What Are Standard and Premium Campsites ( What’s the difference? )


When camping, you will often be faced with choosing a specific type of campsite. Choosing a type of campsite happens almost every time that you will book a campsite online, as the larger campground divides their bookings by campsite type.

What is a standard campsite?

A standard campsite is generally a campsite that has a paved or graded drive, along with a picnic table and a fire ring. These campsites can often accommodate RVs, camper trailers, and tents. While not always the case, some standard sites include water or electric hookups!

How is a premium campsite different than a standard campsite? A premium campsite is specifically tailored for large RV’s. They will usually have electric, water and sewer hook-ups as well as a longer drive. Often, you can only camp in an RV on a premium site and tents are not allowed but this is not always the case.

Keep reading for an in-depth look at everything you will need to know about standard and premium campsites.

Here’s what we will cover.

  • Standard campsites
  • Standard primitive campsites
  • Premium campsites
  • Symbols for identifying standard and premium campsites
  • Choosing a campsite
  • Related articles

standard site

Standard Campsites

A standard campsite is the second most common type of campsite and can vary in amenities depending on what campground. While a standard campsite is one that includes a paved or graded driveway, fire ring, and picnic table, there are many campgrounds in which standard campsites can consist of partial RV hookups such as electric and water service.

In some parks, these campsites will have a shower and restroom facility and may even have access to a clean water source.

When reserving a standard campsite online, you will see many variations of the following terms:

  • Standard Electric Only

Typically a standard campsite that includes electric hookups but does not include water or sewer hookups. These campsites are usually open to tents, RVs, and camper trailers.

  • Standard Non-Electric

These campsites usually offer no amenities, though they are often large enough to accommodate an RV or camper trailer. Sometimes these campgrounds have restrooms or showers in the campground. These sites are most commonly used by those that are camping in a tent.

  • Standard Back-in

Back-in sites are the most common RV and camper trailer campsites. These sites are usually specific to a particular type of RV, as the size of the campsites matters when choosing. The park website or the posted information in the park should state the max length of RV or trailer allowed in specific sites.

  • Standard Pull-Through

Standard pull-through sites are usually a single driveway campsite that enters on one side of the site and exits on the other. These sites typically accommodate larger RVs or camper trailers. In addition to accommodating larger RVs, it is also easier to get the vehicle in and out of the campsite.

  • Standard Tent-Only

These campsites are intended for tents only, and there are usually no electric or water hookups. These campsites are typically grouped together in a separate portion of the park away from the RV area. This division in the campground reduces light and noise from the RVs and trailers, keeping a more outdoors atmosphere for tent campers!

Tent-only campsites are most commonly found in state and national parks. While there are many privately-owned parks that offer tent-only sites, they’re most commonly found in these parks because they are on backpacking trails and campgrounds that don’t provide any type of hookups for RVs or camper trailers.

Tent only campsites are often available as standard sites, which includes a dirt or gravel pad for the tent, as well as a parking spot for your car, a fire pit, and a picnic table. Some parks offer tent-only campsites that have electric hookups available for lanterns or chargers!

primitive camping

Standard Primitive Campsites

Primitive campsites are amongst the most common, as there are usually a higher number of these sites in the state, national, and even private camping areas. Primitive campsites are mostly tent-only, as most of them are off the road on a hiking trail, or they are on roads that aren’t easily accessible with an RV or trailer.

However, there are some primitive campsites that are accessible with your RV or camper trailer. These campsites are usually located on forest service roads in state and national parks. While these sites will accommodate your RV or camper trailer, there are no electric, water, or sewer hookups available.

On occasion, you will find state parks or national parks that offer restrooms, shower houses, and drinkable water stations in a central location near primitive campgrounds. This gives campers the option to enjoy some luxuries, while still remaining in an area the modern conveniences are still absent!

large rv

Premium Campsites

Premium campsites are specifically for RVs and camper trailers. There are many privately owned parks, national parks, and state parks that offer premium campsites. There are very few parks that provide premium sites for tents, and if they allow tent camping in a premium site, you will still have to pay the premium campsites fee even though you won’t be using the features.

Similar to standard campsites, there are different types of premium campsites. When searching for a premium campsite, you will find the options very similar to standard sites such as back-in sites, pull-through sites, and water and electric sites.

Several amenities that are often included in premium sites are:

  • Premium Full-Hookups

These campsites offer the most amenities intended for RV campers and camper trailer campers. These sites include water, electric, and sewer hookups. These campsites often include a picnic table, fire pit, grill, and often include a padded drive for your RV or trailer.

  • Premium Water and Electric-Hookups

These campsites are very similar to full hookups, except it is lacking the sewer hookup. Campgrounds that offer this type of campsite often have a dump station for the camper’s convenience.

  • Premium 30-Amp

These campsites are typically full hookup, but the electric service that is offered is 30-amps. 30-amp RVs are usually smaller RVs or camper trailers that don’t require much electricity to run. Make sure you know what type you have on your RV or trailer before reserving your campsite. You can purchase adapters if needed for your RV or camper’s main power plug.

  • Premium 50-Amp

Similar to 30-amp sites, these campsites are usually full hookup, but these sites offer 50-amp electric service. These campsites are able to accommodate large RVs that have air conditioners, TVs, and appliances.

tent and rv

Symbols for identifying a standard or premium campsite

When camping, there are many different types of campsites in which you can choose. On campsite reservation sites, there are many terms and symbols for these sites. When choosing your campsite, always be sure to read the site key, as there are often variations of these symbols and terms between different parks and states.

The symbols on the key are usually easy to identify. You will find symbols for things like camping, RV camping, primitive camping, electric sites, full hookup sites, and even other symbols that help locate different amenities within a given park!

robbers cave shower area

This is the shower and restroom facility for standard campsites at Robber’s Cave State Park

What Type of Campsite is the Best?

Choosing the best campsite for you all depends on what type of camping experience that you’re looking for. Many people want to go on camping trips as a way to get away from the chaos of the day to day grind, relax by a fire, and enjoy themselves with family and friends in their RV.

Many other people choose to go on camping trips to seek solitude in nature, to experience what the great outdoors has to offer, and gain a better understanding of what life is all about. No matter what type of camping you’ll be doing, there’s a campground out there that has everything you need in a campsite!

Primitive Campsites are best for those looking for a one on one experience in the great outdoors. These campsites get you away from modern luxuries and test your skills in the outdoors. Many primitive campgrounds still offer restrooms and showers, so you can still remain comfortable at many campgrounds.

Standard Campsites are the best middle ground, no matter what type of camping you’re doing. Standard campsites are great for those with small to mid-sized RVs, some with large RVs or camper trailers, and some even camping in tents. Standard campsites are an excellent option for those that still want some luxuries while maintaining the outdoors atmosphere.

Tent-Only Campsites are very similar to standard campsites, except there isn’t an option for RVs or camper trailers. Tent-only campsites often include restrooms, showers, and water drinking stations in the campground. Although there are often still no water or electric hookups, tent-only campsites are usually just a little more modern than primitive sites.

Premium Campsites are for those looking to enjoy the luxuries of home from their RV. These campsites typically feature full hookups, making camping great for grilling out and catching up on your favorite sports game. While these sites usually include full hookups, some private campgrounds offer things like Wi-Fi, cable service, and even satellite TV hookups!

No matter what type of camping you’re doing, it’s up to you to decide what you want to get out of the camping trip, the experience that you want to have, and what type of campsite your gear requires. If you’re tent camping, a primitive site may suit you, but you may also be looking for a great place to enjoy a family reunion and enjoy each other’s company.

Camping is an excellent activity for those of all ages and interest groups, and thanks to those that manage and maintain campgrounds, there are options out there to make everyone happy!

Related articles

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What are the different types of camping? ( The best guide for you )

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Rickie Arms

Hi, I'm Rickie Arms, owner of Glampingorcamping.com. I am so invested in writing the best and most informative articles for you that I went out and bought a travel trailer just so I could write about it for you. I spend just about all of my off time both camping and glamping so I can share everything I have learned and will learn with you. I have spent my whole life camping and over the last 10 years, I have spent a large amount of time checking out glamping experiences with my wife and kids as well. Thank you for coming by and we hope to see you back here getting great information in the future. Rick Arms-

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