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.
Seeing so much trash and litter is depressing
Bill H. reports on what a lot of folks are commenting on – trash. “We mostly boondock on BLM & NFS land, often with a small group of rockhounds. Even in our remote areas we find trash and litter increasing. We used to pick up the few pieces and add them to our own trash, but now we bring bags to haul out what we can. Glass, tires, mattresses, everything. It’s becoming a dumping ground. It’s depressing.”
Thank you, Bill, for helping us take care of our planet. We encourage all of you to be like Bill and bring extra garbage bags out (when you can and if you’re able) to pick up the litter you see.
Attitude is everything – be polite!
Sometimes it’s the simple things… Misty D. reminds us of that. “My husband and I travel for work so, we take our RV a lot. Most of the time we’re in one place for five to eight months so we have a luxury fifth wheel. Planning well ahead of time is the best way to go about it. We always find a spot. Also, attitude is EVERYTHING. If you’re polite, most likely the park staff will be too.”
All is good on this long road trip
Beverly S. told us about their long RV trip and the lack of problems they have had. “We are currently about 4,000 miles into a 6,000+ mile RV trip. I made reservations at 26 RV parks in January and early February with no problems. Getting reservations in West Yellowstone, Moab and Ouray was not an issue. And, even though we were in Yellowstone in late August, we never waited more than a few minutes at the gate since we went in around 8 a.m. Almost all of the parks, including several KOAs, had spaces empty during our stays there. I think the key is planning ahead and being patient. I didn’t get in the first park I called for every city but found other RV parks nearby. Oh, and during this trip, we have had no issues with other campers in any of the parks. People just seem generally very happy to be out in whatever type of ‘camper’ they’ve chosen to travel with. We’ll definitely be out again next year!”
Overpaying is frustrating!
This isn’t necessarily about campground crowding, but Kathryn A. brings up a valid frustration. She writes, “I have an 8-foot mini camper that just needs to be plugged into a regular plug to use a power strip inside. I can’t tell you how it feels to have to pay the same full price as the big RVs using sewer, water, and way more electricity in one night than I would use in a week.”
Even rustic sites are hard to reserve
Karen A. finds that making reservations for groups is a lot harder. “I call as soon as the window for reserving sites starts only to find most sites reserved, so if trying to plan multiple (four or five) sites for family and friends they are not available. Single sites or two sites can maybe be found but not more. We use rustic sites, no power/water/sewer, and still find it hard to reserve enough sites.
“There are more and more people that do not respect campground rules and feel entitled and are rude. Camping for over 50 years and sad to say it’s gone downhill.”
Don’t miss yesterday’s article: Millions of acres of public lands could be used as campgrounds. The federal government won’t take initiative, but you can. Click here.
Full payment in advance
Ellen L. writes us about those who book “just in case.” She says, “Full payment in advance: this is happening because people have a fear of not getting a site so they panic and book several different places ‘just in case.’ With a small deposit, they have no problem just being a no-show. This is a very popular practice in State parks that allow booking a year or six months in advance. They book the week before in order to be first for the next.
“I’m in many camping groups that host events that encourage members on all of the above selfish habits. But anyway… you can’t blame parks for demanding full payment at reservation when these practices are losing them money.”
Bonnie W. has a great suggestion for ending the reserved-but-empty campsites. She writes, “I think one way to cut down on reserved but unoccupied spaces would be to require confirmation. The park sends out an email two days prior to the arrival date with a link to confirm arrival. If the camper doesn’t confirm, the site is released with no refund.”
Filled to capacity in Ontario
Joyce G. writes us about the campground crowding in Canada too. “Northern Ontario has had full campgrounds all summer. It is been pretty much impossible to book campsites prior to Labour Day. Ontario provincial campgrounds have been mostly 100 percent booked. Many campgrounds seem to have gone to mostly seasonal sites leaving very few available sites for non-seasonal campers. On a road trip in August, we saw many campers pulled just off the road camping overnight due to the unavailability of campsites. Even day parks have been filled to capacity.”
Is this happening in other parts of the world too? We wonder…
Cost of camping in the good ol’ days
Bob S. remembers the cost of camping in the good ol’ days. “I am 66 years of age. Grew up in a camping family with four kids and a dog. My first job was at 14 at a resort on Lake Barkley, which my family purchased in 1975. Tents, popups, and extremely small RVs (15′) started at $3.50 for four with water and electric. Sewer was just an additional 50 cents! 25 years served and loved it all! So much different then. Bless and be safe.”
Sites like this ruin it!
Oh, no! Is it our fault? A reader who goes by Sdw blames sites like ours, RVtravel.com, for all the campground crowding! “We wouldn’t have campground crowding if it weren’t for sites like this one, and all the bloggers and YouTubers telling everybody how great RVing is without telling them about any of the negatives. And we wouldn’t have campground crowding if people weren’t trying to make money off RVers by putting apps out there that tells where every campground is and everything about it. But that’s ok, in a few years RVing won’t be fun anymore because sites like this one will have ruined it.”
*Editor’s note to Sdw: We think you may have missed the point of what we’re trying to do here…
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.