How Much Does Camping Cost? By the Numbers
There is camping, and then there is camping. When considering the cost, there is an almost endless list of variables. You could camp for free by choosing pioneer camping, dispersed camping, boon docking or backcountry camping with no amenities or hookups, or you could spend a lot of dollars if you decide to go to an RV resort.
What are the factors that affect the cost of camping?
The first thing to consider is where you choose to camp. Will you go to a state park, a resort with a campsite, a county park, a private camp or a national park? Let’s look at some of the expenses that are often overlooked.
Booking fee: Many reservations for State Park and National Park campgrounds and other camp facilities carry an administrative fee for booking, which is not refundable. You could bypass the booking fee at campgrounds that offer first-come-first-served sites. You could arrive and wait for a spot to become available. This option is best taken by arriving mid-week when chances are higher to secure a site without a long wait.
Cancellation fees: This is mostly not considered because why would you make a reservation only to cancel it. However, life is full of unanticipated occurrences, some of which might leave you with no other option.
Entrance fee: Unless you have an annual pass that can give you access for the year, National Parks charge an entrance fee.
Season: All campgrounds have low and high seasons that affect the cost of campsites. While winter might be low season in most areas, the climate in Florida, for example, makes winter the high season for camping. Thus, camping in Florida in the winter might be a pricey affair.
The type of campsite is also a factor in the cost. Let’s explore that.
Camping in an RV Park
RV campsites have different prices for back-in and pull-through sites. Pull-through sites are typically larger than back-in sites. They make navigation easier because there’s no disconnection or tricky backing up involved.
Cement, gravel or grass surfaces also come at different prices. Cement campsites are typically more level than grass or gravel, and therefore more expensive.
So, what do you get for your money in an RV camping facility? You will have full hookups, including electricity, fresh water and toilets. However, some campgrounds offer W/E options for those with toilet facilities in their RVs, looking for water and electricity only.
Additional extra fees could apply for extra vehicles and extra people.
Importantly, note that if you choose to go to an RV Resort, you will pay significantly more for the luxuries they offer. Fees vary according to the season and location, such as expensive areas or oceanside.
Some private campgrounds have tent camping sites also. Pitching your tent could cost between $30 and $40, depending on the season. RV stands could range from $30 to $200, depending on the location and how luxurious they are.
Camping in a State Park
Did you know there are over 10,000 state parks across the country? They offer RV, primitive and tent camping.
Tent sites vary from $20 to $30 and slightly higher in peak season.
RV camping in State Parks costs between $30 and $45, with partial or complete hookups playing a role in the price. Areas are also factors, with some places on the East coast asking between $40 and $60.
State parks charge extra for more than six people (in most campgrounds). Each extra person will add from $2 to $5 to the total fee. If you bring an additional vehicle to the one hauling your RV, between $4 and $6 might be the extra charge.
In a nutshell
Do your research if you’re on a budget, and you’ll be sure to find an option with camping costs to suit your pocket.