Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Campground Crowding. Discussion for August 29, 2020

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.

Please let us know about your crowding experiences (or if you have not experienced any problems).

Public campgrounds our choice
From our Crowded Campgrounds Facebook group
Lately we’ve been avoiding the private campgrounds for the most part, and going with State and National parks, recreation areas, etc., where we have 50+ feet between us and the next camper. We find the more out-of-the-way campgrounds that don’t have full hookups have better availability. But the benefit is we are surrounded by nature instead of concrete.

Tough time finding a spot in Colorado
From reader Kimberly W.
Earlier this month we went to western Colorado to camp with our son’s family from Colorado and our daughter’s family from Missouri. We are from Iowa and have camped in Colorado often. We wanted to go to the Ouray area so we called and searched online all week for 3 RV camping spots with no luck. We headed out from Grand Junction on Saturday anyway.

Ridgeway state park campgrounds were full and the lake was covered with more people than we’d ever seen. Ouray RV parks were full and so were Silverton’s. The Mineral Creek primitive campgrounds by Silverton were bursting at the seams with campers and tents. We went farther south on the Million Dollar Highway and found a place with some tent campers and just enough space for us to boondock with our 3 campers.

We spent a day in Silverton, did a little Jeeping, and enjoyed spending time together. We plan to go back soon and try again to camp with our son’s family hoping that it will be less crowded as school has started!

Reservation system failing?
From our Crowded Campgrounds Facebook group
We arrived at a campground yesterday that (online) was fully booked but nearly half the sites were empty. They were still empty when we pulled out this morning. I think the reservation system is failing. The intent was to help ensure people didn’t arrive with nowhere to camp but it seems to be preventing people from getting available sites now.

Harder finding camping sites in the West
From reader John C.
My wife and I have been full-time RVing for 4 years now. We stayed put in Georgia from the first of March to July 11th due to COVID-19. We decided it was time to go back to traveling and have had no more trouble finding places to stay than before. We have found many of the sightseeing attractions closed.

We just finished traveling the Pacific Coast, Hwy 101, from San Diego and are now in the Seattle area for a few days. We have always found it more difficult to get a spot on the West Coast than the rest of the country. Weekends are the toughest due to the locals weekend camping. We can usually find some place to boondock on the weekend but COVID-19 is making casinos off limits and none of the Walmarts on the West Coast will allow overnight stays [editor’s note: this is not accurate]. We will soon be heading back east and expect to find it easier. I have been watching the traffic on the highways and have not noticed anymore RVs than usual and maybe fewer. We have family in Florida and are used to normally seeing a lot of RVs on the road.

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Reservation system failing?
From our Crowded Campgrounds Facebook group.
Looking at campsites for the upcoming Labor Day weekend and places are charging upwards of $160 a night. But if I wait I can go to the same place 3 weeks from now for $60 a night. Supply and demand at its best.

Crowded on the Outer Banks
From reader John E.
We are working at an RV resort on the NC Outer Banks (OBX) for the second year in a row and, even though we were forced to be closed by the state for nearly two months due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have been running at or near full capacity since opening near the end of May. Under “normal” conditions, they would have dropped to around 65% capacity for around 4-6 weeks. Instead, we have had an almost constant standby list, sometimes nearing the triple digits, of folks just hoping for a spot to become available.

No problems for us
From reader Irene L.
We came from Florida to Michigan with no problem finding a spot to drop for a night or two. Admittedly we were not seeking amenities, just electric and water.

Read last issue’s discussion of Campground Crowding

Be safe: Disposable face masks. Many choices at Amazon.


Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodburyhttps://rvtravel.com
I'm the founder and publisher of RVtravel.com. I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.



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Steve (@guest_95092)
3 years ago

This issue will be around forever and more RV’rs will be the norm. What I will be interested or waiting to see is next year or the year after when we are back to what-ever our new norm is and all of the thousands of new “campers” with low end campers decide ( mama will) that camping is not the type of vacation they really like and they want to stay at the Disney resort hotel. There will be thousands of cheap campers for sale and the owners are underwater on the loan, and there they sit. Will this drive the prices for used down? What affect on the RV dealers? What affect on the finance companies if people start to default?

I think some will like camping and become regular RV’rs which is normal, but many will quickly tire of the requirements of camping (think dumping tanks) And the RV’s will sit.

I don’t have the answer but it will be interesting.

Brenda W Odom (@guest_93459)
3 years ago

We live in the sunny southeast and tourism during this time of year is at it’s peak. We have found the biggest challenge to be weekends. We can find plenty of parks with weekday openings. And although we have never boondocked, for the two-night weekend, it seems pretty doable.
Second challenge is finding FHU sites (old folks have issues that make the FHU more of a necessity than a luxury). So we are getting that blue boy that we have been avoiding.
While we would prefer to not have to break up camp every weekend, it may be the new normal for us in some areas.

SDW (@guest_93320)
3 years ago

I realize that what i’m about to say is not in line with this subject matter. But since I don’t have a blog or website it’s the only way I can get this out. Teardrop trailers are a waste of money. The only difference in a tear drop trailer and a tent is a tall 4 person tent has more room. doesn’t cost 10 to 15 thousand dollars and you don’t have to register, license or buy insurance on a tent. Or wax it and buy tires for it. Not to mention the difference in gas mileage because you don’t have to tow a tent. You can also stand up in a tent to put your pants on. Pop up trailers are a better deal even though a new one cost more.
My experience: 45 years tent camping and 12 years RV’ing.

Curt Passafume (@guest_93208)
3 years ago

Our covid experience over the last 4 months has not proved problematic at securing camping locations. By using a mix of state, private, boondocking and dispersed sites we had no trouble with finding ourselves out of a place to stay. I will say that we have always been pretty highly planned campers (even many years ago back to our tent days) and that has served us well during this phase. In fact we are now already working on route planning and location reservations for two extended trips this coming spring and fall (winter is already set and the summer will find us off the road). We have come across a high number of newbies this spring and summer and expect that to continue into the fall. We help them out as able and find ourselves around safety distanced campfires talking with them about how to navigate the “system.” I agree we are probably looking at couple more years like this so we may find over saturated situations in the next two years. Time will tell but for us…..plan…plan…

Steve Foth (@guest_93168)
3 years ago

We have not found the campgrounds to be so full as every article seems to want us to believe. Presently camping at Rocky Point a PG&E campground in northern CA that has 50% of sites closed for pandemic reasons and still had no problem finding a waterfront site for 5 nights. Same for a number of campgrounds in the area. Yes, I know that the Yosemite and Yellowstone camps are difficult but haven’t they always? But please, keep posting articles of how hard it is so you discourage others so that I will be able to find sites easily.

Lisa Adcox (@guest_93158)
3 years ago

I think the huge increase in people buying RVs will end. Then a year from now many will be selling their RVs. So many think oh this is cool but some find they do not like as much as many of us fulltimers. Wait a year and you can buy a used RV for a song.

Ernie (@guest_93248)
3 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Adcox

I totally agree with you . Just like when the gas and diesel fuel went sky high to $4.95 diesel and gas $3.75 the Rv. industry went down and there were alot of RVs for sale. The same will happen again after the covid 19 is over . People will find that rv payment is just to much to pay +everything else.

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