Whether you want to glamp on a cliff above the ocean or sleep in a tent deep in the forest, camping helps you get away from it all. But one of the hardest parts of camping—wherever you like to be—is finding that perfect campground. Do you like camping and trailers? Come join our neighborhood group.
The most popular campsites near major cities or in scenic national parks often fill up months in advance, and there’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination only to discover that it’s already filled.
Fortunately, a new generation of websites and applications makes it simpler than ever to identify and reserve a campground. You can search by location, nearby activities, and what kind of campsite you need to find everything from off-the-grid retreats to KOAs packed with amenities. Whichever sort of camper you are, there is something for you out there.
Yet it doesn’t always make it simple to know where to begin your search. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of nine websites and applications that may assist. Below, we offer tips to making the biggest booking sites—Reserve America and Recreation.gov—easier to manage, and uncover some lesser known apps that can help you book a site on private land or capitalize on last-minute cancellations. These are the best methods to reserve a campground online.
Details: Reserve America, being one of the biggest online campground reservation systems, should be your first stop when looking to book a campsite. Because Reserve America provides online campsite reservations for the majority of state and municipal government park lands campsites in North America. You may narrow your search by location, date, and site type. You may also bookmark favorited campsites and arrange your top options with handy category lists if you establish an account.
Finally, we like Reserve America because you can see your past and upcoming reservations, a helpful tool if you can’t quite remember the name of a previous campsite. Searching for California campgrounds in particular? Check out Reserve California, a new site dedicated to the Golden State.
Cost: Search at reserveamerica.com or download the free iOS and Android app.
Details: Recreation.gov, although not as fluid and simple to use as Reserve America, is an important service for scheduling campsites. That’s because sites on federal land are not bookable on Reserve America, instead you have to use recreation.gov.
The principal booking platform for national parks is Recreation.gov. Even if you find something on another platform, you will likely end up at Recreation.gov for booking. We like the map feature on this app and you can filter by amenities, site type, and availability. Most national parks offer campground reservations six months in advance.
Cost: Search recreation.gov or download the free iOS app.
Details: Developed by a team of full-time RV travelers, Campendium features 27,000 RV and tent campsites with plenty of reviews to help you figure out which site is best. Join other campers to see a ton of info on the campsite of your choosing, like photos, GPS coordinates, camping fees, and whether or not the spot has cell coverage. When you’ve completed camping, log in to post your own evaluations and guide future campers.
This is an excellent software for finding campsites and seeing crowdsourced information, but keep in mind that you’ll need to utilize external connections to book your site.
Cost: Available through the Campendium iOS app for free
Details: Hipcamp, sometimes known as the Airbnb of camping, links campers with private landowners that enable guests to camp on their property. Hipcamp allows you to camp on farms, vineyards, and ranches, which is particularly useful on busy weekends when regular campsites fill up quickly. You can search based on location, price, and whether you want to camp in a tent, van, RV, or rent someone else’s yurt or cabin.
Some campsites are better than others, much like other rental listings. Hipcamp will also cost more per night than public campgrounds, but it’s a good option if you’re looking for privacy or something different.
Cost: Free on hipcamp.com
Go Camping America
Details: If the government-run campgrounds are unavailable, try camping at a privately owned and maintained campground. Go Camping America has over 3,000 RV parks, KOAs, Jellystone Parks, and other lodging options. You may search near certain cities and by amenities, and a handy map displays how distant they are from your current position.
The campsites listed are more developed than some others on this list, but they also come with lots of amenities. Go Camping America is a particularly useful resource for families who wish to camp near a pool or playground.
Cost: Free on the Go Camping America website
Details: Another extensive camping app, Walmart, allows you to book 30,000 campsites, RV parks, and even free parking spaces to stay in. The best part of the Allstays app is all the filters; adventurers can narrow their selections by types of camping, how much it costs, elevation, electric and water hookup availability, and even whether there is fishing, hiking, or a pool nearby. We’ve discovered that Allstays is particularly useful for RVers looking for campsites near RV dealers or dump stations.
Cost: AllStays Pro is available for $32.95 in a web browser and $9.99 on iOS.
USFS and BML Campgrounds
Details: You neglected to book a campground and are now stranded on a busy holiday weekend. Instead of staying home, use this app to find more than 5,800 United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management campgrounds throughout the U.S.
Most of these campsites are either free or much less expensive than more established campgrounds, and the app displays information on the campground, weather, elevation, and other factors.
Cost: $.99 for iOS users
Details: Boondocking.com is a public forum database where you may search for free, auto-accessible camping areas using latitude and longitude. It was designed as a guide to scattered camping—places with few facilities and off-the-grid camping.
An easy-to-use software displays crowd-sourced information on places people have successfully tented, complete with directions and varied levels of detail. Although unsuitable for RVers who want connections and electrical access, boondocking is a useful tool for those who like camping on BLM territory or who prefer to live off the grid.
Cost: Free for iOS devices.
Details: This nonprofit, 100 percent volunteer project aims to help people around the world find places to stay on the road. Camping, motels, restaurants, mechanics, water, and propane filling are all listed, and you can search the listings or view everything on a map.
This software comes in handy when we’re going off-the-grid or outside of the usual routes.
Cost: Free on iOS and Android devices
Details: We prefer The Dyrt because it is a simple app that helps you search and read reviews about campsites. You can filter by type of site but we also love that you can filter by how you get to the site—drive-in, walk-in, hike-in, and boat-in.
User-generated images are useful, and popular camping areas get a lot of feedback. To incentivize people to write reviews, The Dyrt offers prizes and money to campers.
Cost: Free for iOS and Android devices