Visiting National Parks is popular among RVers. Many have campgrounds where you can stay to get the most out of the parks.
But not all are worth an overnight stop. In this article, we expose the six worst national park campgrounds in the U.S.
Camping at a National Park Can Be Great
Camping at a National Park can be a great experience. You have the benefit of being close to trails and all of the beauty of the park.
After you’ve explored a National Park for a day, it’s nice to skip a long drive and instead be close to your RV to rest up. Some campgrounds have modern amenities, but there are also many in the National Parks that are rustic.
Getting into a National Park campground can be challenging, as they’re popular, and people book in advance. So if you want to land a campsite, make a reservation early in the booking window. Or you can consider visiting during the off-season. Non-peak camping is less crowded.
The 6 Worst National Park Campgrounds
While we recommend staying in National Park campgrounds if you have the opportunity, not all are the same. Here are six to avoid.
#1 Zion South Campground
Address: Dalton Wash Rd., Virgin, UT 84779
About: South Campground in Zion National Park has 117 reservable campsites. There are no hookups on the sites, but there are picnic tables and fire rings. The campground has a dump station and potable water available.
What Makes It the Worst: It’s tight and noisy. Zion’s South Campground has tiny sites that are close together. And it’s right next to the road, so the sound of traffic is constant.
#2 Hodgdon Meadow Campground
Address: Big Oak Flat Rd., Groveland, CA 95321
About: Hodgdon Meadow Campground in Yosemite National Park has campsites for RVs up to 35 feet long. All sites are without hookups. There are food storage lockers in the campground and potable water, but no dump station.
What Makes It the Worst: Campsites are unlevel and small. They’re also very close together. Campers also have reported that the bathrooms are unclean and need renovations.
#3 Midnight Sun RV & Campground
Address: 248.5 Parks Hwy., Healy, AK 99743
About: Midnight Sun RV & Campground is 10 miles from Denali National Park. It has 26 full hookup RV sites and some pull-through sites. In addition, the campground has a dump station, showers, and a laundry facility.
What Makes It the Worst: The campground gets an overall “poor” rating from campers. There’s a lack of information and site maps, making it challenging to check in and maneuver around the park. Loud noise levels in the campground also seem to go unchecked.
#4 Yellowstone River RV Resort & Campground
Address: 309 Garden Ave., Billings, MT 59101
About: Yellowstone River RV Resort & Campground has a pool, spa, and laundry facilities. You can also fish at the campground, and there are other activities. The RV sites are full hookups, and there are some pull-throughs available.
What Makes It the Worst: The campground gets horrible reviews due to the alleged poor management. Campers complain of reservation mistakes and lack of communication. The campsites are also close together, and the park has an overcrowded feel.
#5 Denali National Park Campground
About: There are six campgrounds in Denali National Park. Options include tent and RV campsites. We highly recommend making reservations for a campground in Denali. Riley Creek Campground is open year-round, but the other five are only open in the summer.
What Makes It the Worst: While camping in Denali National Park is a dream come true for many, it may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Some of the campgrounds themselves are great but camping on the cold permafrost is a different story. Particularly if you’re tent camping. No matter the time of year you camp in Alaska, the ground is likely to be cold. Keep this in mind when planning your stay in Denali.
#6 Sunset Campground
Address: Bryce Canyon City, UT 84764
About: Sunset Campground in Bryce Canyon has 50 RV sites. There are no hookups, but potable water is available in the campground. In addition, the campground has a dump station, laundry facilities, a camp store, and portable toilets.
What Makes It the Worst: The sites are close together like a parking lot, and there’s no shade or protection from the wind. As a result, campers tend to complain of the wind at Sunset Campground keeping them up at night. It’s also right next to the main road, making it noisy due to the traffic. In addition, there are no picnic tables, fire pits, or BBQs.
Is Staying at a National Park Worth It?
Except for some subpar campgrounds, we still think it’s worth staying at a National Park. The access you have when staying close to the action can enhance your experience.
Visiting National Parks can be tiring, especially if you stay active all day, so the ability to go a short distance back to your RV is a relief. And most of all, you get to enjoy the wonder of the National Park 24/7. Which National Park campgrounds have you stayed in?
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