Ted Houghton

Campgrounds/Camping Tips Writer


North Conway, New Hampshire, was the boyhood home of the young Ted, who spent every moment he could hiking and camping of the White Mountains. The camping has never stopped, although it has evolved a bit over the years. Way back in 1967 Ted and bride Liz spent their honeymoon camping in Nova Scotia. When the twins came along the family moved up to a larger tent and then an old pop-up camper. Once the kids were out of the nest, Ted and Liz went through a couple of slide-in truck campers and then in retirement purchased a Lazy Daze Class C motorhome. The vast and wonderful US of A has lured Ted and Liz to all of the lower 48 states except three, and they’ll undoubtedly have those under their belt soon. For the past ten years they have spent 6-8 months each on the road, chronicling their travels at Toad Hall.

In 2008 they made an eight-month circuit around the edge of the country. On that trip they became much more aware of the availability of campgrounds operated by public entities such as cities and counties. Although familiar with state and federal parks, they had no idea, for example, that the US Forest Service has over 5000 campgrounds or that so many cities operated municipal campgrounds. When they got home, Ted decided to build a list of public campgrounds, not only for his own use, but also to share with others.

The initial plan was to merely merge a number of POI lists into one. As he worked on that, however, Ted found a lot of errors, mainly in the coordinates, so he began an effort to verify locations. Further into the project he decided it would be useful to include some basic information about the campgrounds in addition to the GPS coordinates. All the work is done by hand; Ted does not use any sort of bots or other automated procedures for “mining” the data. Even after five years, he still spends several hours most days working to improve the information provided and is still finding more locations. In 2011 a friend suggested that he put together a web-based map version of the list, which led to the development of The Ultimate US Public Campground Project.

The Ultimate US Public Campground project is a POI list for public campgrounds in the lower 48 states. It is the product of five years of researching campgrounds, scouring hundreds of different resources, and the effort to further verify and add more data is constant. The database currently contains over 18,000 locations which can be viewed online or even imported into your GPS!

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