When you have so many choices to pick from, how do you know that a campground is right for you? Take a look at our list of considerations to help you plan your next camping adventure.
Camp Site Options
One of the first aspects to look at when choosing a campground is to determine what camp site amenities you want. When RV camping, sites can range from completely primitive to including full-hookups. If you are planning an extended trip, full-hookups are usually preferable, allowing you access to power, water and sewer. If you are interested in a more remote locale, primitive camping may be all that's available. For tent camping, consider the ground cover that you will be camping on (a manicured lawn is most comfortable). Make sure the camp sites are dry and reliably flat, as you do not want puddles forming under the tent if it rains and flat ground is usually much more comfortable than sleeping on loads. Make sure you know what restroom facilities are available as well, as these can range from porta-potties, to pit toilets, to full bathrooms with sinks and showers. Some tent sites may have other offers, such as electrical outlets for charging equipment or small shelters for storing goods. If you're looking for a little more luxury, some campgrounds have cabins available for rent with a varying degree of furnishings.
Regardless of the mode in which you are camping, there are other aspects to a camp site. Examine the types of cooking options available at each campground. Find out if the camp site has a fire pit, and if not, whether you are allowed to have campfires. Some campgrounds will have charcoal grills available at each site, while others may have first-come, first-serve gas grills for camper use. Take a look at the amount of space each site gives you, some campgrounds will pack people together like sardines with little room to spread out. If you're camping with a group, take a look at the options they have for group camping. Some campgrounds will have set-aside areas specifically for groups camping together.
Along with the camp site amenities, you have to look at the whole campground. Amenities can vary a lot among campgrounds. Some campgrounds may simply be a group of sites with no other amenities. Others will have swimming pools and hot tubs (which are great after a long day of hiking), restaurants, game rooms and lounges, general stores for purchasing supplies, and laundry facilities. Some campgrounds will also have recreational equipment available for rental such as bicycles and sports equipment.
Location and Attractions
So, before you pick your campground, you have to think about what you want to do while you're camping. Determine the type of area you want to camp at: a beach or lake, the forest, the desert, the mountains. The type of area you camp in can have a lot of impact on the activities available in that area. Maybe you are looking to camp near a specific attraction, like a national park or landmark or an amusement park. On the other hand, maybe you just want to sit back and relax and enjoy nature. Then you might want to look for a more remote locale, away from tourist attractions.
Take a look at the campground's rules and regulations to give you an idea of the 'feel' of the campground. Some campgrounds have quiet hours that are great for campers who want to get a good nights rest, but not so good for those that want to spend a late night singing and joking around the campfire. The size and popularity of your campground can have a lot to do with the environment as well, so choose wisely. A small campground could mean more isolation and less disruptions, or if it's a popular campground, being crammed in closer to other people. A large campground could mean campsites that are more spread apart, or large crowds.
An important aspect for when you are camping with kids is the activities are offered right there at the campground. Some locations will offer activities such as nature talks, guided hikes, arts & crafts, movie nights, or junior ranger programs. These can be great pastimes that do not require you to travel and can potentially grab you a few hours away from the kids.
With just a little bit of research you can ensure that your next camping trip is near the attractions you want, has the amenities and fun you need, encompasses the environment that suits your mood, and guarantees you an overall great vacation.