How to Find Campsites & Campgrounds
As a research junkie myself, I find the process of looking for places to stay therapeutic, but I know not everyone can relate, so allow me to help!
After planning quite a few trips, I have honed in my process to work for our family, but hopefully, you can take away a few tips for your own trips.
Here’s my process:
- Open Google Maps and set your start and end locations
- Using one of my pro-tips from a recent blog post, break up the trip into manageable drive days (find the max number of hours you can realistically drive in a day before needing to rest and make sure each leg is under that)
- “Add a destination” for each of the locations where you’ll need a place to stay/park for the night (be sure to move them into the right order)
- Once you have a good idea of where you’ll need places to stay, begin cross-referencing those locations with some of my favorite apps
Best Apps/Sites for Finding Campsites & Campgrounds
- ⭐️ Best for booking campgrounds
- Can filter by type of sites (RV, tent, lodging, & glamping), park features, etc
- Unlike most other booking apps/sites, the parks aren’t posted by the owner, they are vetted and work with Campspot directly. Only high-quality parks are listed
- Ability to “lock in” the site you want instead of getting whatever is auto-assigned
- ⭐️ Best for booking dry-camping sites
- Essentially the Airbnb of camping
- Can filter by RV, tent, and lodging, amenities, things to do, etc
- Has the most options for really any location of the apps I use
- Sites are posted by the owner, so be sure to read reviews and do your due diligence prior to booking
- ⭐️ Best for when you just need an overnight stay
- The most unique app of the ones I’ve used as far as the types of locations (wineries, farms, breweries, etc)
- Requires an annual membership fee, in return, you have unlimited access to overnight stays at any location (as long as the host has space)
- Only available to self-contained RVs (your stock Mantis will be perfect, otherwise you’ll want a portable cassette toilet to use for your Cricket or Tiger Moth)
- ⭐️ Best for camping on public lands
- If you want to stay or visit a National Park, chances are you’ll need to reserve it through this app
- Can filter by RV, tent, and lodging, amenities, types of hookups, etc
- ⭐️ Best when all else fails
- Nothing really beats a good Google search
- Be sure to read reviews and cross-reference with other credible sources
Honorable mentions & bonus travel apps:
Most of our trips usually include a combination of each of the options, so don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to just one. For our longer trips, we like to book campgrounds with amenities during the workweek so we can have access to Wifi, laundry, and showers. And on the weekends, we like to book dry-camping sites so we can disconnect and enjoy living minimally and outdoors.
I hope you can put these tips to use when planning your next trip. Feel free to reach out on Instagram if you have any questions!
— Alex Hardgrave