When it comes to camping, there are a few different types of campgrounds to choose from. These are RESERVABLE or FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE (also known as FCFS). While relatively self explanatory, we can still break them down in a little more detail. For instance, your reservable campgrounds are typically actual RV parks or resorts. Ones with paved sites, electrical, water, and sewage hookups. Whereas FCFS campgrounds are typically found in state parks, dispersed camping, or other natural sites. You can find a little more information on these types of campgrounds here.
So, the biggest takeaway from the two types of campgrounds? The keyword is reservable. We recommend sticking to campsites that you can reserve in advance to really secure your travel plans, and keep that peace of mind. Below are some of our favorite booking sites. Check them out to get a feel for what’s out there!
The largest campsite provider in the U.S. with destinations all over the country. Here, you can reserve campgrounds, lodging, boat slips, and day-use locations online. Reserve America is also an awesome online platform for your road trip inspiration because it has so many articles about potential destinations, fun activities with the family, anything you need to know about hiking, fishing, and more!
This is the place you go to reserve spots typically in or surrounding National Parks, Forests, and federally or state owned lands. In addition to the campsites themselves, this is also a one-stop shop for all reservable permits too. Examples of these permits are shuttle tickets into national parks, hiking, fishing, backpacking, and climbing permits, OHV permits, and other activities that require a purchased reservation.
“Discover and book tent camping, RV parks, cabins, treehouses, and glamping—everywhere from national parks to blueberry farms.” It’s in the name – hip places to camp! Think of your traditional campsite, RV spot, but add a little flare to it. Most of these reservable sites are on private land where the owners add small conveniences like outdoor furniture, added experiences, outdoor showers, access to different parts of the land (not guaranteed at each location, just examples of some) This is like your Airbnb of camping.
Private Campgrounds are what you find when you type in “RV Parks, RV Resorts near me” into Google. These are parks owned by individuals or corporations that rent out their private land (and in this case, RV sites) to travellers like you! They have full-hookups, meaning you have access to water, electricity, and sewage. And, most of these campgrounds are set up like a hotel or apartment complex, with a community center, pool, and other communal activity spots.
Where are our wine/beer lovers at? Harvest Hosts are screaming your name right now. This is a collection of breweries, wineries, farms, museums, all across the country that offer a free nights stay parked right next to their operation. More times than not, this is a dry-camping spot, but you get such a unique experience as the trade-off. These hosts invite people like you to stay on their property because they want to share a little bit of their world with you. Park your RV here, and walk into your wine tasting, brewery tour, wake up next to the chickens, feed the horses, help on the ranch. Whatever it is, it’s sure to be like no other camping trip you’ve experienced.
Campendium is a handy, all-in-one resource showcasing any type of camping you’re looking for. The interactive map has different icons representing the different types of stays (ex: a camper for purchased campgrounds, trees for state parks, “P” for free parking) complete with photos and reviews too. This resource is nice because you can click on a campground, and it will direct you to their website to book your spot, or you can note a free pit stop along your route. Whatever direction you choose, this is a great guide to refer to.
Boondocking is another term for dry camping, or camping with no hookups. Boondockers Welcome connects private property owners with RV travelers. Similar to Harvest Hosts, but on a residential front. This is a cool way to park your RV on a more secluded spot than your typical RV park, and it allows you to meet locals in the places you are visiting.
Wheew! How about all those campsites out there waiting for someone like you to experience them? We hope this helps put into perspective the world of RV camping. Let us know what you think, and where your next trip might be – can’t wait to get you on the road!