One of the most common problems that almost all RVers face is arriving at their campground and realizing it’s nothing like the picture – the connections are bad, the sites are small and the whole grounds are just plain dirty and unattractive. No one wants to stay at a campground like that, but trick photography on the websites can make even a junkyard look like a beautiful campground. So what’s the secret? How do you choose the best campground?
Choosing the best campground
How’s the site spacing?
For many people, the most important thing to find out before you set off on a camping adventure is the spacing of the individual sites. Obviously all private campgrounds have to balance site space with the number of sites (after all, larger sites means fewer sites and therefore less revenue). Still, it is important to make sure the campground you are looking at has enough space for your RV, any slideouts and your awning, with some room to spare.
What about the site landscaping?
This doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but when you’re looking at a campground, see how well it’s landscaped. Does it have a hard surface, such as gravel, concrete or blacktop, that you can park on, or will you be slipping and sliding on the sand? What about other features – fire rings, barbeques or shade trees? Whatever you like to see when you’re camping, make sure your site has it – otherwise, it could be a looong trip!
Does the site have the proper hookups?
All too often, we’ve seen sites that don’t have all the right hookups (water, electric and sewer), or have them in the wrong places (too far from the site, on the wrong side of the site). We don’t know why they do this, but if they do, find out beforehand – you don’t want to get to the campground and realize you’re going to be roughing it for a week! Also make sure the campground has the proper amperage too – Fifth Wheels and Class A motorhomes usually require 50amp service, but not all campgrounds have that.
How are the restrooms?
While RVs usually have bathrooms on board, many RV showers are just plain tiny. Unfortunately, some showers at campsites are tiny as well! While restroom size may be an issue at many campgrounds, one thing you should never compromise on is cleanliness. Don’t settle for a campsite that is “kind of” clean, or “mostly” clean – if you walk out of the toilet or shower feeling dirtier than when you went in, that might be a sign of a campground to avoid.
Does the campground have a general store?
No matter how good of a packer you are, there is always a chance that you’ll forget something on your trip. If you’re worried you’ll forget something (or if you don’t want to bring too much from home), find a campground with a general store. You’ll be able to pick up any supplies you need, stop in for a quick drink and get information on any activities or places of interest located nearby.
Does the campground have activities for the kids?
Everyone’s been to those campgrounds that have kids running around like the Lost Boys in Peter Pan – screaming, yelling and running through everyone’s campground while the parents are completely absent. Try to find a campground that has activities for the kids – playgrounds, pools, arcades, etc. – it’ll keep your little ones occupied and everyone else’s little ones out of your space!
Is the campground close to any places of interest?
Even though you’re on a camping trip, you don’t want to spend every waking moment in or around your camper – you want to get out and see the sites! Find out if your campground is close to anything – amusement parks, national parks, landmarks, local attractions or anything else that can make an exciting day trip.
Will you have any privacy?
One of the perks of campground vacationing (and one of the things that sets it apart from hotel stays) is the feeling of community, even among strangers. That said, there are going to be times when you want a little space! Find out how much space is between each campsite, and whether there are trees or natural features that will give you privacy when you want it.
If you’re looking around for a campsite to visit this summer, stop by Beckley’s Camping Center! We know all the best campgrounds in the area and can point you to one that your whole family is sure to love.