America's Best RV Parks
Hit the Open Road in a Recreational Vehicle
Video: The History of RVsLearn about the RV's evolution from small auto campers to luxury mobile homes.
VIDEO: History of the RV
The lure of the open road and the comforts of home come together when you're traveling in a recreational vehicle, or RV. But before you hit the road, there are a few things you should understand about RV parks.
Not all RV parks are created equal. Campers can find RV parks in state and national parks as well as privately owned campgrounds. And the quality varies from budget to swanky. Chain campgrounds like KOA and Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Campgrounds operate around the country and offer some continuity from site to site.
Mount RushmoreCompleted in 1941, Mount Rushmore is undoubtedly one of the most recognized memorials in South Dakota, and in the US. Each year, more than 3 million visitors come face-to-face with the likeness of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Plan a visit to Mount Rushmore in 2016 when it will celebrate its 75th anniversary. 960 1280
Badlands National ParkLocated 75 miles east of Rapid City, SD, Badlands National Park spans across 244,000 acres of prairie grassland, and boasts beautiful landscape views of unique and rugged geologic formations. Visitors from around the world visit the Badlands to camp, hike and view wildlife like bison, bighorn sheep and black-footed ferrets roaming throughout the park. 960 1280
Deadwood, SDOnce home to Wild West legends like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock, Deadwood, SD, was named a National Historic Landmark in 1961. Located in the northern Black Hills, visitors can experience the rich history of the Wild West at family-friendly museums and attractions, test their luck gambling at one of the casinos, or get a taste of South Dakota at Belle Joli or Schade Winery. 960 1280
Crazy Horse MemorialA short distance from Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial -- the world?s largest mountain carving -- stands as a tribute to Crazy Horse, a Lakota warrior and one of the most important Native American tribal leaders. Construction on the memorial began in 1948, and has been in progress since; once complete, it will stand 563 feet tall. Other attractions located at Crazy Horse Memorial include the Indian Museum of North America, a cultural center, restaurant and gift shop which showcase the culture, tradition and heritage of North American Indians. 960 1280
Custer State ParkSeventy-one thousand acres of breathtakingly beautiful scenery awaits the outdoorsy and adventurous at Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. From hiking and mountain biking to fishing and wildlife viewing, the park offers a little bit of everything for everyone. In addition to camping, the park offers a variety of accommodations, including the historic State Game Lodge and Blue Bell dude ranch. 960 1280
Custer State Park Buffalo RoundupEach September, thousands of people travel to Custer State Park to experience the annual Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup when a group of cowboys and cowgirls roundup and drive a herd of approximately 1,300 buffalo. After the roundup, grab a small bite to eat at the Dutch Oven or Chili Cook-off then stop by the Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival for arts and crafts vendors and entertainment. 960 1280
Minuteman Missile National Historic SiteNamed a National Historic Site in 1999, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site stands as an ongoing reminder of the Cold War Era. Learn about the history and significance of the Cold War and nuclear weapons development on a tour throughout the Minuteman Missile Silo launch facility and control room. 960 1280
Akela Spa of DeadwoodDesigned with luxury and serenity in mind, Akela Spa of Deadwood -- the area?s only destination spa -- uses Native American treatments to calm and soothe its guests. Book the spa?s signature massage, Akela Hante, which uses cedar oil -- a sacred element in the Native American culture -- to purify and heal your mind and body. 960 1280
The Midnight Star CasinoTest your luck at the Midnight Star casino. Situated in the heart of historic Deadwood, this casino is owned by actor Kevin Costner and includes a 2,500-square-foot casino floor with numerous slot machines and game tables. Afterwards, feed your appetite at Jake?s Fine Dining -- one of the best restaurants in South Dakota -- inside the casino. 960 1280
I-29 Cultural CorridorThe I-29 Cultural Corridor in east South Dakota features a variety of attractions including the South Dakota Art Museum, National Music Museum and Children?s Museum of South Dakota. 960 1280
Ingalls HomesteadExperience life on the prairie with a visit to Ingalls Homestead in De Smet, SD. This is where author Laura Ingalls Wilder once lived, and the inspiration began that sparked her popular Little House books. Travelers of all ages will enjoy an old-fashioned day on the prairie with a covered wagon ride, an authentic 1880s school session, pioneering activities and more. 960 1280
The Corn PalaceOpened in 1921, the Corn Palace -- the world?s only palace built entirely out of corn -- is a popular attraction visited by more than 500,000 people each year. Some visitors return to see the new theme of the mural on the outside of the palace, which changes annually. In addition to being a tourist attraction, the palace is used for a variety of events, including exhibits, performances and the annual Corn Palace Festival. 960 1280
National Music MuseumIt?s music to your ears. The National Music Museum, located at the University of South Dakota, features a collection of more than 15,000 musical instruments from various cultures and centuries. A designated ?Landmark of American Music,? the museum has one of the largest collections of its kind in the world, attracting thousands of visitors each year. 960 1280
Sturgis Motorcycle RallyGet ready to hit the pavement at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally -- one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world. Welcoming almost 400,000 bikers and biking enthusiasts each year, the 7-day rally takes place the 1st week of August in Sturgis, SD, and includes scenic drives, concerts, races and more. 960 1280
Tabor Czech DaysExperience the rich Czech culture of Tabor, SD, at the annual Tabor Czech Days celebration. The 3-day event includes music entertainment, dancing and traditional Czech cuisine, as well as parades and craft fairs that showcase the town?s heritage. 960 1280
Children’s Museum of South DakotaYou?ll find fun for the whole family at the Children?s Museum of South Dakota, located just off the I-29 corridor in Brookings, SD. Here, children?s minds will run wild as they sing, dance, craft and play throughout the museum?s 21,000-square-foot interactive exhibit space and 1.5-acre outdoor exhibit space. 960 1280
South Dakota's Must-See Attractions 16 Photos
Garden of Eden, Arches National ParkNear the center of Arches National Park you’ll find the Garden of Eden -- so named because its rocky shapes resemble flowers and trees. 960 1280
Wolfe Ranch CabinIn the late 1800s, a Civil War veteran named John Wesley Wolfe and his son built this 1-room cabin in what is now Arches National Park. For more than 10 years, Wolfe lived on this rugged ranch, where the area’s water and desert grassland were enough to sustain a few cattle. 960 1280
Fisher Towers, Colorado RiverRiver guide Arne Hultquist leads a whitewater rafting trip through the Fishers Tower section of the Colorado River. The area comprises a series of towers made of sandstone; they’re named after a miner who lived in the area in the 1880s. 960 1280
Matrimony SpringFill up at Matrimony Spring, a natural spring along Byway 128. Legend has it that anyone who drinks from the spring will continue to return to Moab. The water that issues forth begins its journey as snowmelt from the La Sal Mountains, 20 miles southeast of Moab. 960 1280
Moab: Red-Rock Wonderland 17 Photos
Big Bend National ParkBig Bend National Park is a paradise for stargazers. The park is so remote that light pollution is among the lowest in the entire US. Here, you can clearly see the Milky Way and a shooting star! Visit photographer Nick Parisse’s website to see more of his photos. 960 1280
Chisos MountainsHigh in the Chisos Mountains, a hiker surveys the land as he decides which trail to take. Big Bend is often referred to as “3 parks in one” because of its size and diverse environments -- mountains, desert and river. 960 1280
Rio GrandeA narrow stretch of the Rio Grande acts as a natural border between the US and Mexico. This view from Santa Elena Canyon, located in the southern region of the park, shows the US on the left and Mexico on the right. The Chisos Mountains are also visible in the distance. 960 1280
Guadalupe Mountains National ParkGuadalupe Mountains National Park is one of America’s least-visited parks. It’s hard to understand why with unobstructed views like this. 960 1280
Devil's Hall HikeThe spectacular hike into “Devil’s Hall” brings visitors around mountains and through a dry river channel. In an effort not to unnecessarily detract from the natural views, rock cairns act as trail markers. 960 1280
White Sands National MonumentWhite Sands National Monument offers visitors several recreational activities, including picnicking, hiking, camping, scenic drives and sledding. 960 1280
More rustic campgrounds may offer little more than a parking spot, while other spots offer facilities including water and electricity hook-ups. On the higher end, more luxurious sites offer RV visitors access to pools, restaurants, free WiFi and business facilities.
Intrepid travelers exploring the country in an RV will want to put on the brakes and stay for a while at these parks and campgrounds around the United States.
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Durango RV Resort (Red Bluff, California)
The Durango RV Resort is a high-end escape with 174 sites on the Sacramento River. All sites are equipped with Powerhouse Pedestals that provide electricity, high-speed WiFi and cable television. Meet fellow travelers by the pool, in the clubhouses or at the outdoor fireplaces. Pamper your pooch with a run at the 45-acre dog park followed by a scrub down at the self-serve automatic dog-washing station.
Boyd's Key West Campground (Key West, Florida)
Featuring oceanfront campsites located just a few minutes from the action of Key West, Boyd's is a great way to experience this favorite Florida hot spot. Boyd's boasts a pool and beach area as well as conveniences including bathrooms, a marina and free wireless internet. The camp has 250 sites and does get crowded, especially when all sites are reserved. But you can't beat the location which is just a few miles from the fun on Duvall Street and downtown Key West and easily accessible by city bus or cab.
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Horse Thief Lake Campground (Hill City, South Dakota)
Horse Thief Lake is a no-frills, family-owned campground with rustic charm and a convenient location near many of South Dakota's natural wonders. Buffalo roam in nearby Custer State Park and herds of wild mustang run through the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. Mt. Rushmore is just 12 miles away while Crazy Horse Mountain and the Mammoth site are a short drive. The campground itself is a quiet respite from the nearby activity and offers fire rings at each site, a shop for basic goods and a small heated pool.
Rivers Edge RV Park (Fairbanks, Alaska)
Sleep under the midnight sun in this well-appointed RV park in Fairbanks. There are 190 sites, but the resort maintains a peaceful vibe with plenty of room for guests to spread out. There's a network of walking and biking trails to stretch your legs and the resort's restaurant, Chena's, serves 3 square meals a day. When you're ready to explore Fairbanks, there's no need to unhook the RV. Hop on a shuttle bus to nearby attractions including the Riverboat Discovery cruise, Pioneer Park, the Trans Alaska Pipeline and the historic downtown area.
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Zion River Resort (Virgin, Utah)
Just 13 miles from the south entrance to Zion National Park, the Zion River Resort is popular with tourists and snowbirds who put down more permanent roots in the winter. This RV resort has full hook-ups, concrete parking pads, grills and free WiFi. After exploring the red sandstone cliffs at Utah's first national park, you can also use this campground as a base for day-trips to explore Bryce Canyon National Park and the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
Yosemite Pines RV Park (Yosemite, California)
While there's RV camping available inside Yosemite National Park, the campgrounds are primitive, with no hook-ups. If you're looking for more amenities, the best option is to set up camp outside of the park. Yosemite Pines RV Park is just 22 miles from the park and offers premium pull-through and back-in sites. This family-friendly resort has a gold mine where kids can pan for gold and a petting farm with alpacas.
The Shady Dell RV Park (Bisbee, Arizona)
Shady Dell is an RV Park with a twist -- if you can't bring your own RV to this corner of southern Arizona, you can find one here. This resort is home to 9 lovingly restored antique trailers. These charming stationary trailers include a 1949 vintage Airstream, a 1947 Tiki bus alongside an outrigger tiki bar and the fancy-pants 1951 Royal Mansion complete with a full-sized bed, breakfast nook, private bathroom and leopard carpet. Dot's Diner is a classic greasy spoon that serves homemade breakfast and lunch. A limited number of spots are available to park your RV if you're on the road and in the mood for some classic kitsch.