Ah Glacier, sweet Glacier…you should know ahead of time that this is probably my favorite place on earth. No joke. Which means you should get comfortable because I could be going for a while as we discuss some pretty terrific RV camping spots in Glacier National Park.
A few of these Glacier RV parks hold some of my most treasured memories, time with family in one of the most unique and pristine locations our country can offer — with a side of grizzlies.
Best RV Camping Spots Near Glacier National Park
Unfortunately, Thousand Trails is a No Go
You should know that I am a pretty big fan of Thousand Trails campground memberships. But one of my biggest disappointments with Thousand Trails is they do not have a single RV park or campground in this Glacier National Park area. In fact, last I checked there are zero locations in the Rocky Mountain area.
They do have some outstanding locations in other areas of the country. If you’re interested in saving some money, learn more about Thousand Trails to determine if a membership would be right for you.
So without any Thousand Trails options you might spend a bit more on campground fees to visit Glacier National Park. But you must trust me when I say: It is SO worth it. Because it’s Glacier, my friend! I mean, come on.
Let’s take a look at some campgrounds near Glacier National Park that we have some first-hand experience with so you can know ahead of time what you are getting yourself into.
Pick #1: North American RV Park
I guess this RV camping spot is the one that holds some of my most treasured Glacier memories. This is where we stayed for our introduction to Glacier National Park a few years ago. All of my initial impressions of this stunning national park are tied to North American RV Park located in Coram, Montana.
But on top of the sentimental value, this RV park is located a mere 10 minutes or so from the West entrance of the park. It gets top ratings as far as convenience goes. There’s no doubt that they were hit pretty hard in the 2018 summer from wildfires raging in the west part of the national park. Those fires forced the west entrance to close, shutting off visitor access to the entire western section of the park. Personally, I’m really hoping for a great tourist season at North American this year.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE IN PARADISE
Here’s what you need to know about North American RV Park:
STORE AND OTHER AMENITIES
I had to buy a new fresh water hose at their store because ours was leaking horribly. Sure, it was a bit more expensive, but it was a convenient option and that hose lasted for the remainder of our travels. It was a great purchase.
In addition to the store, they have a guest lounge with all kinds of amenities you can enjoy, including free coffee. Anyplace that offers free coffee gets an extra star in my book.
Essentially, there is nothing not to love here. Given its location, their rates are relatively reasonable at $95 per night. If you’re curious, then yes, the rates have increased significantly (up from $60 per night in 2020). But, that is true across the nation.
They used to offer a discounted weekly rate with the 7th night free. But they no longer offer weekly or monthly rates. Check their site before you plan your visit to see if their policy has changed. A $10 per night discount is given for military, law enforcement and AAA members.
Pick #2: Johnson’s of St. Mary RV Park
Boy oh boy, now this is a family legacy. The Johnson family has run businesses in St. Mary, Montana since the 1950s. It is a cornerstone of the community.
BEST RESTAURANT IN THE AREA
Their presence in St. Mary started when they purchased the land and a log cabin. That cabin is now the site of Johnson’s of St. Mary restaurant, which is still managed and staffed by the Johnson family.
This seasonal restaurant is open from May through September, weather permitting. They do have some help from outside of the family, but the Johnsons are still the backbone of the restaurant…and you can feel it.
My family and I ate at the Johnson’s of St Mary restaurant multiple times during our visits to the area over the past couple of years. The dining experience always satisfies!
They offer unique, delicious food in a casual environment with a strong family atmosphere. DO NOT miss out on this tasty landmark during your visit, seriously.
RV CAMPING PARK
Wait, were we talking about restaurants? Oh no, right. Back to the RV park.
Sometime after the Johnsons opened the restaurant, the family developed the RV park, which is located just a couple of hundred yards away.
The Red Eagle Motel , which is not owned by the Johnson family, sits between the restaurant and the RV park.
Here’s a summary overview of the Johnson’s of St. Mary RV Park:
The RV park offers mostly full hook-up RV spots, but down on the lower level they do have some spots without sewer connections for a lower cost. We ended up staying in the lower level because I procrastinated on booking a spot (in the summer, duh). But, it was still a great Glacier RV camping experience all around.
They have laundry facilities available onsite, which was a very nice feature. And location?? Oh man, you are only a 2-3 minute drive to the east entrance of Glacier National Park. We spotted grizzly bear (mom and cubs) from this location inside the park. It just doesn’t get much more convenient to adventure than this.
Oh, and I can’t end this part without mentioning the view from this location. From nearly all of the RV sites, you can enjoy a view of St. Mary Lake and into the mouth of the Glacier Gorge. The mountains simply beg you to visit from what seems like feet away. It’s honestly one of my favorite views.
Do yourself a favor and sit a spell in this prime location.
Pick #3: Heart of Glacier RV Park
Ok, so their website isn’t anything to write home about. But please don’t let that deter you from taking a look at this prime spot for Glacier National Park camping. We spent two weeks here during September (a perfect month for Glacier).
Here is what you need to know about Heart of Glacier:
If you are looking for all of the RV amenities and polished exterior, this probably isn’t the place for you. At least not when we visited. But who knows what they will have accomplished before the next camping season.
MINIMAL AMENITIES AND THAT’S JUST FINE WITH US
For us, it’s ideal. It means a lower price for our extended stay and reduced crowds for the same fantastic location less than 5 minutes from the east gate. It feels more like “real camping” compared to many of the other parks where we stayed. I think it’s perfect for our time spent enjoying the beauty of Glacier.
Interestingly, this RV park is actually owned by the same folks that run the Red Eagle Motel just across the road. They’re good folks, straight shooters, and I just don’t think you can go wrong with this one.
Pick #4: East Glacier St. Mary KOA RV Park
You should know, I’m not a fan of KOA campgrounds and RV parks. During all our travels around the country, we stayed at ONE. That was our first few nights in our hometown after moving out of our house. It was uber convenient as the kids finished school for the year.
For me, it really just comes down to financial reasons. I think they charge too much money for a bunch of “amenities” that I do not need. That said, if you have small kids and would like age-appropriate activities for them, KOA might make sense for your family. So I speak only from my perspective and life experiences.
Having said that, when you put a KOA next to the entrance of Glacier National Park, it puts it back in the running as an option for RV camping (if other locations are booked).
USER REVIEWS AND LOCATION
St. Mary East Glacier KOA is our #4 pick based on its convenient location. It also receives high reviews at 4.5 stars. The truth is, I have done my research, but I don’t have much first hand experience about this place. I do know their rates ($100+ per night for two people) are typically higher than competitors in the local area.
This KOA is located a little further away from the park entrance than the three RV parks we have already discussed above.
Look, I don’t want to knock them too hard. They’re just not really my cup of tea based on how I like to RV. Given the high reviews, various amenities, and well-known brand, it may be the perfect option for you. We included this RV Park on our top choice list because it’s worth checking out. I don’t think you will be disappointed to at least learn a bit more.
Pick #5: Moose Creek RV Park and B&B
Now, back to West Glacier (which I pray will be accessible in 2019), we find the Moose Creek RV Park which was formerly known as SanSuzEd RV Park. A wise name change in my humble opinion.
Here you find more outstanding reviews, a location that is hard to beat just 5 minutes down the road from the west entrance to Glacier National Park, and lots of outdoor activities to keep the whole family entertained and occupied (horseshoes, volleyball, etc.).
Its location is better than our #1 pick, so nothing not to love there! Definitely worth a peek if you can find an opening. My guess is that finding availability closer to the park, at least on this west side, will be more of a challenge and require booking further in advance.
Pick #6: West Glacier KOA RV Park
Yes, another KOA. What? A park I have already mentioned doesn’t work for me. Well, it comes down to location, location, location. Just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean you can’t be! Hey, I’m an open-minded fellow.
Again, with positive reviews that are off the chart, you really can’t go wrong when coupled with an outstanding location. If you have younger kids, you will likely be very happy to pay for the additional entertainment options. They also offer supervised activities for the kids that allow parents to relax and enjoy your getaway a bit more. There’s nothing wrong with that!
If dry camping (boondocking) is more your thing and you would really like to be as close to the action as possible, you absolutely must consider a spot in the Apgar Campground. This National Park Service campground is located right on the shores of Lake McDonald.
There are no hook-ups available here, but the location is absolutely heaven on earth.
And the cost? How about less than $25 per night. If it weren’t for the limitations of off-grid camping, I’d put this one at pick #1 for the price alone. You just can’t beat that for a budget family getaway.
Lake McDonald happens to be one of the most stunning lakes I have ever seen. Imagine camping next to that beautiful lake. I would take that opportunity in a heartbeat. Just be sure you book early for this one…my guess is that it fills before Spring has even come close to springing!
Which RV Camping Spots Near Glacier National are Your Favorite?
We are always discovering new places to explore on our RV adventures. Please feel free to share your favorite Glacier camping spots in the comments below.
And with that, let the Glacier National Park RV camping adventures begin!
Todd loves a competitive game of table tennis, a breathtaking hike, and exploring new places. He lived and traveled in an RV with his family as they traveled throughout much of the US and parts of Canada. Todd has extensive knowledge about RV travel, safety, and accessories and has shared many of his stories here on TREKKN. When he’s not busy launching and building small businesses, you may find him staring at pictures of Glacier National Park (probably his favorite spot on earth).