How to Find and Stay at a US ARMY Corps of Engineers Campground

Lake Sonoma US Army Corps of Engineers site

Don McCullough / Getty images

The Army Corps of Engineers are familiar to most of us from their involvement in dam construction to control river flows, build lake reservoirs, and produce hydroelectric power. Part of their charter is to also open up these river and lakeside areas to the public and provide recreation opportunities for fishing, boating, and camping.

What Are US ARMY Corps of Engineers Campgrounds?

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) serves the Armed Forces and the Nation by providing vital engineering services and capabilities, as a public service, across the full spectrum of operations—from peace to war—in support of national interests.

The USACE is a natural resources management program that's mission is to manage and conserve our nation's natural resources. The program acts as a steward of the lands and waters while maintaining the ecosystem and providing outdoor recreation opportunities. The USACE maintains its position to preserve these natural resources and recreation outposts for current and future generations.

USACE Goal: "At the heart of our effort are soldiers, airmen, their families, and the citizens of this great country. Whatever we do must make a positive impact on their lives. That's why we exist."

About the Campgrounds 

The campgrounds at USACE facilities are clean and well maintained and offer the basic amenities: Showers, restrooms, water, picnic tables, and fire rings. The areas are otherwise somewhat primitive, but will usually offer services for boaters and fishermen, like marinas, boat launches, and tackle shops.

With over 2,500 recreation areas at 450+ lakes managed by USACE, there certainly are many choices. As with the campgrounds provided by the US Forest Service, all your searching is simplified by using the Recreation.gov website. These river and lakeside areas are open to the public and offer recreational opportunities for fishing, boating, and camping.

Finding a Campground

If you are interested in camping at one of these sites, there are a few resources that make finding and reserving campsites easy. Recreation.gov is a USACE online campground reservation system, which gives you what you need to research and plan a camping adventure. It will help you select a lakefront camping destination close to home.

Choosing and Reserving a Campsite 

Each campground page will tell you a little bit about the area and show a detailed map of that campground's layout. You can then choose the area of the campground that interests you and read specifics about each campsite to find one that meets your needs. Information about special events, services, and amenities are also provided. Once you have found a campsite you like, with a click of your mouse, you can make a secure online reservation.

RVing at the Campgrounds

Finding an RV site or campground with hook-ups is simple and easy at Recreation.gov or ReserveAmerica.com. You can search for a campground by entering your personal preferences. Be sure to specifically search for RVing sites with hookups or primitive sites that will accommodate an RV.

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