If you’ve spent much time with campers, you know they all have pretty strong opinions about everything–and campgrounds are no exception. Some campers ardently prefer private campgrounds; others are almost religious about national parks. What’s really the difference? Though every campground is different and none are inherently superior, some general differences might help you pinpoint the best options for your style of adventuring.
Pros: An abundance of amenities
Cons: Less privacy, less off-the-grid
Everything privatized is inconsistent, as you can imagine. One private campground might have incredible Wi-Fi and beautifully-maintained waterfront picnic areas. Another might be incredibly primitive, with nothing but a few showers and power hookups. But private campgrounds do tend to do amenities better than their government counterparts, largely because they can (and do) charge more. Looking for a campground with clean, well-maintained showers, laundry facilities, and maybe even a rec room? You should probably look at private campgrounds first.
Pros: Incredible diversity in camping locales; budget-friendly
Cons: Often have limited amenities and hook-ups
These can vary pretty widely, too, both in terms of nightly fees and amenities. In Wisconsin, you can book a camping spot at over 5,000 state parks using their nifty online booking tool. In general, you can expect more basic amenities but a more off-the-grid feel than you’d get at most private campgrounds. Do your research ahead of time to find out whether they have large enough spaces to accommodate your rig, and to find out what hook-ups and amenities they’ll have available during the time of your visit.
Pros: Some of the most beautiful landscapes in the U.S.
Cons: Smaller spots, fewer hookups, can be incredibly crowded and booked full during peak season
Some call national parks the holy grail of campsites or America’s best-kept secrets. And America’s national parks system is truly impressive, for day visitors and campers alike. National parks are all about preserving the natural beauty of the area, so full hook-ups and generous RV parking spots tend to be lower on their list of priorities. When planning your trip, know exactly how long your rig is from bumper to bumper and ask about the size of spots to make sure you’ll fit. You might feel more like you’re boondocking it in many national parks; they don’t necessarily offer full hook-ups or showers, but they usually make up for those deficits in terms of natural beauty and escape.
Of course, these are just generalizations; every single site has its own advantages and disadvantages to consider, and your own preferences make all the difference in this conversation. Have young kids along for the ride? A private campground with a playground and showers might be better for your needs. Looking to get far away from it all under the stars for a quiet, off-the-grid escape? A national park in the non-peak season might be the perfect opportunity for you to get out and experience the great outdoors with all the privacy and space in the world.
If you’re hitting the road in an RV, make sure you’re fully covered in case something unexpected happens. Glass Insurance specializes in RV insurance, so you’ll be covered if your trip doesn’t go quite as expected. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions! We love to camp, and we’ll do our best to help set you up with the best policy to fit your needs.