park. Ready to plan?
How to Pick Your Next National Park Camping Destination
One of the things we like best about America’s National Park Service is their visitor-friendly attitude. Since 1916, they’ve been refining their outreach to national park visitors to make it easy for anyone to access information on NPS-managed locations.
Finding a park that suits your interests, travel schedule and camping style is simple, with several ways to search and access national park information. The first is through the FindYourPark.com website, a community-engagement resource where national park fans can share information, search for national park locations and learn about ways the NPS connects with communities.
Another excellent resource for national park RV campers is the National Park Service website itself. You can search for NPS-managed locations, including national parks, heritage areas, historic sites and monuments, state by state, by using their easy-to-understand search tools. Once you’ve located one or more possible National Parks Week camping destinations, click on each park’s link to access information such as driving directions, things to do, places to see and campground amenities.
What to Expect RV Camping at a National Park
Never camped at a national park campground and wondering what to expect? National Park Service campgrounds run the gamut from no-hookups ‘dispersed camping’ to full-hookups, amenity-rich developed campsites. One note for those who plan to camp during National Parks Week—entrance fees are waived, but campground fees will still apply.
Here are some examples of national park campgrounds, to give you an idea of the range of amenities.
- Lake Mead National Recreation Area, that water sports wonderland on the Arizona/Nevada border, offers both developed campgrounds run by concessionaires and NPS-run campgrounds with water and dump stations but no hook-ups.
- The campgrounds at Everglades National Park also offer a range of possibilities, from sites with electric hook-ups only on Florida Bay to ‘dry camping’ sites in a pine forest.
- Yosemite National Park’s ten campgrounds are located amidst magnificent scenery, but plan ahead because hook-ups aren’t part of the camping amenities.
- Maine’s vast and scenic Acadia National Park gives RV campers the choice of primitive campsites, electric sites and electric/water sites.
- The large campground at Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park is a beautiful spot without RV hookups but with easy access to the cave’s entrance and miles of above-ground hiking trails.
Ready to Go National Park Camping?
Keep in mind, no matter where you camp in America’s national parks, you can expect scenic wonders, outdoor adventures and interesting people you might never have met otherwise. Don’t those all sound like fantastic reasons to go RV camping during National Parks Week?
One more tool for planning to camp in your RV at a national park—Recreation.gov offers a wealth of ideas and information on national park vacations, and for those campgrounds that allow reservations, this is the place to reserve your campsites before you go.
Let’s celebrate our country’s National Park Centennial by doing what we love best—camping in a motorhome or trailer. And be sure to let us know about your national park camping experience in the Comments Section below!