Finding Campsites – A How To Guide For 2021

Finding the perfect Campsite

Find Campsites in 2021

Finding campsites sounds on the face of it like a pretty simple task.

But often times we spend hours trawling the internet with very little success trying to find a campsite that meets all of our wants and needs.

And we’re going to guess that since you’re here you’ve probably been experiencing a similar block on your hunt to find a campsite.

So we’ve set about capturing exactly how to find the ideal campsite, quickly and with ease every time.

Here is our little how to guide detailing the thought processes and tools required to find that elusive campsite.

Table of Contents
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    Define your perfect campsite

    ashbourne woods campsite

    One of the main reasons finding campsites can be so tricky is that every single would be camper has a different idea of what they want from a campsite.

    And on top of that, everyone’s needs and wants for their campsite change according to what sort of trip they’re doing, or what part of life they’re in.

    This week perhaps you’re visiting a city and want to camp with good facilities fairly close to the city, but perhaps next month you’re heading out into the wilderness and you want a campsite comprised of a simple field, a campfire and some peace and quiet.

    Also consider that the campsites you liked to visit when you were (or are) in your teenage years and early 20’s are probably different to what you’ll want if you have seven unruly children to entertain. Your needs will change again as you get older and those pesky children turn into adults of their very own.

    What about if you have a dog in tow? You’re going to complicate things further by requiring a dog friendly campsite.

    The final piece of the puzzle is what exactly you’ll be camping in. A tent perhaps? Or a campervan or motorhome? Or are you after some glamping in yurt or log cabin?

    So simply searching for “campsites near me” or “campsites in Norfolk” isn’t going to take into account any of the above, and will return many results which won’t be useful and will waste many hours of time searching for campsites.

    This is why it is so important define exactly what sort of campsite you are looking to find before you begin to search for campsites.

    Top Websites for Finding Campsites

    Find great campsites using Pitchup

    Pitchup is normally our first port of call when searching out new campsites. Great filtering functionality, tons of photos and user reviews makes this a really powerful resource for finding campsites

    Cool Camping is a great campsite finder

    Want to find a campsite that’s a bit special or off-the-wall?

    Cool Camping is what you need. A smaller database than most of the other campsite finding tools in this article but the quality is very much higher.

    UKCampsite is a little lacking but a good option

    In our opinion not as powerful or heavily populated as Pitchup and not as quality assured as Cool Camping but still a good resource if you’ve exhausted options on the first two sites without any luck. 

    We have found some great campsites on UKCampsite over the years that aren’t featured elsewhere so ignore it at your peril. 

    Google Maps - a surprisingly efficient campsite finder

    A surprisingly good way to find campsites and often provides plenty of photos and user reviews.

    Use Google Maps to hone in on a specific area of interest and don’t forget that you can save your favourite campsites to your account for future use.

    Add keywords to your search for refined results. For example “beach campsites“, “campsites campfires“, “child friendly campsites” or “dog friendly campsites“.

    The Weekend Warriors

    Bloggers and independant websites often curate their favourite campsites in various ways.

    For example we’ve put together our favourite campsites by category, campsites which allow fires and beach campsites.

    If you’re a motorhome or campervan owner then Brit Stops is a fabulous resource as well.

    National Trust Campsites

    Yes the National Trust does have a select number of campsites scattered across the beautiful parts of the country. Usually very good so make sure you check out what campsites they have to offer.

    Finding Campsites using Apps

    Using Search For Sites to find camping

    Search for Sites is aimed more at campervan and motorhome users than tent campers and is a really brilliant tool – read more about our favourite motorhome apps here.

    That said, it does still feature traditional campsites so if you’re looking to camp in a tent and in a bind then there might be a few options on here to help you find that elusive campsite.

    Park4Night is a great option to find campsites

    Similar to Search For Sites in that Park4Night is once again aimed more towards campervan tourers but does also feature a few campsites here and there. So check it out to find a few hidden gem campsites.

    Can you still find campsites in books?

    take the slow road book

    Absolutely you can – there are still plenty of ‘old fashioned’ ways to find campsites and books is certainly one of them. Check out our favourite campervan and camping books and maps here.

    While yes you do run the risk of them being slightly out of date, this can be mitigated by double checking your chosen campsite online to ensure it is still in business and run in the same way as it was in the book.

    Some excellent book resources for finding campsites:


    The Slow Road Series: Broken down into three volumes England & WalesIreland; and Scotland

    Tiny Campsites: exactly what it says on the tin, a collection of tiny campsites

    The AA Camping & Caravan Guide: A guide to AA inspected sites – quality assured for your absolute peace of mind


    Get Recommendations for Campsites

    Ask your friends, work colleagues and family. 

    If they’re into camping they will more than likely have some excellent suggestions. 

    Particularly focus on asking friends as they will more than likely be in a similar life phase to you and have similar needs and wants for their camping trips.

    Use Social Media to Find Campsites

    Join a couple of Facebook groups – these are fantastic resources and often have tens of thousands of members whose collective experience you can draw on to find your ideal campsite.

    Don’t forget to be specific about the sort of campsite you want to find. Otherwise you’ll end up with tons of recommendations for campsites that just don’t fit your requirements.

    A few groups to get you started

    Follow Your Nose To Find A Campsite

    The true old school method of finding campsites. This is actually a lot of fun and an adventure in and of itself.

    Probably more difficult to find campsites in this way during school holidays and in the depths of winter though so bare that in mind if you plan to wing it.

    Finding Campsites Summary

    So that’s our top ways to find campsites sorted.

    Hopefully we’ve helped you out and you’ve discovered a new way of finding campsites along the way.

    Let us know in the comments where your favourite campsites are or if you have any alternative suggestions on how you find campsites.

    Go Explore!

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    BONUS: Finding Campsites in Europe

    If you’re planning a trip abroad then the picture becomes a little more complicated. Websites in a foreign language, difficult to ask the locals and the popular spots get suuuuppper busy during peak season.

    Here are a few resources to get you started!


    Aires France Explained – Free Motorhome Stopovers in France

    ACSI – Heavily discounted campsites outside of peak season across Europe

    Eurocamping – Large directory of European campsites


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