We were so lucky to have visited twenty-one national park sites during our one year on the road. In my experience, when it comes to traveling by RV, finding RV parks near national parks is one of the most important factors of a good visit. At least in the Misadventures family.
I didn’t write a lot about the RV parks we stayed in. We paid for all our stays on our own. Meaning I didn’t do any sponsored work with any parks, so I didn’t feel the need to promote them. And quite frankly, the vast majority of them just aren’t that great.
It’s something that I think the RV industry will need to work on as the market continues to grow. In 2016, the market grew by fifteen percent, the best growth its seen in forty years and experts believe the trend will continue. RVing is here to stay. But that is a whole other post!
However, I did want to mention three RV parks we stayed in that were near national parks. There was one very important characteristic that they all possessed.
Location, location, location!
When you are getting up early for sunsets or spending substantial time in a park, finding an RV park close by saves so much time going back and forth. It was the most important criteria we had for selecting a park. (Of course, we had other criteria when we were doing other types of trips.)
When it comes to location, the following three parks are standouts.
West Glacier KOA Holiday near Glacier National Park
This was my second favorite RV park we stayed in all year. Snuggled up against the Great Northern Mountains, this spot is only three miles from the west entrance of Glacier National Park. The RV park is absolutely gorgeous, pristinely maintained and the staff is extremely customer-service oriented.
There are wonderful extra large sites for big motorcoaches (like we have) as well as standard-sized sites for smaller RV’s. There are cabins and campsites with tons of amenities. There is even a stop for the national park shuttle, you don’t even have to drive to the park if you don’t want to!
They serve meals in a friendly cafe and have lectures several times a week. We attended a wildlife photographer’s lecture while we stayed and it was wonderful.
The one bummer for us was the lack of wifi. They had it in the visitor center/office, but not in the actual park. We ended up having to drive to a coffee shop a couple of times during our two-week stay to do email, etc.
Overall, West Glacier KOA was a fantastic park in a fantastic location.
Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park near Yellowstone National Park
We stayed in this park twice. For our two week visit to Yellowstone National Park in May and for two of the three weeks we visited at the end of Septemeber/beginning of October. It’s a nice, big, clean park with an excellent location. It is less than a mile from the west entrance of Yellowstone, you can’t beat that!
There are other parks in the area, but they aren’t as close, or as nice. Their sites are big, the staff is extremely friendly, and in addition to being close to the park entrance, you are in walking distance from restaurants, stores and activities like the IMAX movie theater and the wolf refuge.
We drove over 3,000 miles during our stay in Yellowstone and it was really nice to not have to drive too much farther to get to Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park.
Fireside Resort near Grand Teton National Park
There are plenty of RV parks in the area surrounding Grand Teton National Park, particularly in Jackson Hole, but the only RV park close to a national park entrance is Fireside Resort. It is just under six miles from the Moran Entrance where you can easily access popular spots like Oxbow Bend.
Yes, I know. The allure of Jackson Hole is there. That cute little town with all those restaurants. But our priority was being as close to the park as possible. After all, that is one of the perks of having an RV, we’re driving around with our own food and kitchen. Although we definitely did the forty-five minutes into town for a great buffalo burger.
Now let me just say that I did not love this RV park. It called itself a resort, but that is definitely a stretch. Their sites are grass sites, not particularly long and the amenities are average. They charge quite a lot for what the offer. But once again, the location was far more important to us because we were doing a lot of sunrise photography and driving during the day. The last thing we wanted to do was drive an extra thirty to forty-five minutes to get back to our rig.
Well, that’s it. The three RV parks near national parks that we stayed in. Of course, if we were just four feet shorter, we could have actually stayed IN the national parks, but that four extra feet probably saved our marriage! When traveling full time in an RV every inch counts!
For the most part, we had a really great experience at the RV parks near Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton. Based on what we were trying to do and see, the locations were perfect and I would stay in any one of them again. I would also recommend them if you are in a big RV and are trying to get as close as possible.
How about you? Have you stayed in an RV park near a national park? What was your experience?