Finding the right place to camp is no easy task: No “tinominium” campgrounds, please!

 Finding the right place to camp is no easy task: No “tinominium” campgrounds, please!

It's time to go somewhere. But my wife and I unsure of just where.

The truth is, we're not too keen on most of the big campgrounds we've seen, where trailers and monster-sized A's and fifth wheels are parked so close together its like a “tinominium” development. You know the places, where satellite dishes sprout like flowers and huge TVs – both in the RV's and outside, mounted on the sides – are blaring Sports Center, dogs are chained up and barking, beer-swilling guys in wife-beater T-shirts smoke cigars and packs of kids loudly run and roam from site to site.

Some of the parks look like a NASCAR infield, a sun baked field of dirt with traffic jams on the access roads.

I know, I know. Not all campgrounds are like that. But a lot are.

So as we think about heading out this weekend, we're confused.

I've spot checked a couple of the Michigan state parks and found most of the good sites are already reserved. That means whatever spot we reserve will have neighbors. And there's no telling what kind of neighbors whey will be.

So where?

I've seen ads for really nice luxury RV parks, but our 22-foot Roadtrek is too short, even though it probably cost more than some of those A's.

In the distant past, we've had bad experiences in campgrounds,  as tenters, in a pop-up we used to own, even decades ago now, with our first RV, a 13-foot Shasta we once owned and used with three kids and a dog. On one occasion, we pulled out in the middle of the night because of noise and a loud group of pot-smoking partyiers.

So we're stalled now with what to do, where to go.

My feeling is, we need to set out and just try a few campgroumds. My wife would like more of a sure thing.

I've kind of marked out a 100-mile tour along the M-25 Lake Huron shoreline, from Port Huron, MI up through Caseville, at the tip of the Michigan thumb. There are three state parks on that route and a couple of county parks. Surely, we can find somewhere along that route.

I think I'll wait till I get a detailed weather forecast. If it looks good, I'll start arm twisting Jennifer.




Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.


  • I agree, Mike: I don’t understand what drives people to camp in those dreadful, sun-baked, just-off-the-interstate parking lots that are so common.

    Over the years we’ve learned that you can rely on most state park and national forest campgrounds to provide a fairly consistent experience (although I can’t speak specifically to Michigan state parks). The few times we’ve stayed in private campgrounds over the years have been mostly disappointing, for a wide range of reasons — being packed in like sardines chief among them.

    Many state and n.f. reservation websites now have photos of individual campsites available, along with maps of the campground. We’ve learned that by looking at the map carefully and taking a close look at the individual campsite, you can get a pretty good idea of what you’re getting yourself into.

    How the neighbors and their kids will behave is another matter…

  • And I certainly agree with you and Mike about the campgrounds. I would be totally content to find a quiet place where my closest neighbour was 1 mile away … or more. I am new to RVing and so far have only parked at friends, church parking lots, the odd Walmart and recently a complete stranger’s place that I met through Boondockers Welcome. Boondockers Welcome is an interesting web site that you might want to check out. You can see my profile under the user name of Karsty or look under Niagara Falls, Ontario.

    It really seems to be catching on an might be a great alternative to looking for places to park for one or two nights.

    I’m enjoying reading your adventures.


    Karsten (Karsty)

  • I love camping and hiking and hope I am able to hike everyday of my life. I love it so much I invent new products and built a business that revolves around camping. Please check it out and let me know what you guys think: 🙂 Keep off the beaten path! Thank You!

  • Nice article Mike and I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve been to some where there isn’t a tree in sight (unless you count the bleak utilities post at the end of the gravel pitch)where I can hear the folks next door snoring in the unit on top of my tent! Lord knows they probably can hear me to when I fight off any invading Daddy Longlegs in the middle of the night that I, half-asleep and in the dark, can swear are 3 pound tarantulas trying to share my sleeping bag-tee hee! You two keep sharing the travels with us all! KE :-T

  • I’ve had success using RV Park Reviews it lists parks all over the country and provides recent reviews. You are often able to find 2 or 3 parks in an area from which to choose.

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