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Question mark and question words on white surface.
Question mark and question words on white surface.

Questions to ask at check in

After any length of travel there is something so refreshing about arriving at your campground destination. There is a sigh of relief that dealing with other drivers, bumpy roads and tight turns are over and you can get settled in, kick back and relax.

It’s easy to whiz through check in and hear blah, blah, blah as the ranger attempts to give you pertinent information about your new designation. Whether you are camping for the weekend or a fulltimer, the following questions are “must ask” questions during check in.

  1. Where is the closest hospital/urgent care?  This is one I never thought about until our three year old fell off the top of an old metal slide in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and we had NO idea where to go. We barely had cell service and certainly no internet service and were at a loss. As if the blood gushing out of my daughters face wasn’t nerve wracking enough, I didn’t even know where to go to help her. We lucked out on the way out and a ranger was on duty. They directed us to the nearest hospital, but we vowed to never put ourselves in that position again.
  2. What county am I in? So often when we arrive in a new place we really have no idea where we are. Sure, we know the big city that we drove through on the interstate, but those 24 windy miles after that have put us in the middle of… well, that’s the problem, we never know. The most important reason to always know your county is to be alert of dangerous weather. Watching the nightly news or weather channel does you no good if you don’t know where you are.
  3. Do you have a storm shelter? If not, where is the nearest one? This is especially important in the spring but really something you should always know. Typically the bathhouse will be the go to place for safety in the event of inclement weather but you should always ask to be sure. Sometimes you will have to drive to a local community center, rest area or fire department. Planning ahead can save your life.
  4. What is the campground address/gate code/personal site number? Sure, you plugged that campground address in your trusty GPS hours ago, but would you remember it if you had to quickly call 911 in an emergency? Write down the campground address along with your site number and the gate code and put it somewhere easy to find. Put it on the refrigerator or tape it to your cell phone if you have to. In the moment of chaos that you may need to call 911, you will have the important information at your fingertips to help authorities or responders get to you as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Now that you have all the information you need to handle those situations you hope never happen, go get settled in your site and relax a bit. Once you have some free time here is a list of other helpful questions to ask campground staff to get the most out of your stay.

  1. Where is the nearest grocery store? Sometimes google maps lets me down if I don’t know a specific chain to search for. Who better to ask than those that work and live in the area?
  2. Where is the nearest pharmacy? Whether it be a routine prescription or something you need quickly, its always helpful to know if there is a local pharmacy nearby.
  3. Do you have laundry? If not, how do I get to the laundromat? Unless you are lucky enough to have a washer/dryer on board, you will probably need this service at some point. It is hit or miss but sometimes local laundromats are cleaner and less expensive than campground options.
  4. Is there a local farmers market? What is better than fresh produce and goods that are produced in the area you are staying? We love buying the food that will be on our table for dinner just hours before we eat it.
  5. Which local restaurant has the best food? Support the local economy when you pick your restaurant choice. Asking the locals what they recommend is the best way to make sure your night out isn’t a dud.

Taking a minute or two to ask these simple questions just might save you or your loved ones lives. Be safe out there!


About Jen Holt

Jen Holt and her husband Drew are parents to two young kids and travel the country in their fifth wheel nicknamed Big Moosey. The Holts have a passion for the outdoors and love visiting National Parks. You can follow more about the Holts adventures at

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