Campsite

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This article is about camping. For the content management system, see Campsite (software).
"Campground" redirects here. For the American historic district, see The Campground.
"Camp ground" redirects here. For the American historic church, see Camp Ground Methodist Church. For the community in Illinois, see Camp Ground, Illinois.

A campsite or camping pitch is a place used for overnight stay in the outdoors. In British English a campsite is an area, usually divided into a number of pitches, where people can camp overnight using tents or camper vans or caravans; this British English use of the word is synonymous with the American English expression campground. In American English the term campsite generally means an area where an individual, family, group, or military unit can pitch a tent or park a camper; a campground may contain many campsites.

There are two types of campsites:

  • an impromptu area (as one might decide to stop while backpacking or hiking)
  • a dedicated area with improvements and various facilities (see below).

Campgrounds[edit]

Semi-permanent tents on wooden platforms at a scout camp
A campsite on Ölüdeniz beach
Undeveloped tent camping area

The term camp comes from the Latin word campus, meaning "field". Therefore, a campgrounds consists typically of open pieces of ground where a camper can pitch a tent or park a camper. More specifically a campsite is a dedicated area set aside for camping and for which often a user fee is charged. Campsites typically feature a few (but sometimes no) improvements.

Dedicated campsites, known as Campgrounds, usually have some amenities. Common amenities include, listed roughly in order from most to least common:

Campgrounds may include further amenities:

  • Pit toilets (outhouses)
  • Flush toilets and showers
  • Sinks and mirrors in the bathrooms
  • A small convenience store
  • Shower facilities (with or without hot water)
  • Wood for free or for sale for use in cooking or for a campfire
  • Garbage cans or large rubbish bins in which to place refuse

Camping outside a designated campsite may be forbidden by law. It is thought to be a nuisance, harmful to the environment, and is often associated with vagrancy. However some countries have specific laws and/or regulations allowing camping on public lands (see Freedom to roam). In the United States, many national and state parks have dedicated campsites and sometimes also allow impromptu backcountry camping by visitors. U.S. National Forests often have established campsites, but generally allow camping anywhere, except within a certain distance of water sources. In Britain, it is more commonly known as wild camping, and is mostly illegal. However, Scotland has a relaxed view and wild camping is legal in the majority of Scotland. In many parts of Canada, "roughing it" is considered to be wilderness camping on government owned, public land known as crown land and commonly called "the bush". There are no amenities of any kind and typically no development except for possibly logging roads or ATV trails, and few rules beyond the requirement in some provinces to move the site at least 100 metres every 21 days.

RV parks/caravan parks[edit]

Main article: RV park
A symbol used to indicate the availability of trailer or RV camping

In North America many campgrounds have facilities for Recreational Vehicles and are also known as RV parks.[1] Similar facilities in the UK are known as Caravan Parks. The Kampgrounds of America (KOA) is a large chain of commercial campgrounds located throughout the United States and Canada. Many travellers prefer to use KOA, or similar campsites, as an alternative to hotels or motels.

Both commercial and governmental campgrounds typically charge a nominal fee for the privilege of camping there, to cover expenses, and in the case of an independent campground, to make a profit. However, there are many in North America that do not charge a use fee [2] and rely on sources such as donations and tax dollars.

Some RV parks provide year-round spaces.

Trailer parks[edit]

Frequently confused with campsites, campgrounds and RV parks, trailer parks are made up of long term or semi-permanent residents occupying mobile homes, park trailers or RVs.

Holiday park[edit]

A caravan park at Beer, in South Devon, England

The holiday park is a United Kingdom version of the North American trailer park. Created to allow coastal resorts to enable temporary and high-income accommodation to be easily created, under UK planning laws, no residents are permanent, and the park must be wholly shut to all for at least two months each year. All of the mobile homes are either available for rent from the land owner, or pitches are leased on a long-term basis from the land owner and the lease's own mobile home placed on the pitch. Permanent sites owners lease includes the provision by the land owner of water, sewerage and general site and grounds maintenance. Some holiday parks includes a small campsite for those touring the area, where they can pay to pitch tents or site touring caravans and motorhomes. Touring campsites have full access to the Holiday parks facilities, including clothes washing and showering. Most holiday parks include a central entertainments block, which can include a shop, restaurants, and a multi-purpose theatre used for both stage and activity-based entertainment.

Certificated & Certified Locations[edit]

Certificated & Certified Locations are smaller privately owned caravan sites which have to be approved by the UK based Camping & Caravanning Club and The Caravan Club (and other organisations). These campsites are normally reserved exclusively for Club members. These smaller campsites are allowed to operate under The Public Health Act 1936 and The Caravan and Control of Development Act 1960.

Backcountry camping[edit]

Backcountry camping in Scotland

In the U.S., backcountry camping is common in large undeveloped protected areas. These areas can only be reached on foot, bicycle, canoe or on horseback. The camping areas are usually established campsites or "zones", which have a predetermined maximum number of persons that are allowed to stay in the section per night. Strict regulations are imposed regarding food storage and resource protection. Usually in organized parks or wilderness areas, backcountry campsites require a permit, which may be free, obtainable at visitor centers and ranger stations. Dispersed camping in other areas may not require a permit.

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