Find a campsite (private or public) with Hipcamp
Like camping? Good luck finding a campsite. There are so many different websites for both public and private camping, often with not enough information. That's why Eric Bach and Alyssa Ravasio built Hipcamp. Eric told Ali Berman at MNN:
Our founder Alyssa was trying to find a place to camp on the beach for New Year's Day 2013 and the process was severely frustrating. She spent hours looking through various websites; the information was very fragmented. When she got to the beach at the campground, she noticed there was a perfect wave breaking and everyone had their surfboards. In all of her hours of research this was never mentioned and since Alyssa is a surfer, this really bummed her out. She knew there had to be a better way.
The site opened in 2013 and right now covers 17 states, 1,004 parks, 4,206 campgrounds and 143,635 campsites. However it is about to get a lot bigger and a lot more interesting, as they introduce a Private Land Program " that invites landowners to rent their land to campers (you can think of it as "Airbnb for camping"), providing a new income stream for landowners and new inventory for campers." They note that this could be very helpful for people like California farmers, giving them "the ability to diversify their income, while still conserving their land, by renting their property to campers for private camping experiences." They note:
About 60% of the United States' 2B+ acres of land is privately held. Through proper management, private land recreation can actually fund its own conservation. Keeping this land as undeveloped is critical to maintaining biodiversity and wildlife corridors. Also, camping is pretty great.
This is a fascinating idea, given that so many of the nicest spots are in private hands. Where I live in Ontario, almost all the waterfront is privately owned and access points for the public are severely limited. It is often impossible to reserve a campsite in the summer and when you do, it is often crowded. This could help a lot of people get really nice campsites while helping pay the property taxes.
Back when it started, I thought AirBnB would never work, that people wouldn't want to turn their spare rooms or entire apartments into hotels and have strange people in them. But the rating system and other controls appear to have worked and it has become a huge success. Hipcamp for private land could be similarly successful, opening up beautiful and unspoiled sites for people who otherwise would be stuck in crowded campgrounds. I suspect that it will do very well indeed.