April 2007

Finding The Ideal Camping/RV Spot

From The Folks At EatStayPlay.Com

Many RVers love staying in campgrounds. Yeah, you get neighbors close by who may or may not understand polite camping. And, you do have to listen to other people, share the bathroom, pay for your spot, and modulate your speed on ATVs in the campground, but we still love them all the same.

Here are some tips to make your next campground camping trip into the best family trip.

Find The Campground That's Best For You

EatStayPlay.com offers the same basic details about every campground so you know what you're getting into before you get there:

  • How many spaces are there?
  • Can I bring my big RV or is it just small rigs? (Or is it tent only?)
  • What about toilets? Trash service? Potable Water?
  • Just how "developed" is the campground?
  • What's the landscape like? Are there big trees or is it wide open with little shade?

And, of course, EatStayPlay.com is always updating its information and adding pictures of the area.

Since conditions often change daily, it is really important to use the contact information at the bottom of each campground page to call the park or forest and get the absolute latest “scoop.” You should also ask your friends for recommendations about what the campground is really like. (And then share that information with us!)

You also need to know what facilities and amenities your family simply has to have. If you really need bathrooms and potable water, you need to scoot around EatStayPlay.com to eliminate campgrounds that just won't work for you! Plus, you can find out about nearby activities and attractions like hiking trails and lakes.

Choosing A Campsite

If you can, drive through several campgrounds before you go on your actual camping trip and then make a list of the sites that you like. Many campgrounds have reservable areas (find out which at EatStayPlay.com) that you can request. If it isn't practical to check out the campground before you go (like driving up the weekend before) then plan to arrive at the campground just after check-out time to get your pick of sites. That way, if you’ve got an assigned or reserved site and don’t care for it, you have time to politely request a transfer.

If you like to spend time IN the campground, then you'll want a level site that gets a good mixture of sun and shade, with some trees, bushes or large rocks for privacy if possible. If you're like us, we just sleep at the campsite and spend the day out and about so we can get by with a less desirable spot.

Don't be afraid to move. Several years ago, we took a campsite at Ashurst Lake Campground need Flagstaff, Ariz. It just wasn't for us since it was dusty, noisy, and had no shade. By driving around, we found Pine Grove Campground, just across the street that had everything we wanted!

Off-Season Camping

We've had several readers write in and tell us that they just can't handle campgrounds since they are so close to their neighbors. However, dispersed camping doesn't offer amenities (like picnic tables or toilets), and sometimes you have to deal with disrespectful neighbors and you don't have a camp host to help you.

Our advice is this: Try camping in the off-season. Some campgrounds allow camping during the winter with no fees and no facilities (like no water, trash, or toilets.) You can also plan you camping trip early in the season when it's still too cold for some folks (and before school lets out for the summer) or in the fall, just before the campgrounds close for the winter.

We've had great luck with nearly empty campgrounds during both time periods!
Go find a campground!