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  • Writer's pictureJalin Coblentz

How to Choose the Right Campground: 12 Things to Consider

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Choosing the right campground is a tough decision if you're a part-time or full-time RVer. When you live in your RV, it's the same concept as choosing the right home in the perfect neighborhood. It isn't a decision you want to rush, and it's important to do your due diligence while searching for your next temporary home.


As with choosing a house or apartment, there are many factors to consider when choosing a campground. These factors include the distance of your daily commute, your neighbors around the campground, amenities, and much more. Making the right choice is especially difficult if you aren't familiar with the area and don't have a chance to scout out the campground in advance.


You've come to the right place if you move frequently from one campground to another and always struggle to choose the right ones. This article will examine the criteria you should use when choosing an RV park and how to know when you've made the right decision!


Your Daily Commute


While this isn't a factor for everyone, the distance we have to drive to work every day is one of the first things we look at when choosing an RV park. If the commute is longer than 30 minutes, we immediately question whether or not it's a good fit. Nobody wants to spend half their day driving back and forth from work, so "distance to work" is a massive factor.


Even if you don't have a daily commute to work, it's nice to stay at a campground that isn't too far from shopping, restaurants, and other attractions. Therefore, while it's fun to occasionally stay somewhere in the middle of nowhere, away from the hustle and bustle, it's also nice to be close to the necessities of life. This is especially true if your camper or RV is your home.


Do You Have a Membership?


One of the main things to consider when choosing a campground is whether or not they're a member of a camping club that you're a part of. There are dozens of campground clubs you can join, such as KOA Rewards, Good Sam, and A Thousand Trails, to name a few. When you're a member of one of these clubs, your stay is free or discounted when you stay at an affiliate campground.


Amenities


One of the most significant disparities between high and low-class RV parks is in the amenities they offer. Because of how popular RV living has become, RV resorts and parks have taken bougie to a whole new level. Here are a few amenities you can find at upscale RV resorts.

  • Upscale laundry facilities

  • Fully equipped gyms and workout facilities

  • Pools

  • Spas

  • Fancy Playground

  • Basketball, pickleball, volleyball, and tennis courts

  • Live entertainment

  • A store on site

  • Bar or restaurant

  • Free wifi

  • Game room

  • Concierge trash service

  • Paved sites, roads, and pads

  • Double-paved campsites

  • Nature trails or walking paths

Can You Pick Your Campsite?


While picking your own campsite used to be commonplace, many RV parks have stopped offering this option unless you specifically request it. In many cases, the RV campground in question is too full to accommodate such a request, and they'll assign you to whatever site is available. This is especially true with RV resorts and upscale RV parks that are in high demand.


However, it's always a plus if you do find a campground that lets you pick your own campsite or at least gives you multiple options. That way, you can choose the best RV campsite for your needs.


Your Budget


As with all things in life, your budget will play a huge role when you're picking a campground. In the past, most campgrounds were fairly affordable and money didn't play much of a factor. However, the cost of living at RV parks has exploded in recent years, almost to the point where it's cheaper to buy or rent a home than it is to stay at an RV park.


As such, it's important to choose a campground that has everything you need and isn't too far from work but that's also within your budget.


Surrounding Area


In the same way that you don't want to purchase a home in a sketchy neighborhood, you also want to avoid campgrounds with suspect surroundings. Unfortunately, unless you're familiar with the area, it's hard to know what to expect until you're already at the campground. By that point, you've most likely booked your stay, especially if you have an extended reservation.


When you can't scout out the campground and surrounding area in person, here are a few recommendations.

  • Check user reviews online to see if there is any mention of the campground's surroundings.

  • Have someone you know in the area drive around and scout it out for you.

  • See if the campgrounds website or Facebook page has photos.

Size of the Campsites


Depending on the size of your rig, campsite size is extremely important. Some newer campers and big rigs have extended slideouts and other features that take up extra space on a campsite. Therefore, it's important to check the campground's website for information about campsite size and camper length restrictions.


Site Compatibility


In addition to size, the perfect campsite for your needs has to be compatible with your camper and personal preferences. Many older campgrounds, for example, haven't updated their electrical systems and are limited to 30-amp hookups and less. This is especially common at state parks, national parks, and campgrounds that cater to tent camping.


Along with electrical hookups, you should also make sure that the campground has full hookup sites. Full hookups are an absolute must for us. We don't like the idea of having to use a portable dump tank or driving to the campground's dump station every couple of days. Therefore, if the campground doesn't have full hookups, we don't even consider it as an option.


Online Tours and Photos


As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. This couldn't be truer when it comes to campgrounds. It's easy for RV websites to gush and boast about how great their campground is when they don't have photos uploaded to back it up. Therefore, you should always check Facebook, Google, and the campground website for photos or a video tour.


Google Reviews


It's extremely important to take some extra time and read reviews on Google and similar websites. Online and word-of-mouth reviews are one of the best ways to get the full story about how people feel about the campground in question. While some reviews are overly biased and were clearly posted by someone who just likes to complain, most reviews are worthwhile reading and will give you vital details.


Campground Rules


If you like having the freedom and flexibility to do your own thing while camping, it's essential to read the campground rules on their website. Certain campgrounds are much pickier than others and have rules about every little thing. Other campgrounds, typically those designed for long-term stays, are much more lenient.


For instance, some campgrounds don't allow pop-up tents, awning shade attachments, and dog pens. Others will place restrictions on receiving day visitors or parking more than one vehicle on your campsite. Finally, while most RV parks are dog-friendly to a certain extent, many have breed and size restrictions. Ultimately, RV parks are very unregulated and they can make up whatever rules they like.


Do They Allow Mail?


Another detail to be aware of is that some campgrounds don't let you have mail shipped to you onsite. Instead, you'll have to set up a PO box or have your mail sent to another nearby address. Either way, it's very inconvenient when you can't simply have your mail sent directly to you.


Final Thoughts About How to Choose the Right Campground


As you can see, there's a lot to keep in mind when choosing a campground. From the campgrounds' location, amenities, and rules to its surrounding area, there are many things to watch out for. Here's a rundown of our priority list when I'm searching for a new campground to move to.

  1. Location and commute time to work.

  2. The area around the campground.

  3. The cost.

  4. Whether or not it's a full hookup.

  5. Campground rules.

If I find a campground that checks each of these first five boxes, everything else is optional. While it's nice to have tons of amenities, snail mail, and big campsites, you can't always have everything. Ultimately, it's more important to find an RV park that is safe, affordable, in a good location, and has rules and hookups that fit our needs.

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