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.
Question for you
As we are on the cusp of a New Year, the lure of summer camping is in the air. Putting this column together each week, I see the angst of booking campsites and I realize I haven’t even started! I have a few questions for you:
- Have you started your summer planning or even your planning for next winter?
- For you procrastinators, are you concerned about campground crowding and the lack of campsites? Despite those concerns (or not), will you plan as you go?
- What are your camping plans for the new year?
Please use the form at the bottom of this page, or leave a comment, to answer these questions. Thank you!
Suggestion for us
Micheal W. has a suggestion and praise for us at RVtravel.com. “Thanks for the great job that you folks at RV Travel are doing. One suggestion I would offer for your Campground Crowding column is to use some of the reach that RV Travel has to start figuring out the where and when the reported crowding occurs.
“From our perspective on the east side of the Rockies, we do not see the problems we read about here. I suspect part of it is our travel patterns (times, destinations and types of campgrounds). But even in our heaviest travel summer season when the major camping hotspots are packed we can always find a place to camp. Our winter snowbird trips seldom have issues. Maybe we can’t get the exact site we prefer or on occasion the campground we prefer, but we always find a great spot.”
Follow the rules or lose your rights!
Susan M. has a few suggestions for those that reserve and don’t show and also for those that don’t follow the rules. She writes, “I hate making reservations. Paying an online fee that isn’t refundable. Prices are already expensive and show little to no improvements. We know people that make lots of reservations and don’t show. They don’t care about losing the reservation/deposit fee. If people keep doing this then don’t allow them to make reservations. People can’t always plan 6-9 months ahead of time.
“Also, rules need to be obeyed. Keep your pet tied up at all times. Our disabled dog was always being charged while we walked him by dogs not tied up and he was a large dog. If you don’t follow the rules you lose camping privileges for a year.”
Another reader, Gale K., also brings up the subject of reservations and empty spots. “My biggest pet peeve is people who don’t cancel reservations or don’t show their first night. We travel a lot before Memorial Day and after Labor Day to avoid crowds. Many times we just need one night. We recently checked in at a state park and were told they only had three sites unreserved. We took a less-than-ideal site. In the morning, we walked around the campground and there were 16 reserved sites unoccupied…”
Meaning of “camping”
Samuel C. defines his history of camping. “Camping means different things to different people and at different ages. At 6 years old for me it was sleeping under the stars – even just in the backyard at home. If not at home I called it ‘car camping.’ By the time I was 10 or so, camping was always a multi-day experience. By 12, I was carrying my clothes and food and sleeping bag on my back from one campsite to another. I soon learned to use the term ‘backpacking’ because, otherwise, others misunderstood me thinking that when I said ‘camping’ I was referring to what old people did when they spent a night in a tent (often that ‘tent’ was bigger than the home I lived in).
“The word ‘RV’ hadn’t even entered my conscience. As I’ve aged, I’ve lived in many circumstances, many that others do call ‘camping.’ So many people ‘camp’ in so many different ways that the word ‘camping” no longer is clear to me. Now my wife and I live full-time in our travel trailer. The trailer IS our HOME. We are NOT camping.”
They have “dozens of lawyers”
Judith R. wrote in to tell us about her experience trying to give away her site when she needed to leave early. She says, “Here’s an excuse for empty campsites in full campgrounds that I hadn’t heard before. On my recent fall foliage trip to Maine, I reserved three nights at the Narrows Too Campground near Acadia National Park. For personal reasons, I had to leave after just one night. As I was leaving, I stopped to tell the office staff that I was vacating my site and that it could be given to someone else as I was not returning. ‘Can’t do that,’ they said. ‘That would be double booking.’ I suggested they could refund my money, then it wouldn’t be ‘double booking.’ Or they could, as other campgrounds do, have guests simply sign a release. They pooh-poohed both ideas. They are a ‘big corporation’ and have ‘dozens of lawyers’ who know what they’re doing, I was told. So if you leave early or don’t show up at all, your site sits empty. By the way, Narrows Too is an Encore/Thousand Trails campground, so that may well be a corporate policy that applies to all of their parks.”
Retiring soon and set up to boondock
Donn N. is counting the months until retiring and is ready to go! “14 months until I retire and we plan on long trips to see this great country. I’ve set up our rig for boondocking as we currently use it that way a lot in the desert. Hoping this gives us the flexibility we’ll need. We can enjoy full-service resorts or wide-open spaces and like the variety that offers.”
Safe and fun travels, Donn! And congratulations on your soon-to-be retirement!
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.