Do All RV Parks Allow Tent Camping? Here are the Rules

In RV livingby Shelby Sullivan

If you are not an owner of an RV, but you still enjoy getting away from home and being out in nature, you are probably a tent camper.

While this is a different type of camping, you should still be able to enjoy the same facilities as those who travel with an RV!

Check out our guide to rules for tent camping in RV parks!

What Does it Mean When Campsites are “RV Only”?

RV Parks are very similar to campgrounds. The main difference between an RV Park and a traditional campground is that there are fewer amenities at an RV Park for tent-campers than those at traditional campgrounds.

The average RV Park is made to cater to the specific needs of RV owners. This includes the proper hookups that are needed to comfortable camp in your RV.

To see what type of hookups you will be using when RV camping, check out our other article on this topic!

Because the RV Parks are catered to RVs instead of tent camping, you will want to make sure you get a site that is large enough to pitch a tent and that you will have water, restrooms, showers, and the other amenities that you will need while camping.

Most RV Parks will still cater to tent campers as long as they are able to. If you intend to do both, setting up an RV and pitching a tent, you will definitely want to ensure you get a campsite that is the proper size for that.

Another consideration to make when tent camping in an RV campground or even campsite, is that you will need to ensure the ground is able to cater to a tent.

Some RV parks place concrete or other materials where they intend RV owners to park and this would not be good for staking a tent.

In comparison, traditional campgrounds will have more campsites that do not offer full hookups and will have plenty of room to pitch a tent.

If you are an RV camper going to a traditional campground, you will want to make sure that you reserve a site that will have what you need and will fit an RV of your size.

No matter what type of camping you are intending to do, it is always a good idea to call ahead and make sure that everything you need will be available for you.

Do Campgrounds Prioritize RVs Over Tent Campers?

Whether or not a campground will prioritize an RV or Tent camper will largely depend on the type of campground that it is and the set-up that they have.

Traditional campgrounds will normally cater to both types of campers but will have designated sites for each. Campgrounds that are set up to have a lot of tent campers will generally have larger campsites and more bathrooms and water spigots.

RV Parks will prioritize RV campers over tent campers just because they get more money from people who utilize their hookups, as these services generally cost more. They also can fit more campsites on their grounds if they only cater to RVs.

RV campsites are usually slimmer and only have enough space for an RV, fire pit, and sometimes a picnic table.

Another distinction that is made is between RVs and what type of hookups they will require. You can rent a site that has a full hookup, partial hookup, or even an RV site that doesn’t have a hookup for anything including electrical.

How Long Can You Camp in an RV Park?

Whether or not there is a maximum length of stay at an RV Park or campground is up to the individual campground to determine.

If a campground or RV park has a maximum length of stay restriction there could be a few reasons for this.

These reasons can include:

Popularity:

If a park is very popular, they may restrict how long someone can stay in order to keep up with the demand of the campground.

A campground could be popular if they offer a lot of amenities or if they are in an ideal or tourist destination.

These parks can afford to implement these limits because of the high demand that they have.

Smaller RV parks, especially those that are privately owned and do not belong to a chain, will often let you stay longer because they need the revenue and might not have someone that is renting the site after you.

Destination Focused:

Some campgrounds that cater to campers who are looking for a destination experience will also impose limits. These campgrounds want to act as more of a resort and less of a place where people live.

This means that they often impose stay limits, as well as higher prices to deter long term campers.

Long Term Potential:

Other campgrounds or RV Parks have set-ups that cater to longer-term campers. These facilities know they are a place that people stay and they offer additional services to these campers or members.

These types of parks are often located in locations that feature warmer weather and they cater to the snowbird clientele.

RVs Versus Tents:

In general, there isn’t a difference in stay limits between RV campers and tent campers. While RV Parks are more likely to cater to long-term renters, these limits will not change based on what type of camping you are intending to do.

How Much Does it Cost to Camp in a Tent on Campgrounds?

Camping in a tent is cheaper than camping in an RV because you do not pay extra to get a full hookup. Most tent campers only use the electricity offered at their campsite.

Staying in a tent at a campground can range depending on what type of campground you look at and the amenities that are offered there.

Some campgrounds that are more primitive with the bare essentials can range between $5 and $10 per night. These types of campsites will likely only offer you a bathroom and water spouts. For this price, you shouldn’t even expect an electricity hookup.

If you are looking for a campsite that has a little more, you can expect a price ranging around $25 to $30 per night. These campgrounds will provide electricity as well as bathroom facilities and water.

The average cost of tent camping at a National Park falls into the range listed above. You can also expect this from a lot of State Parks and other public campgrounds.

If you are looking to stay at a private campground, you will be spending more money. These campgrounds will also come with more amenities and facilities for the price.

These additional services can include:

  • Nice Bathrooms
  •  Laundry Facilities
  • Pools
  • Recreation Activities
  • Parks
  • Restaurants

The average price per night at a private campground is around $50 or more dollars per night.

These prices are lower than those you would get if you were camping in an RV. The average cost of getting an RV site at a campground is between $25 and $80 per night.

These prices also can raise depending on the popularity of the site, the location that it is at, and the time of year that you intend to stay.

No matter what type of campground you camp at, you will still be spending less money to stay there than you would if you were to rent a hotel room.

What Do I Need to Know About Tent Camping in an RV Park?

Staying in an RV Park or RV Site with a tent can be a tricky and difficult task.

There are many considerations to make if you plan to pitch a tent in an RV designated space, and you will want to bring up your concerns when you make the reservation.

These concerns can include:

Space:

Space can be an issue if you plan to pitch a tent in an RV designated campsite. It might be counter-intuitive, but RV’s tend to take up less space than tents.

Tents have to use stakes and are generally wider than RVs tend to be. RV spaces normally only have enough room for an RV, campfire pit, and picnic table.

Make sure if you plan to tent camp, you call ahead and make sure you have enough room.

Ground:

The ground is another issue you can run into when you tent camp in an RV park. Some RV parks use cement where the campers park for easier access.

If you are trying to pitch a tent, you will not want to do it on the cement ground. You wouldn’t be able to put in stakes and sleeping would be highly uncomfortable.

You also might not have as flat of a surface as you need to remain comfortable.

Facilities:

Because RVs have water and bathrooms built-in, they might not have as many bathrooms or water spouts which can quickly become inconvenient for tent campers.

When you have to go on a walk just to use the bathroom or get water, it can quickly become very annoying or difficult.

Final Thoughts:

You can camp at an RV park or a traditional campground with your tent equipment in most locations.

Just make sure you call ahead and make sure that you will have everything you need and in a convenient location!

Good luck!

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