Congratulations, you just bought a brand new RV. Now all you need to do is figure out where you can park it. There are plenty of RV campgrounds scattered across the country that’ll put you up for days or weeks on end. But how much will staying at these RV parks cost you in the long run?
How much do RV campgrounds cost on average?
According to Camper Report, the average cost per night to stay at an RV park is $45. Though, prices will vary depending on the amenities provided and the general location. For example, an RV campground near a beach in Florida will be more expensive than one in the middle of nowhere Maine (I hear it gets pretty cold up there).
And speaking of weather, the time of year also influences how expensive RV parks can get. Typically, campgrounds will charge you less money to stay in the fall or winter, and more money to stay in the spring or summer. There are some exceptions, where campgrounds have a flat nightly fee all year long. But considering most people don’t go on fall or winter RV adventures, it makes sense.
Different RV parks provide different amenities and utilities. If you want the works, consider staying at a Kampground of America location. These RV parks tend to have clean showers and bathrooms, full hookups at every site, and if you’re willing to splurge, private cabins. They’re incredibly luxurious, and cost around $50 or $60 a night, depending on how far ahead you book.
But there are cheaper ways to find campsites by using your smartphone, and apps that’ll connect you to hosts all year round for a very low fee.
There are resources that make finding parking spots cheaper
The two big players, both created by the RV legend Marriane Edwards, are Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. They follow the same structure, with a few key differences. But the gist of it is that, for just one yearly fee, you have access to hundreds of RV campgrounds across the country. There are, however, a few sacrifices you’ll have to make.
The sites listed on both Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts don’t provide hookups, such as electricity or water. That means your RV must be fully enclosed, so no camper vans without a bathroom and shower. Likewise, these sites don’t often allow for extended stays. Typically, 24 hours is all the time you’ll have before you’re asked to pack up and leave.
That said, each site has its benefits. Harvest Hosts connects you with wineries and farmers who provide parking spaces and unique experiences. And it costs just $99 a year. The only thing you’re encouraged to do is purchase some of their product, in order to support the farm and people putting you up for the night.
Boondockers Welcome is even cheaper, with a yearly fee of just $50. But you don’t get amenities or farm-fresh food. Instead, you’re living on the land. No hookups or cable, just you, your RV, and the woods surrounding you. If you have a large plot of land, you can put it up on the Boondockers Welcome database, and get 50% off your yearly membership.
But if you’re looking to stay at RV parks for an extended period of time, or need a spot like KOA that provides showers, toilets, and hookups, then these apps might not be the best option. But does staying at a traditional RV park cost less than staying at a regular hotel?
Is living in RV parks full-time really cheaper than staying in a hotel?
People often think RV life is cheap, but there are many hidden costs you’ll have to account for. However, let’s do some basic math. According to Statistica, the average hotel cost per night is about $90. And as previously mentioned, the average RV cost is $45. So on the surface, it’s cheaper, but let’s look a little closer.
In order to go RVing, you need an RV. And the cheapest new RV you can get is around $90,000 MSRP, and the cheapest Class B camper van is around $70,000. So let’s say you buy the cheap camper van. That’s an extra $191 a night, because, without the camper van, you can’t stay at the campsite.
Provided, there are places you can stay for free, and you could also invest in a cheaper RV. Though, in order to match the yearly price of staying at the average hotel, you could only buy an RV worth $16,000. And again, this doesn’t include gas, hookups, and food. This is just rough paper napkin math.
But you’d be making unforgettable memories, especially if you go RVing with friends. So, if you’re considering buying an RV, or already have one, plan your trip using these average RV campground costs. After all, there are plenty of places across the country for you to explore that won’t break the bank.