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No doubt about it, there are countless travel styles out there. From couch surfing on a budget to indulging in the most luxurious accommodations to embarking on a cruise; there truly is something for everybody. Having a wide variety of options and methods is part of what makes travel so appealing to the masses. If you’ve ever thought about staying at an RV campground, but don’t own an RV (or a tent), this is what you need to know!

Like many others, 2020 forced us to cancel existing travel plans and reevaluate many things. As summer entered the scene, we realized that we would like to embark on a little adventure in a safe and responsible manner. However, this is not without its challenges. As flying didn’t seem like a good choice and our work schedules limited us to places within our limited geographic location, we struggled with finding a place for a quick weekend away.

After some time, we were pleased to find a suitable option. A resort with lovely rental cabins nestled in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. After quickly securing our booking, we packed and embarked on our last minute, responsibly planned, long weekend get away. We planned some great things to do in the area including hiking and golfing.

Packing looks a little different these days.

It didn’t take much additional website digging to realize the place we just booked at was an RV campground resort that housed rental cabins on its premises. Being non-RV owners, we had never stayed at such an establishment and weren’t sure what to expect.

Admittedly, this option is not something we had ever considered or looked into in the past. One of the things we showcase through our blog is being open to a variety of travel styles. It helps us expand our horizons. Our overall experience at the RV campground was excellent!

RV Campground Selection

Due to the nature of this particular getaway, we picked the Elkhorn Ridge Resort just outside of Spearfish, South Dakota. This selection stood out from our usual conventional hotels for several reasons. Because this trip was planned during the pandemic, we knew we wanted something safe and easily accessible from our home. Road trip time! If you are thinking of doing the same, consider the following:

  • Proximity
  • Availability of things to do on the property and nearby
  • Price
  • Property size and layout
  • Amenities
  • Ability to travel responsibly to and within the host community
  • Restrictions and safety

Booking

We booked directly through the resort’s website. Admittedly, this is not the most user friendly website. There was no opportunity to select from the various cabins available and it defaults to the large (more expensive cabin). If you are particular about selecting your cabin, we would recommend calling instead of booking online.

Selecting The Perfect Cabin

Shortly after we booked, they called us. At that point, we were able to select a particular available cabin we were interested in. As this is an RV campground, it is wise to look at the property map to select your desired location. Look for areas located further away from spots which may generate a lot of noise and activity.

Arrival

We had already reviewed all of the restrictions and requests the campground had implemented at the time of selection, so we knew what to expect upon arrival.

Check in was quick, with minimal contact, and we ventured to our cabin in no time. Cabins were arranged in pod-like areas near the back of the property, with ample space between each. And, because most guests were staying in RVs nearby, there were few people in our actual cabin area. It was like a breath of fresh (mountain) air!

Upon entering, it was evident how clean and charming the cabin was! While we love upscale hotels, this rustic cabin easily put smiles on our faces. We immediately fell in love with its offerings. We also forgot we were surrounded by throngs of fellow travelers in their RVs!

The Cabin

The cabin experience itself was such an integral part of this particular getaway. A huge part of why we decided to go on this trip was to stay in a cabin. We loved it! I would call this glamping on steroids! It was the perfect, cozy spot to spend the long weekend. The floor plan was ideal and it really was more than we could have asked for.

It included:

  • Covered front porch with a bench
  • Living area with futon, dining table, TV and other furnishings
  • Kitchen outfitted with everything except an oven
  • Small bedroom with twin bunk-beds
  • Main bedroom with queen size bed
  • Fully functional bathroom
  • Large, open loft

While the cabins are equipped with nearly everything you need for your time away, there are a few things we would recommend bringing. They are:

  • A hairdryer
  • Folding chairs for the porch
  • Warm lounge clothing
  • Beach towels for the pool

Enjoying The Resort Property

Again, it is important to look for the property’s offerings when booking at a RV campground. While I am confident the regular RV crowd enjoys a wide variety of camping properties, we are a bit more discerning. We were definitely pursuing a resort vacation-like experience.

This drew us to the Elkhorn Ridge Resort. They offered a ton of property amenities for visitors to enjoy. Spending a day by the pool was absolutely delightful. This wasn’t the K.O.A.! Additional appealing amenities include:

  • Horseshoe pits
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball Courts
  • Walking trails
  • Garden sculptures
  • Golf

Observing the RV Lifestyle

It seems like RVing is an entirely different travel and lifestyle niche. I found it somewhat fascinating to observe this in action. Those visitors in RVs have mastered their craft. Simply strolling by the RV hookups, we were impressed by their spreads. We saw everything from complete outdoor living areas with kitchens to gaming areas and more!

Many RV owners were also easily identifiable as many of them donned clothing and gear related to “living the RV life”. It was easy to see this population was enjoying even more of the resort amenities. We particularly enjoyed seeing all of their four-legged friends in the dog park and along the trails.

I also noticed groups of friends who had gathered at the campground. They had traveled from all across the region to meet up. It seemed like they had a great time getting together, but also having their own separate spaces to retreat to. One group of ladies even managed to host a jewelry and clothing sales party at the resort property’s gazebo. It really made for some good people watching.

Fitting In

As we know RV travelers do have their very own niche, I was curious how we would fit in at this resort. We never felt out of place; never felt like interlopers in the RVer’s world. In fact, we enjoyed the experience enough that we would look for other RV resorts with on-site rental cabins for future trips.

Overall, this was a great experience for us. It was the perfect long weekend getaway and it offered a little bit of calm to the chaos we have been experiencing. If you are looking for the same we recommend this! Even if you don’t own an RV or a tent, you can have a great vacation at an RV campground!

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31 Comments

  1. Wow – it looks amazingly clean and comfortable. Good for you for trying a different style vacation, especially in our current difficult time. Glad you enjoyed yoursevles.

  2. We too have looked at different options to get away this summer that might be a little safer. We thought about RV rentals. But cabins at an RV park sounded like an interesting option. I love the idea of glamping on steroids! Sounds like a good getaway weekend.

  3. Sounds like a very different style of accommodation for you. I’ll have to google Horseshoe pits, a term I’ve never heard of.

  4. I used to do a lot of camping, but my travel style has changed over the years and now I’d rather stay in cabins like these. What’s not to love about staying in a place like this. Your own little home away from home with all the mod cons and plenty of places to spread out. I’m sure more people are going to be planning staycations this year and rather than investing in all the camping gear, a cabin it a great way to be at one with nature without having to worry about it crawling in the tent with you.

    1. I’ve never been a tent-camping type of girl although the hubs is fine with tent camping. A cabin is much more my style. I agree – I don’t want nature crawling in the tent with me. Too funny!

  5. 2020 is definitely the year of the Staycation! This was really interesting to read, I never realised you could stay on this sites without needing to own an RV. Your cabin looked perfect to chill and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. I think just getting away anywhere this year is a bonus.

  6. This was good to know, as I’ve also been looking at some alternatives for travel. I have been checking out glamping, cabins, treehouses,all that are in an RV Campground. I was wondering if this would make me feel out of place. It is good to know that you didn’t feel out of place. I was also worried about that.

  7. I find these look super-posh – I would love to stay there. However, last year, I was kind of lured into a short RV trip and really liked it. However, these little houses look far more spacious than the RV we had.

    1. We have yet to try any sort of an RV trip. But, with cabins at an RV resort, we were just happy little campers!

  8. These cabins look amaaazing. I would love to stay in one of them. We stayed in an RV site for the first time recently (but in a tent) it was really cool how there seems to be a whole culture and community for RV life. 🙂

    1. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who has noticed the RV culture/community! It really is fun to observe!!

  9. This was a great post and so relevant. This is becoming an increasingly popular way of traveling with the pandemic happening – people are hitting the road and camping a lot more than in recent years, and my family is no exception. So glad I was able to get so much information.

  10. It’s so great to hear you felt comfortable there. We’ve been wondering the same thing (we had a horrible experience in Sicily with an RV site that we ended up in for a few minutes (it also had cabins)). Anyway, it also looks like a great spot just to be. That walking trail!

    1. Oh no! We’re sorry to hear you had a bad experience in Sicily! This was definitely not the case for us.

  11. This is perfect timing! I was just talking about doing a RV trip with my family this year. Thanks for the tips.

  12. Love those cabins!! We’ve been wanting to get away to one of the National Park campgrounds with cabins. It seems like a great alternative to hotels, and since we don’t have an RV… 😉 Adding this one to the list of places to consider, too. Looks great!

    1. We have been feeling the same way lately. So glad we found this spot – it was a great place to stay! Hope you guys make it there one day!!

    2. We have been feeling the same way lately. So glad we found this spot – it was a great place to stay! Hope you guys make it there one day!!

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