Campsite Campsites are often situated in or near forests.
A campsite (or campground) is a place used for camping. The term 'campsite' usually means an area where an individual or family might camp, either:an impromptu area (as one might decide to stop while backpacking or Hiking, ora dedicated area with improvements and various facilities (see below).
The term "camp" comes from the Latin campus, meaning field. Therefore a campsite consist typically of open pieces of ground where a camper can pitch a tent or park a camper - and more specifically - 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 usually have some amenities for campers. 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).Pit toilets (outhouses)Road access for vehiclesPicnic tablesPiped potable watersinks and mirrors in the bathrooms;Flush toilets and showersUtility hookups, such as gas, propane, water, electricity and sewer, primarily for the use of RVsA small convenience storeRaised platforms on which to set up tentsShower facilities (with or without hot water);Marked spaces indicating a boundary for one camper or a group of campers;Reservations to ensure there will be available space to camp;Wood for free or for sale for use in cooking or for a campfire;A gravel or concrete pad on which to park a camper or car so as not to get stuck in the mud;a gravel, paved, and/or marked road so one knows how to get a vehicle to and from the campsite;garbage cans or large rubbish bins in which to place refuse;a set of rules governing how loud noise is handled, what hours one may enter and leave the campground, rules governing nudity, the use of local wood, how to dispose of garbage, etc.
Camping outside a designated campsite is often 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 Right of public access to the wilderness).
In the US, many national and state parks have dedicated campsites and sometimes also allow impromptu backcountry camping by visitors. U.S. National Forests oftentimes have established campsites but generally allow camping anywhere, except within a certain distance of water sources.
There are many private, commercial campgrounds as well as those on public lands. The Kampgrounds of America (KOA) is a large chain of commercial campgrounds located throughout the US and Canada. Many travellers prefer to use KOA, or similar campsites, as an alternative to hotels or motels, independent campsites, or parks.
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.
In the U.S., backcountry camping is common in National Parks and these areas can only be reached on foot or on horseback. The camping areas are usually established "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, and in most cases, open fires are not permitted and all cooking must be done with small portable stoves. Usually these backcountry campsite zones require a free permit obtainable at visitor centers and ranger stations.