It's no fun arriving at a campground to find that it's nothing like you expected. While websites like ReserveAmerica.com offer valuable information and photos, you can dig deeper to find a perfect spot before hitting the reserve button. Here are five online resources to use in your efforts to plan the perfect camping trip.
1. A "Walk-Through"
More powerful than images is the ability to "walk through" a park, or campground, before you get there. While there's no one place to get a video of every potential option, various resources are there if you know where to look. Try:
NatureValleyTrailView.com: This new site is one of the coolest online resources available. It only provides walking tour videos for Sequoia, Grand Canyon, Great Smokies and Yellowstone National Parks, but if you're visiting one of these spots it's a great tool to assess the trails, terrain, elevation gain, and more.
YouTube.com: This takes some manual effort in searching, but with so many videos available, you're likely to find something. For example, from the search "walk through Grand Isle State Park," this video from the Vermont State Parks YouTube account came through. Give it a try before your next camping trip.
2. A Digital Guide
Guidebooks are a thing of the past. Not only are they bulky and difficult to carry, but it's nearly impossible to keep them as up to date as their online counterparts. Often times, these online resources also work with a mobile app, making it available to you whether you're sitting in traffic or at home in your living room. Here are a few options to choose from:
NaturePods.com: This website provides a variety of digital guides for six different national parks across the country. Each guide can be used on your phone or iPad for $4.99, and they're integrated with video and audio to give you a closer look into the park.
Mobile Apps: For a general campground guide, download Oh Ranger! ParkFinder, a mobile app free on android and iOS. Nearly every state has its own app for camping and historic monuments thanks to the ParksByNature Network. Each one provides an in-depth look at the park and you can search via activity, region, and more. Find that state of your choice at the Android play store.