By: The Getaway Couple Rae and Jason
One of our favorite things to do while traveling the United States in our fifth wheel is to visit national parks. Now, we could go on about the National Parks and camping in or around them forever, so we’re just going to limit this article to five. We’ve loved staying at each of the parks listed below because they all offer something different. Read on to find out more!
Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park is one of our favorite parks to visit with our RV! It’s different from the rest because the actual town is part of the National Park. You are probably used to national parks that have extremely gorgeous landscapes in remote locations and have no cell service. You won’t find that with Hot Springs National Park!
What you will find is non-sulfur smelling hot springs, bathhouses in the middle of town, and a brewery that only uses spring water to brew their beers. The downtown area is all national park and comes with a very 1920s vibe. Make sure to spend plenty of time outside admiring the architecture and then pop into one of the bathhouses for a nice soak in the mineral hot springs.
Park your RV at the Gulpha Gorge Campground, which is part of the national park. If you’re lucky, snag a spot that backs up right to the Gulpa Creek! Camping is first come, first serve and all sites have full hookups. You are limited to a 14-day stay and the rates are $30 per night.
Bryce Canyon National Park
If you don’t have Bryce Canyon National Park on your list, we recommend adding it ASAP! This national park is known for having the largest collection of hoodoos in the world. Hoodoos are deep red colored spire-shaped rock formations. To take advantage of the park, you should explore it for multiple days. To get the full view and beauty of the hoodoos, be sure to hike above the canyon and below.
Bryce Canyon National Park offers two campgrounds. Sunset Campground has 100 sites available between April and October. You can make reservations online through recreation.gov. The other camping option is the North Campground. This option has 99 sites and is only available on first come, first serve. Loop A of this campground is open year-round if you’re into winter camping. While we’ve only been to Bryce Canyon in the spring, the bright red hoodoos against the bright white of the snow is something we’ve been told is a must-see.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon is a sight to behold! While you could simply visit for a day to see the canyon, we advise you to spend extra time there. A park ranger told us that only 5% of visitors even go below the canyon rim! One of our favorite places to go below the canyon rim is Ooh Aah Point. You can get to this part of the park by walking down South Kaibab Trailhead only 1 mile! The point is accurately named as well since all you want to do is marvel at the view in front of you.
Grand Canyon National Park offers three campgrounds. It’s important to note that none of the campgrounds at Grand Canyon National Park offer hookups, so you must be self-contained. The three campground options are:
- Mather Campground: Reservations can be made through the National Recreation Reservation Service by calling 1-877-444-6777 or visiting https://www.recreation.gov/. Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance. Note that the winter months of December, January, and February, the campground office is closed and online reservations are not available.
- Desert View Campground: You will find this campground In a less developed area, located at the east entrance to the park (about 25 miles east of Grand Canyon Village). This campground is first-come, first-served and it’s important to note that this campground usually fills by 12 noon each day. So get there early!
- North Rim Campground: If you want to explore the north side of the Grand Canyon, this is your spot. This campground is open May through October and reservations can be made through the National Recreation Reservation Service by calling 1-877-444-6777 or visiting https://www.recreation.gov/.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is definitely one of our favorite parks! It might actually hold the number one spot for us. We’ve been able to visit this park in the summer as well as late fall, and it’s been breathtaking each time. We highly recommend visiting this park in the spring or fall (or even winter if you’re up for the cold) to avoid the crowds.
Additionally, you need to give yourself plenty of time to explore this vast park. We spent two weeks during both visits and it wasn’t enough time! This is typically the part where we give you recommendations on what to see in the park, but honestly, it’s all amazing. You can hit the hot spots like Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Prismatic Spring but be sure to take a few times to explore less popular areas. This national park has tons of turnouts and offshoots to explore, and we say take full advantage!
When it comes to camping, Yellowstone National Park offers twelve campgrounds with 2,000 sites. Only five of these campgrounds are available to reserve beforehand through Yellowstone Park Lodges. To view all of the campgrounds and learn how to camp here, please read the National Park’s website: https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm
Everglades National Park
If you’re looking for more tropical vibes, Everglades National Park is your best bet. This national park is a 1.5-million-acre wetland preserve in Southern Florida. They have endless boardwalk paths to explore the grounds and watch the local wildlife. This park is the largest tropical wilderness in the United States and the largest wilderness of any kind east of the Mississippi River. If you want an off land adventure, bring your kayak (or rent one) to paddle through the park’s wetlands. Just watch out for gators!
This national park offers two camping options: Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campground. Both accommodate tents and RV's and even have a limited number of group sites. Reservations can be made with Everglades Guest Services or by calling 1-855-708-2207.
In conclusion, we’ve got your desert, forest, and tropical national parks listed above, all you have to do is book them! Whichever national park you choose to visit with your RV, we guarantee you’ll make memories for a lifetime.x