Beginner’s Guide To Hipcamp

Hipcamp is the Airbnb of unique camping experiences. Discover what its all about and snag a sweet discount for your first trip!

Ryan and I booked a Hipcamp site on our trip to Colorado a few summers ago and I can’t express what an adventure it was. We ended up in the middle of a cattle drive, took an outdoor shower powered by compost (more refreshing than you might think), and were close enough to the New Mexico border to make an impromptu drive into a new state!

If you’re up for a really fun, wild, and refreshing experience, staying on a Hipcamp site might be the perfect addition to your trip. I’m gonna break down the who, what, where, when, why and how of what Hipcamp is all about!

The What

First things first, what exactly is Hipcamp? To put it very simply, Hipcamp is the Airbnb of camping sites throughout the United States. But I’m not talking about a campsite in the traditional sense. Like, a specifically constructed area with a cheesy animal mascot where way too many people sleep outside in tents right next to each other and then do karaoke in a log cabin every night. These campsites are not like that. Thank god.

In fact I wouldn’t even call the listings on Hipcamp “campsites.” According to their website, you can “book unique camping experiences on over 300,000 campsites, ranches, vineyards, public parks, and more.” Camping experiences is a much better and more accurate way to describe what you can book through Hipcamp. Why is that? Well, because every site is so unique! You could be in your own tent on a working farm, or in an RV in the middle of the desert. The variety of experiences is incredible; you can book cabins, glamping sites, or RVS in addition to just tent spaces.

It’s like a hotel search engine, except instead of reserving a hotel, you’re reserving a spot somewhere outside. Somewhere incredibly gorgeous, open, inviting, refreshing, and new. And while this type of traveling is not suited for every single trip, its something that everybody should consider doing every now and then. Or even just for a portion of your trip!

The Why

I wholeheartedly believe that one of the best ways to really get to know a place is through nature; by traveling off the beaten path and exploring the physical Earth. Like, really getting to know the land of a place. I feel like that’s something we tourists and travelers tend to neglect. It’s all about the cities or wherever Lonely Planet tells us to go. But there’s something so exhilarating about visiting remote and unexplored regions – places where you don’t have to feel rushed or stressed to visit this or that tourist attraction. With Hipcamp, you’re able to do just that!

Because rather than just taking a day trip to a national park or a going for a drive, you’re really OUT there, you know? You get to fall asleep with the fresh air on your face and wake up with the sunrise. It’s camping, it’s traveling, it’s doing something new, and it’s doing you good.

The Who

I’m about to be really blunt and really honest. Falling asleep with the fresh air on your face and waking up with the sunrise sounds extremely charming and pleasant in writing, but doing it in person is another thing. Some people would absolutely hate it, and that’s just a fact. If you do hate the idea of being that close to nature, like your back against the cold, hard ground close, you still have options on Hipcamp! Simply select the “Structures” filter when searching for options. It’ll show you houses, cabins, RVS – you name it!

While spending time outside can be absolutely exhilarating, there’s always a little bit of compromise that comes with it. I mean, you’re sleeping outside. You might not have access to basic amenities (hellooooo compost toilet!) or your site might be a little difficult to find (like GPS coordinates difficult). And I’m not exaggerating – the Hipcamp site we stayed at in Colorado, Sol Mountain Farm Camp, included both a compost toilet and only had GPS coordinates for an address. But, it had a beautiful outdoor shower and the most unbelievable view of the night sky. It was absolutely perfect for two nights – for us! Everybody has different travel preferences, and there are all sorts of filters you can apply on the Hipcamp website to make sure you’re staying somewhere where you are comfortable.

On the flipside of “The Who,” any property owner with property to share with guests is welcome to host on Hipcamp! This makes Hipcamp a super fun way to interact with locals when you travel. In fact, Hipcamp is currently running a special where all new hosts get $100 guaranteed after their first booking! If you’re interested, sign up here.

The Where

I’m not sure about plans to expand worldwide, but for now, Hipcamp is exclusive to sites in the United States. While a lot of the more well-known areas like Joshua Tree or Zion will have many more site options to choose from, you can find camping experiences across all 50 states! Hipcamp is especially cool because you don’t necessarily need to be planning a trip to use it. If you’re headed out West for a sort of DIY national park tour, then of course Hipcamp would be a fantastic resource for finding accommodation along the way. But, it’s also perfect for a quick staycation too! You’d be surprised to see how many fun camping experiences are just around the corner from there you live!

The When

Book for literally anytime! Like I just mentioned above, Hipcamp works great for both planned trips and spontaneous getaways. They actually make it really easy to book last-minute trips with buttons on their front page showing you the best options near you that are available “tonight,” “this weekend,” or “next weekend”. But of course you’re able to enter dates manually as well.

The How

It’s so easy. Plus, Hipcamp’s site is just so pretty and user-friendly that I find myself browsing to see what they have for no reason. Well, my reason is that I’m dreaming about my next trip. It’s as easy as going to the website, entering your desired location and dates, applying any filters depending on the amenities you need/activities you’d like to do, and browsing through your options!

If I haven’t yet convinced you that Hipcamp is worth checking out, here’s $10 toward your next trip that might sway you a bit 🙂 Once you’ve booked a site, link it in the comments so we can get some outdoor inspiration flowing! See you outside, friends!


Please note that some of the links on this site are affiliate links. 

I use affiliate links to promote products that I personally use and that I believe will help you in your travels too! And, the cool thing about affiliate links is that I receive a small commission if you choose to make a purchase through them (at no extra cost to you) which is a win-win!

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