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.
Dinner and a show!
It’s dinner and a show! Lorelei J. wrote in with a little humor: “Campgrounds in Oregon and Washington, especially along the coast, are very difficult to get into. Unfortunately, some national forests are shoving in more spaces so there is no privacy whatsoever.
“I will continue to try to camp and only have a little teardrop trailer. Bad manners are making it difficult too. People who don’t have gargantuan trailers need a bit of privacy.
“It is hilarious watching the behemoths try to back in. No, I don’t want to share tips or secrets, things are bad enough already.” Editor’s note: I have to admit, watching RVs backing up does provide some evening entertainment.
Lyle L. is considering downsizing. “Campgrounds WILL continue to be crowded (because of all the rigs being sold), so as full-timers we are considering downsizing. Currently, we have a 38′ motorhome towing, and we are considering a smaller rig in the 25′-30′ range. Having a smaller rig will enable us to boondock more easily and to fit into shorter campground sites.”
Camping is overrated
Jo B. got very little money back from their reservations after her husband had cancer. “Starting four months ahead to book campsites is a huge problem. Most required half to all of the total cost up front. When my husband came down with cancer, we canceled at least two months in advance. We got very little of the money back. Yes, I’m considering selling our class B. To me, it’s cheaper to drive and stay in an Airbnb. Camping for me is overrated!”
Too big to be called “campers”
The comments continue to roll in about Jenifer J’s email about big RVs not being “campers.” Jennifer asks, “How can anyone consider themselves as campers when they are practically carrying a small hotel room behind a super-sized truck that’s getting 10 miles per gallon?”
Ardis A. replied to that comment: “As for rigs being too big to call campers: You are exactly right. But some of us don’t consider ourselves campers. I have a 42’ diesel pusher. We consider it an apartment on wheels, with all our personal stuff onboard. We rarely even set up a folding chair outside. What we enjoy is traveling, sightseeing, college football trips, and grandchildren visiting in it. We literally live in the woods at home. We don’t have to on the road.”
Richard W. responded too. He wrote, “Trash in parks – Human beings are a terrible animal. We’ve raised several generations that think only of themselves and have been shamelessly catered to.
“Availability – We’ve been full-time for 16 years. We’ve always had problems getting spots around major attractions. We seldom go there. We opt for lesser venues. Fewer people, less commercialization($), more privacy/solitude.
“Stop obsessing over what you can’t get. Take an opportunity you didn’t expect to find the unexpected.”
Are we just getting our readers “spun up”?
L R has had no problems getting a site. “We have had no problem getting into state and county parks during the last two years. We plan ahead and don’t do spur-of-the-moment trips. Last week we stayed at a park that had about 25 percent of the spaces vacant. A tempest in a teacup. The media, including this site, love to get people spun up and trigger comments from readers.
“The comment ‘How can anyone consider themselves as campers when they are practically carrying a small hotel room behind a super-sized truck that’s getting 10 miles per gallon?’ Thank God others don’t get to choose our RVs or breakfast cereal for us as they think they know best. There are many kinds of people in this world. Some would see an RV and say, ‘I like that, someday I’ll own one.’ Others, seeing the same RV would say, ‘They shouldn’t have that.'”
I don’t camp, I travel
Sue N. never set out to camp, she wants to travel. “We just started full-time RVing two months ago after three years of planning. We reserve campgrounds at least three months ahead and are not having troubles. But we travel in unpopular places and in the wide west so far. We will turn east and book those sites more months in advance.
“About large RVs and it’s not camping. I agree it’s not really camping but I never set out to ‘camp.’ I set out to travel, stay in good weather, and bring my whole life (significantly downsized) with me. My ‘apartment on wheels’ enables this. So maybe true campers will be helped by thinking of large RV travelers as having a different goal yet using some of the same spaces.”
We like this way of thinking, Sue! Great point.
Enjoying a vacation home on wheels
Sue B. enjoys their travels and looks for the roads less traveled. “I understand the flavor of a campground changes when people stay in their RVs rather than live more outdoors by cooking outside, sitting around the campfire, visiting with neighbors when you have tight quarters in a small RV or tent.
“But being over 70, and traveling long distances in the fall for 2 months, we enjoy our ‘vacation home on wheels’ – our 33′ fifth wheel. We travel the roads and places less traveled looking for spots near a paved bicycle trail through the country, shade trees, water, and 30-amp + water hookup if we can get it. We’re willing to camp in county fairgrounds, city parks or boondock in church parking lots, shopping centers, etc., if we have to. Our destination and time is flexible.”
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.
Read last week’s Crowded Campgrounds column here.