How campgrounds function - reserving a campsite.
Campgrounds are strategically located throughout the country for very good reason. Many are located near tourist attractions, national parks, lakes, streams, rivers, beaches and in areas of natural beauty. They range in size from as little as a few campsites to major RV parks boasting well over one hundred campsites and RV spaces. Each campground may offer a variety of amenities and services. Most RV parks offer hookups which may include water, sewer and electrical power.
Prices range from free to $50 or more per night. Tent sites are cheaper than RV spaces and prices vary based on seasons. Generally speaking, supply and demand sets the fees in conjunction with included services and amenities.
Some campgrounds have campsites tightly grouped and crowded while others are spread out with plenty of room. Some campgrounds have creeks, rivers or lakes in or adjacent to the park. Many offer designated play areas for the kids.
Other campground amenities and services may include:
- Rest rooms
- Wireless internet
- Grocery store
- RV services
- Pet areas
- Dump stations
- Trash receptacles
- Fishing or boating
- Swimming pools
Additionally, based on proximity to attractions and tourist areas, some campgrounds offer services like shuttles and tours.
How to reserve a campground space.
It's always a good idea to make reservations in advance, especially during peak vacation seasons. If you are familiar with the park you can reserve a particular space if available. Before reserving a space at a new park, ask lots of questions to help the park host place you in an area that meets your needs. Some want quiet solitude. Families may want to be near the play areas and swimming pool. Proximity to showers and rest rooms may be important if you are camping in a tent.
When arriving without a campground reservation.
Like motels, many campgrounds have "vacancy-no vacancy" signs posted. In the case of national or state park campgrounds they typically post a sign when the park is full.
When the campground office is open to greet you.
Most campgrounds have a host at the park office when you arrive. They will help you choose an available space that best meets your needs.
When arriving at a campground after hours.
While there are slight variations to the system most campgrounds use the same process for late arrivals. Always stop at the campground office first to review their specifics. They generally have their details posted for selecting and paying for a camping space or RV slip.
In some cases a list of available spaces are posted. If not, late arrivals can drive through the campground looking for empty spaces. Each space is numbered. If the space is reserved and therefore not available it will be posted at the campsite, generally with names and dates of the party with reservations. Once you find a space that meets your needs, return to the office with payment and space number and place it in the night depository. Some campground hosts allow you to return in the morning and pay once the office opens.
Pets are welcome in most campgrounds.
Rules for pets in the campground are generally posted or included in the paperwork provided in your arrival packet. Basic rules of pet ownership apply with consideration for other campers. If you are camping in an area where bears occasionally visit, be aware that if your dog barks it will likely agitate the bear and increase the possibility that the bear become aggressive.
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How Do Campgrounds Work?
Knowing the procedures for reserving a campsite can enhance your camping experience.