How to Plan a Successful RV Camping Trip

To maximize your fun and minimize your stress, learn from the camping experts on planning your next RV trip.

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Choosing a Location

Traveling by RV is one of the best ways to see the vast continent of North America and visit all its fabulous attractions. Choose one of your favorite destinations, and chances are there's a KOA nearby. The campground setting provides a relaxing home base between all of your destinations.

If you want to go on an RV adventure but aren't sure what types of attractions to look for, get some inspiration from the following list. You'll find KOA RV camping locations near all of them.

National, State or Provincial Parks

If you dream of seeing many different parks in the United States or Canada, KOA will be there when you're taking a break from the road. If you're traveling through California, for instance, you can visit national parks including Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Forest and Joshua Tree National Park—and there are KOAs near all of them. Of course, this is true for parks throughout the country, including Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Hot Springs and the Everglades.


National Parks aren't the only nature destinations with KOAs nearby. You'll also find our locations along the gorgeous beaches of California, Oregon, Washington and all along the East Coast, including the states of Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Our convenient coastal locations allow you to enjoy the sandy beaches without the high costs of a beach house rental.


If you prefer the higher altitudes and crisp, clean air of the mountains, we're there as well. Whether you want to experience camping nearby the Appalachian Mountains, Rocky Mountains, Sierras or any other mountain range in between, KOA will be there to welcome you.


Would you like to visit a certain city but also have the option to retreat to a relaxing campground whenever you want? Search for a KOA Campground close to you favorite city. KOA has locations near many major cities, including Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Denver, Austin and Seattle.

Snowbird Destinations

Are you a camper that needs to escape the snow and cold? Check out some KOA locations in warm, sunny destinations, where you can live the luxurious snowbird life in the comfort of your RV. There are KOA locations throughout the southern states, any of which would make a great spot for your winter getaway. If you want a warm destination for an outdoor adventure this winter, with some dramatic scenery, you could winter at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Or, if you'd like some Southern comfort and hospitality, make your way down to the Southeast, where you can enjoy all that our locations in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have to offer.

Upcoming events

Let a class reunion, wedding invitation, sporting event of music festival be your guide when picking a KOA location. Click on "Local Attractions" to find out about attractions and events near each KOA location. Instead of spending money on a hotel, pack up your RV and head to an upcoming event. Attend the Jazz Fest while staying at one of our Louisiana locations or check out South by Southwest while wintering at a Texas KOA.

Picking a Site

Once you've chosen your campground, you'll then need to pick a site. If you've done some camping, you'll know that not all sites are created equal. When choosing a site, consider the following features:

  • Evenness of the ground: Confirm that the site is level and flat, as setting up on uneven ground is no fun. If you camp at a KOA, this will not be an issue. All out sites are clean and level.

  • Size: RVs come in a number of different sizes, and so do campsites. Verify that your rig will fit comfortably into your site. If you're making an online reservation, enter the length of your RV, and we'll provide you with options that accommodate your rig. If you're unable to find out the length of the site, give that campground a call and ask them to provide you with a measurement. It's always better to check first, then arrive at the campground and not fit!

  • Site Style: Although it comes down to personal preference, pull-thru sites usually make it quicker and easier to get settled and set up. Back-in sites are perfect for the KOA camper that doesn't mind maneuvering their RV, and KOA staff are always available to help as guides. Most KOA campgrounds offer a combination of both site options.

  • Hookups: RV Sites offer a variety of hookups, ranging from primitive and "dry" sites to full hookups. A campground may offer sites with only water, only electric or both without a sewer connection. Be aware of the type of hookup you'll be getting when reserving your site. KOA's RV Sites all come with full hookups.

  • Location: You should also consider the site's location within the campground. Decide, for instance, whether you want a site in the woods, one with a lake view or one locates close to certain facilities. RV campgrounds often take requests for site location if booked ahead of time, although it is not always guaranteed you'll be get the site you want. KOA has a feature called Select My Site at participating campgrounds that allows you to choose a site during the reservation process.

  • Extras: There are a number of other factors that may be important to you. For example, are you close to the campground's amenities and activities? Can you get Wi-Fi from your site? Amenities vary from campground to campground, so be sure to call ahead if there's something specific you're looking for.

Find and Reserve an RV Campsite
What to Bring on Your RV Camping Trip

"Packing is easy," said no one ever. Just when you've brought every last thing you'll ever need, you realize you've forgotten something basic. Refer to this handy list and check off the items as you go:

Packing Checklist
  • Setup gear: Confirm that you've packed all the tools and equipment you need to set up your RV once you arrive at your site. This includes stabilizing jacks, which ensure your camper remains stable and level. You'll also need cords and hoses to connect to the campsite's utilities.

  • Cooking supplies and food: Look through the cupboards in your RV for utensils, plates, cups, pans, and other cooking gear. Some RVs are also equipped with portable grills or camp stoves. Don't forget to pack enough meals for the trip, and some non-perishable items that you can bring along as a snack for your daytime excursions in the great outdoors. As always, don't forget the s'mores!

  • Personal, safety, and household items: These items will vary widely from one person to another, but they usually include toiletries, clothes, first-aid, pest repellent, linens, and medications.

  • Outdoor and comfort items: bring any comfy chairs, screen tents, outdoor rugs, clotheslines, tablecloths or other outdoor items you'd like to use during your vacation.

  • Entertainment: Don't forget the fun stuff! Bring along entertainment items such as yard games, board games, and card games.

Tips for Making Your RV Trip a Success

Whether you're planning a trip with friends or preparing for a family camping adventure, these tips are sure to help your RV camping experience be as stress-free as possible

Plan your route: Are you planning to take scenic routes, avoid toll roads or get to your destination as quickly as possible? If you plan for these questions, you'll be better able to figure out the places where you'll stay on the way. Use the KOA Trip Planner tool to plan your trip and find KOA Campgrounds along the way!

Make an itinerary: Once you've decided on your route, you should then create an itinerary. When planning your RV camping timeline, make sure to allow time for fun stops so that you can take a break from driving and stretch you legs.

Build a budget: If you've built a budget, you can figure out how frequently you can eat out, how many groceries you should buy and how much money you can set aside for emergencies.

Buy RV insurance: If you don't have it already, make sure to purchase RV insurance. This is especially important for long RV vacations, where you want to be sure that your camper—and everything in it—will be protected in the event of an accident. Lots of companies offer RV insurance, like Progressive for example.

Perform regular maintenance: Keep your RV running well by routinely performing basic maintenance tasks like inspecting, cleaning, replacing filters and servicing and lubricating the engine. During the off-season, it is important to keep your RV in good condition by winterizing it.

Check the tire pressure before each trip: In addition to routine maintenance, it's also important to check the pressure in your tires before setting off on an excursion. Low tire pressure poses a serious safety risk.

Prepare for the weather: Remember to check the weather forecast for your destination and pack appropriate clothing and gear for those conditions.

Know your rig: Having experience with handling your RV will make your KOA vacation much easier. If you haven't had much experience with RV camping, take your RV out for a practice run or two before the big trip. You can also practice backing up and navigating a travel trailer or 5th wheel in an empty parking lot.

Find and Reserve an RV Campsite
Additional Resources

RV Information and Resources from KOA

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The Beginner's Guide to Buying an RV

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Renting an RV with Outdoorsy

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RV Campground Etiquette Guidelines

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