Finding A Campground
If you’re like . . . well, everybody else, you’re probably itching to get out and enjoy the outdoors. A year plus of travel restrictions due to Covid and the uncertainty of what will happen in the immediate future because of variant outbreaks such as Delta, leave us wanting to cram in all the travel we can. And camping, whether hiking, car-camping, or RVing, has become the go-to means of escape from the Covid blues.
RV camping in particular has seen a boom. Camper sales and purchases have skyrocketed and popular campgrounds are becoming increasingly harder to book. As USA Today said in an article on the subject, “Plan early and reserve a camping spot as soon as possible, taking advantage of the fact that many federal and state campgrounds accept reservations – and some even require them.” This is good advice for the newbies eager to hit the road in their sparkling campers, but seasoned road veterans should take heed as well.
RV Lifestyle reports that “in 2020, the number of U.S. households who camp in an RV is 13 million, which reflects a 1.6 million increase of households from 2019. The number of households who own an RV is 9.6 million, which reflects an increase of 2.6 million households from 2019.” They further indicate that “Almost half of campers say that the COVID vaccine will allow them to camp more often in 2021. The vaccine is most likely to increase camping among millennial and GenX campers.” Clearly then planning is key for those who want to find the best campgrounds in 2021.
So how can you go about finding a campground for your next camping trip? Here are a few ways to make sure you get a good spot in an area you want to be.
- Know what you’re looking for: RV camping can range from the luxury to the rustic. You can find private sites that provide you little more than a space to park or luxury sites that provide all amenities and a variety of activities. You should also ask if you want to be away from everything or near the excitement. Understanding your style of camping will help you find a site that’s comfortable for you.
- Who are you traveling with? Family campers may want to research amenities such as swimming pools, minigolf, or nearby attractions, while couples may want to get away from things to romantic skyscapes and gorgeous waterways.
Solo travelers are a special concern as you will want to take steps to protect yourself while camping. Be sure when camping alone to let someone you trust know where you will be going and for how long. But don’t make your position as a lone camper too public by posting on social media or by announcing it to strangers. You will also want to carry necessary safety equipment, such as flares, a first aid kit, a map and compass, and basic tools for road repairs.
Another special concern is those traveling with four-legged friends. You should always begin your trip by checking campground regulations on pets, including local leash regulations and barking ordinances. It’s also a good idea to make yourself aware of the most common plant and animal threats to your pet. Finally, be sure to bring along the things that make your animal feel at-home. If they sleep in a dog bed at home, for example, be sure they do the same while camping. And never leave your animals unattended! Your pet might be friendly but that doesn’t mean others in the area are.
- Do your research. There are a number of ways to find quality campgrounds as you plan for your next RV trip:
- Websites:Sites such as Recreation.gov allow you to search hundreds of thousands of sites at thousands of campgrounds. Some, such as Reserve America, Campspot, and Dyrt also allow you to browse amenities.
- Recommendations: Listen to friends who camp and ask those around you when you're camping for their favorite spots. You can also access reviews on Yelp or dedicated sites like Campgroundreviews.com.
- Be flexible: Even during Covid, many campsites continue to have available spaces. However, if you’re looking at those popular destinations, you may need to try some different strategies. For high traffic parks, such as Yellowstone or Yosemite, you may want to expand your search to campgrounds just outside the park. Or you can try to nab one of those coveted first-come, first-served spaces. You can also use certain tools to your advantage. Facebook, for example, has groups where RV campers can post reservations they no longer need. There is also Campnab, which is a service that sends an alert to the user when sold out grounds have spots that come open.