There aren’t many options for RV parking in (or near) Athens, Alabama. As such, if you come into town for the Bluegrass Festival or the Storytellers Festival, you’ll likely find yourself parking at Northgate RV Park.
We call Athens, Alabama home, so after buying our RV in FL and returning, we needed a place to park while we got set up. Northgate RV Travel Park was that place. Just minutes from our house it was simply convenient.
We called on our way and the gentleman that answered told us it wouldn’t be an issue to get a lot and that as long as we arrived before 5 (when the office closed) we didn’t need a reservation. We made it just before five and were greeted by a lady who didn’t seem quite as pleasant and seemed slightly put off that we didn’t’ have a reservation – even though they had plenty of room.
I explained what I was told and she proceeded to check us in. She did verify that we had a water pressure regulator (and offered to sell us one if we did not) because their pressure runs at 70psi. We already had two water pressure regulators (a nice one we bought and a cheap one we were given by the place we bought our rig), so we didn’t need another.
Over the course of two different stays at Northgate RV Travel Park we generally found personalities held solid. The park is owned by The Calvins, a couple who lives behind the park. He was always friendly, kind, and helpful. She was generally short. Thankfully, we mostly dealt with him.
In talking with him we found that many of those who stay there were locals setting up their rig before heading off on trips. He even said that they’d considered adding in RV storage for this reason.
Northgate RV Travel Park does not encourage long-term stays. There are no amenities and their rate is $30/night (as of Sept 2019) with no discounts for longer stays. It’s not the best value, it’s just convenient.
Pros of Northgate RV Travel Park
Northgate is easily accessible from I65, just off the HWY 31 exit. Be careful if you decide to venture into Athens as the turn into Northgate can be easy to miss (especially in the dark). If you miss your turn you will end up back on I65 and unable to exit for 13 miles. Julie made this mistake once… then she just let Brandon drive.
The Calvins are generally friendly and easy to work with. We needed to get our rig registered before we departed from our second stay. After a visit to the license bureau we discovered that our rig had to be inspected in order to transfer our title from Florida. There was no way our rig would fit in the parking lot so we had to have a police officer come out an do a physical inspection.
Julie called and talked to Mr. Calvin and let them know what was going on and before she could even ask if it was OK to have the police come out, he told her that was what she needed to do. No problem, no worries, no hassles. Just helpful.
You can arrive after hours and do self check-in, by filling out a short form and dropping your payment in the box. You can use this same method to extend your stay (which we did a couple of times). It was convenient.
Cons of Staying at Northgate RV Travel Park
As easy as it is to self check-in or to extend your stay. They only accept cash or checks. This isn’t terribly uncommon with RV parks but it can be a hassle at times, especially if you are staying more than a night or two, or needing to come up with correct change.
There is zero shade at Northgate. The entire park is basically one big field with hook-ups. There are few scrub trees or bushes, but they offer nothing in the way of shade.
We stayed in two spots – C6 and C7. Both of these are at the back of the lot. The upside of this is that they are far enough away from the road that you aren’t bothered by road noise. The downside is that you trade road noise for being awoken by the Roosters well before sunrise.
At site C-7 the sewer hookups are a bit high, making it difficult to get the right angle for flow. We ended up using our leveling blocks to raise our hose up enough to get a decent angle. We did not have this issue at C-6.
There are no amenities at Northgate RV Travel Park. No bathhouse, no laundry, nothing. Just a place to park with full hookups.
- Free Wifi – yes (spotty and weak)
- Pool – yes
- Laundry – yes
- Showers/Bathrooms – yes
- Shaded Lots – yes
- Pull-though Lots – yes
- Cell Service – none
- Overall: ⭐⭐⭐
- Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Amenities: ⭐⭐⭐
- Cleanliness: ⭐⭐⭐
- Quality: ⭐⭐⭐
- Service: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Noise: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐