Past RVtravel.com articles, like this one, question if the idyllic campsites pictured in RV industry ads really exist. Publisher Chuck Woodbury suggests they are staged where you aren’t allowed to camp. Others I see are photoshopped, often quite poorly, in a scenic location.
Before we answer the question “Do idyllic campsites exist?”, we need to define what an idyllic campsite is. Webster Dictionary defines “idyllic” as “pleasing or picturesque in natural simplicity”. They define “campsite” as “a place suitable for or used as the site of a camp.”
What is missing from the above definitions? The words RV park, campground, or Walmart.
Therefore, it only stands to reason if you want to find idyllic campsites, like those pictured in the ads, you may want to look outside the confines of a traditional RV park or campground.
Are spontaneous road trips dead?
The same article proclaims “A spontaneous RV road trip is all but dead.” Yes, expecting to take a spontaneous RV trip through the most popular national parks, in prime tourist season, while finding open campsites at the end of the day is far from possible, as it once was. If you are like me, you probably don’t want to deal with the hordes of people in our national parks anyway. Dealing with shuttles, timed entry, limited parking, long lines, etc., hardly sounds idyllic to me. Just like finding an idyllic campsite, you will have to search out the idyllic, lesser-known places to visit that are almost or just as beautiful as those preserved in our national parks.
Example: Utah has The Mighty 5 national parks that people flock to like moths to a flame.
“All-time visitation records were broken at four of Utah’s five national parks in 2021, according to preliminary data made available by the National Park Service.”
However, outside of the confines of the The Mighty 5, you will find uncrowded idyllic places like Little Egypt, Eagle Canyon Arch, Valley of the Gods, Wild Horse Window, and many more in Utah. And guess what? Uncrowded idyllic campsites abound within the boundaries of these sites, or very nearby, providing for spontaneous road trips.
Spontaneous road trips are still possible
Click here to review a spontaneous road trip my wife and I took in the spring of last year. We didn’t spend every night in an idyllic campsite, but we enjoyed many. The trip did include two nights in a national park and many idyllic places along the way.
Yes, campground crowding became exasperating due to everyone buying an RV during COVID. However, during this time, my wife and I continued our summer tradition of RV camping with friends and visiting uncrowded beautiful places outside of national parks while camping in idyllic campsites each night. No reservations required. Thundering waterfalls, towering peaks, endless views, gorgeous alpine lakes, etc., have all been part of our itinerary.
How to find such places?
Well, I can’t give away all my secrets or these idyllic places could become overrun and not be so idyllic anymore. I will, however, share enough information for those willing to take the time and do the research to get them started on the hunt.
Start by knowing where public land is located. Most all federal lands allow some type of less formal camping (not in a designated campground) that is often in extremely scenic areas that hold idyllic campsites. It might be a “camping area,” designated trailhead, staging area or dispersed camping. These same scenic areas often contain natural features on par with what you will find in a national park. Click here to learn the ABCs of federal land.
You will also need to know where state land is located. State land often provides the same types of idyllic opportunities as federal land. Knowing where state land is located is especially important in the eastern portion of the country where federal land is less abundant. Examples are state trust lands, DNR (Department of Natural Resources) lands, Fish & Wildlife lands, shores of reservoirs, etc.
Click here to watch a video where I talk about federal and state lands. My discussion of state land agencies begins 12:32 minutes into the video. Note: The Public Lands website I reference is no longer available, but the app still is. I use Outly.com in place of the website.
Do idyllic campsites and idyllic places exist?
Yes. My wife, friends and I enjoy them regularly and you can too! However, you won’t find them in a campground directory or on an app; you will have to discover them for yourself. Take the time to search them out and enjoy your own pleasing, picturesque place in nature. You’ll appreciate your time in nature much more than looking at your neighbor’s slide-out!
Final thought: I find it ironic that you never see a power pedestal in any of the idyllic campsites advertised by the RV industry. They paint the picture of camping in these idyllic wild settings yet continue to add more power hungry appliances to their RVs which, in effect, prohibits many RVers from camping in such places.
What are your thoughts on idyllic campsites? Are they real or a pipe dream for you and your RV?