best places to camp

Best Places To Camp In An RV 2021 (Infographics)

Sharing is caring!

As more and more Americans hit the road to RV adventure each year, we are continuously asked, “Where are the best places to camp?” So we took the initiative to scour the statistics for you and come up with this list of Americas favorite camping spots.

According to the North American Camping Report and the infographic below, the best places to camp are National and State Parks (40%), followed by privately owned campgrounds (25%), and then public or private land (boondocking) (20%.)

The popularity of camping continues to trend upward as more families take to the wilderness in search of adventure instead of utilizing the traditional theme parks, or hotels. The infographic below shows that Mellennials and Gen X’ers are driving this trend more and more. 

Get Your FREE Printable Here!

Just input your email and the National Parks Checklist will be delivered straight to your inbox! 


Where Are The Best Places To Camp?

The North American Camping Report also states that State (24%) and National Parks (16%) are by far the most popular places to camp.

most popular camping places infographic

Tripsavvy rates the top 5 states for camping as:

  • Colorado: Colorado has 4 National Parks, 5 National Monuments, 42 State Parks, 25 Scenic and Historic Byways, and 58 mountain peaks over 14,000 ft. tall. Certainly a good deal to do for any outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Missouri: Lake of the Ozarks boasts over 1150 miles of coastline. There are 49 State Parks, the Mark Twain National Forest, the Ozark National Scenic Riverway, and the Katy Trail, the country’s longest rail trail (225 miles.) 
  • Montana: Montana is wild and untamed. There are 2 National Parks, 51 State Parks, and abundant areas for hunting, fishing, rafting, and dinosaur hunting.
  • New Mexico: A state of sheer natural beauty, New Mexico is the home of Carlsbad Caverns and it’s 119 caves, 35 state parks, and beautiful deserts and mountains. 
  • New York: New York is not only home to an amazing city with numerous historical sights, the state is home to the Adirondacks, the Catskills, the Finger Lakes, and Niagra Falls. There are also 4 million acres of  Natural Preserves.
Best states to camp in by TripSavvy

While I do respect the opinion of TripSavvy, I would argue that places like Utah, California, Florida and Texas, not to mention Alaska could easily make this list. 

What Are The Best National Parks For RV's?

According to Gander RV, the best National Parks for RV’ing are:  

  • Rocky Mountain National Park: With over 415 square miles of incredible mountain views, hiking, biking, snow, fishing etc, “ROMO” offers something for everyone. There are 4 campgrounds to choose from. Contact the park to get specifics on opening times, RV size limits, etc. 
  • Arches National Park: Arches is a hikers paradise, with over 2000 natural arches, pinnacles, rock fins and balanced rocks to visit. There is only one campground in the park, but is is a beauty, situated deep into the landscape.  Reserve early to get a spot except November to February when it is first come, first served.
  • Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone has so much to offer, you just can’t beat it. Crazy volcanic action, awesome scenery, and  world class animal viewing. There’s a reason Yellowstone was Americas first national park.  Yellowstone has 12 campgrounds with over 2000 campsites. Still Book early. It is REALLY popular during the summer. 
  • Grand Teton National Park: Grand Tetons sits just south of Yellowstone and is easy to visit during the same trip. The mountains here are abrupt and amazing and there are over 200 miles of trails to explore. RV Camping is limited so reserve early to get into one of the park spots. 
  • Glacier National Park: With over 700 miles of hiking trails, Glacier offers spectacular views of mountains, lakes, meadows and glaciers that you cannot find anywhere else. Animal viewing is fantastic at higher elevations, such as the area around the Logan Pass Visitors Center. There are 13 campgrounds- 7 of which offer RV camping. Book early as this park is very popular during the summer months. 

What Are The Best Campgrounds To Visit in 2021?

Each year, Good Sam lists all of it’s top rated campgrounds. If you are looking for great amenities and top notch service, these will be the best places to camp. Here is the 2020 list. 

Is Camping Still Popular?

As a matter of fact, camping popularity is at an all time high. This may be due to the fact that younger people- Mellenials and GenXer’s are moving into the past time more and more. Not only do these groups make up the bulk of new campers, but they are also driving up the frequency of camping trips. 

camper age dempgraphics

How Many Americans Go Camping Each Year?

KOA says that In 2018 over 78 million households reported having at least one camper in the home. The growth trend continues. In 2018, 1 in 20 campers described themselves as being first time campers. 

How Many Americans Own an RV?

According to RVIA (RV Industry Association) 25 Million Americans go RV’ing every year. 10 million people own RV’s and 1 million live in RV’s full time. New RV sales in the US, while slowing over the last 18 months or so, are still very strong. Through September 2019, annual delivery of new units has topped 309,000. 

How Do I Find Good Camping Spots?

Finding a great camping spot can be a bit of a chore. As camping and RVing becomes more popular, campgrounds are becoming more crowded, and reservations more difficult. 

Booking National and State Parks

As Americas top choices for best places to camp, National Parks and State Parks can be hard to book. Depending on the locations and times of year, advanced reservations (sometimes more than a year) may be necessary.

For instance booking a site within Yellowstone in July will require many months of planning.  Information on National Parks can be found at the NPS website. For State Parks, just look up the parks and recreation page for the state you wish to camp. is another great resource for finding these parks. 

That being said, many National and State Parks hold some RV spots as FCFS (First Come, First Served) These spots turn over every few days and can be gotten with proper planning. Usually a call to the campground will garner you some really good information as to when you should arrive and what your chances are of securing a spot.

Booking Privately Owned Campgrounds

There are any number of online resources for finding and booking privately owned campgrounds. We have found that an early start is always better, again depending on length of stay and time of year.

Cost is another factor as private campgrounds in very popular locations tend to be a bit pricey- especially in the busier seasons.

Most parks have online reservation systems, but we have always preferred using a Google Maps search for the area we want to stay, and then contacting individual parks directly so we can ask questions about availability, amenities, etc. 

Public/ Private Land

Using public or private land without hookups is called boondocking (or dry camping). It is a type of camping that is growing in popularity as camping costs increase, because dry camping is typically free. 

Boondocking requires that you bring everything you need (including electricity and water) with you, but the benefits as far as locations and proximity to attractions can far outweigh any lack of amenities. 

Military Campgrounds

Credit to our readers. Karen and Jeff- who reminded us in the comments below about military campgrounds (this is why we love our readers!) The US Military operates campgrounds at many if not most bases, as well as some other recreational areas. These are very affordable and only usable by military personnel. 

Book well in advance as many fill up- especially during the summer months. Here are some links to look them up (thanks again!)

Sharing is caring!

29 thoughts on “Best Places To Camp In An RV 2021 (Infographics)”

  1. Hi my name is Camma Griffith and our family is planning a trip for June 5 thru June 16. 2021. There will be 6 adults want 6 kids ranging from 12-18. We will have a pull behind camper and a RV. We are leaving from mo and wanting to see Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone and Colorado possibly glenwood springs. We have a pretty active group so interested in sightseeing and hiking but also activities that teenagers might like. Do you ever plan trips for a fee? I am open to any suggestions that you Might have in addition to the areas I proposed. Looks like you definitely know what you are doing. Thank you Camma Griffith

    1. The Roving Foleys

      Hi Camma, Your trip sounds really exciting. We don’t do trip planning, but my biggest recommendation would be to get an early start- especially if you want to camp within the parks. CHeck out our articles on Yellowstone and Custer State Park. You are doing a lot in a short period. Our strong recommendation is to see less places for a longer time, so you don’t feel rushed. Best of luck!

    2. I agree with the roving Foleys. If possible, extend your trip or make your trip in two or three. Last year we took our two 7yo grandkids to Rushmore then Yellowstone, then to Colorado. We never really had enough time to enjoy ourselves. This year we took the month of July, saw less but had way more fun. The kids enjoyed the trip much more.

      1. Buffalo Bill State park near Cody, WY is beautiful and easy drive through Custer. Lots of wildlife to be seen on the wildlife trail. Info available from the state park or visitor center. One of the highlights was seeing the “ begging burros”
        Early evening is best. Have fun!

        1. The Roving Foleys

          Hi Kathy,

          Thanks for the tip about Buffalo Bill State Park. It sounds like a nice spot and I hear there is a pretty impressive dam there as well. Just to clarify for our readers, your comment kind of morphed into Custer State Park, which is in South Dakota, near mount Rushmore. That is where the wildlife trail, and the Begging Burros can be found, as well as elk, prairie dogs, coyotes, pronghorns, and massive herds of bison. Definitely one of our favorite places!

      2. Camma:
        We will be in the Black Hills (where I grew up) for a week in June 2021, followed by a week in Denver and 10 days in Yellowstone. Id be happy to send you out itinerary and you can pick and choose what interest you.

    3. We just got our first travel trailer and I would caution that trying to travel as far as if you were simply driving will be exhausting. Setting up each evening and breaking camp takes longer – is more tiring – thank you’d think if you’ve never done it before (for instance, you don’t think about the time it takes to simply stow/secure everything for traveling).

    4. Agree with the Foleys, you’ll not be able to see everything worth seeing in that short amount of time. We make a trip like that every year and take at least 3 weeks to visit the places you are planning to see. Also, we start making reservations a year to 9 months in advance to guarantee a spot. I already have reservations made for 4 rigs, 8 people, for Aug 2021 taking a similar trip and couldn’t get every RV park I wanted. Good luck.

    5. Hi Camma – We did this trip two years ago but not camping. My friend and I drove the car packed with our gear & our husbands were on motorcycles. We were in Aspen for 5 nights, Jackson/Grand Tetons 2 nights, Yellowstone/Cody 2 nights and near Sturgis for 3 nights. We saw 4 National Parks and some amazing sites in Colorado including Rocky Mtn National Park, Glenwood Springs, Hanging Lake (a hike the kids will love) and Maroon Bells as well as a ride up to Leadville/Twin Lakes which is an old mining town & beautiful lakes. The 2 days each in Tetons/Yellowstone were not nearly enough. The drive from Cody to Sturgis was beautiful. Your kids will enjoy Deadwood which is a historic town that is both fun, interesting and like a complete step back in time. I agree with everyone else about Cody. We did the Needle’s Highway Drive past Cody to Mt. Rushmore and that was beautiful. The canyons in all three states are unforgettable. We could have done with another week and we did not have any set up or breakdown to worry about.

    6. Hi Camma,, I have traveled 77 thousand miles on a Harley and finally got my new RV. I highly recommend you skip Colorado and save it for another time. The traffic is really bad through the park and it will slow you down. I would go up to the 90 and head to Mount Rushmore and then off to Yellowstone. If you find time Hit Jackson Hole for some whitewater rafting. The kids will love it. I will be happy to help out in any way I can. [email protected]
      Have fun,

  2. My wife and I are about to start a long adventure in our new TT. We have been preparing for several months now and are just waiting to get the call from the dealer that our rig has been delivered. We plan to take several short trips with the new rig to work out any issues. After that we have a plan to be on the road for at least a year touring the lower 48. I have plotted a tentative trip route with no true plan for dates except our first stop and completely flexible to change our destinations. The picture at the top of this page with campers along a river and the beautiful mountains and looks like a lake in the background; where is that located. I think we would love to see that location. We do plan to boondock as much as possible and I have researched how to be preparred. Our next purchase prior to departing will be a generator and basic camping gear if we choose to leave the camper for a day or two hiking! We are so excited and I will continue to watch your blog for other great hints, thanks!

    1. Jeff, Congratulations on your new adventure. You are going to have a blast! Good planning (not planning.) Leaving yourself open to stay or go as you please is the best way IMO. Best of luck!

      1. I was wondering, i asked in my first comment about a picture on this page. “The picture at the top of this page with campers along a river and the beautiful mountains and what looks like a lake in the background; where is that located.”
        Do you know the location of this place, or is it just a stock picture?

        1. The Roving Foleys

          Sorry- missed your question. It was a stock photo. Totally wish I had the skills to take images like that!

  3. You will need to think about driving. When we traveled we would drive from 9am to 3pm. By 3 we would know where we would be camping and it gave us plenty of time to set up camp! You do need to be flexible, if you are former or retired military, there are beautiful family campgrounds in every state, and they are way less expensive than state parks! But there are state parks that are just beautiful! NY was the biggest surprise of all. Upper NYS is absolutely beautiful!

    1. Thank you for emphasizing the need to give yourself time to settle in, at the end of the driving day. That is what I have thought and planned. We will keep our travel days as short as possible and yes we are both retired military, so yes we will try to take advantage of the military bases. There is a blog called Poppin Smoke that has a lot of suggestions and reviews of those facilities. It is very helpful and informative.

      1. The Roving Foleys

        Great links, Jeff- thanks! Military folks should definitely check these out- some fantastic places to camp.

  4. FYI…Colorado has 58 14er mountains, NOT 14!! We have the most of any state. It’s one of the reasons Colorado is so breathtaking!

    1. The Roving Foleys

      HI Jill, As a Michigander (I grew up in the thumb) I would love to do an article on the many wonderful places that Michigan has to offer. But then everybody would know! Lets keep the secret between us. Ssshhhh

  5. another resource for camping spots is
    it is like air bnb for campers
    folks rent out spots on their private land

  6. Where is the list of top campgrounds in each state…I saw the top 5 states and the good sam list…but, that is not every state? Thanks

    1. The Roving Foleys

      Hi Dale,
      Sorry- that is not what this article is. It is about the top places overall. Good idea for a future article though!

  7. The “Good Sam” list is interesting, but (1) half the states in the US are missing, and (2) the list includes only privately owned “resort” style campgrounds that are usually big on amenities and expense but “small” when it comes to educational opportunities, contact with the natural world and the space allowed for each group of campers.

    I like this list from The Dyrt much better.

    A good mix of campgrounds, but in every single case contact with the natural world is paramount. And every state is included.

    1. The Roving Foleys

      Very different lists. States were not “missing” from Good Sam’s list, some states just didn’t have any parks that scored perfect 10’s. Good Sam’s uses a specific set of criteria which includes “Completeness” (which would include amenities.) The Dyrt’s list is the “one best” campground in each state based on their customer reviews, so of course each state was included. I am not sure what criteria if any was any to compare. Both are good lists and offer valuable information. I don’t think I would go so far as to say that ALL of the parks are big or small on anything in particular. Many larger parks offer educational programs of all kinds, and after 5 years of full time camping I cannot really say that I have ever noticed one particular thing being “paramount” in every single case.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get FREE Packing Lists For Each Member Of Your Family! 🧳 

Steal my camping meal plan PLUS handy grocery shopping list! ​🏕️

Scroll to Top