America’s state and national parks show off some of the best parts of the country. Not only do they help preserve world-famous landscapes, but they also keep those natural areas open for the public to experience. Soaring mountains, sweeping forests, and other sights that would normally be available only through expensive luxury trips are accessible to visitors from all walks of life, thanks to state and national parks. Some parks even go so far as to allow visitors to camp in the park itself. While this isn’t always an option, especially when you’re staying in your RV, it is worth making the reservation when you can. Staying in the park itself lets you spend more time immersed in the landscapes and wildlife that drew you to the area in the first place. Of course, these campsites are always in high demand, so it’s important to do your research and plan ahead before you put them on your itinerary. When planning your next RV trip, consider staying at one of these examples of state and national parks that are open for RVers.
Always Check the Park Ahead of Time
Not all national or state parks offer RV campsites, and even fewer have hookups. If you are looking for a campsite with full or partial utility connections, you’ll almost certainly need a reservation. Make sure you research the park you want to visit before you make any final decisions regarding your trip. Ask yourself what you need and what you’re okay going without. Do you want to stay at a dry campsite for the most traditional outdoor experience, or would you prefer the modern comforts of a water or electricity hookup? You should also pay attention to the size of your RV so you can find a site that fits you and your rig comfortably. You can find information through the National Park Service or through the state’s official website. These resources will give you the most relevant and up-to-date information regarding the park you want to visit and the campgrounds available there.
COVID-19 and social distancing measures make it more important than ever to do your research before heading for a park. Make sure you check the park’s availability, hours, and any special rules or regulations regarding social distancing and other health and safety measures before you leave.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Over 1.25 million acres of vast deserts, stunning canyons, and gorgeous bodies of water make up Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Spanning from Arizona to Utah, the enormous reservoir was originally a jaw-dropping canyon along the Colorado River. The area now houses Lake Powell, the second-largest man-made lake in the United States. While the lake’s creation and the damming of the river sparked controversy in the ’40s and ’50s, there’s no denying the beautiful landscapes and geological features that exist in the area today. There are a handful of RV campsites available throughout the recreation area, both in Arizona and in Utah. Staying in the park gives you closer access to the endless backcountry adventure that exists in and around the lake.
Glen Canyon is gradually reopening and increasing access to state park RV camping and regular camping on a park-by-park basis. The Wahweap, Bullfrog, Halls Crossing, and Hite RV Park and Campgrounds are open, along with their laundry facilities, showers, and campground stores. However, the area’s visitor centers and all administrative office buildings remain closed.
Badlands National Park
From the frontiersmen who once traveled these harsh landscapes to the rich fossil beds of rhinos, horses, saber-toothed cats, and more, South Dakota’s Badlands are rich with history. Badlands National Park protects that history alongside the incredible nature that exists in the area today. This nearly 245,000-acre park preserves some of the most iconic landscapes and wildlife of the Great Plains. When you park your RV in one of the area’s own campgrounds, you get a taste of the rugged exploration that has drawn travelers to the area for generations. You also have the chance to get up close and personal with prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, and bison that call the Badlands home.
Badlands National Park has opened all roads, trails, and campgrounds in the north unit of the park. The south unit of the park remains closed until further notice.
Pinnacles National Park
The rock formations that give Pinnacles National Park its unique landscape are the result of multiple volcanic eruptions that occurred millions of years ago. The entire area is bursting with life, from the chaparral and oak woodlands of the canyons to the falcons, golden eagles, and California condors that reside among the rock spires. Whether you’re looking for the adrenaline rush of rock climbing or the serenity of birdwatching, Pinnacles National Park has a unique national park RV camping experience for you. The onsite campgrounds put you even closer to the canyons, caves, and towers that make the area so iconic.
Both the east and west entrances of Pinnacles National Park are now open. Visitors must make reservations to stay at the campground. Additionally, the Nature and Visitor Centers remain closed, park shuttles are not operating, and there are several trail closures throughout the park.
Hot Springs National Park
There are few geological wonders as incredible—and relaxing—as a natural hot spring. The ancient thermal springs within Arkansas’s Hot Springs National Park are no exception. From recreation to rejuvenation, one dip is all it takes to fall in love with the wonders of this area. However, the springs aren’t the only thing this land has to offer. Gorgeous forests and mountains surround the springs. Calm, trickling creeks, adventurous hiking trails, and other remarkable landforms also dot the area, giving you plenty to explore when you make your reservation for one of the park’s campgrounds.
Hot Springs National Park is gradually increasing access and services for visitors. The Gulpha Gorge Campground and Public Restrooms on Bathhouse Row are currently open. Others will continue to open on a park-by-park basis.
Skidaway Island State Park
Just south of Savannah, Georgia, lies Skidaway Island State Park, a picturesque preservation of the state’s coastal landscapes. The park is home to maritime forests, salt marshes, and endless wildlife—including egrets, bald eagles, and other rare birds. You can spend your days wandering the trails that wind through these landscapes or lounge beneath a live oak strung with Spanish moss. No matter what you do, Skidaway Island is the perfect way to experience the natural wonders of America’s Southeast. The campgrounds themselves are naturally insulated by the trees that grow here, which means you’ll enjoy plenty of privacy as you get up close and personal with all the park has to offer.
Skidaway Island and other Georgia State Parks have opened their campsites, trails, and most outdoor day-use activities like boat ramps and fishing docks. However, visitor centers and museums remain closed. Equipment rentals and swimming pools are also closed until further notice.
Chugach State Park
As one of the largest state parks in the country, Alaska’s Chugach State Park provides some of the best opportunities for outdoor adventurers. The park houses the dramatic beauty of the Chugach Mountains, along with the massive Chugach National Forest. Here you’ll find thousands of square miles of outdoor activities such as hiking, rafting, fishing, kayaking, and more. Visitors can climb mountains, explore glaciers, or simply sit back in their campgrounds and enjoy the stunning beauty of the Last Frontier.
All campgrounds within Chugach State Park are currently open. However, visitors should still check availability and services before their trip and continue to follow social distancing measures while at the park and, subsequently, its parks for RVs.
When you plan ahead and land a campsite at these state and national parks that are open for RVers, you give yourself front-row access to some of the most iconic landscapes you’ll ever visit. Just make sure you and your rig are ready for the adventure. If you’re traveling to Alaska’s wilderness or any other colder climate, equip yourself with UltraHeat’s RV holding tank heaters. Our incomparable heating technology will help you and your vehicle survive lower temperatures, extending the length of your camping season as well as the number of incredible parks you can visit.