RV sales have skyrocketed and more people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is some 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.
Getting around the problem
Brian S. has been hit with the 10-year rule and is doing something about it! He explains, “My problem is that when you call to make a reservation, they ask how old the rig is and they give us nothing more than 10 years. I’m proud of my rig! It’s a 1995, but in showroom condition. I just purchased acreage and will be making a loop around the property with each site being accessible to drive through. It is near several National Park attractions. It’s boondocking: no trash bins, no power or sewer, and in a place where it’s not unusual to have wild horses or elk come through. When the first one is built, I will start doing the same thing in other states. By the way, any RV is allowed. There will be no monthlies!”
Years-long waiting lists—ridiculous!
Stacey C. has been trying to get a seasonal site. She writes, “I have been looking for a seasonal campground for more than two years. There is a years-long waiting list. It is ridiculous.”
Similarly, Stanley B. has been on a waiting list for a long time, too. He writes, “Just short and sweet! Example: I’ve been on a waiting list for one particular campground in Phoenix, Arizona, for 2.5 years and waiting! The campground is full! Also, my pull trailer is in excellent shape and self-contained but was made by Keystone in 2005. No matter how it looks, I’ve been turned down in RV parks where I want to stay long-term/monthly! I’m out of luck!”
Campground sign says full… but it’s not!
Sandra P. knows planning is key: “We recently stayed at three Colorado State Parks a week plus at each. All posted ‘Campground Full’ signs but we never saw the campgrounds full. I’m not sure if they just don’t want to deal with walk-ins or don’t have the staff to facilitate a truly full campground.
“We have found that planning is key… we are already planning 2023 and waiting for reservation windows to open. Some private parks have window restrictions too; some open on January 1 and others have a sliding window or number of days prior to visit restriction. Private/membership campgrounds are the same in some cases.
“I prefer using the web but have found sometimes a phone call is best when the web dates are too far out to show availability. The downside is that you have money tied up for quite some time especially when some are paid in full to reserve. I’m also finding more no refund or 25% forfeiture regardless of how far out you cancel. One reason I like the group that starts with K… we have canceled or rearranged and NEVER lost a dime.”
Gwen D. is not too fond of RVers. Yikes… They write, “I live next door to an RV site. I am 75 years young. Most RV folks are rude and don’t care. They empty grey water and they are loud. I am woken up by the banging of doors, dogs, etc. Be considerate. My dogs are wireless collared. I hate you RVers. Go home.”
Never camping again in California
Dianne L. is done with California. Here’s why: “I have simply made up my mind not to even ATTEMPT to camp in California anymore. I’m old and had the good fortune to be able to visit state parks, national parks, and coastal campgrounds (my favorite) most of my life. I can no longer afford to camp in California, and the overcrowding, lack of respect for our parks, and bad behavior of SO many people have made me not even want to try. As far as other nearby states, I believe I’d be OK as long as I never go during the summer months, on holiday weekends, or anytime school is out. While recovering from some major back surgery, I am hopeful that I’ll still be able to travel. Then off to eastern Oregon I go!”
Campgrounds into trailer parks
Wow! Sam S. sure camped a lot this summer! They write, “I camped in 32 different campgrounds this summer. My average stay was four days. I get people wanting weekly, and maybe monthly stays at a campground but that is not what I saw. ‘Campgrounds’ are turning into trailer parks and they need to call them so. 50% or more of the trailers in the ‘campgrounds’ that had long-term tenants have never moved and are probably incapable of moving. Owners can do as they wish… but let’s be honest.”
Electric meter coming soon?
Rosanne D. is noticing that every site has an electric meter now: “We are in a north Texas KOA Journey campground. This was an old all-gravel campground until a couple of years ago when an RV dealer bought the land, built a new ‘super store,’ and upgraded the campground. What is interesting to us is that every site now has an electric meter. It seems obvious this campground is set up for long-term stays. We are full-timers so while we are not bothered by this we do wonder how soon short-term sites here will be requiring a $200.00 electric meter deposit. That would bother us!”
Are wealthy people booking the sites around them?
Joel M. sees every site is reserved and wonders: Are they just for one person? “I know several very wealthy people that book all the campsites around them so they don’t have anyone next to them. Most of my stays at state campgrounds are usually about 25% empty all night. We check for cancellations to stay longer and every site is reserved. We have better luck off-season… if you can tolerate the weather in the Pacific Northwest.”
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: There’s a new breed of camper on the loose: Selfish