Do you like to camp amid the scenery of a national park without having to give up creature comforts? Camping in national parks often requires dry camping, without electric, water, or sewer hookups; however, approximately a dozen national park campgrounds have full or partial hookups.
Everything You Need to Know to Plan a National Park Road Trip
The National Park Service (NPS) provides camping at more than 130 of its units. Backcountry camping requires hiking in and is generally for campers who backpack. Frontcountry camping varies from primitive tent sites to full-hookup RV sites that can accommodate larger rigs. The vast majority of park campgrounds have no hookups, and of the ones that do, many only offer partial hookups.
Tips for Staying in a National Park Campground With Hookups
When reserving a national park campsite with hookups, keep the following in mind:
- The NPS doesn’t directly operate all of these campgrounds. Some are run by private concessionaires, each of which sets its own rules and rates.
- As you can imagine, these campgrounds are popular; be sure to check the reservation window in order to book them as soon as possible.
- Length limitations are quite common. When in doubt, call the campground to find out size and site information to make sure you’ll have room to maneuver your RV.
- Some campgrounds don’t allow tents or soft-sided trailers due to bear activity. You may also need to take care while storing food; bear boxes are sometimes provided.
- Adequate cell phone signals and WiFi speeds vary greatly between parks. If you plan to work from the campground, take extra care to research coverage.
- Some campgrounds are located deep within the national park, meaning you may not have easy access to stores and restaurants.
- As a plus, if you’re camping within park boundaries, you’ll be spared the traffic congestion that can sometimes occur at entrance gates.
- If the national park requires timed permits to enter, you’ll be allowed to enter at any time with camping reservations, which is a huge benefit.
- You may have to pay park entrance fees for the duration of your stay, in addition to camping fees.
- Always confirm the type of hookups offered at the specific campsite you wish to reserve. Some parks provide services only in specific loops or sections. Not all sites have equal amenities.
Here are some national park campgrounds that offer full or partial hookups in the U.S.
National Park Campgrounds With Full Hookups
These campgrounds offer electric, water, and sewer hookups at all or some sites:
Yellowstone National Park
Fishing Bridge Campground
Fishing Bridge reopened in 2022 after 3 years of extensive renovations. The 310 full-hookup sites provide a convenient base camp for touring all of Yellowstone.
Camping Alternatives to Yellowstone National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
Trailer Village RV Park
You can walk to the South Rim from this campground or easily catch the park shuttle. Elk wander through the 123 sites, which are mostly pull-throughs.
Grand Teton National Park
Colter Bay RV Park
Located on the shores of scenic Jackson Lake, this park offers 112 campsites close to many park amenities in Colter Bay Village. Be careful not to book Colter Bay Campground, which is nearby but doesn’t offer hookups.
Hot Springs National Park
Gulpha Gorge Campground
Hot Springs is a non-traditional national park with an urban setting, but this campground is scenic and earns 5-star reviews for its 40 full-hookup sites. The sites were previously first-come, first-served, but reservations are now required.
Big Bend National Park
Rio Grande Village RV Park
This is another park where you have to be careful to book the designated RV park if you want full hookups, since the Rio Grande Village Campground, of a similar name, doesn’t have them. This is the only full-hookup park in Big Bend and has 25 sites.
Death Valley National Park
Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells Village RV Park, and Panamint Springs Resort
Death Valley has three full-hookup campgrounds spread amid 3.5 million acres: Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells, and Panamint Springs. With Death Valley’s infamous heat, you’ll especially appreciate the electricity to run your A/C.
National Park Campgrounds With Water and Electric Hookups
These national parks offer water and electric at some or all sites, as well as a dump station:
Acadia National Park
Schoodic Woods Campground
This park earns 5-star reviews for its 94 spacious, scenic campsites. The campground opened in 2015 and is located in the Mount Desert Island region of the park.
Planning a Trip to Acadia National Park
Olympic National Park
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort RV Park and Campground
Though the sites miss the mark due to their size, this campground’s rainforest scenery and access to hot springs help make up for the tight spaces.
National Park Campgrounds With Only Electric Hookups
You’ll have to bring your own water and use a dump station, but you can plug in at these parks:
Everglades National Park
You may catch a glimpse of some flamingos at this aptly-named campground, which offers spacious sites, some with partial hookups. Come prepared to ward off mosquitoes at certain times of the year.
Badlands National Park
Cedar Pass Campground
Though site sizes aren’t large, the views around the campground are unforgettable. Watch the sunset over the silhouetted ridges of the Badlands. You may even spy some bison in the grasslands.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
South Rim Campground
Most sites have exceptional privacy, thanks to the bushes. This park offers easy access to the geological wonder, as well as dark skies for stargazing.
The Best Campgrounds to Experience a Dark Sky Park
Zion National Park
You’ll definitely feel like you’re camping in Zion, with views of the red rock ridges surrounding this campground. You’ll find 176 sites here along the Virgin River.
Planning a Trip to Zion National Park
If you can’t find a campground with hookups in the national park you want to visit—or if these campsites are fully booked—remember that many private campgrounds are located just outside of park gates.
At the end of a busy day exploring the national park, you’ll be able to return to your cozy RV. The crowds will leave, and you’ll feel like you have the park to yourself.