Campground Guide for City Lovers

Campground Guide for City Lovers

Andrea E. McHugh, Broadry  

The past two years have been a wild ride, to say the least. Are you a little rusty when it comes to planning an out-of-this-world camping vacation? We get it. Never fear, outdoor lovers. We’ve rounded up the best cities for campers coast to coast (thanks to our friends at RVshare.com for the research!) where you can explore national parks, zoos, children’s museums, theme parks, beaches, botanical gardens and much more when you’re not mastering the art of s’more-making or snapping a pic for the ‘gram at the country’s most scenic sites. Get ready to return to living life under the stars and basking in the fresh air!

Phoenix, AZ

The Valley of the Sun is known for outdoor adventures, year-round sunshine, warm temps (that’s an understatement in the summer months…) and an avid sports scene for both competitors or spectators. A bonafide baseball mecca, MLB teams have flocked here for more than a century for spring training with no less than a dozen teams perfecting their game in advance of the summer season. 

In addition to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Greater Phoenix is also home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, NBA’s Phoenix Suns and the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. When it comes to hitting the links, the Phoenix area has long been known as one of the top destinations for golf, with nearly 200 courses to choose from. Looking for a solo adventure? Simply lace-up and hike the many diverse terrain trails throughout the Sonoran Desert. When it comes to city life, you’ll find critically-acclaimed restaurants, plenty of breweries, live music and fascinating cultural attractions.  

Campgrounds

North Phoenix Campground

Covered Wagon RV Park

Desert Sands RV Park

Things to do

Children’s Museum of Phoenix

Desert Botanical Garden – I have personally been here and it’s amazing!

Biltmore Fashion Park

The Phoenix Zoo

Day-trips to Sedona or the Grand Canyon

Lost Dutchman State Park – RV and Campground Guide

Catalina State Park – RV and Campground Guide

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Los Angeles, CA

The City of Angels is best known for being the global epicenter of celebrity and glitterati, but L.A. is also home to more than 105 museums, 55 magnificent structures by revered architects, 431 miles of bikeways, 50 miles of hiking trails and 75 miles of coastline stretching from star-studded Malibu to Long Beach – a.k.a. the “LBC.” L.A. County is the most populous county in the U.S. with 10 million people calling it home, while millions more visit this diverse, multiethnic metropolis annually. 

Equine enthusiasts should take advantage of horseback rides at Griffith Park, which rewards riders with a close-up look at the world-famous Hollywood sign overlooking the city. The park is the largest city park in the country and is also home to a charming merry-go-round built in 1926 as well as the Griffith Observatory, Southern California’s “gateway to the cosmos” with telescopes, exhibits, a planetarium and views that extend from downtown L.A. to the Pacific Ocean.

Campgrounds

Hollywood RV Park

Dockweiler RV Park

Golden Shore RV Resort

Things to do

The Hollywood Sign

Temescal Canyon

Griffith Park

Los Angeles Zoo

Runyon Canyon Park

Castaic Lake State Recreation Area

Doheny State Beach

Griffith Observatory

Downtown Arts District

Aquarium of the Pacific

Las Vegas, NV

Known to many simply as “Vegas,” this famous (or perhaps infamous?) Mojave Desert city needs no introduction. What started as a small and dusty railroad town at the beginning of the 20th century became the country’s fastest growing metropolis by century’s end; a sprawling oasis of entertainment. But before that, this land was home to Las Vegas Paiutes, descendants of the Tudinu, or Desert People, for centuries. 

Today, Las Vegas is best known for its immense casinos and world-class entertainment, hence its moniker, Sin City. Want to be shot 160-feet in the air at 45 miles per hour from a 921-foot-high platform atop The Strat Hotel? Go for it. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll take in aerial views of the majestic Las Vegas Valley. But for many, Vegas’s great jackpot is its natural wonders. From kayaking the Colorado River and cycling Red Rock Canyon to hiking in the Valley of Fire or exploring the Hoover Dam, the desert scenery and river chasms captivate body and soul.  

Campgrounds

Hitchin’ Post RV Park & Motel

Desert Eagle RV Park

The RV Park at Circus Circus

Things to do

Death Valley National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Las Vegas Overlook Trail

Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck

The High Roller

SlotZilla Zipline

Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat

Orlando, FL

Nestled comfortably in the heart of the Sunshine State, Orlando is synonymous with theme parks and family fun, but this sprawling city is home to more than 100 lakes, beautiful golf courses, interesting museums and attractions, awesome outdoor recreation and a robust line-up of things to do. 

The most visited destination in the world, Orlando’s nickname is “The City Beautiful,” and in the 19th century, was home to Florida’s thriving citrus industry (which is now mostly further south). One of the best ways to take Orlando in is via The Wheel at ICON Park, a 400-foot tall ferris wheel that takes passengers up and away in glass capsules where panoramic views await. Water sports are big here too, with ample places to stand up paddleboard, kayak, take an airboat ride, or even swim with a manatee in its natural environment at Homosassa State Wildlife Park.

Campgrounds

Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake

Moss Park

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Things to do

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Paddleboarding Orlando

Medieval Times

Orlando Museum of Art

World Chocolate Museum

Orlando Science Center

Disney World

Universal

Legoland

Day trip – Blue Spring State Park

San Bernardino, CA

In the heart of Southern California’s Inland Empire, San Bernardino has gone through both thriving and challenging times, but its alluring landscape has always delivered. It’s the nation’s largest county, spanning more than 20,000 square miles and offering diverse terrains, enviable hiking trails and adventure sports like snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking and off-roading. With topography perhaps best known for the rugged San Bernardino Mountains and the Mojave Desert Basin, you’ll also find here the charming alpine villages of Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear – resort towns that welcome visitors from around the world. 

Located along America’s iconic Route 66, San Bernardino’s mild winters and hot summers are equally enjoyed on the Rim of the World Highway which runs along the ridge line of the San Bernardino Mountains. On the opposite side of the spectrum, San Bernardino is home to the Original McDonald’s Site and Museum, the San Bernardino History & Railroad Museum and the famed Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art located on the campus of Cal State San Bernardino.

Campgrounds

Rancho Jurupa Park

Desert Willow RV Resort

Things to do

San Bernardino History & Railroad Museum

The Original McDonald’s on Route 66

Rim of the World Scenic Byway

Joshua Tree National Park

Austin, TX

The state capital of Texas, this inland city has grown by leaps and bounds over the past half century. Home to the University of Texas flagship campus (Hook ’em Horns!) and known as the live music capital of the world with country, blues and rock tunes emanating throughout downtown venues, Austin has transformed from a small Central Texas town on the banks of the Colorado River to being named the fastest growing large city in the U.S.

In 2000, the city adopted a unique moniker, “ Keep Austin Weird.” Over the past two decades, this once predominantly eccentric city has seen robust commercialization and a jaw-dropping population burst, but locals work to maintain its unique character. It may best be known as the home to South by Southwest (SXSW), which started off as a music showcase and has morphed into an annual springtime convergence of the global tech, film, music and entertainment industries. 

Austin offers countless things to do, amazing restaurants, world-class events, an enviable nightlife scene and outdoor experiences for all. 

Campgrounds

Oak Forest

Pecan Grove RV Park

Midtown RV Park

Things to do

McKinney Falls State Park

Lady Bird Lake

Lake Activities in Austin

kayaking, canoeing, swimming, fishing, paddleboarding, or take a river cruise.

Coffee tasting

Cocktail classes

Beer tours

Bullock Museum

Austin Art Walk

Miraval Austin Wellness Resort

Day trip – Magnolia Market

 

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