Friday, March 24, 2023


Sit down: The high cost of camping here may make you faint!

By Chuck Woodbury
A new RV park will open in May near Utah’s Zion National Park. Heaven knows the area could use a new place to stay. Zion is the tenth most popular national park in the United States and it’s next to impossible to find a campsite there without reservations a year in advance. The photo above shows a happy couple camping in the new park.

So, a new place to camp near this popular national park is great news, right? No, wrong, wrong, wrong!!!

It’s WRONG because you and I can’t stay there. Well, technically we can, but our RVs can’t. AutoCamp Zion is for Glampers, who will pay $299 to $779 a night (plus hefty taxes and fees—see below) to stay in a glamorous Airstream trailer, a glamorous tent or a glamorous cabin. Warning: No $25,000 cheapo travel trailers allowed or even your brand-new $250,000 luxury Class A motorhome. Nope, no RVs at all!

But, thankfully, there is some good news: Pets are allowed. Only $75 a night!!

Guests have multiple lodging options, including Classic Airstream trailers or luxurious canvas tents or fancy cabins. Guests can also choose X Suites with a private bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living area, equipped with flat-screen TVs and “nestled in nature.” Basecamp Suites for those who want a little more room include an Airstream and a canvas tent and will accommodate six guests.

This park and others already in the system elsewhere are not your ordinary campgrounds. They have gorgeous lodges, gourmet restaurants and Wi-Fi everywhere you go.

Campers enjoying nature.

AutoCamp has other locations—Yosemite, Russian River and Joshua Tree in California, plus the Catskills, and coming soon to Asheville, Texas Hill Country, Sequoia National Park (Calif.) and Zion. Your RV is not welcome at any of these. Just people with plenty of money (see below). And more are locations coming—great news for all those new glampers who have money to burn and whose idea of experiencing nature is a hot tub near a pine tree.

Oh, Airstream and its parent company, Thor, must be pleased as punch to be selling all those trailers, and having the opportunity to showcase them to MWM.*

*Millennials With Money”

The RV Industry Association (RVIA), the organization that represents RV manufacturers, has done nothing to address what I would think would be a disturbing trend: a proliferation of new glampgrounds that do not accommodate RVs at a time when record numbers of RVs are being sold and shipped and places to camp with them are disappearing faster than green grass through a goose.

But then, the RVIA doesn’t give a hoot about you beyond selling you an RV, for which it gets a fee for each one sold to pay its employees and run commercials that show RVs in gorgeous settings that rarely exist in real life. RVIA represents RV makers and related businesses.

DID YOU KNOW that there is no organization (as in zero) that looks out for the interests of RVers—you and me and millions of others? The closest you can get is (help support our efforts)!

Okay, rant finished: Your turn. Leave a comment! But first, read what’s below this photo.

Premium Basecamp Suite.

FINAL NOTE: I placed a test reservation for a BaseCamp Suite (pic above), for three days in late July at the new Zion park. Look at the extra charges, taxes and fees: Yikes! The total for three nights: $2,669.09. Are you kidding me??

This article was written by a human and not artificial intelligence.



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Yosemite Sam
1 month ago

“campers enjoying nature” –LOL! 😆

…for what it’s worth, that money is circulating in the economy, and the sale of new trailers tends to drive down the price of used ones — and neither is a bad thing.

“DID YOU KNOW that there is no organization (as in zero) that looks out for the interests of RVers” ?

Well the Escapees RV Club claims to do precisely that. I am not currently a member so I dont feel qualified to rate them, but it certainly looks like they are doing something.

1 month ago

sounds to me like that old saying grandma used to say …more dollars than sense. I do not know anyone with a lick of common sense who would pay this kind of money to get “close” to nature for a couple of days of roughing it.

Paul Bridges
1 month ago

I don’t know why you would object to a private business that goes in business to meet the potential demand of customers. This park is not intended for people like us, and I think it’s a little misguided to write an article as if it was.

Julie P.
1 month ago

From what I can tell, these glamping spots are first of all not widespread and second, not true campgrounds anyway, just motels dressed up like RV camping to make the affluent feel they are doing something real. If you don’t have your own rig, you are just renting another hotel room.
But when a door closes, another window opens… maybe the Boondockers hosts will expand for people like us. It would require some different rules, although if operated by experienced RVers and true RV fans, it could be like the old days….

Robyn Rasset
1 month ago

For some people it’s probably a lot cheaper than buying a new motor home and then finding out that they don’t even like RVing. If it is still around in 10 years I guess it’s a good idea. We all enjoy different things. I love sleeping on a bed in my 5th wheel, but some people would say that the only way to truly camp is in a tent.

1 month ago
Reply to  Robyn Rasset

rent one to try it before you buy one but don’t look for the mint on the pillow or broadband with your latte to be delivered to your lap…yeez!

Don Waggoner
1 month ago

I agree with Chuck, if you pay attention to how difficult it is to get a city or even a county to approve a Campground site, losing an area to non camping is a problem, no matter where it is.

Calvin Wing
1 month ago

After reading all of the comments I would suggest that those who disagree go back and reread Chucks essay. He starts out with the REAL issue of not enough RV camping spots at this 3rd most visited National Park.
That’s where he is going with this. Glamping and the associated cost are to point out that by taking the land from inventory and using it for a very small number of people as opposed to using it for the much larger population it would help provide a true camping-location for the underserved families, Seniors, and individuals who don’t have the resources to glamp but need the camping spots for their RVs.
I’m all for capitalism but we’re talking about a National Park which should be available to everyone regardless of income level.
What’s next $150-200.00 a night to boondock on BLM land?

1 month ago
Reply to  Calvin Wing

The park is available to everyone regardless of income level. This campground is a separate entity from the park.

1 month ago

I have read every reply and agree with SteveAustin on every one he has posted.

This is obviously a hot button issue but it appears there is a lot of we/they in folk’s attitudes (e.g, “real campers”; “airstream….yuppies”; “taking away opportunities for camping”; Push out the old retired folks/families on a budget”). I too am old retired folk on a budget, and in the past two years have NEVER had an issue getting a campsite. Whether a HH, military campground, State Park, basic campground, National Park, or luxury resort. It requires planning and if you fly by night, you do so at your own peril. Gone are the days of (most) $25 per night campsites. Adapt or get left behind.

1 month ago
Reply to  GrumpyVet

I went back and read every one of Steve Austin’s replies based on your post. Yes, I agree with you both. Capitalism continues to win the day.

1 month ago

These places are for campers who “want it all and want it now.” They want to go hiking in the rugged canyon, BUT they also want their computers and the comforts of home. If you can afford it, go for it.

Basic supply and demand. Perhaps we real campers aren’t demanding enough?

Jim Brookshire
1 month ago

Why do you even bother to look at such operations. Super expensive hotels and resorts have been around for ages. It appears you are just looking for something to get mad about. It has nothing to do about the RV industry. Plenty of things to dislike without searching for them.

Steve Minor
1 month ago

As far as I am concerned they can stick those so caiied camp crounds where the sun don’t shine!!

1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Minor

Wow, that’s pretty rude and selfish.

Richard Chabrajez
1 month ago

It would seem these campgrounds are directed at a generation of Starbucks swilling young-uns who already claim they cannot put enough money aside for retirement.

Willy Bob
1 month ago

You kids get off my lawn!!

Oh, wait, stay off my street!!

1 month ago
Reply to  Willy Bob

You forgot, “Make your campgrounds the way I want them!” 🙂

1 month ago

Some people buy a Kia, some people buy a Rolls Royce.

Scott R. Ellis
1 month ago

This is a rant about apples delivered by an orange. They’re us, we’re not them, and their increasing popularity is no skin off of our teeth. Relax, Chuck.

1 month ago


1 month ago

There is nothing wrong with glamping campgrounds banning RVs. These are people who want a brief encounter with camping, and they want it full service and easy, and they want to pay for it. They are entitled to not listen to idling RV motors etc. Plenty of RV campgrounds ban tents.

Thomas D
1 month ago

First off, the two women pictured. Stuck on computers inside. Get off your {bleeped} and go outside to enjoy nature. You’re taking up room from people that want to enjoy the outdoors.
Sign me up. Im more than happy to blow a couple months of mortgage payments on 3 nights of ?nature?

1 month ago
Reply to  Thomas D

Why should you get to dictate how others spend their money or time outdoors? Just let others do what THEY enjoy.

1 month ago

Interesting to see that they will take cancellation for 100% refund up to 72 hrs. I assume they feel they will be able to fill the spot but it’s a nice policy.

1 month ago

“Transient occupancy tax”.

I’ve always loved being called a transient, haven’t you?

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