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.
Is a truck stop more inviting than a campground?
David N. has stayed in some RV parks lately that make truck stops look good. He writes, “After full-timing for a couple of years we have been able to find sites, just not as many. We have a Bounder 39Z with a toad. Campground owners need to up their game a bit, like not putting an 18-footer in an 80-foot site.
“We have stayed in campgrounds that make a night at a truck stop more inviting. Some you lose and some you don’t. You’ve got to roll with the punches or boondock.”
Real freedom in a beautiful country
Marcus T. writes about finding freedom with his truck camper despite reported campground crowding: “I’ve got a light truck camper (1,800 lbs.) on a 3/4 ton 4×4 truck. Don’t need no stinking campgrounds! The Good Lord blessed me with solar, Bluetti Power and a gas generator. I go anywhere that suits us and my friends. Real freedom in a beautiful country…”
Jay K. also has a truck camper and campgrounds feel like subdivisions to him. “We have a nice truck camper. When we stay in a prepared campground, it is more akin to moving into a crowded subdivision. You are packed in, and in a lot of instances, an RV arrives, the main engine is shut down, the generator comes on and you never see the occupants. Much like the subdivisions, they are escaping ‘Into the wild’.”
“Be a little more courteous”
Dan A. uses their RV as a replacement for hotel rooms but sees a lot of clueless campers. He explains, “I have been camping since 1989. We have always booked camping spots in advance. Lately, we have been able to get good spots six months in advance. We have only stayed in state parks a couple of times while traveling, but only booked a few hours before we got there.
“Our primary use of our RV is a replacement for nasty motel rooms at the places we enjoy going to. Usually a beach campground, Myrtle Beach and Pensacola have been our favorites.
“That being said, I think a lot of the new folks camping started doing it because of the pandemic lockdowns and staying spaced apart from other people. Also, along with new folks are folks that never experienced camping before. As such they are not educated on the things that you have to do without some luxuries and or camping etiquette.
“Walking your dog to the neighbors’ spot to let them do their business is pretty rude, in my opinion. I never have done that and I don’t think anyone should. The world isn’t your personal bathroom. Another is trash left behind. Clean up after yourselves, it’s not a hard task. Leave your trash where it is supposed to be in your campground rules list.
“On the beaches, please don’t walk away from the 3-foot-deep hole you just made in the sand, fill it back in. Sometimes night walkers on a beach fall into them and have had serious injuries. I think everyone needs to try to be a little more courteous to their neighbor campers.”
Confused by RVers’ expectations
Joe D. knows advanced planning is essential due to campground crowding and writes, “I’m confused by the expectations of many RVers. Would you expect to be able to walk up to the reservations desk at a resort hotel in a popular tourist area and find rooms available? Probably not. RV parks in these areas operate in a similar fashion. Advance planning is essential to get accommodations in highly popular areas during a peak season.”
Love their life but sorry for the next generation
Jim H. feels sorry for the next generation. He says, “My wife and I sold everything we owned seven years ago to travel full time. We started in a 36-ft. 5th wheel and now have a 20-ft. trailer. The smaller trailer allows us to dry camp and get into smaller campsites. We love our life and never looked back. Six full years on the road never made reservations. Only once in Napa Valley did we get turned down because they were full. That campground actually called another campground to get us in there. It was a better campground at a third the price.
“Flash forward and it is a different story. Not only can we not find campgrounds, but we can’t even get down on the beaches of Texas to dry camp as they also are overcrowded. Then if you do get into a campsite the newbies have no idea of what they are doing. They don’t respect quiet time or your campsite security. We are waiting till late fall to start traveling again. We hope that many families will stay home as school will start. If things don’t change this season we are done traveling. The sad part of this story is the next generation of campers will never experience living in an RV as we have.”
Flexibility is the key
Val C. uses a variety of sources for finding sites. “Maybe I’ve been lucky but I’ve not had any problems finding a spot to camp/park for at least 2-3 nights at a time. I use a variety of types, i.e., Escapees parks, Harvest Hosts, truck stops, ‘moochdocking’, military famcamps, rest areas, etc. Flexibility is the key!”
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: Reader says RV parks becoming ‘trash bins of humanity’