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Ten Tips to Finding the Best Camping Spot
By Rick Hazeltine
You had a long days travel to get to your campground. Tired and ready to hit the sleeping bag, you find your way in the dark to get to the campsite you were given. Finally, your head hits the pillow and ….
At 6 a.m. your campsite is overrun by a herd of hikers heading up the area’s most popular trail, to which your camp happens to be the gateway. The kids have to use the bathroom and you realize the closest one is on the other side of the campground. Looking for water to get breakfast started, you find the nearest faucet in the middle of your neighbor’s camp … and they’re still asleep … after partying just short of when you arrived at about midnight.
So what did our campers do wrong? Pretty much everything, at least if they wanted to have the best camping experience. To make sure you don’t end up like our hapless family above, here are 10 tips to make sure you get the best campsites.
1. Plan to arrive early.
By plan, we mean you need to plan your trip so that you arrive early for a shot at the best campsites. Remember, you aren’t the only one with an invaluable top 10 tips list for getting the best campsites.
Balance is the key. You want to be near a supply of water but not too close to bodies of water. Having potable water is a must for cooking and cleaning. Ponds, lakes and other bodies of water, however, are best viewed at a distance. Water attracts lightening, not to mention scores of mosquitoes, bugs and assorted wildlife.
3. Location, location, location.
Like our poor family above, you won’t find the best camping experience if you are located near trails or other areas popular with your fellow campers. Playgrounds and access to lakes or the ocean are other areas that will invite unwanted campsite guests.
Again, balance is key. If you’ve got little ones, you want to be close enough so it’s not a long hike in the middle of the night. You also don’t want to be too close to the bathrooms, for obvious reasons.
To get the best campsites for weathering storms, make sure it’s not low lying (flooding), under large trees (nature’s rain gutters) or too close to bodies of water (popular with lightening).
6. Consider the sun.
If you want the morning sun to warm you up, make sure your campsite faces south. The best campsites will have some trees to help block the sun during the hottest parts of the day.
7. Pay attention to the natural surroundings.
Don’t camp under cliffs or tall rocks, otherwise you may have unexpected guests roll in when you least expect it. Same goes for leaning trees, which may just pick you to fall on.
8. Walk on the wild side.
Walk your campsite, looking for tree roots, large rocks and other natural features that will give you a fitful night’s sleep.
9. Size matters.
For the best camping experience, make sure your campsite is large enough to handle your gear and needs. If you wanted to be packed in with all your stuff so that you can barely move, you could have camped in your garage.
10. Pick up campground map.
If you follow this list and start off on the right foot by making No. 1 a priority, take advantage by getting a guided tour or map of the campground. You can then handpick the best campsites for you, thus ensuring you have the best camping experience.
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