Find An RV Campground
Summer is here and RVers everywhere are looking forward to hitting the road. The excitement is in full bloom as children are now out of school, the weather is warming, and everyone is gearing up for some fun and relaxation. It’s time to pack up the RV and plan that vacation you’ve been waiting on!
A good campground experience can help make your RV vacation a truly memorable one but picking out a campground can be more daunting than it sounds—there are so many choices, yet not all campgrounds are created equal. While there is no perfect campground, there is a perfect campground for your family, if you know what to look for and how to find it. Here are five steps to help you develop your own perfect RV campground plan.
Guest Post by Robin Buck
1. Know the Setting
Your travel destination is just the start when you’re trip planning. Once you know where you are heading and your vacation goals, you should consider what kind of campground setting you prefer. When we visited Nashville, we picked a campground in the city so we could be close to many tourist attractions. It was nice to have only a short drive to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry, and many great restaurants and shops. For our goal of sightseeing and exploring the city, a more urban campground fit the bill.
On other trips we’ve picked a campground with a more natural setting because we wanted to hike sand dunes, bike along a historic trail and kayak along a peaceful river. We enjoyed the tranquility and relaxed pace of the more rustic area, which fit our plan to slow down and spend time together. Your interests will help you decide which type of setting is best for each location.
2. Pick the Experience
It’s important to decide what sort of experience you want during your RV trip. Commercial campgrounds, those that are individually owned or part of a larger campground network, usually have better amenities and offer a more full-service experience. You can stay busy and make new friends as you enjoy the tennis courts, swimming pools, game rooms, and scheduled activities at many of these locations.
On the other hand, public campgrounds like those at national and state parks, tend to be farther away from civilization. There are less crowds and offer more options for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and nature walks right out your front door. As a trade-off for more privacy, though, many of these sites also usually have fewer services like electrical hookups, showers, or Wi-Fi access and are often geared for smaller-sized RVs or vans.
3. Find An RV Campground When You Prioritize the Amenities
Once you’ve decided on the type of campground setting and experience, you can use amenities as a way to differentiate between the available choices. You can find places with as many or as few services as you want—just keep in mind that the more a campground offers, the more they typically charge. Here is a list of the most common amenities for you to prioritize, considering what your recreation vehicle requires and who is along on the trip:
Camp sites: Pull-thru sites, big-rig access, back-in sites, electric (30 or 50-amp), water, sewer, campfires, shade trees, picnic table, and gravel/concrete/grass surface.
Services: Wi-Fi, cable tv, restrooms, showers, laundry, camp store, and meeting rooms.
Other: Playground, pet area, pool, tennis, pickleball, shuffleboard, boat launch, rec hall, exercise room, fishing pond, hot tub, mini golf, walking trails, and planned activities.
Because we have a large Class A motorhome, our #1 needs are a level pull-thru site, water, sewer, and 50-amp electric hookups. We typically don’t use as many of the campground services and activities because we spend more time out exploring or sightseeing in the area. As you look at the list, decide which items are “must-haves” and which are “nice-to-haves” to help you prioritize your own personal list based on your family’s ideal camping experience.
4. Do the Research And Find An RV Campground
Now that you know what you are looking for in a campground, it’s time to find the one that is perfect for you. Luckily, there are many resources out there to help in your search. Websites like Campendium, Good Sam, and RV Parky are free and allow you to filter results based on the location and your desires. You can see all the amenities, view prices, and look at pictures of each campground. I especially like to read reviews of the campground to get other campers’ perspectives. Looking at the satellite view on Google maps helps to get an overview of both the campground and surrounding area.
For campgrounds that look promising, click on the link to their actual website. From there you can view a map of the park to see individual site locations. Many websites also offer information on getting there and local attractions, as well as listing their policies and reservation phone numbers. Check for any available discounts you might qualify for such as membership in Good Sam, Escapees, AAA, or military as well as reduced rates for staying a week or a month.
5. Make the Reservation
After you have selected a few campground options that fit your needs and budget, call to see if your desired dates are available. While many campgrounds let you book online, I like to call and get personal site recommendations when possible. The people who work there are usually very helpful and can answer questions based on your specific RV and preferences.
If the dates work, book your reservation right then to save your spot. I also like to make sure I get an email confirmation for our records. Some extremely popular destinations book up far in advance, regardless of the time of year. Places like Disney World and Yellowstone National Park are two examples that need to be planned as far ahead as possible. Once you’ve made your reservation, you are all set and can look forward to that vacation you’ve been waiting for.
Find An RV Campground Near A Lake
Whether you are a summer camper or a full-time Rver, having an established set of criteria will help you find your perfect campground. A park that is a great fit for one family might not fulfill the requirements of another. One size definitely does not fit all here, so defining your needs and wants can make this important decision go more smoothly and avoid disappointment. Follow these five easy steps to personalize each trip and you’ll be cherishing those RV travel memories for years to come.
Robin and her husband, Mike, are Air Force veterans and empty nesters who travel full-time in their Entegra Anthem motorhome. Always ready to explore, they love nature and wildlife, meeting new friends, and discovering America’s many hidden gems. Robin chronicles their adventures and experiences on her travel blog RVing with Robin.