Pros and cons of private campgrounds: alternatives to state and national parks

At Pit Stops for Kids, we love state parks and national parks for overnight camping and family outdoor adventure. But those campgrounds fill up fast during the peak summer season, and sometimes, they’re not ideal for RV camping families. If you need last-minute reservations or camping sites for larger RVs, check out the following private family campground resorts, all of which have locations across the U.S.

family RV camping

Thousand Trails:

Thousand Trails  is unique in that it’s a club: for one annual membership, families can camp in unlimited family campgrounds across America. There are several levels of membership, and families who frequently RV camp in specific regions (what Thousand Trails calls ‘zones’) of the country report that they save planning time and quite a bit of money. Like most private family campgrounds, Thousand Trails offers more than just campsites: families have access to camp stores, laundry facilities, pools, and recreation like putt-putt golf or go-karts, depending on the resort. Most Thousand Trails properties are near tourist destinations, and there’s a wide variety especially around the Great Lakes region and coastal California.

Sun RV Resorts:

Like Thousand Trails, Sun RV Resorts are located across the U.S. with a high concentration in the midwest. Properties range from Wisconsin to Florida, and most everywhere in-between. With an emphasis on longer stays, some Sun RV Resorts even boast sports leagues to join. If you’re not an RV camper, there are a few properties with cabins to rent for the night or the week.  Sun RV Resorts has some of the most competitive pricing for large, pull-through RV slots.

KOA Kampgrounds of America:

KOA has had it’s ups and downs in our personal experience: we’ve had great stays and lousy stays. What makes all the difference? The property. Since KOAs are individually owned, it’s hard to recommend the brand across the board: we recommend checking individual campground listings on family travel review sites like Trekaroo. We’ve personally had a great time renting KOA’s Kamping Kabins (ignore the annoying purposeful misspelling, if you will). With comfortable beds, tables, heaters, and electricity, these cabins are a good alternative to RV camping or even a motel room. Most KOAs have pools and other on-site recreation to entertain kids, and while many area near tourist attractions, and equal number are convenient to major freeways, making them good road trip pit stops.

Photo credit: Grand Canyon NPS

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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