Once the warmer weather hits, so does the itch to get out of town, slow down, and get back to nature. Camping often provides us with that escape, and as one of the more affordable outdoor vacation options, it continues to gain popularity with people of all ages. Who doesn’t love the idea of falling asleep to nature sounds (the real thing, not your Spotify playlist), the smell of campfire, and the taste of s’mores?
If a camping trip is on your bucket list this year, keep the following tips in mind for picking the best campsite.
Do your research
First and foremost, it’s important to research locations and places you want to stay. Campsites, especially popular ones, can fill up quickly and early on in the year. If you’re thinking of taking a more rustic route, it can still be beneficial to look up areas others have set up camp. Even if it’s off the beaten path there is likely a blog post or vlog about the area to help you get a lay of the land.
You also need to consider the type of experience you want. If you decide to move ahead with booking a campsite keep in mind that different sites will cater to different crowds. Perhaps you want a site with activities for kids, a playground, and a safe space for them to bike and explore on their own. Alternatively, you may want an adults-only option. In terms of noise, some campgrounds are radio free, meaning you won’t be bothered by your neighbours’ music, but it also means you can’t blare your own. Some sites are alcohol free, others are smoke free. Whatever your camping style, make sure to consult the parks’ website to ensure everyone has an enjoyable trip.
Though camping can be considered roughing it compared to cottage life, there are still conveniences you likely won’t want to give up. For example, the distance from water taps to your site. Lugging water jugs back and forth may seem like part of the experience the first few times, but eventually, you’ll wish the taps were around the corner. Bathrooms and showers are another amenity you may want close by in case nature calls in the middle of the night. If you have children, being nearby a playground may be important. Before choosing a site, make sure to consider your must-haves to ensure a stress-free trip.
If you aren’t staying at a campsite, and have decided to take the path less travelled into the backcountry, keep in mind that as picturesque as your surroundings might be, the ground is actually what you should be looking at. The easiest way to tell if the spot you’ve found is “the one” is to lie down and assess whether the ground is level. You always want your head to be higher than your feet, especially when a slope is unavoidable. You also want to make sure you’re at least 30 meters away from any rivers, lakes, or marshes. Not only will the bugs and wildlife be worse the closer you are to water, but in the event of heavy rain, flash flooding could occur.
No matter where you go, or at what time of year, the most important thing to remember when camping is to keep your site clean and respect your environment. You’re a guest in the wilderness; blend in, don’t barge in.
What tips do you have for picking a campsite? Share in the comments below!