Nothing can spoil a trip more than filthy campgrounds…
- 1 Nothing can spoil a trip more than filthy campgrounds…
- 2 Bathrooms: Critters, Grime, and Disrepair
- 3 Lots: Mud, Dead Grass, & Poo
- 4 How to Avoid Filthy Campgrounds
- 5 For campgrounds that we personally recommend across the country, check out our RV Adventure Guides…
- 6 Looking for more Expert RV Trip ideas and RV Travel suggestions?
People wonder why we prefer boondocking over campgrounds. Here’s why: Too many campgrounds are dirty.
Not all. But way too many.
Jennifer and I have had too many bad experiences to count. Although, things do seem to be improving thanks to online reviews that keep campgrounds accountable.
Bathrooms: Critters, Grime, and Disrepair
In the bathrooms, there are almost always spiders, bugs, things in the toilets and stalls that disgust you. Broken windows, mold, rusty pipes, and grimy sinks.
In one of the too many filthy campgrounds we’ve stayed in, one of the showers I used had a cracked floor. When you stepped on it, black gunk seeped out around your feet.
In Missouri, a long broken and unrepaired window had the restroom filled with moths, beetles, flies, and mosquitos.
In Nebraska, a campground where we stayed had clogged toilets. The dump station black water tank was overflowing.
Lots: Mud, Dead Grass, & Poo
Then there are the lots. Too often they are worn and trampled dirt that turns to mud every time it rains, with no grass or concrete.
In Estes Park, CO, a supposedly top-rated campground put us in a gravel parking lot. Five minutes after we arrived, our coach was covered in dust and we had to shut all the windows.
I complained and the owner told me he makes an extra $20K a year putting people on the gravel when his other spots are filled and it’s worth the complaints to get the extra cash. At least he was honest.
The utility hookups at many parks need to be checked as way too many deliver erratic power. Water faucets drip. Dog droppings are uncollected and litter the edges of the camping spaces.
How to Avoid Filthy Campgrounds
It’s our experience that private campgrounds are generally the worse. Though we’ve noticed that budget cutbacks in state and county parks have fewer people doing maintenance and clean up in government-run parks, too.
So we boondock as much as possible. While on the way to a destination, a Walmart or Cracker Barrel parking lot is often preferable to a campground, we have found. Our RV has its own shower, its own bathroom, and provides its own electricity.
The campground guide books and apps are not much help. We’ve found some campgrounds rated by the guide books at four stars to be pig styes.
I have long suspected that the higher the rating, the more the campground spends on advertising. Maybe not. But the discrepancies between what we’ve experienced and what the guidebooks say are too often too far apart.
Reviews from other campers help.
But generally, we avoid most campgrounds. KOAs are okay most times. State and Federal Parks, too.
But a lot of private campgrounds have a long way to go in quality.
For campgrounds that we personally recommend across the country, check out our RV Adventure Guides…
Looking for more Expert RV Trip ideas and RV Travel suggestions?
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In each location, we provide a suggested route and itinerary (7 stops in each guide, one for each day of a week trip!) as well as links to multiple campgrounds and boondocking spots, local tips, and interesting things to do at each location.
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