Invariably upon arriving at a new RV park, I compare it with the places I’ve stayed at in the past. It’s not a intentional thing, just something that happens in a corner of my mind while I’m occupied with other tasks. Oh, look at how big these sites are. A lot of dirt and gravel, I bet it gets muddy in the rain. At least I’m not looking out my window directly into my neighbor’s RV.
I never let myself think of a place I’ve camped at as bad because of my philosophy that how we respond to circumstances are more important than the event itself. In short, because getting disgruntled about a sub-par campground doesn’t improve the campground and just makes me grumpy, and even the most boring or sub-par campgrounds I’ve stayed in have had positive things going for them. My best advice if you’re RVing and you find yourself in a place that is making you unhappy, is to find another place. You know, house with wheels and all that.
Some people put a lot of effort into finding ideal RV parks. When I get asked how to find good places to stay at, I always respond with a question, what is the person’s goal for visiting an area. I’m talking about things beyond the obvious considerations like if the sites are big enough to fit your rig, does it have the type of hookups you desire, and whether the location allows dogs or not if you have one.
For example, when I’m taking my trips between seasonal jobs I may want to get somewhere as quickly and cheaply as I can, which means my ideal stop is a free dry camp in a parking lot near the highway that is easy to get into and out of. When I’m not in a rush and have the funds to spend, I’m hunting down state parks with enough trails and sights to keep me occupied for two or three days. When I’m working national park jobs, I’m looking for a location that can hold my interest for several months with other parks and things to see within a day’s drive. When I’m working at Amazon I value distance and convenience above all, since most of my waking hours will be spent on the job.
Knowing your goal is crucial to picking a camping spot that you’ll enjoy and once you realize that, finding a good spot is a matter of looking for places that meet your size and hookup/amenity requirements, and best fit that goal.
If you’re looking for an RV park there are a lot of camping directories out there and even phone apps that will give you locations with amenities listed. Since I don’t stay in RV parks much unless I’m working a job (and in that case my choices are provided by my employer, if I even have a choice), I don’t bother with directories and do essentially all of my campground and state park finding through a search on Google Maps. Since Google Maps is also my GPS, I can save a location I find on my computer, and look it up later on my phone to get directions.
I’ve also made a habit of saving locations that I hear about from other RVers that sound interesting to me to a list by region, so when I find myself in that region I can quickly reference it. This is not just for campgrounds but towns, parks, and points of interest too, the “hidden gem” type of places that are hard to find on a map.
If you’d like to share the tools you use to find a good campground, or have a special place you’ve been to that is worth a visit, please share in the comments below!
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On Wednesday I’ll be moving to an RV park that that twenty(!) miles closer to Amazon which will make the rest of my season here much more enjoyable. Have a good week everyone, and happy camping.
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