Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

The Best National Parks for RV Camping in 2022

Truck Camping in Mammoth Lakes, California
Robson Hatsukami Morgan/Unsplash

For many Americans, 2020 fast became The Year of the RV Road Trip. Now, in 2022, recreational vehicles are more popular than ever before. Whether you’re a first-time RV buyer or a seasoned veteran, visiting the U.S. National Parks is a quintessential part of owning your own camper. But with more than 400 “units” in the National Park Service (NPS) system, how do you choose where to go next? These are the best National Parks in Spring for RV camping.

Joshua Tree National Park


Joshua Tree National Park in California
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Few National Parks boast the mythical and mystical quality of Joshua Tree. Massive boulder piles, bleached sand dunes, and Dr. Seussian yucca forests spread across hundreds of square miles of desert are an otherworldly sight to behold. The good news for RVers is that the majority of campgrounds near the park are RV-friendly. The key is to call ahead to confirm any maximum length restrictions before you arrive. Like many National Parks in the Western United States, there are plenty of free dispersed camping options on BLM land nearby.

Grand Canyon National Park


The Grand Canyon
David Ilécio / Pexels

Although it’s “only” the sixth most popular park in the NPS system, Grand Canyon National Park is arguably the most iconic. The views from virtually any roadside pull-out are nothing short of spectacular. Wide roads around the park also make for easy driving, especially for novice RV owners. There are just four developed campgrounds inside the park. But if you’re looking for creature comforts, Trailer Village is the only option with full RV hookups.

Yosemite National Park


Hiker at Half Dome in Yosemite National Park
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s California’s most iconic National Park, and with good reason. There are countless opportunities for hiking, world-class rock climbing, wildlife spotting, and nature photography, especially during the park’s exclusive annual Firefall event. There is, in fact, so much to see here that we recommend setting up your RV at a campground inside the park to experience as much as possible. Fortunately, there are a large number of campgrounds within the park boundaries. However, take note that none offer RV hookups. Tuolumne Meadows Campground is among the best options, but spaces fill up fast.

Kings Canyon National Park


Kings Canyon National Park
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This “little brother” to Yosemite has many of the same features — fantastic mountain views, pristine rivers, and groves of towering Sequoias — but with one-tenth of the visitors. For RVers who appreciate a little more solitude, this is a true not-so-hidden gem among California’s National Parks. It’s also a fantastic place for hiking, horseback riding, and spotting wildlife, including bears (don’t forget the bear spray!), cougars, rattlesnakes, and more. Plus, it’s easy to notch a two-for in your National Parks passport with Sequoia National Park immediately adjacent.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tennessee and North Carolina

Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This monster of the National Park system attracts more than 12 million visitors every year. That’s more than the next three most popular parks combined. With borders that stretch from Tennessee to North Carolina, there’s plenty of room and reasons for RVers to explore. Visitors will find opportunities for everything from history and auto tours to waterfall hikes and wildlife-watching. For campers, there are no less than ten campgrounds inside the park. However, only half of those accommodate RVs and are without hookups, so plan accordingly.

Yellowstone National Park

Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho


If there’s one park that ties Grand Canyon for “flagship” status among all U.S. National Parks, it has to be Yellowstone. It’s a massive expanse spread across 3,500 square miles — almost three times the size of Rhode Island. RV campers can spend weeks exploring here and never get bored. Beyond the iconic Old Faithful geyser, Yellowstone is home to four mountain ranges, numerous waterfalls, and more than 60 mammal species, including bison, timber wolves, lynxes, and grizzly bears.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park


Wrangell Mountains in Alaska
Image used with permission by copyright holder

For RVers looking to escape the maddening crowds, Alaska is home to the four largest parks in the National Park Service system. None holds a candle to the awe-inspiring size of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. At more than 13,000 square miles, it dwarfs the likes of the Grand Canyon. This is truly remote RV camping territory, as the park is home to some of the largest volcanoes and peaks in North America. More than a quarter of its land is covered in glaciers. For RVers of all stripes, from first-timers to experts, exploring this park is truly the trip of a lifetime.

As of early 2022, most parks within the National Park Service have reopened. Still, amid the ongoing pandemic, hours and COVID-related restrictions are regularly changing. It’s best to visit the official NPS website or call ahead to confirm before visiting. Whatever you do, don’t forget to come prepared with our top must-pack essentials for every RV owner.

Editors' Recommendations

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
A new study ranks the safest national parks to visit (Spoiler: Grand Canyon is pretty dangerous)
These are the safest national parks, according to a new study
a man standing on a stone pillar in Grand Canyon National Park

America's great nature, ranging from the most and least visited national parks, can take our breath away, stop us in our tracks, and remind us of the vast wildness of where we come from. While this unadulterated nature is certainly awe-inspiring, it can also be dangerous, especially if unprepared.
So, let's talk all about park safety. From seeing which parks are safest to explore to those that carry the most risk, you'll learn what you need to know to have a safe and enjoyable trip.

The safest parks for your next adventure
You may be wondering, what makes a park more secure than others? Firstly, the maintenance, signage, and accessibility features of a park have a big role to play in their safety. Staff is important as well, as having enough rangers to patrol and protect visitors can make a difference.
Statistics also allow us to get a deeper look at what parks are least likely to result in injury.
The scales measuring national park safety scores usually range from 0 to 10. A higher score means safer, while a lower score suggests higher risk.
With that said, here are the top three safest national parks based on comprehensive park data gathered and analyzed by KUHL:

Read more
Zion National Park: These are the best hotels in Springdale, Utah
These are your best options
Angels Landing in Zion National Park

Zion National Park is a hiker’s paradise, a rock climber’s playground, and a nature lover’s dream. With its towering red cliffs, emerald pools, and cascading waterfalls, Zion is one of the most popular national parks in the United States.

If you plan a trip to Zion, you must find a place to stay. Springdale, Utah, is the gateway to the park and home to various hotels. With so many options, it can be challenging to choose where to stay. 

Read more
Take a break at one of these U.S. National Parks this winter
From snowy vistas to winter sun and everything in-between, winter is a great time to explore U.S. National Parks

There's never really a bad time to visit one of the U.S. National Parks. At any time of the year, they have plenty to offer, but some parks can be inhospitable during the height of summer thanks to massive crowds and sky-high temperatures. Winter is an especially unique time of year to explore, with landscapes and wildlife changing and adapting to the season. With fewer vehicles on the road and fewer hikers on the trail, you can feel as though the whole park is yours when you visit during what most people — wrongly — call the off-season.

National Parks have something on offer for everyone, too. Whether you're looking for wildlife or hiking trails, opportunities for winter camping, or a sightseeing break to mix up your journey to or from a ski resort. There are over 60 national parks to choose from in the U.S. and reducing it down to just a few for winter has been no easy task, but these — we think — are the best national parks to visit in winter.

Read more