Tips and Resources for Finding the Perfect Campground and the Ideal Campsite

09Feb
Tips and Resources for Finding the Perfect Campground and the Ideal Campsite

Cherry Hill RV Park

After researching, visiting, and reviewing hundreds of campgrounds over the last 6 years, we strongly believe that there is no perfect campground.

One size definitely does not fit all. One person’s idea of camping nirvana might drive another RV enthusiast batty. Some folks like rustic. Some like amenities. Certain campers crave privacy and isolation. Others look for a great location in the middle of the action.

There is no perfect campground.

However, there is a perfect campground for you…with an individualized set of characteristics that will get your camp mojo humming. The key to finding RV bliss is knowing what look for and how to find it.

beach camping

Another key to being a happy camper is flexibility. If you are dying to visit a certain location or destination, then you want to find the best campground option in that place. It might not always be your Platonic campground ideal, but if that gets you bent out of shape, then you best stay home because you are going to experience a lot of disappointment.

Resources: Finding the Perfect Campground

Quechee Pine Valley KOA

Suggested Questions: Finding the Perfect Campsite

(Terrible campgrounds have great sites, and great campgrounds have terrible sites)

  • What hookups am I looking for? Am I willing to sacrifice full hook ups to be waterfront?
  • Do I want a Pull Thru or Back In? A pull thru is more convenient, while a back in site is often more private.
  • Do I want to be close or far away from the playground, pool, bathhouses, etc. Look closely at a campground map before booking your site.
  • Will certain sites have more road noise?
  • What is the traffic pattern through the campground? What sites will be far away from entering/exiting vehicles.
  • Do I want shade or sun? Use Google Maps on Satellite views to check out tree coverage.
  • Do I want to be waterfront, or will this cause stress with my children?

Cherokee KOA

Now, drumroll please. Our Number One tip for booking the perfect campsite at the perfect campground is to NEVER use online booking unless absolutely necessary. Even in the case of national and state park campgrounds, where online booking may be required, we recommend calling in advance of the reservation window and discussing the campground and campsites with a ranger.

Grayton Beach State Park

 

Now it’s your turn! What are your favorite resources to use when making your campground reservations? Share them in the comments below…

 

12 Comments

  1. Inn Town Campgroud

    I have to tell you that your number one tip scares me… because now you’ve just made me rethink the number of people we have answering the telephone. But loved all your other tips, we have also booked the wrong site at the right campground.

    Reply
    • RVFamilyTravelAtlas

      Our advice definitely does not fall in line with campground industry movements, but we stick by it! You probably won’t have to increase reception staff though because most people are so uncomfortable making phone calls these days that they just won’t follow our advice. But don’t worry, Erin…when we visit the Inn Town Campground for the first time, we will call ahead!

      Reply
  2. Karenmk528

    Great episode….I follow a lot of the tips you gave. I do use google earth and study the sites with shade and trees. We tend to like the shaded ones! Some of the state parks that use Reserve America online (sorry no choice when you book a state park) have small photos of the camp sites. Also I will google the campground and campsite and look at the images tab, sometimes you can find peoples photos that they took of the campsites.

    Keep up the good work and congrats on Millie! I am sure she will be loved!

    Karen

    Reply
  3. DeanCHS1980

    Hi Stephanie and Jeremy,

    As you know, I am a huge RVFTA podcast (network) fan, so I want to be careful with the following statement. I think that RVFTA Podcast #74, Booking the Perfect Campground, was one of my favorite episodes ever!!! Of course, the two of you were wonderful (as usual), but this episode was so full of useful and practical information. I usually listen to RVFTA Network episodes in the morning while getting ready for work. It took me extra time to get ready for work because I was taking copious notes! Hmm, I notice that you did all the work for me in your blog entry above.

    Great job with this episode!

    Dean

    Reply
  4. #why_we_rv

    Great tips, however you left out the best resource for finding National Parks, Corp of Engineers Parks, etc. We use the website recreation.gov for almost all of our reservations where a federal campground is available. I also use Google earth to look over the campground (unless it is too wooded) to see how the site is positioned and nearness to neighbors. As seniors, we also love our interagency passport. It gets us 1/2 off most campgrounds, and that is a wonderful gift!

    #why_we_rv

    Reply
    • RVFamilyTravelAtlas

      Good resource add!

      Reply
  5. lindsaycarr

    We booked two cabins online once, received a confirmation number but never a detailed email about checkin, etc. Worried I called the campground and they said “Yes, we have you booked for the weekend.” To which I had to reply, “Sorry, we’re showing up Wednesday.” Something somewhere got messed up. I had gone online weeks after booking for Wednesday to check the weekend rates because someone in our party was having a hard time getting off work but never submitted a reservation change or logged in or anything. I never received another email reflecting a change in my reservations. It was nerve-racking and stressful but the lovely woman I called worked very hard for hours to get us in our cabins. For that I am grateful and both families had a great time! I was adverse to calling to make reservations but now I am a believer.

    Reply
    • RVFamilyTravelAtlas

      You often do get a feel for the campground by talking with the office staff. I’m so glad they were able to fix the reservation mix up!

      Reply
  6. lindsaycarr

    p.s. I was very excited to hear you discuss the Lance truck camper. I’ve been looking into them as a small option for me to take out with my young kids during the summer when daddy is working and we’re getting cabin fever.

    Reply
    • RVFamilyTravelAtlas

      We would love one, but that option will probably have to wait a bit unfortunately…

      Reply
  7. Mark

    Thanks for your inclusion of Campgroundviews.com; we are not just specific to RV sites in fact we have the most robust database of campgrounds available.

    In regard to your recommendations on how to get the perfect campsite… they are spot on! After 7 years of full-time living we have never (seriously never) made an online reservation. We always call and it is truly amazing how many campgrounds/ RV parks either 1 don’t answer the phone or 2. answer very rudely when they do pick up.

    The example I like to share is our trip to Yellowstone last summer. Everyone says make reservations in advance if you are staying over holiday weekends. Well we took the truck in to the park to tent camp, no reservations and literally had our pick of sites at every single campground in the place. We only make reservations when we absolutely have to and even then we wait until a few weeks in advance to do it.

    Reply
  8. Steele Honda

    I like that you said that there is no perfect campground, but there is a perfect campground for you. My husband and I are trying to find the right RV park for our next camping adventure so that we can be prepared ahead of time. I think that researching RV parks and finding one that worked well for us would be great because then we could keep going back to it and know that it was going to be fun every time.

    Reply

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