Early adopters of fully electric and hybrid cars have often been located in cities with readily-available charging stations and short commutes. Now, travelers around the U.S. are looking to take their electric cars on longer trips—and they’re asking for the charging station infrastructure to make it possible.
And some states are taking note. State park systems across the country now offer charging stations to power up your car while you’re hiking, fishing, or camping for the night.
Here are eight states that offer electric vehicle charging at one or more of their state parks.
You can easily travel throughout West Virginia with an electric vehicle, thanks to charging stations at nine West Virginia state parks. Charging stations are available at Blackwater Falls, Cacapon Resort, Canaan Valley Resort, Chief Logan, Hawks Nest, Pipestem, Stonewall Resort, Twin Falls Resort, and Tygart Lake. Each location offers J-1772 and Tesla chargers for free.
State park camping destinations in West Virginia include:
- Blackwater Falls State Park
- Canaan Valley Resort State Park Campground
- Chief Logan State Park
- Pipestem Resort State Park
- Briar Point Campground at Stonewall State Park
- Twin Falls Resort State Park Campground
- Tygart Lake State Park Campground
Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) is adding charging stations to public lands throughout the state. To date, there are 33 charging stations available to Pennsylvania state park visitors, with a goal of installing 40 charging stations at DCNR-affiliated locations.
Camping near Presque Isle State Park:
Camping near Kinzua Bridge State Park:
- High Pines RV Park in Kane
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced a partnership with Rivian vehicles to install charging stations at all of the state’s 56 state parks. The first charger at Radnor Lake State Park was installed in October 2021. Rivian intends to install the rest of the charging stations by spring 2022. The Rivian Waypoint stations have two J-1772 plugs that are free to use.
Camping near Radnor Lake State Park:
Top up your charge for free at three of South Carolina’s state parks. In 2021, charging stations were installed at Sesquicentennial State Park in Columbia, Paris Mountain State Park in Greenville, and Santee State Park in Santee. These parks were chosen, in part, because each is close to a city center or interstate, helping travelers recharge as they navigate the state.
Sesquicentennial State Park has a CCS/SAE 50kw charger and a CHAdeMO 50kw charger. Paris Mountain has one J-1772 charger. Santee has one J-1772 charger and one NEMA 14-50 charger. Each is free to use, though a day or annual pass to enter the park may be required to access them.
All three South Carolina state parks with EV charging stations have an on-site campground:
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers electric vehicle charging stations at three of its parks: Big Bog State Recreation Area in Waskish, Tettegouche State Park in Silver Bay, and Gooseberry Falls State Park in Two Harbors.
All three charging stations are J-1772, with two plugs at each station. Tettegouche and Gooseberry Falls are free to use, while Big Bog charges $0.25 per kilowatt-hour and a $1 access fee.
All three of Minnesota state parks that offer EV charging have an on-site campground:
Electric charging stations are coming soon to all 42 of Colorado’s state parks. In 2021, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission approved a proposal to partner with automaker Rivian to install charging stations across the state.
The work, which was due to begin last summer, has been delayed as the state finalizes its agreement with Rivian. Based on Rivian’s partnership with Tennessee, EV drivers can anticipate that the types of chargers installed will be Rivian Waypoint (J-1772) stations.
For now, you can find one free J-1772 charger and waterfront camping at St. Vrain State Park in Firestone.
There are more than 35,000 public electric vehicle charging ports in California, far more than any other state in the U.S. (the second-highest state, New York, has close to 7,000 ports). So while you can rest assured that there will often be a place to plug in on your journey, only a handful of state parks have installed dedicated stations for visitors.
Will Rogers charges $12 for parking, but the two J-1772 plugs are free to use once you’re parked. Both Hendy Woods (which offers on-site camping) and Fort Ross have free chargers, though the parks may have entry fees.
Camping near Will Rogers State Historic Park:
- Dockweiler RV Park in Playa del Rey
Camping near Fort Ross State Historic Park:
- Wright’s Beach Campground at Sonoma Coast State Park
Charge your electric vehicle at two of Washington’s state parks, Daroga State Park in Orondo and Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park in Vantage. Both offer J-1772 chargers. The charger at Daroga is free and solar-powered; the charger at Ginkgo Petrified Forest costs $2 per hour.
Each of these Washington state parks with EV charging stations have an on-site campground:
As the popularity of electric vehicles grows, so will the availability of electric charging stations at popular recreation areas. With more national parks, state parks, and city parks adding their own chargers, it’ll be easier than ever to power up at your next destination.