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Our ideal motorhome campsite

July 27, 2016 Reviews RV Lifestyle

While spending a long weekend in western North Carolina last month, we camped at a location that, for many reasons, seemed perfect to us. And now, as we are making plans for an upcoming trip much further west, we are using that campground as a benchmark. More about that location later, but first a disclaimer: It is now becoming more obvious to me that what we see as an ideal campsite is very different than what most RV owners seek.

To some extent, this may be because we’re working full-time and have no children living at home. That means shorter vacations that are not structured around campground entertainment. Most campgrounds seem to be built for different RV owner demographics – for example, retirees who don’t have time constraints on their travels, or parents who are camping with their kids. This explains the popularity of resort-like campgrounds that have built-in entertainment opportunities, including pools, sports facilities, and planned social activities. Longer vacations and family travel account for why larger (Class A and C) motorhomes are much bigger sellers than small (Class B) motorhomes like ours.

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At the other extreme are RV owners who avoid campgrounds altogether, preferring to camp without services such as electric, water, and sewer hookups. For some, this is so they can stay at remote wilderness sites (“dry camping” or “boondocking”). Small motorhomes are particularly well-suited for this since they are maneuverable on smaller roads and are self-sufficient, at least for a few days. But dry camping is much more common among RVers who are just looking for a one-night stopover and don’t want to spend money on a campground. There are even websites and smartphone apps that help you locate free RV parking sites, such as Walmart parking lots. I understand the economics and convenience of that choice, but I confess that camping in a commercial parking lot is probably the very last thing I would want to do with my vacation time.

Regardless of our destination or our length of stay, our goals for identifying a suitable campsite have been focused on three main criteria:

Overall, we think of our motorhome as a mechanism to get somewhere interesting and to serve as a basecamp for exploration and activities; we don’t need the campground itself to provide entertainment. The best campground for us serves as both a getaway and a gateway, located within a short distance of the experiences we are seeking.

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Which brings us back to that ideal campground I mentioned at the beginning: Just north of Asheville, North Carolina, is Campfire Lodgings, a small private RV campground located on a mountain ridge. We stayed at one of the “premium” campsites, which are all situated with unobstructed views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Depending on whether you choose sites with that view or sites with more trees and shade, the cost is $45-65 per night. The campground is well-maintained by an attentive staff and includes cabins, yurts, hiking trails, a laundry facility, and clean private bathrooms/showers. It’s just a short drive to the great food and music and art galleries in downtown Asheville, the gem of western North Carolina. Perhaps it’s a mistake to tell anyone about Campfire Lodgings, since I don’t want it to get too crowded; assuming it doesn’t, we’ll definitely be back.

(More articles at my travel/photo/blog site: https://www.vanscapes.net)

Bill Goldman

Bill Goldman works full-time at a research university but looks forward to traveling in his 2015 LTV Free Spirit SS. Photos and videos from those trips are on his website, along with blog posts about his experiences as a new motorhome owner (https://www.vanscapes.net)

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  • Woody Miller

    Good article. My wife & I are in our late working years and, like you, our interests do not often revolve around campground entertainment. Stopped boondocking years ago – something to do with age, I think. Unfortunately for the author, we often go to Asheville, NC and will very likely add one more unit to the crowd. And we think we will enjoy browsing the Vanscapes website.
    Woody & Kim aboard an LTV Unity CB.

    • Thanks, Woody — maybe we’ll see you in Asheville!