RV sales have slowed (finally) and fewer people are buying RVs than has been the recent trend. Has that changed campground crowding? Is it easier to find a campsite now, particularly in state and national parks? Campgrounds are changing and evolving, some for the better and some for the worse. RV Travel readers discuss their experiences and offer a few tips to help other campers find that perfect spot.
Here are a few observations from our readers.
Dry camping isn’t always easy either
Roger A. can’t book ahead and is finding it difficult to get desirable sites. He writes, “For the most part we don’t get an opportunity to book way ahead due to health conditions and jobs. When you do get ready to go someplace it is so difficult to find a place for two to three days most times. There have been years where we don’t get to go to a nice park and end up going to a dry camp, and that is challenging too.”
A solution? Two RVs!
Now this is something we don’t hear every day! Jim J. has two RVs and it works out well. “Trends may impact how/when we use our small RV. We have a (well-maintained) larger travel trailer RV that is ‘permanently’ sited at a southern tier RV park for seasonal use. The park was sold earlier this year and the new owners converted more of the sites for long-term use. I get it—steady cash flow. We use a much smaller camper both for seasonal travel to the bigger RV and year-round for touring. We need a short-stay site even at the seasonal park to unload and winterize the camper before storage. Other parks are doing the same. Have to now carefully plan entire multi-stop trips and reserve well in advance. Forget ‘as weather permits’ driving days.”
An RV park with full-time residents is a trailer park
Lila M. writes about no-shows, Florida snowbirds, and full-time RV parks: “I live in Florida and already know I cannot camp from December to Easter. It is due to snowbirds, which is what our local economy depends on. And I also was aware of this when I moved back to Florida and started camping.
“Now from Easter to December what I have found is people booking reservations and not showing up. Campgrounds state that they’re full but they are not. I believe the individual campgrounds, state and county parks are also to blame. Why are they not being more proactive and following up with the no-shows? Blacklist the repeat offenders. People are just plain inconsiderate of others in today’s world and the parks need to take a stand. I understand they have their money so why do they care, but it is hurting others. There needs to be a solution. There are many solutions but it will take the park owners, state and county parks to put their foot down on this issue.”
“Also, RV parks should not allow full-time residents—that is a trailer park. I frequent a very nice RV resort and they have full-time/permanent sites but they are kept in a separate section and kept very nice. So there is a solution.”
Great trips after Labor Day
Jan B. won’t travel in the summer months again. Here’s why: “I left for a 5-week camp trip after Labor Day this past summer. I traveled U.S. highways and never made a reservation. I stayed at a few Army Corps campgrounds, KOAs, and some privately owned campgrounds. It was a great trip. I do not wish to travel during the summer months again. No crowds, just great camping!”
Want all the creature comforts of home? Then stay home!
Taylor D. wants people to stay home if they want all the creature comforts of home. They say, “I’ve been at the park for a couple of years now. It’s Van Horn RV Park in Van Horn, Texas, and yeah, people are getting worse. They’re being rude and they want all the creature comforts of home. Well, then, stay home. They don’t pick up after their dogs. And some of them have three and four dogs. They’ll set their trash out and expect you to just come pick it up right from their steps. I know that there are a lot of good people out there and that makes up for the bad. We have a lot of room here at Van Horn—we have a restaurant, a pond you can go fishing, a nice big dog run and lots of areas to walk around. It’s also all level spots that are pull-throughs. Sorry to sound like such a whiner, but please pick up after your dogs. Thank you.”
Selfish campers are not new
Frank B. reminds us that selfish campers have been around for a while. “Selfish campers are not new. They have been around for a long time. We boondock as much as possible to avoid ANY campground. (There are apps for that.) We put our money into making our rig self-sufficient rather than paying camping fees. No crowding, no selfish neighbors. Yep, MUCH better.”
Truckers hate RVs
Barry G. says there are jerks everywhere: “Staying at RV parks/campgrounds or boondocking, there are jerks at all of them (sad, but comes with all). For example: if you plan on long trips try to avoid staying at truck stops for convenient overnight stays. Truckers ‘HATE’ RVs and will park so close you can barely open the door to get out. This includes rest stops!!!!!”
Now, some questions for you:
- Are you finding campgrounds booked up? Or is finding a place to stay not a problem?
- Are campgrounds changing for the better or for the worse?
- Are you seeing more permanent and seasonal RV parks?
- Are rising costs affecting your camping style?
- 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: Has slowdown in RV sales helped with campground crowding?