Special Note: I am just getting started with this page. Expect to see quite a bit of information here in the future with additional pages for various topics. It is always a work in progress and a huge category, but I will continue to publish material as I pull it together.
I am creating a page for each type of camping shelter with a searchable table of manufactures for those shopping for a new shelter. I was a bit overwhelmed myself in the past when looking for a new camping shelter and thought these pages would be helpful to folks in the market.
The type of shelter you use, probably starts with what is within your budget and then what makes sense for the type of traveling and camping that you intend to do and where you intend to go.
There are a ton of options in tents and it really comes down to what type of camping you plan to do, the seasons and how often you plan to do it. I will start digging into tent options soon.
This is what we currently use. We started out with an 18′ full sided travel trailer and have moved to a 28′ full sided travel trailer recently. We like having our truck available for driving around in from home base and storing our bikes. We are actually looking into downsizing back to a smaller trailer again though. I miss the maneuverability of the smaller trailer and the one we have now, although nice and spacious, is overkill for what we need and like to do.
The sky is the limit here and you can spend about as much money as you want. Motorhomes are great for road tripping and you can usually pull a vehicle behind them to use for driving around, once you are set up at your base camp.
I am really interested in camper vans and believe they would work great for some of the traveling that we do. That being said, they would not work great for everything that we do. There are a ton of options out there today, starting with simple conversion vans all the way up to 24 foot special built options with full kitchens and a bathroom that cross over into the motorhome category.
As much as I love to support small business… Private parks can be a crap shoot sometimes regarding the quality, atmosphere and the type of camping neighbor that you might have. This can be true with any type of park, but especially true with private parks. Many private parks are also home to year round residents, and if you are looking for a camping and outdoor experience; these are probably not going to be your first pick.
All that being said, there are some really good things about private parks… There are some chains that tend to be very kid friendly with nice play ground equipment. We’ve had good luck with KOA campgrounds when it comes to being kid friendly and you can count on some good standard level of service from our experience. We stayed at 3 KOA campgrounds on our last road trip and had a good experience with each of them. The last one in Tucumcari, New Mexico, was phenomenal and they actually escorted us to our site by golf cart and made sure we were all set with our site.
State Forest Campgrounds
These can range from being extremely rustic and a little overgrown to being really nice to the point of looking like a full amenitied state park minus electricity and bathhouses with running water. One of the nicest state forest campgrounds we’ve stayed at is one in Wisconsin near the Brule River, called Brule River State Forest. I think it actually had an asphalt road through the park.
State Park Campgrounds
State Parks are my default place to camp for many reasons. We do use a travel trailer, but still like to have some type of rustic or outdoors experience. We tend to look for destination type state parks, where there is hiking, biking or fishing. Even better if there are waterfalls or some canyons. I shy away from state parks that pack you in side by side. I know I take a trailer, but I like to have my space. State Parks seem to be a good happy medium between getting some outdoor atmosphere, while still having the availability of electrical hookup, water supply and playground for the kids.
National Park Campgrounds
We have yet to camp within a National Park itself. We had plans to camp within Zion National Park over spring break, but had to change our travel plans due to some issues with our travel trailer. However, it can be quite tough to get into a campground at many of the National Parks. Some National Parks do not allow any reservations and it is a first come first serve basis and they’ll be lined up with people waiting for a spot in the morning. Others can be reserved if you plan far enough ahead.
National Forest / Forest Service / Bureau of Land Management Campgrounds
We’ve stayed at National Forest, Forest Service and BLM campgrounds and all were pretty good experiences. These will be very similar to state forest campground in that they will not have any electrical or water hookups and in some cases, may not have any water supply at all. That being said, we’ve had good camping experiences at everyone we stayed at and you will usually find yourself in a more rustic outdoor setting.
Our Top 5 Family Friendly Camping Destinations
This will obviously change over time as we continue with our family camping adventures.
Roaring River State Park – Missouri
Dinosaur Valley State Park – Texas
Charles A. Lindbergh State Park – Minnesota
Seven Lakes State Park – Michigan
Petit Jean State Park – Arkansas