How to Choose an RV Park in Two Steps

How do you decide where to stay? Is there a way to know which RV park is the best? The answer is a bit more complicated then a rating system.

In my own travels, I have developed a series of steps that assures I find the perfect RV site. Your needs may be different depending on what you are driving, but these steps will work for anyone and can be adapted as needed.

Here's what I suggest:

Step #1: Read reviews from RV customers at RV Park Reviews.com.

CAUTION: Don't just look at how many stars a park receives; read the reviews. You may find that a park with low stars simply had an angry customer who wanted to punish the manager with a bad rating. Use common sense. If you have specific areas of concern like the size of campsites or the width of the roads, read the reviews and see what people are saying. You'll be surprised how much information you can gain.

It's not uncommon for a campground website to claim it is "Big Rig Friendly," but the reviews state the spots were so narrow they couldn't put out their slides. Review sites can be helpful if taken with a grain of salt. Remember, these comments are written by people who RV and know what matters to the traveling community.

Step #2 Check Google Earth.

Google Earth allows RVers to "see" a park before they visit. This tool is particularly useful if you are curious about the campground's neighborhood. You can view the pathway in and out of the park and get a general feel for its overall condition. If you have a smartphone, download the Google Earth app for free.

There is no simple way to "pre-judge" an RV park. Amenities may vary widely. A swimming pool in one location may be a 12 by 12 square, but in another place its Olympic size. Both parks advertise a pool and their rating score may be the same. The truth is, there is no shortcut for advanced research.

If all else fails, call the park and ask them specific questions, like:

  • "What are the dimensions of the site where I will be staying?"
  • "Is the WI-FI strong enough for me to stream a movie?"
    (This will immediately tell you how much speed you will have.)
  • "Are your sites pull-through or back-in, and do you offer full hookups?"

Make a standard list of your "must know" questions and use them consistently. By doing so, you can create your personal RV ratings specific to your own camping style.

Finally, don't forget to ask the RVing community for input. Free gathering sites like RV Village.com allow you to join online forums and ask for advice. RVers are always willing to share their stories.

You will not find the perfect site for every night you travel - just accept it. There will be good and bad stays along your way. Sometimes the best-laid plans go south, and you end up overnight in the Walmart parking lot. That's ok; it's all part of the experience.

In the end, don't let one bad park keep you from enjoying the RV lifestyle. RV Parks are just like hotels - there are good ones, bad ones and the one's you'll never forget. Travel is an adrenaline-based sport not for the faint of heart. Now, GET OUT THERE! You're going to love it!

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