There is so much to 캠핑 discuss about our journey, but one thing stands out the most in my mind, which is the difference between a privately owned RV resort versus a public campground. The biggest difference between private and state parks is private campgrounds typically have much more amenities.
While there are definitely private campgrounds out there that do offer hiking, that is not as guaranteed as in most state and national parks. Some private parks will provide potentially better experiences, and others will simply provide a convenient place to stay. Generally, privately owned parks offer better amenities in terms of fully-fledged RV camping.
Along with all of these interesting additions, private parks usually offer full campground hookups as well, meaning that you will have access to water, power, and maybe even sewage, cable, and WiFi throughout the length of your stay. Most RV parks will have full hookup sites (water/electric/sewer), many will have cable, and few will have available wifi. Some parks do offer sites that do provide electrical and water hook-ups, and these sites are generally larger in order to fit RVs and RVs.
Many state park campgrounds also provide sites for motorhomes, equipped with electricity, water, and/or a dump station. Private camping areas beyond park gates can offer hookups and amenities that are not available in the most rustic state park campgrounds. WiFi, pools, and scheduled activities can be more common at the non-national park campgrounds, and sometimes, sites are larger, too. The good news is there are plenty of private, operated campgrounds right outside national park boundaries that you can use as base camps for day trips to the national parks.
During this trip, we stayed in three different privately owned (meaning, neither state nor national park) campgrounds. Today, I would like to compare and contrast the differences between what we saw in the privately-owned vs. the state parks.
In this post, we are going to go over the differences between public and privately owned RV parks, along with some of the more common types of public campground facilities, and what to expect when you go. If you are looking for cheap camping places that let you get right into nature, then a public RV park is the place to go. Unlike national and state parks, which generally exist far away from civilization, you will find privately owned RV parks close to, or even within, major cities.
While you can definitely find private campgrounds that are convenient, they are usually more expensive than comparable national or state parks. The flip side is you can expect to pay more due to the amenities offered in private parks, as well as the fact they are not publicly funded.
Less amenities means a more affordable price, and a “get away from it all” experience, which is what makes a parks campgrounds special. Privately owned or for-profit campgrounds typically provide more amenities and charge higher prices. Public or federally owned campgrounds are usually more rustic than private or commercially owned ones. Public or state owned campgrounds usually provide less amenities, but are cheaper.
While some travelers prefer public campgrounds because of the large, scenic views, other families prefer private sites like the ones at S&H Campground for amenities and convenience. Smaller, privately owned campgrounds sometimes provide unique activities depending on the setting, and for a far lower cost than the mega-campgrounds mentioned above. Private parks can either be independently owned, or a part of a larger network of campgrounds, like The Kampgrounds of America (KOA). Private campgrounds are a great option if you are looking for an affordable place to stay in a more densely-populated area, like close to an amusement park, music concert venue, or sports stadium.
While amenities will vary from camp site to camp site, you can usually expect private campgrounds to have laundry facilities, along with onsite convenience stores that carry camping essentials, treats for kids, and basic grocery items. Things like water parks, crazy golf courses, and more Private campgrounds will also have showers, bathrooms, and power available at your lot. While all campgrounds will have camping facilities and utilities, the quality and quantity of amenities will differ greatly depending on what kind of campground you are staying at.
Public campgrounds tend to take advantage of natural features as well, so campgrounds can be larger or separated by trees to provide greater privacy. Park-run campgrounds are usually located in accessible areas, so you will have to drive less. These campgrounds are usually located in designated parks and forests. At least half the sites at most developed campgrounds can be designated as special use.
For some publicly accessible campgrounds, certain sites are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis, and others are available to be reserved up to one year in advance. Throughout the Park Service, most campgrounds take reservations up to six months in advance.
More than one hundred parks are open to the public, usually on a first-come, first-served basis. Full-service campgrounds (with restrooms) are open the first Friday of March to the first Monday in December, except for Douthat, Hungry Mother, Pocahontas, and Shenandoah River State Parks, which all have full-service campgrounds open year-round.
For the privately owned campgrounds, you are allowed to stay for as long as you have enough money to pay them, however, the campgrounds are not intended by law as places to live permanently. RV parks make money solely by renting out sites to RVers, or selling products at the camp store. Some parks will even sell products in the camp store, but most simply charge for the sites. Prices are usually also minimal, making the park a cost-effective way to camp.
Campground, State Park, National Park, Public, Private are all terms that you will come across while searching for camping. Most of the popular National Parks are located near gateway towns, where you will find privately owned campgrounds, which might not book up as quickly as those located within the National Park. WiFi is hard to find too, and electrical hookups, etc. Do not get me wrong, a lot of people seek out the National Parks and public campgrounds just for this reason, to disconnect, step away from tech, and be closer to nature.