RV Park Design Standards

Article By:

Principal | Chief Executive Officer

Did you know that RV (Recreational Vehicle) travel has significantly increased in popularity recently? RVshare's 2022 Travel Trend Report states, "Nearly half of likely 2022 travelers plan on taking a road trip or vacation in an RV in the next 12 months". Additional statistics from the same report show that 53% of travelers say they're likely to consider renting an RV for a trip in the future, and 70% of Millennials and 54% of Gen Xers plan to take a road trip or vacation in an RV in the next 12 months.

As the demand for RV travel continues to rise, the need for well-designed RV parks and campgrounds becomes more apparent. By adhering to RV park design standards, park owners can significantly enhance the overall travel experience, making their park a top choice for modern travelers.

It is essential for RV parks and campgrounds to evolve and adapt to meet the changing demands of today’s travelers.  

General RV Standards

The quality of an RV park can significantly impact campers' overall experience. A well-maintained and thoughtfully designed park can enhance travelers' enjoyment, comfort, and safety, while a poorly managed or neglected park can lead to dissatisfaction. Some RV parks enforce a few rules regarding an RV’s appearance to meet good park standards.

Age Limits

Refer to the policies set by RV parks regarding the age and condition of recreational vehicles (RV) allowed to stay at their facilities. These policies are often implemented to maintain a certain standard of quality and appearance within the park.


RV Certifications

RV certification refers to the process by which recreational vehicles (RVs) are evaluated and certified to meet specific safety, quality, and regulatory standards. RVs should have RVIA certification. This certification ensures that RVs are manufactured under the ANSI code and designed to comply with industry regulations, ensuring the safety and well-being of occupants while on the road.

Guidelines for Appearance

Some RV parks may have guidelines based on the overall appearance and condition of the RV rather than its age. RVs with visible signs of damage, rust, or neglect may be denied entry or asked to leave the park.

While there may not be strict rules governing the appearance of RVs, adhering to specific guidelines can help owners maintain their vehicles' aesthetic appeal, resale value, and overall condition. Here are some general appearance guidelines:

  • Doors, shrouds, panels, windows, coverings, etc., should be intact and not unsightly.
  • The exterior should not be unsightly and should be free of obvious, poorly repaired damage.
  • Tarps cannot be used for weatherproofing, and awnings should be in good condition.
  • Air conditioning units should not be added through the walls or windows unless previously approved.

RV Site Design Standards

A good set of standards goes a long way in informing the quality of the experience at an RV park. No one wants to camp next to a particularly messy site; that site's mess can invite unwanted wildlife activity within the campground. It is important to address issues that may become concerns over time and put together a set of guidelines.

Safety Guidelines

These guidelines cover everything from site cleanliness to the need for rigs to be movable at a moment's notice. They are intended to ensure safety and the maintenance of a decent camping environment for campers.

Tarps, Tents, Shade Structures, and Other Structures

On a camping trip, it is more than understandable to pitch a tent outside of your rig, and for longer-term stays, the need to put up a fence or utilize outdoor furniture might arise, but it's important for the park to set strict guidelines regarding these probabilities. This category of guidelines allows management to inform the visual aesthetic of the RV Park.


For some campers, their pets are a quintessential part of their camping experience, for others, not so much. Therefore, a campground needs to outline some guidelines for the safety of all parties involved, including the animal. Limiting what kinds of animals would be acceptable as "pets" is an excellent place to start. Still, guidelines on how these animals can be present in common spaces are also good ways to manage the presence of pets in specific areas in the RV park.

Noxious Activities and Damages

RV Parks are, more often than not, family-friendly sites; regardless, depending on the crowd that is drawn, there might need to be guidelines pertaining to specific activities that might not be deemed suitable within the RV Park's boundaries. Guidelines about the types of activities permissible on-site, or what might result from them, are a good way for park management to mitigate any liability and effectively manage the activities that would be deemed harmful to the campers and the campground.

Although the above section only touched on a few broad topics of possible contention, it is essential to know that one can be as detailed as desired, given that no more specific requirements are mandated by state/province, city, or county ordinances. It is imperative to reference your local laws when deciding on the site's design standards.

Integrating Amenities and Services

Amenities are everything when it comes to RV parks. Of course, the location of the site and the accessibility it provides are probably the reasons travelers might choose a park, but the amenities available on-site will almost always seal the deal. Small things such as free Wi-Fi, laundry services, public showers, and restrooms will further elevate the quality of the RV park experience. Many ordinances mandate that a minimum area of the total site be reserved as a landscaped open space for the recreational use of park occupants. Outdoor recreational facilities, such as open picnic structures, tennis courts, playground equipment, horseshoe pits, and more luxury amenities like swimming pools, fitness centers, etc., are just more examples of amenities that will further elevate an RV Park in the eyes of campers.

Service Standards

Customer service and maintenance are terms everyone has come across before, but it is by no means a thing that can be understated regarding RV park maintenance and management. An efficient maintenance protocol is the lifeblood of any successful RV park, and its effects directly correlate to its success, profitability, and longevity. Consistent site inspections, thorough ground maintenance, and timely repair work are the foundation of an exemplary guest experience. Small things such as routine landscaping, ensuring the functionality of outdoor amenities, and creating an informed maintenance procedure around the patterns of usage at the park help provide a high-quality guest experience.

Zoning and Compliance

What Is Zoning?

Zoning laws are a set of rules outlined by a local government to regulate the different uses of land districts by providing guidelines for things such as land use, density, setbacks and lot coverages, the design or appearance of buildings, parking, and access. They also provide stricter guidelines for developments that require a deviation from the already outlined regulations.


Like every development project, RV parks are subject to zoning ordinances that inform many aspects of the design of an RV Park. Many major cities and counties have some sort of documentation regarding the design standards for an RV park development based on the county's economic, demographic, or density goals. These documents often cover topics such as RV site design, setbacks, access points, roadways, parking, landscaping, and utilities, but they vary in their level of detail depending on where you are, so it is essential to check with your Land Planner to see what ordinance your development is subject to, and which standards apply to your site. It is, however, imperative that you stick closely to the zoning laws pertaining to sewer and water services, garbage collection, stormwater drainage, traffic circulation, electricity, and development densities, as they may vary based on the location of the park. Failure to adhere strictly to the laws regarding these categories may lead to fines and possibly the closure of your site as it would not meet the health, safety, and environmental standards for RV parks.

RV Park Design Sustainability

Environmentally friendly and sustainable designs are crucial as we move forward in this century; it is important to design RV parks around good and effective climate and energy solutions. Working with a Land Planner to create an environmentally friendly RV Park layout can mitigate the environmental impact of the site while also optimizing energy efficiency. Primary emphasis can be placed on solar and wind energy harvesting as well as informed rainwater harvesting methods, as these are some of the more common and often the most accessible solutions to implement in the development of an RV park. Embedding smart energy solutions and utilizing sustainable practices when planning an RV park can reduce the environmental impact of the RV park and further support a healthier environment.

Safety and Security Measures

The safety and security of an RV park are crucial to providing an enjoyable camping experience for campers, so it is important to establish and maintain a campground safety protocol to help manage possible risks and reduce the possibility of incidents. Some key elements that ensure the safety of park guests are well-lit signage, paths, and camping areas, which provide a level of visibility and way-finding that allows for the safe navigation of the park at nighttime.

By ensuring the security of the park's public amenities through surveillance cameras and lock systems, these spaces are better protected against unauthorized access and usage of the facilities and prevent theft. Additionally, hiring security personnel, creating, and using an emergency protocol, and disseminating these resources to the campers and personnel will significantly enhance the level of security on site and subsequently provide a more comfortable and enjoyable stay for campers.

Accessibility Standards

As RV travel becomes more popular, it is vital to ensure that parks are accessible to all visitors. Designing an accessible RV park around ADA guidelines allows all visitors, regardless of their ability, to experience the parks fully during their time as campers. Parks that prioritize accessibility stand out from their competitors for their commitment to all visitor experiences.  Planning the layout of the campsite around those who might need mobility devices requires a level surface and stable ground, wider walkways that are slip-resistant, public facilities with accessible entryways, and amenities such as showers and restrooms with grab bars and roll-in access to allow all visitors to utilize these amenities comfortably. It is also vital to design trailways with adequate width (36” minimum), gentle slopes, and multiple rest areas. Good and highly visible signage allows for independent wayfinding and curb cuts to mediate transitions from one location to another. Choosing to prioritize the mobility needs of campers who may need more accommodation to experience a park fully allows for a broader range of guests and the opportunity for much more adventure.


With the continued growth in popularity and more people looking to road trips, RV travel is surely becoming a more competitive industry. Designing an RV park involves a careful balance between functionality, aesthetics, and sustainability. The need for well-designed modern campgrounds is higher than ever. Developing and adhering to a design standard and focusing on catering to the needs of the modern traveler is very important, as RV park owners can elevate the overall travel experience and position themselves as a top pick for any traveler. 

In conclusion, a well-designed RV park should prioritize user comfort, environmental sustainability, safety and security, and compliance with regulations. By considering these factors during the planning and design stages, a successful RV park design that attracts and satisfies guests will be created while also being economically viable and environmentally responsible.

3150 Livernois Road,
Unit 136
Troy, Michigan
Toll: 844-669-6234

289 Garry Street,
Unit 300
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3C 1H9
Toll: 844-669-6234

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