How to Choose a Campsite: Ultimate Guide

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We all want to go on a camping trip and enjoy the outdoors, but we often don’t know where to start. There are so many different types of campgrounds out there that it can be hard for people who have never been camping before to figure out which one is best for them. In this blog post, we will teach you how to choose a campsite and answer some questions about what you need in order to find the perfect spot

Decide What You Want Before You Start

  • If you are camping with children, it’s important to find a campsite that is kid-friendly. This means having activities for them and rules about staying safe near the water. It may also be helpful if there are bathrooms close by or if your campsite has a shower.
  • If you are camping with an RV, it’s important to find one that is big enough for the size of your vehicle and includes hookups like sewer and electric outlets. It might also be helpful to get WIFI access while you’re out in nature so that you can upload all those pictures from your trip.
  • If you are camping with your pet, look for places that allow them and don’t have a weight limit. Also, make sure to bring along any of their food or medicine in case they get sick while on the trip.

The best way to figure out what you need is by going through this list and seeing which ones apply to you. Once you have decided what your priorities are, it will be much easier to make a decision.

Decide Where You Want To Go

There are so many different places that people can go camping that it’s hard for someone who has never been before to figure out where they want to start. Here is an example of some things you might consider.

  • Camping in Your Backyard: If you don’t want to go too far and just want a quick trip close to home, then camping in your own backyard is the perfect option. This will give you the chance to get used to everything before going on a bigger trip.
  • Camping Near a City: If you are looking for something more modern, then camping near the city is always an option. This will allow you to enjoy the outdoors, but still have access to restaurants and bars if that’s what you’re looking for.
  • Traveling Across Country: If you want to get out and explore, then camping across the country is a great option that will let you see places like Yellowstone National Park or the Grand Canyon while still having access to some modern amenities in cities along the way.
  • Camping in the Mountains: This is another popular choice for people who are new to camping. This will allow you to see some of the most beautiful parts of nature and give you a taste of what camping is like.

The type of campsite you choose will just come down to personal preference. The major things that will factor in are the amenities they provide and how far away from a city or town you are. If you want to experience the great outdoors, but still have access to some modern amenities while you are out there, then camping near the city might be your best option.

Facilities

There are many different facilities that you might find in campgrounds. Here is a list of the most common ones and what they will typically include.

  • RV Sites: These are probably the best option if you have an RV. They will include hookups for sewer, electric, and sometimes WIFI. In addition, they will have a picnic table and maybe even a fire ring.
  • Showers: Most campgrounds will have showers available for visitors, but some may require a small fee depending on how nice they are. This is another thing to ask before you get there since it may allow you or your family to save some money on water if they are close by.
  • Bathrooms: There will also be bathrooms available in most campgrounds, but the quality of them may vary. Some will be more modern and clean, while others might not have any facilities at all. The best way to figure out what you can expect is by asking on the phone or doing some research before going into a campground.
  • Beach Access: Some campgrounds will also have access to the beach which is a great option if you are looking for something different.
  • Laundry Facilities: If you have kids, then you will be doing a ton of laundry so having access to some type of facility is always helpful.
  • Bars/Restaurants: This varies depending on the size of the campground, but there are some that have bars and restaurants on-site. This can be a great option if you don’t want to cook, but it can also be a little pricey.

Decide What You Want To Do When You Get There

There will be plenty that goes into planning a camping trip before you even get there. Before deciding on the type of campsite or where it is located, you need to decide what activities you want to do when camping.

Camping is a great way for people who have never been before, but if they don’t know what to do, they might get bored. If you are going with kids or pets, make sure that there is something for them to do. If you are going with friends, make sure that there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Safety and Privacy

You will want to make sure that you are choosing a campsite that is safe and has good privacy. This will help the whole family relax while you are out there and make the whole experience better.

How to Find a Campsite

There are many ways to find a campsite. The first step is always figuring out how long of a trip you want to go on, then you need to figure out how many people are going and what type of amenities you want. With this information, it will be much easier to find the perfect campsite.

One of the most common ways to find a campsite is by asking around or doing some research online. Ask friends, family, and co-workers if they have any recommendations for places to go. There are also many websites that include reviews from other campers who will let you know what to expect. All of this information can be a great way for you to narrow down your choices and decide which one is the best fit for you and your group.

Be sure to ask as many questions as possible when looking for a campsite, such as what amenities they offer, how far it is from a town, and what type of facilities they have. The more you know ahead of time, the easier your trip will be.

These are some of the most common questions you can ask when looking for a campsite.

  • What amenities do they provide? (RV Sites, Bathrooms, Showers)
  • How far is it from civilization? (Towns/Cities)
  • What are the facilities like? (Bathrooms, Laundry Facilities, Beach Access)
  • Are there any activities on-site or nearby? (Bars/Restaurants, Swimming Pools)
  • What type of wildlife is in the area? (Bears might not be ideal if you are camping with kids)
  • Do they allow pets? (If you need to bring them along, make sure that your campsite allows them)
  • How much does it cost? (Some campsites charge by the night while others will be more expensive for additional amenities like showers, bars, or restaurants)

How to Book a Campsite

Once you have found the perfect campsite, it is time to book your trip. If you are going on a weekend or holiday, it is best to book your trip as soon as possible. There have been times where there were plenty of campsites to choose from, but by the time I went back a couple of days later, they were all booked.

It is best to book your trip at least a month in advance. If you are planning on going during the summer or on a weekend, then it is best to book your trip as soon as possible. If you are planning your trip during the weekday, then there is a better chance of finding spots available closer to your trip.

It is always a good idea to check out several campsites before making your final decision. Different websites will have different information on their campsites, and some might not include the amenities that you are looking for. It is also a good idea to ask around if people have had any good experiences with a specific campsite. Doing this will help you to narrow down your choices and make the decision much easier.

Once you have made your choice, it is time to book your reservation. If you are paying by check or cash, then the easiest way would be to send in a check with your reservation information. If you are paying by credit card, then the easiest way would be to call or email them directly and make a payment over the phone.

Places to Avoid

  • Depressions & Gullies: If possible, avoid camping in these areas. Although they may look like the perfect place to set up your tent because of their level surface area, it is best not to camp here. There is a high likelihood of rain and flooding in areas like these.
  • Camping on Hilltops: Although camping at the top of a hill might seem like an ideal place because it provides great views, there is one major problem with it. This area is most likely to be affected by strong winds, so it’s best not to camp up there for this reason alone
  • Old Trees: avoid campsites near trees that are dead or dying. These may be susceptible to falling over during a storm.
  • Valley Floors:  If you’re camping in a valley, it’s best to avoid setting up your tent on the floor of that valley. This area tends to flood more often than anywhere else, so it’s best to stay away from this area.
  • Sandy Areas: Sand will get into everything while you’re camping and it’s not worth the trouble. It’s not comfortable to sleep on, it can ruin any electronic devices you have with you by getting inside of them, and if there is a storm while you’re camping here, your tent could be destroyed
  • Rocky Areas: Avoid camping in places where there are rocks or gravel. These areas can be uncomfortable to sleep on and they might destroy the bottom of your tent
  • Camping near Water: It’s best to avoid camping as close as possible to any water source. In some cases, it might be better not even to camp within a certain distance from one because there is the possibility wild animals may appear during the night(see Bears in Health & Safety)

FAQ

Q. Can I camp anywhere?

A. There are a few restrictions when it comes to camping in the state/national parks and another public land, but for the most part, it is possible to camp anywhere you want provided nobody has already reserved that spot.

Q. How much does it cost?

A. The cost of camping depends on the area you are planning to camp at, but it usually ranges anywhere from $0 -$50 per night.

Q. How do I make a reservation?

A. It all depends on the campsite you are planning to go to, but for the most part, you can make a reservation by calling or emailing them directly.

Q. Do I have to pay extra fees?

A. If you’re planning on bringing your car along with you, then it’s possible that there might be an extra fee for parking.

Q. What is the best season to go camping?

A. Spring and summer are typically the most popular seasons when people decide to go camping but if weather permits, fall, and winter can also make for a great camping trip.

Q. What’s the best time to check in/check out?

A. It usually doesn’t really matter what time you decide to show up because there will be staff on-site 24 hours a day, but it is always better if you can arrive during daylight and try your best not to leave after dark because it is more dangerous to drive at night and harder to set-up your tent.

Q. How do I protect my food?

A. There are a few ways you can go about protecting your food from wild animals while you’re camping and the first one would be to store them in bear safe containers that lock because these should keep even the hungriest of bears away from anything that smells like food.

Q. How do I prevent animals from getting close to me?

A. It is almost impossible for any wild animal, including bears and snakes, to get through a strong tent so if you’re camping in an area where it’s possible that there might be dangerous animals around, then this would be your best option for keeping them away.

Q. Can I bring my dog or cat with me?

A. Most campsites allow pets as long as they are leashed and you can never be too sure of what might happen so it is always better to keep your pet on a leash just in case.

Q. Should I bring bug spray?

A. Yes, you should always keep some bug spray with you while camping because it is necessary for your health and safety(see Bugs in Health & Safety).

Q. How can I prevent bugs from getting into my tent?

A. Keep all zippers closed at all times to prevent any bugs from getting inside of your tent.

Q. What happens if something goes wrong?

A. If you’re camping on a campsite, then they will have someone available 24 hours a day that can help with first aid or other medical emergencies but it is always better to be prepared by bringing some basic first-aid items just in case.

Q. What happens if I get lost?

A. If you are camping somewhere where there aren’t any trails or landmarks, then it will be very difficult to find your way back without a compass so make sure you always know which direction is north before setting out on any hikes and bring some sort of device that can tell you the time and direction so you can use the sun as a guide.

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