Tuesday, November 28, 2023


It’s time to ‘extend the camping season’ and ‘build more campgrounds’!

RV sales have slowed and fewer people are buying RVs than was 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.

We are the ones who paid for the campgrounds

Jerald W. makes a good point about who actually paid for the campgrounds and his issue with resorts. He writes, “Too many people living in RV parks permanently. Some parks have 80 spaces and only 10 to 15 are open for traveling RVs. Too many ‘RESORTS.’ Overnighters have to pay high prices and never use the pools, hot tubs, gym, etc. The older RVers paid for the campgrounds in the ’80s ’90s, and 2000 to 2015 to get them started. Now the same campground is a resort. If your RV is 10 years old you can’t get in. RV Resorts are now $80 to $120+. I can still get a hotel for that. I’m selling my rig. So screw the so-called RESORTS. When you go to them it’s either the pool or hot tub is out of order, but they still charge the same.”

Have to camp out of state; easier to get a hotel

Diane H. lives in Florida and is forced to camp out of state! She tells us, “We own a home in Florida and a 35-foot travel trailer and have an almost impossible time trying to secure camping sites with full hookups here in Florida at any time of the year, especially during the winter and spring. We have had to resort to camping out of state towards West Virginia but have had to limit those trips due to high fuel costs. It is just as easy and cost-effective to get a hotel and eat out.”

Extend the camping season; build more campgrounds

Mathew S. has many great suggestions to ease the crowding and search for sites. He tells us, “State and National camps sometimes have a six months reservation time. That means more camps need to be built. The population has grown and the campsites have not. RVs have gotten too long and can’t fit into sites made 50 years ago. People have their truck or tow car parked into the driveway area. The Memorial Day to Labor Day season, when many campsites are open, needs to be extended. The weather can be great and the campsites are still closed for the season. The National Parks and State Parks are squeezing people into this small timeframe for no reason. More campsites need to be built and existing ones made bigger.”

RV full-time in an RV resort and love it!

Joe B. gives us all the pluses of living in an RV resort. He writes, “My wife and I are full-time living in our RV. We RV full-time in a campground resort. They raised the rent last year just $200 shy of a thousand, but we don’t have to worry about yard work or property tax, other than the camper, and we get advantages of all the amenities such as a gym, hot tubs, lazy river, serenity pool, kids’ water park, activities courtyard (cornhole, basketball courts, pickleball, also bowling and billiards). Many are selling their houses and buying RVs cuz it’s cheaper than rent or mortgage payments. You can buy it outright and easy to fix and repair. It’s actually cheaper than a mobile home. Just check out Myrtle Beach and Conway, SC, for all RV resorts and campsites.”

Seasonal spot, not camping

Tammy M. tells us what camping is to her, and her likes and dislikes. “Not me, but our daughter and son-in-law pay, like, $7,000 for a seasonal spot from April–October in a nice campground on St. Joseph River in Michigan. They live 20-30 minutes away but live there in the summer months. They have a pool, clubhouse, river dock for their pontoon boat, showers and bathrooms. That said, the cost is high, the neighbors are the same yearly, and mostly the upper area is for bus-type RVs with satellite TV hooked to their bus roofs.

“To me, this isn’t camping or RVing. Gas prices, site prices, and amenities seem to dictate the experience. But I agree that KOA and like grounds are running the reasons. I can’t speak for off-grid, but where would you do that if you don’t know?

“I am a spur-of-moment person, never knowing where I wanna be or when and to have an itinerary to camp seems like a job in itself. RV parks can also be picky about the year model of your rig and that’s not right to me either. Personally, I would rather just stay home in my large roomy house with all amenities and not worry about problems other RVers have. Also, RVs and truckers who park on highway ramps and shopping parking lots are throwing trash and dumping, making it not only nasty but ruining the privileges for everyone else. RVers need to be more considerate and responsible, as do truckers.”

On a budget and worry about costs

Brenda C. needs to live within her means and rising costs can make that difficult. She writes, “I am always worried about finding places to go that don’t cost a lot of money. When you are on a budget, you have to live within your means. Campgrounds are definitely changing, they want permanent sites, and we don’t want to stay in one area all the time. We stay in COE parks.”

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: Reservations: ‘These days, you get what you’re willing to pay for’


Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.



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Nessa (@guest_242112)
5 months ago

My son and DIL recently took the grands to the KOA in the town they live in in MT for an overnight staycation. They didn’t take their pop up but rented a cabin $180 for ONE NIGHT! They own a business and couldn’t go far but needed to get away and spend some time with the kids and they had fun. But that is a ridiculous price.

Sue (@guest_242092)
5 months ago

Camping at a state park in FL this week…snagged a last minute cancellation by sitting in the site for 12 hrs…changes since we were here 8 months ago, little but a sign of the future…no hang tags for your vehicle, paper and tape. Do you know how much $$ the state will save on that?! Never has had internet except at the office…now they’ve disconnected cable tv…huge savings. The pool is in terrible shape. I’m sure by the time we get back here it’ll be filled in and they’ll be cutting grass on it. Speaking of grass, looks like it hasn’t been cut in a month. Trying to figure out what the workcampers do all day beside ride around in the carts…they certainly are not enforcing parking rules or the unsupervised children…we love to sit out and listen to nature but maybe time we gave it up….

KellyR (@guest_242088)
5 months ago

I tire of the complaint that “my monster RV is so large that it will not fit into your 50 years old campground so you should enlarge you campground / sites – but don’t charge me resort prices.” We do not buy the nice, huge refrigerator because it will not fit in the kitchen, or even thru the front door. So I guess I blame the guy that built my house 60 years ago?

Conni (@guest_242059)
5 months ago

Joe B. gives us all the pluses of living in an RV resort. He writes, “My wife and I are full-time living in our RV. We RV full-time in a campground resort.”
No Joe B, you DON’T “RV full-time ” in a campground resort – you ARE full-time living in your RV in a campground resort. There is a difference between living in your RV full-time and RVing full time.

Steve (@guest_242546)
5 months ago
Reply to  Conni

You say potato and I say ‘patato’ He is living full time in a RV even if it is in an “resort”. Just because he is not moving every 2-3 days / weeks, he is still in an RV.

Terry (@guest_242054)
5 months ago

How about a different way to open up campsites. Form a rating system for RVers to be rated by campground owners. Right now we rate RVer by the age of their RV so if someone does not have money to buy a new RV the campground can refuse to let them stay. If we rate the campers we can open sites up for older campers that are good people and close sites for the undesirable RVers. If you ever worked in a RV park you would like to warned about a lot of campers before renting them a site.

Steve (@guest_242547)
5 months ago
Reply to  Terry

It’s the campground owners right to set guideline.

Thomas D (@guest_242019)
5 months ago

A friend has a 12 year old Tiffin pusher. He’s trying right now to get reservations in a Florida park. Has to send pictures of his unit. Nothing older than 10. Heck, most aren’t paid for by then. My mother would say “My, aren’t we fussy.”

Ron (@guest_241995)
5 months ago

Corporate greed from the same companies which received the largest tax giveaway ever in 2016. How us that working out for you?

Tommy Molnar (@guest_242012)
5 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Here we go again with the “Corporate greed” thing. Yawn.

Spike (@guest_242023)
5 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

I just laugh at the broken record! :-))))

B N S (@guest_242226)
5 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Yep….I Hear Ya!

MattD (@guest_242044)
5 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Ron, this comment is all I see you post…please, just give it a rest!

Cancelproof (@guest_242066)
5 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Darn those job creators. Down with paycheck signers. End corporate employers now.

Steve (@guest_242548)
5 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Apparently working out fine!😁

Lorelei (@guest_241975)
5 months ago

If you mean enlarge the area, fine. If you mean jam more places to park in between what’s already there, no, I wouldn’t stay there. Some of the state and national forest campgrounds (not resorts or RV parks) ought to stay open through the winter, but they don’t do that because they want to be full at all times.

Arizona Eileen (@guest_242863)
4 months ago
Reply to  Lorelei

That’s not the reason. They can’t find people to host to keep an eye on the campgrounds thru the winter months when there are NO services, including plowed roads or water (due to freezing). No one can find employees now anywhere. Without supervision, these campgrounds could easily turn into a homeless encampment.

Seann Fox (@guest_241971)
5 months ago

“BUILD MORE CAMPGROUNDS MAKE THEM BIGGER” but everyone forgets the stories in RV travel the municipalities are fighting to not have campgrounds and won’t let current ones expand.

Bob P (@guest_241992)
5 months ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

That’s primarily due to the younger generations of campers who were raised on TV’s and games, and don’t know what it means to be responsible adults. The older generations were raised to respect others and not trash someone else’s property. You can trace all the bad behavior back to Dr.Spock’s book on raising children, I’ll guarantee you can watch a person’s actions a tell if their parents raised their children on Dr Spock on the Bible.

Elliot (@guest_242070)
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

👍 👍

Steve (@guest_242549)
5 months ago
Reply to  Elliot


Tommy Molnar (@guest_242015)
5 months ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

About two years ago there was news of a new RV Park to be built on a large unused parcel of land here in town. All kinds of backlash from people who didn’t even live near the site showed up on all the online sites where comments could be made. You would think the town was being overtaken by homeless trash. Now? Haven’t heard a peep about it.

Traveler (@guest_242048)
5 months ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

It’s always NIMBY. And I’d bet it’s not just the computer screen generation at those meetings.

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