Because car camping in private campgrounds can vary widely in terms of amenities and rates, it is wise to do your homework before making any reservations.
Private campgrounds are not only plentiful, they are often located near outdoor adventures and attractions. As such, they are an especially appealing option for car camping.
AMENITIES & SERVICES
Amenities and services vary widely in private campgrounds. Understanding this is the first step to ensuring a successful experience. For example, a “no frills” campground will offer little more than campsites and restrooms. As such, do not expect to find water or electric at the campsites. Further, if present, campfire rings will not likely be equipped with grates for grilling. These types of campgrounds are, quite frankly, only appropriate for a one night stop over on the way to something better. They are not set up to be appealing or comfortable for longer stays.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are “full service” private campgrounds. These campgrounds often provide utilities at the campsite, fully equipped restrooms (with showers, flush toilets, and sinks), campfire rings with grill grates, fun amenities for the family (swimming pools, mini golf courses, playgrounds), as well as laundry facilities. Some will also have a retail operation to provide assorted sundries and snacks. Many also sell firewood on site.
Thus, the wide range of options in amenities and services available in private campgrounds means you need to do a little homework. As a first step, we recommend consulting online reviews when sorting through your options of where to car camp.
Rates vary in private campgrounds and are highly dependent on a few factors. One, if there are few to no other options (either private or public) in the area you can expect rates will be higher. Two, expect to pay more for a campground which offers all the bells and whistles. Three, rates will be higher during peak times (seasonal rates). Four, if you are planning a longer stay, it is possible that the campground may offer reduced rates so be sure to ask! Lastly, private campgrounds tend to cost more for a campsite than those maintained at the state or federal level.
CAR CAMPING IN PRIVATE CAMPGROUNDS – FINAL THOUGHTS
Nearly all private campgrounds will allow you to reserve a campsite. Whereas some will require a deposit to hold the reservation, others do not. Some allow for last minute cancellations and others require notice well in advance. There is a wide variety in practices, and in policies. As such, before reserving make sure you know the reservation and cancellation policies of the private campground you are considering.
Every private campground sets its own rules. Expect there will be rules about quiet hours and pets, at a minimum. Other rules often include speed limits, use of amenities, and visitors. If you have questions, do not hesitate to call or email the campground owner or manager. Because they want their guests to have an enjoyable experience they are happy to answer your questions. The great operators understand that campers are happy when their expectations are met or exceeded, so they welcome such inquiries.
No one likes to be disappointed, so do a little homework. This will help to ensure you are getting what you want and that you understand the rules before booking your reservation in a private campground.
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