Legenda camping.svg
Semi-permanent tents on wooden platforms at a scout camp
A campsite on Ölüdeniz beach
Undeveloped tent camping area

A campsite or camping pitch is a place used for overnight stay in the outdoors. In British 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 British English use of the word is synonymous with the American 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 parks a camper; a campground may contain many campsites.

There are two types of campsites:

  • an impromptu area (as one might decide to stop while backpacking or hiking)
  • a dedicated area with improvements and various facilities (see below).



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 gas, propane, water, electricity 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. 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.

RV parks/caravan parks

In North America many campgrounds have facilities for Recreational Vehicles and are also known as RV parks.[1] 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 many in North America that do not charge a use fee [2] and rely on sources such as donations and tax dollars.

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

A caravan park at Beer, in South Devon, England

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.

Certified Locations

Certified Locations are smaller privately owned caravan sites which have to be approved by the UK based Caravan Club (or other approved organisations) and in the case of The Caravan Club are reserved exclusively for Caravan Club members. These smaller caravan sites are allowed to operate under The Caravan and Control of Development Act 1960.

Backcountry camping

Backcountry camping in Scotland

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. In most cases, open fires are not permitted and all cooking must be done with small portable stoves. Usually in organized parks or wilderness areas, backcountry campsites require a free permit obtainable at visitor centers and ranger stations. Dispersed camping in other areas may not require a permit.

Movies and documentaries

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • campsite — ► NOUN ▪ a place used for camping, especially one equipped for holidaymakers …   English terms dictionary

  • campsite — ☆ campsite [kamp′sīt΄ ] n. 1. any site for a temporary camp 2. a public or private park area set aside for camping, often equipped with water, toilets, cooking grills, etc …   English World dictionary

  • campsite — UK [ˈkæmpˌsaɪt] / US noun [countable] Word forms campsite : singular campsite plural campsites 1) British a place where people on holiday can stay in tents or other temporary shelters, usually with toilets and a supply of water. The American word …   English dictionary

  • campsite — camp|site [ kæmp,saıt ] noun count 1. ) AMERICAN a piece of land that one person or one group camps on: That spot under the trees would make a good campsite. 2. ) BRITISH a CAMPGROUND …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • campsite — [[t]kæ̱mpsaɪt[/t]] campsites N COUNT A campsite is a place where people who are on holiday can stay in tents. Syn: camping site …   English dictionary

  • campsite — noun Date: 1910 a place suitable for or used as the site of a camp …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • campsite — /kamp suyt /, n. a place used or suitable for camping. Also, camp site. [1905 10, Amer.; CAMP1 + SITE] * * * …   Universalium

  • campsite — noun A place where a tent may be or is pitched. See Also: camp, encampment …   Wiktionary

  • campsite — camp|site [ˈkæmpsaıt] n 1.) BrE an area where people can camp, often with a water supply and toilets American Equivalent: campground 2.) AmE a place, usually within a campground, where one person or group can camp …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • campsite — n. area suitable for camping …   English contemporary dictionary