In North America it is more common to disperse the camping around a site into individual or sometimes dual or family units well separated from their neighbours. A short spur is made off the loop access road, into which the trailer, motor home or car can be reversed. An area next to this is laid out as an open area equipped with a fireplace and table.
The setting for many but not all of these sites is forest or woodland, providing a strong sense of enclosure, screening from neighbours, increased privacy and reduced fire risk. Some sites are zoned into tent or trailer/RV areas. In the tent zones there are car spurs next to a prepared area that is level, well drained and smooth on which to pitch a tent. In the trailer caravan/RV zone the surfaced spur usually needs to be larger, and the open space does not need to be so level.
In Britain and Europe there are examples of woodland sites of a similar nature, but they do not seem to be as popular. This may be partly because people are not used to enclosed forests and so tend to favour more open landscapes. They might also be more worried about trees falling on their tent or vehicle.
Wooded sites offer shelter and shade, but they may also be more prone to biting insects, especially in damp, shady conditions during the summer months. The choice of site should try to avoid places where insects are a problem, such as low areas next to boggy or marshy ground.
Walk-in, boat-in or fly-in sites
Some campgrounds for tents only can be laid out so that there is no direct vehicle access to the pitches. A central car park is provided next to an open area or with walk-in loop trails leading to small clearings in which to pitch a tent. These give a slightly wilder feel than those where the tent is next to the car, but they do require all the equipment to be carried in. This type of site might be more attractive to people who travel light and prefer a more ‘backwoodsy’ atmosphere.
As well as campsites where vehicles are used for access, there are those on lakesides, where a number of campers arrive by boat or float plane. Although these are located in some of the remotest settings, the number of people attracted to the area justifies laying out a campground in order to reduce impact or pollution risks.
Pedestrian circulation around the site must be considered in the layout from the outset. Routes to toilet blocks, rubbish disposal points, to shorelines, trails, boat launch places or moorings and so on need reasonably direct access from various parts of the site without people interfering with the privacy of other pitches. The concept layout can be tested for possible route lines, and where possible conflicts occur the design can be adjusted.
Vegetation, landform and water or wet areas can be used to help guide pedestrian use. Based on an agreed design, paths can be constructed and signs and information panels erected to help new arrivals to find their way around, particularly when the site is widely dispersed and views around it are curtailed by shrubs and trees.