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A campsite or camping pitch is a place used for overnight stay in an outdoor area. In UK English, a campsite is an area, usually divided into a number of pitches, where people can camp overnight using tents or camper vans or caravans; this UK English use of the word is synonymous with the US English expression campground. In American English, the term campsite generally means an area where an individual, family, group, or military unit can pitch a tent or park a camper; a campground may contain many campsites.

Many countries have introduced an official classification system – mostly stars – for campsites. The criteria vary from country to country, can hardly be compared with each other and also differ from reviews in camping guides. In some countries the classification and signposting of a classification is mandatory, in others it is voluntary.

Practically they always have (more or less elaborate) sanitary facilities; Often they have additional facilities such as shops, restaurants, increasingly recreational facilities such as fitness center, swimming pool, fitness trail, petanque / boules court, swing golf / minigolf facility, children’s playground. Not infrequently, a guest entertainment offered (“animation”, such as organized sports competitions, guided walks, child care, evening entertainment program). Such additional offers are very often limited to the peak season.

To distinguish campsites for permanent campers (campers who use their caravan as a holiday home) and for traveling campers. There are permanent campers who do not accept passing guests or tourists. Likewise there are campsites only for traveling tourists who do not rent pitches for permanent campers. Mixed forms are common. In camping guides places are often referred to as a stage, holiday or permanent camping. A special form is the nudist campsite.

Many campsites also offer rental accommodation (tents, caravans, mobile homes, wooden cabins, bungalows).

Campsites are available throughout Europe and beyond with a very wide range of services. It ranges from the small, simple (usually inexpensive) Wiesenplatz up to the full range with swimming area, supermarket, restaurant and animation for all ages and interests. For motorhomes there are often fortified places (with grass pavers); Caravans and tents are mostly on unpaved ground.

Every year various campsite guides (including the ADAC Camping Guide Northern and Southern Europe, DCC Camping Guide Europe of the German Camping Club and the ECC [Europa Camping + Caravaning]) are published with descriptions of several thousand campsites in Europe.

There are two types of campsites:

an impromptu area (as one might decide to stop while backpacking or hiking, or simply adjacent to a road through the wilderness).
a designated area with improvements and various facilities.

Sanitary facilities on campsites
On campsites, there are usually facilities for personal hygiene and toilets. Because the devices for dishwashing, washing clothes and sinks for the on- board toilets are usually located together, they are usually also counted among the sanitary facilities.

The range of the embodiments of the sanitary facilities in campsites is very large. There are (rarely) campsites with more archaic facilities up to a standard that can compete with upscale hotel facilities, with prices being correspondingly wide.

The sanitary facilities are generally available to all campers. The costs for their use are – except for exceptions – included in the course fee. But sometimes also individual facilities are rented to individual campers (private cabins with complete “bathroom equipment”) or pitches equipped with individual sanitary facilities.

Many campsites also offer sanitary facilities for disabled campers (wheelchair users).

On larger campsites, the sanitary facilities are often spread over several buildings. It is not uncommon for the facilities in the different buildings to be qualitatively different (different age and renovation status). Often the offer is adapted to the occupancy (some of the facilities then closed).

In order to evaluate the sanitary facilities of a campsite, the number of objects in terms of space, their functionality and appearance as well as their cleanliness must be taken into account. This can occasionally lead to misunderstandings in the interpretation of such reviews z. B. lead a camping guide, if these evaluation criteria are met very differently (eg devaluation despite state-of-the-art, extremely clean facilities, because too few of them are available or certain facilities are missing).

Showers are usually in cabins and usually have a lockable door. You should provide a splash-proof drawer or hanging space for clothing, towel and toiletry bag.

Dishwashing and laundry facilities
Such cleaning options are often located on the outer walls of sanitary buildings outdoors. Most campsites also have washers and dryers (for a fee), and more rarely, dishwashers.

Toilets are occasionally (pro rata) executed as a standing room around the Mediterranean. Toilet paper is not uncommon to bring along. Urinals are often not visually separated. For this reason, buyers increasingly attach importance to built-in toilets for caravans and motorhomes.

Hot water
Hot water at least in the showers has long been standard. The water temperature was often preset; Today, however, the adjustability by the camper again as a comfort feature. The hot water supply is usually included – only for the use of showers is often required an extra fee (chip, shower or chip card; the latter records the duration of showering for later billing) in order to limit the usage time to a reasonable level (a few minutes); less common for other facilities (dish washing). These usually cost only an extra charge if it is z. B. electrically heated water (mostly from devices with more than 18 kW power consumption) is, otherwise unmanageable costs for the operator of the campsite would be the result.

Wash basins can be open or mounted in cabins. Especially in southern regions, only cold water is often offered. Launderettes are rarely seen.

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The term camp comes from the Latin word campus, meaning “field”. Therefore, a campgrounds consists typically of open pieces of ground where a camper can pitch a tent or park a camper. More specifically a campsite is a dedicated area set aside for camping and for which often a user fee is charged. Campsites typically feature a few (but sometimes no) improvements.

Dedicated campsites, known as Campgrounds, usually have some amenities. Common amenities include, listed roughly in order from most to least common:

Fireplaces or fire pits in which to build campfires (this can be a circle of rocks, a metal enclosure, a metal grate, a concrete spot, or even just a hole).
Road access for vehicles
A gravel or concrete pad on which to park a vehicle
Picnic tables
Marked spaces indicating a boundary for one camper or a group of campers
Reservations to ensure there will be available space to camp
Utility hookups, such as electricity water, and sewer, primarily for the use of Travel trailers, Recreational vehicles, or similar
Raised platforms on which to set up tents
Piped potable water

Campgrounds may include further amenities:

Pit toilets (outhouses)
Flush toilets and showers
Sinks and mirrors in the bathrooms
A small convenience store
Shower facilities (with or without hot water)
Wood for free or for sale for use in cooking or for a campfire
Garbage cans or large rubbish bins in which to place refuse

Camping outside a designated campsite may be forbidden by law. It is thought to be a nuisance, harmful to the environment, and is often associated with vagrancy. However some countries have specific laws and/or regulations allowing camping on public lands (see Freedom to roam). In the United States, many national and state parks have dedicated campsites and sometimes also allow impromptu backcountry camping by visitors. U.S. National Forests often have established campsites, but generally allow camping anywhere, except within a certain distance of water sources or developed areas. Camping may also be prohibited in certain ‘special areas’ of national forests containing unusual landforms or vegetation. And if conditions allow campfires, a campfire permit is required for campfires outside of developed campsites.

In Britain, it is more commonly known as wild camping, and is mostly illegal. However, Scotland has a relaxed view and wild camping is legal in the majority of Scotland.

In many parts of Canada, “roughing it” is considered to be wilderness camping on government owned, public land known as crown land and commonly called “the bush”. There are no amenities of any kind and typically no development except for possibly logging roads or ATV trails, and few rules beyond the requirement in some provinces to move the site at least 100 metres every 21 days.

RV parks/caravan parks
In North America many campgrounds have facilities for Recreational Vehicles and are also known as RV parks. Similar facilities in the UK are known as Caravan Parks. The Kampgrounds of America (KOA) is a large chain of commercial campgrounds located throughout the United States and Canada. Many travellers prefer to use KOA, or similar campsites, as an alternative to hotels or motels.

Both commercial and governmental campgrounds typically charge a nominal fee for the privilege of camping there, to cover expenses, and in the case of an independent campground, to make a profit. However, there are some in North America that do not charge a use fee and rely on sources such as donations and tax dollars. Staying the night in a big-box store parking lot is also common (called “boondocking”), and some retailers welcome RVs to their parking lots. Some RV parks provide year-round spaces.

Trailer parks
Frequently confused with campsites, campgrounds and RV parks, trailer parks are made up of long term or semi-permanent residents occupying mobile homes, park trailers or RVs.

Holiday park
The holiday park is a United Kingdom version of the North American trailer park. Created to allow coastal resorts to enable temporary and high-income accommodation to be easily created, under UK planning laws, no residents are permanent, and the park must be wholly shut to all for at least two months each year. All of the mobile homes are either available for rent from the land owner, or pitches are leased on a long-term basis from the land owner and the lease’s own mobile home placed on the pitch. Permanent sites owners lease includes the provision by the land owner of water, sewerage and general site and grounds maintenance. Some holiday parks includes a small campsite for those touring the area, where they can pay to pitch tents or site touring caravans and motorhomes. Touring campsites have full access to the Holiday parks facilities, including clothes washing and showering. Most holiday parks include a central entertainments block, which can include a shop, restaurants, and a multi-purpose theatre used for both stage and activity-based entertainment.

Certificated & Certified Locations
Certificated & Certified Locations are smaller privately owned caravan sites which have to be approved by the UK based Camping & Caravanning Club and The Caravan Club (and other organisations). These campsites are normally reserved exclusively for Club members. These smaller campsites are allowed to operate under The Public Health Act 1936 and The Caravan and Control of Development Act 1960.

Backcountry camping
In the U.S., backcountry camping is common in large undeveloped protected areas. These areas can only be reached on foot, bicycle, canoe or on horseback. The camping areas are usually established campsites or “zones”, which have a predetermined maximum number of persons that are allowed to stay in the section per night. Strict regulations are imposed regarding food storage and resource protection. Usually in organized parks or wilderness areas, backcountry campsites require a permit, which may be free, obtainable at visitor centers and ranger stations. Dispersed camping in other areas may not require a permit.


United States
As with camping, campgrounds predated the automobile. When President Theodore Roosevelt addressed Congress in 1901, he called for the creation of free campgrounds on Federal lands. Already four national parks—Yellowstone, Sequoia, Yosemite, and Mount Rainier—were established and by the time Congress formally established the National Park Service in 1916, America had a dozen national parks.

While a handful of campgrounds, both public and private, could be found at tourist destinations, as late as 1936 it was still difficult to find places to stop along the route to these parks. Instead, it was common for motorists to pull off the road and set up camp on private property. This practice not only reinforced the negative, nomadic image of RV travelers, it was a detriment to expanding the trailer market. The Trailer Coach Manufacturers Association began to lobby states to establish sanitation standards and worked with civic and business leaders to establish additional campgrounds, emphasizing the economic benefits of a campground in their community. The Denver Civic Association wrote that a campground was just as essential to a town as a railway station. The trailer industry’s efforts were effective. The number of campgrounds in the Trailer Travel Magazine’s directory of campgrounds doubled to 1,650 by the end of 1936 and promised to double again by the end of 1937.

The campgrounds themselves also changed. Martin Hogue wrote, “The first public campgrounds in the United States were nothing more than large, dedicated clearings, free of trees, within which to concentrate groups of tourists.” A plant pathologist named Emilio Meinecke, was commissioned to study the effect of motor tourism in the Redwoods in 1929. Meinicke’s recommendations explained that instead of allowing campers to park haphazardly within a park, the camper’s impact on the environment could be minimized through campground roads forming a one-way loop leading to individual parking spurs next to each campsite. Although he would later continue to write of the effect of campers on nature, submitting a memorandum to the National Forest Service in 1935 entitled “The Trailer Menace,” he had established the basic design for campgrounds still used today.

Source from Wikipedia