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America's First Fully Automated RV Park

As full time RV travelers, we have to find a place to stay in our RV every night and over the years we've stayed in a lot of RV campgrounds of all sizes and shapes. When we were looking for an overnight stop between Branson, Missouri and Nappanee, Indiana, we discovered a new overnight parking option: RV Self Park in Sullivan MO. When we read that it was America's 1st fully-automated RV Park, we had to stop for the night. This is our most unusual RV park review yet because it was definitely our most unique RV park experience as we have traveled across the USA!

When we say fully automated, we mean fully automated. RV Self Park has no camp host, no park owners on site and no parking attendant. There is no headquarters building and no iron ranger for checking in. All reservations and changes to reservations are made via their online system.

In this video, we share our experience with the RV Self Park automated RV park. Was it easy? Was it difficult? Would we stay in an automated RV park again? We've also had folks asking us to show how we set up the RV and connect to the utilities in a campsite, so we share our setup process in this video.

How We Found This RV Park

We found RV Self Park as we were planning our trip with RV Trip Wizard. Over the past year, Trip Wizard has become one of our main planning tools for our road trips. We like it so much, we've joined their partner program. To learn more about RV Life Trip Wizard and try it FREE for 7 days, visit their website.

Several folks have asked about our small 50amp tester.

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RV Self Park Review

While we enjoy speaking with folks, we always prefer making our camping and travel reservations online. Making reservations for RV Self Park was very easy. And this is where this automated park begins to differ from every other RV park we've ever visited.

While making our reservation, we not only selected our arrival date, but also the TIME we expected to arrive and the number of hours we wanted to stay, from a simple overnight stay to a full 24-hours! With all other RV parks, state parks and campgrounds we have stayed at, there are ALWAYS set, uniform check-in times and check-out times. RV Self Park allows each guest to choose their own experience by selecting their individual check-in time and the number of hours they are staying. You only pay for what you schedule.

But what happens if you get delayed? Your plans change? You run into major traffic? No problem! Immediately upon making our reservations we received an email with a confirmation number, all of the details of our planned stay and a link to make any necessary changes. We left Branson later than we originally planned... no problem, I just went to the email message, followed the link, and changed our expected arrival time. I received a new email immediately with the updated details of our stay. Then we found ourselves sitting in construction traffic. No problem, I went back to the link and changed our arrival time again. These changes were very easy to make online from my phone and cost us nothing!

Our Campsite at RV Self Park
Our Campsite at RV Self Park

While we're talking about costs: there are several fees that are added to the basic site charge. But at least they are clearly noted before making the reservation so there were no surprises.

OK... so the park's reservation system worked great, but what about the RV park itself? What we found upon arrival at RV Self Park in Sullivan, Missouri was a secure location with security cameras and good lighting. Guests receive a code with their confirmation email that provides access to the locked trash bin area and access to the security camera feeds.

RV Self Park also has fully-paved roads and pull-thru parking sites. All sites feature 30 amp and 50 amp service electricity with full hook-ups and free Wi-Fi. Visitors get to select from the available campsites when making reservations. There are three different levels of sites:

For our simple one-night stop, a Standard Site was all we needed. Star enjoyed the dog park. And while the RV Self-Park facilities did not include a fire ring, laundry room, or cable television, it provides very easy access for recreational vehicles of any size from Interstate 44. This park is located about an hour from St Louis. There are no tent sites or tent camping areas here. A Cracker Barrel and other dining options are nearby, a short drive away.

During our stay, the RV sites were clean and the park was quiet. Arriving after dark? Each site number sign is large, easy to read and lights up at night.

So What Do We Mean By Automated?

When we published this video, some folks asked us if this was like parking in a Walmart Parking Lot. Far from it.

When we pulled into our scheduled campsite, we decided that we preferred another pull-through site. We were able to go back to our confirmation email and select a different campsite just minutes before our official check-in time. Pulling into our newly selected site, a sensor in the parking pad recognized that we were there and our electricity, water and sewer connections all unlocked at our set arrival time. We did not have to check in at an office. (Remember, there is no office.) We simply pulled into the park, found our campsite, parked over the sensor at the scheduled time and connected to the full hookups.

To activate a parking space, you must have a prior reservation or select an available site, pay online and park on the site before the utilities will activate. The park's website always shows a current list of available campsites.

What Happens If You Need Assistance?

During the night of our stay a HUGE storm came through. When we woke up the next morning, it was still storming and our electrical pole had lost power. We went to the confirmation email and noticed a phone number at the bottom of the message. We thought we would leave a message and hope for a call back. To our surprise, a person answered the phone (it was about 7am). He was friendly and thanked us for staying. He was able to check the park's power grid remotely and restore power to our pedestal.

So even though there aren't employees physically at this RV park, customer service is readily available. You just have to reach out through the listed contact information.

With the storm raging and forecasted to sit on us for our entire travel day, we decided to alter our reservations yet again. We returned to our confirmation email and easily extended our stay for another 24 hours.

RV Self Park is open year-round. While it is nothing fancy and there are not a lot of amenities, it was clean, quiet and well-maintained. We will absolutely stay here again and look for future locations. It was a great place for us to spend a couple of nights on our way through Missouri on I-44.

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So, No One is Working There... Can You Just Park For Free?

Though no employees or park hosts are on site at RV Self Park, they've put a few safeguards in place to avoid squatters just looking for a free place to park.

The utilities are locked and unavailable until the site is paid for, the scheduled time is reached and an RV sits over the site's sensor. The utilities automatically shut off when the paid reservation time expires unless it is extended.

There are security cameras throughout the park, so park staff can check in remotely at any time.

The sites can also be monitored remotely by park staff (just as they were able to see that our power had been disrupted by the storm and reconnect us with the click of a button).

Be a good person and please don't try to take advantage of the lack of staff presence to get something for free. There are plenty of other options for free parking. This isn't one of them.

For More Information on RV Self Park

Visit the RV Self Park Website

A Few Photos from Our Stay at RV Self Park

Premium Site
Premium Site
Deluxe Site
Deluxe Site
Dog Park
Dog Park
Full Hookups
All Sites Have Full Hookups
Trash Bin Accessible By Code
Trash Bin Accessible By Code
Well Lit at Night
Well Lit at Night

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Tom and Stacie

Tom and Stacie Langland
"RV America Y'all"

Hey y'all! We are Native Texans and (since 2018) Full-Time RVers sharing the adventures, challenges, and joys of RV life as we travel. We love camping and hiking in State and National Parks, discovering history, visiting interesting and quirky places, and exploring small towns. We're on a mission to experience life, not just live it with our dog, Star, and our cat, Astro. You can also find us on our original RV travel website, Thanks for joining us as we RV America Y'all!

Connect With Us @RVAmericaYall