Camping Hacks: Finding the Perfect Campsite
Let’s be honest, planning a camping trip can be pretty overwhelming. There’s a lot to think about and prepare for before you even hit the road, and finding a place to camp can be tricky. Fortunately, there are some great resources out there to help you find your ideal campsite. In this post, we are going to compile some of our favorite and most trustworthy resources we regularly use to find campsites. We’ll cover resources we use for car camping, backpacking and glamping, so regardless of what type of camping trip you are planning, you’ll know where to begin your search.
You can: directly reserve campsites ($); secure camping permits in protected areas; purchase entrance passes for national parks; rent cabins, yurts, etc.
Great for: car camping, RV, dispersed camping, backpacking
Recreation.gov is a trip planning resource run by the federal government which sources information from 12 government agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, National Parks Service, National Forest Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service. We always like to start here because these agencies are responsible for maintaining some of the most beautiful land in our country, and supporting them directly supports the preservation of our public lands. The biggest advantage of using Recreation.gov is being able to reserve a campsite ahead of time within national parks or forests. Almost all reservable campsites on federally protected land are listed here, meaning you can see exactly what’s available in one place. You can also purchase permits for backcountry wilderness camping and park passes ahead of time.
You can: reserve campsites ($ via links to 3rd party websites), download offline maps for dispersed and backcountry camping, search for sites based on very specific criteria, find great info for RV camping, read forums and engage with other users.
Great for: car camping, RV, backpacking, dispersed camping
The Dyrt is one of the most popular camping resources out there, and the biggest advantage to using this platform is being able to engage with other outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to being a resource for camping, it’s also a social media network that includes forums and extensive user reviews for campsites around the world. The Dyrt is one of the best resources to use for finding dispersed and backcountry campsites, as they have compiled maps from several government agencies showing where backcountry and dispersed camping is permitted. Using the premium version of the app, you can download offline versions of maps where dispersed camping is allowed, which makes finding a site much easier when you’re already out in the wild. We also love reading user reviews of specific campsites, which give you an honest perspective of what each site is like.
You can: search campsites on private land; book a glamping trip; reserve cabins, yurts, unique experiences.
Great for: car camping, glamping, RV
Think of Hipcamp as the Airbnb of the camping world. Individuals have the opportunity to rent out land that they own for campers to use, meaning that you can find many different and unique listings out there. Campsites on public land tend to book up quickly, so this is a great resource for reserving a last minute campsite. This is also a great option for people who prefer glamping, as there are many listings around the world that cater to camping with comfort. There’s also the added benefit of communicating directly with the landowner, who is able to recommend things to see and do in the area and answer any questions that may come up during your trip.
Ask your outdoorsy friend who goes camping.
You can: have a conversation with a friend of yours that can give you real, honest feedback about their experience.
Great for: getting a personalized recommendation.
Did a friend of yours post some really awesome photos on social media from a recent camping trip? Ask them where they went and how they liked it! We do this all the time, and highly recommend it. Don’t have many outdoorsy friends? Follow us on Instagram and send us a message, we are happy to give out personalized recommendations - seriously! Our team has decades of combined camping experiences, and we are happy to recommend some of our favorite places. Interested in camping in Colorado? Check out our blog post The Top 5 Camping Sites from My Past 5 Years in Colorado. Keep an eye on our blog and social media accounts - we post tips and tricks each week to help you get out there and enjoy the great outdoors.
We hope that using these four resources make planning your camping trip just a little bit easier. Do you have other resources you use to find a campsite? Let us know in a comment below and let’s continue this conversation!
Need help packing for your trip? We put together the ultimate car camping packing list that you can download as a PDF, check it out!
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