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Choosing a Campground: How to find a Good One in 5 Minutes

| Updated Jun 20, 2023

Choosing a Campground can be a real challenge. But we can help you find a good one in 5 minutes if you follow these suggestions

Hitting the open road an RV is one of the best ways to travel nowadays. However, if you are not a seasoned camper, RV parks and campgrounds around the U.S. can be hit or miss.

BONUS TIP: Read this article about how COVID-19 is changing the RV lifestyle in 2020

It pays to know what you are getting before you settle in for the night. You will often come across some shady camping spots and tin can tenements that are run down, dirty, and just plain unsafe.

Physically driving to any given campsite to see if it meets your needs (or if there are even spots available) is a waste of time. The Internet is a gold mine when looking into suitable RV camping spots ahead of time.

These RV camping tips and tricks can make things go smoothly.

A checklist for choosing a campground that is right for you

Choosing a campground: Start with the Basics

If the campground is listed on a well-known website and has good reviews and photos, this is a plus!

A really great resource is Campground Views. Here you will find helpful photos to help you make an informed decision based on your preferences. State park campgrounds also each have their own official website. In addition, get honest reviews from such notable sites as Campground Reviews, The Dyrt, and Campendium.

The photos on these websites will tell much of the story. Want a great view? You are likely to get a good idea of the surrounding area in the online photos.

Choosing a Campground: Online Reservations are Your Friend

Most good RV campgrounds will do this, but if they have a clunky system, you may want to look elsewhere. However, if the campground serves your needs otherwise and the reviews are good, try booking by phone, and if the staff knows the sites well and what would fit your RV, all the better.

Choosing a Campground: What Kind of Hookups Do You Need?

You’ll want to choose a campground that meets your hookup needs. These can vary from site to site, so choose wisely. If you are just staying the night and don’t necessarily need hookups, dry camping sites are a cheap alternative and should cost you less than twenty bucks.

 Here’s a handy video Jennifer and I recently did:

How to set up your campsite once you reach the campground

Choosing a Campground: Make Sure the Price is Right

The whole point of RV camping is so you can save money on accommodation, so if a campsite is more than $50, it may not be worth it to you. There are plenty of good campsites for $20-35. Anything more than that is likely in a luxury RV campground resort with lots of amenities you’ll probably not use. But if that’s your desire, go for it!

Choosing a Campground: Have a Furry Friend with You?

Traveling with your pet can be a lot of fun. Be sure the campground accepts pets! Most do these days, but you will want to make sure.

CLICK HERE to read an article we wrote on traveling with pets

This info about camping with pets should be readily available on the campground website, and if it’s not, it is safe to assume they do not take pets.

Choosing a Campground: Know Your Preferences

Some RV-ers need campgrounds with WiFi, some don’t. But if this is important to you, make sure the campground you choose offers it. Same with laundry facilities. Most RV resorts have them, but will charge extra – be sure to take that added cost into account.

Do you need extra privacy? Then try to avoid campgrounds that advertise themselves as family-friendly, especially for weekend stays. You don’t want screaming kids next to you if you’d rather enjoy peace and quiet. But if you are bringing your own family, then this will not be a big deal for you.

Choosing a Campground: Once you Get There

Do a quick assessment to make sure everything checks out. This should be obvious within the first five minutes of your arrival. Make sure your site is level enough for your RV, and the hookups you need are there.

Choosing a Campground: Things to Avoid

  • RV websites with unlisted pricing
  • Campsites with tight spaces. Especially in the era of social distancing, you don’t want to be too close to your neighbor with your RV
  • Campgrounds that charge added fees on top of the listed price that is not stated clearly on the website
  • No dump station and/or sewer hookups. It’s fine for one night if you’re in a pinch, but should be avoided

Choosing a Campground: When in Doubt, Boondock It

If you find yourself in a remote area with no convenient campground in sight, you can always boondock on public lands for free RV camping! However, this means no hookups and no amenities whatsoever – just you, your RV and glorious nature all around you.


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Mike Wendland Mike Wendland

Published on 2020-08-21

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

5 Responses to “Choosing a Campground: How to find a Good One in 5 Minutes”

March 16, 2023at2:14 pm, Alice Carroll said:

Thanks for the reminder that determining my own preferences can help a lot when looking for an RV campground. I’m interested in looking for one because I plan to take my kids on more trips in the future. Going camping in the spring would surely be a fun activity.

[Link deleted]

September 04, 2022at3:01 am, Zachary Tomlinson said:

Thanks for pointing out that different campgrounds around the country offer convenient amenities while being close to tourist attractions! My colleague is thinking of taking his aging uncle around the country so he could learn more about the beauty of nature. I think he should consider starting by finding campgrounds around the places that they plan to visit! [Link deleted]

Team RV Lifestyle

September 05, 2022at10:29 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks for the note, Zachary! Choosing a campground near places your friend and uncle plan to visit sounds like a great idea. Team RV Lifestyle

September 15, 2020at10:11 pm, Alice Carroll said:

You made a good point that clear pricing is something to look for in an RV park. I’d like to go camping with my family later this year but because of social distancing guidelines, I’d like to find an RV park that’s not too crowded. That way, we will still have a nice outdoor barbecue dinner together like we traditionally do during the fall.

August 21, 2020at1:26 pm, Don Hanke said:

Thanks for the article. I would like to add one tool I use when looking for a site. We have a 2008 Roadtrek 210 Versatile that we bought two years ago. We live in Washington State and camp most of the time without hookups. I use Google Earth along with a campground map from the internet to help see what a campsite looks like. It does not always work especially in forested areas. I hope this will help.

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