Camping Destinations

The 5 Best Campgrounds for First Time RV Campers

by Joe ColemanJul 15, 2022

An RV can be a big investment but also offers plenty of creature comforts in conjunction with the freedom of the open road! When you’re first getting into the RV life, you want to carefully choose campgrounds for first time RV campers. Once you learn more about how your rig handles and what you like in a campsite, the sky is the limit.

To create a list of must-visit campgrounds, we asked RVshare to pick their favorite campgrounds on Campspot that are perfect for first time RV campers. Read the full list to see where you should visit next.

RV Camping Tips for First Timers

Do a Practice Run (or Three)

Most first time RVers haven’t driven a vehicle this large before they get behind the wheel of a rig. If you’ve driven a U-Haul or something comparable, you’ve got some useful experience, but this is still a whole different world.

Just like when you first got your driver’s license, it’s going to be all new, and you’ll have plenty to learn. While you can learn on the fly, your best bet is to take a few practice runs before you head out on a longer voyage. Pick a campsite or RV park 30 to 60 minutes away and do a couple of dry runs before heading out. Make sure you know how to pull through, back in, and set up all basic hookups.

You probably won’t have everything down perfectly before your first big trip, but you’ll have lots of information to start with.

Make Sure You Have the Proper Gear

Yes, you’ll pick up some of your gear just by realizing you don’t have something you need. It happens when you pick up any new hobby, and that’s perfectly okay. As long as you have all the most important pieces of gear, you’ll be just fine. Before you head out, make sure you have the following:

  • Hoses for drinking water and cleaning the RV (make sure you have one of each)
  • Leveling blocks
  • RV sewer hose dump tube (not all rigs come with this)
  • Extension cords for electric hookups
  • Adapters for electric hookups
  • Basic household tool kit
  • Basic auto tool kit
  • First aid kit
  • Durable kitchen essentials
  • Duct tape
  • Reflectix insulation
  • Wheel chocks

Yes, that isn’t an exhaustive list. Everyday essentials like food and clothing weren’t mentioned, but something tells me those will be easier to remember. The point is, you’ll figure out all the specific things that you need as you go, but you want all absolute necessities covered before you learn the hard way that you needed them.

Plan Around Dump Sites

Okay, you don’t have to plan your entire RV vacation around finding dump sites, obviously. However, life just isn’t nearly as fun when you’re hauling around a full grey water tank. Having sewer hookups in your campground is awesome, but you still want to be cognizant of dump stations.

If your campsite doesn’t have a dump station, make sure you know where one is before your tank fills up. RV apps and websites often have them listed on a map for convenience.

Once you’ve learned how much water you use (on average) in relation to how large your tank is, planning will only get easier.

Reserve Your Spots Ahead of Time

Sure, when you’re a seasoned RV pro, you can just pull into a spot at the last minute without problems (at least sometimes). However, while you’re still learning, this is one stress you can avoid with proper planning. If you’re nervous about backing your trailer, imagine the added stress of not knowing where you’re even going to put it. Reserve your spots ahead of time and save yourself a lot of headaches. Many campgrounds on Campspot offer the ability to pay a small feel to lock your site and ensure you know exactly where you’ll be landing for your stay.  

Learn as Much as Possible

Look, at some point, you just have to get up and go for it. However, there are plenty of great resources to browse through before you hit the road. Check out a beginner guide for what to expect when RV camping and brush up on the RV lingo.

The 5 Best Campgrounds for First Time RV Campers

1. Sun Outdoors Arches Getaway – Moab, UT

An RV parked at an RV site at Sun Outdoors Arches Getaway with mountain views in the distance.

The Desert Southwest is often synonymous with the RV lifestyle, and there’s no better place to get your footing than Moab! Since Sun Outdoors is a nationwide company, you’ll have a lot of the guesswork taken out and know exactly what to expect when you show up. You’ll have full hookups and a dump site with friendly staff should you have any questions. Plus, the views sure aren’t bad either!

Nearest Airport: Grand Junction Regional Airport, Provo Airport

Nearby Attractions:  Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, Hole ‘N’ the Rock

Unique Amenity: Dog Park

Book this Breathtaking Desert Getaway

2. Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort – Mt. Shasta City, CA

Two kids sit in lawn chairs beside a fire pit with an RV parked in the background. A picnic table is next to the RV and there are trees in the background.

Lake Siskiyou is the tenth most popular campground in the USA, as told by the 2022 Campspot Awards. Because of its popularity, Lake Siskiyou is ready to cater to the needs of any first time RV camper!

You’ll be able to park your RV among the trees and enjoy incredible views of the lake as well as Mount Shasta and the Shasta Trinity National Forest. You’ll have a dump station, full hookups, and pull-through sites for convenience, making it one of the best campgrounds for first time RV campers.

Nearest Airport: Rogue Valley International Medford Airport, Sacramento International Airport

Nearby Attractions: Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens, Mount Shasta City Park, Shasta-Trinity National Forest

Unique Amenity: Waterfront

Book this Lakefront RV Resort

3. Grand Lake RV & Golf Resort – Citra, FL

An aerial shot of the RV campsites Grand Lake RV & Golf Resort with a body of water in the distance.

You don’t have to golf to stay here, but it sure helps! USA Today called this beautiful spot one of the “Top Nine Resorts in the United States.” You’ll love its attractions and natural beauty!

At this campground, you’ll be in the heart of central Florida and near plenty of unique attractions should you want to venture around and see the sights. If not, you’ll have ample options for activities, including golf, pickleball, and a clubhouse to spend time in. Like the preceding options on this list, Grand Lake has full hookups and a dump station.

Nearest Airport: Gainesville Regional Airport, Jacksonville International Airport

Nearby Attractions: The Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park, Sweetwater Wetlands Park, Florida Museum of Natural History

Unique Amenity: Fishing

Book this Florida Nature Spot

4. Winding River Resort – Grand Lake, CO

A truck and RV parked in an RV campsite at Winding River Resort, one of the most popular campgrounds for first time RV campers.

If you want to get away from it all for your first RV trip, Winding River Resort is the way to do it. You’ll get plenty of tranquility and you’ll still be close to Rocky Mountain National Park and some of Colorado’s best views.

Just because you’ve found solitude doesn’t mean you have to worry about your RV amenities, though. With full hookups and a dump station, Winding River covers the basics just as well as any other spot on this list, so you won’t have to worry.

Nearest Airport: Denver International Airport

Nearby Attractions: Rocky Mountain National Park, Forest Canyon Overlook, Moffat Road Railroad Museum

Unique Amenity: Playground

Book this Rocky Mountain RV Basecamp

5. Carolina Pines RV Resort – Conway, SC

RVs parked side by side at Carolina Pines RV Resort with blue skies and clouds overhead.

While there’s no bad choice on this list, Carolina Pines truly has it all when it comes to RV resorts. Being voted number eight in the 2022 Campspot Awards Top Campgrounds in the USA category and number five in Top Campgrounds for First-Timers certainly doesn’t hurt its case either!

With probably the most extensive amenity package, you’ll have everything covered while you’re less than half an hour from the heart of Myrtle Beach. With full hookups and generously-sized RV sites, you’ll live lavishly during your first RV trip.

Nearest Airport: Myrtle Beach International Airport, Wilmington International Airport

Nearby Attractions: Alligator Adventure, WonderWorks Myrtle Beach, Hollywood Wax Museum

Unique Amenity: Hot tub/Sauna

Book this Award-Winning Resort

Heading out on your first RV trip can be daunting but also incredibly rewarding. Want to take some of the guesswork out of your RV’s maiden voyage? Pick any of these five campgrounds for first time RV campers and fall in love with the RV lifestyle.

Joe Coleman is a freelance travel and outdoor writer based in East Texas. His love for the outdoors started when living near Olympic National Park and has stayed with him ever since. Taking a respite from social media, you can reach him exclusively at joecolemanfreelance@gmail.com.

Photo credit in order of appearance: Sun Outdoors Arches Getaway, Sun Outdoors Arches Getaway, Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort, Grand Lake RV & Golf Resort, Winding River Resort, Carolina Pines RV Resort.