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.
Go ahead! Get the sheriff!
Several of our readers responded to a comment in last week’s column about the couple that had paid and set up camp but an online reservation got them kicked out.
Don said, “Don’t know if the folks thrown out after paying in person is a real story, but it should never have happened. Once you’re paid, you have a contractual right to that space, and the campground will just have to deal with the other person. No one should move in that situation. The answer should be: ‘Go ahead, call the sheriff!'”
Gail P. wrote “I agree! Call the sheriff! I paid. I’m here and I’m not moving!”
Another reader, Stinger45, feels the same way. “To the folks that secured a site and paid cash for it on the Oregon Coast, I would tell the camp host to go ahead and get the sheriff. I would file charges on the camp host for trying to commit fraud. They paid cash face to face and that is the contract. The host was wrong and needs to reevaluate their priorities. STAND YOUR GROUND! Don’t be intimidated.”
Paid for five days in advance, told to move
Al B stood his ground in a similar situation. He says, “I had a campground try to move us after we paid for five days in advance. We were already set up at the site when a guy pulls in and asks when we were leaving. I told him in five days. He said he had that site reserved and told me I had to move. I told him I would leave in five days so go talk to the manager.
“A few minutes later the manager/owner showed up and told me to move. I told him I have a paid receipt for five days for the site and I am not moving. It was his mistake and he would have to work it out with the other guy. It did not go well. The other guy said he was leaving and never coming back.
“I was sorry this happened and that the owner/manager could not keep his business straight. He should have offered the other guy a free or discounted site, but he did not. This was the summertime and I did have a great site with shade trees… in Texas!”
The people in the office…
Dennis C. has a bit of advice when dealing with corporate-owned campgrounds. He writes, “When staying in ‘corporate’ campgrounds, you need to understand who you are dealing with to keep your sanity. The actual owner of the place is a faceless ‘absentee’ landlord. Big corporate only cares about the occupancy rate and the overall profitability of the campground. Those people in the office, though oftentimes very friendly and personable, are not the owners but merely employees. They do not make the policies or even set the rates. Their decision-making powers are oftentimes limited by what the computer will allow them to do. Look at them as cashiers at a large retailer that is there to collect your money and you will have much more peace of mind.”
Kathy V. had to cancel reservations so she called the campground to let them know. She said, “We had a campground near Acadia that refused to give us any money back in fall during leaf season when our truck broke down. I asked if they were going to book it for someone and keep our money. They said yes. I said that is double-dipping. They didn’t care.
“I have to say I don’t like helping the campgrounds double dip. I did the right thing by calling, I got no money back and they got twice the pay for the site. If I had not spent the time and effort to make the call, there would not have been assisting in the double-dipping. I had paid 100 percent six months before. I understand when people don’t call.”
From our forum:
The topic of snowbirds, particularly in Florida, has certainly struck a nerve!
Steve R posts: “It’s sad that hard-working Floridians who want to take their family on even just one overnight tent camping trip in one of Florida’s State Parks can’t because of all the stinking snowbirds! If the snowbirds don’t like the cold weather why in hell do they live where they do? Do Florida a favor and stay home! You add nothing to our state, you only take from it!”
John H replied with a good point… “You have the same opportunities to make reservations as snowbirds do.”
Suggestions for snowbirds
Timothy S. had some more suggestions aimed at snowbirds. “I believe snowbirding is a problem for the residents of Florida and everyone else who is attempting to visit the state during the winter season. Here are some suggestions:
1) Snowbird Tax – 25% added for anyone staying over the normal two-week max. (Monthly fee plus additional 25%)($1000+$250=$1250)
2) 30-day stay or more. Must register with the state as a resident and pay taxes for the time spent.
3) No shows. The campground will call whoever rented the site to see if they are going to show up. If not, and refuse to cancel, Florida resident has free camping for whatever time is on the clock. The no-show is banned from ever reserving another site to allow someone else the chance to camp in Florida. (We have done this where I am.)”
Bert W. points out that snowbirds or seasonal campers are not just a Florida or Arizona issue. “Getting mad and implementing this type of idea may backfire if other states pick up on this. Then the ability of campers to move freely around this country would be restricted. Florida campgrounds fill up in the winter, Michigan campgrounds fill up in the summer. This type of restrictive rules/laws is not the answer to the need for more campgrounds. A full campground during a season of the year is the only way some campgrounds are able to stay open.
Now, some questions for you:
• Are you finding more and more campgrounds booked up? Or is finding a place to stay not a problem?
• 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: They paid in person, but a later online reservation got them kicked out