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, 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.
Membership guarantee? Nope
April B. is out of her campground membership money. She explains, “My husband and I purchased our first RV in 2020, so we are new to the game. However, we fell for the Sound Pacific Resorts membership for $3,000 that was supposed to guarantee us a place to camp with full hookups at any of their parks. We got to stay one time. Other than that it was boondocking as an option. The campgrounds were overcrowded with displaced individuals from the fires, so full-timers couldn’t even sit outside and enjoy a fire without smelling marijuana smoke or hearing foul language. We clearly did not renew and we were out the money. We have a difficult time finding even county park availability. Everywhere is booked solid. We won’t give up, though, since our RV is our home away from home – our vacation spot. We will keep trying.” [Editor: Here is a link to Sound Pacific Resorts on the Better Business Bureau website. Caveat emptor.]
Maggie S. has found out that camping prices are high: “I’m new to the camping world and I already learned that many campgrounds are ridiculously priced. These people are not renting apartments but a very small piece of land. Many are overcrowded and it’s a long wait for the seasonal spots, but I find it’s easier in the south to find a space.”
Sold to a corporation and now it looks like an overgrown trailer park
Bryan S. notices the difference when a park is sold to a corporation. He says, “For many years we went to Drummer Boy campground in Gettysburg, PA. It was privately owned and then was sold to a corporate company. Since then it looks like an overcrowded trailer park with junk everywhere. We don’t go there any longer, which is so sad as it used to be very nice.”
I’m no hobo!
David N. is not a hobo! “The lady talking about full-time hobos probably needs to sell the RV and stay in hotels! We have parked next to million-dollar rigs in our 2000 Bounder and are not too impressed with all the new gadgets on board. Our 2000 Bounder diesel pusher is kept up nicely and is a great girl. She’s stayed in resorts and truck stops, boondocked, state parks, etc. We prefer 55+ parks and listened to stories about how much this costs and that costs, still not impressed! People should live and let live and just enjoy it and if they don’t, then quit camping and sell their rig.”
Pay less than $20 a night!
Thomas E. has years of camping experience and knows to plan ahead. “My wife and I are boomers. I have over 60 years of campground memories, both tent camping and RVing. We are not RV resort campers. We stay months at a time at RV campgrounds, paying less than $20/night for that privilege. No pool. No hot tub. Under trees. Near kayaking and bike trails and hiking. And no 55+ parks. Because of our choice of camping experience, neither tent or RV camping has changed. Sure we reserve as much as a year in advance to get the sites we want or need for our two-bedroom 5th wheel. And because of our planning, there is NO overcrowding, just campgrounds filled mostly with happy campers, like us, of all ages.”
If it’s the same in 2023, will call it quits
Evelyn V. has noticed the change in getting campsites: “First 12-month RV trip in 2018 was outstanding. Started another RV trip on 4/1/22 and can say this trip has been frustrating because of getting reservations, getting into National Parks and general overcrowding in most areas. We had to skip some National Parks for lack of accommodations. We will head out again in April 2023, and if we experience the same we will call it quits. Perhaps things will calm down by 2023!!”
Closing campgrounds and building condos
Eileen R. reports about Delaware area campgrounds and writes, “We are seasonal campers in the same Delaware campground since 2005. We’ve seen many campgrounds in the area close and homes or condos built in their place. In our campground, the number of seasonal sites is limited to keep sites available for short-term campers. Also, seasonal campers must leave every two weeks for a few days to keep the campground status, and there are rules for the construction and size of decks, sheds, and screen rooms.
“Back in 2008, a lot of seasonal campers moved out because of the economy. However, the number of seasonal campers has grown just in the past 2 or 3 years, and now there is a lengthy waiting list. People are buying campers on occupied seasonal sites even if the camper is old and in poor condition just to get a site where they can place a newer camper. This is the first time I’ve experienced this in our campground during our many years in the Rehoboth Beach area.”
Occupy the first night or lose the reservation
Sherry L. tells about Indiana State Parks’ policy: “In Indiana State Parks you must reserve six months out. You must occupy the campsite the first night or lose the reservation. Two weeks maximum, then have to leave the park for two days. Any trailer, RV, or tent is welcome. Shower houses, trash pick up, and some have full hookups. No meters yet. Long-term campsites look full.”
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: ‘You can’t enforce the 10-year rule when your park looks like junk, Pal!’
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