As technology advances, more and more things we use every day are becoming automated. Cell phone towers and computers have replaced switchboard operators. Where there used to be a physical person connecting calls, there is now automation.
GPS navigation with turn-by-turn instructions has replaced fold-up maps, even the post office has automated mailing kiosks.
In an effort to make our everyday lives easier, automation has seemingly taken over many aspects of daily life. 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.
You can run almost anything right from the palm of your hand. Want to adjust the thermostat on the air conditioner? What about turning on the awning lights? We have the ability to this and much more, all through the power of automation.
But what about RV parks? Could they also become automated, or self-serve?
The answer to that is, yes.
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 new 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 you 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.
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 automated RV parks are located along interstates and other heavily traveled highways as an “easy-on, easy-off” place to park.
The “World’s” First Automated RV Park
The world’s first automated RV park is RV Self Park and is located in Sullivan, Missouri. This automated RV park was created by Jim Turntine 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.
RV Self Park is open 365 days a year, has full hook-up pull through sites, 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 $39 for 14 hours and goes up to $1,092 for a 28 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
Other Popular Automated RV Parks
RV Self Park may have been the very first automated RV park, but it isn’t the only one. The idea is catching on and others are beginning to follow suit.
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 full hook-ups.
The price for an overnight stay at Tifton Overnight RV Park starts around $63.
Love’s RV Stops
Love’s has been a popular travel stop for decades and with the recent boom in RV ownership, they decided to cater to RVers and provide them with a clean, safe site for an overnight stay.
While you’re there, many locations offer propane refills and dump stations. You can even top off your fresh water tanks, use a private shower, and take your furry friend to the dog park for some much-needed exercise.
Visit Love’s RV Stop for more info and to find locations across the country.
The Benefits Of A Fully Automated RV Park
We have never has the pleasure or need to stay at one of these fully automated RV parks. However, I can see where there would benefits to staying at such a place.
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.
The Downsides Of A Fully Automated RV Park
For those who prefer human interaction and connecting with people, an automated RV park might not be the best choice. 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. I would suggest getting a few trips to a traditional campground under your belt first. That way, if you need something, and you will, there will be someone close by that will gladly lend a hand.
Are Automated RV Parks The “Wave Of The Future”?
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.
In my opinion, I believe many of us RVers have already witnessed some form of automatic check-in policies when visiting certain RV parks.
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 the camper out more often. 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 reservations were made online, and the only human interaction is a courtesy call to confirm the reservation.
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.
When it comes to overnight stays while traveling in your RV, these fully automated RV parks might be a convenient way to pull over 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 of the automated RV parks.
What are your thoughts on these automated RV parks? Would you consider staying at one? Better yet, do you think these RV parks are in our future as RVers? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.