Three favorite print directories for camping on national public lands

Arches National Park, Utah. (Julianne G. Crane)

We favor national public land campgrounds because we love rustic settings and we have the America the Beautiful Senior Pass.  With the pass, we receive free entry to national parks and 50-percent discount on most camping fees on all federal lands that charge them.

While there are dozens of excellent online sites and campground directories–because of our frugal budget–I keep returning to these three print guides.  I like walking my fingers through paper pages more than dancing between online sites or scrolling through a Kindle version.

Don’t get me wrong, when we are traveling, as needed, I reference campground apps on my I-phone. That said,  for planning I favor something I can hold in my hands and ponder over.

1. RV Camping with the Corps of Engineers  (Roundabout Publications 2019, 2nd Edition)

Without a doubt, the Corps of Engineers campgrounds are the best bang for your buck. They offer premium facilities for a modest fee. We have enjoyed every Corps campground we’ve visited and almost all have excellent facilities including free hot showers.

This latest publication, describes 644 Corps-managed campgrounds on 210 lakes in 34 states across the country. Paperback: About $18.

Read about some of the Corps of Engineers campgrounds we have visited.

2. National Park Service Camping Guide (Roundabout Publications,  2017)

Whenever we are near a National Park with RV camping facilities, we make sure we go there. These parks are national treasures and feature many of the most magnificent scenery in America. The book describes more than 400 campgrounds in more than 120 national parks, recreation areas, monuments, and other areas.

Grab your children or grandchildren and treat them to the unforgettable experience of camping at Zion or the Grand Canyon or Big Bend. Paperback: About $16. Kindle: $9.

Read about a few of the National Parks where we’ve visited and camped.

3. Free and Low-Cost Campgrounds’ (Cottage Publications, Paperback, 2018)

Don Wright’s campground guide was updated in 2018 and has been invaluable to us over our years of full-time RVing. We are on our second dog-eared and highlighted copy.

It is the most comprehensive campground guide I’ve found in print copy, to free and inexpensive campgrounds (under $20) in the states. Many of the sites are for remote, first-come first-serve locations. Paperback: About $15.

Read about some of the Public Lands Campgrounds where we’ve roasted marshmallows.

Julianne G. Crane

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