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, RVtravel.com 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.
No problems with campground crowding, just lots of special moments
Duane V. drives an older RV and still finds places to stay. He says, “In recent years there has been a lot of hype about finding spaces in RV parks. I have found this not to be true for myself. I have been RVing for more than 50 years and for all those years I have either boondocked or used the out-of-the-way, Mom & Pop parks scattered all over the United States.
“Since I drive an older RV and some parks won’t accept them, this eliminates that problem also, as these older parks are looking for extra income from an overnighter. I’m never in a hurry when traveling, keeping my speed in the fifties, driving mostly back two-lane highways, starting at a leisure time of about 10 a.m. and quitting at 3 or 4 p.m. Just doing this you come across older RV parks, but if you don’t, just stopping at a small country store or filling station and you’d be surprised how much information you can learn about the local area.
“One time in particular I made such a stop, and the lady was so kind she offered for me to park next to her house and allowed me to run an extension cord for electricity, and then to top it off, brought me a cup of coffee the next morning.
“Of course, this is just one of many times of these special moments in my travels. Besides never having a problem finding a spot to park for the night, I’ve met a lot of special people over the years.”
Never been “high-end” resort RVers
Thomas E. likes the diversity and friendliness of fellow campers but not at RV resorts. And he doesn’t have a problem with campground crowding. “To a greater extent, gone is spontaneous RVing. We are not nor have we ever been ‘high-end’ resort RVers. Not our crowd. Not our thing. Because of this preference, our RV travels have not changed to any great extent, with the exception of higher fuel costs and making sure we reserve our future campground locations well in advance. Our monthly campsite costs are less than what many pay for one week in ‘high-end’ resorts.
“We don’t hot tub. We don’t take a dip in the pool, play tennis or golf, nor do we run around the campgrounds in rented golf carts. But we do enjoy the company of like-minded folks at the weekly potluck dinners and spontaneous evening gatherings. We do seek out hiking and biking trails, kayaking spots, and other outdoor nature activities. Yes, the campgrounds where we stay are as full today as they were years ago. Crowded campgrounds are in the minds of those that are looking for near-empty campgrounds? What some think of as crowded are to those that enjoy the diversity and friendliness of fellow campers, more a welcoming place to stay and enjoy.”
Used to be 10 fellow campers would be there to help
James S. has really seen a change in campers. He says, “We have been living the lifestyle for almost 10 years and have definitely seen changes in the attitudes of many campers. Used to be that you’d pull out your tool bag to fix something and 10 fellow campers were there to help. Now people barely speak, and if they do it is to complain. Many campgrounds have more permanent residents and it seems that they tend to accumulate a lot of messy stuff around their rigs. Campground etiquette is non-existent, we see clothes hanging of makeshift clotheslines, people walking through sites, and a general lack of respect. In spite of all this we love traveling, seeing this beautiful country, and living the RV life.”
Forced to live with “the monthlies”
Eileen M. can’t wait to leave their site: “We are leaving our campground because we are being forced to stay in the middle of the monthlies. We took our spot before the new owners. No ‘monthlies’ in the park. The few sites around us have yearly water available. So he started filling the park with monthlies. Is also adding more spots for them. They live by different rules and are rude. Where we are going had some monthlies but they are away from the main population. We tried to move but they said no spots were available, which they were. Can’t wait to leave.”
They love “monthlies”!
Taylor D. loves the park he stays at. “I found a great park. It has a pond, swimming pool, a restaurant… the whole nine yards. It even rents out cabins. It’s really clean and nice. They love ‘monthlies.’ It’s in Van Horn, Texas, and it’s called Van Horn RV Park. It’s a great place to be. I’ve been here for my business. My second winter here. I love it.”
RV shortage “manufactured”?
Laurelyn I. found RV lots at least 70 percent full. She explains, “Yes. RV sales were up but we traveled 30 states in 2021, and RV lots were at least 70% full. The shortage was ‘manufactured’ ala ‘Harley Davidson’.
“Regarding camps, popular locations still needed advanced reservations with a little more lead time but we got into Yellowstone, Bryce area and SoCal.
“Concerning ‘multiple same time’ reservations, we agree to make cancellation fees higher, especially for state campgrounds. These are inexpensive and reservations are abused.”
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: Gone are the days of campgrounds being ‘rustic getaways’