More people than ever are taking up RVing. These newbies have determined that RVing is the safest way to travel in our pandemic times. The result is campground crowding like never before. In this weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss their experiences. Maybe we can make some sense of this and find ways to work around the problem.
Here are a few observations from our readers.
No crowded campground problems for some!
Gary C. wrote in to tell us that they traveled cross-country and always found a spot. “We’re full-time RVers and planning in advance just isn’t for us. We just made a cross-country trek in our Class A and didn’t have any issues finding a site. I suspect the shortage of sites can be found at RV resorts that cater to vacationing families. We’re not so interested in the amenities at resorts as we are with the surrounding area. Give us full hookups in a safe environment, and we’re good!”
Sara R. had an entire campground to herself! “I camped at a county park in East Central Illinois in April. There are 72 sites. I was the only camper for four nights. I always stay at county or state parks. Have not had any problems.”
Others… not so much…
While some people like Gary and Sara are not having a problem finding a place to lay their heads or park their RV, others are not so lucky.
Angela T. tells about her frustration. “We live in Westminster, SC, and there is no availability anywhere close. We did get a spot in Myrtle Beach but we booked it in February. It’s crazy how many people are camping now. Very frustrating to have a camper and not be able to use it.”
Last week one of our readers talked about the “good ol’ days” of camping. Reader Sandy L. misses those days and is also frustrated. “We are in our early 70s and have been camping (‘glamping’) for 50 years in a motorhome. In the ‘old days’ we traveled all over the U.S. with no reservations, or we would call on the way. Now we have to book far in advance, no matter where (except interstate campgrounds…and even those book up fast). We often would stop at a rest area for the night, but now we have to arrive early (7ish) in order to get a spot.
“We happily purchased a lot in a motorcoach resort in Southwest Florida 11 years ago. Now it’s hard to get a spot in that resort in January and February. Two months ago, we spent 1-1/2 afternoons, together, looking at maps and booking sites in North Georgia and Tennessee. It was frustrating – we spent two nights in one spot, when we had to leave due to a death in the family. We lost $400 in deposits! We miss the good ol’ days.”
Andres I. is also frustrated with trying to book. “I’m a solo camper with dog looking to camp at state-run campsite. Feel it would be safer for me, but every time I look up a campsite it’s full. Very frustrating.”
Tip: Schedule backward to avoid crowded campgrounds
Jean P. schedules the destination first and then works backward. Here’s how it works: “We are traveling to the Black Hills in South Dakota this summer with another couple. We made reservations in February. Since we were wanting to stay a couple of weeks in the Black Hills, we secured our sites there first. We had to accept dates that were not our first choice in order to meet their availability. We got the last two available sites at the KOA in the Badlands (for the two non-weekend nights prior to the Black Hills reservations). Then, we worked backward to secure travel sites from home to our destination and we had no trouble securing reservations five months ahead of our travel dates in the campgrounds along the route, as they were non-touristy areas (except for Sioux Falls).
RV storage is crowded too
Bob S. finds with the influx of new campers and lots more RVs on the road, storage is at a premium too. “I’ve been making RV park reservations 6 months to a year in advance since we started in 2012. But I was caught by surprise when I had trouble finding a spot to store our RV. For the first time last year we had to start paying for a spot a couple months before we needed it just to make sure it was there when we arrived.”
Should companies build on-site campgrounds?
Last week we posted one reader’s suggestion that companies with workers should build no-frills campsites for their workers.
Mathew C. responded: “I think it would be smart on the company’s part to do so. Pipeliners are always on the move. There are other jobs that move as much. At the last FMCA event we got to I was working parking. What was impressive was that they had turned a sports field into WE campground. This was not all that involved a problem. Lots of pipe and fittings and cable and boxes. They had made about fifty additional WE sites. This could be done almost anywhere on a temporary basis. It would save the local campground owners from some annoyed clients and would save some worry the workers often have.”
The urge to RV has passed
Douglas V. tells us his story and how the urge to RV has passed for him and his wife. “I qualified for my pension and S.S. 14 days before the quarantine hit us March 10, 2020. Instead of going crazy trying to buy an RV, I got a job as a Greenskeeper at one of our golf courses and my wife revived the garden we had when the kids were little. We then satisfied our travel bug during the pandemic-pause by watching all the ups and downs of folks who YouTube their RV lifestyle.
“We learned so much about RVing while enjoying our new home-based routines that now we’re satisfied with our current life and have lost interest in RV’ing, except to follow some YouTubers as entertainment while exercising. I wonder how many other folks conflate the ‘fun’ they are having RVing with being retired and would have been just as happy staying at home? Additionally, now we don’t have to repurchase a home again once we are too old to be driving and need an exit strategy.”
Reminder for us “old-timers”
Joey M. has a good reminder for all of us “old-timers.” He writes, “Awe, be nice! Everybody is a newbie at some point... even you. More new campers will lead to new and better campgrounds for the new and better campers!! 😉 ”
Now, some questions for you about crowded campgrounds:
• Are you finding more and more campgrounds booked up? Or are you having no problem finding places to stay?
• If campgrounds continue to be crowded and RVing continues to become more popular, will it affect how or when you RV?
• Do you have any tips or secrets you’d like to share about finding campgrounds that aren’t as crowded?
Please use the form below to answer one or more of these questions, or tell us what you’ve experienced with campground crowding in general.
Read last week’s Crowded Campgrounds column here.