It’s estimated that 50% of RV campers travel with a pet in tow, and the same amount typically choose state parks to camp in. When searching for the perfect place to set up it's important to find a campground that not only accommodates your rig, but also provides ample activities for your four-legged camper. Whether you have your own RV, or choose to rent one, these 10 state parks have the perfect setup for Fido’s traveling home away from home.
Best State Parks for RV Camping with Fido
Posted by Lauren Barker
Fort Stevens State Park
Located at the mouth of the Columbia River, Fort Stevens State Park provides several opportunities to explore the great outdoors with your canine companion. Your pup can join you on hikes, beachcombing, and exploring features like concrete artillery gun batteries from the Civil War and the remnants of a historic shipwreck. For more beach fun, take a 35-minute drive down the coast to Ecola State Park, one of the most dog-friendly state parks on the west coast.
The RV-friendly campground is one of the nation’s largest public campgrounds offering 174 full hookup sites, 36 of which are pull-through. Many have driveways as long as 61 feet that can easily accommodate large rigs. There are an additional 302 sites with electricity and water, and all sites have picnic tables, fire pits, and access to hot showers, modern bathrooms, and a dump station.
Devil's Lake State Park
Fido can enjoy exploring Wisconsin’s largest state park, Devil’s Lake, by hiking one of the pet-friendly trails, having lunch in the pet picnic area, or taking a dip in the lake. Dogs are permitted at the on-leash pet swim area located near the north shore boat launch or the off-leash pet swim area near the south shore boat launch.
What was once a 9-hole golf course is now the Quartzite section of Devil’s Lake State Park Campground, providing the perfect setup for RVs of all sizes. The open and spacious sites allow for slide outs, canopies, and picnic areas to be set up, and while the campground is open and grassy, there are a mix of trees scattered throughout the grounds and lining the perimeter. There are both electric and non-electric sites, and each has water and picnic tables. Most sites also have fire rings. Communal facilities include a playground, modern shower, and dump station.
Lewis and Clark State Park
Located on one of the upper bays of Lake Sakakawea, the third largest human-made lake in the U.S., Lewis and Clark State Park offers many opportunities for recreational activities with your pup. Hike with your pooch along five miles of trails through native mixed-grass prairie, or along the lake’s shoreline. Then take your doggie paddler out on the water in one of the kayaks, canoes, or stand up paddle boards that are available to rent. Known for world-class fishing, the lake is a popular place for anglers to catch northern pike, sauger, walleye, and smallmouth bass. Visit in winter and rent snowshoes to trek the four miles of snowshoe trails, or let Fido try his paw at ice fishing.
Well-behaved pups are welcome to join their families at one of the 41 full service or 47 water and electric sites at Lewis and Clark State Park Campground. Hot showers, modern restrooms, and dump stations are available, and each site includes a picnic table and fire ring. It features both back-in and pull-through sites and can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 40 feet. During your stay, Fido can enjoy making friends in the fenced dog run, and you’ll love the picturesque views of towering buttes and rolling hills from your campsite.
Geneva State Park
On the shores of Lake Erie in northern Ohio, you’ll find Geneva State Park. Bring Fido along to explore the nearly 700-acre park with pet-friendly trails for hiking and skiing, and a pet swim area located at the west end of the beach. Boaters can dock at Geneva Marina, or bring your pup along for a ride on a chartered fishing boat. During your visit to Geneva, stop by Murphy’s Pub & Ale House and enjoy beer-battered cod on the pet-friendly patio.
RVers at Geneva State Park Campground will find 19 full hook-up sites and 74 with water and electric for 30- and 50-amps. All sites are back-in and can accommodate rigs up to 45 feet. Each offers partial or full shade, picnic tables, and fire rings. Modern bathrooms, hot showers, a playground, coin laundry, and a dump station are nearby.
Buffalo Bill State Park
Named after the famous wild west showman, Colonel William F “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Buffalo Bill State Park sits on land once owned by him. Today, the park’s 9,000-acre reservoir is teeming with recreational opportunities like boating and fishing, and miles of dog-friendly trails provide opportunities to spot wildlife like moose, coyote, and elk. Spend some time in the park, or take your pup hiking in nearby Shoshone National Forest, or paddle the Shoshone River with Cody Wyoming Adventures, a featured attraction in the latest edition of our book, Ruff Guide to the United States. The park also makes a good home base for exploring Yellowstone National Park, just a 40-minute drive to the west.
The campground features 97 sites between two sections, each with stunning mountain or lake views. Both back-in and pull-through sites are available, and each has access to 50-amp hookups. However, only sites 1-7 in the Lake Shore section have water. Modern restrooms, hot showers, and dump stations are available and each site includes a picnic table.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park
Elephant Butte Lake State Park lies on the banks of a dammed up portion of the Rio Grande in southwest New Mexico, which creates a 40,000-acre lake. The park is a favorite location for kayaking and jet skiing, as well as cruising the water on a pontoon, sailboat, or ski boat, which are all available to rent at the park’s marina. Bring Fido along for a paddle or cruise, allow him to play on the sandy beach, or hike some of the 15 miles of trails. During your visit, make a stop at nearby Elephant Butte Dam to marvel at its incredible engineering and the beauty of the Rio Grande.
Visitors traveling by RV will be delighted to find a campground with eight full hookup sites, and an additional 144 with water and electricity suitable for 20-,30-, and 50-amps. Both pull-through and back-in spots are available and can accommodate a variety of vehicle lengths up to 90 feet, and some sites even have views of the lake. Each site features a picnic table and fire ring, and is within close range of restrooms, showers, and a dump station.
Watkins Glen State Park
Located in the Finger Lakes region of New York, Watkins Glen State Park is just a few minutes away from the well-known Watkins Glen International, a NASCAR speedway. The park features a stream that descends 400 feet within a two-mile span, generating 19 beautiful waterfalls. While dogs are not permitted on the Gorge Trail that descends down to the falls, they are welcome on the rim trails that overlook the gorge. For more fun activities with Fido, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail runs through the town of Watkins Glen, and another popular hiking destination, Robert H. Treman State Park, is just 30 minutes away.
Dogs are also allowed at the 303 back-in and two pull-through campsites across six loops at Watkins Glen State Park Campground that can accommodate RVs up to 45 feet. Over 80 sites in the Mohawk and Cayuga Village loops have full hook-ups, and all sites have picnic tables and fire rings, as well as access to modern restrooms, hot showers, dump stations, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Chewacla State Park
Pack Fido’s bag and your RV and head to Chewacla State Park, located just seven miles from Auburn University. Take your pup on a walk along one of the many trails, or bring your own canoe or kayak and paddle with your pooch on the 26-acre Chewacla Lake. Bring your rod and reel and let your canine angler help you cast a line for largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish. While you’re there, explore the college town of Auburn which features many dog-friendly restaurants like Amsterdam Cafe and Island Wing Company, where you can grab dinner with Fido.
The park’s 36 modern campsites accommodate motor homes, travel trailers, and fifth wheels up to 60 feet in length, and feature 110 Volt, 30-amp, and 50-amp hookups. Each site has a picnic table, fire pit, and a scenic view. Both pull-through and back-in sites are available, offering privacy within the trees but also proximity to the temperature-controlled bathhouses and restrooms.
Catalina State Park
At the base of the Santa Catalina mountains in Tucson, Catalina State Park welcomes leashed dogs on all eight trails ranging in distance from less than a mile to over nine miles, and winding through the desert over foothills, canyons, and streams. In addition to hiking, spend some time in the park viewing desert wildlife and over 170 species of birds. You’ll also be close to some of Tucson’s most pet-friendly attractions, like the Pima Air and Space Museum and Barrio Brewing Company.
Pets are also permitted at the 120 sites within the park’s campground. Each site has electricity and water along with a picnic table and grill, and there is no limit on the length of RVs. Each site’s pad is paved, and modern flush restrooms, hot showers, and dump stations are nearby.
St. Andrews State Park
Wake up to views of St. Andrews Bay from your RV campsite at St. Andrews State Park on Florida’s Gulf Coast. While dogs are not permitted on the beach, the park features pet-friendly nature trails through pines and over dunes, perfect for enjoying the sea breeze. You’ll also be just a short drive from the Dog Beach at Pier Park where Fido can splash in the waves, and you can grab lunch at Hook’d Pier Bar & Grill while overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
Situated in between the shores of St. Andrews Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, St. Andrews State Park Campground, is the perfect spot for an RV vacation. After being damaged by Hurricane Michael, The West Loop reopened for the spring 2022 season with brand-new gravel pads overlooking the bay, and full service hookups complete with fire rings and picnic tables. The sites can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length.
Do you have a favorite dog-friendly state park to RV camp in? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!
Banner photo by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay.