Whether you’re a fulltimer or a weekend-warrior, finding the perfect campsite is essential to the camping experience. Amenities, location, community, and budget are the main factors in our decision making process. We also use a handful of (mostly digital) tools to assist in our research.
We like to camp with variety – weaving between boondocking sites, state & national parks, and privately owned parks. The most important amenity for us is connectivity. We enjoy the security of cellular reception and the entertainment of internet connection. Also, our online business requires minimal connection. When we’re not boondocking, having a hot shower available is a key amenity. Also, we really our electrical hookup!
However, we can easily enjoy the experience without a water, sewage, and cable connection.
Nature is our prime concern when choosing a campsite. Conversely, we want to experience the culture of cities and towns. We search for campgrounds on the edge of town, tucked into the foothills of a mountain range or on the banks of a lake.
Lake Piru Campground is 50 miles from Los Angeles, 20 miles from Valencia, and 6 miles from downtown Piru. This is a perfect example of our campground location preference. Also, Big Bend BLM Campground in Moab is about 8 miles from downtown – away from the commercial RV parks, on the banks of the Colorado River, and within a short drive to grocery stores and the post office.
We’re introverted Millennials that enjoy authentic human connection in a quiet setting. State Park camping during the off-season has been most aligned with our preferences. Some of the large, privately owned RV parks we’ve camped at have seemed more like bustling retirement communities.
We travel with a strict budget, allotting $25 a day for camping. If we boondock for a week, we can splurge on camping the next week. We’ve found that there is huge savings if we camp for a month at a time at the same campground. For example, the daily rate might be $25, the weekly rate $125, and the monthly rate $300.
Our favorite campsite research tool is the AllStays app ($9.99, but well worth the investment). It allows us to filter what type of site to search – BLM, State Park, National Park, Elks Lodge, Overnight parking lots, Privately Owned Parks, and many more options. The app also plots out gas stations, rest stops, dump stations, steep stretches of road, and low clearances.
Trip Advisor is our final step of the process. If a campground meets all of our criteria, we then read reviews. Like everything on the internet, reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. However, we’ve found Trip Advisor to have the largest number of reviews, and most of the time they’re levelheaded.
Everyone has their own “perfect campsite”. Its important to figure out what works for you, and then use your favorite research tools. Doing proper research on the front-end, has led to many positive experiences!
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