RVing Made Easy: A Guide To Corps Of Engineer Campgrounds

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RVing Made Easy: A Guide To Corps Of Engineer Campgrounds

Introduction To Corps of Engineer Campgrounds For RVers

Camping is a popular activity for many people, but it can be difficult to find the right campsite. You might have noticed that there are many different types of campgrounds — some are commercial, and government agencies maintain others. Corps of engineer campgrounds offer unique opportunities for RVers who want to enjoy the outdoors while camping in an organized environment with lots of amenities at their disposal. Read on to learn more about these campgrounds and how you can make your next outing successful!

Corps of Engineer Campground
Corps of Engineer Campground

What is a COE (Corps of Engineer Campground)?

A COE campground is a government-owned and operated campsite maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE). These campgrounds are typically located near lakes, rivers, or other scenic areas and offer many amenities for RVers, such as water and electric hookups, dump stations, and showers.

History of Army Corps of Engineers

The United States Army Corps of Engineers was founded in 1775 as a small, temporary engineering force to support the American Revolution. Over the years, the corps has grown into one of the largest public engineering organizations in the world. The COE is responsible for maintaining many campgrounds and recreational areas across America, including thousands of miles of rivers and waterways.

Who Can Stay at A COE Campground?

group of people near bonfire near trees during nighttime

COE is a great option for RVers looking to camp at one of the many scenic locations maintained by our armed forces. However, you must meet certain requirements before camping in a COE campsite:

• You will need an Army Corps Recreational Permit (ARC) — this is not included with your reservation and must be purchased separately.

• Your RV should be self-contained — this means that you must have a portable toilet and waste storage tank onboard your RV.

• All vehicles in your party must contain current registration and proof of liability insurance.

Can Anyone Stay? Or Do You Have to Have a Government Affiliation?

No, you do not have to be affiliated with the government to stay at a COE campground. However, you must meet the requirements listed above and purchase an ARC permit before arriving.

How Much Does it Cost to Stay at a Corps of Engineer Campground?

two blue camping chairs near camping tent
How Much Does It Cost To Stay at COE Campground?

The cost of staying at a COE campground varies depending on the location and amenities offered. Generally, prices range from $15 to $30 per night. You will also need to purchase an ARC permit before arriving (see below for more information).

How Much Does an ARC Permit Cost and How Do I Get One?

An Army Corps Recreational Permit (ARC) costs between $15 and $20 per night, depending on the location. You must have this permit to stay at a COE campground — an ARC is not included with your reservation! If you are interested in staying here, purchase one before arriving by visiting ftp://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/Recreation/amp/.

Senior Pass/ Access Pass For Army Corps of Engineer Campgrounds

Senior Pass?
Senior Pass?

The Senior Pass ($80) and the America The Beautiful Access Pass ($20) are honored at Army Corps of Engineer Campgrounds. This means that if you are a senior citizen (62+) or have a permanent disability, you can receive a discount on your stay at these campgrounds. For more information about these passes, visit recreation.gov/passes/.

What is COE Fourth Grade Passage?

Fourth Grade
Fourth Grade

The fourth-grade passage is a program that allows fourth graders to go on free camping trips with their families. If you are at least nine years old and in the fourth grade, your family will receive one Army Corps Recreational Permit (ARC) pass free per trip. You can also bring up to three additional individuals into this permit — those individuals will also receive a discount on their stay. For more information, visit coe.army.mil/fourth-grade-passage/.

Do They Offer an Annual Pass?

Yes, the Army Corps of Engineers offers an annual pass that allows unlimited camping at all COE campgrounds. The cost of this pass is $80, and it can be purchased online or at any COE office. For more information, visit coe.army.mil/passes/.

What Amenities Can I Expect from a COE Campground?

What Amenities Do COE Campgrounds Offer? (fire pit)
What Amenities Do COE Campgrounds Offer? (fire pit)

COE parks, campgrounds, and recreation areas offer many amenities for RV camping, including (but not limited to):

– Drinking water and modern restrooms

-Picnic Tables

-Hot Showers (at select locations)

-Electric hookups at most sites

-Dump stations

-Fishing and other outdoor and recreational activities

-Boat Ramp

-Some have electric, water, and sewer hookups

-Outdoor recreation

-Fire Rings

-Tent Camping

**Not all campgrounds offer each or any of these amenities.

What Kind of Activities Are There?

Horseback riding: Activities at COE
Horseback riding: Activities at COE

Some activities you can enjoy at COE campgrounds include fishing, boating (including motorized boats), swimming, hiking and biking trails, sport fishing and other water sports, picnicking/day-use areas, wildlife viewing opportunities, interpretive programs, or exhibits about historical sites. You may also be able to enjoy other activities like shooting ranges, equestrian trails, or special events.

Where Can I Find a List of Corps of Engineer Campgrounds?

To find a list of COE campgrounds, visit the Army Corps website at usace.army.mil/rec/. Make sure to check out all the different locations before choosing one for your next outing!

How to Find a Campground Near You: Visit Recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777

Visit recreation.gov or call (877)-444-6777 to find

How Do I Make a Reservation to Stay at COE Campgrounds?

How Do I Make a Reservation for COE park? Reserved Sign
How Do I Make a Reservation for COE park?

You can make a reservation to stay at a COE park or campground through Recreation.gov. This website offers an easy-to-use online reservation system and allows you to search for campgrounds by location, amenities, and other criteria. You can also call (877) 444-6777 to speak with a reservation specialist.

This website has everything from helpful information for RVs looking to stay at Army Corps of Engineer Campgrounds to news on camping, fishing, and hunting opportunities.

Apps For Reservations:

Phone Apps
Phone Apps
  • Recreation.gov– offers apps for Android and iOS devices that allow you to book a reservation through your phone or tablet.
  • Allstays– This is another handy app for an iPhone/iPad that allows you to find free overnight camping, including campsites at Corps of Engineer Campgrounds.
  • Campendium– This website offers a place to share campgrounds and boondocking locations across the country with other RVers looking for new places to explore!
  • RV Trip Wizard– This is a great tool that allows you to find free camping using filters. It also helps RVers stay within their budget by allowing them to set up an itinerary for their trip and stick to it.

Are There COE Campgrounds Outside of The United States?

No, the Corps of Engineer Campgrounds are only located in America.

What Are The RV Sites Like?

What Are The RV Sites Like at Corps of Engineer Campgrounds? RV parked
What Are The RV Sites Like at Corps of Engineer Campgrounds?

The RV sites are usually large enough to accommodate most RVs, with exceptions. For example, the site at Milk River in Montana is only 18 feet wide and 24 feet long. At other campgrounds, you will have full hookups for electricity and water, as well as access to restrooms and showers.

Some sites are gravel, while others may be grass. Some sites may also be very close to the waterway, so you will want to consider this if it bothers your RV or tow vehicle. Most are quite level, making these campgrounds a great choice for RVers.

Corps of Engineer Campgrounds To Choose From

There are over 400 wonderful COE campgrounds to choose from, with a wide variety of amenities. The COE campgrounds are located in some of America’s most scenic and beautiful places and most states.

Some of the best Corps of Engineer Campgrounds Include:

-Ft. Peck Lake Campground in Montana-

What makes this campground special is that it is located on the Missouri River. You can enjoy fishing, boating, and picnicking here.

-Lake Cumberland Campground in Kentucky

– This campground has some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever see at a Corps of Engineer Lake area campsite. It also offers swimming beaches, boat rentals for non-motorized boats, and a playground for the kids.

-Lake Wateree Recreation Area in South Carolina –

This campground is located on a 500-acre lake that offers great fishing opportunities as well as swimming, canoeing, and kayaking.

-Lake Ouachita Vista Park in Arkansas-

This campground is located in the Ouachita National Forest and offers some of the best scenery you will ever lay eyes on. It also has hiking trails, boat rentals for non-motorized boats, biking opportunities, picnicking areas, and picnic shelters that can be rented out.

-Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia-

This park is located on an island that the Timucua Native American Tribe once inhabited. It has over nine miles of pristine beaches. It offers opportunities to go hiking, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, biking (bikes are available for rent at this campground), swimming, wildlife viewing/photography tours, picnicking, and camping.

-New River Gorge National River in West Virginia

– This park is located on the New River and offers opportunities for white water rafting, fishing, hiking, biking, bird watching, and horseback riding. It also has a visitor center with exhibits on the natural and cultural history of the area.

-Norfork Lake Campground in Arkansas

– This campground is located on a beautiful lake that offers great fishing opportunities. It also has a swimming beach, playground, and horseshoe pits.

-Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee

– This park commemorates the American Civil War Battle of Shiloh, which was fought in 1862. It is home to several monuments and museums, a cemetery, and the remains of an earthen fort.

-East Bank Campground on the Cumberland River in Kentucky –

The Eastbank campground is located on a beautiful river that offers great fishing opportunities. It also has a swimming beach and playground.

There are over 400 Corps of Engineer Campgrounds to choose from, so take your time in looking through all the different locations before choosing one for your next outing!

For a full list of all campgrounds, visit: coe.army.mil/camp

Conclusion: Guide to Corps of Engineer Campgrounds For RV Trips

With a little research, you can find the perfect COE campground for your next RV adventure. Campgrounds vary from primitive to luxurious, and I’ve included some of my favorites that all offer easy access to amenities like electricity, water hookups, showers, restrooms, and laundry facilities. The Corps offers more than 1 million acres worth of campsites in over 400 locations across America, so there is sure to be one near you!

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