Private Campgrounds Outside of National Parks That Can Be Used As Base Camps
National Parks are great destinations for RVers looking to get outside and explore. Here are some privately owned campgrounds outside of National Parks to use as your basecamp.
Reserving campsites inside the nation’s most popular national parks is often easier said than done, particularly during the busy summer months.
The good news is that there are many privately owned and operated campgrounds just outside national park boundaries that can be used as base camps for day trips into the national parks.
Privately owned campgrounds also have amenities like water, electrical and sewer service hookups at each campsite as well as swimming pools and Wi-Fi service. Some even have hot tubs, restaurants, organized family activities and other attractions that make them great places to camp.
Here’s a listing of some of the nation’s most popular national parks and some of the nearby campgrounds where you’ll might have a better chance of snagging a campsite — even during the peak summer travel season:
Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Utah
Moab KOA Holiday in Moab: Open March 4 to Nov. 1, this campground offers RV and tent sites and cabin rentals. Amenities include a hot tub and sauna, a new playground and a bike wash and repair station.
Portal RV Resort in Moab: Located on the south side of the Colorado River, Portal is only a few minutes from downtown Moab and a 5-minute drive to Arches National Park. Portal has two RV sections to choose from. Its North Side is open to all registered RV’s and the South Side offers premium sites and ownership sites.
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Crater Lake Resort in Fort Klamath, Oregon: This resort, roughly 30 miles from Crater Lake, features RV and tent sites as well as park model rentals and other accommodations. Nearby attractions include the Crater Lake Zipline, the longest in Oregon with over 8,000 feet of cable, and Train Mountain Railroad Museum, which features the world’s largest private caboose collection and the world’s largest model railroad.
Lemolo Lake / Crater Lake North KOA Holiday in Idleyld Park: Open from April 22 to Oct. 16, this campground is next to a 540-acre lake and features a boat launch as well as kayak, canoe, fishing and pontoon boat rentals. The campground also has access to a recently completed 10-mile-long hiking and biking trail that goes around the lake. The campground is 30 miles from Crater Lake.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Kaibab Camper Village in Jacob Lake: This remote campground, open May 15 to Oct. 15, features RV and tent sites. The campground is 45 miles from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Flagstaff KOA in Flagstaff: This campground offers RV and tent sites as well as park model rentals. Amenities include barrel train rides, banana bicycle rentals and an onsite breakfast cafe. This campground is about a 1.5-hour drive from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon Railway RV Park in Williams: This campground is located next to the train station that offers entertaining day trips to the South Rim on train cars that include live musical entertainment and Western-style holdups.
Williams / Circle Pines KOA in Williams: This campground, which is open all year, is about an hour’s drive from Mather Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The campground has RV and tent sites and park model RV rentals. Onsite amenities include bike rentals and an indoor swimming pool and spa.
Monument Valley Tribal Park
The View Hotel and Campground in Monument Valley: This venue features a hotel, elegantly furnished park model cabins as well as a campground with dry RV sites with excellent views of the rock formations of Monument Valley. Guests can also enjoy an onsite restaurant that serves both American and traditional Navajo cuisine. Guided tours of Monument Valley are also available.
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Dolores River Campground in Dolores: This campground, which has frontage along the Dolores River, offers RV and tent sites as well as a 1953 Airstream travel trailer and other rental accommodations.
The Views RV Park & Campground in Dolores: This campground offers RV and tent sites and other rental accommodations. Amenities include a pavilion with barbecue grills and stand up paddle boards for rent.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park KOA in Estes Park: This campground, open May 1 to Oct. 15, is located five miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. The campground features RV and tent sites and park model rentals. Onsite amenities include pancake breakfasts during the summer months and a free shuttle into town.
Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Estes Park: This campground, open March 12 to Oct. 3, offers RV sites, park model RV rentals and an RV rental. Amenities include a 9 hole miniature golf course, gagaball, a mining sluice, a jump pad and a heated swimming pool. The park also offers organized family activities and themed weekends with Yogi Bear.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming and Montana
Yellowstone Park / West Gate KOA in West Yellowstone, Montana: This campground, open May 19 to Oct. 1, is only five miles from the entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Amenities include a miniature golf course and a heated indoor swimming pool.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Snake River Cabins and RV Village in Jackson: In addition to providing RV and tent sites and park model accommodations, this campground can arrange horseback rides and river rafting trips on the Snake River. The park is 17 miles from Grand Teton National Park.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Mountain Meadow RV Park in Hungry Horse: Located nine miles from Glacier National Park, this campground offers RV sites and RV rentals as well as rental accommodations. The campground is open May 1 to Oct. 1.
West Glacier KOA Resort in West Glacier: This campground, open May 1 to Oct. 15, features RV and tent sites and furnished park models. Amenities include the Lazy Bear Cafe, which provides hot breakfasts, pastries and an espresso bar, and the Fireside Grill, which has a dinner menu and bar. The campground also has an ice cream shop.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina
Pigeon Forge Landing in Pigeon Forge: This new RVC Outdoor Destinations resort opened in March of 2021 with 149 sites and 10 riverside tent camping sites. An additional 100 RV sites, five park models and two pickleball courts are expected to become available this summer. Amenities include a pool, hot tub, fitness room and sundry store. The campground is 32 miles from Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Townsend / Great Smokies KOA in Townsend: This campground, which is open all year, features RV and tent sites and park model rentals. Activities include wagon rides, an outdoor movie cinema and planned family activities. The campground is only 14 miles from Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Endless Caverns in New Market: This campground features a cave that guests can explore. Other amenities include a zero-entry swimming pool and a catch-and-release fishing pond. The campground is a 40-minute drive from Shenandoah National Park.
Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Luray: This campground is only five miles from Shenandoah National Park and features RV and tent sites as well as park model rentals. Attractions include swimming pools, waterslides and splashpads as well as a zipline, miniature golf and laser tag. The park also offers organized family activities and theme weekends with Yogi Bear.
Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite Lakes RV Resort in Groveland:
This campground features RV sites, park models and other rental accommodations. The campground is open year-round and is about 10 minutes from the Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite National Park and about an hour’s drive from Yosemite Valley, depending on traffic and weather conditions. The campground has frontage on the South Fork of the Tuolumne River. The campground is also next to a YARTS bus stop. So you can leave your camping equipment at the campground and make day trips into Yosemite Valley. Advance reservations through the YARTS website at https://yarts.com are recommended.
Yosemite Pines RV Resort and Family Lodging in Groveland: This campground not only has RV and tent sites, but retro brand Silver Beach and White Water travel trailers, which are manufactured to look like vintage trailers. The rental units typically come with refrigerators, microwave ovens, coffee pots and fresh linens. The campground is about an hour and 15 minutes from Yosemite Valley, depending on traffic and weather conditions.
Zion National Park, Utah
Zion River Resort in Virgin: This campground, located 20 minutes from Zion National Park, features RV and tent sites and rental cabins. Amenities include a swimming pool and playground. Educational programs and organized activities are also available.