With more than 22,000 campgrounds in the U.S., it’s easy to plan a family camping trip that checks off all the boxes on your family vacation ideas wish list. From camping with pets to family glamping in rustic luxury, you’re never far from some of the country’s best campgrounds no matter where you live in the United States.
But what are the most important qualities to look for when choosing a family campground? Much like real estate, the first consideration is all about location. “If you want to be surrounded by nature, then look into public campgrounds [in or near] state or national parks,” says camping expert Diana Hansen of Let’s Camp S’More. “If you want to be close to attractions or urban areas, then private RV parks are the way to go.”
NO HIDDEN COSTS: 17 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the U.S. for Families
Think about what kind of activities your family will enjoy, advises Keith Sims of Soulful RV Family. “In summer, a pool [or other swimming area such as a beach or swimming hole] is very important. Water slides and a lazy river can captivate kids for hours.” Other features of the best campgrounds are playgrounds, fire pits, picnic tables, beautiful views, safe roads where kids can ride bikes or scooters, a short walk to bathrooms with flush toilets and hot showers, potable water, easy access, interesting local attractions, lots of green space where groups of kids can play, and a dog park if you plan to bring a pet.
LIFE ON THE ROAD: 10 Best RV Road Trip Vacations for Families
Best Campgrounds for Families
These picks for the best campgrounds in the U.S. are based on the factors that are most important to a successful family camping trip. For more family camping ideas near you, explore campgrounds at Go RVing, Recreation.gov, HipCamp, and KOA.
1. Islander Resort – Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Located on the shores of Lake Havasu, Islander Resort is a great choice for families who love to spend their days in or on the water. You can fish (with a license) and launch your boat from the docks, and there are several places nearby that rent paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, and jet skis.
The campground boasts more than a mile and a half of sandy beach for swimming, or you can take a dip in the resort-style pool. Classic outdoor campground activities like pickle ball, horseshoes, bocce, and shuffleboard are also favorite pastimes at Islander Resort.
SUMMER FUN: The Best Summer Vacation Ideas for Families
Its RV sites are large, paved, and include views of the lake or the mountains. If you aren’t RV camping, you can rent one of the campground’s fully stocked cabins that come with everything you’ll need (except food) for a family camping vacation.
2. Winding River Resort – Grand Lake, Colorado
One of the best family campgrounds and lodging resorts located on the Colorado River, Winding River Resort borders both Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapaho National Forest. Formerly a logging camp dating back to the late 1800s, the campground resort is an ideal setting for camping, hiking, and trail riding with your kids.
HOTEL DEALS: The 10 Best Hotel Booking Sites for Cheap Prices
Winding River Resort offers park model cabins, spacious RV and tent sites, guest horse camp sites with corrals, and a unique Covered Wagon lodging experience. Activities include horseback riding, hayrides, pony rides, fishing, hiking, and ATV rentals. There are also ice cream socials during the week and Chuck Wagon Breakfast on the weekends, plus disc golf and a sports field, playground, and Cowboy Church. Nearby Grand Lake, Lake Granby, and Shadow Mountain Lake National Recreational Area all provide boating, fishing, and water sports opportunities.
3. Tall Pines Campground and River Adventures – Bainbridge, New York
At Tall Pines Campground, the spacious RV sites include all the amenities necessary for modern camping comforts. When it’s time to leave the campsite, you can canoe, kayak, tube, and fish in the Unadilla and Susquehanna Rivers, or just hop in for a swim. On Fridays, Chippy’s Hippie Pizza Delivery will deliver your dinner in a pink 1969 VW Bug. And kids will love listening for the bell from Chippy’s Ice Cream Cart.
NO PASSPORT NEEDED: The Best Hawaii All-Inclusive Resorts
At nearby Frog Pond Farms, you can see farm animals, shop for local produce, and wander in the greenhouse. There are many places to see just a short drive away, too, including the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the Charlotte Valley Railroad, and the Kopernik Science Center.
4. Splash RV Resort and Waterpark – Milton, Florida
With paved RV sites, cottages, and Conestoga Wagons for families who want to glamp it up, Splash RV Resort and Waterpark is located near Navarre Beach in Milton, Florida. Every site at this campground comes with a picnic table and a fire pit.
TEEN-FRIENDLY TRIPS: 10 All-Inclusive Family Resorts Even Teenagers Will Love
At more than 60 acres, this is one of those big family campgrounds with so much to do that you may never want to leave. Put on your bathing suit and float down the lazy river, swim in one of the resort pools, or relax at the spa (that’s right, this RV resort park and campground has a spa). There’s an amphitheater for live music and entertainment, and if you don’t feel like cooking, you can enjoy food and drinks at the onsite café.
While there’s plenty to do at the campground, Milton is only about six hours by car or RV from Orlando, so you could include the Splash RV Resort and Waterpark on a multi-day Florida family road trip that incorporates the best Orlando theme parks and Florida water parks.
5. Austin Lake RV Park and Cabins – Toronto, Ohio
Family-owned and operated Austin Lakes RV Park and Cabins is situated on a huge manmade lake with plenty of open space for hiking, biking, and relaxing. Water sports and swimming are a favorite activity at the resort’s 80-acre lake, sandy beach, and inflatable obstacle course. Paddle boats, paddle boards, kayaks, and bumper boats are also readily available. Stocked spring-fed ponds are great for fishing, and a kid-friendly creek flows through the park offering hours of fun.
Hiking trails, bird watching, a large picnic area with shelters, four playgrounds, pedal karts, a tube slide, hayrides, and planned weekly events round out the activities offered at this family campground.
6. Newport Dunes RV Resort and Marina – Newport Beach, California
An iconic family recreation destination in Orange County, Newport Dunes is home to the area’s premier waterfront RV resort, Newport Dunes RV Resort and Marina. This California family campground resort offers roomy RV accommodations, charming cottages, a 442-slip marina, boat launch ramp, bike and watercraft rentals, a waveless beach, and a swimming lagoon.
WATCH IT ON THE BIG SCREEN: 10 Best Outdoor Movie Screens for Your Staycation
Your RV site can be right by the water surrounded by palm trees and nestled up to a sandy beach. Watch the kids splash in the lagoon or take part in one of the many watersports offered, or bring a blanket and watch a movie on the beach. In addition to typical beach activities, this campground is only 30 minutes from Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm theme parks.
7. Pineland Camping Park – Arkdale, Wisconsin
About two hours north of Madison, Pineland Camping Park is home to Pinezilla, the world’s largest inflatable waterslide at 42 feet high and 175 feet long. But that’s not the only thing that makes it one of the country’s best campgrounds. Pineland is filled with unusual attractions, including a giant chess set, jumping pillow, and a bazooka ball shootout game.
SUMMER FUN: The Best Summer Vacation Ideas for Families
Most of the campsites are very wooded, so you’ll have some privacy, and the campground offers tent camping, rental RVs, and a few cabins. Pineland Camping Park also boasts organized family activities, themed weekends, and live music every Saturday night. If you don’t want to cook, you can visit the bar/café where the owner will make you a hand-tossed pizza or fish fry.
8. Beaver Lake Campground – Custer, South Dakota
An 81-site campground located roughly 50 minutes from Rapid City, Beaver Lake Campground has a pool and a 360-foot-long water slide that will keep kids busy all day long. Its RV sites are grassy, very large, and can be sunny or located under the pine trees, and you’ll have plenty of space for your camp chairs while you relax around the firepit. Tent campers will find ample tent sites, and those looking for more amenities will enjoy the deluxe or basic cabins.
SPLASH ZONE: The 14 Best Indoor Water Park Resorts in the U.S.
This is a great family campground to use as a base for visiting Mount Rushmore (22 minutes away), Custer State Park (29 minutes), Crazy Horse Memorial (10 minutes), and Jewel Cave National Monument (nine minutes).
9. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Mammoth Cave – Cave City, Kentucky
Just a few miles from Mammoth Cave National Park, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Mammoth Cave is one of the country’s best campgrounds for relaxation and fun with friends and family. Whether you want tent sites, RV sites, or to try out the camping lifestyle in one of the park model cabins, the campground makes a great base for activities like exploring Mammoth Cave, kayaking in the Green or Nolin Rivers, and soaring with nearby ziplines and canopy tours.
This Jellystone Park, one of more than 75 Jellystone campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada, has many planned activities (check the park’s calendar to find out what’s going on when you want to visit) as well as a giant jumping pillow, a splash pad area, a sandy beach featuring an inflatable obstacle course, mini golf, and basketball. When it’s time to relax, grab your towel and head to one of the swimming pools, or just hang out at your campsite with friends and family. Who knows, maybe Yogi and Cindy Bear will stop by for a visit?
10. Elizabethtown/Hershey KOA – Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
The Elizabethtown/Hershey KOA is one of central Pennsylvania’s best family campgrounds. The RV sites are gravel, and many have a patio with fire pit, Adirondack chairs, charcoal grill, and a glider for relaxing. (Premium patios have a gazebo for protected outdoor dining.)
This campground is close enough to spend some time at Hersheypark or visit Amish Country. History buffs can go to Gettysburg, make a day trip to the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, or see the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Families love to visit Hershey’s Chocolatetown at Hersheypark and pick up supplies for s’mores around the campfire. Be sure to check out the streetlights—they look just like Hershey Kisses.
This is one of those classic family campgrounds where you can relax and watch the kids swim, take a wagon ride, play mini-golf, catch fish in the stocked pond, and make other memories you’ll treasure long after your vacation has ended.
Elizabethtown/Hershey KOA offers themed weekends throughout the summer. One of the most popular is the Chocolate Extravaganza, featuring a chocolate slip-and-slide and many other candy-themed events.