How to Select and Book a Campsite Using Reserve America, HipCamp, and Others

How to Select and Book a Campsite Using Reserve America, HipCamp, and Others

by Arshpreet Multani | March 25, 2019

If you’re new to camping, you may not be aware that the best campsites can book up months in advance. Whether you want to camp deep in the woods, out in the desert, or high in the mountains, it’s a good idea to select and book a campsite well in advance.

The apps and website listed below can be extremely helpful for choosing the perfect campground. Most of them allow you to search by type of campsite, location, and nearby activities. They’ll help you locate campgrounds with tons of amenities and out of the way primitive campsites.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know where to start your search. The tips below will help you navigate sites like HipCamp and Reserve America, and we’ve also listed some lesser known apps that are useful for finding sites on private land and even take advantage of last-minute cancellations at popular campgrounds.

Finding the perfect campground and perfect campsite can be challenging, but we’ve got some great tips and tools to help you through the process.

Reserve America

Reserve America is the perfect place to start your search because it’s one of the biggest online campsite reservation systems. This website is the go-to spot for finding and booking campsites at almost every local and state government park campground throughout North America.

This site has some great features you’ll want to take advantage of. It allows you to search by site type, location, and date. Once you create an account at Reserve America, you can save your favorite campgrounds and sites, and even organize them into category lists.

We love this website because it helps you keep track of upcoming and past reservations. You’ll never forget the name of that perfect campground again. Even better, the website is free to use, and you can also download the app for free to use on your smartphone.

HipCamp

HipCamp has been called the Airbnb of camping. Use it to find private landowners that will allow you to camp on their property. It’s great for those busy holiday weekends when popular campgrounds are maxed out. But, you’ll love it all year round for finding unique campsites at places like ranches, vineyards, and farms. The site is easy to use, and it allows you to search by location, price, and site type. It’s an excellent option for when you want something different or private. Check it out at HipCamp.com.

Recreation.gov

Recreation.gov isn’t as easy to navigate as Reserve America, but it’s still an important site to know about and use. That’s because it’s the main place to book campsites located in national parks. Even when you find a national campground on some other platform, you will usually end up redirected to Recreation.gov to make your booking. The best thing about this app is the map feature. It lets you narrow your search by availability, site type, and amenities. It’s important to know that national parks usually release campsites about six months in advance. Plan ahead if you want to camp on busy weekends like the Fourth of July.

Campendium

Campendium is a great place to narrow down your search because it has user reviews for over 27,000 campsites. You can see everything from photos and GPS coordinates to fees and even find out if the site has cell service. Be sure to leave your own review for other campers when you get back from your trip. Note that you’ll be directed to another site to make your booking.

Allstays

With the Allstays app, you can book a site at over 30,000 campgrounds. We love all the filters on this app! You can even find out if there’s a pool, hiking trails, or fishing in the area. Narrow down your search even further by amenities, cost, and even elevation.

Wandering Labs  

Wandering Labs is an incredibly useful website when you find your favorite campsite has already been reserved. All you have to do is enter the location and a date range for where you want to camp, and the site will let you know if the site becomes available. The site checks for cancellations or changes every few minutes. When you get an email saying your spot has opened up, you can jump on it quickly.

Tips for Finding Your Campsite

  1. Do your research before you book your campsite. The tools listed above are great, and you can also find lots of valuable info in guidebooks and other places on the internet.

  2. Want more information? Call the ranger station. They can give you the most current information on possible closures or restrictions at the campground. Rangers are always especially helpful and knowledgeable about their area

  3. Always check out weather conditions for the area so you can be prepared with the right gear. Be prepared for wind, rain, and colder than average temperatures. Coozie Outdoors has premium gear that will provide protection from the elements during any season.

  4. Once you decide on the perfect campground, you’ll need to research individual sites within the campground. You can usually find a map of the campground online. This can be especially useful for making sure your site isn’t right next to the dumpsters or toilets.

Choosing the perfect campground and campsite for your group is probably the most critical decision of your whole trip. Take your time doing your research, but don’t hesitate to make your booking once you’ve made your choice. Once your reservation is set, you can sit back and enjoy planning the rest of your adventure.