Wednesday, December 7, 2022


Campground Crowding: Campgrounds are splitting sites. So much for personal space!


RV sales have skyrocketed and more people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before! In this weekly blog, readers discuss their experiences. Maybe we can find some helpful tips and ways to work around the problem.

Here are a few observations from our readers.

Record high RV shipments adding to crowded campgrounds

Noticing more new trailers and truck campers at the campgrounds this year? There’s a reason for that! New travel trailers shipped to dealers are up 88 percent and truck campers are up 63 percent. Motorhomes are up 72.5 percent. So what do all those RVs mean? If you guessed crowded campgrounds, you’re right.

Campgrounds are splitting sites

Think your campsite is small? One campground increased the number of sites by splitting them in two. Are more sites worth it? Penny G. explains: “Went to a campground that added sites by having you split the power and water with the site next to you. In other words between sites 16 and 17, they added site 16a. You shared power and water with site 16. This was done after reservations were made and no notice was given until the neighbors moved in. This was upsetting and not a peaceful weekend. Will never go back to this campground. 35-ft. travel trailer was what we were camping in.”

Priced out of the housing market

A number of people have had to turn to an RV and long-term RV parks because of the expensive housing market and are not happy about it. Vicki S. writes, “We have been full-time RVers for years. Here in the western part of the country people are being priced out of the housing market and are turning to RVs for a place to live. Sadly, many people we meet are not happy being in an RV or RV park. This makes it hard for camp managers and campers who want to be in the parks. No end in sight.”

State parks? Forget it!

Micheal W. booked two different locations this year, or at least tried… “While preparing for our winter Texan trip we have found no problem in booking, not only the RV park but also for the site we wanted. This is a bit of a change from a couple of years ago when we had to take a site that was less than optimal if we wanted to stay at a particular park. I had the opposite experience when booking for the summer months in Michigan. State parks? Forget it! They are either at or near 100 percent capacity. We found no available sites in the entire Michigan State Park system as far as a month out. We gave up on the Michigan State Parks and stayed at home. If this continues we may drop our annual state park pass completely. No sense in paying for something that you can’t use.”

Vic B. had similar experiences: “Took a trip from VA to Yellowstone with stops in Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wyoming, in mostly state parks. The park in Missouri was full on Saturday, the park in Nebraska had 69 spots with only 8 campers, and the park in Wyoming maybe only had a third of the spots taken. Then on to Cody and Yellowstone where it is booked solid. So it seems to me it’s about location and time of the week. The choice is yours.”

John R. was dismayed to find zero weekend campsites available in Tennessee. “I live in Tennessee and we have a plethora of campsites between state parks and Corps of Engineers campgrounds around all the lakes, and, of course, tons of private campgrounds in the Smokies. I tried in May to book a few weekends for my Lance Travel Trailer and was dismayed to find zero availability through Labor Day.”

Sunshine State is not so sunny…

Our readers often mention the difficulty of getting into parks in Florida, particularly state parks. Arthur M. agrees: “I have found that the places we have gone to in the past here in Florida are now all booked up months in advance. FORGET trying to get a reservation on any body of water… there’s nothing available until December! All the Florida State Parks are booked months down the road. The only places I can find a spot available are the expensive RV resorts charging $60 – $150 a night.”

Enough about dry camping!

Every week we get the suggestion from you, our readers, to boondock to alleviate the frustration of finding a campsite. However, boondocking isn’t for everyone.

A reader who goes by the name Wanderer posted this comment in last week’s newsletter: “Oh for heaven’s sake, enough about ‘dry camping’ as the ultimate solution. Many people can’t afford the generator and/or solar upgrades to make that work, and many don’t have the clearance to pursue remote sites down 4WD roads. And, here at 40 degrees north latitude and 4,700 ft. elevation, it was 109 degrees yesterday. The only thing boondocking would accomplish would be heatstroke!

“The reason I am here in 100+ weather? I booked well in advance to make sure I could do my dream stay and excursion. Now I am stuck with hellish weather. So much for ‘planning ahead’ as the ultimate solution, lol!

“We need more capacity and affordable sites as more people pour into outdoor recreation. You can try all the tips and tricks you want, but we need more sites near popular destinations and metros.”

Now, some questions for you:

• 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.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Read last week’s Crowded Campgrounds column here

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1 year ago

Every travel opportunity is crowded this summer. Very few people traveled on a vacation in 2020, and everyone wants to return to “normal” – We are in the Keys in July. It is crowded and expensive. Hotel prices are out of sight! It’s not just campgrounds!

Donald N Wright
1 year ago

The campgrounds are mostly full, but what about the hotels and motels? I learned from AAA that a nearby motel was less expensive than the nearby KOA.

1 year ago

Am “I” the only one who was not “Cooped Up” in 2020?

I made a conscious effort NOT change my lifestyle in 2020 and had wonderful year. The only change in my life do to Covid was that I could not go sit down and eat in many restaurants!

Traveling and exploring was WONDERFUL in 2020!

Flying was like the early 1980’s with lot’s of open seats, deserted airports and security lines 3 deep instead on 300 deep. Other than a mask flying was GREAT! Hotels, campgrounds and tourist destinations were wide open with no reservations required. Yes some locations were closed depending upon the part of the country your were in. Those closures were more a direct result of the POLITICAL leadership in power in each state more so than the science behind the virus!

I understand there was loss of life for families and I do not in any way wish to lessen the pain those folks experienced HOWEVER I also want folks to see there was wide world of things to do in the good ole USA if you chose to do so

1 year ago
Reply to  bull

No, it WAS the science that led to the closures. It was the politics that made the science partisan simply to divide us.

Imagine if we had had the partisan politics back in the 50’s where getting a vaccine to prevent disease was a political statement.

Simply unbelievable that good medicine became a political statement.

1 year ago

Campground overcrowding, stop it! After about a year of being cooped up at home, every one wants to venture out again and gain back freedom enjoyed before the pandemic. Of course, CG’s are gonna be crowded, especially on the weekends. The building of CG’s, what starting price are you expecting to see, 10, 15, 30-35 dollars, not on your life. Hell, someone last week was already complaining of AJ’s and Machele’s new CG and the price they were charging. Stop with the ragging of “newbies”, you were a newbie too. Todays society is different than of yesteryear. There’s a saying that says, “ever wonder why the windshield is much bigger than the rear view mirror”.

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