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Basics of Camping in National Parks

Apr 4, 2018

Setting up camp at a National Park opens up a world of affordable and beautiful camp sites and great vacation destinations. Camping at a National Park can be very different from an average RV resort. From campgrounds built in the 50’s to accommodate older RVs to different rules than you typically see at privately owned resorts. As you prepare for your national park RV getaway keep these preparation tips in mind.

1.Know the Route to the ParkBasics of Camping in National Parks

A large number of national park campgrounds are reached by windy and narrow roads because they are located in remote yet stunning places. The best place to find special information on the road leading into the the park is on the park’s website under the “Things to Know Before You Come” section. Another great tool for navigating roads with an RV is a GPS system made specifically for RVs. These systems will not only give directions, but will let you know of any special road conditions for RVs.

2.Remember the Size of Your RV

It has happened to many many many RV campers, they find an awesome destination, get excited, hop in the RV, and show up at the campground only to try and fit into a camp site that is too short or too narrow. This can be avoided by knowing the exact measurements of your RV including with tow vehicle (if applicable), with any slide outs extended, with the height of the air conditioner, etc. When you know these measurements you can look up the size of campsites on the park website or call the ranger station to ask if your specific RV will fit.

3.Research All Campsite Accommodations

National park campgrounds are designed with enjoying the environment in its natural state and beauty as much as possible. Since the goal of national parks is to maintain the natural beauty of the area you may find campsites with features like rocks, thick trees, and canyons that can make it tricky to fit an RV into. Thoroughly study the campground website to learn all you can about the camping spaces. Another way to learn about the fine details of a campground is to check out travel forums and read reviews of people who have stayed there before.

4.Be Willing to Boondock

Some national park campgrounds are outfitted with RV hookups and modern amenities like a communal bathroom and pay showers, but many do not have any of these at all. In these cases you will be Boondocking- camping without hookups. If you have never boondocked you will want to know how your RV works on battery and generator use. You will want to know how much power the appliances consume and how long you can go using the battery to power your RV. Many RVers who boondock like to bring a generator along. Read More on Boondocking

5.Expect to Limit Generator Use

If you are at a national park that requires boondock camping know that there will probably be rules on the use of your generator. Some parks allow generator use, but only during sunlight hours. The best way to get use out of your generator, stay within the rules, and be a good fellow camper (not constantly creating generator noise) is to recharge your batteries for a short time just before sunset everyday.

Ready to get out on the road and enjoy some national parks in an RV? Looking to rent an RV near Seattle? Check out the great fleet of RVs from Northwest Adventure Rentals.