Pros and Cons: The Case For and Against Private RV Parks

It is pretty easy to divide RV owners into two categories – those who prefer to camp on public lands, and those who opt for privately-owned RV parks. Of course, there is no right answer in this debate, as there are plenty of pros and cons associated with each option. As long as you can find a safe and comfortable place to park your RV for the night, you can have a great trip.

There are Pros and Cons to Private RV Parks
There are Pros and Cons to Private RV Parks

As a way to learn more about each perspective, the content below will look at the arguments for and against staying in private RV parks.

The Case For Private RV Parks

There is a lot to like about private RV parks. The first thing that comes to mind immediately is the quality of service that you will often receive. Since private RV parks are businesses, they need to keep their customers as a top priority. When you stay on public land, you are unlikely to receive any form of customer service – you are simply paying a nightly fee for the right to park your rig. However, at a private facility, you will likely receive more attention during your stay. In this way, parking your RV at a private RV park is more like staying at a hotel than a campground.

Another benefit of private RV parks is the assortment of amenities that you may be able to find. Many of these facilities have great amenities on site such as a swimming pool, recreation hall, snack shop, equipment rentals, and more. Instead of having to head out of the campground to find some of these things, they will be just a short walk from your RV.

The Case Against Private RV Parks

Any argument against staying at a private RV park always starts with the same point – cost. Simply put, private RV parks are going to be more expensive than RV spots on public land. If you are travelling by RV in part because you like to save money on lodging, private resorts are likely not going to be your best option. While it will be possible to find a great deal from time to time, you should expect to pay more on average than you would in a state park or national forest, for example.

In addition to paying more, you will probably not be able to stay in the same kind of beautiful locations that are commonly found on public land. Many of the areas that are reserved for public use have been selected because they are naturally beautiful. Building a private RV park on a gorgeous piece of property is typically too costly, so RV resorts don’t tend to offer much in the way of a view. This isn’t a hard and fast rule of course, but it is an accurate representation of what you will find throughout your travels.

So should you consider private RV parks when planning your next trip? That is going to be up to you. There are valid reasons to stay at a private resort – and there are valid reasons to avoid them as well. Think about what you want to get out of your vacation, and what you want to spend, and your best option will quickly reveal itself.

20 COMMENTS

  1. I think both are nice we stay at both types of parks it just depends on what activities we are lookin to achieve for that particular stay for the type of park we stay at that particular time although with us having a fifth wheel now im more inclined to find a place with full hook up so thats what kind of park we look for whether it public or private

  2. I’am a private park owner and you are wrong about paying more. A Lot of our money that we make goes back into the park. We also have a RV and I would much rather stay at a private park because I know how hard these people work for their money. Owning a park for 17 years. We don’t get a check from the state or from a corp. office. We work hard for our money. This is a soar subject with me. I love what I do and I take it very personal when our RVers come in.

    • You’re missing the point, Karen. This isn’t about better or worse, it’s about which one is the right one for people that might be looking for certain things when RVing..

      I’ve been a full timer for just over 2 years now and if I could stay on public land year round I would but that’s just not realistic. Private parks also allow me the ability to find a place for Internet connectivity and during the winter gives me a means to have full hookup so I don’t have to worry about the black and grey water.

      I know a number of private park owners and all of them work very hard to keep their parks going and are very proud of what they do. Nearly all of them have or do live full time in their RVs as well. So it’s a personal experience for them as well.

      Nothing in this article was trying to shed poor light on private parks. It’s just a fact that most places it’s cheaper for short stays or while traveling to stay in public parks. This has been my experience so far and I am sure a lot of others would offer up the same point of view. Private parks don’t have public money to help keep them in operation so of course the cost to stay at a private park is going to be higher in many cases. It just depends on what else you might be looking for while you are taking a trip in your RV. 🙂

  3. Even though private parks have a higher fee, it is still way below a hotel, plus all the other great things about rving (cooking, own stuff,etc.) We like full hookups and pools and such.

  4. We have done both. A longer stay in a private park brings the cost way down which makes for a nice stay enjoying the amenities, getting to know an area, making new friends, and taking a class or joining a group. These are wonderful opportunities. A great get-away to public land really is refreshing in a nice way, whether you enjoy the time in solitude or meeting like minded friends for outdoor activities. Everyone does gravitate toward their favorite, but being open to both options can enhance your travel.

    • I am a retired bus driver and my husband also holds CDL. We have a 40 foot pusher Allegro. Bus. We read where it says 35 ft and we walk down and eye the parking. I HAVE yet to find a park that we couldn’t park in any state or national park. We even took our first travel trailer on top of Sky Mesa Acoma and even the Indians asked us how we got the hell up there. LOL.

  5. We just got a camper this year and have found another con against private campgrounds. At most that we have seen the campsites are much too close together. Certainly don’t mind meeting people but it seems owners cram as many in as many as they can=more income for them.

  6. I prefer private parks for the amenities. That said not all private parks are created equal. Being RVers in the winter months we depend on good wifi because that is the way we pay our bills and keep track of our finances. We have experienced many times that the wifi offered is not reliable which has been a concern however in public parks this is not usually available. That said a major plus is the availability of full hookups, tv , activities and closer supervision of all living by the rules of the park.

  7. I like State parks because they are reasonably priced, most have some full hook ups, and very important to me, shade! Need some shade to enjoy sitting outside in summer .months and also need it for my dogs. I find the size of the lots to be generous.

  8. Today I am staying in a private campground in Utah. The high temperature today was nearly100 degrees, so we were grateful to have enough power to run both of our air conditioners and be able to cool off in the park’s lovely swimming pool. Public parks without hookups are okay in moderate temperature, but when outside temperatures move to the extremes, it’s great to have private park amenities.

  9. We winter in The Texas Hill Country. We stay at a private RV park for 4 months. $375 per month plus electricity bill. This is full hookup. We spend the other 3 seasons mostly at State or Corp of Engineers parks.
    We stay at these 3-10 days on average. With a senior National Park Pass our cost vary but typically $9-15 a night. The State parks are twice as much, but they generally have more FHU’s available. We can boondocks for 5 days but prefer at least electric service.

  10. My biggest gripe with private parks isn’t the independently owned ones with the exception of ones that are little more that parking lots with tiny strips of grass barely big enough to open your slides. It’s the conglomerates like Encore and KOA that charge hotel like rates for their parks.

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