RVShare.com ranks the best spots to enjoy year-round camping, from San Diego to Orlando


The most googled question this week by would-be campers: what campgrounds are open?

That one is simple enough, yet hard to answer.

Campgrounds that can keep up with fluctuating COVID-19 health and safety guidelines are open for business. Seasonal campgrounds are in hibernation mode and won’t likely reopen till spring.

Other sites around the country are either partially restricted or closed entirely due to pandemic mitigation efforts. For instance, campsites at a dozen national forests in California, including Sequoia National Forest and Sierra National Forest, are closed until Jan. 29).

While camping has not returned to normal, the demand remains high for close-to-nature escapes, where social distancing is less arduous. Even as we head into the cooler months, families are yearning for activities outdoors. They just want to pitch a tent and roast marshmallows with the kids.

So, where do all these would-be travelers want to set up camp? RVshare.com, a recreational vehicle marketplace for renters, compiled a list of the eight most searched destinations for camping enthusiasts this season.

8. San Diego

San Diego ranks no. 8 on the list for top U.S. camping destinations to visit during the winter. Southern California lures campers with warm weather, palm trees, and beachfront campsites. However, under the latest COVID orders, state campgrounds located in counties with regional stay-at-home orders must remain closed at least Jan. 29. Private campgrounds may be technically open, but can only accept reservations for essential travelers while a stay-at-home order remains in effect.

7. Fort Worth, Texas

No. 7 is Fort Worth, Texas, home to the region’s largest theme park, Six Flags, and offers a variety of nature parks, gardens, and a large zoo. Campers can take in 1.5 miles of sandy beaches on the Brazos River and explore over 350 acres of land from a riverfront campsite at Bee Mountain Ranch Camp. While it’s more of a barebones camping experience, modern amenities like firewood, ice, and generators are available to rent or purchase, along with extras for activities like paddle boarding or kayaking. And good news for campers with fur children: your dog is welcome.

6. Houston

Campers can find full-service RV sites to visit year-round in Houston, ranked sixth on the list. The area offers plenty of opportunities to bike, hike, camp, or fish. Galveston Island State Park is about a one-hour drive away. The waterfront park boasts a richly diverse preserve with all kinds of wildlife — from spoonbills to coyotes.

5. Phoenix

Located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix is the fifth most popular destination for would-be campers. Maricopa County has six regional park campgrounds to choose from. Check VisitPhoenix.com for outdoor activity suggestions, like hiking. Arizona offers outdoor enthusiasts six national forests, 31 state parks and millions of acres of public land.

4. Jacksonville, Florida

While an average high temperature in the mid-60s for January, Jacksonville continues to draw sun seekers during the winter months. The area, dubbed as having the “largest urban park system in the nation” ranks no. 4 for a top camping destination. Check VisitJacksonville.com for a long list of camping options for families. Many, like Flamingo Lake RV Resort, are just a few steps away from the water.

3. Miami

South Florida may be best known for its vibrant pre-pandemic nightlife and sandy beaches, but there are plenty of camping options, too. The Larry and Penny Thompson Park and Campground is one of the largest. It has 240 separate campsites with full electrical and water hook-ups and is close to Zoo Miami (one-day tickets must be purchased online). Downtown Miami is about a 40-minute drive away, which is surprising given how close to nature you’ll feel on their bridle and hiking trails.

2. Tampa, Florida

Tampa is the second most-booked winter camping destination, according to RVshare. The greater Tampa area appeals to campers looking for a beachside experience that also boasts a more tropical vibe. Take a day to go hiking on the Pinellas County fitness trail, or explore John’s Pass Village and stroll the nearby boardwalk. History enthusiasts can stop by the Salvador Dali Museum (advanced ticket purchase and masks required). Or, you can spend a day at the beach. The St. Petersburg KOA Campground is one of the larger camping options. The grounds are open with limited recreation. (Note that Pinella County has a mask mandate.)

1. Orlando, Florida

No surprise here. Orlando is always a top spot for families due to close proximity to popular attractions like Disney World, Legoland, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios. When it comes to camping this winter, Central Florida offers a variety of fully-equipped campsites that can accommodate full RV hookups, pop-up campers or a traditional tent.

The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is one of the top-rated options on TripAdvisor. Fort Wilderness Resort is open to guests and offers 750 acres of pine and cypress forest with close-to-nature activities like canoeing, horseback riding, and archery. Pets are also welcome.

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