RESERVING THE PERFECT CAMPSITE: 10 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE BOOKING YOUR NEXT RV CRASH PAD
Most RVers put a ton of time into researching the best campgrounds for their family vacations and weekend getaways. They will pour over catalogues, read online reviews, post questions in forums, and binge listen to podcasts.
But when it comes time to reserve a campsite, these same research junkies just put in their travel dates and leave the actual campsite selection to an impersonal computer algorithm.
We have stayed at hundreds of campgrounds around this country and can say one thing for certain: even the best campgrounds and RV parks have a couple 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 a young couple’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 we recommend asking before booking your next great adventure.
Can I talk to a reservationist at the campground?
This is our number one piece of advice for RVers: whenever possible, talk to a member of the staff who knows the campground well. These days, we all want to take the easy way out and book online, but that won’t guarantee you a slice of campground heaven. We open up the campground map on our laptop, and then settle in for a nice long chat with the reservationist. They are usually more than happy to answer our long list of questions.
Sometimes booking online is unavoidable. Many national, state, and county parks exclusively use online reservation systems. In that case, we will still chat with a ranger ahead of time to learn more about the individual sites and identify ones that will be ideal for our family. Booking at an RV park during the off-season? In that case, we make online reservations and then follow up with email or voicemail, detailing our personal campsite preferences or requesting particular areas of the campground.
What hookups do I want?
Campgrounds usually provide 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.
Decide in advance what you prefer. If you are hoping to use the sink, toilet, and shower in the RV, even the prettiest site will leave you disappointed when you find it doesn’t have a sewer connection. On the flip side, you may be perfectly content to use the bathhouses in exchange for a beautiful campsite with limited hookups nestled by a creek.
Do I want a pull thru or back in?
People with bigger RVs or limited towing experience often prefer pull thru campsites because they are much easier to navigate. However, these sites can also be less private and less aesthetically pleasing. A back in site might be trickier to get into, but it could also offer you the scenery and space you are looking for.
Do I want to be close to the action, or far away?