Picking the right campsite can end up making or breaking your trip.
Being stuck in the wrong spot may have an adverse impact on your experience, and you may end up lacking access to certain amenities that you planned the trip for. I will cover the main things to consider when looking for a campsite in order of priority, as well as how to make an informed choice based on the preparations you have already made.
When you want to pick the perfect camp spot, you need to take a lot of things into consideration – the amenities offered on the site and in the park, the gear you are planning to bring, your expectations for the trip, and, of course, the size or type of your group and camper or tent(s). For example, you certainly do not want to end up at one of the busiest campsites while wanting to experience a more secluded and calm vacation. Another thing that few people consider is wildlife encounters – if you wish to experience true wildlife, then you will certainly need to go with the spots where hunting is limited or restricted. But we will talk more about this later on in this post. So, let’s start with the first thing to check out when looking to pick the perfect camp spot.
Amenities: Do the Features of the Site Meet Your Needs?
The common amenities that people look for when going through potential campsites are several, but there are two main ones that you certainly need to consider – water and power. On top of these two, some campsites also have a sewer, which you can easily connect your RV to if you need it. The campsites that have all three of these amenities are commonly referred to as ‘full hookups,’ but you should keep in mind that sewage is not as common at public parks, whereas private RV parks almost always offer full hookups. Partial hookups (power and water) are very common at most campgrounds.
Keep in mind that seeing that electricity and water hookups are available does not mean that they will be present in every spot. Some campsites, for example, have common water sources every two or three spots, and you have to haul water to your site. Don’t let that ruin your trip, but you should be prepared for this minor inconvenience in the case you don’t have water at your site.
Other amenities that are less important but you may still want to consider are parking spots, for example. In addition to this, you might want to go with campsites that have concrete or asphalt pads in case it has been rainy recently, and you are worried about being stuck in the mud. Overall, make yourself familiar with the amenities campsites offer and make sure to prepare your gear according to the features you will get access to.
Size: Will Your Rig Fit?
The type of parking and camping spots available may vary in size, so you want to find one that suits your needs. You can pretty much ignore this whole thing if you plan to camp in a tent since you will simply need a parking spot for your car, and this should be easy to find. However, if you are using a massive RV, then you should certainly consider length when trying to pick the perfect camp spot. Of course, larger-sized spots are always preferred, so you will have plenty of space to set up everything you need, and you may even require a pull-through spot, which will severely limit your options.
Proximity: Activities and Park Features
Typically, people who go camping do plan to enjoy other activities as well. So, you should consider picking a camping spot that meets your needs in this department. For example, having a hiking or biking trail nearby can be a great way to spend a few hours in nature, especially if you go as a group. Another thing that people often neglect is the availability of a waterfront nearby – there is no way to make your camping trip better than to spend some time at a nearby lake or river. If you’ve never been to the campground you’re looking at, Google Maps satellite view can help you figure out which spots actually have waterfront access.
Of course, try to be proactive when you have such amenities at your disposal. Is there a biking trail nearby? Then packing your bikes, or even renting some can make for a great camping trip.
Showers and bathrooms are other things that you may want to have nearby, especially if you are camping with children – parents of little ones certainly know little time they have to get a bathroom once their kid says they need to go. Of course, these are not the top priority if you are coming with a camping rig that has a restroom.
Another thing that parents may want to consider are playgrounds. Keeping the little ones occupied at all times can be a daunting task, so having a playground nearby is a guaranteed way to keep them occupied while you spend some time with friends, relatives, or your significant other. If you have small children and can get a spot right next to a playground, I’m telling you that it will totally make your trip.
Terrain, Scenery and Wildlife
You do not want to spend all the time at the camping spot, and you will want to move around a bit. Ideally, you should have to picnic and relaxation spots that offer a different type of experience – some are more public, while others a tad more secluded and hidden. In both cases, you certainly would want to check for relaxation spots that are in the shade since spending hours under the sun is unlikely to be a great experience.
As we mentioned earlier, wildlife is also a thing to take into consideration. Spots where pursuing game is restricted, are likely to expose you to wildlife that is more docile and easier to observe. It goes without saying that you should prioritize the woodier spots as they are perfect when it comes to terrain and wildlife. If you aren’t a fan of wildlife though, you also want to take this into consideration and find a spot that has plenty of clearance around you so you can avoid critters such as racoons and snakes.
Is it Suitable for Group Camping?
To pick the perfect camp spot, you must know whether you will go on the trip as a large group. If this is the case, then you should look for camping spots that are suitable for larger groups of people. Ideally, you should have several small spots clustered together, or some campgrounds even offer dedicated group camping areas. These offer ideal conditions for groups as everyone can set up camp and then enjoy activities together.