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RV Resorts, RV Parks, RV Campgrounds… What’s The Difference?

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By Curtis

So you have the phone number of an RV-friendly place to make reservations for your next RV trip.

Do you just nail down a date and price, or is there something else you should inquire about?

Truth is, how an RV facility labels itself should tell you quite a bit about what you can expect when you get there.

Be aware though, this information isn’t written in stone, and there are many places out there that didn’t get the memo.


Here’s a guide with helpful tips for newbie RVers regarding RV parks, resorts, and campgrounds…

RV Resorts

When a place labels themselves as an RV resort, you should be able to expect some extra features not normally found at other RV establishments.

This may include cable TV at your site, wireless Internet service throughout the campground, swimming pools, tennis courts, maybe even a golf course.

Camping sites will be roomy with paved, level parking pads. Usually, the number of RV spaces will run into the hundreds as it will take quite a traffic flow in order to be profitable.

Some RV resorts are gated with manned gate houses and you might find that your RV must be of a certain caliber in order to gain entry. Tents, crudely converted school buses, and large rowdy groups are likely to be turned away.

The RV sites may or may not be pull through, but you can expect both 30 amp and 50 amp power to be available, as well both water and sewer hookups.

The facility may even provide shuttle buses to transport you to nearby activities.

RV Parks

RV parks tend to be more of a woodsy or park-like setting.

There is less in the way of high-end amenities, although the trade-off for more secluded sites could be more appealing.

Still, most RV parks cater to the motorhome or large travel trailer crowd, so adequate room should be available for maneuvering your large RV into position.

Inside an RV park, the roads should be either paved or well-maintained gravel, and parking pads should be level and spacious.

RV Campgrounds

RV campgrounds tend to be much closer to primitive camping.

Maybe electricity will be available, though not in all instances. Likewise, water and sewer hookups may not always be there.

Usually, there will be a dump station within the facility — but that too may be unavailable at some RV campgrounds.

The camping sites should be large enough and level enough to accommodate most RVs. However, if your rig is a 45-foot highway coach, a walk-thru would be a good idea before you take your RV off the paved highway. It’s hit or miss as to the number of RV campgrounds that can accommodate large motorhomes.

Regular Campgrounds

Campground is a rather generic term. It can mean anything from “full-sized RVs welcome” to a “pack in, tents only” scenario.

Absolutely every RV owner should walk through the campground before venturing down that narrow trail with tree branches waiting to take off your TV antenna or air conditioner.

On the one hand, you may be surprised with the amount of space available, and it might be a delightful little spot in the woods tailor-made for you.

On the other hand, it might consist of little more than a half dozen spots to set up tents, and any attempt to enter with your RV is going to result in serious damage.

RV Camping Reviews

Remember, every proprietor has their own view of what their facility should be called.

There is a large selection of guides and review resources on the Internet.  They can all help you make a more educated decision when you start planning your RV vacation.

Here are some of the more respected ones:

In addition, almost every state has its own campground guide. Your best bet is to do a search online for whatever type of establishment you’re interested in (RV park, RV resort, RV campground) and add the name of your state to the search. Then, you will see only RV-friendly camping places within your state.

When you do call for reservations, be sure to give them a detailed description of  your RV (size, height) and what your requirements are in the way of hook-ups and additional services. They want you to have an enjoyable stay, but that won’t happen if you can’t get your RV off the road and into the camping space.