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.
Live and let live!
Kathleen’s sage advice below is so outstanding and one to remind myself of, particularly when the campsite is not up to my expectations or the odor of the chicken farm next door is wafting over. When it is easier to sometimes complain and think “woe is me,” this is a reminder to count blessings and embrace the adventure. I RV because I love RVing!
Kathleen A. writes, “The way I deal with crowded campgrounds is this: I deal with it. I keep my expectations in check, realizing that any problem I have with any place will be gone just like I will, within three weeks. I didn’t come out here and spend all this money on equipment and gas to be unhappy. Live and let live. Sure, sometimes a neighbor can be loud and irritating, but as my mother would have said, ‘Nothing is forever.’ If I wanted to be territorial and ultra-vigilant about my space, I would have stayed at home. I think staying in one place makes a human neurotic as heck so, I’m out here to relax, see new places, and feel alive. Not to stew in a mess of negative emotions. If a situation becomes truly untenable, I’ll turn the key and go.”
RV clubs are a good way to go
Mark W. is in an RV club and says, “We belong to a local RV club and have the opportunity to go out once a month to nearby RV resorts within 100 miles. The members take turns making reservations and setting up the arrangements and this works out very well for everyone who wants to attend. They even get group discounts (minimum 8 or 10 sites). And, we’ve never had any issues with the 10-year rule.
“The whole thing is that many of these RV park sites are so close together, so it definitely feels crowded because of space. Truthfully, to me, this isn’t camping. If you truly want a camping experience, go to the State or National Parks. Staying in an RV resort is no different than being in a hotel and you’re paying almost $100 per night at these feature-laden locations. Many times we don’t even use all the amenities… what’s the point?
“Make sure it works for you. I’d rather have the natural experience and beautiful surroundings with trails and scenery. There’s nothing scenic about staying in a glorified ‘trailer park’.”
Disrupted by Hurricane Fiona
Mark M.’s plans were disrupted by the hurricane but, despite that, he still had an excellent trip. He shares, “We had planned a two-month Maritimes trip that was disrupted by Hurricane Fiona. We had to reschedule everything… and quickly. Instead of Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island, we had to head west—first just to get out of the hurricane’s path, then to regroup and redefine.
“We canceled everything after Sept. 20—the ferry, campsites, concerts, and outings. We still had a wonderful trip, with some stress caused by the uncertainty. Sometimes finding sites as we went was a little challenging, but we put together an additional 5-week trip through Quebec and home through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and down Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge as we went to the Smokies, often with skimpy or no cell service. We always found a site, sometimes only a day or three in advance—provincial and state parks, national parks, Harvest Hosts/Boondockers Welcome, national forests, and a couple of private campgrounds, even late in the season when many began to close. They are usually out there, especially when you travel in the off-season.”
Ah, so that explains some “hold backs…”
Karen G. tells us about “hold backs”: “As a camp host at several state parks now, one reason for the empty sites you see (besides people reserving and not showing up!) is that parks ‘hold back’ 3-4 sites for emergencies, such as someone whose reservation was messed up or a camper unable to level on a particular spot.”
Sarah W. is disgruntled with the state parks and the people staying long-term. She writes, “Sites are always full. We have a 2018 Thor Axis and have had to boondock it several times en route somewhere because parks and so-called RV sites are filled up with full-time hobos. My spouse is 55 and I am in my 40s wanting to enjoy empty nest life a little bit. We hate hotels but are finding it easier to get a hotel than a place to camp nowadays. Holidays and when school is out, forget it. And then you have the full-time hobos hogging the state parks which are supposed to only let people stay a week at a time. If I wouldn’t lose money, I would sell my RV.”
Ten-year rule but the place is junk!
L B relates his experience at a “ten-year-rule” campground: “I am at a mobile home/campground in San Antonio, TX, for a week. When I was checking in, the office lady was on the phone asking someone how old their rig was, that it needed to be less than 10 years old, and explaining that added stairs would need to be approved first. Then we got set up and went for a walk around the park and guess what? More than half the RVs and mobile homes are so junky looking and there’s trash all over. Definitely no one is making the tenants keep their place looking clean and newer, so why all the talk about less than 10 years old and whatever needing to be approved? This is not the first place I’ve seen this happen, and I don’t get it.”
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 here.