The allure of the open road combined with the natural beauty of our nation’s most pristine locations is a siren’s call for many. As RVing becomes more popular, with even extended RV warranty companies noting a rise in interest, travelers are eager to combine the comforts of their vehicle homes with the serenity of nature. While the U.S. is home to a myriad of national parks, certain destinations stand out for their RV-friendly amenities and unmatched landscapes. Here are some of the best national parks for RV enthusiasts to consider on their next adventure.
The Vast Vistas of Grand Teton National Park
In Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park is a picturesque haven for those with a penchant for majestic mountain views. The park, famous for its jagged peaks, houses several campgrounds, with the Colter Bay RV Park being the most suited for RV travelers. Apart from full hook-up sites, the park also offers a dump station, showers, and laundry facilities. While you’re there, take in the tranquil Jenny Lake, hike the numerous trails, or simply enjoy the grandeur of the Tetons from the comfort of your RV.
The Diverse Ecosystem of Everglades National Park
Travel south to the state of Florida and immerse yourself in the unique world of the Everglades. This park, which is the largest tropical wilderness in the U.S., is home to a myriad of animals and plant species. The Flamingo Campground is the primary spot for RVs, offering electric hook-ups and easy access to several of the park’s trails and waterways. Kayaking and bird watching are popular activities here, allowing you to closely connect with the park’s rich ecosystem.
The Desert Beauty of Joshua Tree National Park
California’s Joshua Tree National Park is a blend of the Colorado and Mojave deserts, making it a unique and diverse location. The park is characterized by its Joshua Trees, boulders, and starry nights that make it a haven for stargazers. While there are several campgrounds, RV travelers might consider Cottonwood Campground or Black Rock Campground for their amenities. Though there are no hook-ups in the park, these campgrounds offer potable water and dump stations. During your stay, take time to explore the various trails or engage in some rock climbing.
The Forested Paradise of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee lies the country’s most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains. Its allure lies in its mist-covered mountains, diverse plant and animal life, and rich Southern Appalachian history. RV travelers can find solace in the Cades Cove or Elkmont campgrounds. While there aren’t any hookups available, both campgrounds provide easy access to some of the park’s most renowned trails, like the Alum Cave Bluffs or Abrams Falls. The loop roads, particularly at Cades Cove, also offer scenic drives with potential wildlife sightings.
Experience the Geological Wonders of Arches National Park
Tucked away in eastern Utah, Arches National Park stands as a testament to the power of time, wind, and water. The park boasts over 2,000 natural stone arches, coupled with a variety of unique geological formations. The expansive desert landscape is dotted with stone pinnacles, balancing rocks, and expansive red rock vistas. For RV travelers, the Devil’s Garden Campground provides an ideal base. While it doesn’t offer hook-ups, it promises an immersive experience amidst these awe-inspiring structures. Traverse the park’s numerous trails, especially the Delicate Arch trail, which leads you to arguably the most iconic arch in the park.
Step Back in Time at Mesa Verde National Park
Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park offers a unique blend of natural beauty and rich history. Renowned for its well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, this park provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Native American communities that once thrived here. The Morefield Campground is available for RV campers, complete with full hookups, a gas station, and even a village market. After setting up, delve deep into history by exploring sites like the Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum.
Discover the Untamed Wilderness of Denali National Park
Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve is a vast, untouched wilderness that promises adventure and solitude in equal measure. Dominated by North America’s highest peak, Denali, the park spans six million acres of wild land. The Riley Creek Campground serves as a haven for RV travelers, providing basic amenities in the midst of rugged beauty. Traveling deeper into the park requires boarding one of the park’s shuttle buses. Enjoy activities like hiking, wildlife watching, or even mountaineering for the more adventurous souls. This park offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness wildlife in its most primal setting, from grizzly bears to wolves.
Delight in the Desert Landscape of Saguaro National Park
Named after its most iconic resident, the saguaro cactus, Arizona’s Saguaro National Park showcases the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Split into two districts on either side of Tucson, the park is a hotspot for desert flora and fauna. While RV camping is not available within the park itself, several nearby campgrounds accommodate RV travelers. Once settled, visitors can venture into the park to explore the myriad of trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging hikes, all providing an up-close look at the impressive saguaro cacti and the life it supports.
Wander through the Canyon Depths of Zion National Park
Utah’s Zion National Park, with its colossal red and white cliff walls, narrow canyons, and expansive plateaus, offers a breathtaking retreat. The massive sandstone cliffs of pink, red, and cream rise majestically against the blue sky, promising a serene experience for every visitor. The park’s Watchman Campground is ideal for RVs, located near the south entrance and providing electric hook-ups. Popular spots like the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and the Narrows are a must-visit. For a panoramic view, trek up to the Angels Landing, though only for those without a fear of heights!
Explore the Rugged Terrain of Badlands National Park
South Dakota’s Badlands National Park is a mosaic of unique landscapes, from layered rock formations to deep canyons and towering spires. The surreal terrain, crafted through millions of years of erosion, looks like something straight out of a sci-fi novel.
The Cedar Pass Campground welcomes RV travelers with amenities like electric hook-ups, potable water, and flush toilets. While in the park, explore the Badlands Loop Road for some of the most picturesque views, and don’t miss out on the Roberts Prairie Dog Town to witness these cute creatures in their natural habitat.
The Coastal Charm of Acadia National Park
For those who prefer the allure of the sea, Acadia National Park in Maine offers the best of both worlds. The park, characterized by rocky beaches, woodlands, and granite peaks, provides a tranquil setting for RV travelers. The Blackwoods Campground is the most RV-friendly within the park. While there are no hookups, facilities like restrooms and potable water are available. Popular activities here include hiking the Precipice Trail, cycling along the Carriage Roads, or watching the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain—the first place to witness it in the U.S.
Conclusion: Revel in the Call of the Wild
RV travel offers an intimate way to connect with the wonders of nature, marrying the comforts of home with the beauty of the great outdoors. These national parks not only promise scenic views and diverse activities but also cater to the unique needs of RV travelers. So, the next time you’re charting out your RV journey, consider these parks to truly embrace and revel in the call of the wild.