Tuesday, December 5, 2023


Majority of RVers turn away from junky-looking RV parks

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.

A junky RV park in Nevada

A junky RV park in ArizonaWould you stay at these RV parks if you drove up to them looking like this? All the parks pictured here are currently open.

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!


Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodburyhttps://www.rvtravel.com
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at RVtravel.com. She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 700+ newsletters for RVtravel.com she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.



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Backcountry164 (@guest_220673)
10 months ago

Does it really matter if you’re spending most of your time inside your home on wheels anyway??

Donald N Wright (@guest_217265)
10 months ago

I have stayed at a variety of Campgrounds, some big name parks where the RV’s were ten feet apart, Some in the Southwest that were all gravel due to water restrictions, Ex-koa parks where the owner was finally making a profit. and scenic campgrounds alongside rivers where the other campers partied all night long.

bill (@guest_217220)
10 months ago

As far as I’m concerned a “crappy” RV park is one that asks the age of my rig (2019) when I call for reservation info. I’d rather dry camp at a truck stop.

wanderer (@guest_217197)
10 months ago

Ironically, I just stayed at one that turned out to be much nicer than its roadside cover. Tired old sign, no landscaping out front, humble old buildings. Turned out to be the best park in town, for great amenities, service, and community.

There is no substitute for either driving through a park, or checking several online reviews.

Dennis G. (@guest_217195)
10 months ago

Some of the RV parks pictured above remind me of smaller mom & pop parks in the desert southwest with their gravel drive ways, and others in small towns of Texas along I-40. Not bad parks, but not the glitzy resort parks some like.
One park in Tehachapi, CA comes to mind. The park front entrance would make most RVers turn around and turn tail, leaving a weeks monies on the table. The entrance was filled with full-timers and remote workers, and their rigs parked door-to-awning. This park had another area for transient campers, up the hill behind a gate. We were escorted by a side-by-side a 1/2 mile up a dirt road to dozens of sites in a CA oak grove. It was quiet, picturesque and open. This has now become one of our favorite overnight spots heading out to I-40

Mr. T (@guest_217297)
10 months ago
Reply to  Dennis G.

What is a remote worker ?

Diane McGovern
10 months ago
Reply to  Mr. T

Hi, Mr. T. It’s a worker that works anywhere other than an office, like from home or from their RV wherever. Have a great day. 😀 -Diane at RVtravel.com

Brent (@guest_217609)
10 months ago
Reply to  Mr. T

Another group of people live in campers that work in the oilfields out west.

LadyCash (@guest_217100)
10 months ago

Those pictures in the article didn’t show anything I would turn away from. People have problems. Our friends had a serious issue with their slide. The had a tarp over it to keep water out. First repair (replace seals) didn’t fix it. So 9 months of tarping (and moving from one volunteer gig to another) they finally found a good RV tech who diagnosed the issue and was able to repair a month later!

I rely on reviews on Google, Campendium, and RV Life to make my decision. We have stayed on way from one gig to another at all gravel oil field workers RV park that was on Passport America. It was dirt cheap but everyone was very nice. The laundry was amazing and very clean. It wasn’t a resort but then we avoid resorts. When traveling from Texas to Ohio to Wyoming to Texas to Florida we just need a safe place for 15 hours. I can understand some are looking to stay longer and enjoy area.

Passport America has been a life saver in money. The only thing I wish Passport America had reviews.

Longdog2 (@guest_217216)
10 months ago
Reply to  LadyCash

Passport America does have a place for review right on the park link. If people run across a bad park, they need to put a review there for others.

Gregg (@guest_217560)
10 months ago
Reply to  LadyCash

Thank you for posting your boojie article. I would much rather stay at an RV park where there are actual human beings who are living their Lives, sometimes struggling and sometimes thriving, rather than some four star, overpriced glamping “resort” loaded with all brand new class A’s.
I have been on the road for 2 years. I own a 2000 Jayco Eagle. My RV is in great shape, but it doesn’t look anything like the new models. This puts me unable to stay at some higher priced parks. This used to bother me at first, but now I avoid these overpriced parks. Part of the blessing of living life on the road is learning to live with the bare minimum. To most, this may leave many people with an abundance of material possessions feeling out of place or uncomfortable.

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