Travels with Charley

The cool camping blog. Trying to find gear, supplies, adventure and activities for the 21st century camper.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tips - Finding the Perfect Campground - The Usual Suspects

I'll kick off the series with an introduction to finding a campground. This part will be a basic tutorial and many experienced campers already know most of this, but I thought to include it to be thorough.

So you know where you want to go, geographically. How do you start finding a campground? First, of course, you should know if you want a tent only site, or an RV site. Pull through, electric, water, sewer, concrete pad? Have all of these things in hand as well as a map that shows your area of interest.

What follows is a listing of the major ways to find a campground. Each form of listing will be different but most will tell you the size of the site, what utilities it has and if it's a pull through. There will also typically be a description of what amenities the campground has such as pool, camp store, LP, ect...

Before the internet you might be able to get campground listings from state tourism boards. You also used the Woodall's directory to find campgrounds. The directories still exist in print form and can be gotten at most larger bookstores. They offer a quick way to scan for campgrounds in an area you're looking for. Woodalls also has a website search function that appears to mimic the book. You must register, but if you're looking for campgrounds in a particular area it can be worth it.

Most states have an extensive network of state funded public campgrounds, that can vary in quality, but my experiences in Indiana, Michigan and New York have all been great. I recommend you google the state and "state campgrounds" to get a link to the listing. also has a link to every state's public campgrounds. Some states use a vendor to run the websites and reservations and some are in house. Similarily, you can search for National Parks campgrounds in your area of interest, too.

Some towns and counties have public campgrounds, but can be hard to find, due to variations in how they advertise them. Google would be your best bet here.

If you are intending to visit a major tourist attraction, or region, their websites often have links to local accomodations, including campgrounds. City tourism websites frequently do too.

And finally, if you google the location you're going to by city, state and you type "campground" after it, Google will give you a map with nearby campgrounds.


  • At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Karen said…

    You give a wealth of information to help campers find great camping sites. I am particularly fond of the National Parks Service site and Woodalls, as well.

  • At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Brock said…

    Something I've taken forgranted here in Wyoming is how crowded other campgrounds can get. As long as your not camping on one of the big three holidays (Memorial,4th or Laborday) Wyomings campgrounds are nearly empty!


  • At 3:34 PM, Blogger Mathew said…

    Thanks for sharing this great post. Always enjoy reading your blog posts. Here in Canada we are lucky to have a wealth of woods and camping grounds. I definitely put it to good use!

    I think my might like my website, its similar to your blog but covers more wilderness survival rather than camping.

    Let me know what you think!

  • At 1:24 AM, Anonymous Ed - Tents said…

    Looks wonderful. Great reading your post as well. Thanks

  • At 1:21 AM, Anonymous ORmaverick said…

    I travel in a 5th wheel but like quiet out of the way camping spots. In 2009 I discovered National Forest Sno-Parks. Sno-Parks are overlooked and underutilized in the summer months. The parks are all but empty and Camping is free.

    My website has a listing of Sno-parks in WA, OR and CA.

    If you camp the Cascade range, you can check out the Sno-park Camping Spots nearest you at

  • At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Roberta said…

    That was a lot of information - tips. I am glad to read on your article and I am also glad that new campers would be able to feel the comforts of camping because they have read your post. Thanks for that! My kids will need to read this too!

  • At 2:06 AM, Blogger vance said…

    It is so cozy to snuggle into a sleeping bag when you are camping. The sound of the trees rustling and the creek running by, what a great feeling! However, it isn't a great feeling if the bag you are sleeping in isn't comfortable! Make sure you get the proper weight sleeping bag. Even though it may be balmy and warm at home, remember that it is much cooler in the mountains. You will want sleeping bags that will be warm, but not too hot. Get a bag that is a medium to heavy weight, unless you are going to high elevations then you will want a heavy weight bag.

  • At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Fred Ocampo said…

    Wow! It's such a nice blog very informative and full of thoughts or ideas. I hope to see more. Thanks for sharing by the way.

  • At 1:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nice camping tip. Thanks a lot!

    "What I like about camping is you can get really dirty." Unknown

  • At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Coloma said…

    Many thanks poster, for such an informative blog. Sometimes being on such kind of blogs actually make you to plan or visit campgrounds twice in a year. But we all been through limited period of time to visit such attractive places.


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