Wondering what types of campsites are available in North America? The amenities that can be found at these sites? And which campsites are located in your region or an area that you would like to travel to?
Types of Campsites By Who Owns Them
Public Campsites-More plentiful than private campsites, these campsites are open to the general public. Costs for use are generally less than for private campsites as pricing is set with a large range of public use in mind. These sites can be found in places such as:
- National, Provincial, State, and Local Parks
- National and State Forests
- State Recreation Areas Including Preserves And Beaches
- Bureau of Land Management Sites
- U.S Army Corps of Engineers Project Areas
- Limited number of U.S. Wildlife Refuge Areas
Private Campsites-These campsites are located on private land and are made available for use by those landowners and/or companies. You will find private campsites/campgrounds that span the range in terms of amenities from minimal to extravagant. These sites can be found in locations such as:
- Working Farms
Types of Campsites By Access
Drive-Up/Car/Established/Frontcountry Campsites-Known by a variety of names, these campsites enable you to pull up to or near them to unload gear. They are generally in marked areas cleared for camping.
You may sometimes find concrete or wooden tent pads to place tents on. Common amenities found in these sites include fire rings and picnic tables.
Also, depending on the site, you may have access to a faucet and bathhouse. If a bathhouse with a flush toilet is not available, a vault toilet (think outhouse-style) will likely be available.
Some of these campsites will be located near facilities that offer recreation add-ons such as swimming pools and lodges with board games, pool, Foosball, and more. Additionally, you may kind horseshoe pits, mini golf, fishing equipment rental, and snack bars.
Backcountry/Primitive Campsites-These types of campsites require hiking in to reach them. Sometimes primitive campsites will be located near civilization and other times they will be located miles from the nearest town or ranger’s station.
Bathroom facilities will be non-existent, requiring the shovel and hole method. Gear is limited to what can be backpacked, boated, or brought in with the assistance of animals such as horses.
If you fancy yourself more of a “glamping” camper, these primitive sites may not appeal to you.
Resources to Find Current Types of Campsites Available
For public campsites, you can go directly to the sources such as individual government agency websites or visit sites that pull together thousands of campsite listings from a host of public sites.
Excellent options for aggregated sites are Recreation.gov (U.S.) or USCACampgrounds.info (U.S. and Canada). The latter site is maintained by retired engineer Tom Hillegass with the goal of providing an easy-to-use comprehensive public lands campsite/campground directory.
Other sites worth checking out for public and private campsite listings are:
- Hipcamp-A fun site, especially if you are in the market for a trip to a unique campsite.
- ReserveAmerica-Bills itself as the largest provider of campsite reservations in North America.
With a little research, you can find a campsite that will be just right for you.
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