Anyone who has gone camping more than a few times has their share of campground horror stories. Back in the day before the arrival of the internet and cell phones, you would find a campground using a campground directory. There were no campground finder apps.
It was during those dark ages a couple of friends and I planned a long weekend of camping at a National Seashore area a few hours from home.
Remember Printed Campground Directories?
To find our campground we used the campground directory. These were thick books with campground listings usually arranged by state. The state sections were broken up by cities or towns. You would look up the place you wanted to stay. The seashore area where we were going had several campgrounds. There would be short one or two paragraph descriptions, usually a list of the available amenities, sometimes price information was also included. You would read through these, find a campground that seemed to meet your needs and call.
We found what looked like an ideal spot. The write up boasted roomy campsites with an ocean view. We would be in easy walking distance to the beach. The place featured clean bath houses with hot showers. We called, the owner seemed very friendly and helpful. He confirmed the various amenities, We reserved a site with water and electricity. We were tenting but at least we wouldn’t have to fetch water and we’d could bring some appliances for cooking and coffee, especially coffee.
There was one thing. Because it was a holiday weekend, the prices would be higher. This is pretty standard. However, if you would pay for our campsites in full in advance, he would give us a nice discount – still higher than the normal price, but a discount nonetheless. So, I gave him my credit card number. I should have stuck with just giving him a deposit.
If the Bates Hotel Was a Campground…
This was the worst campground ever. From the road the place looked like a refugee camp. It was clear that the place was way oversold. We were packed in like sardines. We did not get electricity, we got an outlet that didn’t work. I believe the camp’s electrical system was overloaded with all the campers there – no coffee.
The bath houses were abysmal. The water was putrid. We carried water from the bath house because at least that water was drinkable. The place was a haven for gnats and mosquitoes. I know camping is outside and insects are part of it but it was clear this place did nothing to manage them. The beach was in walking distance but there was a 10-foot chain link fence around the campground.
We left the next day. My buddies and I got none of our money back. We were able to consult our thick campground directory and find a place a few miles away. It was a nice place. The rest of the trip was grate.
Technology to the Rescue
Today, we have a world of information literally at our fingertips. This has made life much simpler for the camper. There are apps for finding campgrounds that give you information about the campground, directions and even reviews from actual campers who have stayed at the place.
Let’s take a look at one high tech solution. In my opinion, this application is the cream of the crop.
Allstays Camp and RV
To call Allstays a campground finder app is really a severe injustice. Allstays is more like a trip management app right on your IPhone. Allstays is the feature rich granddaddy of all campground finder apps. This is the e-ticket. No serious camper should be without this.
Allstays lists over 30,000 campgrounds in the US and Canada. Included in these lists are private campgrounds, National and State Parks. National and State Forests, BLM, Army Corps of Engineers, County and city parks. Campgrounds in all the major camping clubs are listed Including KOA. Good Sams, Escapees, Passport America, Thousand Trails and more. You will also find listings for primitive hike-in/boat-in/rough road spots that other apps exclude.
Included in the campground description are the following details: Official website, phone number, directions, open season, elevation, rate range, sites, hookups, amps, big rigs access, tents or no tents, clubs, water, showers, toilets, tables, pool, playground, laundry, propane, pet-friendly, RV dump station, age restrictions, storage, firewood, boat launch, seasonal sites and internet access.
Get Campground Reviews and Photos.
You can access campground photos and reviews. These are gathered using the power of the entire web, not just one source.
In addition to campgrounds, Allstays has information on places campers can stay free overnight. These places include Wal-Mart, Cabellas, Costco, Sams Club and others. You can look up the location of the nearest dump station and find the weather of the campground based on the GPS of the campground not the city airport.
With Allstays, you can find the location of RV Dealers, RV Service Centers, RV Rentals Centers, and Truck stops. If the truck stop is part of a chain, Allstays links the gas prices. The interactive maps will show you the locations of low bridges. You can get timely road condition and emergency contact information Pretty cool, huh?
All These Features and Powerful Filters Too.
You can filter by campground type and over 30 amenities. Want to find a campground for tents with showers, you can. Need a place with 50 amp service that can accommodate a big rig and sells propane? Just set the filter.
Far From a Cell Tower? No Internet? It Still Works.
The main information used by the Allstays App is stored right on your phone. So, if you are out of range of a cell tower, you can still get valuable information from the app. You can look up campgrounds by type, state and city. Some features like GPS and internet do require cell service.
Better Than a Campground Directory – On Your Cell Phone
Allstays is packed with features and gets excellent reviews from its users. The app sells for US $9.99. It’s worth 10 times that.
Do you use Allstays? What has been your experience? Maybe you use another campground locator? Are you satisfied with it? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear about it.
I will be presenting / reviewing more campground locators in the future. Be sure to check back,