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Lake Camping vs. RV Camping: Which is Right for You?

Lake Camping vs. RV Camping: Which is Right for You?

Have you ever gone camping and thought to yourself, “I wish I could bring my house with me?” Well, technically, you can. RV camping is a popular way to camp comfortably and still have all the amenities of a home. But it’s not for everyone. Lake camping has its own unique set of benefits that might be more appealing to some campers. Let’s compare these two types of camping so you can decide which one is right for your next trip into the great outdoors!

What is RV Camping?

RV camping is a form of camping that involves taking a home on wheels with you on your trip. It combines the best of hotel staycations and tent camping, as you can access comfort, luxuries, and freedom. An RV rental allows for more spontaneous trips, as you can explore different landscapes and activities without breaking the bank. Plus, you have access to a kitchen, bed, and usually, a bathroom/shower, providing a much more comfortable experience than sleeping in a tent on the ground. However, driving a large vehicle can be daunting for some, so it is essential to be aware of the vehicle’s size and price before committing to it.

Cons of Rv Camping

Despite the many benefits of RV camping, there are some drawbacks to consider before you take the plunge.

For one, while the comforts of RV camping are much greater than tent camping, you still don’t have the same luxuries you would find in a hotel. Not all RVs are equipped with air conditioning or a full kitchen, and some will require you to book campsites with hookups for electricity, water, and sewer. Additionally, although RVs are smaller than motorhomes, they can still be challenging to drive and park in tight spaces.

Finally, although RV camping can be more affordable than traditional travel, there are still some upfront costs. Buying, renting, and maintaining an RV can all add up quickly, and some campgrounds require additional fees for amenities like electricity, water, and sewer hookups.

RV caravan camping at the caravan park.

What is Lake Camping?

Lake camping is a popular, inexpensive form of camping and travel, which involves pitching a tent in a campground or other outdoor area. It can range from one person to 12+ people, and many types of tents are available for various camping needs. Tent camping is a great way to experience nature up close and personal, though it may not offer the same level of comfort as an RV. Tent camping can be time-consuming to set up and break down, and you may have difficulty finding shaded areas. Additionally, you may need to bring your own equipment, such as sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and cooking supplies.

Cons of Lake Camping

Cons of lake camping include: feeling chilly, damp, and uncomfortable; time-consuming setup and breakdown of the tent and equipment; expensive equipment needed for purchasing or renting; not as secure in windy conditions and no protection from thunderstorms or critters on the ground; uncomfortable sleeping in cold/hot weather; difficulty in finding a place to wash dishes; hard to find shaded campsites; limited comfort in comparison to RVs; and only so much one can do to make oneself comfortable in a small tent.

Tourist camping near fire with lake in background

What to consider when choosing between lake and RV camping?


When choosing between lake and RV camping, there are several factors to consider. Lake camping typically involves setting up a tent or temporary shelter on or near the shoreline, while RV camping involves setting up an RV, camper, or trailer. Lake camping requires the camper to bring all necessary supplies to the campsite, while RV camping typically involves hooking up to a water and electricity source. Lake camping often requires a more rugged approach, as the terrain is typically more uneven than in RV camping.


When it comes to budgeting for a camping trip, the choice between lake and RV camping can make a difference. Lake camping is typically more affordable, as it does not require an RV rental or purchase, and most campsites are free or offer a nominal fee. On the other hand, RV camping can be more expensive since you must rent or purchase the RV and pay for gas, and oftentimes, campsites have additional charges or fees.


When choosing between lake and RV camping, several facilities should be considered. Lake camping typically includes amenities such as a picnic table, a fire ring, and garbage cans. On the other hand, RV camping can include more extensive features such as restrooms, potable water, electrical hookups, and tent pads. Therefore, depending on the desired amenities, lake and RV camping can offer different experiences and should be considered.

Weather conditions

When deciding between lake and RV camping, weather conditions should be considered. RV camping offers protection from the elements, providing a more comfortable experience in cold and hot weather. RV camping can also be a more secure option in windy conditions, as it offers protection from thunderstorms and critters on the ground. On the other hand, lake camping provides a more natural experience but is less comfortable in cold and hot weather due to the lack of protection from the elements.


One of the main differences between lake and RV camping is the experience of each. Lake camping often provides a more rustic and traditional camping experience, with the sound of nature in the background and the potential for outdoor activities such as fishing, swimming, and boating. On the other hand, RV camping offers the convenience of having the comfort of home and the ability to move from place to place if desired.


When it comes to the comfort considerations between lake and RV camping, there are some pros and cons to each. For a more adventurous road-tripping experience, RV camping offers more convenience, as it provides shelter and can accommodate larger groups of up to five people. However, lake camping offers a simpler, more rustic experience, which may be appealing to smaller groups of two to five people. With lake camping, you will be able to enjoy the natural beauty of your surroundings, but you may need to bring your own tent and other equipment, which can be a bit more work and may require more effort to set up. On the other hand, RV camping can provide more amenities and comfort, as you have access to a kitchen, beds, and a bathroom.


What activities are available for lake and RV camping? [Categorization] Group camping, pets allowed, physical distancing, planning ahead, playing it safe, exploring locally, leaving no trace, and building an inclusive outdoors.

Camping on lake Minnewanka. Banff National park.

So which one is right for me?

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. RV camping offers the convenience of having space and amenities but comes with a higher cost of ownership. Tent camping is a more budget-friendly option but requires you to be more self-sufficient. You can research the financial aspects of RV camping and make sure you can afford it before deciding. If you’re new to camping and unsure which route to take, tent camping is a great place to start. Whichever you choose, we hope you enjoy your time outdoors!

Tips for enjoying either type of camping trip!

  1. Research the financial aspects of upgrading to an RV. Know your budget and make sure you can afford to enjoy the RV you are considering.
  2. If you’re new to camping, tent camping is a good introduction. Be prepared for days when you cannot take a shower.
  3. Use travel resources to find the best deals on flights, hotels, rental cars, and cruises. We recommend Skyscanner for flights, Hilton for hotels, Vrbo for vacation rentals, Hertz for rental cars, Cruise Direct for cruises, and Outdoorsy for RV rentals.
  4. Plan ahead by researching the different parks and campgrounds you want to visit. Look up their amenities and the activities they offer.
  5. Make sure you bring the necessary camping gear and supplies. Bring enough food, water, and snacks to last you the length of your stay.
  6. Pack warm clothing and blankets, along with waterproof clothing and rain gear.
  7. Bring a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, and a flashlight.
  8. Don’t forget bug spray, sunscreen, and other personal items.
  9. Have an emergency plan in case of bad weather or other unforeseen events.
  10. Lastly, take time to relax and enjoy the outdoors!
Riverside RV Motorhome Dry Camping with Friends


What are the differences between lake and RV camping?

The main difference between lake and RV camping is the level of comfort and convenience provided. Tent camping involves sleeping on the ground or a hard cot and cooking on a grill or open fire. Climate control is non-existent, and bathrooms are either communal or behind a tree. On the other hand, RV camping offers more amenities, such as beds, kitchens, dinettes, and sometimes even full bathrooms. Heating and air conditioning may be available, and RVs can often be connected to electricity, water, and sewer. Additionally, RV campers can stay at a resort for a true glamping experience.

What are the benefits of lake camping?

One of the main benefits of lake camping is the ability to experience the wonders of nature in comfort, even in the hot summer months. Lakes offer cool breezes, pretty views, and plenty of recreational activities, as well as beautiful sunsets and sunrises that can’t be found anywhere else. Additionally, lake camping can provide an enjoyable community atmosphere and a sense of relaxation that can’t be found in other places. Other benefits include cost savings, the ability to avoid cold weather, and the chance to take extended adventures.

What amenities are available at lake and RV campgrounds?

At lake and RV campgrounds, there are a variety of amenities available to enjoy, depending on the campground. Facilities such as restrooms, potable water, electrical hookups, picnic areas, trash cans, tent pads, and group shelters may be available on campgrounds. For those looking for more luxurious lodgings, some campgrounds offer deluxe cabins with full bathrooms, electricity, beds, TVs and kitchenettes, camping cabins with electricity and beds, tent sites, glamping tents, teepees, Airstream rentals, and other unique lodging options. Adventure in camping also has a large fleet of vacation trailers with hookups (power, sewer, and water) for those looking for an elevated camping experience. No matter the type of camping you choose, you’re sure to have a great time.

What type of RV do I need for RV camping?

When it comes to RV camping, there are a variety of options to choose from. Depending on your needs and budget, you can choose a traditional RV, a camper van, or a tent for your camping adventure.

What is the cost of a lake vs. an RV campsite?

The cost of a lake vs. RV campsite can vary significantly depending on the location, amenities, and type of campsite. Luxury RV parks typically offer amenities on par with resorts, ranging from $60 to $100 per night. Mid-range RV parks offer basic amenities such as showers, restrooms, and hookups and usually cost between $30-$50 per night. Budget RV parks and state park campgrounds offer a more rustic experience and cost around $30 per night. On the other hand, tent camping is usually the cheaper option, with good tents costing as little as $40.

What safety considerations should I take into account when lake or RV camping?

When lake or RV camping, there are several safety considerations to keep in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Obey the rules of the campground or RV park to be aware of any hazards. If you have a pet, check with the campground to learn about their pet policies before your visit. Store your food in sealed containers in your RV to prevent any unexpected interactions with wildlife, and dispose of food waste in designated trash cans. Get to know your fellow RVers and let a friend or family member know about your travel plans so they can periodically check in with you. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and dress appropriately for the weather. Add personal touches to your RV or campsite to make it feel more like home. Finally, RVs are considerably safer than tents and can lock the door if you need to leave for any activities.