Spring can be an excellent time enjoy a beautiful road trip in a recreational vehicle, enjoying time with family and taking advantage of shoulder-season bargains at parks and RV resorts. Finding the right destination can be challenging, though. Spring weather can be unpredictable, and many RV campgrounds don't open until April or May. Here we highlight some top campgrounds for the spring, along with age restrictions and seasonal price changes that might catch travelers by surprise.
HIDDEN SANDS GOLF & RACQUET CLUB
ASHEVILLE WEST KOA
Explore North Carolina's Blue Ridge Parkway region and Pisgah National Forest from the year-round Asheville West KOA -- one of 487 resorts in the Kampgrounds of America system -- where a pull-through RV spot in early April is $42 to $47 a day, rising to $46 to $51 in early May. There's a seasonal pool, and Saturday baked treats and ice cream.
MILL CREEK RANCH RESORT
This East Texas park aims to provide some upscale touches at down-to-earth prices (smaller, back-in RVs can get spots for as little as $39 a day; larger pull-throughs typically pay $44). Mill Creek Ranch Resort has swimming pools, a hot tub, catch-and-release fishing, volleyball, basketball, nature trails, bird-watching, a spa, and activities such as hayrides.
The Nature's Resort campground gives visitors a chance to see what Florida country life is all about, away from the theme parks and the big-city beaches of Miami. At $43 a day, it's one of the more affordable parks, and it offers a chance to get close to the state's wildlife -- Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park (including an underwater observatory) is just a few minutes' drive away.
MOUNT RUSHMORE KOA AT PALMER GULCH
Hill City, SD
The Mount Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch offers an affordable vacation visiting the Black Hills and one of the nation's most prominent man-made outdoor attractions. There's also mini golf, swimming, and hot tubbing. A pull-in RV gravel site pad with full hook-up is $42 a day in May. The campground doesn't open until May 1.
RAPID CITY/BLACK HILLS KOA
Rapid City, SD
A spring holiday at the Rapid City/Black Hills KOA requires waiting until an April 15 opening, when a pull-through spot with full hookups start at under $37 a day. But Rapid City is another good spot for visiting attractions including Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, and Deadwood, all within an hour's drive.
PECAN PARK CAMPGROUND
San Marcos, TX
Pecan Park Campground is between Austin and San Antonio, giving visitors plenty of countryside and a choice between the music and culture of Austin or the history of San Antonio and the Alamo. Spring rates (March 1 to 14) start at $50 a night, slightly cheaper than the $52 charged in the summer.
YELLOWSTONE'S FISHING BRIDGE
VENTURA RANCH KOA
Santa Paula, CA
The year-round Ventura Ranch KOA varies prices by length of stay, with rates starting at $54 a night. This 76-acre camp has free nature walks, seasonal open-air movies, and a "jumping pillow."
ZION RIVER RESORT
Zion National Park's amazing rock formations and views are only a short drive from Zion River Resort. It offers a March 1 to May 15 "midseason" rate of $50 a night for a standard back-in RV spot, which is $8 less than the May 16 to Aug. 15 summer season rate.
Arches National Park offers one of the most recognizable natural attractions in the country's parks system -- and it's a short trip from the Moab KOA, where a back-in RV gravel site pad with full hook-up is $49 a day. Moab opened on March 9 and stays open until Oct. 31.
SPRINGS AT BORREGO
Borrego Springs, CA
Just two hours from San Diego, the Springs at Borrego RV Resort offers activities for all ages, including golf, hot mineral baths, catch-and-release fishing, and an astronomy park. Get the best deal in late spring: For three nights or more, a pull-through RV spot can be as low as $29 a night starting April 21, while "high season" rates are $77 to $101 a night Jan. 15 to April 20.
The Sun-N-Fun RV Resort is 178 acres with indoor and outdoor pools, fitness center, tennis courts, musical events, and a hobby center -- and it's a short distance to many Gulf Coast attractions and beaches. Rates start at $60 a night in April for a standard grass RV site with picnic table.
Big Sur, CA
The winding Pacific Coast Highway is famed for its scenery, and Big Sur's Fernwood Resort charges accordingly: $60 for a camping spot without power, $80 for one with an electrical hookup. While there, visit an 1889 lighthouse or go whale watching and California condor spotting with state park rangers.