Campground Crowding: “I sold my trailer 15 minutes after listing it for sale!”

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crowded campgrounds

By Nanci Dixon
More people than ever are taking up RVing. These newbies have determined that RVing is the safest way to travel in our pandemic times. The result is campground crowding like never before. In this weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss their experiences. Maybe we can make some sense of this and find ways to work around the problem.

THIS WEEK, THINGS GOT PERSONAL…

This week, the reality of campground crowding got personal for my husband and me and hit us full force when we had a death in the family and nowhere to stay. We were in Yosemite National Park and there was not enough time to drive the motorhome from there up to the funeral in Illinois. Our next stop was San Francisco, so the plan was to keep our reservation, add some days so we could leave the motorhome, and fly out. Nope. That couldn’t happen. The campground was full for the extra days we needed. There wasn’t even an electric-only spot to keep our stocked-to-the-brim freezer cold. I called around only to be told “Campground full,” “Campground full,” “Campground full.” Some people had more sympathy than others but still could not help. Others, no sympathy at all: “We are not a storage lot.”

Finally, we found one that might be able to fit us in but that meant all the reservations made months before began to fall like dominoes. It became apparent that a four- to five-day disruption was going to disrupt the whole summer. Avenue of the Giants will just need to stay on the bucket list a while longer.

We decided to admit defeat and would start driving to our summer destination and try to find a campground for five days near a city with an airport. The airfares out of small airports were worse than campground fees… well, if I could find a campsite. The funeral got moved out a week, so we started driving north. Still no campsites available to park the motorhome for five days over Mother’s Day weekend. The next step is eating everything out of the freezer and try to dry camp if we can find a spot. The search continues… I’ll keep you posted.

Here are a few observations from our readers.

THEY’RE BACK IN FULL-SWING

Susan A. wrote in and said, “We are currently on a permanent site in a small, 12-acre, campground. At the beginning of the pandemic, the owners were very concerned about their livelihood. Fast forward to this year and they are amazed by the amount of people they are turning away daily. For sure this year will be full of challenges for new RV owners. And to add, PATIENCE will be needed by all.”

THE SEARCH IS A HOBBY

For some people, the hunt for reservations is more of a hobby, a treasure hunt of sorts. Merikay M. shares a positive twist: “We winter at a membership park. As soon as we come off the road in fall we start talking about our next summer travels. I spend hours going over maps, online camping sites, and things-to-do lists. It’s a hobby, not a desperate search. I make key reservations in January and February. Some places will say, ‘Closed. Open for reservations April 1’ or whenever. I keep a list and mark my calendar and call on the ‘open’ day. Several years ago I had a frustrating, but eventually successful time finding an opening at a Florida Keys State park. I now have reservations for all nights for five months starting in June. We never boondock, and never ‘let the wind take us.'”

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES DUE TO CAMPGROUND CROWDING

There has been discussion about RV manufacturers stepping up and building RV parks. Of course, there’s the ensuing discussion: “Do we really want RV manufacturers building parks when we see how poorly they are building new RVs?” Even with the high cost and building code hassles, it may be a good investment.

Elaine P. thinks it could be. “Sounds like creating more campgrounds is a great business opportunity.” Well, get on it, Elaine! 😉

THROWING IN THE TOWEL BECAUSE OF CROWDED CAMPGROUNDS

More and more RVers are just giving it up due to campground crowding. Every week we get comments like Mel’s: “After almost 50 years of RVing, I’ve decided to throw in the towel and quit. The cost of RV parks that we used to stay in have risen every year for the past 4 years. The last time we stayed I had to make a reservation 1 year in advance and had to pay a nonrefundable deposit. Camping sites are crowded and almost impossible to get with any hookups and then for one or two days only. I sold my travel trailer 15 minutes after listing it for sale the day before yesterday. I’m done RVing.”

Wow! Have any of you had this same quick-sale experience?
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NO RESERVATIONS? NO PROBLEMS!

Some have found that they can give up the hassle of finding a campsite and still camp. More and more are buying or renting a permanent site and hunkering down.

Sherri E. has found their permanent spot and while they miss the travel, they don’t miss the crowds. “Advancing age and overcrowding on the roads and in the campgrounds has sidelined us. We found an RV campground at Lake Erie that is perfect for us. We keep a permanent spot there and are able to enjoy it all summer long. It is only a 1-hour drive from home. NO hooking up and unhooking and traveling anymore. I actually miss that travel part the most, but still enjoy getting away for a few days in our 5th wheel – even though it doesn’t get on the road anymore.”

Now, some questions for you about campground crowding:

• Are you finding more and more campgrounds booked up? Or are you having no problem finding places to stay?

• 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 here

##RVT998

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mike
5 days ago

Sold our Class A several years ago (after 6+ years on the road) noting that campgrounds are too crowded, noisy (radios,tvs,dogs barking,midnight conversations around campfires, did I forget something ?), rv parking to close to one another, unable to get long stays caused by weekenders breaking up the week, and price to stay has gone up astronomically. Bought a log cabin on acreage, peaceful and it appreciates not depreciates. Time now early am to go out with my cup of java and see if there is any bear droppings from last night. Life is great at 76!

wanderer
4 days ago
Reply to  mike

Lol. You forgot loud truck engines arriving just as the sun sets and leaving the motor running for an hour til the campsite is noisily setup and a splendid sunset has been ruined.

Del W
6 days ago
Wow! Have any of you had this same quick-sale experience?" Read more »

Due to medical issues that would sideline us for a year or possibly more, we decided to sell. The trailer was a 2018 and we sold it in less than a week for the same price we paid for it new.

Tommy Molnar
14 hours ago
Reply to  Del W

Sticks and bricks houses seem to be selling this fast lately as well.

Sheri
6 days ago
Wow! Have any of you had this same quick-sale experience?" Read more »

We loved to take our time and to arrive at any unscheduled destinations. That is getting harder especially the weekends and holidays. We have decided to purchase brick-and-stick home and go part-time after 7 years.

Cheryl Bacon
6 days ago

Sorry to hear about the death in the family. I am surprised a funeral was allowed because of covid19 procedures. Very few funerals are allowed without jumping through a lot of hoops, cutting through a lot of red tape and of course thousands of extra dollars and many I know have chosen cremation with a celebration of Life planned when all are vaccinated or covid19 is controlled through herd immunity.

Don
6 days ago
Wow! Have any of you had this same quick-sale experience?" Read more »

I have had a very leads and a few people come look but mostly getting emails from folks asking what is the lowest price I will take before they even come see it. I figure these are people that either have a budget far less than what I am asking but their desires are way above their means; or it it dealers looking to make an in for consignment.

wanderer
4 days ago
Reply to  Don

Or you’ve priced it high, or it doesn’t look good and they think they will have to spend to bring it up to their needs. Not picking on you, trying to help. Hope you find the perfect buyer soon.

Leona
6 days ago
Wow! Have any of you had this same quick-sale experience?" Read more »

Sold ours last April in two days to a first time RV’er

eric kaminsky
6 days ago

1) I haven’t been traveling; we preferred to “play it safe.” 2) No. When we travel we call as many places to stay (as we drive) until we find one that can accommodate us. This has been our practice for the 30+ years we have RV’d. 3) See answer no. 2).

Laurie
6 days ago
Wow! Have any of you had this same quick-sale experience?" Read more »

After over 35 years of RV’n, me and the hubby have also decided to give it up. I posted my 5th wheel for sale on the local FB selling group. I had many interested and sold it to the first people that looked at it. Farewell RV’n!

wanderer
6 days ago

Yikes Nanci, so sorry. Your story is important, because life issues come up and one can’t plan ahead when the ‘chessboard’ of places to stay is so gridlocked. The answer is not for us all to make rez-making a ‘hobby’ as some have. I have real hobbies and interests, and I’d like time to pursue them; not spend all my time on rv maintenance and trip planning.

I am avoiding the entire east this year and staying in remote western areas, hoping to cobble together boondocking and stays at out of the way private parks.

And yes, the fridge is a big deal. I was lucky I was able to unload mine at a wonderful park in Victoria Texas where the family that runs it helped me put a trailer in storage and fly out for a funeral. I’ll never forget their kindness. So many other parks just want to take you for maximum dollars and to heck with any problem you might have.

p.s. prop the door open and put towels on the floor to catch drips!

Linda
6 days ago

So sorry to hear of the death as well as the problem trying to find a spot. I would offer our spot in Louisiana but sounds like that is a tad out of your way. Hopefully a Rv Travel reader can help you find a place in California. All the best.

Bill T
6 days ago

Hi Nancy, I was sorry to hear about a death in the family and after reading your story, thus far, and not knowing if it was on your side or your husbands side of the family, I wonder if it was an option for one of you to attend the funeral and the other to keep going with the trip, especially with CG shortages as they are. For whomever attended to the families needs then return to the destination where the other is and carry on from there? Again, sorry for your loss.