Exploring the Differences Between an RV Park and an RV Resort: Which Is Right for You?

With the rising popularity of RV travel, more and more individuals and families are embracing the freedom of the open road. However, choosing the right accommodation is crucial to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable journey.
Hilton Head National RV resort picture

Two common options for RV enthusiasts are RV parks and RV resorts. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the defining characteristics, amenities, pricing, locations of RV parks and RV resorts, and other factors to consider. By understanding these differences, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your preferences and needs.

Definition and Characteristics of an RV Park

An RV park, also known as a campground or RV campground, is a designated area where RV travelers can park their vehicles and set up temporary camps. These parks typically offer a range of amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. Basic amenities such as water, electricity, and sewer hookups are available at each campsite. RV parks often provide varying site sizes to accommodate different lengths of recreational vehicles. In terms of facilities, most RV parks offer restroom and shower facilities, laundry areas, and communal spaces for socializing.

The primary focus of RV parks is affordability and convenience for short-term stays. They are popular among families and budget-conscious travelers who are looking for a place to park their RV while exploring nearby attractions. RV parks are usually strategically located near tourist destinations, national parks, or other natural wonders, allowing visitors easy access to explore the surrounding area. While recreational facilities in RV parks may be more limited compared to resorts, they often provide picnic areas, playgrounds, and sometimes even hiking trails.

Definition and Characteristics of an RV Resort

An RV resort is the epitome of luxury and comfort for RV travelers. They offer a wide array of amenities and services that go above and beyond what you would typically find at an RV park. In addition to the standard water, electricity, and sewer hookups, RV resorts boast a range of upscale features. These can include swimming pools, hot tubs, fitness centers, spas, restaurants, and bars. Many of them also provide recreational facilities such as tennis or basketball courts, golf courses, and organized activities for guests.

The landscaping and aesthetics are meticulously maintained to create a resort-like atmosphere. Beautifully manicured lawns, lush gardens, and well-appointed common areas contribute to a sense of luxury and relaxation. They provide an environment where guests can enjoy a wide range of leisure activities and entertainment options without leaving the premises. Some RV resorts even offer concierge services, ensuring that every guest’s needs are met with utmost care.

Differences in Pricing and Cost

Pricing is a significant factor that sets RV parks and RV resorts apart. RV parks generally have more affordable rates compared to RV resorts. This pricing difference stems from the varying amenities and services offered. RV parks focus on providing essential facilities and services at a lower cost, making them an ideal choice for budget-conscious travelers or those planning shorter stays.

On the other hand, RV resorts offer a luxurious experience and a wide range of high-end amenities. As a result, their pricing tends to be higher. Guests pay for the added convenience, comfort, and enhanced recreational options available at these resorts. Additionally, location and demand play a role in the cost variation, with resort-style accommodations in popular tourist destinations often commanding higher rates.

Location and Setting

The location and setting of an RV park or resort can significantly impact the overall experience. RV parks are typically situated in areas close to tourist destinations, national parks, or other points of interest. This makes them an excellent choice for travelers who wish to explore the surrounding attractions. RV parks can be found in diverse settings, ranging from picturesque mountainous regions to coastal areas with stunning beachfront views. Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the scenic backdrops and easy access to hiking trails, fishing spots, and other outdoor activities.

In contrast, RV resorts are often located in scenic and well-maintained environments. These resorts offer a serene and picturesque atmosphere, often with meticulously landscaped grounds and serene surroundings. RV resorts aim to create an idyllic retreat where guests can relax and rejuvenate without leaving the premises. Whether it’s a peaceful lakefront setting or a stunning mountain backdrop, RV resorts provide an environment where guests can immerse themselves in tranquility and enjoy a luxurious vacation experience.

Factors to Consider in Choosing Between an RV Park and an RV Resort

First and foremost, budget considerations are essential. RV parks generally offer more affordable rates compared to RV resorts. If you’re on a tight budget or prefer to allocate your funds towards other aspects of your trip, such as attractions or dining, an RV park may be the ideal option. However, if you’re willing to splurge for a more luxurious experience and have financial flexibility, an RV resort can provide a range of upscale amenities and services.

It’s crucial to consider your preferences and expectations for your RV vacation. Reflect on what matters most to you. If you prefer a simple and cost-effective option, an RV park may be the best fit. RV parks provide essential amenities, a communal atmosphere, and proximity to attractions or natural wonders. On the other hand, if you’re seeking a more upscale and luxurious experience, an RV resort can offer a wide array of amenities, such as swimming pools, spas, and fine dining options.

The duration of your stay is another factor to consider. If you’re planning a shorter stay or a brief visit to a particular location, an RV park may be sufficient. However, if you’re looking for a more extended stay or an extended vacation, an RV resort may be more appealing. Resorts often provide additional services and recreational facilities that can keep you entertained and comfortable throughout your extended stay.

Ultimately, the choice between an RV park and an RV resort boils down to your budget, preferences, and length of stay. By carefully considering these factors, you can select the option that aligns with your needs and ensures a memorable and enjoyable RV vacation. Remember, whether you choose the simplicity of an RV park or the indulgence of an RV resort, the key is to have an amazing experience and create lasting memories on the open road.


As you embark on your RV adventure, understanding the differences between RV parks and RV resorts is essential. RV parks offer affordability, convenience, and proximity to attractions, making them an ideal choice for families and budget-conscious travelers. RV resorts, on the other hand, provide a luxury experience with upscale amenities and a resort-like environment, catering to those seeking a more indulgent and extended stay.

By considering your preferences, budget, desired experience, and the location that aligns with your travel plans, you can make an informed decision. Whether you choose an RV park or an RV resort, both options offer unique advantages that enhance your RV journey. As the RV industry continues to evolve, new trends and developments will shape the future of RV parks and resorts, providing even more options for travelers seeking memorable experiences on the open road.

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