Why do some RV parks not allow pop-ups?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Why do some RV parks not allow pop-ups? We will explain the sometimes “unwritten” rules of RV parks and tell you about some alternative places where you can park a pop-up camper. 

Why do some RV parks not allow pop-ups?

The reasons why some RV parks do not allow pop-ups can vary depending on where you want to go camping. We have selected some of the most common reasons:

  • Some regions are not deemed safe for pop-ups, tent-trailers and hybrid trailers due to bear (or other wildlife) activity. Thus, the RV park manager wants to ensure your safety. 
  • Some RV parks do not allow pop-up campers just for financial reasons. The price/night for motorhomes at many campsites will vary considerably from the price/night for tents or pop-up campers. It’s not fair, but it is what it is. 
  • In general, motorhomes bring more people to the campsite than pop-up campers, who occupy more or less the same space but host fewer travellers. 
  • Some campsites are preoccupied with aesthetics. They may allow only pop-up campers made of certain materials or have a canvas of a specific colour. 

Our best advice would be to call ahead and ask if they allow pop-up campers. You don’t want to find yourself without a camping space when you’re tired and unable to drive anymore! In many cases, you will be able to discuss with the RV park administrator and perhaps negotiate a place for 24h or more.

Are pop-up campers allowed in National Parks?

Pop-up campers are allowed in some national parks, however, you will have to check beforehand. Yellowstone national park, for example, allows pop-up campers. However, the Fishing bridge campground in the same park will not let you camp with a pop-up! This is why it is important to call ahead and possibly make a reservation. 

Other national parks that do not allow pop-up campers are:

  • Several campgrounds in Yosemite national park;
  • Joshua tree national park;
  • Zion national park;
  • Sequoia national park;
  • Glacier National park.

Where can I camp with a pop-up?

If you are new to the world of camper travel, you are probably not sure where you can park your vehicle and stay there for a while. These are some of the most common spaces:

  • Traditional campsites: these are spaces reserved for tents and caravans or motorhomes. They have essential services such as toilets, showers, electricity supply, restaurants, and supermarkets. They are the favourite places for travellers, as they can leave their vehicle with total peace of mind and spend a few days resting, with all the facilities and basic needs covered.
  • Caravan and motorhome parking: these are spaces set up for the parking of cars and recreational vehicles. We must inform ourselves in advance if the places are delimited to know how many places you can occupy. In this case, pergolas, awnings, etc. cannot be deployed, nor are they suitable for overnight stays.
  • Gamping: it is a very new way of camping with a camper. Some owners of gardens, farms or land rent part of these areas for everyone who wants to camp. They are similar to a traditional campsite, although they have fewer services they do have a close relationship with the land ownerIt will depend on how comfortable you are willing to sleep. 

Tips to know where to camp with a pop-up camper

When planning your route, it is advisable that you first inform yourself where you can park your vehicle or even the services that are in each place:

  • Find out what is necessary to reserve your place in campsites and other venues: more and more municipalities are providing land for motorhomes to park or camp with tents. In some, it is necessary to pay an amount depending on the stay.
  • Service stations: there may be gas stations and other establishments of this type with parking adapted to caravans and motorhomes. Although it is not a place to camp with a caravan, it can be useful if you have water drainage or battery recharging services.
  • Be careful if you are going to camp in natural areas: there are unconditioned places that can be a good option to park your pop-up camper. In this case, you must be careful not to dirty or disturb the animals and make sure that the vehicle is on stable ground.

Where to stop with a pop-up camper 

There are several places where you can (legal or less) stop and camp with a pop-up camper:

  1. Service areas for motorhomes. They can be private or public in nature and are sometimes free or at a lower cost, generally, than a campsite. They are areas where you can empty and fill tanks, have access to the electricity grid (not in all areas) and spend the night.

Some areas have a 48-hour stay limitation and do not allow entry to the car and caravan complexes. They are normally closed enclosures with surveillance, an entry and exit schedule and it is a safe option to spend the night and empty / fill the tanks.

  1. Wild camping. Carrying out free camping in the US is an adventure with the risk of being fined unless you do it in so-called controlled camping areas.

Each city council has the powers to regulate the camping matter, therefore, the regulations may vary from one state to another. To find out where these controlled camping areas are, it is best to contact the nearest town hall directly and thus get the most accurate information.

  1. Parking on public roads. Just like any other vehicle, you can park your motorhome, camper van or caravan in a place reserved for parking on a public road. But here some nuances must be highlighted.

We can park as long as there is no sign that prohibits it, the vehicle or the set is in contact with the ground only by means of the wheels and does not exceed the marks that delimit the parking area, or obstruct the movement of other users of the route. In case of taking a pop-up camper, we cannot unhook it.

And in no case can we carry out actions that involve camping, such as placing stabilizing elements, pouring any liquid, producing some type of emission, taking out the awning, opening the hinged windows, taking out chairs, tables or any other camper accessory.

As long as our vehicle is properly parked, inside we can sleep, rest, eat and use the bathroom.

  1. Parking spaces. The car parks for motorhomes are car parks specifically enabled for this type of vehicle. Normally there you will not find points for emptying tanks, nor a source of water. They are spaces that allow you to park your motorhome, camper or caravan while you want to visit a nearby area or rest.

As if you park on public roads, you cannot carry out any action that involves camping in a parking lot.

In short, wherever you choose to stop and spend the night with your motorhome, pop-up camper or caravan, you have to be aware of the signs and strictly comply with the regulations of each place.

Advice for successful camping with a pop-up camper

If you want to go camping with a pop-up camper, first, get organized! Think about what kind of place you prefer to go to and what activities you want to do, be it walks, nature excursions, beaches, fishing, picnics and/or sports. Or maybe you just want to rest a bit and enjoy a good book! 

Once you have that clear, look for places with those characteristics near your area. Then, go to the store, and find the necessary equipment for it.

Keep in mind that pop up campers do not have the best isolation, therefore, you should check what is the minimum temperature during the night of the place at the time you will go to buy property! Some campers avoid going camping in winter with a pop-up!

There are different models of pop-up campers. Keep in mind that it is preferable to invest a few dollars and avoid unpleasant surprises such as flooding if it rains or unwanted animals or insects entering! You may also want a sleeping cushion and other products that can give you comfort. It will depend on how comfortable you are willing to sleep.

Other things that you will need for successful camping in a pop-up camper are:

  • a source of light, to illuminate you when it gets dark. A cheap LED headlight is the best.
  • lanterns, for the same purpose as above. Do not rely so much on what can light the fire.
  • first aid kit: something basic to clean and heal wounds from scrapes, cuts, blisters and any other medication you take. Even antiallergic.
  • sunscreen: minimum SP40 factor! And also include hats with a visor or eaves in your garments to protect your head from the sun!
  • Insect repellent.

For other things, you may need, do your research! You have the internet at hand for looking for camping places, even in some with bathroom facilities and others you can book in advance. Always read helpful information and talk to the camping site manager. Don’t keep any questions to yourself! What if someone gets lost? What if a bear appears? What if an accident occurs? Consider all the possibilities.

The bottom line

A pop-up camper is a great option for those looking to hit the road on a budget. Still, you need to take into consideration that some RV parks will not allow pop-ups, and thus you have to think about alternative parking and camping spaces.

Why do you think some RV parks do not allow pop-ups? Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject!

FAQ on ​​Why do some RV parks not allow pop-ups?

Are pop up campers safe from bears?

Pop-up campers are safe from bears and as long as you will take some necessary precautions and know how to react if you see a bear while camping, you will always feel safe on your trip.

Are rooftop tents allowed in Yellowstone?

Yes, rooftop tents are allowed in Yellowstone. However, camping (in tents, vehicles, or caravans) is not allowed outside of designated camping areas. Yellowstone National Park, with its 2.2 million acres (890,308 ha), is one of the most important natural park areas in the United States.

Are pop-up campers good?

Yes, pop-up campers are good. Pop-up campers are practical models with little consumption, in which the roof is raised in just over two minutes, and that allows you that functionality of having it parked at home and deciding to go out for a weekend without a problem. 


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