Updated: Mar 10, 2020
Scroll through the most recent posts in The Camping Mums Club and I guarantee you will find Mums asking for recommendations on the perfect campground for their family. And because mums love to share about the places they love, posters will always get long list of places to check out.
But, what does a mum do with all these recommendations once she has them? How does she assess all these options and choose which campground is the right one for her family? Based on my own experience and the experiences of hundreds of Camping Mums, below is my guide for How To Find Your Family's 'Perfect' Campground.
Which do you prefer? Pictured Top: Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park. Bottom: Moreton Island N-W Camping Zone
Before you even start looking at actual campgrounds…
STEP 1: THE WHEN & HOW OF YOUR TRIP
When are you going and how long are you going for?
The needs of your family for a weekend are likely to be very different to their needs for a month; and, what campgrounds have availability will depend on your timeframes especially if you're looking at camping during school holidays.
How long are you willing to travel to get to the campground?
Often, how far you are willing to travel will depend on how long you are going for. If you’re planning a weekend away, 2 hours of driving time on a Friday after work might be your limit; however, if you’re planning a fortnight away, 8 hours from home might be okay.
Once you know the When & How of your trip, it’s time to think about what will make the campground ‘perfect’ for your family.
STEP 2: YOUR CAMPGROUND CRITERIA Your family’s ‘perfect’ campground will not necessarily be the same for every camping trip and will vary depending on many factors including what environment you like, who you’re camping with and the type of activities you want to do while you're away. Some things for you to consider to determine the criteria a campground must meet to be ‘perfect’ for your family:
Type of Campground – Tourist Park, National Park or Free Camp?
Environment – Bush; Beach? / Urban; Rural?
Campground Ownership – Private or Government-owned?
Accessibility – Can you actually access the campground?
Campsite sizes & proximity to adjacent sites – Will you, all your stuff and your campfire (if you’re having one) fit on any of the sites within the campgrounds?
Campfire rules – On ground, firepit, brazier, BBQ? Wood: BYO or supplied?
Amenities – Full, Low or None?
Swimming / Water sports – Pool, Natural Waterway, Beach or None?
Kids play areas & activities – Do you need/want this stuff?
Pet friendliness – Any animals, dogs only, small dogs only? / Peak, Off-Peak only
Community Vs Privacy – Some places are great communities but not great if you and your family just want to keep to yourselves.
Family friendliness – Consider on-site management, typical campers at the grounds, through traffic and proximity to roads.
Local services & attractions – Shops, services stations, emergency services, tourist activities: what do you need access to?
At this point, you will know what criteria a campground needs to meet to suit your family for your upcoming trip, so now it’s time to actually find it!
STEP 3: FINDING YOUR ‘PEREFCT’ CAMPGROUND
I'll be real with you, this is usually the part that takes the most time. But, below is the process I recommend and personally follow:
1. Ask The Camping Mums Club
Tell the Camping Mum Brains Trust your criteria and we will give you a list of all the best family-friendly locations that meet them.
2. Search in The Club for recent reviews
Search in the club to read campground and campsite reviews written by our Mum. New reviews are popping up frequently, so take a moment to hunt around and I guarantee you will hear about the good, the bad and the ugly!
If you need more info:
Look up the campground/s on WikiCamps and/or YouCamp.
> WikiCamps - this App will show you exact locations of campgrounds within your area of travel, give you loads of campground, site and local information, and with easy to read maps and lots of filters, makes finding a campground simple. This is a paid app, but it's absolutely worth it if you're travelling or a regular camper.
> YouCamp - this website is the place to find camping on private land. Want to camp in a rainforest? Want to camp in a shearing shed? Want to get away from the crowds? YouCamp has what you want. And, with lots of filters and area maps it makes it easy to find what you’re looking for in the area you want to go.
Get on Google
> Visit the campgrounds’ website and have a good look around. You might even want to give them a call to see what sites are available and what activities are on offer.
> Check out images of the campground in Google image search (and maybe even dig deep on Instagram)
> Read the reviews that come up on Google: an amazing campground will have consistently excellent reviews.
At this point, you’re either going to be ready to book or you want/need someone to make the final decision for you. So it's time again to:
Ask The Camping Mums Club
We’ll help you decide! You can even put up a poll asking “Which of these campgrounds should I go to?” to completely outsource the final decision.
(And if you “accidentally” let the date of your trip slip and pop up your Club Flag or Banner when you arrive, you might / will probably end up with another Camping Mum next door… which means ready-made kid entertainment, friendship and more camping fun: because #campingmumshavemorefun!
With so many options for amazing camping experiences across Australia, follow this How To Guide and I feel very confident that you will find something that is ‘perfect’ for your next family camping trip.
Happy Camping! ~Shell
Coming Up... You've chosen your campground and get to choose your campsite when you arrive! Be sure to subscribe and check out next week’s blog, How To Choose The 'Perfect' Campsite.