How to find a good campsite

February 14, 2020

A good campsite is one that your family likes to come back to time and time again. We’ve been many great family campsites, from quiet back-to-basics to all-action holiday parks.

After visiting hundreds of campsites and holiday parks, here are some of our top tips for finding a great family campsite.

Tent Camper and want Traditional Camping

If your family doesn’t need top-notch facilities, especially for just a night or two, why not consider one of the many back-to-basics campsites for a more traditional camping experience.

These are typically in a former (or current) farmer’s field somewhere. They may just have a composting loo and a freshwater tap.

A composting toilet
The composting toilets at New House Farm

If the looks of this toilet fill you with dread, don’t discount it straight away.

You can create a camp kitchen to help with cleaning and hot water. The only thing missing is a shower, but if the weather is nice, you could always take a solar shower with you.

For us, this sort of campsite must allow campfires for that more traditional feel. This is something our kids always love.

Sitting around the campfire at night
Sitting around the campfire at night. Campfire storytime!

We will cook over the campfire and get the kids involved.

A campfire helps keep you warm, entertained, and helps keep the bugs away 🙂

A pot cooking over a campfire
Cooking over the campfire

Tent Camping and need Electricity

If the thought of traditional camping doesn’t appeal, then you don’t need to go without much these days when family camping.

You can get a big tent, fill it with furniture, and even have power for the cooking, a kettle, keeping food and drinks cool, and even watching TV.

Electric Hook-up Power Block
An Electric Hook-up Power Block

This type of camping is ideal if you are staying longer than a few nights. It means you have more space in your tent for all the kid’s clothes, space for them to play, and generally living quite comfortably under canvas.

A campsite with electric hook-ups is a must.

However, having a tent set-up with an electric hook-up doesn’t always mean you can’t still have a campfire. Some campsites provide EHU and allow campfires. Use the filter on our Campsite Finder to find campsites that have EHU and allow campfires.

Unfortunately, not all campsite electric hook-ups are the same. Some only have 10 amps, and sometimes they trip really easily, taking out a whole row of tents.

Where known, the campsites on this website have details about their electric hook-ups, if that’s a concern for you.

For us, this sort of camping is when we are staying longer and taking a bigger tent. So we look for campsites that don’t place too many restrictions on pitch size and putting up additional shelters for the camp kitchen. Again, this is the information we ask campsites to provide when they are added to this website.

Don’t have a tent, but want to try it

You don’t need to invest in a tent to try it first.

Glamping provides pre-pitched tents and is a great first step if people in your family aren’t sure it is for them.

Colourful Bell Tents at Botany Camping
Colourful Bell Tents at Botany Camping

Now there are a great many glamping campsites that just really cater for couples and may have a great many luxuries. It is Glamp-ing after all.

However, the glamping providers on this website provide family-friendly glamping options.

Once again, you have choices.

You could go for a pre-pitched safari type of tent, such as a Ready Camp or even a Eurocamp Safari Tent abroad. These could be at larger campsites or even holiday parks with lots of kids activities.

Alternatively, there are many glamping opportunities at more rural quieter locations. And yes, even with campfires. 🙂

A Ready Camp tent at Bala Campsite
The Ready Camp tent at Bala Campsite.

I want the kids busy!

If you want the kids busy, then one of the full-on holiday parks with activities is a must.

There are many holiday parks that have a campsite, and we’ve stayed a number of great holiday parks with lots of activities.

The high-ropes course at Presthaven holiday park.

This is a very different campsite to the quiet back-to-basics campsite. You are there for the kids to enjoy themselves with all the activities and entertainment. So, don’t expect a lot of space in the campsite and don’t expect being allowed to have a campfire – though BBQs raised off the ground are usually OK (but you do need to check first).

For our family, the one activity our kids have always insisted on is a swimming pool. Though the more the better!

Indoor surf simulator
The Surf Simulator at Golden Coast was excellent

I have a caravan or motorhome

So do we 🙂

As well as lots of tents, of course 😉

Casper the Caravan at Sunset
Our caravan at sunset, after arriving late at the campsite!

When not taking a tent, the ease of access to the campsite is the most important thing. As you’ll be well aware, travelling down a narrow country lane to a remote back-to-basics campsite is a bit more difficult than when you are just arriving with a car.

Our campsite finder also lists all campsites that welcome Caravans, Campervans, and Motorhomes. Note, we’re classing camper vans as smaller vehicles, such as a VW T5, as some campsites will accept those and tents, but not larger units.

Hardstanding Pitch at Winchcombe Campsite
Us with a motorhome on a hardstanding pitch at Winchcombe Campsite

I hope those tips and our family campsite finder help you find your perfect campsite 🙂

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Gav Grayston
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Gav Grayston Contributor

Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

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  1. Hi there,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the great site! Lots of useful information. Looking at getting more in to camping this year so picking up lots of bits and pieces and tips along the way.

    Looking forward to more posts!

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