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Campfire with pots hanging above

How to Find the Best Camping Spot

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Camping is a wonderful, memorable way to spend a vacation, long weekend, or spontaneous adventure for a night. Whether done inside a pop-up camper, a set of small tents, or by hanging hammocks from some sturdy trees in the woods, camping can be a fun, safe, and enjoyable pastime. Crucial to a great camping trip, however, is the campsite. There are many variables that go into finding the best camping spot and a wide variety of sites exist for a plethora of needs or desires. With these easy tricks and valuable information, locating the best camping spot is simple and quick so that the real fun can be had on the camping trip itself.

Group of campers around campfireWhat are the Needs of the Group?

The first step in selecting a camping spot for a trip is considering the needs or wants of the individuals on the trip. If there are younger children, is the spot somewhere safe and visible from all angles so any wild toddlers could be easily rescued if they wander off? If camping in an RV, is the site near a gas station where the vehicle can be quickly refueled? When camping in tents, is the ground stable and flat for driving stakes into the earth to pitch the tents? Are there stable, strong trees to hang hammocks? Is there a water source nearby, but not too close by to pose danger or welcome wildlife? Does the area have cell service? These are just the beginning of questions that could be asked while plotting out the actual necessities of one campsite versus another. The most important aspect is the safety of the site taking into consideration all members of the camping party.

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Make Camp Where Water can Drain

Rain and damp weather are often unavoidable while camping in the Great Outdoors. An important aspect of finding the best campsite is making sure that the site is a drainable area that will not collect standing water overnight. This means no camping in sunken, marshy areas due to water-collection, but also due to the safety of campers. Being surrounded by puddles of water could mean the potential danger of drowning, especially if a camping party contains small children. Furthermore, camping in low-lying areas can easily lead to discomfort due to water entering your tent. You may have the best tent for rain, but setting up camp in an area that does not allow water to escape is a sure way to have it enter your tent. It also may be a good idea to seek out an area with plenty of overhead trees or vegetation that does not contain dead limbs (falling risk) for both heat insulation and less accumulation of dew in the morning.

Avoid Dangerous Situations

Trees on island in lake with lightning in backgroundGorges, exposed ridges, or sunken gullies are dangers that can easily be avoided when choosing your campground. These areas can often pose a danger of flash flooding or falling away in varying weather conditions. Being nearby water sources can be helpful; however, remember that camping too close to a river, stream, or waterfall usually means the appearance of more pests, insects, and hunting animals. It is not altogether a bad idea, but it is important to weigh the situation and make the best decision with all the variables in mind. Another potential danger to avoid is camping under or beside a single, lone tree, as it could easily attract lightning before and during rainstorms. It is also crucial to camp where the human footprint is minimized, and nature can be as it normally is. A camper’s environmental impact should be as small as possible, which is an important thing to consider when selecting a camping spot.

Planning for the Seasons

The season in which you choose to have your next camping trip can greatly impact your experience. In general, for all times of the year; when traveling on a trail, parkway, or reservation, it is important to plan and learn about the different campsites or parks you may encounter along the way. Planning for a camping spot minimizes the chance and number of poor choices for the camping party, the camping supplies, and the environment. Crowding other campers is not advised. A piece of advice is pitching tents or stringing hammocks in the direction of the rising sun to provide warmth for winter campers and motivation for campers in other seasons. Most importantly, remember to keep both the camping site and the great outdoors clean by leaving it the way that it was before campers arrived at it.

Staying off the Beaten Path

When choosing your campsite, ensure you are respectful of others and are aware of any hazardous or dangerous areas that may be nearby. An important point to keep in mind is for campers to keep their tents or hammocks off trails others may use for travel. Campsite paths are different, but no one wants to be hiking a mountain and have to scale around a sleeping camper’s tent. Areas that are covered in dirt, leaves, moss, or other materials found in nature are preferable to conduct heat and to pad the ground where campers would sleep. It is also very important to be nearby an area where firewood is easily located so that a campfire can be lit without trouble. Dangerous areas should also be avoided for camping spots, like avalanche-prone zones. Safety is the top priority, with comfort as a second.


Finding a perfect camping spot can be a long and challenging process; however, it does not have to be impossible. By consulting reputable sources and even other campers who have traveled similar areas, it is simple to find a great area to camp in. Plan well and in advance for the optimal trip. Ensure you bring the proper supplies, weatherproof your tent correctly, and are prepared for the uncertainty that nature often presents. The main rules are remaining safe during the trip, being warm and comfortable, and leaving as small of an environmental footprint as is possible in the camping spot.