Your tips wanted about how to choose a campsite

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In the March 16 issue of the RVtravel.com newsletter, editor Chuck Woodbury offered 15 tips for choosing a site in a campground or RV park. For example, before settling into a particular campsite he advised to “check to see if the ground is covered with bird poop. If so, then birds likely roost at night in the tree above,” which he notes is not good for your roof.

He also suggested to check whether a tree above a site “has nuts or pine cones that squirrels will chew then drop when finished (right on your roof with a loud thud!).”

But he undoubtedly missed some pointers that perhaps you can provide. Please leave a comment. We’ll put the best of them together into one article in a week or two.

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Steve

Read all RULES at each campground or On-Line. They all vary so don’t assume. Generator hours, pets, Check-Out times, etc.

Theresa Foxx-Wishert

See if your slides can open without hitting trees, other RV’s etc.

Max

Always look for dead trees close by. They could be deadly if they fell onto you or your camper. There are many dead ash trees because of the emerald ash borers in our area.

David Hagen

If you don’t have reservations, make sure you get to your RV park choice by 4PM (Happy Hour). Many parks fill up by 7 PM.

Sue Vilmont

Check area to make sure no flooding could occur if a heavy rain happens so you do not have to move suddenly. This happened to our friends so passing this on.

Homer Jenkins

All good suggestions-EXCEPT- nowadays, you pretty much have to make your reservations 6 months to a year in advance, sight unseen. But sometimes you get lucky…

Bob Portiss

Superb list Chuck Several others submitted good suggestions too Thanks much!

Sharon B

One other thing is to make sure if there is an incline in the site to have it in your favor so the sewage does not go backwards. Just had this issue on the last trip. Beautiful park but it was a hassle for the drainage.

Sharon B

I don’t even bother backing into a spot unless I first plug in my Progressive EMS shore power protector so I am not wasting my time.
I don’t get out every month, but have found 3 places including one KOA where the electric was bad.

Bob Difley

Choosing a site next to a restroom may seem convenient, but be ready for a continuous flow of foot traffic day and night as well as lights shining in your windows making sleep difficult.

Bill M

They are all good ideas but we would have to choose a site when we book and just go off the campground map or are assigned a site, so we don’t have any control to do these suggestions

Eric Ramey

1-Before pulling into a site get out and look at the ground..just to make sure the previous occupants didn’t leave any bottles on the ground that blend in nicely with the ground.

2-If you have the option to choose your spot. Pick one that is close to the bathhouse (if you are going to use it on a regular basis) but not too close so that you hear everyone coming and going at all hours of the night.

Tina

If Wifi is important to you, make sure it is available throughout the park and not just at the office or community center. If cable TV is important to you, ask if it is included in the price and not a perk you need to get from the cable company at an additional cost. Just because the park advertises Wifi and cable does not mean it is included in the fee.

AdamK.

I always ask if the water supply is treated and tested. Most BC Provincial parks have their water tests online. Private RV parks vary, some will be on city water, but if not it’s worth asking. One place we stopped at had a “boil water advisory” that was not immediately obvious!

AdamK.

You may want to avoid those pine trees in very hot weather. We parked under some pine trees for about 10 days and ended up getting about 100 drips of that sticky goo on the roof, awning and front of the trailer. If this happens to you, try methyl hydrate (alcohol) or Goo Gone for cleanup. Just test on an inconspicuous area to see if affects the paint job.

PJ Nyvall

We ask the park manager “Does it ever Flood Here” we live in the Hill Country of Texas.

Chuck C

I think that your list very good. You hit on pretty much of all the things that my wife and I keep in mind when we ask about our sites.

Dale Sain

Before I pulled into the site just now, I checked for reasonably level (fixable) and checked the shore power. No sense doing all that leveling only to need to move to clean power.

barb

Picking a site: while you look in and around the bushes, be sure there is not a homeless encampment residing in there. Especially if you are within walking distance of all-night shopping facilities.

Robert Hugh Hoy

Very useful. Thanks

Steve Winterowd

Check out the irrigation system of the park- water spots are no fun. Also, check out the landing zone in front of the steps to avoid tracking “stuff” in the rig.

Susan

Picking site: if have solid rubber rear mud guard, make sure when backing into site that guard will clear fireplace ring. We didn’t with our Class A. Knew we had plenty of room in back snd on side of rig from bumper up. Then all of a sudden we heard crunch. Even w rear camera and no tree near us, couldn’t figure what happened till got down on our knees and saw the corner of low firepit rock had cracked red plastic reflector panel on mud flap. Usually mud flap just bended over little things like this. We replaced plastic… Read more »

Sherri Eley

Do NOT depend on the rating system in the RV Campground book. WE have stayed in some that were rated as 4 star and only to find out when pulling in after a long day of driving in the dark, our lot was a grassy site, with a water hook up that did not work, not to mention the overly friendly neighbor…parked next to us…. Just Sayin’. We hightailed it out of there early next morning with a note in my RV park journal…DO NOT STAY HERE AGAIN.

Bill Trepp

1) Choose a site away from vault toilets in hot weather to avoid odors. 2) Avoid sites down stream of the general drainage pattern especially if you see a delta in the site

June

We usually camp in state parks where we make reservations 9 months in advance. We’re not able to see many of the items covered in your list. However, I take advantage of the maps available online showing the campsites and their lengths. Our trailer is 32’ long and our pickup is 20’, so I try to reserve the longest site available that exceeds 52’. I also look at the photos of the campsite at the State Park’s website, if available. Another good resource for that is campsitephotos.com. On the campground maps, the paths to the bathrooms are usually shown. I… Read more »

Susan

Wonder if Google earth would help w better site selection? Sometimes bit laborious but helped us tremendously when a unfamiliar fix it place said no low rr bridges for our Class A. When i used good Sam routing that i trust it came up w danger low bridge warning. . Used Google earth and saw there was low bridge at exact intersection i had to turn right. If i turned left 15 feet away would have hit obstacle. Yes one might say i should have trusted the small auto fix it shop but. Did the receptionist really hear me when… Read more »

Chuck

If you cherish Satellite service (Direct or Dish) be aware of where the Dish must point and position RV accordingly

Bill H

I always check for obstructions for my slide and awning. Also we camp near a couple lakes here in PA, I always look at my site for signs of a well used path to the lake, that usually indicates that site gets a lot of foot traffic through or near it and I usually try to avoid those sites.

Ed

In the warm months I like to park facing north to northeast. That way my sitting area is shaded by both the awning and RV. That’s the hottest time of the day and the most likely time I will be sitting out. Amazing how few parks are designed for this but when I have a choice this is what I try to do.

I look for shaded sites. Some parks are nothing more than parking lots with hookups. Avoid those.

Susan

Hi Ed
Bit directionally challenged. I have small compass. Like your sitting sun protection idea but wonder if will work if want to have least sun exposure for frig in hot weather w no trees. Awning on same side as frig. With class A using your North suggestion (rig lined up on North South axis, would side of rig that has the awning and frig be facing east or west or doesn’t make a difference ?

Earl Oliver

I’ve probably been camping/RVing longer than most of you and I find Chuck’s suggestions about the best list I’ve ever seen!

David Howard

If the site is near the restrooms, and you can tell by the odor before even entering the building, find another site.

Bob Perry

Try to predict whether or not you will be under water if it rains. Sometimes it’s more obvious than at other times but it is a consideration that is easy to overlook until you are under water.

Tom Braeunig

Be sure to look UP,especially if you have a tall rig. Look for overhanging tree branches

Tom Braeunig

If you have a tall rig, check for overhanging tree branches.

Ray martin

All of that sounds fine, but lots of time one doesn’t have much choice u get what they assign to you.

Einar

Now there is a the REAL BIG ONE!
Ray, You hit that one right on the head!

J.hamm

While not anti dog i do not appreciate barking dogs particularly the yippee ones so i check he close campsite for evidence of dogs and parking noises. Some parks have separate loops for dogowners so avoid them if possible. Mostly i follow all the tips given which is much easier to do by only traveling off season and never in summer!

Robert Luhrs

We look at Good Sam ratings online then go to the reviews of the Park, Lots of info on reviews some are sour grapes posts but you can get a pretty good idea if it’s for you. If there is a website for the park we look at that as well it will show the “Best” of the park what it doesn’t say is what we say might be “red flags”. We found that if we want to look at KOA and we have friends in the area we want to entertain we look at a site with a KOA… Read more »

Sherri Eley

The park website will put their park in the best light of course. Years ago we considered a long term park in AZ, based on their web site, but changed our mind. Thank goodness, we drove to that park and found it looked nothing like the photos they posted on their site.

impavid

ADD TO #4. AND DITTO THE ELECTRICAL CORD.

Dan Benson

On tip #6, parking under a tree with fruit or berries, you will also have bird droppings.

Barb Palm

We have 3 slides on our motorhome. We bought a dowel at a hardware store. Cut it to the extended length of our widest slide. When we get out to check our site – before leveling or anything else – we use the dowel to see if the slide will come close to anything. It helps to eyeball the compartment doors to make sure they can swing open and clear a power pole or a big bush. Saves a lot of time to use this dowel first.

June

Excellent idea. I have a yardstick that I use.

Mike Sherman

Avoid being near the trash dumpster

June

Another great idea. It attracts flies.

Rich

Great suggestions. But many campgrounds don’t give you a choice. You’re assigned to a site.

Sharon

We reserve far enough in advance that we can choose our own camp site. In State parks there are often web pictures of individual sites and we have been able to “view” the sites remotely. Google Earth also helps! The one thing we learned is never park under a black walnut tree in the fall?

tusonbird

Soooooo true! I didn’t know it was a black walnut tree when I parked. In the middle of the night the wind picked up and I was “bombed” by those nasty, staining nut missiles. Thank goodness I was able to move the next morning!!

Vince

Make sure the connection threads on the sewer pipe are not stripped. If they are then you have to put a rock, brick, etc. on your drain hose which will make it necessary to ensure that it doesn’t pop out when emptying the tanks. In that case you never want to pull the valve when not standing right by the drain.

June

Several years ago, I bought a “Sewie Pig” for my husband for Christmas. It’s a hollow plastic pig that can be filled with water for the weight needed to hold down the sewer hose. If works well, and makes me smile when I use it.

Sumner

If you have a slide out(s) check the side clearances before you level and set up.

bill morrison

Appreciate all your tips but for the most part I’m not the one choosing the site. The campground/resort has already picked it for me when we register ahead of time. Many times by a part time employee that may or may not have ever stepped foot inside a motorhome. Never walked the roads within their park, has no idea on tree or branch locations (“well the map says this…”), and certainly has no idea which direction southwest is for satellite clearances. I always stretch my coach length by a couple of feet when registering by phone for fitment and stress… Read more »

Gil

Bill’s assessment is right on point. As you’ve stated in your editorials, CG’s are more crowded, old, not maintained and have too many “permanent” guests.

STEPHEN P MALOCHLEB

As you drive up look at the surrounding area. If you see trash everywhere it’s a good indication how the rest of the campground is.

JMCherry

If you get sap on your rig use hand sanitizer to remove it. It takes it off without wrecking your finish. I find this day and age it’s difficult to “pick” your spot as most of your spots are already assigned for you when you get there.

Willie

Buy a rig that is a capable boondocker. Be in control of where you camp and therefore, your destiny.

Mike Henrich

If you primarily take weekend trips, take a day trip during the off season to scout out local campgrounds.

Steven M Jenkins

I use web sites to select a park, but the particular site within that park is assigned by the park manager. By the time I arrive, all sites are assigned. How could I have any control over the place I park?

John

Denton, I agree. Those sites don’t exist other than perhaps in a Walmart parking lot,

Neil

I agree, but not completely. Yes………..Most campgrounds assign you a site and most often they will not even tell you the site number to view on a campground site map until you arrive. The campground excuse is they need the flexibility to move people around, which is actually nonsense. My wife and I have camped in many different campgrounds for over (40) years and there are some that will allow you to select a site, if you book in advance. Some have even allowed us to arrive and drive around and select our own site. Naturally, if it is a… Read more »

Denton Grenke

If I could find a site that met all your criteria, Chuck, it must be in some other country. No park has all these desirable features. Most times you might get a choice of 2 or 3 sites. Primary things are services (water, electric, sewer) and level. After that – take your chances.

Alvin Hausauer

I agree, especially when camping mostly in Forestry, COE, or State parks.

Reginald Goforth

Barking dogs!

Einar Hansen

When backing into your site make sure that you have room for your slide-outs. Sometimes things are close.
And also that you can reach the utility hook ups.

Bart Savino

During rainy season, avoid lower levels of the park, especially near bodies of water. Unless you enjoy muddy feet or worse.