Campground Finder

I started my journey around the US and Canada a couple months ago in my new [email protected] and my new travel companion; a black lab named Yoda that I adopted from a rescue. I am really enjoying it so far and I think Yoda is enjoying it even more. I was lucky to find a fury friend who LOVES riding in the car sight seeing hanging his head out his window!
I have never camped previous to June of this year!
I'm running into one issue I need a little advice with though and I figured I wouldn't offend too many people with my question here. As I travel, I'm locating campgrounds to stay at as I go given my logistics are pretty fluid. Example, I'm currently in New England for fall colors and I'm just following the color reports around. 
My issue, I try to locate places to stay using online apps backed up by reading google reviews but I'm finding most of the reviews are from giant land yacht travelers so places that have a ton of great reviews actually end up being places that I generally don't like. I love staying at state and national parks but I have to stop and stay for extended periods from time to time for R&R at campgrounds that at least have electricity. Unfortunately, I seem to only find giant wide open private campgrounds where the majority of the guests are either seasonal or live there permanently in RVs larger than my house!
I'm not knocking these places but I'm looking more for places that cater to travelers and more specifically places that cater equally to small trailer and tent campers. 
I'm wondering if there are any good resources out there better than the apps I'm using to locate campgrounds that are more what I'm searching for.
I primarily use  the ParkAdvisor app when I'm looking to stay an extended period somewhere. I found a site that is kind of an AirBnB for glampers that is pretty cool called hipcamp.com but most of the hosts don't have electrical hookup which I really like for extended stays that are longer than my batteries will hold one charge.
I've considered getting a generator for longer stays but I really don't have any space left to store one.
Any recommendations or advice? 
2017 Silver/Black [email protected] XL MAX
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Comments

  • atlasbatlasb Posts: 331Member
    Zurdo5150,  Check out www.stateparks.com.  I ran across this last week and it lets you select each from a map and see what is available.  Not sure how you will like it or if it is what you are looking for.  Have a great adventure and enjoy.  We also travel with a fury friend.  He loves to go!
    2018 [email protected] 400, 2016 Nissan Frontier Crew cab
  • TammaraTammara Posts: 34Member
    I am new at this as well, and am looking for a campground guide as well. Several people have recommended Allstays.com and there is an app for Apple products.  I have looked at the website and used it a bit on my last outing. If it ever comes out for Android, I will probably get it.  One person told me how they could use filters to find the kind of space they were looking for (they were in a van camper, had a dog, liked out of the way spots).
    2017 [email protected] 320 S     Jeep Cherokee 3.2L V6
    States Visited Map


  • KBaggins1KBaggins1 Posts: 135Member
    We are Good Sam members and we bought their giant guide to campgrounds. It has most of the USA and Canada campgrounds, not just Good Sams. There are reviews and maps in there too. We also use the Nav system in the van and the ever reliable signs at the exit method. But the Good Sams book is well worth the money.
    2014 [email protected] [email protected];  2017 Ford Transit Low Roof, Reg. Wheel Base
  • newellnewell Posts: 165Member
    We also use "all stays" and it has been a great help.  Even in Canada.  It has a data bank built in so it can still work even if you don't have internet access.  It has several filters so you can select what you're looking for such as state parks, private parks, dump stations, even RV friendly Walmarts, truck stops etc.  Best $10 bucks you'll ever spend.

                                                 
        Earl & Sue | Central NY |
    2017 [email protected] 320S | TV: Chevy Silverado
  • HerFineMessHerFineMess Posts: 22Member
    I agree with newell on Allstays being a GREAT use of ten dollars. The filter feature is so helpful.

    I mainly use my KOA and Allstays apps. If I am at home, I use the Good Sam webpage to check out some of the reviews of the places I find on Allstays. I usually check out a place a few different ways before I commit to a booking.

    You know what else? I LOVE being in my little [email protected] surrounded by all of the big rigs! I usually pay for a pull-through site (I am still backing up challenged) and I get a kick out of being the smallest camper around!   

    --Meg 
    Mostly A Solo RV Chick 
    [email protected] Outback
    Jeep Grand Cherokee 
  • WilliamAWilliamA Posts: 31Member
    atlasb said:
    Zurdo5150,  Check out www.stateparks.com.  I ran across this last week and it lets you select each from a map and see what is available.  Not sure how you will like it or if it is what you are looking for.  Have a great adventure and enjoy.  We also travel with a fury friend.  He loves to go!
    I'm with Atlasb.  My favorite place to find good campsites on the fly are the state government websites.  The websites are well organized with good info and can help you avoid the parking lot campgrounds.  Also cheaper.  

    WilliamA
    "When I am in charge, Starburst will get their own food group, and where are all the freakin' laser beams?  There should be more laser beams......"
  • Zurdo5150Zurdo5150 Posts: 24Member
    @WilliamA
    @atlasb
    I definitely prefere State, National and even county parks if they don't sell seasonal sites. Question though, have you found most states also require a costly vehicle state park registration on top of the camping fee? Unfortunately, I haven't used any state parks outside of my own state of MI yet because they all seem to close by Sept/Oct. Once I get further south, I'm sure they are open all year and would love to use them. (I'm in NC now)
    Vermont had a cool option for their state park registration that is great for out of state travelers. You can buy a pass good for 10 state park uses for $30 and it never expires. That way you can come back next year and not have to buy another annual pass which is also $30. All states should do this.
    2017 Silver/Black [email protected] XL MAX
  • WilliamAWilliamA Posts: 31Member
    edited November 2017
    Zurdo,
    I've found that many states require an entry fee on top of the camping.  As a disabled vet I've been able to get the park entry waived in some states.  Also, check for the usual AARP, retired, veteran programs, etc) discounts.  I have a Wisconsin State vet pass (free to disabled vets) and have found other states that will waive the entry fee when I show it.  Don't forget the National park passport.  It's good for all federal parks and monuments.  There are some that require an additional daily fee that can't be waived.   County, state and federal forests offer camping for next to nothing.  I get good info on state dnt websites, but the websites themselves are generally dreadful and hard to navigate.  Guess I just contradicted my earlier post.  The DNR websites for states seem to be the hard ones.  State camping and park sites seem to be pretty good.


    WilliamA

    "When I am in charge, Starburst will get their own food group, and where are all the freakin' laser beams?  There should be more laser beams......"
  • KRGKRG Posts: 14Member
    Reserve America has an app for iPhone.  Works great for finding state parks and making reservations.
  • WillieontheRoadWillieontheRoad Posts: 34Member
    edited April 21
    I have been asking people on our [email protected] adventures if they have ever heard of Campendium.  It amazes me how few have heard of the site.  I can tell you that Campendium has become our #1 guide as we travel. 
    Simple....put in a city close to where you want to camp.  Campendium lists everything in that area from RV parks to state and national parks, COE parks, even BLM locations.  Campers send their ratings and photos. Tab to see amenities and phone service.  GPS coordinates will give you a birds eye view of the campground.
    Every week Campendium sends an e-mail of the five best five-star campsites their users have found.  I have been starring these every week on my Google Map.  Now my map of the USA looks like it has the measles with five-star campsites.  How great is that?
    Hope this helps.  Please give Campendium a try.

    2018 [email protected] 400  Jeep GC
    Alan & Joan Fisher
    Austin, TX
  • PhotomomPhotomom Posts: 2,001Member
    edited April 20
    If you’re interested in NYS state parks or NYSDEC campgrounds there is a fantastic resource that has tons of info including detailed photographs of individual campsites so you can see which sites appeal to you. http://www.campadk.com/campsitephotos/
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • atlasbatlasb Posts: 331Member
    We just got home from 3 nights in central Arkansas at a COE site. Aux Arc park.  Picked up a "your State by State Guide" that list all of the Corps rec areas , state by state CD. It was free and is supposed to be a total listing of their areas.  Look for it at, WWW.CorpsLakes.us .  We find their sites to be a great value and usually well maintained. 
    2018 [email protected] 400, 2016 Nissan Frontier Crew cab
  • phulishcatphulishcat Posts: 89Member
    if you are willing to use crowd sourced information.  freecampsites.net. it's a hidden jewel. On the site it shows pay sites and free sites with many of the camp sites have reviews from people who actually stayed there.  
  • iamherefornowiamherefornow Posts: 30Member
    Zurdo5150 said:

    I'm wondering if there are any good resources out there better than the apps I'm using to locate campgrounds that are more what I'm searching for.
    I primarily use  the ParkAdvisor app when I'm looking to stay an extended period somewhere. I found a site that is kind of an AirBnB for glampers that is pretty cool called hipcamp.com but most of the hosts don't have electrical hookup which I really like for extended stays that are longer than my batteries will hold one charge.
    I've considered getting a generator for longer stays but I really don't have any space left to store one.
    Any recommendations or advice? 
    I'm glad you started this thread.  I'm running into the same thing and just found hipcamp today.  I really like the concept and it looks like you can find some really cool, more remote places to camp.  
  • StevieStevie Posts: 35Member
  • iamherefornowiamherefornow Posts: 30Member
    Stevie said:
    I use https://www.rvtripwizard.com/ and can recommend it.
    @Stevie:  Nice!  I'll bookmark the site.
  • JonWJonW Posts: 25Member
    I use the Android app RvParky.  It's free and very useful.
    JonW - 2018 [email protected] 320U
    Marlborough, Mass
  • iamherefornowiamherefornow Posts: 30Member
    JonW said:
    I use the Android app RvParky.  It's free and very useful.
    @JonW:  Thanks!  They have it for Apple, too.  I just downloaded it.
  • VernaVerna Posts: 4,763Administrator
    AllStays Camp & RV is great. I have camped for 5 years using it.
    Verna, Indianapolis, Indiana; 2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite white/red; towed by a red 2015 Toyota Tacoma V6 TRD 4x4; [email protected] Administrator.  If not now, when?




  • Zurdo5150Zurdo5150 Posts: 24Member
    Zurdo5150 said:

    I'm wondering if there are any good resources out there better than the apps I'm using to locate campgrounds that are more what I'm searching for.
    I primarily use  the ParkAdvisor app when I'm looking to stay an extended period somewhere. I found a site that is kind of an AirBnB for glampers that is pretty cool called hipcamp.com but most of the hosts don't have electrical hookup which I really like for extended stays that are longer than my batteries will hold one charge.
    I've considered getting a generator for longer stays but I really don't have any space left to store one.
    Any recommendations or advice? 
    I'm glad you started this thread.  I'm running into the same thing and just found hipcamp today.  I really like the concept and it looks like you can find some really cool, more remote places to camp.  
    Unfortunately I found hipcamp to be very regional. It's kind of centered around hip areas of the country which I guess makes sense! But there were huge areas of the country where there was nothing. I'm really hoping it catches on all over the country because next winter (if I can afford next winter) I want to do more dry camping and I'd love to take more advantage of hipcamp.

    So, I just finished my 2017/2018 9 month tour of the US with my new travel buddy (Yoda the senior rescue Labrador) a couple weeks ago. It was an amazing journey!!! Starting in September, I meandered from Northern Michigan to New England for Fall Colors (not a very good color year unfortunately): From Franconia, NH, I zig zagged south, loosely following the Appalachian Trail to Georgia until a 3 week Holiday Break back up in Michigan. From Savannah Georgia, I traveled to then along the Gulf coast until Galveston TX where I headed west. I spent all of Feb in and around Austin TX. From there I followed US10, through West Texas, southern NM, and Arizona then North along the AZ-CA boarder. I made it as far as Lake Mohave on the AZ-NV boarder then I headed back East via old Route 66. Route 66 as far as Albuquerque then I headed North to Santa Fe/Los Alamos area for a few weeks (probably my first or second favorite region from the trip). After that, I continued North ultimately to the Black Hills and Badlands of ND until heading back east back to Michigan again.

    As far as apps, I ended up using Allstay for most of my logistics but used a variety of other apps, websites, and good old fashioned google to double check reviews and photos of different campgrounds (campendium is much better than Allstay for reviews and google reviews are a great resource as they are not just campground focused and cover other aspects of the parks and regions and also there are endless photos). User reviews on Allstay are what I found most unreliable for me only because it seems that most people who review there are looking for a different camping experience than I am. Seems like it's disproportionally reviewed by Land Yachters!

    Ultimately, I focused my stays mostly in State Park and National(National Parks, National Forest Service, and Army Corps of Engineers occasionally) campgrounds as they usually were more likely to be what I was looking for. I also used some county parks but I tried to limit that to parks that had a 14-30 day stay limit as it usually was a good indicator that it wasn't a huge RV residence type park which is really what I always tried to avoid.


    I found this article (unfortunately towards the end of my journey) and I hit a couple of these parks. They did not disappoint! Custer State Park in SD was really cool if you like wildlife! There are several differnt small campgrounds in Custer with a wide variety of camping styles to fit everyone's needs.
    http://www.wideopenspaces.com/25-absolute-best-state-parks-u-s/

    2017 Silver/Black [email protected] XL MAX
  • Zurdo5150Zurdo5150 Posts: 24Member
    PS: I found that fellow nüCamers were always the friendliest people in the campground! The one thing we all seem to have in common is the overwhelming visits to our campsites by the non-nüCampers wanting to know more about our 'cool' camper!!! 
    2017 Silver/Black [email protected] XL MAX
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Posts: 2,799Moderator
    @Zurdo5150, sounds wonderful.  How was the weather in Austin in February?  
    Sharon
    Cleveland Heights, Ohio
    2017 TaB CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan

  • Zurdo5150Zurdo5150 Posts: 24Member
    @SAM

    The weather is the main reason I planned such a long stop-over in Austin. I was there, staying in an airBnB, for the whole previous winter (2017) and the weather was amazing the whole time. upper 70s - lower 80s almost every day with very little humidity and mostly sunny. Well, this year I was not so lucky! Weather was cold and rainy for most of the month with only a couple nice days. I met a local who told me it was the most miserable winter that she remembers since the 80s.
    I guess, 'sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes, the bear, well, he eats you!!!'

    Once I got to to the Big Bend region of TX, the weather was warm and dry for the rest of March, April and half of May in W. TX, NM & AZ. But in NM & AZ, it seemed like high winds and dust storms were the Spring norm. I saw more days with constant wind over 30mph (and gusts from 50-70mph) in any given week than I see all year in Michigan. It got old real fast but I can't deny that sunny days, every day, and starry nights were worth sitting through the winds!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPVLyB0Yc6I
    2017 Silver/Black [email protected] XL MAX
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Posts: 2,799Moderator
    The weather is so unpredictable.  Unusual winds have been frequently reported in the southwest spring.  I guess Big Bend is far enough south to have more reliable temps.
    Sharon
    Cleveland Heights, Ohio
    2017 TaB CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan

  • iamherefornowiamherefornow Posts: 30Member
    @Zurdo5150:  That sounds like an amazing trip!  For our first trip out I've decided to book our stays ahead of time.  I probably won't be so structured for our other trips but with this being our first go, I felt better having a set plan.  I thought it would be fun to try different things so we are staying on family land, at a Corps of Engineers spot, a National Park, a farm from HipCamp, and possibly a Walmart parking lot on one of our long days.  Fingers crossed all goes well.  I used recreation.gov to book two of our stays but downloaded Allstays, RV Parky, and ExploreUSFS apps for future trips.

    It looks like the article you posted has some amazing State Parks.  The only one I've been to is Hocking Hills.  I'm really excited to start exploring.
  • Zurdo5150Zurdo5150 Posts: 24Member
    @iamherefornow, I hope you guys have an awesome trip!!!
    I was a little nervous traveling without a set plan but it ended up working out great! I only had to use Walmart twice and a few nights in a hotel here and there but that made for a good break from the road. The biggest challenge was finding places in AZ during the winter as it seems everyone travels there for the winter!
    In hindsight, I think the spontaneity was as much a part of the adventure as the sights I saw. I did take all last summer camping around my home state as my test time before I hit the road in September. That time was definitely invaluable. Getting to know the camper and making any mistakes while still close to home and friendly resources made it much smoother for when I was alone and 1000s of miles away from home!
    2017 Silver/Black [email protected] XL MAX
  • iamherefornowiamherefornow Posts: 30Member
    Zurdo5150 said:

    In hindsight, I think the spontaneity was as much a part of the adventure as the sights I saw. I did take all last summer camping around my home state as my test time before I hit the road in September. That time was definitely invaluable. Getting to know the camper and making any mistakes while still close to home and friendly resources made it much smoother for when I was alone and 1000s of miles away from home!
    Yes, I totally agree.  I think a big part of the fun for me is just going where the wind blows me.  I like to do a ton of research, then throw most of it out the window once I hit the road. (Proverbially speaking of course, 'cause I'm no litter bug.) 
  • JonWJonW Posts: 25Member
    I've traveled cross country multiple times in my teardrop camper (before buying my 2018 [email protected]) and  I tended to stay in state and national park and forest campgrounds (and BLM lands) where possible.  I'd only seek reservations on weekend nights or for very popular places (Yellowstone, Glacier, etc).  During weeknights I never had a problem getting into a most campgrounds and never had to stay at a Walmart.

    I used the RVParky app on my phone to research campgrounds nearby and then call ahead to make sure they had space for me.

    JonW - 2018 [email protected] 320U
    Marlborough, Mass
  • Zurdo5150Zurdo5150 Posts: 24Member
    I see several people with the maps of all the state/provences that they’ve traveled. Is this a seperate app or is it a function of the forum?
    2017 Silver/Black [email protected] XL MAX
  • dragonsdoflydragonsdofly Posts: 785Member
    @Zurdo5150, not a function of the forum. Many links to the site are posted in many different threads. Good luck.
    2017 [email protected] sofitel([email protected])TV 2005 gmc envoy xl. Wyandotte, Michigan.
    Draco dormiens numquam titilandus.
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