Campground Views is a campground reviews app that offers the same great features you would expect from the best RV campground directory. However, what sets them apart from the competition is their interactive virtual tours of the many campgrounds in their catalog. Take a moment as we tour their best features, how you can book your site through their virtual tour, and how they started.
How CampgroundViews.com Began
Mark and Katrina Koep (pronounced Kep, small e) started Campground Views in 2010. Mark built one of the largest boutique local search engine optimization (SEO) businesses in the country that helped small businesses gain market share through Google My Business (formally known as Google Local and Google Places).
As young adult retirees, they decided to hit the road as full-time RVers. To find the best campgrounds, they would sometimes use 5 different campground review sites and other sources to determine where to book their next campsite. After a lot of travel, experiencing “truly magnificent to utterly horrific” campgrounds, the couple decided to launch their campground review website.
Katrina would use her Cognitive Science background to focus the videos on what RVer’s really want to know, and Mark would use his computer skills to further the development of the website. To help them in this massive endeavor, they always encourage members to send in their own material. The staff edits the videos according to Katrina’s objective guidelines that have made Campground Views so successful.
The next phase of the website launched on June 7, 2021. The first set of virtual campground tours in and around Yellowstone National Park hit the website. The new technology realized Mark and Katrina’s dream of giving their audience the ability to tour campgrounds in full detail.
The organization of each campground listing is user-friendly. You’ll find them easy to read, and the icons are easy to interpret. The Campground View team crafts the information on the listings to focus on frequently asked questions, essential information, and the needs of RVers of every type of camping style.
Virtual Tour: You’ll find the virtual tour at the top of the RV campground listing if it’s available. Each tour has between 30 seconds to 3 minutes of video, depending on the size of the location. As you interact with the tour, you’ll undoubtedly spend more time in it, but if if you want a quick scan of the entire property, hit play to get a quick overview. We’ll discuss the full functionality a little later.
Title and Quick Info: Below the virtual tour is all of the essential details you’ll want to know about the campground—the name, address, star review score, GPS coordinates, amenities icons, and cost indicator. You’ll also find buttons to add your photos, write a review, and claim the listing as a campground that you’ve visited.
Quick Look Video: The quick look video is a YouTube video Campground Views prepared. It’s about 2 minutes long and gives you a brief overview of the campground. You’ll see the campsite conditions, premium site upgrades, front office, and the many amenities that the location offers its guests.
Linked Contact Information: If you’re using your mobile device, hyperlinked contact links are below the Quick Look Video. If you click on the address or “Get Directions,” the location will pull up on Google Maps or your default GPS app. The website will pull up the campground’s website, and the phone number will activate your telephone function.
Photo Gallery: Take a look at all of the pictures Campground Views, the campground, and the many guests have added. You may have your particular question answered about the dog park, picnic tables, or other features through a reviewer’s photo.
Park Description: The description gives you a good summary of the RV park. You’ll learn about the type of campground sites available, features, and the best places to eat nearby. If you’re looking for campgrounds with fire pits, you may find information about their general policies in the description.
Peer Reviews: You can sort the reviews by the newest, oldest, highest, or lowest star review scores. Each visitor review starts with an overall score, ease of access, site quality, customer service, reservation process, ambiance, and local area rating. These star ratings give you a chance to build a perspective frame of the campground when you read the reviewer’s comments.
Keywords and Description of Various Amenities: If you’re looking for quick answers to your questions, this section has them. It acts as the campground’s FAQ section. For example, the needs of a 40-foot fifth-wheel RVer differ from someone pulling in with the Winnebago Solis Pocket Class B Campervan.
A fiver driver will look for wide roads, pull-through campsites, and possibly longer stays. In contrast, the Winnie van vacationer may sacrifice hookups if the primitive site provides enough sunlight to get the most out of their solar panels.
Nearby Campgrounds and RV Parks: One of the best features has to be what’s nearby. How often did you find fully booked campsites when looking for a campground? Campground Views gives you 6 different nearby campgrounds near the listing you’re reading as alternatives. You’ll see their name, contact information, and peer review star rating scores.
Campground Views Partnership with Recreation.gov
Instead of “reinventing the wheel,” Campground Views partnered with Recreation.gov. You can book your RV campsite at federal camping locations and many private campgrounds across the United States. These locations include:
- National Parks
- National Forests
- Finding Corps of Engineer land
- Finding Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land
- Over 1,200 private campgrounds
- Other federally protected properties that allow camping
Many private campgrounds are reservable through the Recreation.gov website too. You will need to create a separate login profile for the website, but it logs you in when you connect through Campground Views for an easy transition. Then, when you’ve completed your booking, getting back to Campground View is a matter of a click or two. You’ll have a similar experience booking state and county parks once Campground Views adds them to their virtual tour catalog.
CampgroundViews Virtual Tours
By the end of June 2021, Campground Views had over 400 virtual tours in their campground catalog. Instead of starting on the East or West Coast, the first virtual tours uploaded were campgrounds in and around Yellowstone National Park. As they continue to grow, new VR tours will expand in all directions from that point.
The play button moves you forward, and the pause button stops the camera from moving forward. When you click on a campsite icon, that also stops the camera from moving. When you click and hold your mouse button, you can pan in every direction. You’ll see people, vehicles, and RVs that were there on the day Campground Views were filmed. For privacy, the video editors blur out faces and license plates.
Each campsite has an icon that’s either red or green for the particular day you set. When you click on the icon, it gives you the campsite’s identity (i.e., campsite 7), check-in/out times, shaded condition, hookup amenities, accessibility (backup or pull-through), and if campfires are allowed. Then, when you click the “Visit” button, the website transfers you to the Recreation.gov site to learn more details about the campsite and book your reservation.
When you’ve completed your booking or choose to continue with the tour, you can click back to return where you left off. Now when you book your campsite, you can pick the campsite you prefer; the one close to the public bathhouse, playground, dog area, or a site away from heavy traffic areas. If you’re sharing a weekend with friends that are using camping cabins, you can find that campsite closest to their location instead of ending up on the other side of the RV park.
CampgroundViews.com Membership Cost
Campground Views offers different levels of membership, including a free version available to everyone. Their philosophy is an inclusive one. They provide the same great features as the top RV campground websites with detailed listings. The paid services include virtual (VR) tours and a few other benefits. There are 6 membership levels you can choose from:
- Explorer- Free: Explorer Access includes unlocking all the details of the campground listings. A subscription to Campground View’s email newsletter. Get updates on new tours uploads.
- Day Tripper $8: 1 Week of VR tour membership. Explorer Access.
- Road Tripper $20: 1 Month of VR tour membership. Enhanced Features include sharing your destination with your friends and booking multiple trips. Explorer Access.
- Annual Camper $100: 1 Year of VR tour membership. Immediate Entry gives you the ability to be the first in line to use newly uploaded VR tours. Enhanced Features. Explorer Access.
- Camping Insider $250: 3 Years of VR tour membership. Immediate Entry. Enhanced Features. Explorer Access.
- Epic Camper $500: Lifetime VR tour membership. Immediate Entry. Enhanced Features. Explorer Access.
Get the Whole Picture
When you’re looking for the best RV parks in the U.S., it can be challenging to decide which one’s right for you. Many of the best RV campground review sites do a great job, but it’s real easy to become confused when you compare peer reviews. You’ll read one that says they loved the experience and the next one counteracts everything the previous one said.
YouTube videos created by the campground show the best parts of the campground but may skim over specific points the property owners would rather not go into detail. Campground Views built an excellent reputation for their objective videos and quality review criteria. Now that they have their virtual campground tours, you can view the campground from the gate to the backlot.
You’ll get to see those features the campground is proud of and may see a few warts. Yet you’ll get the whole picture, choose the campsite you want, and book it all in one online session. As you and your partner sip on your Grande Caramel Macchiatos, you can spend the same amount for the Day Tripper Membership exploring potential campgrounds for your upcoming RV vacation.
Once you’ve booked your campsites, make sure you check out our RVBlogger Website and YouTube Channel for money-saving discounts on the best essential traveling gear and apps to make the journey safe and easy. You’ll also learn the best tips and tricks to make your RV experience the best possible.
If you want to learn more from the RV World, don’t forget to sign up for your free copy of our digital magazine, RV Camping Magazine. We interview significant RV influencers every month, get tech tips from the National RV Training Academy, learn about interior design tips, and always include our favorite recipes for RV kitchens.
So, from Mike and Susan, thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time!