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Guide to Finding Camping Locations Near the Top 10 Amusement Parks
By Rick Hazeltine
Nothing lights up the eyes of children more, or the kid in all adults, than when someone says, "amusement park."
Perhaps it's because amusement parks are a singularly American idea beginning with Disneyland — the king of all amusement parks. Or maybe it's just because we like to celebrate the child within all of us.
When you are deciding on camping locations for your next family vacation, you may want to consider camping near one of America's favorite amusement parks.
Amusement parks are among the biggest attractions in the nation. Southern California and Florida dominate the amusement park business behind the world's best-known name — Disney.
Of the top 10 amusement parks in the U.S. as ranked by attendance, seven are in Florida and three in Southern California. And seven are tied to Disney.
Here's a look at the top amusement parks as ranked by the TEA/AECOM Attraction Attendance Report. You'll also find some of the RV options to help you find camping locations to meet your needs.
Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Not only is this city the home to Walt Disney World Resorts, it is one of two municipalities in Florida that is controlled by the Walt Disney Company. Lake Buena Vista is the exact definition of a "company town."
LBV is home to four of the top five amusement parks in attendance. Only the original Disneyland (at No. 2) in Anaheim, Calif., doesn’t call LBV home.
Of the Lake Buena Vista amusement parks, the Magic Kingdom is rated No. 1 in 2009 attendance at 17.2 million visitors, followed by No. 3 Epcot (11 million), Disney Hollywood Studios (9.7) and Disney Animal Kingdom (9.6).
If you want to make sure you don’t miss any of the Disney experience, you will want to consider camping locations in Walt Disney World Resorts.
Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
, rates five diamonds for both facilities and recreation by Woodalls.com. Fort Wilderness has 800 sites, including more than 700 with full hookups, all with 50-amp service. There are also 90 tent campsites. Rates are from $59 to $121 per family.
If staying at Fort Wilderness is a bit too much Disney, there are many RV campgrounds nearby. When camping near Walt Disney World Resort, you can look for RV campgrounds in nearby Orlando or Kissimmee.
Visit Woodalls.com to find camping
locations near Walt Disney World Resort
Disney isn't the only big name in Florida. Orlando is home to SeaWorld Florida, ranked No. 7 with 5.8 million visitors, No. 8 Universal Studios Florida (5.5) and No. 9 Islands of Adventure (4.6) at Universal Studios Florida.
None of these amusement parks have their own RV campgrounds, but there are plenty of
campground options in Orlando
and nearby cities, such as Kissimmee.
Disneyland may not be No. 1 in attendance but it surely ranks No. 1 in the hearts of most, especially Baby Boomers who grew up with the amusement park icon. Disneyland ranks No. 2 with 15.9 million visitors in 2009. California Adventure, attached to Disneyland, ranked No. 6 at six million.
Although neither park offers camping, there are plenty of options in Anaheim and nearby cities. One place to consider when deciding on camping locations is
Anaheim Resort RV Park
, rated four diamonds for facilities by Woodalls.com. Anaheim Resort offers a shuttle to nearby Disneyland and even has daily sightseeing tours to San Diego and Los Angeles. The resort has 151 sites, all with 50-amp service, with 23 pull-thrus.
Woodalls.com can help you find other
camping locations near Disneyland and California Adventure
Universal Studios Hollywood attracted 4.3 million visitors in 2009 to rank No. 10 in the nation. The attraction is located in Universal City and does not offer RV camping.
Universal Studios Hollywood is located in urban Los Angeles County and so does not have many nearby RV campgrounds or resorts. But there are cities within a 20-mile drive that have
Two other popular attractions are close to the top 10 and you should consider visiting these amusement parks when you’re choosing a camping location.
SeaWorld San Diego attracted 4.2 million visitors and Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Florida, entertained 4.1 million in 2009.
SeaWorld San Diego was the first of the parks to open back in 1964. The park is located in Mission Bay, a popular destination for San Diegans as well as tourists.
RV parks to consider in Mission Bay for camping near SeaWorld are
Campland on the Bay
Mission Bay RV Resort
. Both are rated four diamonds by Woodalls.com.
When camping near Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, consider the
Bay Bayou RV Resort
, rated a perfect five diamonds for facilities and recreation by Woodalls.com. Bay Bayou is also ranked in the top 100 RV parks by The Good Sam Club.
See other top-rated Woodall's RV parks