This Ain't Camping: Over-the-Top RV Resorts to Enjoy Minus the RV

RV parks are hot stuff these days! It’s hard to equate what is available today with the campgrounds of days gone by. Often situated on some of the country’s most prized real estate, many resorts now have water parks, shuttle service to area attractions, equipment rentals, and quality onsite restaurants.

The best part is that you don’t need an RV to enjoy some of these parks. Many offer what they call “housekeeping cabins.” We are not talking about skimpy wooden shelters with cots; most come fully stocked with luxuries like Jacuzzi tubs, complete kitchens, and fireplaces. Yahoo Travel went in search of some of the best non-camping options around the country. Here is what we found.



Your family will love splashing and playing at the full-size waterpark at Rustic Creek Ranch. (Photo: North Texas Jellystone Park)

Always known for trendsetting approaches to family travel, franchises like Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Parks and KOA are leading the way when it comes to parks that combine amenities and non-camping accommodations. North Texas Jellystone Park at Rustic Creek Ranch Resort, just south of Fort Worth, is a shining example of the trend. Luxury cabins with whirlpool tubs are just steps away from a full-scale water park, paintball course, firetruck rides, and two eateries.

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Newport Dunes features a marina, a bistro, and fantastic waterfront views. (Photo: Newport Dunes)

Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina in Orange County has 110 acres of fun, including a water park, full-service marina, boat rentals, bistro featuring farm-to-table menus, and movies on the beach. The park is located near the Back Bay Nature Preserve, which you can visit by kayak from the resort. Cottages are either fully stocked units or “camping” cottages that lack linens and full kitchens but still have climate control and private bathrooms with showers.



Charming cabin accommodations at Cherrystone. (Photo: Cherrystone Family Camping Resort/Facebook)

Cherrystone Family Camping Resort is a fun way to enjoy Chesapeake Bay. Its list of amenities includes four fishing piers, mini-golf, 600 acres of the bay for crabbing and clamming, pedal boats, kayaks, a water park, and a jumping pillow. Accommodation choices for non-RV owners include fully stocked cottages, rustic camping cabins without bathroom facilities, and onsite RV rentals.

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There’s lots of fun and sun and great sandy beaches at Camp Gulf. (Photo:Camp Gulf/Facebook)

At Camp Gulf in Destin, the name says it all. The Gulf of Mexico is your playground, and it’s right at your feet when you stay here. If that isn’t enough to keep you occupied, Camp Gulf has two swimming pools, a casting lake, and an air-filled slide. Equipment rentals include golf carts, beach carts, Segways, pedal carts, and standup paddleboards. Cabins have free Wi-Fi and cable TV, and are designated as either 400 or 800 steps from the beach. Or choose the luxury beach house that sleeps up to 15.



Stay along the Chena River at the at the River’s Edge Resort. (Photo:TripAdvisor)

Imagine the adventure that awaits you camping along the Chena River in Fairbanks — then imagine an even better version where you have a private cottage at River’s Edge Resort. The resort offers bus tours of historic Fairbanks and a dog mushing educational tour. The cottages have cable TV and private patios and baths.



Stay in one of the yurts at Catherine’s Landing. (Photo: Catherine’s Landing/Facebook)

Catherine’s Landing outside Hot Springs offers a mile of shoreline on Lake Catherine. Attractions include pontoon boat rentals, kayaks, a fitness center, and a concierge. Cottages come in two sizes, both with private baths and fully stocked kitchens, and some even have washers and dryers. If the urge strikes to go a little rougher, but not all the way to actual camping, try one of the climate-controlled yurts. You give up the kitchen and private bath, but gain the cool skylight in the peak of the roof for stargazing.



Want a unique camping experience? How about staying in this double-decker bus? (Photo: Lake-in-Wood Resort)

Lake-in-Wood Camping Resort is your quirky base in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. The resort has you covered with rentals of rowboats, bicycles, golf carts, and a multitude of athletic gear, and also offers mini-golf, chucker golf, basketball, two pools, and a kiddie splash zone. But where it really excels is in unique accommodations. Besides standard cabins and cottages, you can experience sleeping in a double-decker bus, caboose, treehouse, covered wagon, or tipi, all complete with private baths.



Play 18 holes of disc golf at Normandy Farms. (Photo: Normandy Farms)

Normandy Farms, located between Boston and Cape Cod, confidently uses the terms “luxury” and “camping” in the same sentence. The facilities include a dog park, bike park, 18 holes of disc golf, business center, softball fields, nature trails, indoor and outdoor pools, and massage therapists. Rent one of the deluxe cabins, complete with fireplaces, and there’s no way you’ll feel like you’re camping!

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The chalets at Tiger Run are a step above your average cabin. (Photo: Tiger Run Resort)

Tiger Run Resort, 75 miles west of Denver, was a pioneer in the world of luxury camping. Facilities include an indoor pool and hot tub, game room, TV lounge, tennis courts, and onsite stream-fishing. At Tiger Run, it has never been about camping. The resort has never allowed tents, pop-up trailers, or truck campers, choosing instead to cater to high-end RVs and motor coaches. It’s not a surprise then that the cabins are referred to as chalets. They come in three varieties — standard, deluxe, and executive — all with beautiful views of the Rockies.



There’s plenty to climb, jump on, and slide down in Merry Mac’s swimming pond. (Photo: Merry Mac’s Campground/Facebook)

Merry Mac’s Campground in Merrimac has more toys that you can count: a jumping pillow, skate park, space ball, life-size chess set, mini-golf, bicycles, swimming pool, and swimming pond, just to name a few. Rental units include both rustic cabins and not-so-rustic cottages, plus yurts.

South Carolina


Between the ocean, pool, and waterpark, you won’t stay dry for long. (Photo:TipAdvisor)

Ocean Lakes Family Campground is everything you’d expect a Myrtle Beach resort to be: fun, wet, and steps from the ocean. The resort has a water park, mini-golf, bicycle rentals, a café, and an Olympic-size swimming pool. Add a mile of sandy beach, and you may have the perfect vacay spot. More than 300 beach houses of all sizes are available for rent. You bring the linens and paper products; everything else is provided.

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