For many campers — and that includes those in RVs — camping in a U.S. National Forest campground is the way to go. As its name suggests, most are in forests, most in the Western states. And more often than not, they are in beautiful, secluded, peaceful settings, often along streams or lakes.
They are typically the least expensive campgrounds. Most do not offer hookups of any kind, and the campsite pads will generally be dirt and too often not level. Some may have flush toilets, but many (if not most) have an outhouse or two. They are often accessible via a dirt road — sometimes a long drive — yet some are right along the highway. Some will accommodate 100 campers or more, but most have space for only two to three dozen, even less.
Campsites are generally far more spacious than in commercial RV parks and even state parks. Because they are often remote, and because there are so many of them, campsites are available when other parks are filled.
Perhaps the biggest downside to staying in a National Forest campground with an RV is that campsites often will not accommodate rigs longer than 30 feet, sometimes not even that long.
But for RVers who enjoy a campsite with lots of distance from their neighbor, where an evening campfire won’t blow into the neighbor’s window, these campgrounds are just the ticket.
So where are they?
That’s where the 326-page second edition of National Forest Camping saves the day. It profiles 4,108 designated camping areas at 141 forests in 42 states. It provides specific locations, how many campsites are available, what size RVs will fit, types of toilets, length of its season and camper stay limits, plus price, contact information and whether there’s a dumping station. Some National Grasslands areas are also included.
The new edition of the directory was published in May 2023 by Roundabout Publications and the Ultimate Public Campgrounds Project. It’s available from Amazon for about $20. Pack this along on your trips or use it for planning. It will be very helpful.