Lawn Love’s Shocking Study: The Worst States for Camping
People often recommend states such as California and Colorado as the top destinations for camping. However, which states should one avoid when it comes to camping?
Well, thanks to data analysis, now we can tell you scientifically which states are the worst for camping. Let’s take a closer look at the study, then we’ll show you the top five states to avoid for your next camping trip.
About the study
Our friends over at Lawn Love did an in-depth comparison of all 50 states based on 25 separate metrics. They then put these metrics into five categories to define the ranking:
- Access measures things like the number of campsites, the acreage of parks and campgrounds, the number of activities, and a few other details.
- Quality takes into account things like consumer ratings of campgrounds, as well as the number of campgrounds with toilets and water.
- Supply looks at only two things: the number of camping supply stores and the number of RV rental offers in the state.
- Safety takes into account park deaths from 2010 to 2020, the FEMA national risk index for the area, and cell phone coverage.
- Affordability measures things like average nightly campground rates, average RV rental cost, national park entrance prices, and a few other details.
Each state is individually ranked for each of these categories from 1 to 50. Then, the ranks are averaged out across the five categories to give the final score.
Now that we understand the data, let’s take a look at the five worst states to go camping in, according to the folks at Lawn Love.
Mississippi often ends up at the bottom of almost any ranking, so it’s not a surprise to see them at number five on our list.
Few campgrounds and activities mean Mississippi ends up near the bottom for access at number 42. The state ranks a bit better in the quality and supplies categories at 34th and 37th respectively, but still not much to write home about.
Mississippi also does poorly in safety at number 42, likely in no small part due to the risk of natural hazards. Severe storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and even earthquakes are all possible.
Finally, Mississippi comes in at 40th for affordability, meaning it’s one of the most expensive states to camp in. Considering the poor rankings in other categories, you’re paying extra for a less-than-stellar camping experience.
Coming in at number 4 is Nevada. While many western states are camping meccas, Nevada doesn’t make the cut. Why so?
For one, Nevada ranks 43rd in access. That means there’s stiff competition for the campsites and activities available. It ranks at a dismal 49th in quality, so Nevada campsites are some of the worst-rated in the nation.
Nevada does somewhat better in the supplies category at number 28. The ranking might not be as good as in some states, but you can still find supplies and RV rentals.
Thankfully, Nevada does rank well in one category: affordability. At number 10, it’s one of the most affordable states for camping. So, while it may be one of the worst states for camping, at least you can save some money there.
Louisiana comes in at number 3 on the list of worst states to camp, largely because of poor access and quality, plus mediocre performance in other categories.
The state comes in at 47th for access. Compared to other states, Louisiana is seriously lacking in campsites and activities. It’s also 47th in quality, meaning those few campsites are also poorly rated on average.
Louisiana does alright in the supplies category at 34th. It’s not the easiest state to find camping supplies and RV rentals… but it’s not the worst either.
The story is similar in the safety category, with Louisiana landing at 38th. This is likely due to the hurricane and flooding risk. Among all the coastal states, Louisiana gets hit the hardest by natural disasters.
Louisiana also has a middling affordability ranking at number 33. All these factors together help make Louisiana one of the worst states for camping.
2. Rhode Island
At only a hair over 1,200 square miles, it’s probably no shocker that tiny Rhode Island is one of the worst states to camp. The state ranks 48th for access and 50th for quality. So, you’ll have trouble finding a campground, and it’s likely to be a poor quality one at that.
Rhode Island does better in the supplies category, but not by much at number 43. While you can find supplies, you’ll have to do some searching.
Things aren’t as bad in the safety and affordability categories, at 29th and 30th respectively. Rhode Island has little risk of natural disasters, although intense storms are possible. Plus, the state is close to the middle of the pack for affordability, so you can camp there without breaking the bank.
1. North Dakota
The dubious honor of “worst state for camping” goes to North Dakota, which ranks near dead last in almost every category.
North Dakota ranks 50th for access, 48th for quality, 47th for supplies, and 50th for affordability. Boiled down, that means a perfect storm of hard-to-find, low-quality, expensive campsites, with few supplies available.
However, there is one place where North Dakota shines: safety. The state comes in at number 1, so you’re at a very low risk of danger there.
So, while North Dakota might be the worst state for camping, it does still have a silver lining. If you can deal with the other factors, the safety of North Dakota might make it worth a visit.
Plan an RV-safe trip
Camping trips are exciting, but they can take a bit of planning. The last thing you want after planning a camping trip is to end up at a bad or expensive campsite, or not be able to find supplies. Thankfully, with our list of the worst states for camping, you know where to avoid for your next trip.
For all of your camping and trip planning needs, look no further than RV LIFE Campgrounds and RV LIFE Trip Wizard. Campground Reviews is a trusted source of campground and RV park reviews offered by camping and RV enthusiasts just like you. With its accompanying RV LIFE App, RV Trip Wizard gets you to your camping destinations utilizing RV-friendly routes specific to your RV and travel preferences.