Eco-Friendly Campgrounds to Book Your Next Green Stay

Eco-friendly campgrounds aim to avoid environmental harm by implementing renewable energy power sources, promoting various recycling programs, minimizing water usage, and using other sustainable practices.

How to find Eco-Friendly Campgrounds

Check for campgrounds acknowledged by KOA’s Kamp Green certification or the ARVC’s Plan-It Green Friendly Park program. These initiatives certify campgrounds that meet certain sustainable standards.

ARVC requires campgrounds to practice at least nine of its 16 sustainable initiatives, while KOA’s Kamp Green runs on points. A campground needs 29 points for consideration.

KOA also leads the campground community with its Campground of the Future project. The program anticipates what practices need to be implemented by 2030 as well as how campgrounds can better integrate nature into the camping experience.

These eco-friendly campgrounds in the U.S. are actively working to implement environmentally-friendly best practices into their operations:

RV parked in a large gravel lot in the desert with white cap mountains in the horizon.
ACT Campground | Moab, UT – Photo by: Blake & Chelsea

ACT Campground, Moab, Utah

  • Number of Sites: 21
  • Pad Type: Gravel
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Tent Sites: Yes
  • Open: March to November

Moab’s sandstone and the La Sal Mountains curtain ACT Campground. In addition to the views and the nearby mountain biking, climbing, and Arches National Park, this campground is a “green-integrated camp park”.

The grounds were built using recycled materials and utilizing eco-friendly energy systems. ACT is also trying to integrate other environmentally-friendly concepts, like solar power and water conservation. Campers can expect full hookups, full-service bathrooms, laundry, and WiFi.

Concrete patio pads next to gravel RV site at a campground.
Herkimer Diamond KOA | Herkimer, NY – Photo by: Mick & Karla

Herkimer Diamond KOA, Herkimer, New York

  • Number of Sites: 117
  • Pad Type: Mixed
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Tent Sites: Yes
  • Open: April to October

Herkimer Diamond KOA is home to tent sites, RV hookups, and unique green accommodations.

Its windmill lodge and “Solar Kolony” use wind and solar energy to decrease their carbon footprint. The campground also has an organic garden.

While Herkimer Diamond KOA is situated in quaint central New York along West Canada Creek, the woodsy campground is rife with activity. From a swimming pool to mining for diamonds, this location also offers full hookups, WiFi, laundry, full-service bathrooms, and a general store.

Lake with cabins and RVs along the far side of the shore.
Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve | Santee, CA – Photo by: Kate at The Scenic Route

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve, Santee, California

  • Number of Sites: 300
  • Pad Type: Mixed
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Tent Sites: Yes
  • Open: Year-round

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve’s motto is “sustainable recreation from recycled water.” Every day the recreation area recycles 2 million gallons of water in an effort to protect the Pacific Ocean from sewage.

The campground offers full hookups, full-service restrooms, WiFi, and various water activities. Located near San Diego, Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve merges the outdoors and city life for a mix of activity offerings.

Rows of RV at an RV park right by the ocean.
Ocean Lakes Family Campground | Myrtle Beach, SC – Photo by: sowickesited

Ocean Lakes Family Campground, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

  • Number of Sites: 859
  • Pad Type: Concrete
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Tent Sites: Yes
  • Open: Year-round

Situated on Myrtle Beach, this campground started with 30 sites in 1970 and now has 859 sites. As one of the largest campgrounds in the U.S., Ocean Lakes Family Campground is a mecca for activity. It offers full hookups, WiFi, laundry, full-service restrooms, and an onsite swimming pool.

With a large campground comes more responsibility and Ocean Lakes takes its environmental footprint seriously with the iCare program, with a focus on recycling. “During 2010, guests and teammates recycled more than 59,000 pounds of solid waste, and by February 2019 guests have recycled more than 1.6 million pounds,” according to the website. The campground also creates awareness through activities at its Leonard Raker Nature Center Discovery Lab.

Don’t forget to rent a bike and explore the surrounding area.

Picnic table on a concrete patio under the trees with RVs in the background.
Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest | Harrisville, PA – Photo by: Kathy

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest, Harrisville, Pennsylvania

  • Number of Sites: 173
  • Pad Type: Gravel
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Tent Sites: Yes
  • Open: April to October

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest is an ARVC-accredited campground and the first Plan-It Green Friendly Park in Pennsylvania. The campground features energy-efficient toilets, low-energy heat sources, and a solar-heated pool.

In addition to the eco-friendly initiatives, it’s also a kid-friendly campground with mini-golf, playgrounds, and laser tag. The campground is equipped with alternative accommodations (including yurts and glamping tents), full hookups, full-service restrooms, laundry, WiFi, dining options, and a dog park.

Surrounding Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest is McConnells Mill State Park, Clear Creek State Forest, and the city of Pittsburgh.

Dirt rural road leading through the woods filled with yellow fall colors.

Cooperstown Beaver Valley, Cooperstown, New York

  • Pad Type: Mixed
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Tent Sites: Yes
  • Open: Seasonally, depending on weather

Cooperstown Beaver Valley is located among the rolling hills and baseball fields in the deep greens of Cooperstown, New York. The campground wants to maintain its quaint surroundings through eco-friendly efforts.

The campground’s green efforts include water saving, composting, excess food donations, a solar-heated pool, and a solar bathroom system. The baseball fields on the property are even constructed from reclaimed materials.

The campground offers cabins, tiny houses, and various campsites ranging in amenities from hookups to rustic group quarters with no water or electricity.

Entrance gate with on a gravel road for KOA campground.
Carlsbad KOA | Carlsbad, NM

Carlsbad KOA, Carlsbad, New Mexico

  • Number of Sites: 103
  • Pad Type: Gravel
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Tent Sites: Yes
  • Open: Year-round

In southeast New Mexico lies Carlsbad KOA, a desert oasis in close proximity to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. While it’s big rig friendly, the campground also offers WiFi, meal delivery, full-service restrooms, laundry, a dog park, and a solar-powered pool.

Another draw to this campground is its dedication to sustainability. The KOA Holiday installed a wind turbine to create an efficient way to fuel the bathrooms, restaurants, and offices. There are also LED lights throughout the grounds.

Campgrounds are adopting eco-friendly practices to better protect their surroundings. Here are tips on how you can be more green-minded when camping:

  • Pack in and pack out your goodies and trash.
  • Put your food in reusable containers before you get on to the trail.
  • Buy second-hand or rent gear.
  • Always follow Leave No Trace principles.