Camp site scouting

Discussion in 'Campground / Trip Planning & Suggestions ?' started by Matt T, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. Matt T

    Matt T Member

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    So we took our first trip with our new camper and upon arrival to the campsite we noticed the lot itself was significantly smaller and tighter with surround trees than other sites were and just overall seemed poorly designed or laid out. My question is, are you able to scout out a particular campsite prior to booking or is that against the camping etiquette? Like I feel that if I were able to go into the campsite and see the lots that were available I would’ve never booked. What’s crazy is that it looked like 90% of the lots were legit nice but we got the few leftovers.
     
  2. Matt T

    Matt T Member

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    So my wife just filled me in on the check in procedure. She said that she reserved a 30 amp spot when she booked however at the time of booking you have no say in what site you’ll actually get the day of your adventure, you then come and check in and THEN they assign you lot number whatever, we then drive around to our assigned jigsaw puzzle of a lot only to find as we drive around there are other 30 amp spots that are unassigned and haven’t been since we got there.

    So if it’s basically first come first serve(without them over booking) would we have been able to go back up to the office and ask for a different, better configured lot? Again I’m not sure what’s standard operating procedure.
     
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  3. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member

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    Go ask for a larger site. I camp is state parks so I pick/ reserve the site I want... granted I am familiar with the campgrounds and have a list of the sites I like.
     
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  4. GalsofEscape

    GalsofEscape Active Member

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    nothing wrong with that at all - we scout out sites ahead of time if we can. some state parks have the picture of the site on the reservation web site so you can see it and we have been pretty successful getting a good site, BUT pictures can be deceiving. they don't always show you the approach to the site, or that there may be a bit of a slope etc. The first time we are at a campground - we walk around and make notes which sites are the best for the next time we come to that campground.
    but you have to make sure you get in early enough to get the site you want - the best sites are often snapped up quickly you are are still left with the not so ideal site if you really want to go to that campground.
     
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  5. GalsofEscape

    GalsofEscape Active Member

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    then go back ask for a better site. The worst that can happen is they say no.
     
  6. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    In general there are two types of campsite selection:

    1. You pick yourself. This is usually public campgrounds. Whether you reserve online or do a FCFS, you choose your campsite. FCFS sites, you can drive through the campground and find an available site that meets your needs/wants. Reservable sites you select when you reserve. Depending on the campground's occupation level and the reservation rules, you may be able to switch sites upon arrival if you ask the host/ranger.

    2. It is selected for you. This is usually at private campgrounds and RV Parks. There are a variety of reasons why you are given a particular site, not all obvious. If you are unhappy with the selected site, you should go and talk to the desk folk. Be polite and kind in your request. If there is a safety concern, like worn outlets on the pedestal, stick with that as your reason. If the site is too tight for your setup, use that. Keep to your main reason and don't flip around to other reasons if they suggest that isn't really a problem. If they suggest that they can direct you into a tight site, just say "I don't trust myself not to mess up and I don't want to be the cause of any problems for you". If they suggest the electrical is really OK, just say "I have enough electrical knowledge to see the worn outlet, but not enough to catch it before it does damage if I plug in and something happens due to my rig. I don't want to be the cause of any problems for you". (You'll notice you are trying to "protect them from you" rather than "protect you from them" - it gets better results.). If the site is just a bad layout or in a crappy section, etc., then use a "special circumstance" to request a nicer spot. On this trip, you could have said "this is our first trip with the new camper and we were hoping for something a bit more romantic/secluded/convenient to the lake/etc." or "our couch is on the passenger side and we'd like to sit and look at the lake" or such. Again, be nice and stick with a single reason for wanting to move.

    A good campground/park will give you another site option at the least (maybe not your choice of any open site, but another site that meets your particular request better). Be sure to thank them at that time and when you leave. If they don't give you another option and just flat out say no with no reason, then mark them in your notebook of campsites as a "not so good place to stay". They may give you a reason that doesn't make sense to you. Take them at their word that it is a legitimate reason. Be nice with the no answer and try staying there a second time. They may remember that you were really nice about that last stay when others were accusing them of just being arses and give you a nicer site for it. They may just give you the next site on their list. If it is subpar, ask again if they can give you a different site and keep to a main reason. If they say no, give you a questionable reason why they won't move you, or are rude, then put them down in your notebook to avoid in the future.

    For non-safety issues, try to keep from suggesting the site is a bad one as that sounds like an insult to them. Instead focus on how your setup fails in that site. Again, this keeps it sounding positive for them even though you know it's a crappy site. And you're more likely to get a positive outcome if you come across as nice, friendly, and non-whiny.
     
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  7. Matt T

    Matt T Member

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    I think ultimately we dropped the ball. We definitely should’ve asked for a different spot like y’all had stated, we were just so eager to get in and get setup that we didn’t feel the need to rock the boat or switch anything last minute. Just a learning experience is all. It’s a short weekend trip so we’re not gonna go through the hassle of breaking down and moving everything to another location, it’s just gonna be marked down as a learning experience. Next time I’ll know to at the very least to ask. Thanks for the help everyone!
     
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  8. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest keeping a list of site numbers that you like for each campground you visit... it helps make the weekend!
     
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  9. Ladiesman

    Ladiesman Active Member

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    Thats what we do. We drive around while camping and write down the sites we really like. We keep a little log book. Nothing fancy just stops us from reserving sites we wouldn't like.
     
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  10. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Some of the state parks here give you assigned spots when you show up, but they take suggestions. For instance I was a newbie once and asked if they had any spots that were open or wide. I also find if you say you have a popup they think small. However I have a very large popup and need a bigger site. So give direction as to size.
     
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  11. Matt T

    Matt T Member

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    That’s exactly what I think happened to us, even though we told them our Avalon was 30’ fully opened they heard pop up and put us in a small spot.
     
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  12. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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  13. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    Our state parks used to be first come. Office would assign you a site, but generally if you got there and didn't like it they were happy to put you somewhere else. Often times they would let you know what sites were still available, so you could choose one that worked best, and then let the office know before setting up. They have since gone to a reservation system, so you reserve a specific site online. We try and also keep a log of the better sites in the different parks, and also rely on Google satellite which can provide some input. Many parks are now providing photos of the individual sites which is also helpful.
     
  14. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    We always "scout" via Google satellite view, at the very least. We have also checked out the other campsites and wrote down notes in our phone for nicer sites to try for on a future trip. We've never really been in a position to scout out sites before we've committed, as it's always been pre-reserved.
     
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  15. cottonlily

    cottonlily New Member

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    www.campsitephotos.com has lots of sites photographed from cgs all over. One of our favorite pastimes is riding through parks to see the sites (some don't allow lookieloos tho). I like the parks that allow you to choose but some feel it's more fair to assign them - you get what you get. And I have just called and said hey what's the best site you have open for my specific needs.
     
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  16. bheff

    bheff Well-Known Member

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    I do this as well. But take it a step further. Drop down to the road level and you can literally drive thru most campgrounds via Google maps. Scroll left and right to see what you'll see while there. Some of the booking sites even have additional pictures,length of pad and even how level they are.
     
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  17. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    We've scoped out our local sites and have our favorite spots. When we go long distance we scope out the sites we like if it's somewhere we think we may camp again. We mostly use public camp grounds and so far get to pick our site.
     
  18. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    I like to tell them im a new camper and my rig is bigger then what it really is i twll them im not sure and i guestimated it. ,additionally i say i never backed it up before. It usally nets me the biggest available site in my price range. This is for new campgrounds.
     
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