Camping in the USA — Tips for your vacation

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Camping
Camping

Camping and RV’ing are the best ways to discover the beauty of the country, to meet like-minded people, and to connect with the nature.

But camping requires some planning in advance: find your destination, make reservations for campgrounds, get maps, get the right gear and plan ahead for supplies like food, water, medical kits, etc…

If considering remote and isolated destinations make sure to get informed about climate and weather aspects, road and hiking conditions, water refilling stations, useful emergency equipment, wildlife species in the area, etc.. Wilderness camping in National Parks but also any Federal Land often requires a permit or at least registration in order that they know who is out there. It’s for your own safety in the end because something can happen and you need help.

Parks under the administration of the National Park Service

The website of the National Park Service (NPS) provides all the information you need for a given park, forest, or monument under their administration: National Parks, National Forests, National Historic Sites, National Monuments.
For each park they explain whether Camping is available and what type of camping: RV Camping, Tent Camping, Hookup- and Dump Stations, Sanitary installations, wilderness camping information and so on.
Website of the National Park Service (www.nps.gov)

Reservations

Especially during the summer months popular campgrounds fill up early in the day and often a reservation, especially for National Parks is required to guarantee a spot. First come, first serve might still be available for a given day but that’s a gamble.

The National Park Service (NPS) offers for many parks reservations and tells you how long in advance you can make a reservation and whether First-Come-first-Serve is available.
NPS Reservation System: www.recreation.gov/

You also reach that website from the NPS website via the specific camping information page of a given park.

Camping on other Federal Land or State Parks

Besides that there are National Park you will find beautiful camping areas in State Parks (of the respective State) as well as on land administrated by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management).

BLM Campgounds

General information about BLM Campgrounds (including interactive map) can be found here: https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/camping

They also explain if and how reservations can be made.

Private campgrounds

No need to explain that… you can just search the Internet for your destination and add the term camping.
Private campgrounds are normally more expensive than Federal and State campgrounds, but you also need to evaluate the amenities of those private campgrounds. There’s everything out there from basic to actually high-end luxury camping.

In some very popular areas like the southwest of the United States you will notice that also some Hotels offer campgrounds besides just rooms. E.g. if you are looking for Bryce Canyon Camping you will also notice that the famous Ruby Inn comes up in the listings: they actually have a very nice and large campground with all sorts of facilities like toilets, showers, RV hookups, a General Store, and so on.

Or in Monument Valley where you don’t find many Hotels, actually only the Goulding’s Lodge and the View Hotel, but both have campgrounds as well.

So, it’s all about your planning and research to find campgrounds that fit your camping style.