Resorts vs Campgrounds
RVs are designed to provide you with all the comforts of home with the bonus of mobility. With a fresh water tank, 12-volt battery operated appliances, and holding tanks, you can spend several days on the go without having to stop for amenities. You’ve got luxury on the go, the question is ‘Where are you going to go?”
If you want to set up shop for a couple of nights and then hit the road again, a more minimal campsite will suit you and your family just fine. If you want to take your home away from home and park it in the lap of luxury, an RV Resort is your golden ticket to a lavish vacation.
If you think that bouncing around the country in an RV isn’t necessarily your cup of tea, or you plan on staying in one place for a week or more, I’d consider checking out an RV resort.
Resorts and deluxe campgrounds can have all you need and more. Patios for your RV, indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, and even deluxe cabins with full amenities if you just need a break from your recreational vehicle or have guests joining you.
Resort grounds are manicured and immaculate, clubhouses are spacious and host a variety of events, and often have spas, saunas, community fire pits, playgrounds, basketball courts, golf courses, fitness centers, and heated pools. Talk about living the good life. Because of the extensive amenities resorts can/do offer, they also have some of the most breathtaking views in the entire country.
These resorts are pricier than your standard campgrounds and making a reservation (advanced booking) is highly recommended especially during peak seasons. Some resorts require minimum stays and rates vary widely based on location and how far in advance you book your stay. Some resorts are members only. RV Share has curated a pretty solid list of over 75 resorts that get their seal of approval and we’d be lying if we said a few of these aren’t on our To Go lists.
How RV Campgrounds Work
When it is time to take a break, you can find RV parks or campgrounds with RV specific sites. Campgrounds with hookups give you unlimited access to water and high powered items that may drain your on-the-road energy reserves. Standard RV campgrounds have a more rustic vibe and your site, along with the hookups, you’ll have a small fire pit. The grounds themselves will have basic amenities including shower houses and latrines. Most grounds have a small camp store where you can restock on some supplies and purchase local firewood. You can take a breather, recharge your batteries, and then get back on the road.
The type of campsite you need truly depends on how long you intend to stay. If you are just taking a few days break from the road, a partial campsite may be all you need and will save you a few bucks. If you are intending to stay for longer to soak up more of the great outdoors, full hook-ups give you everything you need to park and maintain your RV with minimal fuss. Go ahead and get lost in the family fun!
Many RV parks and campsites have back-in or pull-through sites for ease of parking, and after hours check-in.
- Primitive Campsites
- The definition of roughing it. Call of the Wild but less snow and more mosquitos. No toilets, no running water, no electricity, DADA. Typically primitive camping (aka backpacking) involves extremely limited resources and only what you bring with you. For RVs, It’s pulling over on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and making do with what you have in the RV. In most RVs, you have electricity, a bathroom, and drinkable (potable) water reserves so I hesitate to call it primitive.
- Partial Hookup Campsites
- Partial hookup campsites mean that campsites will have water and electricity hookups but NO sewer hookup directly on your campsite. Electrical hookups will be either a 30-amp or 50-amp power supply and often times both can be found. For sewage, There may be a general use dump station at the entrance/exit of the campgrounds that you can use before you hit the road again. Partial hookup sites are often found at campgrounds that cater to tent and RV camping and availability may vary.
- Full Hookup Campsites
- Full hookup campsites have an onsite sewer hookup so you can discard sewage as needed without having to leave your designated site. Full hookup sites also have potable water and electricity hookups. Most RV parks will have a mixture of power supply options although the cost may vary.
- Some deluxe or resort RV campgrounds may offer cable hookups for those that are planning an extended stay. Telephone hookups are rare but can be found to cater to older travelers. Many RV parks and campgrounds have WiFi for internet access but WiFi isn’t considered a hookup because of a lack of wires.
- Primitive Campsites
Campgrounds in state and national parks have an array of amenities like basketball courts, lakes, boat rentals, pavilions for get togethers, fishing, hiking, and mountain bike trails. During holidays, campgrounds often have festivities like trick or treating. Good Sam gives state by state recommendations for RV Parks and Campgrounds that are highly rated. Their ranking system takes into consideration completeness of facilities, cleanliness and physical characteristics of restrooms and showers, as well as the visual appeal and environmental quality — all things that you should consider when finding the best place to set up camp.
Choosing campgrounds and resorts on the front end will help you determine what gear you need to bring. Packing for the beach is a bit different than packing for mountain or inner city excursions. One constant for camping in the southeast is the bug spray. Stock up! (And maybe buy stock in the stuff?)
Next we will discuss some basic skills you need to know that will get you ready to hit the road, keep you on the road, and make sure you get regularly scheduled maintenance when your RV needs it.