Photo courtesy of Getty Images / gradyreese
The United States is home to more than 10,000 state parks, attracting more than 700 million annual visitors. As more and more travelers seek the open road and open spaces, those numbers have continued to grow. Many of these parks cater to tent campers and RV travelers, with campgrounds, full hookups and other amenities available. To find the best, a panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Read on to learn more about the winners.
Photo courtesy of Ranger Aaron Webster, Cape Disappointment State Park
No. 10: Cape Disappointment State Park – Ilwaco, Washington
The Pacific Ocean meets the Columbia River at this Washington state park. Explore lighthouses, military bunkers and natural habitats within the park (beaches, old-growth forests, freshwater lakes and saltwater marshes). The campground has 50 full hookup sites and 18 partial hookup sites, as well as a dump station, restrooms and showers.
Photo courtesy of jenifoto // Getty Images
No. 9: Lost Dutchman State Park – Junction, Arizona
The Lost Dutchman State Park is located in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, about 40 miles east of Phoenix. RV camping is available at 138 sites, with 68 of them providing water and electric hookup services; restrooms and showers are located nearby. Hiking, mountain biking and year-round wildlife viewing opportunities are available for guests.
Photo courtesy of Wyoming State Parks
No. 8: Curt Gowdy State Park – Cheyenne, Wyoming
10Best contributor Chez Chesak tells us about this state park, “Located just 25 minutes west of downtown Cheyenne, this natural gem is nestled in the pine-covered foothills of the Rocky Mountains and offers seven sections of richly varied landscape.”
Numerous outdoor adventures are found in the park, including an archery range, mountain biking, fishing, boating, hiking, horseback riding, paddleboarding and more. Both back-in and pull-thru RV sites are available, with an additional fee for electric hookups.
Photo courtesy of iStock / tonda
No. 7: Custer State Park – Custer, South Dakota
Located in the rugged Black Hills of South Dakota, Custer State Park protects 71,000 acres of terrain and a herd of some 1,300 bison – one of the largest publicly owned herds on the planet – who are known to stop traffic along the park’s Wildlife Loop Road from time to time. The park has nine campgrounds to choose from, including the popular Sylvan Lake Campground. Many sites include electric hookups and dump stations.
Photo courtesy of Zoonar RF // Getty Images
No. 6: Tishomingo State Park – Tishomingo, Mississippi
Mississippi RV campers looking for a state park full of history and scenic beauty should consider visiting Tishomingo. The park is located directly off the famous Natchez Trace Parkway and in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Over 60 campsites are available for RVs. Each paved campsite contains water and electric hookups, picnic tables and grills and has direct access to Haynes Lake.
Nearby are two bathhouses with restrooms and showers and a central dump station. Some of the numerous park activities and attractions include hiking trails, disc golf courses, playgrounds, a volleyball court, a swimming pool, canoeing, fishing and rock climbing.
Photo courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources
No. 5: Vogel State Park – Blairsville, Georgia
Vogel, one of Georgia’s oldest state parks, sits at the base of Blood Mountain inside Chattahoochee National Forest. The park is particularly popular during the autumn months when the Blue Ridge Mountains put on a colorful display of fall foliage. RV campers can choose from 90 campsites with electric hookups.
Photo courtesy of Delilah Aguilar
No. 4: Great Plains State Park – Mountain Park, Oklahoma
For RV campers looking for a variety of nature and history experiences to appreciate and explore, Great Plains State Park in southwestern Oklahoma might be the perfect destination. History buffs will love exploring the abandoned 1900s Gold Bells Mill and Mine, while others may want to spend their time on Tom Steed Lake enjoying skiing, fishing and swimming.
Concrete and gravel RV sites surrounded by shady trees are throughout the park, with full hookups, picnic tables, fire pits and grills. Comfort stations with restrooms, plus boat ramps and playgrounds are nearby. Numerous hiking and mountain biking trails run throughout the park, and rock climbing is also a favorite activity.
Photo courtesy of Cavan Images // Getty Images
No. 2: Gulf State Park – Gulf Shores, Alabama
This Alabama state park promises that you’ll never be bored if your family brings their RV here to camp. Almost 500 improved RV sites are available at Gulf State Park, with pull-thru, back-in, waterfront and ADA accessibility. All RV sites provide full hookups plus Wi-Fi. Eleven modern bathhouses are scattered through the park, and some sites are located near the pool, playground, tennis courts and hiking trails.
Swim and kayak in the Gulf of Mexico or Lake Shelby, or check out the fishing and educational pier. 10Best contributor Chez Chesak recommends, “Grab a bike at the front door, pedal over a pedestrian bridge, and toodle around the marshes, trails, dunes, coastal wildlife and nine different ecosystems available here.”
Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Natural Resources
No. 1: Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park Campground – Middle Brook, Missouri
RVers can choose between basic, electric or sewer/electric/water sites at the Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park campground. Stock up on essentials at the campground store. Other amenities include showers, restrooms, laundry facilities and a playground.