Methods to Select the Proper Campground for You

The campground you select—even the campsite—has the potential to make or break your automobile tenting expertise. If you happen to’re a novice camper, listed here are some pointers for the way to decide on a campground that may fit your wants and wishes.

Car Camping: How to Choose the Right Campground

Public or Non-public

Of the numerous 1000’s of campgrounds accessible within the U.S., they are often divided into two primary classes: private and non-private.

Public campgrounds are these run by nationwide, state, regional or county governments and paid for by your tax {dollars}. A few of the greatest, most lovely campgrounds in our nation are public campgrounds.

Non-public campgrounds are small companies, most of them household companies. There are additionally many, many very lovely campgrounds which are run privately. Usually located close to key vacationer locations, personal campgrounds is usually a good various when close by public campgrounds are already booked.

Listed here are some basic distinctions between them:

  • Public campgrounds are likely to price lower than personal.
  • Non-public campgrounds are likely to have extra facilities than public.
  • Public campgrounds are usually immersed in a few of our greatest public lands, with spectacular surroundings…nevertheless, a few of these campgrounds additionally are likely to refill so rapidly that it may be practically not possible to discover a website. Typically it’s potential to order a website forward of time, however many are first-come, first-served.
  • Non-public campgrounds, virtually with out exception, enable for reservations. If you happen to’re touring any distance, you already know you’ll have a spot to pitch your tent for the night time.

A Campground’s “Character”

Campground environments or personalities differ. What sort of setting are you on the lookout for in a campground? Would you wish to be in a distant space with no site visitors noise, no cell service and few folks? Do you favor much less distant with extra comforts, however nonetheless loads of peace and quiet? Or do you want being the place the motion is, and the place you may drive simply to native sights?

Our household has stayed in public campgrounds the place your entire campground is useless silent on the stroke of 10 PM, when quiet hours start. And we’ve stayed at public campgrounds the place some teams are up laughing and speaking properly into the wee hours.

Non-public campgrounds that host most of the similar households yr after yr could have a special ambiance than large nationwide park campgrounds that see thousands and thousands of individuals come by.

We’ve discovered to look on our map app to see what’s surrounding a campground. Is it close to a busy freeway? Practice tracks? We didn’t do that as soon as and located ourselves between an Interstate freeway and a trucking firm—with semi-trailers driving out and in all night time lengthy!

One of the best ways to seek out out what particular person campgrounds are like is thru on-line journey assessment websites like Journey Advisor, RV Life and Journey Savvy. When you’ve settled on a handful of potentialities, do a web based seek for “[name of the campground] evaluations” and also you’re more likely to discover some assist from different campers.

OARS American River Outpost has campground amenities like camp games

Campground Facilities

What conveniences are necessary for you whenever you’re automobile tenting?

  • Vault latrines or indoor plumbing (a vault latrine is one other title for outhouse)?
  • Scorching showers? Non-public campgrounds could have showers, public could or could not.
  • Camp retailer for simple entry to ice, snacks, forgotten gear and merch?
  • Laundry services, wi-fi entry, cell service, electrical energy?

The on-site actions accessible on the campground, or close by, are one other necessary consideration.

When you’ve got younger children, you may want a seaside or pool for swimming, a playground, camp video games or sporting areas. When you’ve got a canine it could possibly be an off-leash canine park.

Possibly you need easy accessibility to out of doors recreation: mountaineering trails, bike trails or paddling alternatives. Some campgrounds have direct entry to those, others could also be a brief drive away. Nonetheless others could not have them accessible close by.

Selecting Your Campsite

In lots of campgrounds you may reserve a selected campsite.

Virtually all campground web sites could have a web based map of the campground that features the numbered websites, the place the latrines/bogs/showers are, water spigots, campground workplace, pool, and so on. Some web sites will even present you a photograph of every campsite with a little bit of description, which is so useful.

Once you select your website, take into consideration what you’d wish to be near or not near. Quieter websites are often on the outskirts of the campground. Or possibly you’d wish to be as near the bogs and workplace as you may.

We selected one explicit campsite within the Bighorn mountains as a result of we may see from the photograph and the map that it backed as much as a big meadow. Certain sufficient, we had been rewarded with a stunning, unobstructed view of the mountains, and will see moose meandering by the meadow.

Camping at OARS American River Outpost private campground

Variety of Folks, Tents and Autos Allowed

Virtually each campground limits the variety of folks, tents and automobiles at their campsites. It’s frequent to see a restrict of six folks per website. (In case your nuclear household has greater than that and all of your children are beneath 18, test with the campground. It’s seemingly they’ll allow you to take only one website.)

Some campgrounds restrict automobiles to 1 per website, however have a basic parking space for overflow. Others enable two automobiles. Most campgrounds enable as much as two tents per website, however typically not more than that. Take into accout, many websites can also’t accomodate greater than two tents.

Make sure to test these limits earlier than you reserve your campsite.

Pet Coverage

If you happen to can’t think about leaving residence with out your canine, you’ll wish to make sure you examine every potential campground’s pet coverage. These insurance policies differ, and also you don’t need any surprises when you get there.

Remember that whereas most nationwide parks will enable your canine at your campsite, leashed always, your 4-footed pal won’t be allowed on most of the hottest mountaineering trails. Neither will it’s allowed unattended at your campsite.

Most campgrounds with swimming seashores will ask you to not carry your canine alongside to the seaside.

You’ll must determine whether or not it’s higher to carry your pet alongside and be extra restricted in your actions, or to go away it residence with a trusted buddy or kennel.

Be aware of campfire restrictions when car camping


Sitting across the campfire within the night roasting marshmallows and searching on the night time sky is a favourite exercise for nearly each camper, nevertheless it’s necessary to know native guidelines and rules earlier than you go.

  • In some areas, there will likely be a campfire ban as a result of dry situations and the hazard of forest fires.
  • If you happen to’re allowed to have a campfire, maintain it small, solely throughout the fireplace circle, and managed always. Earlier than you go to mattress, let it burn out, then dump a great deal of water over it. Greater than you assume mandatory. Forest fires have began by seemingly useless campfires and the correct wind.
  • It’s in opposition to many states’ legal guidelines to carry firewood throughout state traces and even throughout county traces. That is within the effort to regulate the unfold of pests. Plan to purchase your firewood within the campground.
  • If you happen to dream of cooking over a campfire, know forward of time it requires time and endurance…and dry situations (however not dry sufficient for a fireplace ban!). It’s alway a good suggestion to carry a camp range as a backup.

If you happen to can’t think about a tenting journey with out the campfire expertise, be certain you select a campground and space that permits it. Areas of the nation that are likely to dry out throughout the summer time—just like the West—will typically have campfire bans the additional into the summer time it will get. So head elsewhere or go early within the season.


Even for those who like to be spontaneous, if you would like a sure campground for a sure timeframe, your greatest guess could also be to make reservations, if potential. Particularly if it’s a vacation weekend or a well-liked campground.

All personal campgrounds provide reservations, typically as much as a yr forward. Many public campgrounds have a mixture of reservable and non-reservable websites, although some are first-come, first-served solely.

Earlier than you reserve a campsite, test into that campground’s cancellation coverage so there aren’t any surprises. More often than not you’ll have to put down no less than the primary night time’s campsite charge to carry your reservation, plus a web based reservation charge. It could or will not be refundable for those who cancel your plans, relying on the campground.

If you happen to discover it not possible to get a reservation at your dream campground, take into account transferring your journey to one of many “shoulder” seasons, moderately than its prime season. Well-liked campgrounds are busiest throughout faculty holidays, weekend holidays and weekends generally.

Selecting the best campground for automobile tenting in the end comes down to non-public choice. If you happen to’re on the lookout for a bit extra solitude, or able to transcend tenting at public or personal campgrounds, you is perhaps all for dispersed tenting.

Final Information to Automotive Tenting


Photograph credit: Automotive tenting photograph by Paul Chambers/Unsplash; Big chess and campsite at OARS American River Outpost – James Kaiser; Campfire circle close to lake – Cari Morgan



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *