RVing is a great, budget-friendly way to vacation and see the natural beauties that the United States has to offer. But how much, exactly, does RVing cost? That answer depends on several factors of your trip — including RV park rates.
In this article, we’ll break down:
- What influences RV park rates?
- How much are RV parks?
- How much are long-term RV parking prices?
- Other RVing costs to factor
What influences RV park rates?
Not all RV parks are the same nor offer the same amenities, so it stands to reason that RV park costs will also vary from place to place.
Prices are influenced by a number of factors including:
- Location: Location is everything when it comes to RVing. RV parks in close proximity to popular locations and destinations tend to charge more than ones that are farther away.
- Amenities: Barebones campgrounds that simply offer a flat surface to park your rig will cost far less than a luxury campground with full hook-ups, community facilities, pools and hottubs, and more.
- Length of stay: For some (but not all) RV parks, the longer you stay, the better your RV park rates will be. For instance, staying a week might get you a better rate than staying two nights.
- Day of the week: Like hotels, some RV parks charge a premium rate on the weekends.
- Season: RV parks may price their campsites differently depending on the time of year. Peak seasons will typically be less expensive than off-peak or shoulder seasons.
Keep all of these in mind as we break down costs further. The numbers we provide are estimates that can vary depending on the particular park you stop at and any of these other factors.
How much are RV parks?
We’ve broken RV park prices down into several categories.
Cost of camping in national parks
For many, few experiences can top getting to RV in America’s national parks. By staying in a park, you’ll have some of the most breathtaking views right in your backyard!
Here’s a breakdown of the RV campgrounds rates for the ten most visited national parks in 2020.
|RV parking cost per night
|Great Smoky Mountains National Park
|$17.50 to $27
|Yellowstone National Park
|$20 to $30
|Zion National Park
|$20 to $30
|Rocky Mountain National Park
|$20 to $30
|Grand Teton National Park
|$19.50 to $98
|Grand Canyon National Park
|$9 to $64
|Cuyahoga Valley National Park
|There is currently no camping in Cuyahoga Valley.
|Acadia National Park
|$30 to $40
|Olympic National Park
|$24 to $44
|Joshua Tree National Park
Overall, prices are fairly consistent amongst parks. Campsites on the lower end of the cost range are typically dry camping spots with no hookups. Partial and full hook-up sites are on the higher end of the ranges. Some parks — like Grand Teton — have RV parks with amenities like laundry facilities, a camp store, trash collection, and more. You can expect to pay a premium like the $98 per night at Grand Teton’s Colter Bay RV Park.
Cost of camping at private RV parks and campgrounds
Though national park RVing is great, these campsites are far from your only choice. There are thousands of private RV parks and campgrounds from beach getaways to mountain retreats that are waiting for you to book a stay.
Here are some of our favorite private campgrounds:
With over 80 locations nationwide, Thousand Trails operates a little differently than your typical RV campground. Instead of paying per night, you purchase a yearly membership and camp at their locations with no nightly fees. With their flagship plan, simply choose one of their five zones and pay $615 for a year of fee-free camping at their locations. You can also add additional zones for $65.
Though $615 may seem like a hefty price, it can easily pay for itself in a few trips and end up being very affordable if you are a frequent camper.
KOA campgrounds have long been a staple for American RVers. With more than 500 locations around the United States and Canada, chances are that you can find a KOA campsite wherever you plan on going. Generally, KOA campgrounds cost anywhere between $40 to $80 per night with the average being around $50.
Most KOAs are pet-friendly and offer a wide range of amenities including:
- Full and partial hookups
- Clean bathrooms with hot water
- Camp stores
- Laundry facilities
- Dog parks
KOA is a reliable name in RV parks, so you are sure to have a good experience no matter which location you pull into.
While these two campground groups have locations across the country, there are hundreds more mom-and-pop establishments that provide an excellent stay. When planning out your trip, be sure to research and book your campsites ahead of time. This ensures that you have a place to park your RV with everything you want and need.
Cost of camping at luxury campgrounds
Looking to add a little bit of glam to your camping trip? Glamping and luxury RVing is growing in popularity and chic resorts are popping up from Governors Island, New York to the Texas Hill Country. These resorts can offer top-of-the-line amenities like pools and hot tubs, spas, restaurants, classes and excursions, cabins and yurts, and more.
Even KOA and Thousand Trails have gotten in on the upscale amenities and offer their own versions of RV resorts in select locations.
Luxury campgrounds typically come at luxury prices, however. Expect to pay at least $80 per night for basic sites within the resorts. Prices go up from there, depending on the particular campground and site. Some sites, like Collective Retreat’s Governors Island cabins, can cost upwards of $1,000 per night.
Are there places you can camp for free?
If the dollar signs are really starting to add up, you may be wondering if there is any way that you can camp for free.
The answer is yes — it’s possible, and people actually do it all the time! It’s called boondocking, and it’s an affordable and surprisingly easy way to RV. Oftentimes boondocking requires a little more planning than just rolling up to a campsite, but it’s a rewarding and adventurous experience nonetheless!
To learn more about free camping, read our Boondocking 101 Guide.
How much are long-term RV parking prices?
Thinking about living in your RV full-time? You’ll want to consider the costs of long-term RV parking.
Like our answer to nearly everything else in this guide, the cost of long-term RV parking depends on the specifics. Generally speaking, however, you can expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $1,200 per month for long-term RV sites and utilities.
RV storage prices
If you’re an RV owner not using your rig, you should still be thinking about the cost to park it somewhere in storage. While storage rates won’t be nearly as expensive as living in an RV park, it can still run you around $90 to $200 per month, depending on the facility and where it’s located.
Of course, you can help offset this cost by renting out your RV to other outdoor adventurers when you’re not using it. Listing your rig on Outdoorsy is perfect for RV owners looking to make money on the side to fuel their next journey.
Other RVing costs to factor
RV parks and campsites aren’t the only fees that you should consider when you set out on a camping trip. You’ll also want to think about the following expenses when budgeting an RV trip.
If you plan on renting your RV from a platform like Outdoorsy, don’t forget to factor in the cost of actually renting the vehicle! Luckily this is pretty easy to estimate by browsing RVs and finding the one or one similar to what you want to rent and multiplying the nightly price by your desired rental period.
If you’re staying at a national or state park, don’t forget to include entrance fees on top of RV park fees in your budget. Some parks may charge by the vehicle while others charge a small per-person daily fee.
Gas prices can quickly add up if you’re on a long-distance RV trip. Motorhomes are known for their poor fuel economy and massive gas tanks which can cost a small fortune to fill up. If you’re towing a camper, you can also expect reduced fuel economy and more frequent fuel stops.
Don’t forget to account for food costs when RVing! Budget accordingly for groceries, pit stops at fast food joints, and dining at restaurants when you don’t feel like cooking.
Fun and entertainment
While RVing, you’ll probably want to stop and have some fun along the way! Factor in spending money on entertainment and fun along the way. This can include things like:
- Theme park and adventure park admissions
- Bike, kayak, or canoe rentals
- Museum admissions
- Guided excursions
Don’t forget to budget some funds for miscellaneous costs that are bound to arise on your trip. Think about expenses like:
- Small RV repairs
- Items that you accidentally left at home
You may not use your entire miscellaneous fund, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution!
The good news is that there are RV parks for every kind of camper out there. Looking to save? Budget campsites offer just what you need at an affordable price. Wanting to splurge? Luxury RV parks give you the amenities of home, plus more. The best way to make sure that you get what you need at a price you’re happy with is to do your research and book campsites ahead of time.