The Ultimate Campervan Camping Guide

Van driving through yosmite national park with half dome in the distance

We celebrate spontaneity! Even if you didn’t plan your trip with us six months in advance, you can still secure incredible places to stay overnight in your van. This camping guide to help you save time when planning your next Moterra Campervan adventure!

Here is a Campervan Camping Guide for the six best online resources to help save you time and find awesome campsites for your next adventure.

 Step 1: How To Decide Where To Go

Check out our Insiders Guides on our Destinations pages for advice on our favorite campgrounds in each National or State Park. You can also email us and we’ll happily share them with you!

Check out our blog information about our favorite campsites, places worth visiting, and activities we recommend doing!

 

Step 2: How To Find & Book The Best Campsites Online

Here are our favorite resources for securing fantastic campsites no matter what time of year you’re traveling with us. We’ve found that these are much better than just a Google search. #SorryGoogle. 

Campnab

Campnab – Popular campsites often fill up months in advance, especially in National Parks. Campnab is a tool that monitors over 7,000 campgrounds and 3,200 parks for canceled reservations and alerts you when they become available, allowing you to book right away. This is one of our favorite resources which is why it’s #1 in our campervan camping guide. 

How we use it:

We use this to secure campsites at popular parks without spending hours monitoring individual websites ourselves. They have Pay-Per-Use and Membership pricing models with Good/Better/Awesome search frequencies. We find the Awesome tier worth the money anytime we have an urgent need!

Pay-Per-Use 

  1. Good: $10/ search – scans every 60 mins, scan any date in the next 4 months
  2. Better: $15/ search – scans every 20 mins, scan any date in the next 6 months
  3. Awesome: $20/ search – scans every 5 mins, scan any date in the next 12 months

Monthly Membership Options: 

  1. Good: $10/ month – scans every 15 mins, up to 3 concurrent scans
  2. Better: $20/ month – scans every 10 mins, up to 5 concurrent scans
  3. Awesome: $30/ month – cans every 5 mins, up to 7 concurrent scans

* See more about their pricing options here!

Dyrt

Dyrt – Think of Dyrt as the “Google for campgrounds.” It covers both public campgrounds (those on public lands) and privately-owned campgrounds. You can read reviews from other campers, get camping tips, and sign-up to receive text alerts when your favorite campgrounds have availability.

How we use it:

  1. Early trip planning because it makes it easy to see most camping options available in the area you’re planning to visit.
  2. Finding the best campgrounds along a specific driving route by creating a “Road Trip Map.”
  3. Finding free camping, including sites away from the crowds and further off the beaten path.
  4. Using its automated notifications (like Campnab) to score reservations in sold-out campgrounds.

iOverlander

  1. iOverlander – A comprehensive tool for individuals who love traveling by vehicle in remote places, anywhere on the planet. The content is user generated, displayed on a map, and has information like campsites, gas stations, repair facilities, and so much more.  

How we use it:

We love using the map feature of iOverlander because it’s often easier to use for planning than a generic Google search (especially since other travelers are constantly updating it). We like using the map feature to find camping facilities in the area we’re traveling to and love that we can filter out essential and non-essential information to only display what we’re interested in. 

HipCamp

HipCamp – HipCamp is one of the most comprehensive online platforms to find unique outdoor stays on privately owned property. Think of it as the “Airbnb of the camping world.”

How we use it:

We use HipCamp when we’re looking for something more private or unique. 

From staying on a private ranch to in the middle of an orchard or to something a bit more “normal” – you will find a mix of everything on HipCamp. We love the map view to find places that are near where we’re traveling. 

Harvest Hosts

Harvest Hosts – Harvest Hosts is a membership-based website that provides access to a proprietary network of nearly 5,000 “wineries, farms, breweries, museums, and other unique attractions.” There is no charge for the site, just the annual membership (equivalent to roughly 2-4 nights in a campground). When visiting there is an expectation that you spend at least $20 with the host (buying wine, eggs, flowers, honey… whatever they produce). RVs and vans must be fully self-contained because there are generally no hookups or bathroom services. Moterra Campervans are the perfect fit for stays with Harvest Hosts. Visits are usually limited to 24 hours but the experience you get in return are often worth a lifetime. 

How we use it:

We use Harvest Hosts to fill in gaps between our longer-term stays on trips. We love that it can turn a travel day into a unique experience and create an opportunity to connect with true locals and the products they make. 

KOA

KOA/ RV parks – KOA stands for Kampgrounds Of America, and it’s your quintessential private campground brand with an enormous national network of campgrounds. 

How we use it:

We love being off the beaten path, but it would be a miss if we left this option off the camping guide. When we’re in between designations, staying at a KOA offers camping facilities far exceeding spending the night in a random parking lot. We appreciate that many of the ones we’ve visited have friendly staff, a place to walk the dog, for the kids to play, and clean bathroom facilities. 

 

Step 3: Get out there! Even if there are gaps in your agenda

There are few things more satisfying than securing your travel plans. But even if you’re in the days leading up to your trip and don’t have everything connected, remember that you also have dispersed/ free camping options. 

Use resources on sites like Dyrt to ensure you’re not on private property, and use your best judgment when assessing whether it’s a safe place to overnight or not. If all legal and safety boxes are checked, being off the beaten path is one of our favorite ways to experience a place we’ve never been to! 

We hope that no matter how you choose to adventure, it’s the best one you’ve ever had, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us directly. 

Enjoy Your Trip!

 

Need some more information to help you plan? 

This campervan camping guide is just the tip of the ice berg. If you’re looking for more resources, check out our list of expertly curated Insider’s Guides that will help you get the most out of your trip. Select the ones you want, and we’ll email them right over.