Friday, June 9, 2023


Campground Crowding: “The point is to be in nature, not crowds!”

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, RV Travel 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.

Stacked like dominoes in crowded campgrounds

Gary S. has had it with crowds, crowds and more crowds. “I can’t stand being around a lot of people when I’m camping. I don’t mind a few people around but not when they are stacked up like dominoes. The reason I go camping is to get away from society and renew my bond with nature. With the campgrounds packed to the hilt, that just ruins the experience for me. I might as well pitch a tent in my backyard and camp.”

Kim B. wants to enjoy nature too, but the campground crowding is putting RVing on hold for her now. She writes, “We had planned to get back into RVing, but now with how crazy it is, we’ve decided to wait. We looked at trailers and motorhomes but the cost drove us away. Trying to find even a nice tent site was impossible. Even boondocking was ruined by crowds, rude, loud people, and trash left behind. Living in Utah with the ‘Big 5’ has made us stay home more because of the crowds and traffic. The point of getting into nature is to enjoy nature not wait in line at a trailhead or entry point. Hopefully things calm soon.”

For Sale Sold due to campground crowding

Carol S. wrote in to tell us that she and her husband have had enough too. “Because of the current overcrowding at campsites, we sold our travel trailer. When we first bought it we had no issues getting a reservation but with COVID-19 that was no longer possible. Once we are both retired (currently my husband is still working full-time) we will revisit getting another RV.”

Roberta D. is thinking of selling too. “I find camping is not as fun anymore. It is work trying to find a campsite and you must book one in advance now. Gone are the old days of just taking a ride and deciding we are going to stay. I may just sell my camper…”

Calvin W. had been planning on going full-time for the past 25 years but is still at home. He says, “We retired in January and we were going to start our full-time adventures that we’d been planning for 25 years. We’re still at home. Even our local county lake that has never (in 43 years) been more than 40 percent full on major holiday weekends has been 100 percent full every weekend and most weeks. With the news on overcrowding we get here on, why bother? With the cost of campgrounds rapidly rising, my husband now wants to sell our fifth wheel and just use motels instead.”

Things have really changed

So many people are ready to just throw in the towel. Reader Barbra W. and her husband are two of them. “We have had a terrible time finding spots with full hookups in the Pacific Northwest. We went back to full-time last July and I’m ready to throw in the towel. It is ridiculous to me to spend a fortune for a 40 x 65-foot slab (plus electricity) with no shade, no view, no…anything. We are not new to this – took a 4-year break – and boy, howdy, things have really changed! Hub and I talking it over. It has been disheartening.”

A trick for a later check-out time

Bruce B. mentioned a “trick” he has noticed lately. He says, “Another trick observed is some will book an extra day over to Monday on the weekends, so basically they can check out later instead of the normal 10 or 11 a.m. For a larger group, the $30-$40 at a State Park is nothing. But it shows N/A in the reservation systems.”

Michael G. sees plenty of empty sites too. “We stayed in a Florida State Park in June. The ReserveAmerica said it was booked up but there were 10 empty lots the four days we were there.”

Weekends are a no-go at crowded campgrounds

Dennis C. is going to forget the weekends and just camp through the week. “We were at our favorite KOA in Southern Michigan over Memorial Day weekend and thought we’d make reservations for July 4th. They were booked up through Labor Day on the weekends. Guess we’ll try camping during the week…”

Gary Y. has the same solution. “Being retired has its advantages, booking sites throughout the week. Here in SW PA, we haven’t run into too many problems with getting sites. We do plan ahead, booking our sites for next year. Tip: Stay away from holiday weekends and book through the week instead if you can. And take advantage of groups like Passport America to get free or reduced rates.”


It is not all bad news! Martha T. writes: “We’ve found some great parks with lots of vacancies in southern Idaho. I even managed to get spots at Grand Teton and Yellowstone.”

Well, Martha… Care to share your secrets? Wink.

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


Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


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Craig Seitz
1 year ago

No way am I giving up doing what I love doing. I have no problem waiting and watching as a lot of newbies discover how much camping and rving involves. Most will fall by the wayside. And those that don’t, welcome and have fun!

1 year ago

We live in the country… 1/4+ mile between neighbors. We always joke about “going to the city” when we’re camping… way more people in the campground than what we’re used to at home.

Scott R. Ellis
1 year ago

There’s an interesting polarity in these comments (and in this discussion in general): on the one hand, “We need full hookups”; on the other, “We want to get away from crowds.”


Bob p
1 year ago

We sold our motorhome last summer and decided we missed a camper so this spring we downsized to a truck and 23’ TT, we ain’t quitting yet. So far this season we’ve been to Chattanooga for a week, Pigeon Forge for a week, in October we are going to the Pensacola area for a week, and have reservations in the Tampa area for the winter cold months. I would surmise most of the crowding must be in the high tourist areas, although Pigeon Forge and Pensacola are tourist areas but in both cases we are there ahead of the weekend. That may be the answer, if you’re still working and/or have children in school and can only go on the weekends, you’ll have trouble getting in. That sounds like grounds for a discrimination law suit in these sue crazy times. Lol

1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

Sounds like you’ve got a good plan -good for you!

1 year ago

I guess if you can’t accept lots of people, it’s time to boondock, lower your expectations, RV part-timing, or stop altogether. .

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