A List of Family-friendly RV Parks and Campgrounds
And How to Get Those Prime Spots.
Believe it or not, with reservations accepted months ahead of time, now’s the time to plan your next trip to some RV parks with the kids. Instead of settling for RV campgrounds that feature a rusty swing set, a pool that looks like it holds the creature from “The Shape of Water” and a tetherball court, we’ve got some prime spots to make your next RV trip the highlight of your summer.
Almost everyone knows Estes Park for one of the crown jewels of Colorado, aka Rocky Mountain National Park. And, there’s a good reason for that: the national park is one of our favorites, with many beautiful camping spots, places to hike, and activities for kids. But, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort may be more fun.
Your kids are probably too young to remember the “smarter than the average bear” lover of pic-a-nick baskets, but that won’t stop them from loving a friendly, large teddy bear who can teach them a shenanigan or two. It’s far enough from the bustle of Estes to allow for good chances to see wildlife, especially elk, but close enough that you can stop into town for supplies.
The best part is you won’t have to deal with the 85 billion (give or take a few billion) people who also visit the national park in the summer, making it one of the most crowded national parks in the country. We definitely think you should stop in the park, especially in the afternoon when the crowds disperse, and you may even have a short hike to yourself. But plan your vacation around this fun RV campground. There’s another Jellystone campground in Colorado at Larkspur, as well.
The amount of activities available at many campgrounds can seem overwhelming (or underwhelming, but we won’t stick you with one of those), so that’s why we’re picking the Bend-Sunriver RV Campground in central Oregon. There’s a knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly staff, complete with an activities coordinator (much like a hotel concierge) to guide you through the seemingly endless number of things you can do near or at Mount Bachelor, just minutes away. There’s also mini golf, arts and crafts, a playground, tournaments, and volleyball offered by the campsite. The RV campground also plans activities for both you and the kids. Plus, it’s a good spot for the winter or summer, as Bachelor offers skiing in addition to all the hiking, fishing, biking, and other activities you may find in all seasons.
You may not want to hear anything about Christmas this time of year, but the Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort may help change your mind. It’s located in Santa Claus, Indiana (yes, we’re serious), and the campground is Christmas themed, with light displays, the “Dasher Splasher” splash pad, and Santa’s Splashdown Waterpark… which we think may have inspired a claymation Christmas special we can’t quite remember.
There’s also mini golf, a shuttle to the theme parks, and the Blitzen Kitchen Ice Cream and Pizza parlor, which makes us wonder if reindeer have side businesses during the off-season. Santa and Rudolph are also available. This place caters to quality RV owners, as there are hundreds of full hookup RV sites.
You won’t need a reason to visit San Diego, especially now in this cold weather, but the Mission Bay RV Resort may be the best place to camp while you enjoy the magnificent city’s many fun activities. The best basics are here, including a dog park, full hookups, showers, laundry, free cable and wi-fi, and a small store. The park is also located right on the bay for fishing and swimming, and other world-renowned activities are nearby, including the San Diego Zoo, Legoland, and the Sunset Cliffs.
DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS
If you want to take your kids to Walt Disney World, but you’re worried about owing Mickey your home when the trip’s over, the campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness may help cut those costs. Located in Lake Buena Vista, this campsite, one of the best RV campgrounds in Florida, has the modern conveniences you’d expect in a forested setting in the middle of Magic Kingdom Park.
There are shuttles that shoot you to a number of activities and rides offered by Disney World, and the grounds also offer a pool with a waterslide, golf carts for rent, a pet-friendly policy, archery, horseback riding, canoeing, and other fun stuff to do. Plus, the spots are reasonably priced.
RIVER PLANTATION RV RESORT
There are many things to do in Tennessee that have nothing to do with Nashville, if you can believe it, and the best place to see them may be the River Plantation RV Resort in Sevierville. In addition to full hookups, two pools, and a hot tub, there’s playgrounds, a fitness center, live entertainment on the weekends, and an arcade—all located alongside the Little Pigeon River. There are also fun activities nearby, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum and Aquarium, Rainforest Adventures and Discover Zoo and, of course, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Witch Meadow Campground, located near Salem, is… wait, what? Why on Earth would we recommend a campground like this one to end our “family-friendly” campground blog? Well, this isn’t nearly as scary as the name implies, even if its location is near the town of Salem, made famous, of course, by the witch trials.This campground features sports courts, a heated pool, a 14-acre lake, recreation hall for kids, and an adult-only lounge, which we believe does not feature witches as entertainers. There’s even a children’s activity program. The website suggests you try it out for a “spell.” Good one.
Five questions to ask yourself to ensure it’s a good RV park for your Fleetwood RV:
- Does the campground have spots with a length limit?
- Does it have hookups for electricity, running water, and bathrooms? Is there a dump station?
- Is there an RV campground near me? If not, how far away is it? Do we need to book a camping spot to break up the drive?
- Do they take reservations, and how far ahead do they accept them? Note: Some allow reservations six months in advance, and when they do, those spots are sure to fill up, so stay up until midnight to snag a spot.
- Are there any current restrictions or anything else we should know? Maybe there’s a fire ban because of dry weather or bears that have been spotted in the campground all year. These are the unpredictable parts of camping in the wilderness that you should explore before you go.
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