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RV Camping at Fairgrounds: Why Haven’t You Tried It Yet?

| Updated Mar 7, 2024

Sure, you’ve saved money by camping at Walmart and public lands. But have you tried RV camping at fairgrounds? Here’s why you should…

We have a LOT of articles on free, cheap, and available campsites. We’ve written about camping at Walmart, rest areas, public lands, Harvest Hosts… but we haven’t written about fairgrounds!

To fill in that gap, we are going to tell you all about RV camping at fairgrounds– the good and the bad. We’ll answer the most frequently asked questions and more…

Can You RV Camp at Fairgrounds?

Most county fairgrounds have RV spaces with hookups for traveling vendors, performers, etc. These spaces are only filled up during major events, like concerts or annual fairs. That means they’re usually available for public use the rest of the time!

Some fairgrounds also have campsites for RVers attending events. The prices for these are fairly high during events but cheap in between events.

Certain weekends and fair seasons won’t have availability, but many county fairgrounds have plenty of available campsites during the week and off-season weekends. It’s a perfect option for RVers looking for a practical overnight stay or even a short layover while traveling.

Some state fairgrounds also offer public camping, though they tend to have more events year-round. So, you might not find as much availability at state fairgrounds as county fairgrounds.

Is Fairgrounds Camping Cheap?

Yes, fairgrounds camping is normally cheap, especially in comparison to private campgrounds. You can expect to pay in the $10-$50 range, but, of course, it depends on the location.

While fairgrounds have RV hookups, they usually don’t have any other amenities. So, they price accordingly.

As we mentioned earlier, some fairgrounds offer campsites for event attendees, but these prices are more expensive. Be sure to check event schedules to avoid these higher-priced times.

Are Fairgrounds Campsites Nice?

Not particularly. It’s better to describe them as practical. After all, the people who the sites are made for are there to work, not enjoy leisure time. 

Or, the sites are for RVers who are staying for a special event. So, the event in itself is the amenity. 

Typically, they are in an open grassy area that’s relatively level. You’ll have functioning hookups and possibly bathrooms, but that’s pretty much it. 

That’s why fairgrounds campsites make a good overnight option or mid-trip layover. It gives you an affordable, “nice enough” place to stay. 

The good news is your fellow campers are reportedly nice! So, you’ll be in good company, even if the campsite isn’t the nicest.

RV Camping at Fairgrounds?

They Make a Good Base Camp

Fairgrounds campsites also make a good base camp if you’re just looking for somewhere to sleep. Since they are usually centrally located, you often have plenty to do in the surrounding area.

Granted, some small county fairgrounds are in the middle of nowhere. But they usually provide plenty of beautiful country roads and small towns to explore.

Serendipity Shows & Markets

The other benefit of fairgrounds is the little shows and markets they often host year-round. If a big event isn’t going on, you might get lucky with a cheap site AND a small event to enjoy.

We call these “serendipitous” discoveries, where you arrived for a cheap campsite but stayed for a neat event. These small events can include farmers' markets, horse or livestock shows, local musicians and artist shows.

How Do I Find RV Camping at Fairgrounds?

looking at a phone RV Camping at Fairgrounds?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a fairgrounds camping website you can search, or even a filter you can select on your favorite camping reservation site. (At least, not that we know of!). But you can easily (albeit manually) search for fairgrounds by county.

When planning your RV trip, make a list of the counties you’ll be traveling through. Then go down the list and run a Google search for “[county name] fairgrounds.” 

The results will either populate a dedicated fairgrounds website or the county’s website with the applicable information. Some sites will have all the information posted, while others will require a phone call or email.

It does take a little more work on your end, but it’s worth the effort. You’ll save good money and get to stay in a unique place. 

Don’t Dismiss Small County Fairs!

If your search pulls up tiny county fairgrounds in some podunk town, don’t dismiss it! Look closer! 

In our experience, these “podunk” towns have some of the best county fairs. In these cases, you don’t have to avoid busy fair seasons… embrace them!

Try to camp there during their annual fair or whatever their “big” events are. Camping should still be affordable, and you’ll get a unique experience in small-town America.

For instance, Mariposa County, home of Yosemite National Park, is also home to a great small-town county fair. Sure, you can walk through it in a few hours, but that’s the beauty of it!

You’ll get to see local craftsmen and local kids doing 4-H, and taste some delicious country food.

10 Beautiful & Unique Gardens in the U.S.

All this talk about unique camping spots and unique events got me thinking about another article we did not long ago. It’s on beautiful, unique gardens that you may have never heard of.

And since we already mentioned Yosemite and the Mariposa County Fair, we should also mention the unique underground gardens located in nearby Fresno. It’s #3 on this list of unique gardens you should visit…

Need the Ultimate Guide to Cheap or FREE RV Camping Sites?

RV Camping at Fairgrounds: Why Haven’t You Tried It Yet? 1

Camping can be expensive. 

Especially if you are spending more travel time in outdoor spaces. Or, perhaps you’re living and working from your RV. 

Traditional campgrounds can also be crowded and noisy. It can sometimes feel like the opposite experience you are seeking by getting away from civilization and into nature. 

That may be why you are looking for cheap or free RV camping sites and that’s why I’m here to help.  I’m going to introduce you to boondocking in off-the-beaten-path campsites and then teach you how to find them.

This ebook (not a print book – but you could print this one out on your own if you wish) is available right now.

Here's your Ultimate Guide to Cheap or FREE RV Camping Sites


Mike Wendland

Published on 2024-03-06

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

3 Responses to “RV Camping at Fairgrounds: Why Haven’t You Tried It Yet?”

March 06, 2024at10:21 am, Sheila Majka said:

Just spent two nights at Indian river fairgrounds where Erik Anderson was hosting. 29 a night and about seven minutes to public beaches. 😀

Reply

March 07, 2024at9:48 am, Tom Torrella said:

We’ve stayed few a wks in Nashville spending most our time seeing all the sites. Only had W/E. City dump station was nearby.
A nIce fairground in Du Quionn IL has W/30a h dump station.
We use Parkadvisor app and select fairgrounds. Always call ahead for info to access facility. And helps to preview the satellite images to know if it works for you. Have seen a few set up for long term stays which we avoid as we have had small items disappear, like chairs & grills.

Reply

March 07, 2024at3:28 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

That sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing, Sheila – Team RV Lifestyle

Reply

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