When people buy an RV, they usually think they’ll save money by staying at campgrounds and avoiding hotels. They can also cook their own meals without eating out a lot. But the reality is, the RV lifestyle has gotten more expensive. Some RV resorts can cost just as much as staying at luxury hotels. Plus, you’ll pay a high price at the pump. Let’s look at the most expensive RV parks and places to travel to with your RV.
Think RV Travel Is Cheap? Think Again!
RV traveling may have been a way to save money on hotel stays in the past. Campgrounds were usually cheaper than hotels. Plus, you didn’t have to lug your suitcases in and out of hotels during a road trip. However, times have changed, and the expenses of RV traveling have increased.
Not only have campgrounds and RV parks increased their rates, but fuel prices, food, and attraction tickets have all gone up. This makes some travelers question whether or not RVing is the best way to travel anymore.
Where Are the Most Expensive RV Parks?
Depending on the season you travel, the most expensive RV park in America might be Disney’s Fort Wilderness, Buena Vista Coastal RV Resort in Alabama, or Bluewater Key RV Resort in Key West. These RV parks cost over $250 per night, with some sites costing over $300 per night.
At Fort Wilderness, you pay for the convenience and Disney experience. At Buena Vista Coastal, you camp right on the Gulf of Mexico with a lazy river and both outdoor and indoor pools. Bluewater Key is on our list below and offers everything you want to experience in the Florida Keys.
5 Most Expensive Places to Travel With Your RV
Although prices have increased all over the country, a handful of places rise above the rest. These popular destinations and RV parks top the list as the most expensive. So if you plan on traveling to these locations this summer, be prepared to max out the credit cards or start budgeting and saving your money now to cover the costs.
1. Florida Keys
The Florida Keys is a bucket-list destination for many RVers. But few get a chance to experience it because of the long waitlist. You have to make reservations a year or more in advance and many locations fill up quickly.
You won’t find a more tropical vacation than the Florida Keys. The crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkeling, boating, and other water sports. It’s just easy to relax here.
A flight or boat ride out to Dry Tortugas National Park is another bucket list item for RVers who love to visit the national parks. This park is home to Fort Jefferson, one of the largest forts ever built, coral reefs, and threatened and endangered species.
Pro Tip: Spend the night snoozing at one of these 3 Best Islamorada RV Parks for Your Florida Keys Trip.
From the tropical weather and food to the fishing and laid-back lifestyle, the Florida Keys is one of the most highly sought-after destinations in the country.
What Makes It an Expensive Place to RV: For all of the reasons mentioned above, the Florida Keys is an expensive place to RV. Reservation rates are high due to the demand. If you want to save on expenses, try visiting in the off-season—or anytime other than winter. Snowbirds flock to the Keys to escape the cold. You’ll find prices a bit cheaper during off-peak months. But still expect to pay a high price.
Recommended RV Park – Bluewater Key: You’ll find this luxury RV resort at the far end of the Keys just before Key West. Nearby you can visit the Shipwreck Museum, Hemingway’s House, and the famous Duval Street. Rates for the summer range from $121-$264 per night with a three-night minimum stay for advanced reservations.
Winter rates range from $192-$313 per night with a seven-night minimum stay for advanced reservations. Lots include tiki huts and full hook-ups, and the resort provides amenities like a temperature-controlled fresh-water pool, dog park, and boat launch also.
➡ Looking for less expensive RV parks in The Keys? Check out our top picks: 10 Most Beautiful Florida Keys RV Parks for Tropical Camping.
2. Southern California
Southern California is another highly sought-after destination because of the optimal weather. You can visit any time of the year and enjoy the sunshine. Locations like Palm Springs and Long Beach beckon visitors with their resort-like atmospheres every year. And with big cities like San Diego and Los Angeles, you have so many things to do besides enjoy the beaches.
For nature lovers, Joshua Tree National Park and San Bernardino National Forest are nearby. And Death Valley National Park and Sequoia National Forest lie just to the north. Southern California is a tourist’s dream area.
What Makes It an Expensive Place to RV: Like the Florida Keys, prices are higher in Southern California due to its popularity. In addition to RV parks, the entire lifestyle in California is more expensive. Gas prices have reached the highest in the country, and groceries have increased in price too. So when you visit California, you pay a premium on everything.
Recommended RV Park – Pechanga RV Resort: You’ll find stunning scenery surrounding Pechanga RV Resort in the Temecula Valley, and it has great customer service and amenities. This RV resort is rated 10/10 by Good Sam members and features deluxe and premium pull-thru and back-in campsites with full hook-ups. If you really want luxurious RVing, it even has presidential sites with picnic tables, gazebos, and BBQ grills.
Nightly rates range from $64-$127 for Sunday-Thursday nights to $90-$154 for Friday-Saturday nights. Amenities include horseshoe pits, cable TV, a heated pool, and an on-property shuttle service. It also has easy access to the Pechanga gas station, mini-mart, and Baja Express restaurant.
Hawaii is the ultimate vacation destination for many Americans. But most people fly there and stay in an all-inclusive resort. Planning a trip to Hawaii in an RV takes more preparation because you’ll have to rent an RV once you arrive.
➡ Not sure what it will be like to rent an RV in Hawaii? Check out our experience: We Rented an RV Camper in Hawaii. Here’s What We Learned.
Walk a trail along the rim of a volcanic crater or relax along a white sandy beach. From the lush vegetation to the varied wildlife, Hawaii has it all. It’s also home to Haleakalā National Park and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
A new National Historic Site at Hono‘uli‘uli is in the works that will “tell the history of incarceration, martial law, and the experience of prisoners of war in Hawai‘i during World War II.”
Stay for a relaxing vacation or learn more about the history and culture of the Hawaiian people. You could also venture out to explore nature. Regardless, you won’t be disappointed with your visit to Hawaii.
What Makes It an Expensive Place to RV: Not only will you spend hundreds of dollars on flight tickets to Hawaii, but you’ll have to pay to rent an RV rather than vacationing in your own. Plus, you have to pay a premium for everything you buy. The sunsets are beautiful and hikes are amazing, but they come at a cost.
Almost everything is imported, and Hawaii is far from any other developed country. So the cost of normal, daily items like groceries and clothing is more expensive. The islands are so far off-grid that it’s difficult and costly to build power-efficient power grids. Electric sites at campgrounds are more expensive than similar RV parks in the continental United States.
Recommended RV Park – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Campground: The Volcano House Hotel has 33 guest rooms, 10 cabins, and 16 campsites inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The campsites are only for guests who want to rent a tent or bring their own to set up. No RVs are allowed on the property.
You can also opt for one-room wooden cabins for a more rustic experience. Hotel rooms range from $279-$385 and cabins rentals are $80 per night. You have to call Volcano House to request a campsite.
This unique experience puts you right at the top of Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It measures 4,190 ft. Guests can also enjoy the tastes of Hawaii at two restaurants. Both Uncle George’s Lounge and The Rim sit just a few yards from the rim.
4. New York City
Visiting New York City is all about experiencing the big city life. Going to a show on Broadway, going to the top of the Empire State Building, and seeing the Statue of Liberty make NYC one of the top big-city destinations in America.
Once you arrive at the airport, you don’t need a car. The transportation system easily gets you from point A to point B without renting a car or driving into the city. This is a huge advantage for travelers. With so many galleries and theaters, you won’t be short on things to do.
What Makes It an Expensive Place to RV: Visiting New York City is unlike visiting the Florida Keys, Southern California, or Hawaii. It’s a completely different experience. Here you pay for convenience. It’s not beautiful sunsets or sandy beaches or the island life that draw in visitors and thus drive the cost. People come to see the sights and experience so much in a short amount of time.
Liberty Harbor RV is the most popular campground as it’s only a 15-minute train ride or ferry ride into Manhattan. Instead of staying an hour or more outside the city, you can spend a couple of days here and get the most out of your vacation.
However, you’ll pay for the convenience. Whereas in the Keys and Hawaii, you’ll pay about the same amount no matter where you stay and get about the same tropical vacation experience. That’s not the case when visiting New York City. The closer you get to the city, the more money you’ll spend.
Recommended RV Park – Liberty Harbor RV: Located 15 minutes from the heart of New York City, Liberty Harbor RV offers 50 electric and water hook-up sites. It has an on-site dump station, restaurant, bathhouses, laundry, and 24/7 security. You also get amazing views of the New York skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island from your campsite.
This is a pretty standard campground with not a lot of extras. The biggest perk to staying at Liberty Harbor RV Park is the easy access to New York City. Sites cost $75 a night for tent sites and $135 a night for RV sites up to 45 ft.
While the Florida Keys is one of the top winter destinations in the country, Michigan is one of the top summer destinations. Visitors flock to the Wolverine State to enjoy comfortable summer temperatures. You can experience a week at the beach without going to a hot, tropical location. The shores of the Great Lakes offer plenty of fun for the whole family.
Mackinac Island is one of the most visited locations in the summer. After the ferry ride, you’ll find cute old shops, Fort Mackinac, and horse-drawn carriages.
Isle Royale National Park is only accessible by seaplane or boat. It’s one of the most remote national parks in the country and features stunning landscapes carved by Ice Age glaciers and an abundance of wildlife.
The Upper Peninsula is one of the most secluded areas in America. This is the place for travelers looking for serenity instead of tourist attractions.
➡ Want to get away from the summer crowds in Lower Michigan? Check out the 9 Best Campgrounds in Upper Michigan State Parks.
What Makes It an Expensive Place to RV: Like the previous destinations, RV parks fill up six to 12 months in advance during peak season. If you want to visit Michigan in the summer, you better make your plans in advance to get a reservation and expect to pay a high price. High demand means high cost.
But it’s not just the campgrounds that take advantage of the tourist season. Restaurants, shops, and tourist attraction tickets will all cost more in the summer. Many of these places close during the winter, so they charge more in the peak season to make it all year.
Recommended RV Park – Hearthside Grove: You’ll find Hearthside Grove in Petoskey, Mich., at the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula. Many know it as one of the premier campgrounds in the state. One reviewer says, “Be warned, this resort will make you want to stay all summer.” It’s a beautiful albeit expensive RV park.
Depending on the location of your campsite, which they call “lots,” you can pay anywhere from $129-$199 per night. However, the huge paved lots feature water and marsh views. On-property guests can enjoy the tennis courts, dog run, and swimming pool. Hearthside Grove is also located near popular Michigan restaurants, golf courses, and beaches.
What Is the Most Expensive Place in the U.S.?
RVing in America can be much cheaper if you avoid these five destinations. But if you can pay over $300 a night for a spot in the Florida Keys in January, you’ll have an amazing winter by the shoreline. This destination at the southernmost point in the United States is the most expensive place in the country.
Is It Worth RVing in Expensive Places?
Depending on what you want, it might be worth it to RV in these five locations. However, these high costs may not be worth it if you have a tight budget. You might end up paying off your credit card for months to come.
But if you want to save up for a summer in Michigan or winter in Southern California, you may love everything about it. People who have traveled to these spots will tell you that it’s worth adding them to your bucket list. Just be prepared and start saving now to truly enjoy the experience.
What’s the most expensive RV park you’ve ever stayed at? Drop a comment below!
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