Private RV parks vs State/National Park Campgrounds or even Dry Camping

Since we live in a travel trailer for over one year now, we stayed at a lot of different campgrounds. There is always the question to stay in a private RV park or to go to a campground in a National/State Park or even dry camp. We wanted to give you an insight, in what we preferred and why and where we see advantages/disadvantages. Let’s go:

We like staying in a private campground because

  • You usually have full hook-ups. So no worries about charging stuff, AirConditioner, water or sewer
  • The possibility is higher, that they have vacancy
  • They are clean and well organized


We love staying in a National/State Park campground because

  • You usually have way more privacy here and much more space around your lot for picnic-tables, grills, tents, etc. And you usually have a nice view and are in the middle of the beautiful nature with hiking and biking trails. Private campgrounds unfortunately too often are parking-lots with hook-ups
  • When you have no or just partial hookups you have to save water and cannot use all the electric gimmicks in your rig – but you usually not have people camping here for the season. In some private campgrounds we have been, the majority of the campers did live there for the season. These people usually have other needs and another lifestyle than travelers like us.

We also do like Dry Camping..

In the first couple of weeks we didn’t dare to camp with no hookups. We were comfortable with water electric or even electric only but we were a little cautious to camp without any electricity. Dominik did a lot of research about generators and solar panels. First we wanted to buy a generator to be able to run all the electronic gear we have. But generators are expensive (about $ 1000 for a decent one) and they are noisy. When we are camping in a beautiful spot we don’t like to make noise, we like the peaceful silence. That’s why we decided to buy a simple solar panel, which charges our battery. Like this we have infinite 12 Volt power to run our lights, the fridge, the fans, the radio, the heater and charge our cell phones. But we do not have the expansive solar setup which would provide us with 120 Volt power. So when drycamping we cannot charge our computer, use the TV, microwave or AirConditioner. But since we have a 120 Volt Plug in our truck, we can at least charge the computer and the camera while driving. With this setup we can drycamp comfortably for a couple of days. After 3 or 4 days we usually run out of water and are craving for hookups to have a regular shower and recharge everything. So for us our setup is more than enough to drycamp for a 3-4 days. Our drycamping index is about 15% (see fun facts) – it probably should have been bigger.

It is interesting to see, how dependable you are from water, electricity, sewer and a place to dump your trash. It gave us much more awareness in using water, electricity and producing trash. One campground for example was so remote, that you had to take your trash with you. It was amazing how much trash we produced in a couple of days! It really lets you think.. and hopefully learn something for the future.

Stay tuned with Three on the Road’s further adventures and see you soon.

6 thoughts on “Private RV parks vs State/National Park Campgrounds or even Dry Camping

Add yours

  1. I enjoy the experiences you share. A few years back I had a 31 ft Montana Mountaineer that I lived in for about two years, while traveling cross country, and working on remote ranches. I absolutely loved it! I read the page about your travel trailer, and I have to say that I really like the style, and design. I can understand why it works so well. I’m planning on purchasing another travel trailer in a couple years. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought. I loved my last one, but I don’t need that much space, so I’m going to go for a smaller one. I thought about getting a class C motorhome, but decided against it. I like being able to unhook, and make a home somewhere for a little while. Looking forward to read more posts from you.


  2. We prefer state parks to private campgrounds but go private when we don’t have any other choice. I have a couple KOAs reserved for our trip out west this summer. In fact, I was planning on eventually writing a blog post about why we prefer state parks 😀I’m impressed by the dry camping. I’m still not ready to buy the generator necessary to do that! 😬


    1. We prefer state parks too, there are not a lot of good private Campgrounds, but if you find one, they are excellent too. We used a Solar panel for dry camping and if it’s not hot hot, then you‘re getting through with Solar.

      Liked by 1 person

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