Lifestyle

The RV Guide to National Parks

by Kendra Clapp OlguínApr 6, 2022

This post was originally published on August 1, 2020. It has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.

Long gone are the days of “Cousin Eddie” stereotypes for RVers. It seems like as each year goes by, more and more people turn to the American tradition of RVing by hitting the road and traveling freely and comfortably. Their destinations include this country’s beautiful National Parks, Monuments, Memorials, and more. In this RV guide to national parks, I’m sharing some first-hand insight around what it’s like to explore the country from a home on wheels—and how it’s the perfect way to tour the country’s beautiful national parks, monuments, memorials, and more.

The Advantages of RVing

An Airstream trailer with a bunch of bumper stickers sits in a wooded area with two camper chairs in front of it.

A few years ago, my partner, Tyler and I hopped on the RVing bandwagon. We were planning our lives together after getting engaged and had aspirations to travel the country. As much as we loved traveling, we loved being homebodies more. Neither of us grew up RVing, but the idea of towing your home wherever you went appealed to the introverts in us. So, we jumped all in, and now, we’re beyond thankful we listened to that hunch.

RV life has many advantages, but the ones that stand out the most to me are that it’s freeing, your pets can travel with you, it’s comfortable, and it can be cost-effective.

Freedom

While RVing, two people sit and stare at the stars in front of their Airstream trailer at Capitol Reef National Park in Utah.

The great thing about RVing in the United States is that the country has the infrastructure and resources to support those who travel with an RV, whether it be a van, pop-up camper, travel trailer, fifth wheel, or motorhome. There are countless campgrounds, RV parks, and public land that welcome RVers with open arms. Additionally, there are ample websites, blogs, and booking platforms (like Campspot!) that help RVers maintain their rigs, plan, and reserve their stays. Because of this existing infrastructure, the sky is the limit for deciding where to go and things to see. Some like to stay within a couple-hour drive from their home, while others decide to drive all the way up to Alaska. There are even transports to ship your rig to Hawaii!

Pets

One of the best things about RV travel is that your pet can go with you. When you travel with your family, don’t you want to travel with your whole family? After a day out on the trails and adventuring, we love opening the door to our two kittens, waiting to greet us. Many campgrounds and RV parks now have dog parks and dog-washing stations too.

Comfort

A cat sleeps on a bed on the floor of an RV trailer. On top of the dinette above the cat there is a bowl full of apples.

You might have heard the sayings, “home is where you park it,” or “my home on wheels.” While obviously smaller than a traditional house, an RV can truly become a home, and there’s no better feeling than being cozy within a familiar and welcoming space. With DIY rehabs displayed across various social media platforms, people certainly understand how a little thought and care goes a long way in feeling at home in your RV.

Cost Effective

Many have found that renovating or repairing older models is also a cost-effective way to purchase an RV. While a big Class A motorhome definitely has a hefty sticker price, there are plenty of entry-level trailers or pop-up campers (used or new) that will get you to where you need to go. Campgrounds and RV parks blow hotels out of the water when it comes to cost, oftentimes offering resort-like amenities like pools, spas, playgrounds, and more. Understanding the importance of cost-effective travel and campground amenities, Campspot ensures the lowest price for 100,000 campsites across North America while also providing RV filters, detailed listings, park images, and descriptions.

Your RV Guide to National Parks

A collection of National Parks stickers are gathered on a slide-out of an RV trailer.

With 423 national park service (NPS) “units,” as they call it, spread across the country/US provinces, you can easily see how RVing and visiting these parks, monuments, memorials, and sites go hand-in-hand. With limited services and hotel accommodations due to many parks’ locations in remote areas, sometimes campgrounds and RV parks are the only way to visit. Due to the national parks’ increasing popularity, campers are finding NPS campgrounds continually sold out. In response to this, nearby campgrounds and RV parks are hosting more and more national park-goers than ever before. Additionally, many are turning to privately-owned campgrounds because most NPS campgrounds do not have full hookups.

Campgrounds Near National Parks

With Campspot’s search features, campers can type in a specific national park name to see the campground nearby. After four years on and off the road, I gathered the national park service sites we’ve visited and shared which campgrounds are nearby. It was truly a treat to scroll through all of the places we’ve been to and reminisce on all of the memories we made while RVing. I hope you’ll enjoy this RV guide to national parks as much as I enjoyed creating it!

RV Parks Near Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon as seen from the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Grand Canyon National Park

RV Parks Near Kenai Fjords National Park

Blue glacier ice in Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Kenai Fjords National Park

RV Parks Near Petrified Forest National Park

Blocks of petrified wood at Petrified Wood National Park in Arizona.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Petrified Forest National Park

RV Parks Near Joshua Tree National Park

Large palm trees along the San Andreas fault line in Joshua Tree National Park in California.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Joshua Tree National Park

RV Parks Near Bryce Canyon National Park

Spires in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Bryce Canyon National Park

RV Parks Near Zion National Park

A woman looks out to the canyon at Zion National Park in Utah.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Zion National Park

RV Parks Near Mesa Verde National Park

Cliff dwelling ruins at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Mesa Verde National Park

RV Parks Near Rocky Mountain National Park

A sign that reads "Elevation 12,005 feet above sea level" at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Rocky Mountain National Park

RV Parks Near White Sands National Park

A woman climbs after a cat at White Sands National Park in New Mexico.

Where to Go RV Camping Near White Sands National Park

RV Parks Near Cape Cod National Seashore

An aerial view of the Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Cape Cod National Seashore

RV Parks Near Yellowstone National Park

A closeup of a blue and orange thermal pool at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Yellowstone National Park

RV Parks Near Mount Rainier National Park

The peek of Mount Rainier poking through tall pine trees at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Mount Rainier National Park

RV Parks Near Saguaro National Park

Saguaro cactus surrounded by desert cholla and mountains at Saguaro National Park in Arizona.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Saguaro National Park

RV Parks Near Shenandoah National Park

The mountains at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Shenandoah National Park

RV Parks Near Sequoia National Park

A person walks through two large sequoia trees at Sequoia National Park in California.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Sequoia National Park

RV Parks Near Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Where to Go RV Camping Near Mount Rushmore National Memorial

RV Parks Near Grand Teton National Park

A landscape depiction of the Grand Tetons at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Grand Teton National Park

RV Parks Near Big Bend National Park

The sign of Big Bend National Park in Southern Texas.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Big Bend National Park

RV Parks Near Acadia National Park

A man sits along the jagged rocks at Acadia National Park in Maine.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Acadia National Park

RV Parks Near Canyonlands National Park

The canyons at Canyonlands National Park in Utah.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Canyonlands National Park

RV Parks Near Denali National Park and Preserve

Mount Denali towering above a forest of pine trees at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Denali National Park and Preserve

RV Parks Near Arches National Park

A man stands underneath Delicate Arch at Arches National Park in Utah.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Arches National Park

RV Parks Near Glacier National Park

The sun rises on a mountain and valley at Glacier National Park in Montana.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Glacier National Park

RV Parks Near Badlands National Park

Where to Go RV Camping Near Badlands National Park

RV Parks Near Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

A woman walks along the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

RV Parks Near Redwood National and State Parks

Sun shines through a redwood forest at the Redwood National and State Parks in California.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Redwood National and State Parks

RV Parks Near Gettysburg National Military Park

An outlook of a battlefield at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Gettysburg National Military Park

RV Parks Near Yosemite National Park

An epic lookout of El Capitan and the Half Dome at Yosemite National Park in California.

Where to Go RV Camping Near Yosemite National Park

I hope this RV guide to national parks inspires your next adventure. For more ideas around where to stay when you plan your visit to a national park, be sure to search the park on Campspot.com. Happy travels!

Kendra Clapp Olguín is a traveler, writer, content creator, and one-half of one y one, a creative agency whose studio is the great outdoors.

Photo credit: Tyler Way