Help in Choosing a Campsite

by Guest 14. October 2010 08:33

The increasing array of RV parking review sites makes it easier for people to share information about the campgrounds where they've stayed for their rv vacation. The best reviews give the reader a sense of what it's like to stay an RV park before they even get there. By reviewing RV campgrounds, you can help your fellow Rvers know which parks to avoid, inform them of the hidden gems out there and tell them things you wished you knew before visiting a particular campground. You can also give them information that may make or break their decision to stay at a certain park, like pet policy and the strength of the WiFi. Since RV parks have so many different amenities and features, it can be hard to condense your experience into a review. Here's some things to consider when writing an RV Park review.

1. General feel of site - Is the site big or small? Well-kept or run-down? SilverSnail's review of Crown Point RV Park gives us a great overall sense of the park: "Nicely situated on the Old Columbia River Highway, and tucked away from the roadside by large trees and a tall wooden fence, this small campground is a secret treasure. I had spent a day looking for campgrounds in the Portland area that were comfortable and affordable enough to stay for a month, and most of the places around Portland were unappealing - mostly commercial places catering to the big rigs with little nature or privacy. I almost passed this place up, thinking it was TOO rinky-dink, but it was cozy and rustic in the way that I like it, and convenient to the Columbia River Gorge and Portland."

2. Support your opinion - It's great to know if an RV park is good or bad, but it's just as important (if not more important) to know why. The best reviews are really specific about why an RV park is being rated a certain way, like in the review of Craters of the Moon National Landmark Campground by joannb: "The only reason this is a 4 star campground is that it doesn't have showers. It is a self-serve campground; you pick out a site then go back, fill out an envelope, put the top half into the board showing which campgrounds are taken and the other half with your money in a slot. Real simple. This otherworldly landscape may not be for everyone, but it fascinated us. Most sites are very ample, set among the lava with a black cinder base."

3. Noise Level - Is it a quiet park? Is there a lot of noise coming from a nearby interstate? From rowdy campers? Does the park have quiet hours? The review LiveWorkDream.com wrote about Lindenwood Park Campground does a great job of addressing freeway noise: "Yes, there is freeway noise, but if you ask for the LOWER campground along the river, it's not so bad."

4. Staff - Are they approachable? Helpful? Did they go the extra mile? For example, Don C. tells us why the staff at Oregon Dunes KOA Kampground & RV Resort made his stay a great one: "The staff bent over backward to make our stay a great one. This started with a call to let me know that a spot had opened up and I could get in. We were traveling without reservations."

5. WiFi - RVers need to be able to connect with their loved ones and employers from the road. Just mentioning if the park has working WiFi on site or nearby is a big help for your fellow RVers, but the extra details in LiveWorkDream.com's review of Johnsons Corner Retreat make this one of the best Wifi/Internet assessments I've seen so far: "Tree shade here WILL block your satellite connectivity. They did just hire a smart networking guy who installed a brand new Wi-Fi system which works GREAT. So skip the dish and go right for the Wi-Fi, which is free."

6. Cell phone coverage - Are you able to get any bars out in the mountains? What cell phone provider are you using? Here's a good example from Technomadia's review of Meriwether Lewis National Park: "Cell & Data Coverage: AT&T – Weak, but usable. Sprint - Very slow but still usable CDMA 1xRTT. (D: 115Kb/s, U: 56Kb/s, 669ms) (Sprint indicates roaming – probably on Verizon)"

7. Are the sites level? Here is a good example from Wheeling It's review of South Sandusky Campground. Not only do they discuss the levelness of their site, but they also cover the levelness of every site at the campground: "The one thing that got us were the sites. There were really so hit and miss in terms of how level they were. Our own site had a huge drop and we weren't able to level. Some had moderate drops whereas a selection were completely flat."

8. Cable/TV - Does the park have cable? Is it free or do they charge? What channels do you get? Is it available in all parts of the RV park? Here's an example from RVingToadless' review of Garden of the Gods Campground: "As for the cable, currently it is installed in rows B and C. The cable is limited, just some networks, Travel, CNN, Discovery, Weather, and some 'who cares' channels."

9. Trees - Are there any? How big are they? How long are the branches? Here's an example from joannb's review of Twin Falls/Jerome KOA: "The park is well shaded by mature trees."

10. Size of sites - Do you have a lot of room or hardly any at all? From Technomadia's review of Pecan Grove RV Park, we learn that sometimes you have to trade space around your site for a hip, urban setting: "Don't expect much in terms of space around you (unlike their monthly spots, which many feature nice yards) - you're here for the location and atmosphere!"

11. Size of sites - Do you have a lot of room or hardly any at all? From Technomadia's review of Pecan Grove RV Park, we learn that sometimes you have to trade space around your site for a hip, urban setting: "Don't expect much in terms of space around you (unlike their monthly spots, which many feature nice yards) - you're here for the location and atmosphere!"

12. Stores - Everyone has to eat. Does the RV Park have a store where you can stock up on supplies? Are there any stores nearby? This example from CarHouse's review of Ocala Camp Resort kills two birds with one stone by discussing both the RV park store and a store in the area: "All convenience store items have been removed due to the cheapness and proximity of a local grocery store."

13. Restrooms - Are they clean? For example, acoording to TxYellowRose, the bathrooms over at Town and Country RV Park and Storage should be avoided if at all possible: "Although there are restroom facilities, they are in desperate need of remodel/update, so much so that you will want to be totally self-contained if you stay here. When the water table (dry spell with no rain) falls low, the water starts to look rusty/brown."

14. Showers - Do you have privacy? Do you have to pay extra to use them? Here's a good example from Car House's review of Zion River Resort: "The showers are private and very nice but cost some coins to operate. One would think at $45 a night they would include a shower ..."

15. Restaurants - Whether folks aren't big on cooking or just want to spend a night on the town, it's good to know what restaurants are at the park or in the area. For example, RVingToadless recommends the restaurant over at Ekstrom's Stage Station: "I must recommend the adjoining restaurant. Excellent, world class food for a small restaurant. Dessert included in the meal price."

16. Pet Friendliness - Did the owners/staff treat your pets well? Were you charged extra for bringing pets? Did the campground have a pet park?

17. Is the RV Park website accurate? Were some park features over-stated? Understated? Not mentioned at all? Please let us know. I hope this list helps give you ideas about what to cover in your park review. For all you RVParking.com reviewers out there, what do you think makes a good review? What do you take into consideration when reviewing an RV Park? Did I leave anything out?

Nicole Willson is the Community Specialist for RVParking.com. She can be contacted by emailing nicole@rvparking.com.

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