Most everyone in the campground industry wants you to book your campsite online. And many of you do just that.
But Vogel Talks RVing has one thing to say about this trend: Don’t do it. Seriously. Just don’t do it. Pick up the phone. Yes, and talk to a real person.
All campgrounds are not created equal, and you should never blindly book an RV park without doing the research—not knowing if it has the space, amenities, the views, and the location that you prefer.
You might have to work a little harder and actually talk to someone on the phone (GASP!), but when you are sitting with a view of the creek, you’ll know it was worth it.
Many research junkies just put in their travel dates and leave the actual campsite selection to an impersonal computer algorithm.
But, not us. We have stayed at hundreds of RV parks and campgrounds around the country and can say one thing for certain: even the best 5-star campgrounds and RV parks have some mediocre (or just plain bad) sites. Even more importantly, there is no one-size-fits-all ideal. The best campsite for a family with small children might be senior’s worst nightmare.
The key to enjoying campground bliss lies in knowing the exact type of site you want, and then making the effort to reserve that spot. Here are ten questions to ask before booking your next great RV adventure.
Can I talk to someone who knows the campground layout?
Talk to a member of the staff who knows the campground well. These days, many want to take the easy way out and book online, but that won’t guarantee you a slice of camping heaven. Open up the campground map on your laptop, and settle in for a chat.
What hookups do I want?
Campgrounds usually offer a range of hookup options. Some sites will have full hookups, with 30 or 50-amp electric service; other sites will offer just water and electric. If the campground is rustic, there may be no hookups available at all.
Do I want a pull through or back in?
People with larger rigs or limited experience often prefer pull through campsites since they are easier to navigate. However, these sites can also be less private, less aesthetically pleasing, and more costly. A back in site might be trickier to get into, but it could also offer you the scenery and space you prefer.
Do I want to be close to the action, or far away?
Many RV parks have hubs of activity where playgrounds, pools, and shuffleboard courts are located. Study the campground map to determine your preferred location
Do I want to be close to the bathhouses or far away?
If you plan to use the facilities in your RV, then there’s no reason to be located near the bathhouses where you might find increased traffic and noise.
Can I hear road noise from this site?
RVers who travel in motorhomes and run the air conditioning at night may not care that their campsite is backed up to a highway. But pop up campers and hybrid travel trailers won’t block out that road noise at night. Light sleepers should make this issue a priority when choosing a campsite. Also, be on the lookout for any railroad tracks that run by the campground.
Will a lot of campground traffic pass this site?
Traffic flow through a campground will affect your camping experience. If you are near the entrance, consider that every single vehicle entering and exiting will likely pass by your site. Garbage disposal bins are another source of high traffic.
Do I want shade or sun?
Are you looking for lots of trees where you can hang a hammock and nap under rustling leaves? Or do you dream of sitting in the sun with a glass of iced tea and a good book?
Do I want a waterfront site?
There is a reason why so many campgrounds are located on lakes, rivers, and streams. Sitting at your campsite and listening to the sound of rushing water may just be the most relaxing experience. But these sites are usually the most popular and fill up quickly. If you want to prime waterfront site, you need to book far in advance.
Do I want a buddy site?
If you are traveling with family or friends, then look for a buddy site. These campsites are set up so that your RVs can be parked awning to awning, with camper doors facing each other. This creates a wonderful shared space in the middle where you can comfortably gather with friends.
There is no such thing as the perfect campsite. Some RVers want rustic and private spots, while others seek out immaculate landscaping and access to amenities. The trick to finding your perfect site is knowing exactly what you want and doing some research to make it happen.
Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.