Unique Campgrounds Across the Country
Jeff Crider shares some of the country's most unique campgrounds in the USA.
As many RVers will attest, the most memorable camping experiences involve much more than simply finding a scenic or peaceful place to spend the night.
In fact, many of America’s campgrounds not only serve as base camps for the full range of outdoor activities, but offer their own mix of activities and entertainment for campers of every age group.
To kickstart your vacation planning, here’s a sampling of 17 unique campgrounds across the country that offer extraordinary settings, amenities, activities and attractions that just might help you create some of your most memorable RV trips!
This unique campground on Lake Ontario offers its guests the ability to watch either the sunrise or the sunset over the water, depending on which campsites they reserve. A narrow road built on rock pilings leads to the 65-acre campground, which offers over 300 RV sites, many of which have waterfront views of Lake Ontario. The campground also has several waterfront cottages, cabins and a few tent sites as well as a 68-slip marina and boat launch. Guests can schedule excursions on the park’s on-site fishing charter or take advantage of boat and kayak rentals. The park also has an onsite restaurant. During the first half of the 20th century, the island was used as a retreat center for corporate executives of General Electric and its predecessor companies. It was later used as a YMCA summer camp and an Olympic sailing center before becoming a private campground.
Although Eric and Pat Kosalka built this campground 25 years ago, in 1997, the forested, waterfront land where they built their campground has been in Eric’s family since 1650, making it one of the oldest privately owned campground properties in the United States. The scenic campground, which looks like a state park, offers spacious RV and tent sites as well as park model RV rentals. The campground also has a few waterfront RV sites.
This park, located just one hour from New York City, has a wolf preserve on-site with 25 arctic and gray wolves, so you can literally hear them howl at night. Deer and bear sightings are also common here. The campground has RV sites as well as remote tent sites along with a modern restroom facility and camp store.
Attractions at this campground include a giant swing and a mechanical bull. The campground also offers many other attractions, including miniature golf, swimming, nature trails, crazy bikes, and a mining sluice.
This RV park has partnered with fishing charters so that they can offer their guests unique activities, including “ladies only” deep sea fishing excursions, father-and-son trips, girls weekends out, and other excursions. Each RV site at this park is large enough to accommodate an RV, plus a boat or another vehicle. The park also has a nine-slip marina and a boat launch. A seafood market is also located right next door to the park, so guests can pick up fresh seafood to complement whatever seafood they can catch on their own.
Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson built this campground in 1970 along with their five daughters. The park opened on July 2, 1971, with 30 campsites and one bathhouse. Today, Ocean Lakes is still owned and operated by the Jackson family and the park has grown to become one of the largest RV resorts in the country with 859 campsites and 2,569 annual lease sites on 310 oceanfront acres with nearly one mile of beachfront.
The resort complements its beachfront RV and tent sites with more than 300 rental accommodations, including one- and two-story beach houses on stilts that sleep up to 20 guests. Summer activities include family ceramics classes, tie-dye, scavenger hunts, fishing tournaments in the surf for all ages as well as miniature golf tournaments for adults and children. The campground also has an onsite Nature Center Discovery Lab.
The park, the southernmost campground on the East Coast, was established by two Canadian immigrants, Boyd and Elsie Hamilton, in 1963. Three generations of the Boyd family have since been involved in running the campground, which offers waterfront campsites as well as a swimming pool, a tiki hut, a game room, a boat ramp, as well as kayak and paddleboard rentals.
The main attraction at this unique campground is its llama farm and the opportunities park owners Jerry and Carolyn Ayers provide their campers to interact with the animals, whether it’s hiking with them on “Storytelling Llama Treks” or learning how to spin yarn and weave using wool from the llama. The campground also has an organic garden and guests are welcome to pick their own produce and gather eggs in the morning. The 34-site park is designed for RVs only. Chuckey is only 15 miles from historic Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town, which promotes itself as “The Storytelling Capital of the World” with an annual storytelling festival in October as well as other special events throughout the year.
The RV park portion of this resort is part of a resort complex that includes an 18-hole golf course, an onsite bistro/grill, and wine bar as well as unique activities, which include murder mystery weekends that they sell as a package with gourmet dinners. There is also a herd of elk on-site and they take people out to see the elk in horse-drawn carriages. The RV park portion of the resort is nice with big sites.
At 10,000 feet, this campground has the distinction of being the highest KOA campground in the world. That high altitude means chilly nights and a short camping season. The campground is only open from May 25 to Oct. 2. But there’s plenty to do here. In addition to hiking and fishing with spectacular mountain scenery, campers can explore Cripple Creek’s gold mining history by taking local ghost walk and history tours, visiting the Cripple Creek Historical Museum, the Outlaws, and Lawmen Jail Museum, and riding the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad.
This 8,800-foot campground offers RV sites as well as furnished Conestoga wagons, cedar sided and log cabin rentals. Onsite activities include horse and pony rides and wildlife viewing opportunities. It’s likely you’ll spot some moose, elk, fox, coyotes, bears, and many types of birds that make the area their home. The campground also has its own animal farm, which often features piglets, bunnies, chicks, baby goats, and calves.
This resort complements its RV and tent sites with a variety of cabins and other rental accommodations, including glamping tents with king-size beds, French doors, and wooden floors. An onsite activity center offers whitewater rafting, zip-lining, a high ropes course, and kayaking.
Adventuresome guests at this campground can slide down 65-foot-tall waterslides, including two 350-foot-long tubular waterslides. The slides are located at Pirate’s Cove, a popular 26,000-square-foot water play park with interactive water features and a lazy river that is right next door to the campground. Both the campground and water play park are owned and operated by the same family. Of course, the main attractions at the North Texas Jellystone Park are the organized family activities and themed weekends with Yogi Bear, which help families create unique memories. Activities across Jellystone Parks include arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, face painting, jumping pillows, gem mining as well as plentiful interactions with the bears.
This 100-site campground features ocean views and access to the beach. Campsites range from RV sites to car camping sites and bike-in or hike-in tent camping sites. The park also offers beach cottages. Plans are also in the works to build an onsite cafe.
This campground offers guided horseback riding trips. Amenities include bike trails, miniature golf, nature hiking trails, plus an onsite restaurant and clubhouse. Camping options range from RV and tent site rentals as well as park model RVs. The resort also offers horse camping sites for campers who bring their horses with them. The resort also has several covered wagon rentals, which are arranged in a circle around a campfire pit.
Amenities at this resort include two swimming pools and two Jacuzzis, multiple off-leash dog runs, walking trails, a wellness center, and a wine bar and bistro that features stone-fired gourmet pizza. The resort also offers a splash pad and playground for children, and outdoor games for adults and children, including a bocce ball court, as well as a kids camp. The resort also has a large banquet facility designed for weddings, reunions, and other large gatherings. The park also has rental accommodations.
Sun Communities plans to open this new San Diego area resort in spring with 197 RV sites with spacious patios, picnic tables, and landscaping and 49 fully furnished park model rentals. The resort also features an on-site restaurant, pool with cabanas and splash pad, poolside movie screen, jacuzzi spa, poolside lounge and grill, and an indoor/outdoor fitness center.
Although these are just a few of the thousands of awesome campgrounds around the USA, hopefully this helped inspire your next RV vacation. To help find more campgrounds near you, check out the find a campground tool on our website. Happy RVing!