You sometimes don’t know what to expect until you actually are doing it. Sure, you can plan and prepare but even then, you come across unexpected good surprises and unexpected bad ones. We will be reviewing what those are, based on subject.
The first round is about government-run campgrounds.
1. COE Campgrounds. You may be wondering “what does COE mean?” We’ll tell you. “COE” stands for “Corps of Engineers”. They are usually located near water and you won’t generally find camphosts greeting you and showing you to the non-existent pool, but what bang you get for your buck! These are usually the cheapest stays for a paid campground (anywhere between $12-$18 per night), albeit there weren’t any sewer hookups at the ones we’ve stayed at. The sites are usually large. We knew people raved about them but this was still a pleasant surprise. If available we’d definitely stay again.
2. State Campgrounds. Ok. These can vary state to state. We admit it. We were surprised that unlike many national parks, many state-run parks and their campgrounds are big rig friendly. They’re all over the board with maintenance and such but we haven’t been disappointed yet. One of our most favorite campgrounds happened to be one that was a state campground.
3. County Campgrounds. These are even more diverse so generalizing is dangerous. They are 100% dependent on the county maintaining them, but we’ve stayed at ones with huge sites and amazing internet. The ones we’ve stayed at were big rig friendly and really well-maintained. This was surprising to us.
1. COE Campgrounds. If you have a big rig, not having sewer readily available may be a problem if you don’t want to unhook and find a place to dump. We didn’t realize that it was no sewer when booking (surprise!) but we were only here for two days. Okay, okay, we’re stretching here. You do get a ridiculous bang for your buck.
2. State Campgrounds. Reservations. Oh my, reservations! Some states are more cut-throat than others. If you are a full-timer, you are competing with locals who go to state campgrounds as a vacation spot on the weekends for a relatively cheap price. You can’t technically stay for more than 14 days, but the easy workaround is having more than one email address and booking with it. Forget holidays. Weekends are crazy as well. Some are not well-maintained as far as trees, so while your rig may meet the length requirements, there is an unspoken height requirement as well (we have met many a tree).
3. County Campgrounds. Many don’t allow reservations less than three days in advance and reservations aren’t posted until three days before arrival. This means, upon entering, if the camphost isn’t available, you need to guess which site to park at where someone isn’t about to make a reservation. It’s common in national parks as well, but man it’s confusing. We had no idea about this.
You’ll notice that we didn’t list national parks. That’s because, being a big rig, we haven’t had the opportunity to find a park that will fit us. Maybe that’s a negative for us but we have friends who love them.