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Everyone wants to stay in the best campgrounds they can find and afford. That said, everyone has a different idea of which campgrounds are the best campgrounds.
To some, the idea of a full-hookup RV park sounds totally stifling. To others, even the thought of camping without full hookups is a miserable one. Of course, there’s also the matter of budget and location to consider!
Fortunately, as long as you have a clear idea of what you want, finding the best campgrounds for your family doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Not only that, but it gets easier and easier the more you do it!
Not sure how to begin narrowing down your options to find the best campgrounds for you? Here are some things to think about as you weigh the various campgrounds on your list of contenders.
Finding the Best Campgrounds: Know Your Needs
First and foremost, it is important that you know exactly what you need a campground to have. For some people, clean bathhouses are a must-have. Meanwhile, there are those who don’t use the bathhouses at all, but simply must have decent internet for work.
Think about what you need to live your day-to-day life, and use those as non-negotiables as you begin your campground shopping.
The length of your RV will sometimes determine whether or not a campground will work for you. Check out the length of the campsites in a particular park in relation to the length of RV, and make sure you are going to fit comfortably.
Do you require electric hookups? Are you okay with filling your fresh tank, or do you need a water hookup at your site? How do you feel about going without sewer hookups?
Think about these things and compare your answers to what the campground in question has available. Remember to account for the amount of time you plan to spend in the campground, as this might change your answers.
Do you and your family typically use campground bathhouses to get clean? If that is the case, clean bathhouses are probably pretty important to you. Make sure to check that restrooms with showers are available in the park. You’ll also want to read reviews to make sure they are clean, and find out whether they are paid showers and if the temperature is adjustable and acceptable.
Not everyone has a washing machine in their rig. For these folks, laundry rooms are a necessity. You could drive to a nearby laundromat, of course, but being able to do your laundry in the campground is much simpler, making these rooms a top priority for some travelers.
Many full time RVing folks need to have good internet access in order to keep up with work while on the road. Unfortunately, many campgrounds do not offer good cell reception, and some have too much tree coverage for even Starlink to be very effective. If the internet is important to you, read reviews to find out whether you will have internet access in a particular park before booking it.
Don’t Forget Amenities
The things listed above are usually needs rather than wants, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t take your wants into consideration as well. For example, if you have small kids, a playground can be a lifesaver. Meanwhile, those with dogs almost always appreciate dog parks.
Make a list of the amenities you think are most important and keep those in mind while looking for the best campgrounds.
Kids need a place to run and play. Obviously, they can play at your site or even in an empty field, but often, a playground is even better. If your kids love campground playgrounds, this might be one of those amenities that should be at the top of your list.
Not everyone travels with a dog, but those who do often feel left out when there isn’t a place for their pup to run and play. If your dog needs a break from the camper and the leash, see if you can book campgrounds with dog parks to keep Fido happy.
Rarely have we met a kid who doesn’t love swimming. During the hot summer months, many kids consider a swimming pool a campground must-have. That said, if you’re the kind of parent who’d rather not go to the pool every day, this might be an amenity you want to actively avoid. Either way, remember to make note of whether a campground has one before you book.
Lodges or Recreation Centers
Lodges and recreation centers can be fabulous places to get out of the RV and stretch. Some families enjoy using these common spaces as co-working spaces or places to go do school work. Others use the communal toys and TV, or the book and/or game exchange, to entertain their kids and keep everyone happy.
No matter what you use it for, you may want to make sure there is a recreation center or lodge available in any campground you book.
Some of the best campgrounds out there even go so far as to have activity directors and planned activities for kids and adults. If your family enjoys things like hayrides, field games, movie nights, crafts, and parties, you might appreciate a campground with planned activities.
Find Other Families
Another thing to consider when looking for the best campgrounds for your family? Whether or not other full time RVing families frequent the campground. Sure, you can make friends with people of all ages that you happen to meet, and sometimes that’s the only option. However, it’s sometimes nice to be able to connect with like-minded individuals whose kids are of a similar age to your own.
Not sure where other families are? Try posting in the location-specific Fulltime Families groups. You’ll likely also have luck staying in Thousand Trails parks, as a huge number of full time traveling families use this network of parks.
Of course, you’ll also have to keep cost in mind. Most of us full time traveling families are on a pretty tight budget, and paying $50–$100 a night in camping fees simply isn’t feasible. For this reason, cost is the factor that many people consider first when finding the best campgrounds for them.
Not sure how to find campgrounds that meet your needs but also fit within your budget? The aforementioned Thousand Trails network is a great way to access lower camping fees. You can also choose to stay in state parks to save money and stay in the middle of nature.
Lastly, many families enjoy boondocking with no amenities at all. This is a great way to save money, but you do need to be properly prepared.
Use Your Memberships
Another way to narrow down campground options? Look at the campgrounds that are included with any camping memberships you might have. For instance, if you want to visit a national park and there is a membership park that will allow you to stay for free a mere 30 minutes away, it likely makes the most sense to stay in the membership park.
Once you have an idea of where you’d like to be, take a look at the campground maps for each membership you have (as well as any you might be willing to join) to see if there’s a campsite that might work for you.
Note: If you see a spot that could work but you’d have to pay for a membership to use it, make sure you will use the membership again OR that the cost savings for one stay cancel out the membership purchase.
Look at Locations
A problem many people run into? The best campgrounds that fit within their budget are also far away from all attractions and activities. If you come across this problem, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- How far are you willing to drive for sightseeing and errands?
- How often will you go sightseeing and running errands?
- How much will fuel cost for trips to and from the nearest city?
- Does the cost of fuel outweigh the campground cost savings?
It’s up to you to decide whether saving the money on camping fees and driving into the city for fun and errands is worthwhile.
There you have it, everything you’ll want to consider when finding the best campgrounds for your travels. As long as you consider these factors as you choose your campsites, you can rest easy knowing you’ll almost certainly be happy with your choices.
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