What Is An RV Park vs. RV Resort vs. RV Campground?

Mendocino Redwoods RV Resort CA 2

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Getting ready to take your first RV trip?

Knowing what you want out of your trip is key to deciding where to stay throughout your adventure, whether it’s a one-way trip or a journey across state lines.

The next thing is knowing your options. There are several and it can be confusing if you don’t yet know the difference between them:

  • RV park
  • RV resort
  • RV campground

So, what is an RV park? How are an RV park and resort different? And what makes an RV campground unique from a regular campground? 

Below, we’ll answer all of those questions and more so that you have clarity about where you’d prefer to stay when it’s time to set out.

What Is an RV Park?

What Is an RV Park
Bonelli Bluffs RV Resort & Campground in California

First, let’s cover what an RV park is before we compare it to an RV resort and campground.

An RV park is your average park-like resting area which includes designated RV parking spots and often basic amenities such as electrical hook ups and sewers. 

In other words, it’s a location specifically designed for RV-goers to have a comfortable stay and get some of the basic things they need that are difficult to get or manage with an RV. 

In physical appearance, they most resemble a park with cut grass, paved walkways, outdoor grills, and more. 

RV parks tend to be located close to towns, so you’re never too far from civilization. They’re also great for living in your RV for an extended period of time without having to travel constantly. 

RV Park vs. RV Resort

Mendocino Redwoods RV Resort CA 3
Mendocino Redwoods RV Resort in California

An RV resort is essentially an RV park with additional amenities above and beyond what a regular RV park offers. Think of it as the “deluxe” RV park experience.

Mendocino Redwoods RV Resort CA
Mendocino Redwoods RV Resort in California

For that reason, the term “RV resort” is more a label that privately owned RV parks use for selling than anything else. 

Some examples of additional amenities they might offer include:

  • Cable TV hook up
  • Swimming pool
  • Tennis courts
  • Golf course 
  • Bath house
  • Laundry
  • Wi-Fi

Compared to an RV park, an RV resort is generally more comfortable and offers more to do for the whole family.

However, they also tend to come at a higher price given you get more in return. 

RV Park vs. RV Campground

Sevier River RV Park Cabins Campground UT
Sevier River RV Park Cabins Campground in UT

An RV campground is typically a state (or federally) owned campground further away from cities and with the bare minimum amenities.

Amenities may or may not include:

  • Water
  • Fire pit
  • Picnic table
  • Dump station
  • Electrical hook up (rare)

They’re generally the least organized as they may not be managed by anyone, so they’re best for those looking for a rougher and more down-to-earth experience. 

Sevier River RV Park Cabins Campground UT 2
Sevier River RV Park Cabins Campground in Utah

As opposed to RV parks and resorts, an RV campground is for those who want the most minimal and unobstructed experience possible: just you, your RV, and nature. 

In the cast of most RV campgrounds, you’ll need to come with a full tank of water and empty gray and black tank, as many don’t have water or sewer. 

For that reason, it’s important to look up the campground you’re considering staying at online ahead of time to find out, including online reviews and photos. 

With that said, you’ll have the best views available and often much more space than your average RV park or resort.

RV Park vs. Mobile Home Park

Souths Mobile Villa Mobile Home Park NM
Souths Mobile Villa Mobile Home Park in New Mexico

We’re including this last one as mobile home parks are often confused for being the same thing as an RV park.

However, a mobile home park is a plot of land which houses mobile homes, not RVs. 

Mobile homes are stationary homes which simply don’t have a set foundation like a typical house, while an RV is designed to be fully mobile.

If you’re looking for options to stay during your first RV trip, you would consider an RV park, resort, or campground. 

How to Decide Which Is Right for You

Deciding between an RV park, resort, or campground is really just about knowing what you want out of your stay.

If you want to be close to nature and adventure on foot, a campground (or some sort of park/campground hybrid) is the way to go. 

If you want the opposite, more structured fun with lots of amenities, then an RV resort will be more to your liking. 

An RV resort is also best for those who would prefer to stay somewhere with more amenities such as laundry and showers. 

Lastly, if you’re planning to hit the road frequently or would simply prefer something affordable that still offers some amenities, any good RV park would be ideal. 

Before deciding, consider what kind of experience you want and how you might feel at that point in your trip.

  • What are you hoping to get out of your trip? 
  • What are you most excited or worried about? 
  • And what does your RV already provide in terms of amenities?

Knowing the answer to these questions and others in advance will help you figure out where to stay when it’s time to turn in.

This post may contain affiliate links. Check out our disclosure for more information.

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