There are some people out there who choose to camp at the same campground over and over every year. That’s completely okay with me. They have found their go-to little piece of heaven. But if you’re anything at all like me, you like to find a new adventure every time. A new place to travel to. New trails to explore. New sights to see. New camping neighbors to meet. It’s also that time of year to begin planning next year’s camping trips as well, as they say you should reserve your campsites at least 6 months in advance to guarantee your spot.
One of the toughest things to deal with is searching for and finding your next camping spot. Whether you are tent camping, hammock camping, or trailer glamping, there are multitudes of options wherever you choose to take your next outdoor adventure. Where do you begin?
Well, I have been searching for the best and greatest apps to make this search just a bit easier for you. I have been researching a few apps for my fellow Android users to assist with finding your next short-term home in the woods. I have found a handful of handy dandy apps to assist in making this task a little less daunting of a process. This can go hand-in-hand with a previous review I did for Best and Worst Hiking Trail Finder Apps Reviewed. I will be reviewing nine apps, and provide scoring based on specific categories such as ease of use, filter options, campsite information provided, add-ons, and overall scores.
**Please let me apologize in advance that all the reviews are based on the Android apps, not iOS, as I do not own an iPhone or iPod or iPad or iAnything, and I will never figure out how to use one with its one button. So, in advance, iApologize.
Let’s just cut to the chase and get on with it. Sound good? Oh, and make sure you keep in mind that these are just my personal opinions.
Ease of Use: 3/10 – This is not an actual app, as it just takes you to the website in your browser. The map gets stuck loading often when choosing filters or loading new map areas in search, requiring constant reloading of the website and starting the search over and over again.
Filter Options: 6/10 – Filterable by Cost-4 options, Access Road-4 options, Activities-14 options, or Amenities-19 options.
Campsite Information Provided: 6/10 – Information is based on submissions from users only. Some campsite information has not been updated since 2013 or earlier.
Add-ons: +1 – Basic Trip Planner where you can add stops and plan your route.
Overall Score: 16/30
The app just links to the website. The more filters you enter, the longer it takes for the map to load with matching data, and locks up often. The site is very basic, and beside the large map, is a button to the site’s Trip Planner, but mostly ads. The Trip Planner is really just an option to add a pin to a specific location and plan a route. The good thing about this app is that all the campsites are free.
Ease of Use: 9/10 – Simple to use Google Map interface with Google Street view available. New pins automatically pop up when the map is moved to a new location. This quick loading is due to the use of a local database for the map info, and syncs with internet access for reviews and photos. Easy to find options button is available to pull up filters. Easy click-on pins to pull up camp names and click to open description with the option to read customer reviews and write your own review. Requires to be zoomed in very close to see other pins besides RV Parks.
Filter Options: 8/10 – Filter by RV Length, Cost-5 choices by the number of $$$, Amenities-23 choices, Commercial Parks-7 choices, Government Parks-8 choices, Grocery Store Camping-6 choices, Sports Stores, Other Areas, and Gas Stations.
Campsite Information Provided: 6/10 – Some amenities listed and basic contact information for each campsite as well as a link to the campground website if available. Photos provided by users are available and a button for directions. No cost or fee information provided on this info screen except for a number of $$$.
Add-ons: +2 – Trip Planner and Place Finder for overnight parking and RV Dumps.
Woopsies: -1 – Except for RV Parks, you must zoom in really close to begin seeing other pins/campground types, which could make it easy to miss really good ones unless you know exactly where you are planning on camping.
Overall Score: 24/30
Free App with the option for paid upgrade to pro membership for $7.99. Map with search options for Commercial Parks and Government Parks. Can also search for Grocery Stores, Sports Stores (i.e. Cabela’s, REI, Gander Mountain, etc.), Gas Stations, and Other Areas including Rest Areas, RV Dump, and Casinos. I definitely recommend purchasing the Pro version as it provides many more filtering options, the ability to change the multiple pin appearance, changes to measurement units, and view weather forecast info as well as a few other options. The Pro version also allows the use of the trip planner, marking favorites, and viewing local traffic.
Ease of Use: 10/10 – Simple and clean Google Maps interface with an easily readable menu to switch to list view, select filters, find a location search by city/town, address, GPS coordinates, or campsite name, option to drop a pin on the map, and add a new site. Also offers map settings such as switching to the offline map, multiple map layers, and more.
Filter Options: 10/10 – Large list of filterable items including Site Types-7 options, Site Costs-3 options, Site Features-62 options.
Campsite Information Provided: 8/10 – Clean look in site details offering user review ratings, contact info, link to website, features, coordinates, directions, local weather, some prices offered, and uploaded user photos.
Add-ons: +3 – Downloadable maps for offline use, Trip Planner, Chat Forum, Camping Checklist built into the app with the option to add your own items, Satellite Finder and Compass as well as Home Clock for all time zones.
Overall Score: 31/30
Over 14,000 campgrounds. The app is free to download and try, and the option to upgrade to the full version for a one-time cost of $1.99. I love how this app includes backpacking hostels as one of the filters available to search for as well as the availability to use the maps offline. WikiCamps is not only for the US, but also has apps for Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. This app has it all and a bag of chips…well, you know what I mean. As you can see, the overall score means they studied hard, did their homework, aced all the tests, and did the extra credit. Graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Ease of Use: 5/10 – The Google map interface is very easy to use, but there isn’t much to it besides the map itself. No options for filtering searches or different layer views. The only other option than the standard map view is list view.
Filter Options: 0/10 – No filter options are available.
Campsite Information Provided: 10/10 – Tons of information about each campground is provided within the app including contact info, both non-member and member cost, highlights, important campground notes, directions, amenities, testimonials, link to access the campground website as well as the option to leave your own notes.
Add-ons: No additional add-ons
Overall Score: 15/30
Passport America is actually a discount camping club where you can save 50% with over 1800 campgrounds with a paid membership. Paid membership is not required to search for campgrounds using the app, but for $44 per year, you receive discounted prices on camping reservation fees reserved through their app or website. The app search only includes campgrounds that have partnered with Passport America and does not include any other campgrounds, free or dispersed camping options, other non-partner campgrounds or boondocking locations. This is a great app if you are a paying member of Passport America, but without membership, the reservation fees are much more expensive than average.
Ease of Use: 4/10 – Easy to use Google Maps interface with very limited filtering options. Easy to access search bar. Requires page reload every time you move the location on the map.
Filter Options: 4/10 – Very few filter options are available in the app. Filter options include Availability dates for expected arrival and departure, Interests-4 options, Facility Type-6 options, Availability-3 options. Very basic filter options all based around availability only.
Campsite Information Provided: 10/10 – Very thorough with the information of each campground. Includes photos, overview, season dates, location map, booking window, long list of activities and amenities available on the grounds and within 10 miles, campsite map, fee information, cancellation info, facility rates, alerts and other important info as well as contact information.
Add-ons: +2 – Reserve your campsite right in the app and purchase hunting and fishing license on their website.
Overall Score: 21/30
Reserve America was originally founded in 1984 and also boasts being the first to process America’s first online camping reservation in 1997. Over 17.5 million users visit ReserveAmerica.com each year to research and book camping trips. They list nearly 290,000 campsites (not to be mistaken with the number of campgrounds listed on the other app reviews) on the site and in the app. You can not only search through their giant list of campsites, but you can reserve the site right then and there. You can also purchase hunting and fishing licenses right on the website as well.
Ease of Use: 10/10 – Easy to use map interface with 3 Layer view options and list view available. The legend on top always allows easy access to change map layers, select filters, and search.
Filter Options: 7/10 – 7 Park filter options but no option for non-RV campgrounds, 12 amenities options, 5 Store filters, Gas Stations filter and Other filters which include Rest Areas and Low Bridges/Road Warnings.
Campsite Information Provided: 7/10 – No actual descriptions provided from the app, but all amenities easily found at the top with cost, campground contact info, directions, web address, and reviews with options to write your own review or add photos.
Add-ons: +1 – Trip Planner with the option to share Trips with others.
Woopsies: -1 – No options for searching tent-only sites and no options for filtering search for BLM free campgrounds.
Overall Score: 24/30
This is a great app for RV Campers and available on both iOS and Android. However, if you are a tent camper, you will only find RV Parks with a filter option to find ones that allow tents. RV Parky is built and maintained by a full-time RVer with the help of the RV community. There are no ads, spyware, memberships, subscriptions or strings attached of any kind. Kudos for the cool app name.
**Even though this got a lower rating from me for not having tent-only campgrounds, I still wanted to review this as I know there are a lot of RV Campers out there who would love this app.