How Much Does Camping Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

Camping is a perfect example of an outdoor recreational activity.  Campers usually leave urban areas to enjoy nature and wildlife while spending several days and nights outdoors.  A tent is usually associated with camping since this is the most commonly used shelter as it is easy to build and collapse.  The price for camping varies depending on the geographical location, the type of campground, the time of year, the facilities being offered, the number of people and how you’re going to camp.

Camping 025 by jvh33, on Flickr
“Camping 025” (CC BY 2.0) by  jvh33

How much does camping cost?

On average, basic tent camping is going to cost anywhere from $10 to as much as $35 per night.

A premium RV park and resort, which can be the most expensive option, can cost $55 to $85+ per night.

State parks can be one of the cheaper options and can be as little as paying $80 to $225 for an annual pass or as little as $5 to $35 per night, depending on the location and the time of the year.

We took a look at some of the most popular campsites in the United States and were able to get some price ranges.  These prices, along with the campground name, is listed below.

Changin’ Gears says a primitive camping site with no hookups can cost $3 to $10, while water and electric sites can cost $10 to $30.  Full hook-up websites, the website claims, can cost $15 to $50.

WhereAverage Price Per Night
Brown County State Park$25
Bull Run Park Camping$33 to $47
Burke Lake Park$20
Darien Lake$120 to $200
Disney World Camping$60 to $120 (tent), depending on time of year or $93 to $159 for full hook-up. Preferred and premium can be 30% more.
Douglas County Fairgrounds$20
Dry Tortugas$3 per person
Enchanted Rock$14 to $18
KOA Tent Camping$30 to $55, depending on the location
Lake Lanier Camping$21 (tent) to $55 (RV lakefront with full hook-up
Lake Skinner$20 (basic) or $35 (full hook-up)
Petit Jean State Park$17
Red River Gorge Camping$3 for 1 night, $5 for 3 nights, $7 for 7 nights
Riverside State Park$30
Sebastian Inlet$28
Yellowstone Camping$20 to $47
Yosemite$6 to $26

Camping overview

Basic camping sites will include a small patch of land that is numbered and sectioned off.  Sites can be on the lake, in the woods or near other campsites, depending on the size of the campground.

Tent sites may often have a small electrical hookup, but most of the time, it will be a basic site with a picnic table and firepit.  RV and travel trailer sites can have much more.  These sites can have shaded awnings, full electric, water and sewer hookups, cable TV, a fire pit and picnic table.  Depending on the RV/trailer size, these spaces can be designed to drive your rig through or in most cases, it will have to be backed in.

RV parks and resorts, designed solely for RV will be the highest in terms of quality when it comes to camping.  These resorts will have cable TV, Internet access, full hook-ups, laundry and nice restroom setups than most campgrounds.

State parks, like a national park, will have the most basic amenities, but some may have electric and the occasional water hookup.  Most state parks will offer a simple restroom facility, along with a fresh water station and RV dump station.

Another common campground option are state fairgrounds.  Many cities will have fairground RV Parking with or without the basic hookups.

Unless it’s a rustic campground, most will have a restroom equipped with showers and toilets.  Some campgrounds may have a small convenience store with basic necessities.

What are the extra costs?

Adding electricity, water and sewer to the site can add $10 to $40 to the site.

How can I save money?

Free camping is available throughout the United States.  Refer to to see where you can camp for free.  Oftentimes, a Walmart or casino will allow RV owners to camp for free.  Before you do, however, check with management to see if it’s allowed.  Some rest areas may allow it as well as long as there no signs prohibiting it.

If you plan on staying for more than a week, most campgrounds offer weekly, monthly and semi-annual discounts.

Several discounts apply for those who hold AAA, Good Sam Club and AARP cards.  Active and/or retired military may be able to take advantage of discounts as well.  Always ask before booking your campsite.

As mentioned above, some state parks offer annual passes.  Take advantage of this offer if you plan on camping enough to justify the annual cost.  Since some state parks only require a pass to camp, this is a great way to save.

If you’re older than 62 years old, you can purchase an America the Beautiful Passport for $10, which is good for life and offers access to all national parks.

If you camp a lot, consider joining a discount camping club, such as Camp Club USA and Recreation USA, to save even more.

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