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State Parks


SWharton

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We would love to stay at more State Parks but hesitate with not knowing the fees. Not so much as the cost for a site but several states charge a daily fee per person in addition to the site fee. We could buy a state pass(maybe) and get the fee waived but that gets to be pricey unless staying in that state a while. We love the benefits of a State Park but most of the time it doesn't outweigh the extra daily fee.

 

Is there a list of which states charge the daily fee in addition to the camp site?

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My favorite places to stay are state parks, but I agree those fees can be a real nuisance. As I travel and discover the states that tend to use them, I find myself avoiding those state parks when possible. I do not know of a list that gives such info for each state, but even if it existed, it would need to be kept up to date with changes.

 

I usually call the park I'm heading to next anyways to find out about likely availability (I don't like making reservations--more fees and less flexibility). At that time I ask what the nightly total is for the type of hookup I want, including all taxes and any fees. For future reference, I keep my notes on all the campgrounds that I've stayed at, including fee details.

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Carolaow,

 

We are like you. Do not like reservations and like flexibility. I was just hoping someone had a magic list made up already. Like you, we avoid the parks with all the extra fees, just raises the daily rate too much.

 

I am the perpetual optimist so I will keep hoping.

 

Thanks

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We've noticed the confusion on the fees as well. In Oregon, there is the "day pass" or monthly/yearly fee which covers the day use areas. BUT, if you are staying in a state park, that day pass or day use fee is waived, your receipt for the campground being proof.

 

In Washington they have a "Discovery Pass" which amounts to the same thing and yes, by staying at a state park, the Discovery Pass fee is waived or included - but only for that park.

 

So, in addition to the various fees, passes, etc. read the fine print to make sure where and what may be covered by actually staying at a state park/campground. As Kirk said, consult the website for the park in question or just call them.

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Florida, at least in the state parks we stayed in waived the daily fee if camping..We feel that is th way it should be. State Parks have been economical alternatives in the past but their prices have been creeping up, add on the $5-$10 daily fee and it gets pricey.

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I usually start at the state park's website, but a lot of the time the fee schedule is confusing. The states don't always (usually don't ) specifically state whether the entrance fee is included in the camping fee. Worse yet several states charge $5 or $10 for a vehicle you tow behind your motorhome. But not for a car or truck towing a camping trailer.

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We, for the most part, gave up on state parks because from Memorial Day to Labor Day they are all booked up for Thursdays through Sundays by the first weekend in January. And then people don't keep those reservations if it rains, the kids have a soccer game, or some other reason, so what could have been used by someone else sits empty. We have found that lots of county/city parks or fairgrounds are better when moving around if you don't want reservations, and for those places where we will be spending significant time we use either weekly/monthly rates or use membership campgrounds. And some COE parks still have inventory that are drive up only - but again check on that. The daily fee for the 'second' car is also something that trips up those of use that have a motorhome that isn't in play with a truck/trailer combo.

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...New Mexico has a wonderful rate for staying in parks throughout the state for a flat fee that covers a year I believe. ..

Having actually stayed in or visited 18 of the New Mexico State Parks, in my opinion/experience they do have one of the more reasonable fee schedules for campgrounds that we have encountered. Primitive camping is $8, no hookups in a developed campsite is $10, electric and/or electric & water is $14, and in the few campgrounds that there are sewer hookups water, electric & sewer is $18. The camping fee includes the day use fee for that park. A nonresident annual pass is $225. The pass is good through the end of the month of purchase one year later, so if you buy it at the beginning of a month, you actually get 13 months. It covers up to $10 in camping fees per night (so priimitive and developed sites cost zero, electric sites are $4 and full hookup sites are $8). The annual camping pass also covers entrance fees (which are usually $5) even if not camping. If you have a big rig, site availability at some of the older parks may be very limited. In addition, pull through sites may be limited or nonexistent.

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I am a summer volunteer at Custer State Park in South Dakota. The camping fee per night with electric only (50/30) is $25.00 per night plus tax. You do need a state park entrance license also. A annual one good for all So Dakota State Parks is $30.00. A temporary one good for up to 7 days in Custer State Park is $15.00. Other So Dakota State Parks entry license is $6.00 per day. If you are in a class A or C and towing, the RV does NOT need a license, only the tow vehicle needs a license since thats what you will be driving in the park and the RV will be in your camp site.

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If we all cooperate maybe it can be added to the Days End Directory. This is really useful info. To me the only valid information is from people who have stayed in a state park. The info on the state parks websites is too confusing.

If you list what states you plan on visiting this year, perhaps you will get responses from those that have stayed in a state park there recently. Our most recent state park stays this year have been in Alabama, Delaware, Mississippi, New Mexico, Kansas, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. None of them charged an entrance fee in addition to the camping fee at the park we stayed at. I do not know if the fee structure for all the parks in each of those states is the same. With the constant pressure on state park budgets, there is no guarantee that the fee policies will stay the same year after year. The fact that state budget years may not coincide with the calendar year can result in fee changes at times that might be unexpected by those not familiar with the state. One other hidden fee we ran into was I think at a state park in Wyoming. The campground was unstaffed and pretty remote from any office location. All of the sites were reservation sites and they were clearly marked that a reservation was required (with a phone number listed) even for the same night. A $10 reservaton fee was charged in addition to the camping fee.

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I have collected 10 states so far. There is no guarantee these are cast in stone. Call before you get to the State Park. Youngfulltimers if you have additional let me know and I will add to the list. We need input from everyone to get this list going. This list pertains to only Entrance Fees, reservation fees etc. are not in the equation. It is in mostly alpha order. I am having some sorting issues with Libre Calc.

 

When camping in a State Park-

 

No Entrance Fee:

 

FL AL DE KS MS NJ NM OR PA

Entrance Fee:

 

SD

 

 

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Add NY State parks to the "No fee" list as well when camping. And a current car pass at one park also gives you free entry to other state parks in the area. A car pass from Four Mile Creek State Park for instance, lets you into the paid parking areas at Niagara Falls State park with no fee.

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I have collected 10 states so far. There is no guarantee these are cast in stone. Call before you get to the State Park. Youngfulltimers if you have additional let me know and I will add to the list. We need input from everyone to get this list going. This list pertains to only Entrance Fees, reservation fees etc. are not in the equation. It is in mostly alpha order. I am having some sorting issues with Libre Calc.

 

When camping in a State Park-

 

No Entrance Fee:

 

FL AL DE KS MS NJ NM OR PA

Entrance Fee:

 

SD

 

 

 

That's great to see so many states that don't charge an entrance fee. I live in TX right now (staying in McKinney Falls SP this weekend) and can vouch there most definitely is an entrance fee at all state parks.

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