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Old 09-17-2012, 07:14 PM   #1
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How to find the right campground?

We're new to this RV experience and in the short time and now 3 camp grounds I'm seeing I need to understand which campsite (RV) parks may be best suited for us.

Prior to the launch of our massive refit we took a drive in central Florida and looked at some camp grounds. I noticed when we went to the Sebastian FL area to look at an RV park recommended to us by someone and we found a very nice upscale park. Most the MH's in the park were nice, lots of large nice 5th wheels and "park models". But, in the end although a real nice park it just didn't seem to have that weekend "camping" atmosphere, more the snow bird my rig is nicer then your rig kinda feel. We looked at a nearby state park camp ground and it looked more rustic but I told my wife it appeared to be more our style.

My point isn't to find a place in central FL, my question is how to sort out which places make good weekend sites period no matter where your going. Out of the 3 places we have gone to in the past month including this weekend 2 seemed to be almost homeless trailer parks and 1 was a resort location. While in route to the mountains of GA I saw a sign on the interstate that indicating camping. It was late, we had enough for the day so we took the exit. It was a nice enough place but it appeared almost if not all the spaces were occupied by people who lived there. Our final destination was a beautiful place that only allowed I think a maximum 3 week stay. Maybe not even that long, it was empty when we arrived on a Tue., full over the weekend and emptied out come Mon.

This weekend I selected a place using the internet and read some reviews which were positive. These were not reviews from this site, they were google reviews. Off we went but again it appeared to be occupied by folks living there full time. There was 1 trailer that looked like it was 12' long, tires were flat and it was leaning hard to the port side. Someone was living in the trailer, it was one of many. Most the MH and trailers looked like they had not or could not be moved anytime soon. Needless to say we were not real comfortable and I was concerned about getting kayaks stolen off the Jeep. Nothing like this happened, we had no issues and in the end all was well. But......I would not go back to this location again for a weekend.

I have tried to use the reviews on this site but there not geographically separated and I'm in Florida so there is 7 pages of campgrounds. I lack the patience to read through the all of them to find some in a location close enough for a weekend trip.

So, how do you seasoned folks find campgrounds suitable for a weekend trip? What resourses do you use to make sure to the best of your ability that where your going is safe and clean. It seems given the current economic times many people seem to be living in RV's parks these days. I'm not trying to be a snob but the environment in the 2 parks we have been to in this category isn't what we're looking for.


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Old 09-17-2012, 07:19 PM   #2
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Here's a good place to start:

RV Park Reviews :: Home

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Old 09-17-2012, 07:29 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by drfife View Post
Here's a good place to start:

RV Park Reviews :: Home

This is where I found the reviews about the place I just left this AM. Maybe I have unrealistic expectations.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:10 PM   #4
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When I call for reservation or to see if available, I always ask how many seasonal sites, I have found I prefer campgrounds with less seasonal sites , maybe thats we frequent state and federal parks, usually max 15 day stays, we are still more of the weekend warrior types, and find most state parks are filled with folks like us headen home late Sunday. of course thats only my opinion.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:23 PM   #5
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We like most state parks, and the Corps campgrounds are nice but busy. We haven't stayed at many private campgrounds, I think you just have to rely on word of mouth and tips from friends.
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Old 09-18-2012, 04:46 AM   #6
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If you want a weekend atmosphere, stay in state parks and Corps of Engineers campgrounds. They usually have a 2-week limit on stays and will not have long-term residents.

Some private campgrounds will have weekend activities during their peak season. These will also have more of a weekend atmosphere (except for Florida where peak season means winter when snowbirds are there), but private campgrounds may also have seasonals.
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:57 AM   #7
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I have found that you can't just read the reviews on rvparkreviews.com, you must study them. Pay attention to trends, what the reviewers were camping in (TT, MH, etc), and whether they travel with children.

We tend to stay away from private parks. In our experience thus far, they tend to be where you find the most perms, and/or in the case of the larger ones, the most kids.

National parks are our favorite, followed by state parks. We haven't stayed at a COE yet, but I suspect they will rate near the top for us as well.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:02 AM   #8
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Something we do is take a look on google maps. Use the satellite view and zoom in. Sometimes the pictures on a Web site don't really show you what's there. Often you can zoom into an area then search for camping our RV park and our will mark some for you. You will get other things though like mobile home parks.
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:00 PM   #9
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I also have used Google maps satellite view to help make a choice. We were looking for a place in Moab, UT, had a couple of choices. A satellite view showed one with no trees in a desert and the other had trees shading each site. Guess which one we chose?

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Old 09-18-2012, 05:09 PM   #10
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We are also new to this. We have made 3 trips this summer and one of the things we have been learning thru the summer is how to find RV parks that meet our needs, likes and dislikes. We're doing better, but we still end up in places we will never return. We use this forum for suggestions and RV park reviews for reviews. Then as previously suggested, we use google earth to actually look at the options available. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and the google view reveals much more than the parks website would. The last step has been invaluable to us. In return, we post religiously to rv parks reviews.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:28 PM   #11
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I'm also new to this, but found the OP's post somewhat funny (in an ironic sort of way). I recently camped at a somewhat nearby campground which had mostly "seasonal" (i.e. looked permanent) spots but also some short term spots. While there, I inquired about a seasonal spot, was told it was full, so I got put on a waiting list. (I'm interested in a seasonal rental as a base but would also do various trips.) Anyway, after a few days there and meeting "the neighbors", I found out that some folks seem to stay on the waiting list a long, long time while others seem to be able to get a spot sooner. When I asked why, I found out that many of the folks there have kids, are worried about strangers, and want to have folks there who aren't going crazy every weekend.

So, the ironic part is that there concerns are very similar to the OP's in having a place that is "safe and clean", but the perspectives on what to be worried about (permanent vs. transient) are opposite!
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:31 AM   #12
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We travel for our work, a new place every weekend, and since we have several days in between, we only drive a few hours a day, taking our time. Which means we are always looking for a campground. For the past 1 1/2 years we did the same, only traveled by car and looked for motels. There are similarities. The big difference is that no matter how crappy the CG might be, the inside is always all ours - same ol home sweet home!

So we have the same conundrum but have it 3-4 times a week, every week. Gets tiresome. I have tried different internet sites, and also have not found a reliable one yet. I keep thinking it shouldn't be this hard to find listings. We too have stayed at really nice ones and not so nice. We stayed twice at casino RV parks, and while not the cheapest they were by far the nicest. I wish I could find one site that included ALL types of CG, listed by specific routes. We usually travel the main interstates, and these are not next to the state CG's.

I'm looking forward to hearing from folks here -
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:58 AM   #13
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I just remembered a free app for smart phones that someone on this site or another site recommended. It's RV Park Finder by Trailer Life. I had downloaded it then forgotten about it! It doesn't seem to have state or county parks, but it does have ratings, prices, directions, reviews, etc. Check it out, I'm thinking it just might work for our needs, and maybe yours.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:25 AM   #14
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We found the COEs and State Parks the best for just camping. They only allow 14 day stays so you wont see people living there with site-spread. Also, COEs give those with Senior Passes 50% off. No one is there for the season. But they wont have planned activities or club houses either. The private CGs are more expensive but too many are like RV parking lots with no shade, no picnic tables and no fire rings. Others look like shanty towns full of ex-convicts or worse. We don't care for those places at any price....

We like places with large sites and shade, on a lake or river, fire rings and picnic tables with no areas that look like Tobacco Road.

When on the road we spend the nights in either Wal*Mart or truck stop lots.

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