Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Do you usually make campground reservations or just take it day by day?

Do you make campground reservations before heading off to a new location, or do you just head off and worry about getting a site once you’re there? Please feel free to leave a comment.

The poll make take a few moments to load, so stand by.


Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of 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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Patty (@guest_185445)
1 year ago

I think it all depends on how big your RV plus tow car and if your a full timer or only for vacation. Most full timers have plans years in advance and vacation people plan before the leave the house. We use strictly use for vacations and are 45 plus tow car, so we plan ahead for pull throughs until we get to our final vacation spot. A few days before we head home we look at easy on easy off parks for a one nighter,
We are leaving for Breckinridge from Texas and staying two nights in Angel Fire then up to Breckinridge for 4 nights. On the return we will stay in WT Falls Texas one night and head home.

Sherman Johnson (@guest_157451)
1 year ago

I’ve never (or very rarely) made reservations. Back when we bought our View in 2012, finding a site was almost never an issue. I have photos of our rig in empty parking lots at “Crown Jewel” national parks (in the shoulder season, beautiful weather)! Then a few years later (as we all know) things began to change for the worse. Still, I flat-out refuse to use Recreation.”gov” or ReserveAmerica. What happened to a park employee taking reservations? And while we’re on the subject, why should we have to PAY for the ‘privilege’ of making our own reservations online?!

Steve Garrett (@guest_141448)
2 years ago

I make a reservation for our final destination but usually just start calling places a few hours ahead for an over night stop while in route to that final destination and seem to always find a space.

Bill (@guest_128530)
2 years ago

I Never have, I do not know where I will be going tomorrow, or how long I will stay here.

In April 2021, I wanted to stay at an Ohio State Park (at the entrance).
The only way I could do the was to make a reservation online.

Sitting at the entrance, no wifi and 1 bar on my phone. Took about xx minutes, then when I walked up to the counter, the staff said I’m all set.

It’s that booking fee if you do not use it you lose it (it’s a security check to ensure who we are).

For the next 3 days I would go to the office and add another day; this was a nice park, BUT the WIFI was still down and that 1 Bar on our phone did not help.
It was funny to see other campers walking around looking for the lost signal!

If you have a schedule to meet, then it’s not an issue to have a reservation.

We like to take our time and enjoy what the park has to offer.
What you see online and what is in the park may not be the same.

Mike Whelan (@guest_93013)
3 years ago

As little as four years ago we rarely made a reservation and never were refused a place to stay. Now…. we don’t leave home without one, and often 6 or 7 months in advance. Of course we snowbird to warm climates. Much of site competition is now from mobile workers.

Raymond Davis (@guest_34890)
5 years ago

Each winter we go to FL from NJ in Motor home and stay at Pilot/Flying and then stay at FloridaStateParks only for 2weeks at each for 4.5 months then return home. Reservations a must for me but very nerve racking through RezerveAmerica.I hate that part but needed as RVing is becoming more popular and site availability harder. With a 32ft Motor home and SUV toad, I do not want to hear “SORRY NO AVAILABILTY” and then have to hit the road again !

jillie (@guest_34199)
5 years ago

If you wing it in Michigan? You might not get a spot you want. I just made our campground rsvp for out west just now. One we can’t get until May 1. Fingers crossed. Otherwise in Michigan? Make a rsvp or else you get nothing.

Steven Scheinin (@guest_34086)
5 years ago

Nothing is black or white. We are full timing for the next five years. We do not make reservations, because we do not know what direction we will be traveling until a day or so before we depart. We try to follow the 40/80 rule, don’t stay where it is below 40 degrees or above 80 degrees. We are also guided by fires, floods and hurricanes. But what we do do (?) is a day or so ahead we call just to make sure they can accommodate a 40 ft. fifth wheel

BReall (@guest_34018)
5 years ago

We are on day six of our fourth drive from Ohio to Alaska (and back). We rarely make reservations. With the use of apps and sites, we have had success in finding nice little cheap or free city park campgrounds. Most are without services, but every now and then we’ll find an electric hookup.

Mike (@guest_34012)
5 years ago

I make reservations only when I am going to a popular area that I know If I don’t I may end up a long ways from where I want to be. Montana in the summer is a good example, National Parks, etc.

Phil (@guest_33994)
5 years ago

We have just recently started to travel without reservations, but so far the trips have been close to home and during the “off season” for the parks. We also bought a Senior Off Season Pass, which makes it even more worth the risk!

Peggy Coffey (@guest_33980)
5 years ago

We are fulltimers and tend to stay a month in the campgrounds so we make reservations. We have our reservations made up to May of next year. It’s just one less thing to worry about.

Kelly R (@guest_33974)
5 years ago

We have never made a reservation, either camping or moteling.
How do I know where I will be when I get tired? Have never had a problem finding a campground in the area we were in. Our travels are from Florida thru the south and up and thru the mid-west. Average 5,000 miles a summer. Have never thought about stopping at a Walmart until I started reading RVTravel. We are so new to cell phones (dumb cell phones) that we don’t even think about making a call when on the road. Been doing this for 49 years now. I guess we live in the dark ages and get along just fine. Travel, scenery, and small towns.

john stahl (@guest_33962)
5 years ago

I always make reservations way in advance for every RV stop with our motorhome

Mike M. (@guest_33952)
5 years ago

We generally wait until on the road in the morning, the co. Pilot looks for sites 250 to 300 miles away as we roll, never had a problem, put on 2000 to 3000 most summers.

Linda & David (@guest_33938)
5 years ago

Like George C., we have a 45-ft bus (vintage 1995 that we remodeled inside) so we don’t fit just anywhere. On the flip side, we are self-contained and can be comfortable while ‘pavement camping.’ We are about to leave on our first extended trip and have made reservations for the next month. We are heading to TN, VA, and WV before making our way back to south GA. Since this is prime leaf-peeping season, we wanted to be assured of a spot. So far we just have one night where we will stay at a Walmart.

Michael (@guest_33915)
5 years ago

The poll again fails to have enough options. We usually make reservations rolling down the road the day we need the campsite. If I click that I usually make reservations, I am counted with those who make reservations months ahead and the poll gives a distorted picture.

Bill (@guest_33959)
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael

I Agree. We mostly do the same, reservations months ahead when we have a specific place we want to be at a specific time, a few days ahead at other times, and going down the road for single nights enroute with pavement as a backup.

Troy (@guest_33988)
5 years ago
Reply to  Bill

We are the same. The longer our stay at a particular place, or the more popular an area at a certain season is what determines how far in advance our reservations are. If we are heading somewhere we usually call while on the road for overnighters, but sometimes we will just pull in and they have a spot.

Gene (@guest_34004)
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael

I do the same Michael usually make the call on the day we are on the road. My schedule is usually flexible and I can stay at a location longer or not. Faced with taking off to Arizona this winter for 2 months and will have to make reservations where we will spend a week or more at a time. We don’t want to park in one place for a couple of months and don’t like being tied to an exact schedule. So we’ll see how it goes.

George C (@guest_33902)
5 years ago

We are bipolar. I always make reservations well in advance for holidays, and fill in our travel plan roughly a month in advance. At 45’, we fit in a lot of places but not all, so reservations are a good approach, preferably online (I can do things on my schedule and not have to play telephone tag).

On the other end of the spectrum, we often stay at Elks Lodges when possible and most of those don’t take reservations. But even that is changing, so we’ll be making more reservations in the future.

Like a lot of folks, we don’t do one nighters if making a multi-day run, just use Rest Areas, Pilot/Js, or other “Days End” stops.

Tommy Molnar (@guest_33888)
5 years ago

I guess it depends on what part of the country you travel in. Being almost exclusively boondockers (unless going to visit someone where there is no parking and we need to find an actual RV park), we have little problem finding places to camp. We steer clear of CA.

Danny Wells (@guest_33887)
5 years ago

We make reservations for extended stays in peak seasons. When we’re on the road about mid- afternoon we start calling ahead trying to find a space for the night, it usually works out but not always. If we don’t find a vacancy we’ve always found a friendly Wal-Mart or somewhere to stop.

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