How to Choose the Perfect Campsite: Top 10 Things to Look For

In 2019, there were 78.8 million households in the US that actively enjoyed camping. The great outdoors is full of wildlife, sunshine, and natural sights. Even if you’re stuck with an office job during the week, dedicating time to explore the outside world will leave you feeling happier and refreshed.

Is your brain dreaming of an escape? It’s time to pack the tent and sleeping bags. Get ready for a classic camping trip. Choosing the proper campsite is crucial for your camping adventure.

Below is a quick guide of 10 things to look for when choosing a campsite.

1. Find Level Ground

Depending on where you are, finding level ground may be harder for you than others, but you’ll thank yourself for finding level, solid ground to sleep on.

Level camping spots will help prevent things from rolling away and off into the darkness. You’ll also feel much better sleeping on level ground than you would if you woke up with your feet slightly above the level of your head.

Getting adequate sleep is crucial after long days in the sun. Do yourself a favor and find a spot to sleep where you aren’t fighting the urge to sit up straight.

2. Pay Attention to the Position of the Sun

There’s no right or wrong answer when planning your camping grounds around the sun. It comes down to what you and your group prefer.

If you’re wanting to sleep in a bit in the morning, find a spot with plenty of dense trees. The branches and leaves will block your tent from too much sunlight and heat.

Do you want to watch the sunrise or sunset? Set yourselves up in a position to get the view you want. The sun rises in the east, and it sets in the west.

3. Never Forget Your Water Supply

One of the most important things to keep in mind during any camping trip is your group’s hydration. With all the sweating you’ll be doing, remember to consistently sip on water.

If you aren’t staying on camping grounds with its own water supply, find a place near a natural body of freshwater. Find a clean lake, river, or pond.

Always bring as much water of your own as you can in the beginning, but use a fresh supply of water if needed. Are you not staying near a body of water? Keep water bottles on deck.

4. Look Up

Before setting down, always look up.

Never set up camp under a tree with dead branches. Large branches could fall and injure or kill a member of your group. You’ll also want to stay away from loose rocks.

Do research about the trees and paths in the area before camping. Look to see what types of trees are in the area and if they’re known to have falling branches.

Plus, if there’s nothing above you, you’ll be able to see the stars much clearer at night!

5. Be Mindful of Other Campers

Does your group enjoy setting up camp, turning on the loud tunes, and cracking open a few cold ones? Don’t set up in a quiet camping area. Be mindful of your environment and the campers around you.

Avoid overcrowded areas. Many camping sites around the country have gained popularity and become packed during months of nice weather. No one wants to be squished in their tent.

Never block someone else’s sunset moment. There are plenty of sunsets to go around so don’t set up in anyone else’s view.

6. Prepare for Critters

Whether it’s swarms of mosquitos, groups of raccoons, or the occasional wild bear, all camping places come with their unique pack of critters. Doing research before your stay comes in handy because you’ll be better prepared.

Avoid game trails, and stay away from any areas with tons of nests and newborns. Momma animals are protective.

Have bug spray near you at all times, and never leave out open containers of food or drinks. Tie up all trash bags before going to bed. You don’t want to wake up with small thieves taking your food.

7. Check Out the Weather

Mother Nature is unpredictable, but do the best you can by checking out the weather before selecting a spot. Avoid camping if a large storm is predicted.

In areas of potential flooding, stay away from bodies of water. Always identify an escape route or shelter in case the weather becomes violent.

Bring rain jackets, umbrellas, rain boots, and extra tent stakes. It’s always better to be over-prepared than wet and miserable.

8. Avoid the Bathroom Area

Most people think setting up near a bathroom is a good choice, but you’ll actually end up regretting it. Stinky smells travel, especially if it’s a busy campsite.

Be close enough to the bathroom that you’re able to reach it quickly if needed, but be far enough where you don’t have to smell urine all night. You’ll also want to steer clear of trashcans and dumpsters.

9. Understand the Rules

Different camping spots have different rules. Do the research ahead of time to avoid breaking rules, making trouble, and collecting fines.

Some spots require special permits for camping and fires. Other places require securing a reservation before your visit. Certain campgrounds are so packed that they may close themselves off to new visitors.

Always have a backup plan in mind in case your first option doesn’t work out.

10. Camp Somewhere You Enjoy

Know your group’s camping style. Camp in a location your group enjoys.

Avoid busy parks if your group wants peace and quiet, or find a campground with a pool or lake if your group likes to swim. Seek out camping spots near hiking trails if you’re ready to explore. Find areas of lush grass and trees if you’re looking to lounge for the day.

If you’re not sure what you like, schedule several trips to explore different sceneries.

Venturing Outdoors: Choosing the Best Campsite

Make your camping trip a time to remember by choosing the best campsite for you and your group. There are quite a few factors that come into play when selecting where to stay for the night.

Choose a site that has level ground and is clear from dead branches and loose rocks. Be mindful of the closest water supply, and be prepared for any possible critters and weather. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun.

Are you a camping buff? Check out our site. We offer plenty of tips, tricks, and guides on everything from awesome camping sites to much-needed camping equipment, such as a tent cot.