For an RV owner, there are few things better than scoring a great site on or near a beautiful lake. Whether you love to fish, kayak, swim, or just take in the soothing views from your camp chair, lakefront camping is highly desirable. But that also means that lakefront sites can be challenging to reserve and can require advance planning and research. There are hundreds of great lakefront campgrounds in the United States, so where should an RV owner even begin to look?
Well, how about right here!
Below is a list of eight great lakefront campgrounds with gorgeous views. All of them are directly on, or steps away from lovely lakes. The time to start planning your next RV adventure is always right now. So let’s dive in!
Shelter Cove RV Resort (Odell Lake, Oregon)
The RV sites at Shelter Cove are top-notch. They are quiet, shady, and spacious–and many of them are just steps away from world-class fishing and boating on Odell Lake. During our stay, we rented a pontoon boat from the campground’s on-site marina and headed out onto the lake for swimming and a picnic lunch. Shelter Cove felt like a dream from a storybook to me. If you have an RV and love to fish or kayak, I can think of no better place in America.
Jedediah Smith Campground (Crescent City, California)
The location of the Jedediah Smith Campground is stunning. Camping among the old-growth redwood trees along the Smith River is peaceful and restorative to the soul. Kids can spend the entire day swimming and splashing in the river while you relax on the shoreline and dive in for a dip if you get hot. The Hiouchi Trail runs along the Smith River and takes you to Stout Grove–an incredible spot for viewing the redwoods up close and personal. It is one of our favorite family hikes of all time. RV sites are not directly on the water here, but they are very close.
Holiday Park Campground (Traverse City, Michigan)
Traverse City is an absolute gem, with great coffee shops, independent bookstores, breweries, restaurants, and a hip, cool, and outdoorsy downtown vibe. Holiday Park Campground is 15 minutes from town and has a hipster charm all its own. The setting is quiet and bucolic, and the waters of Silver Lake are crystal clear and warm for swimming. This used to be a seasonal campground for Airstream owners only–with a few rental sites for transient campers. The restriction was lifted many years ago–but there are still dozens of sites occupied by classic Airstreams–which makes for some serious RV eye candy.
Old Highway 86 Campground (Table Rock Lake, Missouri)
Old Highway 86 Campground is a gem in the often-overlooked Army Corps of Engineers network of campgrounds. It is situated on a peninsula that juts out into Table Rock Lake so every site has views of the water–and many of the sites (about 75 percent of them) back right up to the water. If you travel with kayaks or SUP’s there may be no better place to camp in the entire midwest. If you don’t have a site with direct water access there is a sandy swimming beach with picnic tables and there is a public dock for launching. Camping just doesn’t get much better than this. Anywhere.
Jellystone Lakes Region (Milton, New Hampshire)
This brand new Jellystone Park is located on the shores of Northeast Pond and has two of its own private, sandy beaches for swimming and kayaking. Basketball, volleyball, tennis, and soccer are available for the sports nuts in your family. So is giant chess, if you are feeling silly and cerebral. RV sites near the water are nice–but I also love the wooded and shady sites a little further back. The world-famous White Mountains are just a bit further north if you want to do some serious hiking or drive up to Mount Washington.
Keuka Lake State Park (Finger Lakes, New York)
The campground at Keuka Lake State Park is located in the heart of New York’s wine country and would be perfect for a romantic RV trip without the kids. But if you bring the kids they will have a blast too. The sandy beach and crystal clear waters of Keuka Lake are perfect for swimming, kayaking, and romping around in the sand. The campground is not directly on the water but is just a short walk away.
Otter Lake Camp Resort (Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania)
Otter Lake Camp Resort is a family favorite that many RV owners return to summer after summer. The 60-acre lake is perfect for fishing and kayaking and many of the RV sites are directly on the water. Families that love sports will have endless options here including basketball, tennis, and racquetball. The indoor and outdoor pools are also popular, and so are the themed weekends and organized activities.
Mount Pleasant/Charleston KOA (Mount Pleasant, South Carolina)
This delightful KOA is located on the privately-owned 377 acre Oakland Plantation–whose history predates the Civil War. We loved kayaking on the lake and spotting alligators resting in the sun along the shore–but we definitely skipped swimming here! Our boys also spent hours swimming in the pool and playing basketball while we were able to relax and read at our deluxe patio site. Proximity to downtown Charleston is very good and there is excellent regional food nearby.
We hope you find the lakefront RV site of your dreams and get to hit the open road sometime soon! Planning and daydreaming about your next epic trip is always a huge part of the fun! Just don’t forget your sunscreen, okay?
Jeremy Puglisi is the co-author of See You At The Campground: A Guide to Discovering Community, Connection, and a Happier Family in the Great Outdoors and the co-host of The RV Atlas podcast.