RVing is a rich and rewarding way to travel, but a nagging fear of “bad” RV parks can hinder the experience. If you’re too afraid to visit bucket list destinations after learning bad things about nearby RV parks, you’re shortchanging yourself.
Before reaching a conclusion, take a minute to review our three RV trip planning tips to avoid bad RV parks and pick good, safe ones during your travels.
Research your options
Life before the Internet meant it was a total crapshoot to reserve campsites at unfamiliar parks. Thankfully today we have the power of social media and can read about recent customer experiences at places like RV LIFE Campgrounds and its accompanying Discussion Forum.
What makes this website better than competitors is that its reviews are moderated by actual human beings who can distinguish between real feedback and phony posts by hired help.
Read RV LIFE Campgrounds with a discerning eye:
- Look for reviewers with RVs similar to yours.
- Notice the post review dates.
- Consider feedback about amenities: which ones will you be using?
Talk to other RVers
After pinpointing a potential RV park candidate, talk to other RVers about your choice if you still have concerns. One of the best examples of a great park in a questionable location is the French Quarter RV Park in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Yes, the park is in a downtown area with crime statistics that rival most North American cities. But does that mean you shouldn’t stay there? Ask iRV2 Forum members in the Camping Locations, Plans & Trip Reports discussion area.
Further, always consider the pros and cons of when you’ll stay in a location like this. Big New Orleans events like Mardi Gras draw huge crowds before, during and after the celebration. More tourists could potentially increase the likelihood of being targeted by thieves. But then again, it could also mean more police officers will be on patrol.
The only way to find out is by talking to as many other visitors as it takes to make you feel comfortable about going there.
Use common sense
Urban areas aren’t always bad places to stay. If you yearn to experience cultural attractions in big cities, don’t let a fear of bad RV parks or local crime keep you from doing it.
Here’s an excellent example of how fear can keep some people from enjoying the great city of Chicago. In this iRV2 Forum Discussion, a member asks:
“Will be traveling up 65 from Indy to 294 north to north Milwaukee area. Looking for an overnight park on the south side of Chicago or even possibly on the south side of Milwaukee if we make it that far. Any suggestions will be appreciated as we don’t travel that way often in the MH.”
Based on the reaction of a few respondents (“Are you nuts?“), you might conclude that staying anywhere in or near Chicago is a bad idea. Ultimately, through comprehensive research, only you can decide how comfortable you are staying in unfamiliar areas.
When you do, just practice common sense city smarts so you don’t become a victim to crime, which caused this thread of discussion on iRV2.com regarding an RVer who was shot dead in Florida.
Practical crime prevention strategies include:
- Don’t open the door to strangers.
- Make your RV look occupied when away.
- Don’t show off valuable items.
- Take cabs if you feel unsafe.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Report suspicious activity
From Canada to Mexico and beyond, North America has many great destinations to visit. Don’t let an irrational fear of unfamiliar cultures or bad RV parks keep you from making the most of your RV. Practice common sense and the adventures are limitless.
See also: Keep Your RV From Being Stolen While You Are Away
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.
Réjean Tremblay says
We are planning to tour México starting 27 th, Jan 2018. Any suggestion where to camp near San Luis Potosi ?
On our way back, end of April, we plan to visit Aguascalientes and Zacatecas again any recommendation where to camp.
We travel in fithwheel and motorhome, both 40 feet and slides out.
Thank you for advice.
Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Pat Reed says
We stayed at the French Quarter RV Park in July 2017 and felt totally safe. When we left the RV park we took a cab that picked us up inside the gated park. It was a very nice facility, extremely clean with super helpful staff. In and out and parking were all easy with our 40′ Class A Diesel. We plan to stay there again as we enjoy New Orleans. You have to always be aware and cautious in any RV park and any city, but we absolutely found the French Quarter RV Park safe!
Marcel Ethier says
We always use RVParkReviews.com and RVParky.com. But we also look at the reviews carefully. Some reviews are based solely on pet comfort. We have no pets, so we disregard those reviews. Others rate an RV Park on a resort basis. This is not fair if you are only looking at a park for an overnight on the way to your destination. You have to look at the reviews with a grain of salt. As to destination parks, you read all the reviews as you will be staying there for several months. What are the amenities, management, size of lots, area, facilities, etc. We have rarely been disappointed in the choice of RV locations.
Frank Neidenbach says
Try T. J. Fuller State Park just south of Memphis. It’s in a terrible neighborhood but is very safe and secure. Like a wilderness in the middle of a city. Just minutes from downtown Memphis and Beale Street.
No sewer connections but does have a dump station.
Best news is that it is very inexpensive with big discounts for seniors and veterans.
We had a problem and had to leave early and they only charged for one additional day.
Will definately go back.
Get trained and licensed and carry a firearm.
The real problem with GOOD and BAD RV parks is that too many people who review these parks tend to LIE about their experiences and the quality of the RV Park. Some RV Park Owners even go as far to either Delete the information posted on their website (if they have one) or they change the postings to suit their needs and make them look good.
I have been in numerous RV parks (Good Sam etc.) Good Sam Ratings are high, so you think the RV Park is good. When in fact it is a REAL DUMP.
Another factor is FEES these parks charge. If you pay in advance, and have to leave in an Emergency, you will probably not get your FEES refunded. I just experienced this at a Park in South Carolina, near Savannah, GA.. During Hurricane IRMA we decided not to stay and headed out north. The RV Park would not give us a Refund on the remaining 2 days FEES. We will obviously never go there again.
Just some thoughts. People don’t always tell the truth in todays times.
Ellie Davis says
My family has been wanting to take an RV trip this summer and don’t know where the best places to camp are. Thank you for suggesting you talk to people with RV’s similar to yours when getting reviews. I’ll have to look into different parks and find some good ones for my family.
Rachel Frampton says
We are thinking of getting an RV and loved these ideas on how to avoid a bad RV park experience. I think you had some great points on looking at site reviews to see what other visitor’s experiences were like and to check what date the review was made to make sure it’s still relevant. We will have to look around for the best RV parks we want to visit while we travel.
Shayla Cademis says
Thanks for the tip about considering when you’ll be staying in a location and if there are any local events or festivals during that time. My husband and I bought an RV last summer and are hoping to utilize it more this year. We’re hoping to make a big cross-country trip so we can visit a lot of different areas we’ve never seen before. Hopefully we can find some great areas to camp.
Vivian Black says
You made a great point about using common sense and how you shouldn’t let the fear of bad parks or crime keep you from doing it. My husband and I are looking for an RV park to park in when we go traveling soon. We will keep these tips in mind as we search for a professional that can help us best.