Camping & RV Vacations Updated for 2017
We Have Ranked Your Family Campgrounds
Camping is Great, But Aren't RV's for Old Folks
Copyright 2011 Smart-Travelers.com.. All rights reserved.
Before you start your search for a family RV, let's cover the basics of the different models. There
are two major types of RVs: 1) Motorized and 2) Towable. Motorized RVs are broken into 3
categories: 1) Class A; 2) Class B and 3) Class C. The Class A models are the larger rectangle
motorhomes you see on the road. Class B models are known as Van Campers and are built on a
van chassis. Class C models are also built on a van chassis but an RV body. Towable RVs
include Travel Trailers, Fifth Wheels which require a pick-up truck to pull as the RV extends over
the bed, Pop-up Trailers with fabric sides, and lastly, the Slide-in Camper Shells that fit into a
truck bed. Motorized RVs are much more expensive than towable models but you will need a hardy
vehicle to tow a trailer or fifth wheel. If you plan to use your RV often I suggest you look for a hard
shell trailer or motorhome. They are better built and will last longer.
One of the big advantages of RVing is that it is truly your home away from home. Once you pack
your clothes, toothbrushes and groceries that's it, no need to unpack again. You may travel to two
different destinations, but your underwear is still in the exact same place. RVs are basically mini
houses. Our RV has almost everything a house has, just smaller. Its comforting to know when you
travel that its your bed, your sheets and your bathroom. You can also save lots of money preparing
your own meals and even enjoy the beautiful outdoors while grilling some burgers.
Renting an RV is an excellent idea, and will give your family a chance to see if RVing is for you.
Many RV owners put their RVs into a rental pool to help cover their expenses. You can find
everything from motorhomes to Class B and C models. The companies offering rentals
generally take care of all servicing and cleaning before you arrive. Here are some links to a few
of the major RV rental companies:
RV Rentals of America
Camping World RV Sales
Campgrounds these days come in all types and sizes. Most offer full hookups, cable TV and free
WiFi. There are thousands of campgrounds throughout the US and Canada that are within easy
driving distance from almost every city. Much like major hotels, campgrounds provide amenities
such as pools, courts, workout rooms, games and even sites with private hot tubes. Many
family-oriented campgrounds offer weekend events like outdoor movies, tie-dyeing, fireworks and
s'more parties. Some folks come just to enjoy the campground experience and others are there
because of the destination. My family has camped everywhere from the beaches of North Carolina,
Hersey, Pennsylvania, Meteor Crater in Arizona, Washington DC and San Fransisco area. One of
our most memorable experiences was when we stayed in Amish Country outside Lancaster,
Pennsylvania. The campground was just outside of a working Amish farm. One morning we woke to
a knock at our door and an Amish family with their horse and buggy full of homemade pies. The
smell was incredible, so we decided to purchase what turned out to be the most wonderful
blueberry pie we have ever eaten. Just thinking about that pie makes me wish we were there again.
Some of our most memorable life experiences happened when we were camping in our RV.
Best Campground Clubs
RV Clubs provide a community for RVers and provide discounts on products, services and
campgrounds. Here are the ones we recommend:
1. Good Sam RV Club
3. Passport America
Below, we have ranked our favorite Top 10 Family Campgrounds in the USA. This is based on
both the campground itself and the area attractions. We know there are lots of great
campgrounds, but these are our most memorable.
1. Walt Disney World Orlando - The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
Disney World is not only a great place to vacation, but it also a great place to camp with your
family. This is our most favorite campground with 750 acres full of pine trees and lots of wild life.
The park is located within the Disney World grounds with full access to Disney transportation,
onsite dining, swimming pool and other activities. Pets are also welcome within the campground.
Here is a link to Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort.
2. Washington DC - Cherry Hill Park
Cherry Hill Park is actually located in College Park, Maryland just north of Washington DC. This is
the best park if you're looking to visit Washington DC. The park has a bus stop with access to the
nearest Metro station. You can get from the park to Washington DC within about 30 minutes. The
park also has a great family swimming pool with other activities available. Here is a link to Cherry
3. Destin, Florida - Camping On The Gulf
If you want a campground right on the beach, and I mean right on the beach, then you should try
Camping On The Gulf in Destin, Florida. The park has several sites within feet of the crystal clear
waters of Destin. The park also has 2 outdoor pools, 1 indoor pool, a game room and an activity
center. The campsites are a bit pricey, but its one of the only campgrounds we've seen right on
the ocean. Here is a link to Camping On The Gulf.
4. South Padre Island, Texas - KOA Campground
We are partial to Texas and we love South Padre Island. We have stayed several time at the KOA
campground in South Padre Island. Its located right next to the bay with access to fishing, a great
seafood restaurant called Pier 19, and the beach is only a short drive away. The park is clean and
well managed with a real family feel. Here is a link to KOA South Padre Island.
5. Yellowstone National Park - Grizzly RV Park
Yellowstone is our top National Park in the USA. The park is home to a number of wild animals
including black bear which we saw on our last visit. Grizzly RV Park is located in West
Yellowstone, Montana. It is bordered on two sides by the Gallatin National Forest making for a
wonderful nature feel. The park also has a full game room that is free for kids. Here is a link to
Grizzly RV Park.
6. Hershey, Pennsylvania - Hershey Highmeadow Campground
If you like chocolate, then you have to visit Hershey, Pennsylvania. We have also included this
destination in our Family Vacation section. This top 10 listing is for the Hershey Highmeadow
Campground. The campground has 55 acres of nature and is located just down the road from the
Hershey amusement park. There are lots of activities including 2 pools, game room, playground
and more. Here is a link to Hersey Highmeadow Campground.
7. Petoskey, Michigan - Petoskey KOA Campground
Being from the south, we had never heard of Petoskey, MI. This is a great little town just off of
Lake Michigan with easy driving access to Mackinac Island. The Petoskey KOA won the 2009
KOA President's Award and Founders Award for service. This is a great place to camp with your
family. Here is a link to the Petoskey KOA.
8. Vicksburg, Mississippi - Askew's Landing Campground
If you are looking for a place that is a bit rustic but with lots of history, you must visit Askew's
Landing Campground just outside Vicksburg, Mississippi. They have 40 full hook-up sites with
many located right in the middle of a beautiful green field. You really feel like you're camping as
you park your RV on grass with no city sounds for miles. The property used to be Bridgeport
Plantation and the site of several Civil War battles. It is now listed as a Historical Landmark. Here
is a link to Askew's Landing Campground.
9. Ronks, Pennsylvania - Flory's Cottages & Camping
Ronks is in the heart of Amish Country just outside Bird in Hand. Yes, these are the names of the
towns. There is even an Intercourse, PA. Names aside, this is beautiful country. The reason we
chose Flory's is that the campground is adjacent to an active Amish farm. One morning, we were
greeted by an Amish family selling the most wonderful homemade pies from the back of their
Amish buggy. Here is a link to Flory's Cottages & Camping.
10. Shady Cove, Oregon - Rogue River RV Park
Shady Cove is in southern Oregon about 52 miles from Crater Lake. We just happen to pull into
this park looking for a place where we could easily drive to Crater Lake. Wow, were we pleasantly
surprised. The Rogue River flows right next to the park with salmon and steelhead fishing at your
door step. As a fisherman, this was one of the most exciting places to stay for me. Here is a link
to Rogue River RV Park.
Top 10 Family Campgrounds for 2017
RV's Are Like Your Home Away From Home
RV Models Explained
You Can Rent An RV Before Buying
Campgrounds Are Like Resorts
With so many campground options, how do you ever find one that meets your needs? Over the
years I have discovered a few resources I trust when it comes to campground reviews. Much like
hotels, there are excellent ones and there are some I wouldn't stay in again. Two companies
provide standard reviews for campgrounds. They are Trailer Life and Woodalls. They each
have trained campground reviewers that make visits and provide ratings. These ratings are
published both in printed directories and online. See their linked websites to read the reviews.
Probably my favorite review site is RV Park Reviews. These reviews are provided by actual
Finding The Best Family Campgrounds Updated for 2017
Sure, there are a lot of elderly couples that spend their retirement years traveling the USA doing
what is called 'Full Timing". You see them on the road in there supersized motorhomes toodling
down the highways with grins that run from ear to ear. Why are these folks so happy? Well, besides
being retired, they have found the wonderful world of RVing. These days there are RV's for all types
and sizes of family. You can spend as little as $1500 to well over a Million dollars on an RV or
camper. You can also rent RVs very economically these days. With so many options you will find
that RVing is definitely not just for retired folks. And an RV can provide you and your family with
years of vacation options. This is the true "Social Network" for your family bonding.
My family purchased our first RV in 2002 and spent a year traveling the USA moving from
state-to-state. I can honestly say that one of the biggest reasons we love RVing is the people you
meet at campgrounds. RVers are some of the friendliest and most helpful people you will ever
encounter. Campgrounds are like small villages where you are immediately accepted when you pull
through the gate. When was the last time someone just walked up to you and held out his or her
hand to say "Nice to meet you. Welcome to the park. Let us know if we can be of any help"? Really,
are there people like this in the world? Yep, and they love RVing. If your family hasn't been camping
then you don't know what you're missing.