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Campground Crowding: Forced to live among ‘the monthlies’

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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 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.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Read last week’s Crowded Campgrounds column: Gone are the days of campgrounds being ‘rustic getaways’

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LCandreva
1 month ago

We are currently at Bonelli RV Park in San Dimas, CA located on Lake Puddingstone. It is 99% monthlies, although newer RV’s and well kept. But, the pleasure of this park is gone since we are infringing on their space as monthlies. Most of the view spots are being taken over by monthlies, and very few spots left and poor access to get into. Very sad for a once beautiful park that could easily use a couple areas D-G for monthlies only.

captain gort
1 month ago

I lived aboard my boat for 15 years at the finest yacht harbor in Sausalito, Ca. I am not rich, as least in comparison to the very wealthy people who keep their yachts there. The harbormaster/owner was extremely strict…yet extremely fair. All boats had to be kept in good repair and appearance or they were OUT…no slack! We all knew that going in. Now I live in an HOA community and the same rules apply to the homeowners. The houses and their grounds are immaculate, at least what’s visible from the street. Other neighborhoods in our town don’t have these restrictions…and some look different, often because their owners are not compelled to maintain them. Its a complex issue, But I hope we always have such choices. That’s how the Western world works. Not everyone grabs the brass ring.

Gary Bate
1 month ago

I too will pass on the van horn park and keep driving a little further, it’s not terrible with its mom and pop restaurant a and yes there’s a pond and old cabin and a pool. It’s very dusty make sure you use a surge protector (our first spot wasn’t working) the people were friendly enough. However the biggest issue we had was the goat heads, not just a few but the whole park was covered in them, we spent days cleaning out our rig, shoes, outdoor mat and poor little dogs paws, we ended up carrying our poor pooch to some asphalt. Yeah I know it’s east Texas but still would never stay there again because of this.

rvgrandma
1 month ago

I have been long term in the RV park – 9 years due to husband’s illness. In that time it has gone from looking like an RV Resort as its name says to looking more like a mobile home park. The current managers took over about 4 years ago. The printed park rules are rarely followed. Where cars use to have to be parked inside of the yellow lot line, many stick out into the road. People build enclosed/fenced areas on their lot. Many have 2, 3 even 4 vehicles only parking one on their spot – using visitor/overflow parking for their other vehicles. There are residents with cargo trailers on their spot even other smaller RVs. Not suppose to be any auto maintenance but there are those that do. Have their yards fenced in for their dogs where they either have to pick it up on lawn day or as one neighbor does – bought his own lawnmower. I don’t blame him since the lawn guys have no concerns for throwing up rocks, sticks, etc hitting RVs and cars breaking windows.

Spike
1 month ago

My wife and I are traveling in Eastern Texas (I 35 to eastern border) for the month of October. I started making reservations three days before leaving. The only location I found that didn’t give us a lot of options was Dallas. So we’re on the Ft Worth side. Even got a premium site on the gulf shore in Corpus Cristi for a week no problem.

In general for 2022: zero issues finding sites for weekdays. Weekends have required a bit more legwork, but very doable. Plan way ahead for major holidays. Be flexible.

Amy
1 month ago
Reply to  Spike

Go a bit south from Fort Worth. Lake Whitney has some nice spots. Its not much further from Fort Worth and is a nice lake with availability from Army Corp of Engineers and Texas State Parks.

wanderer
2 months ago

Hard pass on the Van Horn RV Park. If you enjoy spending $40-48 a night for a gravel parking space, go for it. I’m sure there’s always a space available, the price has something to do with that.

Galeyn
2 months ago

I have to agree with Taylor D regarding Van Horn RV Park. This is a favorite stopping spot for Tommy and me on our many trips from Carson City, NV to Houston. The people are friendly, the park is clean, and there’s always a space available – even without a reservation. A nice place to stay at the end of a long day of driving.

Bob p
2 months ago

I have no problem with the monthlies, maybe Eileen M. Should look at the more expensive resorts to match her probably half million $$ RV she’s apparently in. The only time I object to the monthlies is when the park is advertised as 55+ and then there is young families in the park with their unsupervised children running through the sites. I have nothing against children as long as they’ve been taught not to do things like that. That goes back to my disdain for parents not knowing how to properly raise their children.

Eileen M
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob p

Too bad you make assumptions that are not correct. Not that it matters what our camper cost, we do NOT own a $$$$ priced camper. We did not enjoy the drunken pot parties right next to us that would continue until 2 in the morning. We asked for almost two years to move to a different section. Totally ignored us. The only way we could find out available spots was to give them a $200 deposit for next year. We have now acquired a spot in their competitor’s campground. Can’t wait! Worth losing the deposit. Many people have left already because of their games.