To have the perfect trip, it’s crucial that you find camping sites that fit your needs.
At our fingertips, we have access to so much information. That can sometimes be overwhelming on our search for answers. These same advancements have also given rise to websites and apps that enhance our lives.
When I first started camping, I wasn’t sure which site was the best. I did what everyone does, I went to google and typed in “campgrounds near me”. This popped up a number of app and website options so I did what any reasonable person would do…I tried them all!
Consider this article a summary of my experience. It is a representation of the best sites and apps to find camping sites.
Some sites offer easy navigation, others offer more robust data on campsites. Taking a peek around each one and finding what works best for you will add value to your trip experience.
Table of Contents
- Top 7 Websites and Apps to find camping sites
Without further delay, let’s jump into the best 7 websites and apps to help you find camping sites!
The co-founders of Campendium along with most of the team that runs it are full-time RV campers. The site features tens of thousands of RV and tent camping sites across the United States. Note that the listings on the site will redirect you to an external site to book the listing.
The database offers photos, GPS coordinates, site fees, and even cell coverage! On each listing, users can provide feedback about the site via the review function. By leveraging these reviews, you can find a site that matches what you are looking for with ease.
Campendium is a great way to find camping sites through a community-based approach. Because opinions can vary, be sure to include your own due diligence to find a site that will work for you.
Once you have completed your trip, be sure to hop back on Campendium.com to leave your own review of the camping site!
Reserve America is often the first choice when it comes to campsite reservations. The site manages reservations for nearly all local and state government park lands in North America.
Their system is intuitive and user friendly. As you search, you can filter by location, date, and site type. Creating an account on the website allows you to “favorite” campsites and refer back to lists that you created in your planning phase.
One thing I like about Reserve America is that the site keeps logs of past reservations. Whenever I want to find camping sites I have enjoyed in the past, I simply refer to this list of past reservations.
The ReserveAmerica.com is a key tool as you find camping sites for your upcoming trip.
If you are looking to camp in California specifically, we recommend checking out ReserveCalifornia.com.
Less intuitive than Reserve America, Recreation.gov is a needed tool as you plan your trip. If you are looking to find camping sites on federal land, you will only not find them on Reserve America.
Recreation.gov is the booking platform for national parks. To find camping sites like a pro, filter for availability, then site types, then amenities!
National parks will release their campsite availability six months in advance.
Put simply, Hipcamp is the Airbnb of camping.
By connecting private landowners with campers, Hipcamp fills a needed gap. If you are unable to find campings sites on a busy weekend, Hipcamp may be the answer.
Hosts on Hipcamp earn money by renting their land to those looking to book a site. From vineyards to farms and ranches, their app lets you find camping sites with ease. Search filters will allow you to identify locations best suited for your trip. Filter by price, style of camping (i.e. RV or tent), and even give the option to book yurts or cabins.
Hipcamp is a peer-to-peer sharing concept that has been popular as of late. Understanding that some listings will be better than others is important to keep in mind. User reviews will be important in your selection process.
Hipcamp sites tend to be more expensive than public parks. They are most ideal for people looking for increased privacy and novel experiences.
Go Camping America
Unable to book government-run campsites and Hipcamp doesn’t have what you are looking for?
Go Camping America may be the next website to use to find camping sites. The site lists over 3,000 privately owned and operated RV parks, KOAs, Jellystone parks, and more.
Like other sites on this list, you can filter by location, availability, and amenities. All this navigation occurs on a map widget to reference what is around the campsite.
Go Camping America is great for “glampers” who do not want to give up the creature comforts. The campsites on Go Camping America tend to be more developed than other sites listed here. Packed with amenities, these sites are perfect for campers with children. From pools to playgrounds, you’ll find it all.
United States Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
The USFS and BLM database have over 5,800 campgrounds throughout the United States. If you are struggling to find a campsite on a busy weekend, this may be a good option for you.
Many of the sites are cheaper than traditional campsites, some are even free! The sites are basic, boasting few amenities that more developed campsites have.
The best resource for locating USFS and BLM resources is The Dyrt with a pro subscription. In fact, The Dyrt has a great article for finding free USFS and BLM sites using their app or website. Rather than search “tent camping near me” and getting mixed info, trust the data and reviews at The Dyrt.
The pro version of The Dyrt app is only $35.99 per year and comes with a slew of benefits. To make your camping trip easier, they are worth checking out.
Dispersed camping sites have few amenities and are off-the-grid. Boondocking.org is a database of user-submitted sites that allow dispersed camping.
From Walmarts to park lands, their search feature will help you find camping sites with ease. The listings are all vehicle accessible. Be sure to read the notes to ensure that your vehicle and camping style fits the listing.
Glampers beware, this site is not for you. If you prefer a cozy RV hooked up to water and electrical services, stay clear of this app. Boondocking.org is perfect for campers who want to find camping sites off the grid.
How Do I Choose The Best Campsite?
When deciding on what campsite is best for you, it’s important to consider what you want for your camping experience.
Do you camp in an RV that requires electrical and water hook-ups? What about the need for bathrooms and shower houses nearby? If so, I recommend using Campendium, and likely steering clear of USFS/BLM sites.
Want to truly immerse yourself and experience all it’s amazing health benefits of being outside? Pack your backpack, hiking shoes, and tent! Using apps like The Dyrt to find a great off the grid site.
When choosing where to camp in the backcountry, be sure to pay attention to areas prone to:
- Flash floods
- High winds
- Dead trees / branches near the campsites
- Peaks or ledges near the campsite
Always conduct your research in advance of booking your campsite. Knowing what is and isn’t included will ensure you pack accordingly. There is nothing worse than traveling to a campsite only to find out you are missing a number of key items. Wondering what you should pack for your camping trip? Be sure to check out our camping essentials guide.
The Bottom Line
There are a number of options available beyond the 7 listed above, though these serve as an excellent foundation.
Note that these are booking and reservation focused, and some due diligence will serve you well. Reading outdoor blogs like Tame The Wilds can give you insight on things you may not have considered. Other outdoor sites will include reviews and best practices on survival skills and first aid.
Technology has made information accessible to everyone with internet access. Read what you can and then hit the road or trail. Some of the best lessons and learning happens while camping and experience everything the outdoors has to offer.