Sunday, March 26, 2023


RVers discuss booking two sites side-by-side: ‘The second site is for all my toys’

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.

Giving people the chance to “live a good life”

Billie B. has some interesting comments about Tiffin vs. Winnebago. He writes, “We found that our 2000 Winnebago was not welcome in a lot of campgrounds. It was in perfect condition. We were allowed to stay for a month but not longer. Our 2017 Tiffin is more acceptable but now we are more aware and will not stay in campgrounds that have that rule. We bought 5 acres in south Washington and are in the process of turning it into a place for people to stay long term, no age limit if their rig is clean. Bigger spots for people to have a yard and some privacy. Rent is ridiculous and I would like to give people a chance to live a good life.”

Book three years in advance?

RVer Sarah J. just heard about people really booking ahead. She says, “I found out that some campgrounds allow campers to book up to 3 years in advance, which makes it even harder to find a place. Campgrounds have overflow sites for emergencies, doctors, emergency medical services and walk-ins. On the weekend or a holiday, don’t count on finding a place.”

20, not 10 years for RV age

Michael O. has a hard time finding a long-term spot. He explains, “Yes, it has been very difficult finding an RV campground that has part-time or full-time openings, but the one we ended up at is excellent and theirs is a 20-year rule instead of 10, but they make sure that everyone follows the rules and if not, they will be leaving.”

House prices high = campgrounds full

Bob K. is finding that more RV parks are full of people that can’t afford a house. “I have found that more RV parks are full, especially in areas where lately housing prices have doubled or even tripled due to the fact people simply can’t afford to buy a house. People who normally aren’t RVers buy RVs and move into an RV Park. This makes it hard for us true RVers to find openings.”

10-year rule

Ivan R. comments on the 10-year rule: “We have been avid RVers for 26 years. In that time we have owned 11 RVs and have been in a Classic RV club. We averaged around 12k miles a year, and have traveled through all of the 49 continental states multiple times. We have stayed in extremely run-down dumps of a campground, and we have stayed in 5-star luxury RV resorts surrounded by multimillion-dollar Prevosts and Millennium Buses. However, we have only had three resorts turn us down after seeing our antique motorhomes or trailers in person in all those years.

“It is far more about keeping the trashy Uncle Eddie’s out, with their ragged-out school buses (I have seen some nicely done buses, not all are junky) and junk, than it is about a strict age cutoff. If you are clean and act civilized, and your rig is clean and well cared for, you most likely will get approved.

Multiple sites

“As for multiple site rentals, that can be true. We currently live full-time in our 2002 38′ 5th wheel, at the lake in a campground. We rent this lot and the one next door. Why? Extra room. We have a 14×24′ storage building, a pontoon boat, two jet skis, my minivan, my spouse’s car, and our F-350 crew cab dually diesel… all that would not fit on just one lot. Having two makes it possible to live comfortably without being crowded or all jumbled up with stuff. Also, this campground is privately owned, requires a yearly lease, and does not have any age restrictions (but the owners are very strict about you being clean and neat or they will throw you out… it’s also a clause in the lease.). The picture is our site, but was taken right as we moved there, so it’s not all sorted yet.”

Photo credit Ivan R
Photo credit Ivan R

Booking two sites makes things more spacious

Al L. has also rented two sites. Here’s why: “Yep, I’ve done this. It really makes things more spacious. They even let me put a chain up at the site next to me, so people wouldn’t walk through it.”

Leaving sites open for emergencies

Karen G. is a camp host and explains why some sites are open when the park is “full”: “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.”

We need help

Joseph Z. is finding campsites booked up on weekends. He comments, “Wisconsin campgrounds are booked up for every weekend for the whole season. We’ve gone to local campgrounds to see about getting a cancellation or no-show site but that’s not a thing anymore. We need help. People are booking lots of sites that sit empty every weekend. We need a new system that is fair to everyone.”

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.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Read last week’s Crowded Campgrounds column: Breaking campgrounds into sections by camp-style could make happy campers


At last! A directory of where to camp on public lands!
The Bureau of Land Management Camping book describes 1,273 camping areas managed by the BLM in 14 Western states. Details for each camping area include the number of campsites, amenities, facilities, fees, reservation information, GPS coordinates, and more. You’ll want this book if you camp or are interested in camping on BLM land. Learn more or order.


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1 month ago

I do not stay in places that look like parking lots and do not consider them to be campgrounds. So, I don’t care how many spots they rent. However, I hope that doesn’t start in state and national forest campgrounds! A few years ago, a state campground insisted everyone reserve a whole five days, but it was for a big eclipse everyone wanted to see, so everything for miles around was taken. There were some rude and pushy people that trip. Anyway, I wasnt taking up my whole space, and the guy next to me wanted to use my space for visitors. I said no because I wanted to come and go to see the sights in the area. Besides that, there was overflow parking, and I guess his guests were too lazy to walk a couple hundred feet. I thought that took a lot of guts. If people do start taking two spaces, that’s going to create an even worse mess and cause more resentment than ever. If people want more toys, buy a toy hauler.

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

Renting two sites sounds interesting. When I used my Aliner Popup, folks in the monster rig next door demanded to use my empty spaces for their toys. Nope !

1 month ago

Signing a year’s lease, putting up chains, storing equipment, ISN’T a “Campground”. That’s a trailer park. And NO, you CAN’T store stuff in an eye pleasing manner.
Using two sites increases the “Camping Spot Crisis”.
If people acted responsibly, kept their rigs up, there would BE no ….year rules.

1 month ago

What ever happened to Chuck’s dream of just-the-night campgrounds? Sure would be nice, probably not pay the bills year around.

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