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How to Find Campsites, Not RV Parks

If you want to spend time in nature, you want to find campsites in the wilderness. That means lovely vistas and not a lot of noise.

However, many people have experienced the disappointment of unknowingly booking a pot in places that feel like parking lots. It’s times like these when you might wish you could exclude RV parks from the results.

Luckily, thanks to technology, you’re able to do just that! Today, we’re sharing some of our favorite apps and tips to help you discover more prime locations and fewer RV parks.

Let’s dive in!

What Are the Different Kinds of Campsites You Can Find?

There are several types of campsites, and which is best for you’ll significantly depend on how you like to spend your time. Do your research to select a spot with the features you’re looking for.

For those who like a more luxurious experience, RV parks and resorts will be the best option. These spots typically provide water, sewer, and electrical hook-ups and have pools and other luxury amenities. However, they’re also one of the most expensive. Depending on the park, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $100+ per night.

There are also options at national and state parks. While many offer power and water connections, that’s not always the case. Some offer spots that provide a very rustic experience. Locations will vary in size and may not be compatible with larger rigs. However, these can be budget-friendly options in some areas. You can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $50 per night.

You can’t mention camping without also discussing boondocking options. Boondocking has recently gained popularity, especially as traditional sites have become harder to find. If you’re unfamiliar with boondocking, it’s setting up your rig in national forests or other public lands. Travelers must be entirely self-sufficient in power, water, and waste disposal. 

Is It Hard to Find Campsites?

If you’ve tried to find campsites in recent years, you’ve likely discovered it’s not as easy as it once was. This is primarily due to the massive increase in demand for RVs. Month after month, RV manufacturers set records for the number of units they produced. Many dealers were selling out before they could get them on their lots.

RV owners were itching to take their new toys out camping, especially on the weekends. It made it difficult for even experienced RVers to locate a place to stay. Spots that typically only reached capacity on holiday weekends were filling up nearly every weekend.

Travelers had to choose between canceling their plans or heading somewhere else. As a result, many apps and resources became available to help people find somewhere to set up. Some resources even automatically booked open spots for guests when they became available. As you might expect, this doesn’t make it any easier.

Camping in campsite
Finding great campsites has never been easier with phone apps that do all the work for you!

What Apps Can Help You Find Campsites?

If you’re struggling to find a place at your favorite campsite, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere. Technology can be your friend and help ease the burden of discovering a new spot. Let’s look at some apps you should consider to help you book your next vacation.


Campendium is one of the best and most trusted resources for all camping options. It has a massive library of places to stay, many of which have user reviews. Not only can you quickly search for locations near you or a specific area, but you also filter your results. If you want to exclude RV parks or other types of accommodation, you select the appropriate filters.

One of the best things about Campenidum is that it has a web-based resource and an app that integrates with each other. Users on this app are great at updating conditions and providing helpful information to other users. You can search for campsites and favorite the best ones to pull up on your laptop later quickly.

This resource is the gold standard for apps to help you find a home base on the go. Not only does it get the job done time after time, but the interface looks good too. You can get free and paid options for both Apple and Android devices.

Pro Tip: Use our Campendium tutorial to make finding camping quick and easy.


iOverlander is very similar to Campendium. It’s both an app and a web-based system that integrate back and forth. However, it has a significantly less polished look and feel. Still, it provides comparable results. Whether you’re looking for a campground, overnight parking spot, or boondocking location, you’ll find plenty on this resource. To make it even better, it’s free and available for both Apple and Android devices.

If you plan to look for accommodations in state or national parks, is a must-have app. It’s the go-to resource for many government agencies when it comes to handling reservations for parks, timed-entry permits, and paying day-use fees in some areas.’s app has one advantage over the rest. You can use it to book any campsite you find. Once you set up an account and put in your information, you can quickly and easily book reservations for an entire season.


AllStays is an extensive search engine with over 37,000 campgrounds in its database. If you can’t find a place to stay using this app, it likely doesn’t exist. In addition, it also has a wealth of helpful resources frequently used by travelers. Having AllStays bookmarked on your computer or downloaded on your Android or Apple devices can help take your adventures to the next level.

RV Life Trip Wizard

Some outdoor lovers enjoy combining one adventure after another into a string of camping trips. RV Life Trip Wizard can handle all the logistics of these adventures. Whether you need to find a spot to stay, navigate from point A to point B, or keep track of your reservations, it can get the job done. While you have to pay, it’s worth every penny, especially if you’re always on an adventure.

While many full-time RVers use this app, it’s also perfect for recreational users. Having all your data in one location can help you stay organized and on top of your reservations. It can also help you plan adventures between trips and discover exciting things to do when staying in an unfamiliar area.

RV park campground
Plan ahead and read reviews when searching for the perfect campground.

Tips for Finding Campsites

We’ve had to battle frustrations with full campgrounds and have struggled to find a place to sleep, just like the rest of you. We’ve learned a thing or two through our frustrations and would love to share some tips with you.

Plan Ahead

Gone are the days when you could wait until the last minute to secure your campsite. If you try this now, you’ll likely discover that the only spots left are next to the dump station or incompatible with your travel style. You’ll need to plan as far in advance as possible if you want the best chance of scoring the right spot for you.

Travelers sometimes have to book sites six to 12 months in advance. As a result, you need to know when the location starts accepting reservations for the next season and reserve your spot as soon as possible. If you’re a procrastinator, you might as well sell that RV or camping gear because you’re likely not going to use them very often.

Consider Camping During the Week/Shoulder Season

Those who enjoy the great outdoors often head out with their RV or tents on the weekends during the prime season. This often results in packed grounds on Friday and Saturday nights. However, if you came to the same place during the week, there would be plenty of open sites.

If you can adjust your schedule to travel during the week, you’ll likely have better luck finding accommodations. Demand for reservations and crowd levels go way down in areas before and after the busiest times of the year. In addition, consider traveling during the shoulder season, especially if you’re in an RV.

Read Reviews

You read reviews when booking a hotel or making a purchase on Amazon, so why wouldn’t you check the reviews when booking? Use some of the resources we’ve shared with you today to scan the reviews before you think you’ve hit the jackpot on a campsite.

A park with a ton of availability, especially on weekends, isn’t a good sign. It could be sketchy electrical connections, grump management, or they haven’t upgraded things in a few decades. There’s likely a reason no one is staying there.

Pro Tip: Save some money while spending the night at one of these Top 20 Free Camping Sites in America.

Is it Worth Finding Campsites Anymore?

While finding the best spots during certain times of the year may be challenging, it’s still worth it. Camping is an opportunity to rest, relax, and make priceless memories with your loved ones. While spending time outdoors is trendy right now, it’s not always going to be that way.

As people return to their everyday routines, we expect some of the challenges of finding campgrounds to subside and return to normal eventually. But that’s all the more reason to spend that little extra effort looking for the best place to stay on your trip. So follow our tips and enjoy your stay!

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: