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Get our top tips for saving money on a campervan trip:

By Kim Merryman

Renting an Escape Campervan is a perfect way to experience camping at National Parks in the United States. The parks’ campgrounds give you easy access to the trails and sites, and they are some of the most well cared for campsites, often with amenities like flush toilets, bear lockers, and outdoor sinks for doing dishes. However, camping in popular parks usually takes a little advanced planning. Here’s what you need to know. 

Escape campervan a Devils Garden

Find Reservations vs. First-Come, First-Served Sites!

You can look up camping options on National Parks’ websites and find out whether they are reservable or first-come, first-served. Many of the National Parks offer campsites that can be booked ahead of time on recreation.gov. At the more popular parks, campsites are reservable 6 months ahead of time, and they sell out quickly. Some parks also have first-come, first-served campsites, but there’s no guarantee you’ll snag one. If finding a site when you get there is the plan, show up in the morning as campers are checking out.

Make Sure You Book the Right Type of Campsite

If you book a site ahead of time, make sure you reserve a site that will fit the campervan. Recreation.gov lists the max length of allowable vehicles for each site. Luckily, Escape Campervans will fit into many tent sites. Our campervans range from 14.5 feet to just under 20 feet long, depending on which model you choose. You can find the campervan’s details on our website. It’s also best to avoid booking walk-to or hike-in sites, which require you to carry your camping equipment from a parking spot outside of the campsite.

Joshua Tree National Park

Know The Cost Of Camping At National Parks

In many cases, the cost of booking a campsite does not include park entry fees. When you arrive, you’ll still need to pay at the entrance. You’ll also have to wait in line to get into the park with everyone else. Some of the more popular parks can have very long lines to get in, so be prepared to pay a fee!

Think Twice Before You Bring Your Pet

Most National Park campgrounds will allow you to have your pet in your campsite on a 6-foot leash. However, most National Parks do not allow pets on trails. If you plan to use the park’s trails, it might be best to leave the fur babies with a sitter. 

Be Clear About Food Storage

It’s always best to keep a clean camp and secure food in the vehicle or a bear locker overnight and while you’re away from the site. You don’t want raccoons, chipmunks, or bears feasting on your s’mores, plus it’s dangerous for wild animals to consume human foods. If the campsite provides a bear locker, use it, and make sure it’s locked.

Make Sure You Have Drinking Water

Before you arrive, check if your campground has potable water available. Many National Park campgrounds have pumps where you can fill up water bottles and cooking pots. Some don’t, and you don’t want to be stuck there thirsty and munching on dry ramen. I always try to have a few gallons in the van at all times anyway, just in case I use up the campervan’s water tank in the middle of nowhere. 

Ensure To Extinguish All Campfires

Nothing is better than relaxing at a campfire, but make sure they’re allowed first. Check the signs at the entrance to the campground to find out if there is a fire ban in place, and if there’s no fire ban, only build fires inside designated fire rings. Use the firewood for sale locally so you don’t accidentally bring in pests from other areas. Most National Park campgrounds have firewood for sale from the campground host. Finally, put the fire completely out before you head into the campervan for bed. 

Campervans at Arches National Park

Remember These Tips When Camping At National Parks

Book your Escape Campervan now for your trip to our amazing National Parks! Remember, campsites are often reservable 6 months ahead, so it’s not too early to start planning now. 

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