How to tell the difference between campground, RV park or Resort

May 5, 2022

In Episode 47 we talked about the differences between Destination and Overnight parks, well there’s one more thing you need to consider when you’re doing your search.  Too make it even more complicated but to ensure you have the best experience, you also need to know what type of park you’re searching for!   I’d first start with what type of equipment will you be bringing on your trip?

I’m Mechiel Kopaska of the Fearless Innovator Podcast and today we’re going to discuss the differences between Campgrounds, RV Parks, and RV Resorts!

If you have a car, a tent, and a camp stove, you should consider the Campground.  I know growing up as kids every park was considered a campground because Recreational Vehicles (RV’s) weren’t really a thing yet, and everyone loved camping in tents back then.  A lot of the mom-and-pop campgrounds still exist but they are doing upgrades to keep up with today’s standards. 


According to Webster, this is an area or place (such as a field or grove) used for a camp, for camping, or for a camp meeting.   There are no defined sites. 

In today’s terms that means that basically any type of camping is allowed.  Tent camping, car camping or you may park your self-contained RV but be careful of low hanging trees!  They may also offer cabins or today even Tiny Homes. 

Campgrounds don’t have the amenities beyond providing a space to park, walkways to general store, public bathrooms, showers, and maybe electrical hookups. You may find picnic tables or campfire rings and a BBQ grill.  I know when we were kids, mom and dad would take us to a campground on Sunday mornings just to cook breakfast over an open fire.  The kids were left to find their own entertainment, because there was nothing to do there but create your own fun. 

These campgrounds have no frills and it’s the least expensive option.  I know of several campgrounds that even today just charge $10.00 a night to camp.

One word of caution, because Campgrounds are very reasonably priced it’s very attractive to the younger crowds and typically, they are not so quiet during the quiet hours especially if there’s a college nearby.

RV park

A recreational vehicle park or caravan park is a place where people with recreational vehicles can stay overnight, or longer, in allotted spaces known as “sites”. 

The RV Park is a bit more structured and will offer more amenities.  However, RV Parks may also contain park models, tiny Homes and spaces for RV’s, laundry, and showers. 

You will notice that the RV park will now start to offer 30amp, 50amp electric with water and sewer hook-ups.  The sites themselves are probably either made of grass or offer some type of gravel.  You may find that the sites aren’t as roomy as you need for the tow vehicle and the RV.  You may find a picnic table and a fire ring.

Depending on whether this is a destination or overnight park the rates will fluctuate but the rates should be very reasonable for short term or lengthy stays. 

RV Resorts

What’s in a name, right?  A resort implies this is the top of the line!  Staying at a resort will cost you more money but they have the amenities to back it up!  

If it says Resort, you can expect amenities including laundry facilities, a clubhouse with a pool, pickleball courts, fitness centers, eateries, dog parks, etc. 

But wait, guess what?  There are 2 types of Resorts! Upscale RV Resorts and Luxury RV Resorts and in that order 

Upscale RV Resorts

Resorts that are the nicest available in a particular area that appeal to vacationers and short-term renters looking for an upscale resort near a major attraction, like a national park or beach.  

Now we have requirements!

Requirements Include:

  • Big rig friendly – accommodates motorcoaches or Class A’s but this can also mean Fifth-Wheels or coaches up to 41 ft
  • 50-amp Service with full hookups
  • Paved or firmly packed gravel roads
  • Paved or firmly packed gravel RV sites
  • Paved or firmly packed gravel patios
  • Resort style pool and other outdoor amenities like walking trails
  • Social events and activities

It is not required that Upscale resorts be class A only. 

Luxury RV Resorts

Upper-Tier Resorts that typically cater to seasonal renters or owners who come to the resort because the resort is a destination itself. Luxury resorts typically have more social interaction and activities.

  • Big rig friendly – most cater primarily or exclusively to Class A motorcoaches
  • 50-amp Service with full hookups
  • Paved roads
  • Paved RV sites
  • Large patios to accommodate outside dining, grill, etc.
  • Resort style pool with swimming lanes
  • Social activities and encourage social interaction
  • Landscaping between sites
  • Fitness options (gym, tennis, pickleball, golf)
  • Clubhouse where social activities are scheduled

There you have it!  Are you as confused as I am?  There’s a lot to consider when booking your next short vacation or extended stay somewhere.

I think the best way to determine which category you fit in, is first pick your style.  If you like tent camping, then go to a Campground and/or look for RV Parks that allow tent camping.

If you have a pull behind camper or caravan, or Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler try out the RV Parks/Resorts.

If drive a motorcoach that’s less than a Class A, you’ll enjoy the Upscale Resorts.

If you drive a Class A Motorcoach that’s up to 45 ft, you’ll enjoy the Luxury RV Resort.

Just keep in mind, that when you move up the scale the daily rates also increase due to the amenities the parks offer.

Let’s face it there’s a flavor out there for everyone’s taste.  The best advice I can give is before you book, go to their website, and do your research first.

As a sidenote:  When I get my park, I’m going to hang out in the Upscale RV Resort area.  Why?  I believe that the industry today needs more parks in this space due to the increased sizes of the RV’s being manufactured.

I’m Mechiel Kopaska of the Fearless Innovator Podcast, I hope you enjoyed this episode.