By: Blonde Two
We Blondes are often asked to post advertorial content on our blog. We only do this if it is high quality content in which we think our readership will be interested. It all helps to keep the blog wheels oiled and us in cheesy chips! B2 has always fancied a camping trip to the USA and was keen to find out more from the experts. You might not be taking an overseas trip this year but we are fairly sure you’ll be doing some future holiday planning!
Planning a camping adventure in the USA? Then great preparation is the key to enjoying the best camping trip ever. Yes, we know spontaneous travel can be fun, but when it comes to camping in the US, planning ahead is always a great idea – especially in the peak season. That is exactly why we’ve bundled the top tips from Outdoor Command in one, handy overview – helping you create a fantastic camping experience, no matter in which US-state you pitch camp!
Camping in the USA is a popular choice for holidays, which is why it’s crucial to make your campground reservations early. Though it varies on location, it’s not uncommon for a campground to be fully booked up to three months in advance – especially in high-demand areas such as National Parks. Some campgrounds don’t take reservations, instead they work on a first-come, first-serve basis. Though these may seem like a great alternative to pre-booking sites, they tend to fill up fast and furiously, meaning you may have to start queuing at 7 am to guarantee a spot. That is why, if you want a more relaxed holiday, we recommend reserving a campground before you travel – giving you the peace of mind you’ll have a great camping spot without the hassle or stress!
The same goes for RVs and camping cabins: in the peak season, availability can be very limited. By planning at least 3 months in advance, you’ll have a better chance of securing your camping spot and/or an accommodation of choice, instead of having to settle for second best!
Get an America the Beautiful pass
If you plan to visit multiple National Parks on your US adventure, buying an America the Beautiful pass is a great way to save money. This pass, also known as the National Park pass, gives you access to more than 2000 federal recreation sites across the country. The pass includes entrance fees to all National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands for one personal vehicle, including rentals and RVs/motorhomes, and up to 4 adults. The pass is valid for one year, and can even be shared with your family and friends each pass can be signed by two different main pass owners).
The total cost of the America the Beautiful pass? Just 80 dollars. This makes it a fantastic deal for campers who are visiting multiple parks on a single trip or plan to take multiple trips to different parks in a year. Since popular locations such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Zion already charge a park free of 35 dollars each, you’ll already get your money’s worth after 3 spots.
Buy Bear Spray
The US has over 800,000 black bears, 32,000 brown bears, and 55,000 grizzly bears living in the wild: making a high-quality bear spray essential for your camping safety. Though grizzly bears are mostly found in Alaska, you may also encounter one in the lower 48 states, including Yellowstone National Park, Northern Utah, Northwestern Washington, and Northwestern Montana. Black bears are common along both the east and west coast, in the Rocky Mountains, and Alaska. However, you may also encounter one in other areas in the southwest and southeast, such as Texas. Though most bear encounters don’t escalate to attacks, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. That is exactly why we recommend all campers to pack a bear spray on their US-based camping adventures.
A bear spray is a non-lethal deterrent that can stop aggressive behavior in bears, and reduce the chance of a bear attack. Most commonly, bear sprays use capsicum derivatives to temporarily stun the bear by taking away its ability to see, breathe, and/or smell – allowing you to make a quick exit. Bear sprays come in various sizes and potencies and can distribute a fine mist or a direct spray – depending on the brand and design. Do note that you should only use bear spray as a last resort to prevent a bear attack, not as your first port of call when you spot a bear. Also, when you’ve bought a bear spray, make sure to carefully review the instructions on usage – as, in the heat of the moment, you don’t want to be fiddling to get the safety cap off.
Check the Weather
This may sound like a given, but carefully check the weather predictions for any American camping trip. No, we don’t just mean on the day itself: we advise you to check well in advance what type of climate and weather you can expect. Whilst some states, such as California and Florida are typically known for having pleasant temperatures year-round, other locations can surprise campers with their climates. For example, the Upper Midwest region is known for having the most unpredictable weather in the country – and the climate can see shifts of up to 55 degrees Fahrenheit from one day to the next. This means that you’ll have to pack accordingly and bring camping gear and a camping wardrobe that can handle both the cold and the heat. Research the yearly weather forecast of your camping location before you depart and you’ll be able to properly prep for whatever Mother Nature throws at you…
Do Your Research
Doing your camping research does not limit itself to reviewing the weather, bear sprays, and required reservations. It encompasses a lot more topics such as what is the best camping gear, what are the most scenic roads, which are the best hiking trails, etc. You may get away with winging it for a few of these topics, but you shouldn’t neglect to put in some time reviewing the most important one: the local rules and regulations.
Different parks and regions have different rules and regulations for camping. For example, one National Park may allow campfires, whilst another could have a total fire ban during certain months of the year. Some locations require you to pack out all your waste and dispose it outside of the park, whilst others allow you to bury certain types of waste according to the Leave-No-Trace method. Furthermore, other rules and regulations, such as parking, speed limits, may vary per state. Therefore, before you set off, double-check both the state’s general rules and regulations on using the roads, and the park’s regulations on camping, to avoid taking home some hefty fines as souvenirs!