National parks allow visitors to reconnect with nature as they explore treasured open spaces. Thanks to the installation of electric vehicle (EV) chargers at many national park locations across the country, many EV drivers can now explore national parks while they recharge their vehicles including their electric RVs.
History of Electric Vehicle Charging and National Parks
Since automobile manufacturers began mass producing electric vehicles in 2010, the National Park Service (NPS) has worked to offer electric chargers for visitors. However, this process has taken time. By 2012, there were less than a dozen electric vehicle chargers available.
As electric vehicles became more mainstream, the efforts to install electric vehicle chargers increased. In 2016, BMW donated the funds to establish 100 chargers in or near national parks. The Department of Energy has also helped to fund the installation of many EV chargers throughout the years.
Currently, more than 140 chargers are available at national parks across the country. Since emissions from visitors and workers’ vehicles contribute to a significant percentage of annual greenhouse emissions, the NPS recognizes the importance of reducing emissions and strives to improve transportation operations in as many parks as possible.
Offering EV charging at national parks extends the reach of EVs into areas that were once out of range and allows visitors to assist in preserving the natural beauty of the parks. The Biden Administration’s goal of installing 500,000 EV charging stations enables access to even more national parks while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Types of Electric Vehicle Chargers Available
National park visitors can access three different levels of charging equipment depending on the battery rate charge and the electrical power available. The three different levels you may find at a national park are:
A Level 1 charging station is featured in workplace infrastructure to charge NPS employees’ personal electric vehicles. Level 1 charging stations are also available to power vehicles in the NPS fleet.
Level 2 charging stations are more widely accessible and are available for public use. Most Level 2 charging stations also charge NPS employees’ private and professional vehicles.
Unlike Level 1 and 2 charging stations, DC fast is only available to the public. All park visitors with electric vehicles can use DC fast charging stations to power their vehicles.
Find a National Park With an Electric Vehicle Charging Station
As part of the 2012 Green Parks Plan, it is now possible to recharge your electric car at several national parks. Some national parks with electric vehicle charging include:
- Cape Cod National Seashore: Charging your electric vehicle while you explore the miles of dunes, hiking trails and salt marshes is easy, with four Level 2 chargers available for guests.
- Death Valley National Park: Give your vehicle an energy boost as you explore beautiful scenery with six free charging stations at The Oasis at Death Valley.
- Everglades National Park: Find numerous places to charge your EV in Florida’s sprawling tropical wetlands and wildlife haven. Guests will find one charger at the Ernest Coe Visitor Center, two chargers at the Flamingo Visitor Center and two chargers at Shark Valley Visitor center.
- Olympic National Park: Your electric vehicle is essential for seeing as much of Olympic National Park as possible. To ensure your car has enough power to view the sites, charge your vehicle at stations outside Sol Duc Hot Springs Lodge and Kalaloch Lodge.
- Yellowstone National Park: Thanks to the Yellowstone-Teton Clean Energy Coalitions grant, guests can find charging stations at some of Yellowstone National Park’s most popular locations. Charge your vehicle at sites such as Yellowstone Forever, Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful as you view geysers, bison and bears.
- Zion National Park: While Zion National Park only allows shuttle bus access, there are plenty of activities and opportunities to charge your car around the park. Guests can charge their vehicles at one of the two Level 2 stations outside the Zion Canyon visitor center and the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center.
Please navigate to a specific park’s webpage for further details about EV charging and station availability.
Can I Charge My EV at My Campsite?
Depending on your location, your campsite may offer electric hookups. Your power options may vary by campground, so research your specific hookup options before arriving.
Most campsites also offer the option to use an adapter so you can charge from electric hookups. However, it is essential to remember that charging with an adapter may not provide the same power as charging at a designated charger. Many electric vehicle owners use their campsite’s hookup to boost their battery levels before driving their vehicle to a more powerful charging station.
The Future of Electric Vehicle Camping
As consumers purchase electric cars and trucks, the need for charging options continues to increase, leading to more EV charging stations at national parks throughout the country. The number of national parks with charging stations across the country continues to grow, and fueling up your vehicle as you roast marshmallows over the fire is rapidly becoming commonplace for many locations.
Relax While You Recharge With Kampgrounds of America
After spending a day exploring a national park, you want a place where you and your electric vehicle can rest and recharge. Luckily, many KOAs across the United States now offer Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations, making it easy to see all the natural beauty the United States has to offer, even in rural areas.
Whether you are visiting a KOA for a place to rest before continuing your road trip or you want to stay for a few days to see the local sights, there is something for everyone at KOA. Spend a night under the stars in a tent, bring your RV or try one of the many different lodging options available. All KOA Campgrounds also offer unique amenities to make your camping experience unforgettable.
Find a KOA near you to learn more about EV charging station availability at a specific campground or book your stay today!
About the Author: Kampgrounds of America
Kampgrounds of America is the largest system of open-to-the-public campgrounds in the world, with over 500 locations across the United States and Canada. Founded in Billings, MT in 1962, KOA’s family of campground brands – KOA Journey, KOA Holiday and KOA Resort – today serve more than a million camping families each year. KOA is dedicated to “connecting people to the outdoors and each other” by providing people with a variety of camping experiences and the information they need to make the most of their camping trip. Read more of their camping and travel resources by visiting KOA.com/blog.