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Do Campgrounds Allow Gas Golf Carts?

do campgrounds allow gas golf carts

Campground visitors today often judge the outdoor-living facilities based on many factors, including the environmental friendliness of the property and operation. Details like whether they allow scooters or golf carts are scrutinized, and even if allowed, do campgrounds allow gas golf carts or scooters?

Many campgrounds in the United States still allow gas golf carts — or any type of golf cart for that matter. However, not all camping facilities. Regulations vary by state and per individual campground.

Overall, the number of campgrounds allowing gas golf carts appears to be declining, for several reasons. Mainly, campgrounds can choose to disallow gas golf carts because they are deemed noisy, or for the liability concerns with storage of gas and oil on a property.

Gas Golf Carts Harm the Environment

A big reason is environmental: internal-combustion engines leave exhaust that smells and negatively impacts air quality. Plus the constant engine revving causes what many campers consider noise pollution. Electric golf courts, on the other hand, are silent except for the sound of their wheels on gravel.

For those involved with RVing, or who are researching to become involved, learning which campgrounds allow or disallow certain types of smaller vehicles can be a vital factor in deciding whether to stop at a certain property — or not.

With today’s gas prices, recreational vehicle buyers or RV renters are very aware of fuel efficiency. The larger the vehicle, the more gas consumed, generally. Because of this, many people choose to go with Class B RVs, or trailer-campers — which means they also might think about how to get around once the RV is settled into a camping space.

That’s where research about campgrounds along the route is imperative, to know what is allowed and disallowed at each facility, before you arrive. That information can be assessed along with your type of RV, to help better plan the route and trip.

Campgrounds and Golf Carts

There is more discussion about campgrounds and use of golf carts, ATVs, scooters and other smaller modes of transportation than one might imagine. Visit any RV enthusiast website or online forum, and the question of whether or not golf carts or ATVs are allowed is bound to surface. Often, they involve gas-versus-electric debates.

Here are some topics to consider if you’re buying an RV, or planning to rent one, for your next vacation or road trip:

Is It Better to Have a Gas or Electric Golf Cart?

This depends on your goals and desires for a golf cart. For saving money and avoiding potential messes with spills, electric golf carts are probably preferred. However, using an e-cart means being limited to locations with charging stations. Some RVers prefer gas carts because of the assumption that they are more powerful, or can move faster.

However, this assumption could be erroneous today, as modern electric golf carts provide plenty of power, and it’s smoothly consistent which does not require revving the engine — which upsets campers due to noise and smoky exhaust fumes.

For camping, electric golf carts are probably the safest bet, if another transportation mode is needed. Of course, taking a motorized RV might eliminate that need entirely.

The Outdoors
The Outdoors

Are Golf Carts Allowed at KOA Campgrounds?

Yes, golf carts are allowed at KOA campgrounds, with some restrictions. If you bring your own golf cart there is a $10 per fee charge. Guests also could rent golf carts for the KOA facilities that make them available. Not allowed are ATVs and “mini bikes.” Road-legal motorcycles are allowed but restricted to only entering and leaving the campground.

They cannot be used during campground “quiet hours” of 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. All noise including from radios and horns, and bright or blinking lights, must be kept at “reasonable levels” during that period each day.

Are Golf Carts Allowed in National Parks?

Golf cart usage in National Parks depends on the rules and regulations of each individual park. Of the 62 National Parks, each could have certain requirements for golf cars including holding a valid driver’s license, that carts are licensed and insured, usage limited to roads with low speed limits posted, no carts on sidewalks or grass areas, or only with a Superintendent’s approval. Some disallow golf carts entirely.

In general golf carts are allowed in certain national parks, and most often you will need to have a driver’s license to operate one in a state park, and have all required safety gear.

Why All the Fuss About Golf Carts While Camping?

Rules and regulations are made by private and government entities due mostly to complaints. For years, gas-powered small vehicles were ignored because, well, there weren’t many alternatives. As electric motors on golf carts (and on scooters and even bicycles) became more affordable, those who preferred them began complaining to campground ownership about the gas engine noise, odors, and pollution.

Government regulators took notice, too, especially when golf cart owners treated them like ATVs and began revving gas motors to transverse adjacent or nearby hills and open spaces, tearing up the flora and fauna as they went along. The potential for environmental damage is a major reason why golf carts are forbidden at some national and state parks.

For private campgrounds, liability can be a major concern. If they do allow golf carts, they may require proof that the golf cart is adequately insured.

Final Thoughts

Campgrounds across America still allow gas golf carts, petrol-fueled scooters and other small transport vehicles that depend on fossil fuels. However many do not, including a good number of national and state parks. For the RVing public, it’s wise to research ahead of your trip, if you intend to bring along and use a golf cart or other motorized small vehicle.

This is vital for those who own non-motorized RVs or trailer-based recreational vehicles, as they tend to rely more on small transport vehicles once they set up their RV at a campground. Those with motorized RVs have an advantage in this respect, as their RV has a built-in engine and the vehicle itself can be used for trips to nearby locales.

As the nation continues to place emphasis on protecting the environment and combating climate change, bans on gas golf carts or other vehicles using internal-combustion engines are more likely.

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