9 Best campgrounds for off-road golf-cart owners
Golf carts are one of the most popular ways to get around at a campground. They provide quick access to bathhouses, the camp store, and playground areas for the kids. Golf carts are perfect for touring the campground or heading to friends’ campsites at night, especially after a long day of activities.
A trend growing in popularity with golf-cart owners is heavily modifying their carts to be considerably more off-road capable than what a typical golf course demands. Some of them upgrade their carts to the point they can drive them through shallow creeks, over sand dunes, and up surprisingly steep rooted and rocky forest trails.
But frustratingly for owners of these crazy carts, finding campgrounds that offer fun off-road excursions is a significant challenge, even with the internet’s searchability. Many campgrounds allow golf-carts, but they often only provide places to ride them that are paved (and boring).
It’s no easy task finding campgrounds that are explicitly golf-cart friendly, let alone that also offer trails suitable for riding an all-terrain golf-cart. That’s why we gathered some of the best campgrounds for off-road golf-cart owners from coast to coast to help you plan your next adventure.
So, how capable are off-road golf carts?
Typically, golf-carts are used to get around a golf course or campground in a relaxed way, with convenient cupholders and easy, low step-in access. Electric-powered golf carts provide around 1-2 hours of operation on a full charge or approximately 15-25 miles. For gas-powered carts, you can expect to average 100-180 miles with a 4-6 gallon fuel tank, or up to 10 hours of ride time in easy terrain. While gas-powered golf carts can have a remarkable amount of torque (LIKE THIS ONE), they’re no replacement for a full-blown ATV.
While major modifications can make a golf-cart more off-road capable, these mods aren’t enough to make them viable for riding the advanced trails at major ATV resorts. These trails can have massive mud bogs, big rocks to crawl over, and deep creek crossings to ford, which far exceed even the most extreme golf-carts.
The unfortunate truth is, sometimes you do need an ATV with a four-wheel-drive, fully mud-proof drivetrain. Because of the belt-drive system golf carts use, which can slip if it gets wet, they can be pretty useless in the mud (skip to the 1:37 mark HERE).
The best campgrounds for off-road golf-cart owners
We did throw in a couple of major ATV areas for those of you who might have a real taste for adventure and don’t mind winching your cart out of a precarious position if you get too ambitious. But mostly, we stuck to campgrounds that mention being golf-cart friendly and have unique and fun places to ride an all-terrain golf-cart.
We do recommend confirming each campground’s policy when you book your stay, as rules can change. Also note, many campgrounds require you to carry insurance on your golf cart, so ask in advance and have that lined-up for your check-in.
KOA Circle Pines
Camp and ride just an hour from the Grand Canyon at Circle Pines in Arizona. With easy trails suitable for off-road golf carts, the KOA campground here is only open from mid-March through the beginning of November, so it’s not an option for winter campers. There are thousands of trails in the area, from Flagstaff to Sedona, for all skill levels.
Calico Ghost Town Regional Park
In Calico, just north of Barstow, CA, you can enjoy multiple trail systems with over 3,200 miles of BLM trails, offering just about everything from mountain trails to wide-open dry lakebed runs. There are also two canyons to check out––Jawbone Canyon and Mule Canyon. Oh, did we mention Calico is a Ghost Town turned Regional Park? There’s a campground in the park itself, offering RV sites and bunkhouses, as well as neat little ghost town buildings to check out.
Photo Credit: https://parks.sbcounty.gov/park/calico-ghost-town-regional-park/
Oceano Dunes at Pismo Beach
The beach is one of the most fun places to ride an off-road golf-cart, and being able to camp there makes it even more convenient. If you’re someone who’s always wanted to camp on the beach, Oceano Dunes at Pismo Beach in California is the place to go.
You’re allowed to camp at Oceano Dunes south of Post 2 on Pismo Beach and in the open dune area. Do note, vehicle lengths are limited to 40 feet, and driving on the beach can be challenging for larger vehicles.
If you have an RV that’s too large for driving on the beach and you’re open to tent camping, tents are allowed. One creative option at Oceano Dunes if you own an RV is to park away from the beach and use your all-terrain golf cart to haul your tent and camping gear to a site on the beach.
Even though campers aren’t assigned specific sites, you’ll need to make reservations at Oceano Dunes for the busy seasons. You can reserve your camping spot online or over the phone. However, there are times you’ll need to book as far as seven months ahead, as this is a very popular destination year-round.
Because the camping here doesn’t have designated spots, there’s a chance you can snag a site without reservations if you go in the off-season. Arrive before 7:00 a.m. to try snagging an open space. Being an early bird may work in the middle of a week, but during busy times of the year, you’ll want to have a contingency plan for camping.
Lastly, be sure to check the tides when planning your arrival, as the tide does affect access to the camping area. Having a shovel and towing strap on hand is a good idea as well.
Keep in mind that the list of amenities is short at Oceano Dunes––there are only vault toilets and porta-potties, no showers. That said, there are water delivery and holding tank pump-out services available. There is an RV dump station on LeSage Drive near the park entrance.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness
If you’re looking for one of the best places to take kids on a camping adventure, Disney’s Fort Wilderness in Orlando, FL, is tough to beat. Just around the corner from Walt Disney World Resort, this massive campground comprises 21 camping loops, each containing 10-85 sites.
There are also seven other loops with cabins. Each loop has its pros and cons, and requests for stays at specific loops aren’t guaranteed. But in general, you’ll be able to secure the particular type of site you want (tent, full hookup, etc.). You can request a different site if you arrive and find yours won’t quite work for you.
Ocala National Forest
In North Central Florida, the 400,000-acre Ocala National Forest offers up loads of trails you can take an all-terrain golf cart on. One of the best areas to stay is on Lake Oklawaha in Ft McCoy. There’s a KOA campground that allows golf-carts and features a bluff that overlooks 13,000-acre Lake Oklawaha (also known as the Rodman Reservoir), a favorite with people who love to go fishing.
South Toledo Bend State Park
If you’re into fishing, hiking, and camping, South Toledo Bend State Park in Anacoco, Louisiana has plenty to put a smile on your face! The park is located on some small bluffs that overlook the Toledo Bend Reservoir. The park system opened up to ATV riders in 2014 and now offers a nine-loop, 12-mile trail system for all skill levels. Even better, the ATV area is across the road from the park itself, cutting down on noise levels in the campground. Note, you will need to purchase a permit for access to the ATV area.
Golf Cart Friendly Campgrounds In Michigan
The team at Viers Golf Cars loves to camp, so they compiled THIS LIST of golf-cart friendly campgrounds within 50 miles of their Lapeer, Michigan location, a little more than an hour north of Detroit. Perhaps the only thing that could make Vier’s off-road golf carts any sweeter is one of our magnetic G-Rok Golf Cart Bluetooth Speakers. The speaker’s 24 hours of playback time means you can enjoy your favorite tunes on the trails all day long.
Oregon Dunes KOA
The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and some areas even offer riding on sand dunes near the bay. The Oregon Dunes KOA campground makes it easy to access some picturesque riding at Coos Bay in the Oregon Dunes Recreational Area. You can do some seasonal whale-watching or even check out nearly lighthouses. You’ll have access to the typical KOA amenities here, and there’s also a small but well-stocked store in the campground that sells basics and local souvenirs to remember your trip.
Ride Royal Blue ATV Resort
For off-road golf cart owners living in the southeast, Royal Blue ATV Resort in the Cumberland Mountains in Northern Tennessee is a huge destination. While this area is more geared toward hardcore ATV riding, with plenty of mud and rock, there are still many places that an off-road golf-cart can be fun to ride without getting in over your head.
With elevations up to 3,350 feet, you’ll be able to catch some beautiful sunsets from the comfort of your golf cart’s seat. There are over 600 miles of trails spanning 200,000 acres of rolling mountain terrain. Two major campgrounds serve the park, with everything from tent sites to RV full-hookup sites to mobile home accommodations for ultimate comfort.We hope you get a chance to check out one of these incredible areas soon! If you head out on the trails using one of our G-Rok speakers on your off-road golf-cart, we’d love to see your ride! Tag us on Our Instagram and let us know which park (or parks) you’re visiting!
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