Tips & Guides

What to look for in the perfect campsite5 min read

Tent Camping
Christopher Michel


What should you look for in the perfect campsite? Well, it’s hard to say right off the bat. While there are no doubt some unifying characteristics that many great campsites have, all in all, it comes down to personal preference. To find the perfect campsite, you have to think about what you’re looking for most in a camping experience.

When RVing

For RV camping, location and community are everything. For many RVers simply looking for a place to set up for the night before continuing your journey, almost any location could be labeled “perfect,” so long as it’s on or not too far off your route and has all adequate amenities.

Proximity is really the key. If the campsite you’re looking for is just a layover on the way to your final destination, the best campsite is the one that saves you the most distance on your drive. Power and water hookups are essential for some, but for those looking to rough it a bit, not absolutely necessary. But don’t rule out some campsites a little off the beaten path, even for one-nighters on a long journey. Do some research on towns in the area and plug in the location on Roverpass. You never know what you might find in a town just a few more miles off the highway.

As mentioned before, much of what makes a campsite great lies in personal preference. Know your travel plans, know your time goals, and know ahead of time what you want to see and when. This will be extremely helpful in determining where to camp. Want to see a historical marker in a town on the old U.S. highway? The perfect campsite might be a couple miles off the interstate, and may not have the same kind of hookups, but is a far better fit for you than the alternative, which may be better for those looking to make faster time to their final destination.

Near your final destination

When it comes to your destination, the perfect campsite is, once again, the one that provides you with the greatest proximity to what you’ve come to see. That being said, there are some generalizations that can probably be made here: if you’ve come to a place known for its scenery, find a site right up in the middle of it, not on the highway, not in the town. You will thank yourself for the decision later when you find yourself waking up to the sound of birds chirping in the pine trees right outside your window instead of honking horns and screeching tires with the occasional siren mixed in.

Camping with your tent

For tent camping, once again, personal preference is key. Want a quiet, secluded campsite without anyone else around? Stay away from popular state parks, find campsites further away from established amenities and RV areas, and look for primitive and hike-in campsites. Know you’re bringing a lot of gear with you and know you’re not much of a hiker? Find a campsite you can pull your car right into. What you want to get out of the experience should determine the kind of campsite you pick.

Again, there are some things, universally, to keep in mind. Many a great camping trip has been ruined by an early morning rainfall that turns a cozy tent into a reservoir. Make sure you always pitch your tent on high ground and away from any streams or creekbeds that could flood. Take a look at the topography around you and avoid any small drainage patterns in the ground where water might run and collect. Avoid so-called widow-makers as well—don’t pitch your tent anywhere near dead trees, loose, overhanging rocks, or the like.

Camping is one of the most exhilarating and amazing things a person can do, if it is done right. A great way to start is by finding the perfect campsite, the one you’ll never forget. With the tips above to guide you, here’s hoping you’ll have a great camping experience.

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