National parks saw more visitors this year than any other since park officials started keeping records in 1979. In April, Yellowstone set visitor records. In June, Zion National Park set a new record for the most visitors in a single month, while several others had their busiest June on record. Grand Teton National Park had its busiest month in July. All this to say, national parks are as popular as ever.
RVshare — the largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace in the world — recently released its 2022 Travel Trend Report, which established that national parks are still at the top of travelers’ lists for the coming year. The report also found that those travelers are likely to stay in an RV. In fact, 56 percent said they are “most likely” to find an RV appealing for trips to national parks and scenic areas. Eighty-five percent of travelers say they would be “at least somewhat likely” to choose an RV over other accommodation options,” including 26 percent who say they’d be 100 percent likely to do so.
The report also revealed the top six national parks in the country according to RV renters, which we’ll get into below. Keep in mind that campgrounds at national parks tend to book up well in advance. Reservations are recommended if not required. No RV? No problem — our friends at RVshare can get you set up with the perfect one for your needs. Heck, they’ll even deliver it for you! Study campground maps beforehand, because the size of the RV may affect where you can camp. Half of the RV rentals on the site are pet-friendly; just be sure that the national park campground allows pets before bringing your furry friend along.
1. Yellowstone National Park
From hiking to gawking at Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park offers many things to see and do. The first designated national park in the U.S. celebrates its 150 year anniversary in 2022. It’s sure to be packed this summer, but the park is also lovely in the fall and winter.
Yellowstone has 12 campgrounds with over 2,000 sites, including Mammoth, Norris, Pebble Creek, Slough Creek, and Fishing Bridge RV Park. At an elevation of 7,800 feet, Fishing Bridge RV Park sits near the Yellowstone River. It’s the only campground in the park that has water, sewer, and electrical hookups. The campground was closed in 2021 but is re-opening in May 2022. You can make reservations here.
2. Grand Canyon National Park
Whether enjoying a romantic weekend, hiking, or viewing the golden aspens on the North Rim in the fall, Grand Canyon National Park always makes for a fabulous getaway. You can even hike from rim to rim.
RVshare has narrowed down the top 10 campgrounds and RV parks within the national park. To help you decide which rim to camp on, check out our article on the South Rim vs. North Rim. Located in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim, Trailer Village is a concessioner-operated RV park, which means it is operated by a private company instead of the National Park Service. It has full hookups and is open year-round. If you plan on going to Grand Canyon National Park, read up on these ranger tips for visiting.
3. Zion National Park
From its famous Angels Landing to The Narrows trails, hikers, climbers, and bikers are attracted to Zion National Park’s red sandstone canyons and peaks. Boaters and kayakers are drawn to the Virgin River that cuts through the park.
Zion is one of Utah’s national parks you simply must see in an RV. Its campgrounds are one of the best places to stay. To be in the middle of everything the park has to offer, such as Night Sky programs hosted by Park Rangers, stay inside the park at the South Campground (117 sites, no hookups) or the Watchman Campground (190 sites, water and electric). But first, read up on How To Plan A Trip To Utah’s National Parks.
4. Arches National Park
Arches National Park is the perfect place to kickoff an RV trip through the southwest as it lies about 35 miles away from its fellow picturesque park, Canyonlands National Park in eastern Utah. The park boasts the largest concentration of natural sandstone arches in the country, including Delicate Arch, which you may have spotted on Utah license plates. The best way to view its thousands of sandstone arches, hundreds of looming rock pillars, funky buttes, and striking cliffs is by taking a hike.
This is a very popular recreation destination from March through October, so plan ahead, be prepared for lots of traffic, and have backup plans in mind. There is one campground in the park that is always full, but there are also plenty of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands and BLM-developed campgrounds in the area as well as at Dead Horse Point State Park in the Moab area. Sara Broers recommends staying at the nearby Moab Valley RV Resort & Campground. Review our ranger tips before you visit.
5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
One of our travel experts’ favorite national parks, Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited in the United States, with more than 10 million guests every year. Spanning a mountain range and bleeding into two states, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Part of the world-famous Appalachian Trail also winds its way through the park, which features more than 850 miles of beautiful hiking trails. It is a lovely area to visit, especially in the fall or during the holidays, and there are several campgrounds to choose from.
6. Glacier National Park
Home to Going-To-The-Sun Road, Glacier National Park is another national park you simply must see in an RV. With over 730 miles of trails, it’s also great for hiking. Among its fantastic hikes is one of its most popular, the Highline Trail. Can’t decide between East Glacier and West Glacier? See our article on East Glacier Vs. West Glacier: 6 Key Things To Know.
Glacier has 13 campgrounds and over 1,000 front-country campsites. Three campgrounds allow reservations for individual sites, and Apgar Campground takes reservations for five group sites. However, do note that these campsites are for boondocking only. Utility hookups are not provided, and connection to water, sewer, or electrical outlets is prohibited.