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Ermke
I was looking for some criteria on how to rate a campground, but I couldn’t find understandable criteria. So I developed my own criteria.
If I could find a perfect campground I would give it 10 points if it fulfills all my wishes. What is a perfect campground? These are my personal criteria:

- Full hookup with 50 Amp.
- Paved roads (so you don’t have dust from people driving too fast in campgrounds on gravel roads)
- Paved or concrete sites
- Leveled sites
- Nice location (like mountain view, lake view, etc.)
- Quiet (away from busy streets, railroads etc.)
- FREE WiFi
- Free cable TV
- Enough distance to neighbor (so I feel comfortable)
- Fair price

When rating a campground I subtract one point for every criterion that is missing. In the end I sometimes add or subtract one point for my subjective impression. For a very neat campground I would add one point but if a campground is neglected and you feel like living on a garbage heap I would subtract one point.

Of course a tenter has different criteria than I. We are traveling in a new big rig and we don’t need a restroom, shower or laundry on the campground.

So what are your criteria?
HappiestCamper
I'm going to have to agree with what bonscott wrote in a separate thread:

"I have rated the high end RV park a 9 or 10 and I have rated a rustic campground with just vault toilets also a 9 or 10. Just because the rustic didn't have hookups doesn't mean it should be marked down at all (for that reason anyway). So I'll rank all rustics against each other, electric/water only places together and RV resorts all together.

So yes, it's all about expectations. I have a certain expectation when I visit an RV resort vs. a rustic spot. Both can be 10s, both can be 1s."

It's not only tenters that sometimes want to go to one without amenities. Using your criteria of subtracting a point, my favorite place would get a 6 at the most - though it has some of the best trout fishing ever, and is usually 40% big rigs.
kcmoedoe
Little too tough a criteria for me. I am not necessarily going to penalize a rating because the park doesn't have paved roads and concrete pads. Also, not all parks are in a scenic location, so a nice overnight park in the middle of nowhere isn't penalized by me. Finally, as I have stated before, overall value is what I look for. I know cable TV and WiFi are not free to the campground and if they charge a reasonable fee and provide good service for that fee I don't penalize their business model. I also look for reasonable rules and consistent enforcement of those rules. The best kept and priced campground in the world, with all the amenities one could imagine is useless to me if there are dogs running free, golf carts racing about and children running everywhere without supervision. I also penalize parks with unkempt seasonals severely. I really don't like the third world feeling at some of the parks get when seasonals get out of control.
DXSMac
QUOTE(Ermke @ Oct 4 2008, 10:25 PM) *


- Full hookup with 50 Amp.
- Paved roads (so you donít have dust from people driving too fast in campgrounds on gravel roads)
- Paved or concrete sites
- Leveled sites
- Nice location (like mountain view, lake view, etc.)
- Quiet (away from busy streets, railroads etc.)
- FREE WiFi
- Free cable TV
- Enough distance to neighbor (so I feel comfortable)
- Fair price

When rating a campground I subtract one point for every criterion that is missing. In the end I sometimes add or subtract one point for my subjective impression. For a very neat campground I would add one point but if a campground is neglected and you feel like living on a garbage heap I would subtract one point.


So what are your criteria?


I like it that you have developed concrete criteria to use. I just go by wild gut feeling. Yes, I know that is VERY OBJECTIVE tongue.gif tongue.gif .

I don't rate a campground up or down for not having 50 amp. 30 amp is fine for me, but I'm a solo.

I don't rate a campground down for not having paved roads. I just comment on whether the conditions were livable and didn't have dust blowing in my face.

Level and View and QUIET are GOOD factors!

Free WiFi and Cable is a plus, but I guess I factor that into the price. If the price is outrageous comparatively, and I have to pay EXTRA for cable and WiFi, then it's marked down.

And distances between sites is a GOOD factor! I can only tolerate "pass the ketchup" sites for two days at most! And I have been at places where the neighbors were having hamburgers and I was SOOOO tempted to open my window and say, "pass the ketchup!" laugh.gif laugh.gif

And, like HappiestCamper, I factor in my expectations versus what I got. For example, if a park has all the amenities, what were my expectations? I have a different set of expectations on State Parks, where you get only the basics. I have given high ratings to a dry camping spot, because I have yet another set of expectations for that.

JJ
Ermke
rvparkreviews.com is a great website that helped us a lot in planning where to camp on our route. But I think that a lot of campgrounds get too high points. That is why I thought about a system how I would rate campgrounds and make the rating comparable. Of course you must read the comments. It is hard to understand that a campground is rated with 9 points from someone and another one gives only 2 points (KOA Cannonville, UT). I can understand that rating is subjective. But if you have objective criteria you can better compare campgrounds.

My last criterion is fair price, not low price. If a park offers free WiFi and/or free cable TV it must be calculated in the price, but if the price is quite high and they charge you an extra $10 per day for WiFi then I penalize this campground in my rating.

And yes, you can like a rustic place, but you canít compare it with a neat RV resort. I think there must be a difference in the points.

BTW: does anybody know a (perfect) campground that I would rate 10 points?
Eagle

BTW: does anybody know a (perfect) campground that I would rate 10 points?

Try TopSail Hill State Park located Santa Rosa Beach Florida.

DXSMac
Horn Rapids RV Resort in Richland, WA. Ok, summers are horribly hot there, that's the yucky part, (not the park's fault) but this park plans activities for folks. That's the best part! They also have great showers, this is the only park where I actually use the shower facilities. Nice laundry rooms, too. My favorite thing in this park is that they have their own phone switch, if you pay $1 a day, they can issue you a phone number to use temporarily. I like to use that option to save on my cell phone minutes, plus I have dial up as a backup if the wireless isn't working.

Last time I visited there, the management indicated they might get rid of the phone switch. I hope they don't but I can understand if they do.....

But Horn Rapids is a great place, if you can survive summers in Richland.......

JJ
gwbischoff
QUOTE(HappiestCamper @ Oct 5 2008, 02:25 PM) *

I'm going to have to agree with what bonscott wrote in a separate thread:

"I have rated the high end RV park a 9 or 10 and I have rated a rustic campground with just vault toilets also a 9 or 10. Just because the rustic didn't have hookups doesn't mean it should be marked down at all (for that reason anyway). So I'll rank all rustics against each other, electric/water only places together and RV resorts all together.

So yes, it's all about expectations. I have a certain expectation when I visit an RV resort vs. a rustic spot. Both can be 10s, both can be 1s."

It's not only tenters that sometimes want to go to one without amenities. Using your criteria of subtracting a point, my favorite place would get a 6 at the most - though it has some of the best trout fishing ever, and is usually 40% big rigs.


I was going to write my own response but this post said it all.

If a campground delivers what it advertises, it's going to get high marks. Our favorite spot in Yosemite has no amenities other than it's big enough (barely) to fit our rig. Our other favorite spot in Palm Springs has everything.

If a high end RV Resort only has vault toilets, then there's a problem.
Lindsay Richards
To me, the intangibles give it the score. The campground can have all of the above and still not rate too good in my book. I usually just look at the rating box and the score comes to me. Hard to quantify it. We just know what to put. I think subjective is the way to go. I have given some campgrounds without some of the amenities a great score and some with them a average score. The amenities are out there for all to see in the reviews, but the intangibles make up the score for me.
kcmoedoe
QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ Oct 8 2008, 02:40 PM) *

To me, the intangibles give it the score. The campground can have all of the above and still not rate too good in my book. I usually just look at the rating box and the score comes to me. Hard to quantify it. We just know what to put. I think subjective is the way to go. I have given some campgrounds without some of the amenities a great score and some with them a average score. The amenities are out there for all to see in the reviews, but the intangibles make up the score for me.



Best post so far on this subject. Lindsay is absolutely right on as far as I am concerned. I can look up to see if the park has 50 amps, paved roads etc, I cannot look up attitudes, whether the park is mostly full of ratty seasonals, whether the neighborhood looks like downtown Baghdad, or whether the park is under a highway underpass or located in the middle of a train terminal. I want personal experiences conveyed when I see a review not just a clinical repeat of the Trailer Life entry.
DXSMac
QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ Oct 8 2008, 01:40 PM) *

To me, the intangibles give it the score. The campground can have all of the above and still not rate too good in my book. I usually just look at the rating box and the score comes to me. Hard to quantify it. We just know what to put. I think subjective is the way to go. I have given some campgrounds without some of the amenities a great score and some with them a average score. The amenities are out there for all to see in the reviews, but the intangibles make up the score for me.


Lindsay, you do it like me, "gut reaction." Or, "did I get what I expected?" If you see any reviews that are phrased as "the good news is...." and the "Bad news is...." those are mine.....

JJ
RLM
Subjective opinions on campgrounds are like having different RVs. It is gonna happen. If there is one person out there who hasnít stayed in a CG where you disagreed with a review, either negative or positive, then raise your hand.

Even the numbered rating system is subjective based on oneís own comfort level. If there is one person out there who doesnít read all the reviews on a CG you are considering, despite the high or low number, also raise your hand.

The leading Campground Directory uses a numbered point system based on what is available, not on comfort level. Albeit there is a certain comfort level in a 10. Does anyone think a 10/10/10 is always better than a nice public campground with a productive fishing hole and total peace and quiet? I donít see many hands.

The best text reviews are those that provide the least subjective versionĖ in Readerís Digest format Ė of what I might expect to find when staying in a campground knowing full well that your comfort level and mine are as different as the rigs.

One last show of hands. Who are the oneís who like to write radical reviews of condemnation, even if valid? Those are the ones that I donít give much credibility to.
Jerry S.
This is one of those topics that has had plenty of discussion in previous threads. Two of the more comprehensive were "What do people expect in a campground?" (last post dated 2/12/08) and "Review Comments" (last post dated 12/23/07). I'm not going back to check, but I think there were over 100 posts between these 2 threads.

I won't rehash the disussion of the different types of parks (Resort, RV parks, public camprounds, etc.), but I will state my main thought on the use of the word "camping" to describe what most of us are doing. If your butt is more than 3" of the ground, you are not camping.
DXSMac
QUOTE(Jerry S. @ Oct 9 2008, 09:34 AM) *

This is one of those topics that has had plenty of discussion in previous threads. Two of the more comprehensive were "What do people expect in a campground?" (last post dated 2/12/08) and "Review Comments" (last post dated 12/23/07). I'm not going back to check, but I think there were over 100 posts between these 2 threads.

I won't rehash the disussion of the different types of parks (Resort, RV parks, public camprounds, etc.), but I will state my main thought on the use of the word "camping" to describe what most of us are doing. If your butt is more than 3" of the ground, you are not camping.


Jerry, that thought has crossed my mind lately. Are we "camping" or are we "RV'ing?" I have issues with saying I'm in a "campground" when I have a solid roof over my head, and my own bathroom and shower. And I used to do tent camping when I was a kid!

JJ
Pecosjim
I had always used the Buckhorn Lake RV Resort in Kerrville, TX as my guide for judging other RV parks. That was until I spent two weeks at the Deerpark RV Resort in Deerpark, WA. This park is 20 miles north of Spokane. While we are avid golfers (and that was a primary reason we initially chose this park), the park itself is absolutely wonderful. Also the amenities including free, fast WiFi, good cable TV, the widest paved road I have ever seen, 90 ft. pull throughs ( easily park two 40' foot motorhome on one site though probably not allowed), large patio pad, excellent separation between sites (probably twice the spacing between sites as at Buckhorn), manicured lawn and allow washing your REV on your site. excellent welcome and great knowledge of local area and Spokane. Just a truly first class operation. Oh, and the golf course is great fun to play and was in excellent condition (August and September). This has become the "10" standard for us.
Camperjoyce
Isn't it interesting how everyone applies a different set of criteria they apply to campgrounds?! Personally, the only "absolutes" for me are clean and quiet. If the campground is both clean and quiet, I then look for privacy between sites, friendly and competent staff, scenic views and good value.

One of the problems I have with an online campground rating system is that it's far too easy for a campground's reputation to be ruined by a couple of negative posts that may not be based on fact (or may even be posted about the wrong campground). I worked at a campground a couple of years ago. One day I got a phone call from a very angry camper who, as it turns out, had called the wrong campground to complain! It's far too easy for one bad camper experience (which might not even have been the campground's fault) to damage a campground's reputation.

If I could figure out how to contact the hosts of the RV Park Reviews site, I'd suggest that they include a way for campground owners/managers to respond to reviews.
Texasrvers
Ermke,

Although not everyone will agree with us, I like your criteria. We do not "camp;" we "travel" in our RV, and so we look for resort style accommodations. Jerry mentioned that there has been lots of discussion about the difference between "campgrounds" and "RV parks/resorts." Some people like one style while different people like the other style. There is nothing wrong with that. The problem comes when someone expects one style, but gets the other. Then some people give the place an unfair review. These usually stick out like a sore thumb, so all you have to do is read all the reviews, and you will get a pretty good idea what the place is like.

But to answer your original question about places that meet your criteria:

Elkhorn Ridge RV Resort in Spearfish, SD

Oasis RV Resort in Amarillo, TX (a little short on scenery, but then so is all of west Texas)

Any of the Outdoor Resorts of America (We have only been to two, but they were both beautiful. A little on the expensive side, but worth it, maybe.)

Let us know if you find others. This is our type of place.
pilgrim
FINALLY - others that feel as we do! We've told others since we started pulling our TT that WE ARE NOT CAMPERS. We are travellers and we happen to pull a TT as we travel around this country. Nothing against campers but we aren't one of them. When we go into a campground, it is because we've been travelling in that area during the day or we may plan to visit that part of the country for a few days and will stay for awhile. This past summer we visited Charlottesville, VA for five days and then to suburban D.C. for a similar time. What we looked for was a quiet place to spend our evenings. We will visit the sites of the area all day and return to our TT for the evening - we don't care about the swimming pool but we know there are those that do. We don't care about the size of the campground but I know there are those that do. We want a comfortable sized spot that is level. We like having water, electricity and a sewer hook up but we've stayed in a lot of places that offer only electricity and found them to be very nice! Camp store is very nice especially if they carry what we're looking for (ice cream.) We've stayed in a state park that had a great wifi hook up and we've stayed in an RV Resort that advertised wifi but our spot was too far away to pick it up - too bad, but we could get along for a night without it. We've stayed in a CG that had way too many seasonals but they were gone all day (at work) and were seldom around in the evenings so it was very quiet. Likewise, we've stayed in 10/10/10 (or close to it) CGs that were filled with noisy kids riding their bicycles up and down all hours, screaming and yelling at each other.

I don't know how to get a rating system that will reflect what we all are looking for when we are all looking for different things every time we pull into a campground. A 10/10/10 campground may not satisfy the peace and quiet some are looking for. Just because it has all the amenities doesn't mean all will be satisfied at that campground. Good luck with your search for the perfect place. We study the listings and have worked hard to learn how to "read between the lines" to see what some really mean. Then we read all we can on the RVparkreviews about a campground. So far, we've not been terribly disappointed but we know such a place exists that will disappoint us once we arrive. We always hope for the best and expect the worse - that way we've not been disappointed....YET.

Keep travelling and enjoying each other. We look forward to getting back on the road next spring - unfortunately, we've put our TT away for the winter. We're having our Dometic fridge recall taken care of - then we'll sit back and wait for the spring.
_________________________________
2007 25' Airstream International SS OB
2004 Nissan Armada
Equalizer hitch
Prodigy Hitch
"It's better to keep your mouth shut and thought a fool
Than to open it and remove all doubt."
Texasrvers
pilgrim,

The advantage of this site is that reviewers do talk about noise (a lot) and neighbors, and seasonals, and camp stores, and Wi-Fi and all the other things that you won't find in the published review books. So if you read the reviews on this site you will probably get a good idea if the place is more like a campground or a park/resort. Again there is nothing wrong with either one; it's just nice to know which to expect.
KevinBurns
I'm new to the site and RVing in general, but I've read a lot of the reviews here. I used the reviews to plan where I wanted to stay for our first extended trip. My criteria is based on the personal expectations and how likely it is that we'll return. Our first long trip was strictly private parks, but they were all completely different. Our next trip will be to a highly rated AZ state park.

I think the type of park should be considered when rating. A really good rustic place with gravel roads and pads may be a better place to stay than one with paved roads and concrete pads. I try to give an "unbiased" description of the place, but that may not necessarily tie directly with the rating I give. I expect more goodies from a place that costs $80/night than a state park. I don't plan on comparing them directly on the same criteria.
gwbischoff
If some of the "noobs" haven't scrolled through some of the older topics, you might find these helpful:

http://www.rvparkreviews.com/invboard/inde...?showtopic=1271

http://www.rvparkreviews.com/invboard/inde...?showtopic=1197

Everything old is new again.

Enjoy.
dean&maria
The one criteria that I would like to see described in park reviews is how accessible nearby attractions really are by foot. This is a big factor in my park criteria because we are specifically seeking parks that you can walk to the water or other types of attractions. We own a motorhome and choose to not tow a vehicle, and so typically have only kayaks and bicycles. When a park website or personnel claim that you can walk to the water in less than 5 minutes only to find that it is over a mile (not bad for a walk but tough to carry the kayak), then they are going to get a bad review from me. As a side note, I'm not a huge tree hugger (I do drive a motorhome!), but do find it sad that so few of our fellow campers get out and walk around or ride bikes or boat in something that you have to use your own power to operate. Apart from my fellow dog owners who are out there walking dogs throughout the day, we rarely see anyone walking or biking, etc - but we do see a ton of people in every form of tow vehicle and golf cart/ATV.
DXSMac
QUOTE(dean&maria @ Nov 10 2008, 04:08 PM) *

The one criteria that I would like to see described in park reviews is how accessible nearby attractions really are by foot. This is a big factor in my park criteria because we are specifically seeking parks that you can walk to the water or other types of attractions. We own a motorhome and choose to not tow a vehicle, and so typically have only kayaks and bicycles. When a park website or personnel claim that you can walk to the water in less than 5 minutes only to find that it is over a mile (not bad for a walk but tough to carry the kayak), then they are going to get a bad review from me. As a side note, I'm not a huge tree hugger (I do drive a motorhome!), but do find it sad that so few of our fellow campers get out and walk around or ride bikes or boat in something that you have to use your own power to operate. Apart from my fellow dog owners who are out there walking dogs throughout the day, we rarely see anyone walking or biking, etc - but we do see a ton of people in every form of tow vehicle and golf cart/ATV.


I usually include those kinds of things in my review because I don't tow a car, either. I'm doing a blog on rv'ing toadless (without a tow car). Check the link in my signature.

JJ
mikel
I try to make my best objective judgement, which based on my likes and dislikes have some subjectivity sprinkled in regardless.

Marking a park down based on what they do or don't offer doesn't really enter into my judgements. Exceptions do exist of course. Example we live in central Texas and go to San Antonio quite a bit for concerts, holidays, etc. I've rated the same place a 9 then less than a year later a 2 due to conditions of the park, management attitude, reservation problems, etc. I guess basically lower ratings occur due to happenings that could be prevented.

Human error is common, construction happens, but dirty toilets, showers, failing amenties and the such that need attention and don't get it in reasonable time frame all enter into the equation.

mikel
BBear
Regardless of what criteria you use, you should explain the campground fully in your review so that it would benefit everyone who camps there regardless of if they are staying in a 40 foot motorhome or a tent or a cabin.

My days of staying in a motorhome are long gone and I've gone back to staying in a tent and sometimes now will also stay in a cabin, but when I do my review, I try to take all types of camping and/or recreational vehicle equipment into consideration. Although low-hanging branches in a park may not affect me, it would a person traveling in a motorhome or TT, so I will mention if there are low-hanging branches for their benefit. The same with pet policies and Wi-Fi, although I don't need either, I will mention in a review the pet policies and if a campground has Wi-Fi or not so as to give that information to those who require such.
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