Featured Activity: Choosing A Campsite

Published on July 15, 2020 - Updated on July 15, 2020

Tips For Finding a Suitable Campsite for our Growing Community of RV Travelers.

All campgrounds are not created equally and like most things, each campground has a distinct purpose. Some are designed as quick travel stops, some serve up epic adventures into the wilderness while others are intended for an energetic family vacation with kid-friendly amenities like pools, bounce pads, playgrounds, and social events. 

It sounds obvious but arriving at a campground that doesn't meet your needs or expectations after a long day of travel is a real letdown. That said, it can be easily avoided by asking the right questions. Through trial and error, we created a family list of priorities and strategies that drive our decisions on the road. 

planning a trip

First, start by answering a few simple questions.

  1. Do you need power?
  2. Do you need water? 
  3. Do you prefer a full hook up with water, sewage and electricity?
  4. What other amenities do you need - shower, bathhouse, beach access, stroller path, playground, or other kids’ activities? 


Once we have our basic expectations in line, we put a lot of trust in The Dyrt app for both quick searches when we are on the road and also for longer-term planning. We cross-reference Harvest Hosts to link up with creative experiences, such as farms, wineries, and breweries. 

Additionally, most bookings for state park campsites should be done in advance on their website. Since we enjoy somewhat of a loose schedule we often must wait for last-minute reservations in these locations. Sometimes it works out well and other times it can be a scramble to find a spot.


It is very important to mention that many campgrounds claim to be waterfront or near the water, but unfortunately they can be misleading. Always go beyond the website descriptions and zoom in on the campground map to understand the accurate proximity to the beach, lake, or pool. Additionally, you can quickly determine if your camping spot is truly in nature or is right on a highway (which happens all the time).

We evaluate campgrounds in three general categories. Some campgrounds are like a quick stay hotel, right off the highway, and selected for convenience on your route. We select them with safety and cleanliness as the guiding force, with no intention of spending multiple days in vacation mode. 

Yellowstone national park

Second, there are state and national park campgrounds that deliver quick access to hiking, bodies of water, or geological features. Most of these campgrounds are great places to set up camp for a more well-rounded adventure. 

Private campgrounds are diverse in their offerings and require the most research. They can be a bit more expensive and can also dramatically range in quality. With that in mind, make sure to check all the boxes in terms of research. Understand your plan and expectations, surf the reviews, and even give a call to get a better sense of the vibe.


Learning new tips and tricks along the way is part of the fun, so keep an eye out for many more to come. We hope our adventures will be encouraging and helpful if you decide to explore, or simply need to reach a destination safely via RV this summer, so your experience is everything you want and more!

Do you have a favorite place to go camping with your kids? We love to hear from you, so please reach out to us at share@happyly.com and tag your highlights @gethappyly.

For more inspiration, check out another recently featured activity, Find a State Park Near You and maybe you’ll uncover the perfect place to camp near you! Need a little more encouragement? Take a moment to Discover the Wonderful World of RV Travel or Camping, Glamping, or RV Travel: What Suits Your Family?

Enjoying our content? Please download the free happyly app, the country’s only mobile-first family activity planning app, for fast access to all of our frequent blog content, favorite activities, and expertly designed curated days, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Caitlin Iseler
Caitlin Iseler, happyly founder and CEO, was born in New York and is one of eight children. Her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving and the chance to sit at one table with her favorite 40 people. Caitlin, her outdoor loving husband, Thomas, and daughter, Hanah, live in Virginia Beach. She is also blessed to be a bonus mom to 2 incredible humans, Max & Elizabeth. Being a mom has always been something she dreamt of and it brings her joy beyond measure. Before starting happyly, Caitlin spent 15 years working in executive search with technology companies, most recently with Korn Ferry. In what seems like a lifetime ago, she attended the University of Virginia and was a member of the National & ACC Championship Teams, a gift that keeps giving.
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