Long gone are the days of your grandpa and grandma’s or even your parent’s basic recreational vehicle (RV) used for family vacations. The RV is more than 100 years old, and today they’re snazzier than ever with patio attachments, automatic leveling, and state-of-the-art entertainment systems. All the bells and whistles can make the open road more comfortable, but when it comes to parking your RV and relaxing, it takes a great campground to make it worth it. Not all RV parks are created equal, so we’ve compiled a list of our Top 10 National Parks in the United States to visit in your RV.
Known for its 17 million acres of pine trees, 6,000 lakes and 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, the state of Maine is a camper’s paradise. And Acadia National Park is no exception as visitors come across the country to experience its beauty. If you’re looking for a unique camping experience, be sure to hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain, which is the highest point along the east coast. In doing so, you’ll be the first person in the U.S. to say hi to the sun that morning.
**Did You Know: There was a major fire in 1947 referred to as “The Year Maine Burned” that burned more than 10,000 acres within the park.
Arches National Park has more than 2,000 natural sandstones and features the iconic Delicate Arch. Devils Garden Campground is open year-round and accommodates RVs up to 30 feet in length. If camping isn’t necessarily your thing, the Arches has plenty of activities to keep you busy including hiking, biking, backpacking, horseback riding, photography, rock climbing and more.
***Did You Know: Arches National Park has been in many cameos of movies including “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989), “Thelma and Louise” (1990) and “City Slickers II” (1993).
The Badlands draws visitors from around the world and these geological deposits contain some of the world’s richest fossil beds. The park’s 244,000 acres were once home to ancient mammals such as saber-toothed cats. If you’re looking for a family adventure, the park offers a GPS Adventure Activity Book that you can use to navigate to points of interest within the park.
*Did You Know: The Badlands are some of the fastest eroding landscapes on earth with erosion rates averaging 1 inch per year in their fragile layers.
You might wonder how an area that gets nearly 44 feet of snow annually can land on our list. There’s simply no place on earth that has a deep, pure lake, two scenic islands and a violent volcanic past. Crater Lake National Park features two main campgrounds that are open June to September and mid-July to October. Crater Lake was formed when Mount Mazama violently erupted nearly 8,000 years ago and caused the mountain to collapse. Today, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States (1,943 feet) and the seventh deepest in the world.
*Did You Know: The greatest cumulative snowfall for one season was 879 inches (73 feet) the winter of 1932-1933.
Denali National Park is Alaska’s most popular land attraction – and with good reason. Approximately 400,000 visitors travel to Denali annually to search for wildlife or see the majestic view of the United States' tallest mountain - Denali (20,320 feet tall). The park features six established campgrounds, three of which are open to RVs.
*Did You Know: More than 650 species of flowering plants can be found in Denali National Park.
Everglades National Park is the third largest in the lower 48 states and features two drive-in campgrounds – Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campground, both of which accommodate RVs. Covering 2,400 square miles, there’s ample opportunities for hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, and so much more. The park does have alligators, crocodiles, pythons, and panthers, but encounters are rare.
*Did You Know: More than 40 species of mammals inhabit Everglades National Park. Though they often utilize drier habitats, many have adapted to the semi-aquatic habitats of the Everglades.
Known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is just that – grand. The canyon was created by the Colorado River and is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep. Nearly five million visitors visit the Grand Canyon each year.
*Did You Know: The oldest rocks at the Grand Canyon are approximately 2 billion years old.
Home to the world’s tallest trees, the coastal redwoods are so densely packed that few trails/roads lead through the forest. Luckily, park staff have established 89 campsites at the Jedediah Smith Campground which offers shade to each site. The park sits close to nearly 40 miles of wild coastline where visitors can whale watch any month of the year. Be sure to pick a clear and calm day. A definite must see.
*Did You Know: The average age of redwood trees is 500-700 years old, but some redwoods live to 2,000 years.
Established as the world’s first national park in March 1872, Yellowstone showcases amazing wildlife, stunning scenery and astounding geological formations. The park covers nearly 3,500 square miles and houses plenty of great campgrounds in and around the park. If you’re headed to see Old Faithful during the peak camping season, be sure to plan ahead and make reservations.
*Did You Know: Yellowstone has more than 300 geysers in the park.
Known for its world famous waterfalls, meadows and unusual rock formations, campers flock to Yosemite National Park for camping season – April to September. The park is open year round, and campgrounds vary by season. If you’re up for it, be sure to take a hike up to Glacier Point, which overlooks the park’s famous Yosemite Valley.
*Did You Know: The giant sequoia trees found in Yosemite National Park are a fire-adapted species. Their bark is fire resistant and fire helps open the sequoia cone and scatter the tiny seeds.
For many, campgrounds are a home away from home. Make sure your RV is properly covered so that you can truly enjoy your vacation in style.
*Source: National Park Service