Let’s just recap our last thirteen months.
Some of these states were pass-throughs, but we found neat little parks that if the circumstance ever warranted, we’d stay there again. Others, not so much.
To make sure our extended stays were as positive as possible, we did our research. We mainly use RV Park Reviews and Google. Read the reviews carefully, because they are very subjective. For example, if you like to have campgrounds being remote from the world, but someone rates a park 5 stars because it is close to everything, you have different needs and standards.
There are also some basic questions we now ask when we stay at a campground for more than a couple of days:
- We have a 45′ Class A + tow. Can your park handle big rigs with wide turns? We always press on is the “big rig friendly” claim almost all parks make. Some do not consider the drive to and from the spot they state is big-rig friendly, or low-hanging branches that can scratch your coach. A reputable park will tell you when you ask the first time “There are some turns but we have a good escort to get you to your spot”.
- Really? Really really? It sounds silly, but for the safety of your coach and your stress level, ask again. Stress again the size of your coach and that it is a Class A (if you have one). Handling a fifth wheel has some maneuverability – Class As are less forgiving.
- How is your cell service? This is something we didn’t think to ask until we were completely without cell service. Then, after a tiring day of driving, we had to transfer our service over to skype and spend time on that rather than relaxing.
- What is our spot number? With the campground map and Google Earth, you’ll be able to understand if the spot makes sense for you. It also stops the “bait and switch” some parks will try to pull, guaranteeing you the super premium deluxe super spot and then give you the “wah waahhhhh” spot.
- Does this spot have any known issues with satellite ? Does the satellite need to be located somewhere specific on the coach to get a signal? Again, we didn’t think to ask this until we were completely without signal. We were told that one spot had great service, until we arrived, got set up, and nothing. Only after questioning were we told that the sattalite will only work if it is in the very front of the coach.
- Can you see and/or hear fireworks from this location at all? Dog owners, beware! There are a lot of parks that forget to tell you about the fireworks. We were shocked at how many insist they are dog-friendly but then have fireworks that sound like firebombs overhead, even at times shaking our very sturdy coach. We were also shocked how dog owners would give these parks high reviews. For our dog Piper, it was traumatic.
- You say you’re “pet-friendly”. Where are dogs allowed to go and where can they relieve themselves? An important question. There are campgrounds who claim they are “pet-friendly” but don’t allow dogs to walk (even on leashes) on any of the grounds! This means you’d have to carry Fido to the approved area. I don’t know dogs who listen to reason and rules and sees grass as “a place to go”. You can argue with the campground as to the definition of pet-friendly or you can just take your business (and the dogs’ business, as it were) elsewhere.
There are other criteria you may have, like close to shopping or civilization, or just the opposite. We like paved and grassy in comparison to gravel (doggie paws don’t like gravel and they equate “grass” with “a place to go potty”, so lack of grass is difficult). We like civilization to be close-by (10-15 minutes) and like access to bike trails. We have our top 5 but if you were to ask if we’ve yet visited the perfect place – that’s still down the road and we’ve yet to stay there yet.