Written by 10:35 am RV Lifestyle

How Automated RV Parks Are Revolutionizing RV Travel

Automated RV Parks Featured Image

Automated RV parks are changing the way many RV owners travel by streamlining the RV camping experience. These parks utilize automation for certain tasks like the check-in processes, site allocation, payments, and even amenities management.

Certain technologies are absolutely necessary for us to get by from day to day, as many parts of our everyday lives have become dependent on them. Take your smartphone for example. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have added automation to things that we don’t even think about from day to day. It has just become routine.

In fact, you can do anything right from the palm of your hand. Want to adjust the thermostat on the air conditioner? What about turning on the awning lights or checking the levels in your waste tanks? We have the ability to this and much more, all through these advancements in technology.

But what about RV parks? Is a fully automated RV park where the future of RV camping is heading?

Some RV parks have already gone down the path of advanced technology and have become fully automated.

In this article we are going to explain what a fully automated RV park is, the pros and cons these RV parks, where you can find one, and a little bit of insight on where we think this idea is headed.

Let’s jump in…

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What Is An Automated RV Park?

A fully automated RV park is a way for RVers to spend one or more nights when they just need a place to park. These self-serve RV parks are not like a traditional campground where you would find things like a camp host, park ranger, or a campground store.

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An automated RV park is nothing more than a parking lot, of sorts, with electrical, water, and sewer hookups. They are a place for weary RV travelers to pull over for a night or two to get some much-needed rest.

Many of these fully automated RV parks are located along interstates and other heavily traveled highways as an “easy-on, easy-off” place to park.

America’s First Automated RV Park

RV Self Park
Photo Credit: RV Self Park

The world’s first automated RV park is RV Self Park and is located in Sullivan, Missouri. Jim Turntine created this automated RV park as a way to provide traveling RVers a safe and legal means to stay overnight.

As a fellow RVer, Jim understands the hassles RV owners face when looking for a safe overnight stay. He also knows all too well the dangers involved when staying the night at big box stores or popular restaurants.

“You don’t know who’s coming and going all night around you. They’re not set up for you to be there.”

Jim Turntine, rv self park

In 2018, with some convincing from his wife, Jim turned his idea of having a safe place for RVers to stay overnight into a reality. That’s when he decided to build a fully automated RV park on a piece of property he already owned.

He has since built a second RV Self Park located along Interstate 95 in Kingsland, Georgia.

RV Self Park is open 365 days a year, has full hook-up pull through sites, free WiFi, and has security cameras located in the park that visitors can access and monitor if they wish.

The going rate to stay at this automated RV park starts at $35 for 14 hours and goes up to $6,300 for a 180 day stay. There are also daily upcharges for Deluxe and Premium sites that are $2 and $5, respectively.

  • Standard Site – Includes full hook-ups, Wi-Fi, camera access, 75’ pull-thru site
  • Deluxe Site – Same as Standard but includes patio and picnic table
  • Premium Site – Same as Standard but includes larger patio/picnic table and includes a gazebo

Check out their website for more info.

RV Self Park may have been the very first RV park that was fully automated, but it isn’t the only one. The idea is catching on and others are beginning to follow suit.

Love’s RV Stops

Love's Automated RV Parks
Photo Credit: Love’s RV Stop

In 2022, Love’s Travel Stop introduced RV Stops to give travelers a safe, clean site to get some much-needed rest. Since then, they have added 33 more locations across the country. In addition, they have also added 11 additional long-term sites that include fire pits, grills, and other amenities.

There are also plans in the making to open additional locations in Colorado and South Dakota. According to their website, the plan is to have 51 locations with a total of over 1,100 sites with hook-ups by the end of 2024.

Making reservations and the check-in process is completely automated. And Love’s RV Stops offer 30- or 50-amp hook-ups with water hookups available as well.

While you’re there, you can fill up your freshwater tanks, dump your waste tanks, and even fill up your propane tanks.

If you need to take your pet for a walk, there is also a dog park located most locations.

For more information on Love’s RV Stops, visit their website or check out the short video below by Grand Adventure.

Tifton Overnight RV Park

Tifton Overnight RV Park
Photo Credit: Tifton Overnight RV Park

Another popular automated RV park is located in South Georgia off Interstate 75 called Tifton Overnight RV Park.

Like RV Self Park, Tifton Overnight RV Park offers RVers a safe place to pull over for the night and features full hook-ups, pull-thru sites, a dog park, and free Wi-Fi.

In addition, this automated RV park is located within walking distance of several restaurants like Waffle House, Olive Garden, and Burger King, to name a few.

Past visitors of this RV park have said that it is much like staying overnight at a Cracker Barrel, but with much better security and the added convenience of full hook-ups.

The price for an overnight stay at Tifton Overnight RV Park starts around $63.

Visit their website for more info.

Benefits Of Automated RV Parks

We have never had the pleasure or the need to stay at one of these fully automated RV parks. However, I can see where it would be extremely beneficial to stay at one of these parks.

If you prefer not to deal with people, paperwork, or check-in times, a self-serve RV park might be right down your alley.

To reserve a site, simply visit the RV park’s website, choose your date and times, enter your credit card info, and you’re finished.

When you arrive at the park, enter your assigned code, find your spot, and spend the night.

When it’s time to head down the road, check out online and go.

Drawbacks Of Automated RV Parks

For those who prefer human interaction and connecting with people, an automated RV park might not be your cup of tea. In addition, since there are no camp hosts or on-site employees, if you encounter a problem, you might be waiting awhile for someone to show up to help.

For new RV owners, staying at an automated RV park might not be an ideal choice either. I would suggest getting a few trips to a traditional campground under your belt first. That way, if you need something, and trust me you will, there will be someone close by that will gladly lend a hand.

The Future Of Self-Service RV Parks

There has been some discussion in online forums and on social media about these fully automated RV parks being a sign of what’s to come.

I believe many of us RV owners have already witnessed some form of automation when it comes to making reservations and checking in at certain campgrounds.

For example, we visit Brackenridge Campground in Edna, Texas often. Mainly because it’s close to home and it gives us the opportunity to take our camper out more often. We make our reservations online, and when we arrive to check-in, our campground package is sitting on a table outside of the office with our name and site number on it.

We simply grab our package, enter the gate code, and pull into our site. The only human interaction is a courtesy call to confirm the reservation and when visiting the campground store.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the experience. I’m simply giving an example of how many RVers are already dealing with some form of automation when it comes to RV parks and campgrounds.

With that said, I do believe that as time passes, more of these types of parks will pop up along interstate highways and other heavily traveled roads.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to overnight stays while traveling in your RV, fully automated RV parks offer the convenience of stopping for the night without some of the hassles associated with the typical campground.

I have read many differing opinions on the matter, and I can say that the overall consensus of using self-serve RV parks is split down the center. Some folks like pulling into a campground and chatting with the staff, while others appreciate the simple arrangements and no staff at the automated RV parks.

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Last modified: April 21, 2024