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.
Here are a few observations from our readers.
DESTINATION FULL? CAMP NEARBY INSTEAD
Finding a spot in or near National Parks, State Parks and other popular attractions may be difficult if not impossible in this time of campground crowding. Several readers mentioned that they could find an acceptable, no-frills campsite close to their destination but just not at their intended destination. This isn’t a bad idea…
John O. has found that this is working well for them: “This has been our first year full-time RVing since May this year. It has been an interesting year but full of rewarding times and challenges for sure. Since we are completely self-contained in our Class C and we don’t like crowds (especially this year)… we do a combination of boondocking, National Forest Service campgrounds, and national, state and local parks. We have also stayed away from big cities and most overpriced campgrounds. We just need a place to park our rig and take our “toad” to go see all the wonderful sights. Most of the time the campground where we stay is NOT our intended destination… it’s just close. Combined in all… we have had very few issues and have stayed at some incredible places.”
William M. has the same idea and finds a site within an hour’s drive to popular destinations. “We have found that campground crowding happens at the most popular tourist attractions, i.e., Yellowstone and other well-known locations. It is almost impossible to find a spot close by. We find that campgrounds that are farther away, say an hour’s drive, usually have spots. We find a central location and do day trips to what we want to see.”
CAN’T FIND A CAMPSITE? BUY ONE!
As campgrounds get harder and harder to book, many people are buying a site instead. Lots of campgrounds and RV resorts have sites for sale. They provide a known, permanent place to live full-time or seasonally. Tyrone B. is really happy with his solution. He bought a 50’ x 85’ lot in a campground and then pays a yearly fee. “I purchased in a private campsite for $1,400 per year. It includes electric, water, 10 free pass admissions, and all the amenities. Always available 24-hour guard service. Dump stations, bathhouses open 24-hours and all year round.”
WORK CAMPING CAN PROVIDE A CAMPSITE TOO
Another option to ensure a site is to work camp. Work camping almost always provides a camping spot in exchange for, or in addition to, money when working at a campground. Time commitment varies from one month to six months or more. No scrambling for a place to stay. Abram L. wrote that “We’re workcampers. Finding a job/place to stay hasn’t been an issue.”
NEVER BEEN BOONDOCKING? GIVE IT A TRY… AT HOME!
Reader Robert See has a good idea for those who have never been boondocking but might want to give it a try. Here’s what he says: “Since the Covid-19 virus arrived and folks have purchased RVs, I have found it harder to find weekend spots at the local campgrounds. In Florida, the problem is that it is Snowbird season. Our RV has not been on a camping trip since October 2019. At least with the Canadian border closed they can’t come here, so a little easier to find upgraded sites, but they are not really in our budget.
I am thinking of giving boondocking a try. Our RV came equipped with one solar panel and has a generator, so power shouldn’t be a problem. Drinking water may be though…
I thought about a test run, set up in the yard to see if something needs to be addressed.” Setting up at home is a great idea! You’ll be able to test all the systems in your RV to see how long you’ll last and how well you’ll do (or should we say, how well your RV will do…) boondocking.
Now, some questions for you:
• 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.
Read last week’s installment of Crowded Camping here.