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Campground Crowding: Do these things and you’ll be met with more kindness and gratitude from campground owners

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RV sales have skyrocketed and more people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before! In this weekly column, 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.

They live by the “Camper’s Creed”

Suvane B. isn’t seeing the problems others are having with getting sites. “We retired in March of this year and are traveling for three years (to start with). We started in Florida to Virginia to Montana to Alaska and are now in Oregon. We’ve had no problems finding campgrounds with sites to accommodate our 1-day to 3-month stays. When we left Alaska 1 1/2 weeks early due to rainy weather in the forecast, we even received a refund.

“So we’re not seeing all these other problems being mentioned, but what we’re noticing is the filthy, disrespectful campers who ruin it for the rest of us. We live by the camper’s creed to leave a place better than you found it. No matter where we are, we pick up litter, turn off lights in the bathhouse/laundry, and once we even fixed a clamp on a water spigot. Broke owners tend to see that we’re an asset, not a spoiled brat. We’re two 70-year-old ladies who evidently are appreciated because we often are personally asked to come back (not the sign on the way out). People need to get with it and perhaps they will be met with more kindness and gratitude from campground owners. We’re loving life on the road. Try changing your ways… it won’t hurt.”

His answer to campground crowding

Melvin B. can go five days boondocking. “I just installed solar on my fifth wheel so we can dry camp if need be. I just tested it and can stay without hookups for five days and nights. That’s my answer to campground crowding.”

Wishing they had the experienced campers back

Douglas R. bets the campgrounds wished they had experienced campers back. He writes, “We bought a house in Florida two years ago and now use our RV to travel to and from this second home. I was not going to fight the campground crowding. I suspect in a couple of years, or maybe already, the old campgrounds are wishing they had the experienced RVers back.”

Booking out six months is a pain

Tom L. books sites Monday through Thursday in summer, but not in winter. He says, “Living in Florida, we plan our stays April thru October, and use Monday/Tuesday thru Thursdays. From October to March, forget it, there are too many snowbirds. We love the state and COE parks, but booking six months out is a pain. We have started using the less ‘popular’ parks in out-of-the-way places.”

Life is about choices

Robin P. is philosophical about the choices we make and have to make. She says, “Life is about choices we make, some good and some bad, however, how we do life is up to us individually. The where and how is also a choice. Yes, sometimes dictated by our financial situation. The cost of homes and property across the country is ridiculous, forcing folks into living in RVs or making a move into tiny homes. For right now, the RV life is fine, but the tiny home is where my heart lies. There isn’t an overcrowding issue at the RV resort that I live full time at, plenty of spots and have just about everything onsite shy of a grocery store. See for yourself at Jetstream RV Resort at NASA, in Houston, TX.”

Don’t blame the park owners for keeping their income steady

Robert P. doesn’t blame the RV park owners for allowing permanent full-timers: “We stayed in a campground in St. Augustine, FL, that had seven RV spaces. The other 63 were full-timers in everything from travel trailers to double-wide mobile homes. The sites were near the front but the streets were one-way so you had to drive through the rest of the park to get back out. It was clean and no junky-looking units were there. We looked at a few other parks that were similar.

“I don’t blame the park owners for looking at keeping their income steady. I inquired about the full-timers and was told they made that decision back during the ‘09 recession when they almost had to file bankruptcy due to the recession, but they keep seven sites available for temporary campers. While we were there for the month, only two more campers came in on the weekend.”



Good ol’ days when there was no hassle at all with campground crowding

Kevin H. remembers the good ol’ days and writes, “I disagree about the ‘good old days’ of camping never existing. I lived most of my life in Michigan. In the ’70s and ’80s in the parts of Michigan I traveled, I could take my son and his friends anywhere, just get in and go with no reservations anywhere. I would drive until we reached one of our many potential destinations, pull off and we could always get in. Never even close to filled up. I’m talking about northern Michigan, Traverse City, Charlevoix, Mackinaw City and Island… anywhere. Just drive and stop. No hassle at all. Not possible at all now. For one thing, look at the population of the U.S. between the 1950s, when many readers were born, and now. Huge increase.”

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.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Read last week’s Crowded Campgrounds column: Two campground owners speak out, offer their side

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Big Bill
2 months ago

The roads less traveled work very well for me. No more 500 mile days on the interstates. Lots of very nice smaller rv parks that are not close to any major attractions are usually easy to book a day ahead. Weekends are a little harder but not on Sunday thru Thursday. Plan a day ot two ahead and Google search, etc for sites along your route. Then go online and see their site views. When you see nice clean decent sized sites book it Dano! Being retired I am not in a hurry.

Uncle Swags
2 months ago

I am on the return leg of a month and half trip to Yellowstone. I had reservations for the way out and going nomad for the return trip. So far no problems, especially Sunday thru Thursday. I can always find a KOA for a night or two on the weekend.

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