A common word for a place used for staying overnight outdoors would be "campground" in AmE and "campsite" in BrE. However, I learned that Americans also use the word "campsite." My questions is to what extent, and are both terms used interchangeably?

Or maybe there is a difference with regard to the following meanings: an impromptu area (as one might decide to stop while backpacking or hiking); a dedicated area with improvements and various facilities

or maybe it depends more on the region of the US where the term is used?

Google Ngram displayed this:enter image description here

so I can imagine both terms are pretty common. I am directing this question mainly to AmE native speakers. How do you feel about both terms?

  • 1
    You arrive at the campground and check in. You set up your tent at your assigned campsite. Commented May 17, 2017 at 6:03

1 Answer 1


I've done a lot of camping over the years: backpacking, car camping, off-highway vehicles (Land Rovers), etc.

A campsite is where you camp. The place where you pitch your tent or park your vehicle. In a more developed area, it's likely to have a picnic table and fire ring and be fairly well defined.

A campground, on the other hand, is a group of such sites. A single campground may have a few campsites or it may have hundreds. It could also be used to refer to a group of campsites within a single park or area.

Hope this helps!

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    In that case the term "campsite" has a different meaning to the one we use in Britain. Here a "campsite" is the entire field or ground. Now you are going to ask me what we call an individual place on that site. And I am struggling to give you an answer - perhaps a "tent site", or "parking place".
    – WS2
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 7:53
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    @WS2 We'd call the individual sites 'pitches'
    – Spagirl
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 9:44
  • @Spagirl Absolutely right. Why didn't I think of that?
    – WS2
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 9:48
  • In a US campground, a pitch is where you throw horseshoes. It's a bad place to put up your tent.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 9:59

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