What Is the Difference Between a Campground, RV Campground, and RV Resort?

There comes a time for every RV and outdoor enthusiast when they come to the realization that there is a huge difference between the types of parks. Some of those parks will be more conducive to the RV experience than others. For example, while many people are familiar with what boondocking is, not as many know that there is a difference between a campground, RV campground, and an RV resort. So, what is the difference between them?

Boondocking with an RV

A campsite is set up under the canopy attached to a white Hyundai Porest RV.
Hyundai’s first RV, the Porest | Asian Petrolhead via Youtube

In its simplest form, boondocking is staying in the RV overnight without any hookups. This is what happens in store parking lots or on land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management. When drivers become tired from their travels and have not reached their desired destination, boondocking is often the needed choice to take in order to get the winks of sleep needed to recharge for another day.


Campgrounds are a catch-all. They are made to appeal to as many people as possible. So, they will have places for outdoor enthusiasts who like to camp by tent, car camp, or park their RV. As a catch-all, though, many camps are not set up for the driver of a pop-up camper, travel trailer, or motorhome. There may not be many amenities beyond providing a space for parking and access to the general store, public bathrooms, showers, and possibly an electrical hookup. Some might even provide wifi, a picnic table, and a campfire ring or BBQ grill. Aside from boondocking, this option is usually the next least expensive option.

The Airstream travel trailer is by a campsite, a truck, and solar panels.
The Airstream Basecamp travel trailer | Airstream

RV campgrounds

RV campgrounds are specifically geared for campers who drive recreational vehicles. This is the next step up in the types of facilities. These campgrounds will likely have everything that was mentioned before, as well as a few other treasured things. Commonly found treasured things in an RV campground are hookups not just for electrical, but also for fresh water, and the sewer.

RV resorts


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Okay, this is the top end of the price spectrum. Staying in one of these will mean more money out of the wallet. Sometimes, it is just nice to break things up and stay in a place that can pamper RV travelers a bit. An RV resort will have the whole gambit of amenities, including laundry facilities, a clubhouse with a pool, tennis courts, fitness centers, eateries, dog parks, etc. Basically, if it has the term, resort, in the name, then expect deluxe accommodations.

One word of caution

When considering which of these types of places to stay, there is one caution. That is, the types of destinations have been slowly evolving. So, call ahead to confirm what amenities are included. For example, a place that started as a campground may have grown into an RV resort over time, but never changed its name to reflect, resort. The opposite is true also. Some states have become more averse to campgrounds. So, what was once a resort may be a more simple campground. There is nothing wrong with any type. They each serve customers with different needs. So, keep this in mind to avoid surprises.