The United States has a varied landscape, from glaciers to beaches. The diversity offers endless opportunities to explore with your RV. Traveling in your RV is a great way to travel through this incredible country. However, not all states are as welcoming as others, which creates a challenge when planning your trip. So what state has the highest number of RV parks?
RV park numbers are at an all-time high. The expectation is that the industry will continue to grow. According to RV life, the US has 20,775+ RV parks and campgrounds. Texas tops the list with 2,310 parks. A close second place is California, with 2,007 RV parks.
It is not all about numbers. Consideration should include other factors, such as whether the quantity equals quality and do all RVs have the same level of accessibility. Pressure on the cost of living is driving growth in alternative lifestyles. One of which is full-time RV living. We will discuss how this affects RVers, and whether there are differences from state to state.
Important Statistics on Camping Industry
RV Park Industry Statistics
The RV industry grew yearly until the Covid pandemic. Post-pandemic interest in the sector has continued to rise, with people considering it a safer vacation.
According to forecasts by Fortune Business Insights, RV travel trends show sustained growth through 2028.
At the time of writing, 2022 figures still need to be included. Projections predict 61.3 million tent camping trips for the year. Compared to nearly 57 million households taking a camping vacation in 2021 and 48 million in 2020. A staggering 7 out of 10 homes in the US consider themselves at least casual campers.
What does this mean for the RV industry? Existing and new campers often aspire to break into the RV scene. Statistics show that 56% of new campers want to try RVing. In 2021 this equated to 2 million more RV trips than in 2020. Forecasts show further gains in the future. Of the 15 million RV trips taken in 2021, 77% were by RV owners, the highest ownership percentage on record.
RV Sales Figures
Understandably sales figures during the pandemic collapsed. However, since then, they have recovered, with 2021 showing record sales of just over 600,000 units. Some of this spike was due to a correction from the slump in sales during the pandemic. The year 2022 returned nearly 500,000 units. Although significantly down in 2021, it is just short of the pre-pandemic high recorded in 2017. According to the United States Census Bureau, Maryland reported the highest average sales per establishment. All indications show that the industry has a strong upward growth.
There are some changes to customers’ purchasing choices. Growing RV ownership, especially in the under-35s, has created robust growth in a different type of RV. The cost is a factor in this age group. Truck campers and Class B motorhomes show the most substantial change. Class A motorhome sales are declining as they have the highest cost associated with initial purchase costs and ongoing running expenses.
There are currently 9.6 million households who intend to buy an RV in the next five years and plan on using that RV for 25 days per year compared to the current average of 20 days.
How Many Full-Time RVers Are There?
The housing shortage created by COVID-19 sparked rental cost growth. Additionally, the discovery that RVing is a safer alternative to vacationing led people to investigate further an RV lifestyle.
It is difficult to obtain accurate figures for full-time RVers. Estimations suggest that more than one million Americans consider themselves full-time RV living. A further 47% of first-time RVers believe full-time RV living is an option. Some feel RV living is a whole life option, seeing the cost of the lifestyle far outways any downsides.
What the Camping Industry Provides to the US Economy
The industry has a reputation for being a favorite among many people. After all, the US has much to offer, but what does this mean regarding economic benefits?
RV and Camping Figures
We have separated the figures into RV and tent camping.
The RV Industry Association report in 2022 revealed that the industry contributed $140 billion to the US economy.
Broken down as follows:
- Providing either directly or indirectly 680,000 jobs.
- $73.7 billion direct from RV and travel trailer manufacturers and their suppliers.
- $35.7 billion from RV campgrounds and other related travel.
- $30.5 billion from RV dealers’ sales and associated services.
- Along with the added benefit of $13.6 billion in all taxes.
The Statista report states that industry projections will contribute $22.71 billion to the US economy in 2023, rising to $25.02 billion by 2027.
- This figure is a 5.3% growth from the previous year.
- Figures are on 58.79 m people in 2027 and spending, on average, $400 each for each trip.
- The RV industry employs 66k people in camping and RV camping parks throughout the US.
Over the years, camping has changed, and so have campers’ expectations. Technology and environmental concerns are mainly responsible. Many campgrounds have adapted to these requirements to remain competitive.
- More users take technology with them, requiring internet access and electric hook ups.
- Not only do they need Wi-Fi. It must be fast and reliable.
- Millennials, or Gen Z’s, make up 48% of campers, and with these age groups comes more emphasis on Wi-Fi and electricity.
- Some users are taking longer trips while remote working.
- Many campers are moving towards eco-friendly requirements and are using eco-friendly gear.
- Improved equipment allows people to look for year-round parks for their outdoor recreation.
Check Out Campground Trends I’ve Noticed Across America:
10 States With the Most RV Parks
All these figures come from RV life Campgrounds.
With 2310 RV parks, Texas is a leading RV destination. One reason Texas has so many RV parks is the simple fact that it is the second most populated state in the US. It is a magnet to full-time RV owners because it has no state income tax, low vehicle registration fees, and mail forwarding services.
Texas and a few other states, including South Carolina, have low diesel prices.
The weather in Texas makes it an attractive option as winter months are mild, and for the average full-time RVer, this is a high priority. Big Bend National Park is a draw.
The demand created in Texas has led park owners to expand. They have constructed high-quality RV parks suitable for large recreational vehicles, full-time RVers, and occasional recreational RV travel.
All this puts Texas firmly on the list of the best states for full-time RV living.
California offers 2007 RV resorts. California and Texas are two of the most populated states. By default, they are popular because people choose to vacate close to home.
California boasts good all-year-round weather, an excellent highway network, a beautiful coastline, and fantastic wineries. California has nine national parks, including the amazing Yosemite National Park, featuring incredible natural beauty. All makes California an excellent place for a road trip and one of the best states for RVs. It should be on the bucket list to spend time there.
Ironically California appears as one of the best states in the country to take a road trip. On the opposite end, it has been described as one of the worst places for RVs, as many places have length restrictions.
Another downside to California, for RV full-time living in the area, it is one of the highest-taxed states in the US. It has some of the highest sales and income tax, which may deter RV owners from registering for full-time RV living.
Florida, the sunshine state, has 1169 RV sites to park your RV. Florida has a strong market of RV sales from its RV dealers, possibly because it is such an RV-friendly state.
Florida has a heap of positives for visiting and full-time RV living. Florida has good year-round weather, some high-quality RV parks, and the Everglades National Park featuring some of the country’s best natural beauty.
Florida is one of the most popular states for RV full-timing. The benefits include an excellent highway network, easy access, and hassle-free motorhome travel. Other advantages are a mail forwarding system and a lack of income tax, making it a perfect destination to RV full-time.
Oregon’s natural beauty, and diversity, make it hard to beat. Its rugged coastline, snow-capped volcanos, forests, rich history, and crystal clear blue water of the Crater Lake National Park makes Oregon an excellent RVing state. Another Oregon perk along with Montana is they have no sales tax, making it a potential RV full-time destination.
Oregon has 1007 parks to entice RV owners. The downside, it is known for its wet weather. The driest times of the year to aim for are late summer and early fall.
Be mindful that Oregon has the US’s most expensive vehicle registration fees if you plan to RV full-time.
Arizona has 856 RV Sites and is one of the most highly-regarded RV destinations in the US.
The state may conjure up an image of a barren, arid desert. However, it has much more to offer. There are three national parks, including The Grand Canyon National Park, one of the country’s most visited.
The weather is scorching hot in the summer, but spring and winter offer pleasant alternative times to visit. The winter is mild, and a good escape from the cold and snowy north, and the state provides some good opportunities for free camping or boondocking if you RV full-time.
Washington State has 849 RV sites for travel trailers and RVs. It is another strong contender for those wishing to RV full-time, as it has no income tax.
The weather in Washington State is wet in winter, particularly on the coast. The summer and early fall experience very good weather, making them great visiting times.
The Washington coastline has spectacular spots with beaches, coves, and tide pools. Cape Flattery is a strongly recommended destination as it is one of the most scenic spots on the Washington coastline. It is just outside The Olympic National Park, which is worth checking out.
The infamous Mount St Helens erupted in 1980 and is now one of the few places to hike up an active volcano.
Montana has a choice of 578 RV sites.
A Montana driver’s license is on many RV owners’ wish lists because of their tax laws. However, the state has more to experience, such as clean air and lush forests. There are some spectacular mountain roads to drive, although they can sometimes be a little hairy. They may be more suited to smaller RVs.
Summer in Montana is an excellent time to visit, and Glacier National Park should be on the list.
New York State has 515 RV sites offering perfect bases to see some of the state’s highlights, including New York City. New York City has surprisingly good access for RVs with some good mail-forwarding laws, although it does have a relatively high-income tax.
New York State does not have a national park. However, it does have many national points of interest, such as historical sites, monuments, and national sites, 43 in total. One of the most famous is the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area in upstate New York.
New York State is famed for foliage colors in the fall, and it is a stunning time to plan your RV trip. Winters can get cold in the state.
Check Out RV Park Just 15 Minutes From NEW YORK CITY?!:
Virginia’s 293 RV sites provide the perfect park-ups for RVs. Virginia hosts diverse landscapes, including the famed Blue Ridge Mountains named Sa-koh-na-gas by the Cherokee Indians, meaning blue. They form part of the Shenandoah National Park, which is bursting with places to visit.
The weather in Virginia lends itself to visiting from spring through to the fall.
North Dakota’s RV park owners provide 206 resorts. In addition, the state’s auto insurance prices are below the national average making North Dakota possible for full-time RV living. The weather is more pleasant in summer, and it is the ideal time to visit. In contrast, winter is a harsh season known for its freezing conditions. Although great if you are into snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and skiing.
The Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota is often considered one of the northern states’ finest. The state is not on many people’s must-see lists for some reason. The upside is you can enjoy the spectacular scenery in the relatively quiet from other tourists. You can watch in seclusion the wild horses and Bison roaming free in their natural habitat.
Although North Dakota has a relatively low-income tax, South Dakota has no income tax and low diesel prices making South Dakota another strong possibility.
What State Has the Most Full-Time RVers?
Due to state laws and RV-friendly local governments, Florida, Texas, and South Dakota are the three best states for full-time RV living. But the state with the most full-time RVs in Texas.
What State Is Best for RV?
California is frequently mentioned as the best for RVs as the weather is good all year, and it has a vast array of things to see and do. California also has nine national parks meaning there is a good chance you will never get bored.
What Is the Largest Campground in US?
Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico is an amazing place that covers 140,177 acres of rugged mountainous wilderness and is owned and operated by the Boy Scouts Of America.
The Bottom Line
One thing for sure is the RV industry is growing. The dynamics around the RV industry are shifting towards different age groups. They are choosing to buy an RV and smaller types of recreational vehicles, such as a travel trailer, that they will use frequently.
For those seeking full-time RV living, consider mail forwarding, income tax, the weather, and RV friendliness in a state, such as Florida or Texas, when deciding where to settle in the country. All these can affect the overall cost.
More RV users are visiting national and state parks and have higher expectations from the campgrounds they visit.
As the number of users rises, so will competition. Everybody wanting the best deal possible.
Moving forward is exciting for the RV industry as more people take more trips. As fuel prices rise there is a greater emphasis on electric power. The RV industry must adapt to these changes. Technology is moving quickly, and with such a lucrative industry, the RV lifestyle will only gain from these changes.
If you are one of these new RV owners planning a road trip, then with the help of this article, enjoy your newfound RV life in the many unique places the country has to offer.