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Where to Pitch Your Tent

Category: RV News
Source: The Wall Street Journal Online
Publish Date: Thursday, May 17, 2007
Summary: Finding and booking a campsite or cabin in the woods is getting far easier thanks to an array of new booking and search tools on popular camping Web sites.

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By JESSICA E. VASCELLARO
May 17, 2007

Finding and booking a campsite or cabin in the woods is getting far easier thanks to an array of new booking and search tools on popular camping Web sites. But the plethora of options -- and the detail available on each -- can be intimidating, particularly for a city slicker.

Sites such as ReserveAmerica.com, KOA.com and Recreation.gov have recently rolled out new features like the ability to make reservations in real time, improved search functions, more user reviews and additional properties. The result: Consumers have far more choice and information about the types of campgrounds they can reserve online from a $15-a-night place to pitch a tent to a cushy $150-a-night cabin.

The newly revamped Web sites largely mimic other, more-familiar travel-booking sites for hotels and flights, helping us home in on a $70-a-night cabin in Allegany State Park in New York or a $15-a-night tent in Abilene State Park in Texas with just a few clicks. Here's a look at some options:

• Web site: ReserveAmerica.com

• Campsites: 170,000 different campsites and cabins, from federal, state and privately owned campgrounds.

• Price: Campsites start at roughly $14 a night; cabins from around $65 a night. The site also charges a reservation fee of a few dollars.

• Comment: The ability to sort by amenity and activity, like scenic trails, helped narrow our search for a campground in Wyoming from more than 70 sites to around 30.

• Web site: KOA.com

Campsites: 55,000 campsites across 440 locations, most of them locally owned.

Price: Recreational vehicle campgrounds range from $30 to $70 a night. Cabins range from to $40 to $70, with some up to $200 a night.

Comment: The booking feature was buried beneath a range of camping content like articles on particular destinations and links to hot deals on items like solar cookers.

• Web site: Recreation.gov

Campsites: 55,000 campsites run by federal agencies.

Price: Standard campsites typically range from $14 to $25 a night, plus a reservation fee of a few dollars.

Comment: We liked a feature that allowed us to zoom in on a site via a digital map, powered by Google Inc. It helped us see which among a series of New Hampshire camping grounds were closest to major airports.


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