The first consideration when choosing between campgrounds is navigating the reservation process. You’ll want to know as much as possible about the location and how far in advance you need to make reservations. Be aware that some campgrounds have a first come, first served policy, for some if not all of their campsites. You may prefer a campground that accepts reservations in advance, instead of showing up only to find there are no campsites available.
It also helps if making reservations is a convenient process, such as simply signing up and paying for your campsite online. Find out if you have to pay in full in advance or if you can give a deposit. It’s important to know what recourse you have if you need to cancel your reservations.
Many campgrounds and RV parks, especially those that are state or national parks, offer websites that include maps of their locations. You can find driving directions and improve your ability to choose a great campsite by viewing the map and learning how close your campsite will be to restrooms, running water, and various other amenities.
Also, note that campsites vary and some are only able to accommodate small RVs or tents, so make sure you choose a campsite that is the appropriate size and set up for your needs. Check the amperage for sites that offer electricity. Many campers need 30 amps, but campgrounds have sites that range from 20 to 50 amps.
Next, look over the amenities offered by various campgrounds. Check to see if there are “real” showers with hot and cold running water as opposed to cold showers intended for rinsing off before or after swimming. Find out if there are flushable toilets, instead of a “pit” toilet, which is basically an outhouse type of facility.
See if a grill is provided at the campsite or if you need to bring your own. Check to see if there is a picnic table, preferably a covered one. It’s also a good idea to learn which types of wildlife inhabit the area. Also note any precautions you need to take such as making sure food is stored properly to avoid attracting everything from raccoons to bears.
Another important issue for many campers is the convenience of trash and waste disposal. Is the trash disposal area adequate and conveniently located? Is the waste disposal area accessible, clean, well maintained, and easy to use? Is it free for those staying at the campgrounds or is there a fee for dumping waste? Each of these considerations will aid you in choosing between campgrounds so you can find the best possible location and plan an enjoyable camping trip.