In an RVtravel.com poll, 63 percent of RVers said they have turned away from an RV park because its entrance looked “junky” or otherwise unappealing.
Have you? (Below poll not active.)
I quickly hopped on Google Maps and started exploring the U.S. looking for “junky” or “unappealing” RV parks. I’d type in “RV park” and click on street view on the options that came up. I looked in Idaho, Washington, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
Here are a few screenshots of RV parks that I found. And remember, I didn’t have to look long or hard.
RV parks or campgrounds you’ve turned away from
Here’s what you said in the poll comments:
Neal D. writes, “We found a campground near our home. We drove there in our car to check it out before camping there. We felt a bit uncomfortable driving through it. All the RVs were dilapidated and many looked unlikely to move, whether towable or drivable. We concluded that it was a stationary community and that receiving an invitation to stay there was the only way to comfortably join the community.”
Skip says, “Some looked like Sanford and Son junkyards. Or sometimes you drive to one and the neighborhood looks like a combat zone. I think they became overflow for some other campground. Just kept moving along.”
Lil John has a good point. He writes, “One thing I have noticed is that you need to get ‘in’ the campground before you make a decision. A lot of campgrounds are built away from the street, and you have to go down a long driveway to get there. I’ve seen some really bad stuff out there! Many times, after going through the rough stuff, the campground turned out to be great. That ‘first impression’ thing does not always work with campgrounds.”
A warning about Passport America? Reader Streamintrip says, “I am a Life Member of PassportAmerica (PA), and the only times I have turned away from a campground are at one of their campgrounds. Mind you, I have stayed at a number of PA campgrounds which were fine and a good value, but….”
Will comments, “About a year ago, we were having to change campgrounds because, while the area had good cell coverage, the campground itself was in a deep valley. Zero signal. We work full time from the rig. Called around, found a decent rate, but when we got there, it was horrible. I wouldn’t walk through this campground in the dark, I’d be afraid for my life. Said ‘nope’ and drove an hour away. (We were visiting family, so wanted to be closer, but totally wasn’t worth it.) I don’t mind a run-down campground somewhat, but this place was scary.”
D. Blomberg says, “Once, years ago when we were traveling full-time, we booked a month at a park that we had found online. The pictures of the ‘resort’ looked wonderful. Gated, secure park. Lots of amenities. When we arrived, it was apparent that the pictures were of a park long past being maintained appropriately. The gate was open all the time, and there was a Walmart right next door and no perimeter fencing. Trees were actually growing up through the road pavement in some areas! Washing machines and broken-down cars abound. My wife was afraid to walk the dog in the evening, so the next day we went hunting for a new park and found what is, to this day, one of our favorites. We then went back and checked out of the horror park, making a deal with them that they could keep a full week’s rent if they would kindly refund the rest of the month, which they agreed to.
We never again booked for more than a week in advance.”
Dave has a good tip: “We passed by one once because it looked junky and forgot about it. Couple of years later looking online saw it (forgot park’s name) and it looked good so we booked a week. What a mistake, our gut feeling when we passed by was right on. We now make notes about campgrounds that we pass in our travels.”
How to avoid “junky” or “unappealing” RV parks
Worried the park you just booked online six months from now will turn out to be like one of those pictured or mentioned above? Here’s some advice from our readers:
Ivor suggests: “As some have said, we research in what we hope is a careful manner. Read the reviews AND check out the satellite views.”
David says, “We actually had a very quiet and peaceful stay at one park that looked very funky. The main thing is to check the bathrooms before you decide. In this case, they were old but clean. Good enough for us.”
Paul C. writes, “I am only part-time RVing, but like others have said I do my research first. One thing I do look at is the satellite views of the park and surrounding area. If the RV park looks more like an RV storage lot I avoid it.
Irv says, “To prevent surprises, I use reviews, Campground Views, Google Maps, and Google Street View.” Ron commented that he does the same.
Another thing to do, if you’re local and have the time, is do what Neal mentioned above and take your car and do a drive-through of the campground first before booking. Doing this can also help you find the best spot in the park (or second or third best).
Good luck and stay safe!