How to Find Your Perfect RV Camping Destination


There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a camping destination—local campgrounds, RV parks, state and national parks, boondocking, camping memberships, the list goes on. On top of all the different locations, there are also considerations such as seasonality, price, accessibility, and how you plan to manage your RV’s water, electricity and waste.

And while that may seem like a lot to think about, we’ve made it easy for you by compiling a list of places and recommendations to help you narrow down your search and find the perfect camping destination.

Established Campgrounds 

Established Campground Highlights: These include RV parks, as well as local, state and national park campgrounds. Hookups, dog parks, showers, laundry, pools, and games are often included. Convenient but costs may vary.

While finding and staying at an established campground might sound easy, these camping destinations are becoming increasingly more popular and can fill up quickly. However, if you are new to RV camping, established campgrounds are a great place to start—they usually have hook-ups, bathrooms and are conveniently located near major highways and landmarks to make things easier. Established campgrounds do vary greatly in price, taking into consideration things like location (places near national parks or ski resorts can be more expensive) and extra amenities (pools, laundry rooms, fitness centers, etc.).

The environment at established campgrounds is typically very welcoming, with many places offering family-friendly activities and communal meals for their guests. More experienced RVers frequent these campgrounds as well, so it’s easy to get good information and learn some new tips.

We like to use Campendium and RV Parky to find established campgrounds. We also like to read the reviews and look at photos when planning our trips. This makes it easier to identify places that match our own comfort level. Be sure to secure a reservation at least a month in advance, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the campground.

Here is a list of questions we always ask when considering staying at an established campground:

  • Can you accommodate our RV size / length?
  • Do you allow children and pets? If so, any age requirements for children, and any breed or size restrictions for pets?
  • Do you offer full hook-ups (electrical, sewer and water) or partial hooks-ups? If partial, which hook-ups do you offer?
  • If you offer electrical hook-ups, what is the amp?
  • Does your campground have pull-through or back-in campsites?
  • Do you have bathrooms and/or showers?
  • Do you have WiFi available?
  • Is there cell phone service? If so, for what carriers?
  • Is there laundry at the campground?
  • What amenities do you offer?
  • Do you offer any discounts? Longer stays, Good Sam, veterans, or other?

Remember, during the peak seasons (typically summer), campsite availability will be less than during other seasons. Also, warmer places like Florida, Texas and California will be the busiest during the winter months.

Pro Tip: Not all campgrounds have reliable electrical power, so be sure to get a device that covers surges and/or voltage boosting to combat any changes in power.


Boondocking Highlights: B.Y.O.E (Bring Your Own Everything). Nothing provided except open land, sky and mother nature in all her glory. And it’s typically free!

Boondocking, also called wild or dry camping, means you are camping without access to electricity, potable water or dump stations. Of course, you can choose to be entirely off the grid, but there are many boondocking locations with wireless connectivity if you look in the right places.  

Boondocking often comes with unlimited natural views and few people—all of which are great—but it’s important you know exactly how much fresh water and provisions your RV can hold and how you will manage your waste. If you tend to lean more on the heavy waste and consumption side, then consider buying a water bladder to extend your boondocking stay. These collapsible storage containers can expand to hold a significant amount of water and supplement your RV’s fresh water tanks. 

Pro Tip: You can also augment your freshwater tanks with some extra gallon jugs.

BLAKE EDMUNDS holding up his phone with camping apps on the screen
Our two favorite apps for finding the best boondocking spots are Campendium and iOverlander. Both apps can be used to find information related to location (including GPS coordinates), accessibility (including 4x4 requirements and road sizes), internet connectivity and service strength. They also include reviews from real RVers that have stayed in those places. These reviews and pictures from previous RVers give great insight, so be sure and read through them.

Another great resource for boondocking locations is the Bureau of Land Management. The government encourages and allows dispersed camping throughout the country, just be aware of any stay limits. Typically, the maximum number of days you can camp on public land is 14 days within a 28 consecutive day period.

Pro Tip: Use the satellite view, or the street view, on Google Maps to get a feel for the roads leading to and from a potential boondocking campsite.

Pass-Through Parking Lots

Pass Through Parking Lot Highlights: Empty lots, close to or on your route. Good to know about in case of an emergency or if needed at the last minute. Convenient and free.

Don't overlook a free parking lot if you are on a long trip or simply need a last minute place to stay. The same boondocking rules apply for parking lots (no hook-ups and limited number of days), but you are usually much closer to amenities. Parking lot camping provides an even, stable area to set your RV and lay your head. The grounds are typically maintained, with simple access, which makes this an easy option to keep yourself close to the road and on-schedule.

Some popular, free parking lot camping destinations include Cracker Barrel, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop, Walmart, and highway truck stops.

Pro Tip: You may have heard that you can always park at a Walmart but some towns actually prohibit overnight camping. It’s always best to call the exact location to confirm overnight availability. 

Other Camping Destinations

Other Destination Highlights: These include Harvest Hosts, military bases and moochdocking. Limited access and mostly used for short-term stays, but highly convenient and lower costs.

Harvest Hosts: Harvest Hosts is an RV membership that provides unique access to a wide variety of locations, including farms, wineries, breweries, and golf courses. The membership fee is $99 per year, and offers RVers unlimited access to stay overnight at any Host’s location. And while Harvest Hosts may have a maximum stay of 24 hours, it’s still a great way to get a feel for a town or area, without driving too far off-course.

Military Bases: If you’re traveling with a veteran or know someone who has or is serving, take advantage of camping on military installations all across the U.S. You will need to show veteran or military identification to access the property, and you should always call ahead to make sure they can accommodate you. Military bases are great for camping, as they typically offer full hook-ups, amenities and modest nightly fees.

Moochdocking: This is when you “mooch” off a friend’s or family’s property by parking your RV in their driveway and running a power cord from their house into your RV. Having an adapter will give you access to 15-amp electrical power, and a hose helps take care of your water access, but you should always be mindful of how much water and power you’re using. For instance, whenever we moochdock, we try not to use the toilet or shower in our RV out of respect for our family’s water bill.

Pro Tip: Always know the parking rules and regulations for the city that you’ll be moochdocking in, as some places don’t allow RV street parking or have a limit on the number of days you can park at a residence.

When we first started RVing, we were nervous to boondock until we actually tried it! Now we love it and do it all the time. Even if you’re skeptical about trying a new or different form of camping, we always encourage people to just go for it. When you actually do it, not only do you better understand your limits and how long your tanks and supplies will last, but you may fall in love with a new style of camping! We hope you’re able to try them all and ultimately find your perfect camping destination.

Find Your Perfect RV

Whether you're new to the world of RVing or you're ready to narrow your search, we're here to help you sort through it all and find the RV that's right for you. Explore RVs based off of your lifestyle and the features important to you.

Find Your RV
An travel trailer RV parked in a green field.