My RV and Camping Brethren....??

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bhwabeck3533
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Location: Baldwin County, AL

My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by bhwabeck3533 »

A question for those of you who enjoy RV Parks and Campgrounds. My wife and I are fairly new to the hobby (not a fulltime lifestyle). We have a few apps and subscribe to other on-line forums. That said, finding THE BEST choice of an overnight location while on a multi-day journey (with planning flexibility) seems very hit-and-miss. We would like to optimize each opportunity to enjoy every night on the road.

Example: We are heading south from Green Bay WI to north Louisiana. I did some research and randomly chose Wyalusing State Park near Prairie du Chien WI. This is an unbelievably beautiful site. Is it a hidden gem?

That's my question. How do I find these hidden gems? Is there a "go to" list for experienced RVers?

BTW: This Tiffin Wayfarer is working well for us.
mkc
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by mkc »

I generally use https://campgrounds.rvlife.com/ to research parks (it used to be called rvparkreviews.com). The book/website Big Rigs Best Bets was very helpful when we had a diesel pusher. I also used RV trip planner software to plan stops and do similar research, but the one I used was discontinued in 2011 (Trailer Life). The RV Life planner is somewhat similar in that you can plot a route, set stops, and search an area for parks/reviews.

"Best" means different things to different RVers, so it's not easy to have a comprehensive list of "best". To some, it means resorts. Other times, "best" is convenient on/off to the interstate for an overnight.
Last edited by mkc on Tue Sep 20, 2022 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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lthenderson
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by lthenderson »

I don't think I have ever talked with someone into RVing that didn't have opinions on beautiful places they have stayed. Certainly not a fast or comprehensive way to learn but a valuable resource for future trips.
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WoodSpinner
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by WoodSpinner »

OP,

Here re. Couple of tips…..
  1. I try to do lots of Networking and reading to find places that might be of interest someday. I save all of these sites in Google Maps and group them into categories (e.g. Beautiful Parks, Interesting Museums, Food, Repair etc.). This allows me to see the pins for the saved areas as I plan my route.
  2. Very found of a couple of Apps, AllStays in particular for finding all kinds of services and campgrounds while on the road.
  3. We joined Harvest Hosts and have had great luck with their sites for a quick place to stop for the night while traveling.
Best of luck, it’s a fun way to travel….

WoodSpinner
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David Jay
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by David Jay »

WoodSpinner wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 9:21 amVery found of a couple of Apps, AllStays in particular for finding all kinds of services and campgrounds while on the road.
A second shout-out for AllStays. Provides more than just campgrounds, also shows things like dump stations and truck stops.

AllStays was our "go-to" app for our 10 week west coast swing in 2019.
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sailaway
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by sailaway »

I just figure out how far I want to drive each day or what attractions I want to see and google campgrounds in that area until I find one I like. On the rare occasion I can't find anything or they are all booked up, I book a Holiday Inn Express.

There isn't as much a available that far east, but I also use free campsites.net to find free and super cheap sites when we are just stopping for the night. This tends to be boondocking, but the views can be amazing.
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snackdog
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by snackdog »

We prefer to wing it and take pot
Luck as we go. Some gems out there!
toomanysidehustles
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by toomanysidehustles »

bhwabeck3533 wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 7:47 am Example: We are heading south from Green Bay WI to north Louisiana. I did some research and randomly chose Wyalusing State Park near Prairie du Chien WI. This is an unbelievably beautiful site. Is it a hidden gem?

That's my question. How do I find these hidden gems? Is there a "go to" list for experienced RVers?

Sadly most state parks now require a reservation months in advance in the nicer months all across the country. (as you are probably finding out)

Harvest Hosts https://harvesthosts.com/ is a new alternative if you have not checked them out.
belowaverage
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by belowaverage »

toomanysidehustles wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 10:12 am Sadly most state parks now require a reservation months in advance in the nicer months all across the country. (as you are probably finding out)
+1 Yep, sadly this is the case for many public parks now. With an increase of people exploring camping (COVID) and land becoming more scarce (privatization), this will only continue to worsen.

I personally think buying a huge RV is a waste for most people.....but we are "consumers". :dollar
tibbitts
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by tibbitts »

snackdog wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 9:36 am We prefer to wing it and take pot
Luck as we go. Some gems out there!
Yes but there are some real clunkers out there, too. Luck works better for some people than others, and now it seems that trial-and-error is a lot more expensive (inflation, etc.) than it used to be.
camper1
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by camper1 »

Try www.rvparky.com Great for route planning and finding information on places to stay along the way. Nice app. too. Allows you to plan and save multiple trips and totally free.
michaelingp
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by michaelingp »

We use Campendium a lot. But we also think the days of camping without setting up reservations ahead of time are over. One problem with the online reservation system for public campgrounds is that there is frequently no person at the park to help you. So the online system will tell you the campground is full, but there are, in fact, no-shows and other empty campsites. If there is a person there (camp host or ranger), they can tell you, "Oh yes, the folks on site 34 got tired of the rain and left early" or similar. In fact, I can't remember a single "full" campground that didn't have empty sites. Frustrating, but it's hard to hire and retain people these days.

In our experience this summer, many Forest Service and BLM campgrounds do not fill up, but the problem there is that the ones that don't fill up are usually a bit remote, so if you get there and it is full (this has happened to us), it might be a long drive to another campground or Holiday Inn Express.

I don't think private campgrounds have this same issue. You can generally call them that day to make a reservation and there is almost always a human being on site. But, in general, they tend to be more tightly packed (some are really just big parking lots) and more expensive than the public campgrounds. On the other hand, they almost always provide electricity and flush toilets!

All that said, we did a three month camping trip last summer and only had reservations about 85% of the time. We did plan on some campgrounds that were only "first come first serve" but those were generally for weekdays when we were confident they wouldn't fill up. We did have some flexibility in that we stayed some places longer than we expected and other places we skipped. However, a major delay, like a mechanical problem with the van, could have completely derailed the trip (and cost a lot in non-refundable fees).
Wanderingwheelz
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

If we we just on our way somewhere we wouldn’t stay at a state or national park just to sleep and head out the next morning. Gem, or not, if there’s no time to hike or actually enjoy the park, then why pay for it?

We used Walmart, Cracker Barrel and some Cabela’s for our overnight stays on our way to our destinations. Occasionally we’d “stealth camp” in spot where we probably shouldn’t have been but there are so many places that it’s unlikely anyone would bother you that we got more and more comfortable just doing that. You can even stealth camp in many national parks since they’re so large you’re unlikely to be bothered.
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galawdawg
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by galawdawg »

belowaverage wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 10:24 am
toomanysidehustles wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 10:12 am Sadly most state parks now require a reservation months in advance in the nicer months all across the country. (as you are probably finding out)
+1 Yep, sadly this is the case for many public parks now. With an increase of people exploring camping (COVID) and land becoming more scarce (privatization), this will only continue to worsen.
That reflects our experience as well. And both national and state parks that are popular, or in popular areas, often fill up their reservations shortly after the reservation window opens. So trying to plan a lengthy RV trip that is a long-distance from home can be very challenging. No more being able to travel from one park to the next and seeing six or eight different parks over the course of two months. That leaves you scrounging for private/commercial campgrounds, boondocking for much of your trip or simply not going to desirable areas...

And even if you can't get a reservation in a popular national park and end up staying some distance away at a commercial campground, you often need a reservation just to enter the park in your tow/towed vehicle and will still then wait for an hour or more to enter only to be in bumper to bumper traffic inside the park! :(
vested1
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by vested1 »

We used Good Sam, with mixed results. Our best luck came from asking freinds and family however. If the OP were going further west I would suggest Palo Duro State Park just south of Amarillo Texas, but there are too many other great spots to list.

The park is reminiscent of a miniature Grand Canyon without the crowds. The wildlife seems unafraid of visitors, and while walking we had roadrunners approach us and when we put up a small bird feeder at our camp it was immediately visited by numerous red cardinals.
$=WxTxI
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by $=WxTxI »

bhwabeck3533 wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 7:47 am A question for those of you who enjoy RV Parks and Campgrounds. My wife and I are fairly new to the hobby (not a fulltime lifestyle). We have a few apps and subscribe to other on-line forums. That said, finding THE BEST choice of an overnight location while on a multi-day journey (with planning flexibility) seems very hit-and-miss. We would like to optimize each opportunity to enjoy every night on the road.

Example: We are heading south from Green Bay WI to north Louisiana. I did some research and randomly chose Wyalusing State Park near Prairie du Chien WI. This is an unbelievably beautiful site. Is it a hidden gem?

That's my question. How do I find these hidden gems? Is there a "go to" list for experienced RVers?

BTW: This Tiffin Wayfarer is working well for us.
www.hipcamp.com has been helpful for us.
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bhwabeck3533
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Location: Baldwin County, AL

Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by bhwabeck3533 »

www.hipcamp.com has been helpful for us.

Doesn't show State Parks? Is there a website that lists private and public campgrounds?
tfunk
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by tfunk »

I've been using RV Trip Wizard for most of my planning. Pick your route and it shows all campgrounds along the way. Drilling down you see the RV Life campsite reviews, website link, and other information. You can also show gas stations, Walmarts, Casinos, Cracker Barrel, Camping World and many other points of interest along the way. You can toggle each of them off and on to avoid too much clutter.
Joe3zz
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by Joe3zz »

Agree with the comments here. State parks are generally a good idea, reasonable per night costs, you are not packed in like sardines like commercial parks, and most are beautiful.

Harvest Hosts is also great-we have stayed at 45 of them and have enjoyed them all.
Joe3zz
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by Joe3zz »

Agree with the comments here. State parks are generally a good idea, reasonable per night costs, you are not packed in like sardines like commercial parks, and most are beautiful.

Harvest Hosts is also great-we have stayed at 45 of them and have enjoyed them all.
mkc
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Re: My RV and Camping Brethren....??

Post by mkc »

tfunk wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:20 pm I've been using RV Trip Wizard for most of my planning. Pick your route and it shows all campgrounds along the way. Drilling down you see the RV Life campsite reviews, website link, and other information. You can also show gas stations, Walmarts, Casinos, Cracker Barrel, Camping World and many other points of interest along the way. You can toggle each of them off and on to avoid too much clutter.
You'll likely get a kick out of the fact that the same guy, Andy Robinowitz of Social Knowledge, LLC, owns (among many other sites)

RV Trip Wizard
RV Life (iRV2 and the campsite review site)
FireCalc
EarlyRetirement.org
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