There really is a lot to be discovered in the not-so-popular and lesser-known parks and campgrounds. The National Parks are wonderful, but there are also other interesting parks to discover on your road adventures that will nurture your soul.
When you’re seeking out campgrounds to stay in don’t forget about the hundreds of State, Provincial, County and Regional Parks that offer camping. These are operated by cities, states, provinces, and counties in Canada and the U.S. They are non-commercial campgrounds. Not only will you find great places to stay overnight, but they also come with opportunities to explore the natural beauty and take part in activities that may include hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, birdwatching, nature walks, disc golf, horseback riding, botanical gardens and more. Many of them are close to other local attractions as well. I enjoy these types of campgrounds far more than the privately owned, commercial campgrounds because I’m a nature girl and enjoy the vibe more. They tend to be more down-to-earth, nature-oriented and less polished than many of the commercial campgrounds.
…camping fees are usually very reasonable, ranging from about $15 – $40 depending on the season, the park and whether you’re dry camping or hooking up to utilities.
Some of these campgrounds have full (water/electric/sewer) or partial (water/electric) hook-ups available and others do not. Be prepared to dry camp (using your house batteries for power and the water in your freshwater tank) if you’re making an impromptu visit to one of the parks just in case they do not offer partial or full hookups. Shower facilities, fire pits, and BBQs are often available and camping fees are usually very reasonable, ranging from about $15 – $40 depending on the season, the park and whether you’re dry camping or hooking up to utilities. I have found that many of these parks have dump stations that you visit after check-out rather than sewer hookups for each individual space, which is what you usually have access to at commercial campgrounds.
Some of the more popular parks may require reservations far in advance especially for high season dates, but for the most part, when I travel during the off-season for the location that I’m in, I almost always find openings during the week and most often on weekends also. Using the online reservations systems are often helpful, but many of the gov’t operated campgrounds do not have big budgets for their websites (so it seems) so sometimes it can be frustrating. You can also take a chance and visit a park to see if they have any last minute cancellations which happen fairly often. I’ve lucked out many times and I’m sure you will too.
They tend to be more down-to-earth, nature-oriented and less polished than many of the commercial campgrounds.
So, if you haven’t explored these types of parks and campgrounds, I highly recommend that you do. A quick internet search for these types of parks in your travel area will result in many options so you will have lots of places to choose from. Each one will have their own character and uniqueness to offer and they will all assist in helping you to create lasting memories of each and every one of them. •
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