Published Date: October 17, 2020
Last Updated on June 22, 2023 by Camper Front
After getting everything in your camper set to your satisfaction, you hit the road. Before now, you probably already have a specific location you are headed to, and for the most conventional type of camping, you will definitely be staying at a campground.
These are like little communities for campers; most of them are equipped with power, plumbing services, and recreational facilities like swimming pools or a gym.
But how much does a campground cost? Well, it all depends on the type of amenities the campground can offer. Generally, campgrounds can get as low as $30 and as high as $120; it all depends on the location as well as offered services.
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How Much Does A Campground Cost?
As stated earlier, the cost of a particular campground totally depends on the location of the campground as well as the services that the campground offers; another great determinant of the price of a campground is the private RV park vs. public RV park distinction.
You can stay at any type of campground for as long as you desire as long as you continue paying for your stay. There’s quite a heavy difference between the prices of private RV parks and public campgrounds.
Cost of Private RV Parks
A private RV Park, as the name implies, is run by a private body, and when it comes to amenities, they typically have full hookups, i.e., water, electricity, and sewage.
Most private RV parks have a shower and possibly other recreational facilities such as a pool, a small store, or even a golf course. However, their parking areas are generally much smaller and less scenic than public campgrounds.
Renting RV parks by the week or month and saves more money than you would if you just paid the nightly rate.
Aside from the fee you pay for access and stay, there will be other bills like your electric, water, and sewage costs, so that’s something you want to keep in mind.
The cost of amenities that are offered by the RV park also varies from state to state and the campground’s location. Here are some examples of RV parks and their cost, ranging from the cheapest to the most expensive.
You can actually save a few bucks on your campground rent fee by booking the campground ahead of your visit. This also allows the campground to plan its services ahead of time to make sure they have enough spots open and available.
- Cherry Creek State RV Park: Located in Arapahoe County, Colorado, costs $28 per night.
- Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground: Just 20 minutes away from Joshua Tree National Park, offers lots of outdoor activities like fishing and paddleboarding, and it costs $30 per night.
- Elk Meadows RV Park: Located near Mount Adams, the Columbia River, and a myriad of forest hiking trails costs $36 a night.
- Zion River Resort RV Park of Utah and The RV park fees range based on the time of the year and type of site. For example, a standard back in the site is $57 per day in spring. They offer full hookups and free wifi A pull-through site for the same season is $68 per day.
- Mountain Views RV Resort and RV Park: They offer amazing recreational facilities like a gym and private showers for $43-$55 a day, depending on the season.
- Stella Mare RV Resort: Has two dog park enclosures, a 360-degree observation deck, and full RV hookups. The rates start at $70 per night.
- Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort: Located on the South Carolina coast, it is equipped with full hookups, and the pet-friendly grounds include tennis courts and a fitness center. The cost of this RV park starts at $90 per night.
Also, renting a site for more than one week will earn you a discount in most RV parks.
Cost of Public Campgrounds
Public campgrounds are usually owned by local, state, or federal government. They are managed by extensions of the Department of Natural Resources or the Bureau of Land Management. Public campgrounds include national forests, national parks, state, and even county parks.
Renting public campgrounds is way less expensive than private RV parks, but they carry few or no amenities at all. They are also more scenic, usually due to their location, and they offer you access to natural attractions.
There are some public campgrounds classified as “rustic,” and these campgrounds usually have limited sites with access to amenities like electricity. Some usually don’t have showers, and you are only provided with a “dump house.”
Fortunately, you can call a nearby hotel or resort for shower and laundry services, and many of them are able to offer campers these services at a reasonable price. Staying at a rustic public campground is best for those who want to experience the ruggedness of the wild and access to nature.
There are also public campgrounds classified as “primitive”; however, they are not really recommended as they are usually very inaccessible, and they usually feature just a fire pit and nothing else.
Like private RV parks, the cost of staying in a public campground varies depending on the amenities that are offered by the campground.
For example, a site that doesn’t offer water and electricity can cost up to $15 to $25 per night while a site with full hookups close to a tourist site costs as much as $45 to $50 per night, and a site that offers only electricity and water costs between $20 to $35 per night.
Unfortunately, the staying period in public campgrounds is highly regulated, and you can only camp at one site for 2weeks; If you are planning to stay for a full month, you may need to make two reservations.
But the fact that most public campgrounds fill up their reservation fast can pose a problem, especially if the campground is close to a popular tourist site, they have close access to water bodies, or are equipped with shower houses.
For popular public campgrounds, you may need to book your site as much as six months in advance.
How To Save Money When Renting Campgrounds
To save a couple of bucks on your site rent, there are different indigenous tips you can apply:
Applying For Senior Discounts
If you are a frequent camper above 62 years of age, you can apply for a Lifetime Senior Access Pass; it is issued by the Bureau of Land Management and costs about $80. This pass offers its members free entrance to all the national parks, and they get to pay half the price of other campsites.
However, this only applies to the access and rent of the site; you will have to pay full price for other bills like electricity, water, and the use of the dump stations.
If you are traveling with a senior citizen, you can secure the reservation with their information in order to have access to the discount. There are also Active Military and Veteran Discounts, which are pretty popular; in fact, there are some campgrounds military can stay for free.
Joining RV Clubs
Joining an RV membership club is also another excellent way to save money on campgrounds rent. There are different clubs out there for RVers, and each of them offers various discounts for members, and they come with a yearly fee.
Find a club that matches your desired camping locations, and they can save you a handful of camping fees throughout the year if you are a frequent camper.
Avoid Popular Campgrounds
If you are on a budget, you want to steer clear of popular campgrounds with lots of hookups, recreational facilities, or close to a tourist site.
All these factors cause a campground to be really expensive unless it’s what you can afford. You want to research cheaper option campgrounds probably off the grid with the most important amenities like water and electricity.
Studying where you’re heading in advance will give you enough time to find the best prices and potentially even save a bit for getting your reservation in early.
Staying In Free Campgrounds
There are actually campgrounds that allow people to stay in their sites for free; some allow people to stay for just one night while some for a couple of days. If you are traveling a long distance, you can definitely stop at these sites to spend the night and head out the next morning.
Also, there are facilities like casinos and fairgrounds that allows you to park for free, although you may need to contact the location first to see if that is allowed. Depending on the site, you may even have full hookups, which is pretty cool, even if it’s just for a night.
Knowing how much a campground costs will enable you to plan ahead for the trip. You also have to note that aside from the rental fees, you will need to pay for water, power, and other utility bills, so you want to check that as well.