Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Reserved but empty campsites: The campground’s side of the story

By Nanci Dixon

There are two sides to every story, right? Well, that means there’s another side to why there are so many empty campsites. You’ll find the other side of that story behind the campground check-in desk.

As RVers, like everyone else, as camp hosts we are seeing an amazing number of empty campsites. They’re reserved… but empty. We probably notice them even more than someone who isn’t. I have been finding entire weeks that are reserved, but the sites remain empty. Granted, a lot of those are non-electric sites, but still…

I talked to the park supervisors and they mentioned that the majority of campers here are from the area. “We are one of the largest non-private parks close to an urban area. With the high cost of gas, many families are camping close to home,” they explained.

People are getting angry over reserved but empty campsites

Being close to the city explains the huge number of reservations, but it doesn’t account for the no-shows and empty sites. The office mentioned that a number of people have been angry this year that they either couldn’t reserve a site or only could reserve a much less desirable site than the one that stood open for the weekend or the entire week. (We discuss this often in my Campground Crowding column.)

Refund system

The problem may be partly the refund system. Full refunds are only given eight days out. At four to seven days, you only get a half refund, and if you’re canceling in fewer than four days, you don’t get a refund. I had to cancel a recreation.gov campsite only one day ahead and still got a partial refund.

The park can’t afford it

The explanation and bottom line is that the park can’t afford a more generous refund policy. It is an urban park with local campers and the park keeps its rates low. People read the weather reports and if bad weather is projected for the weekend, they would cancel. If it gets cold and blustery while here, they cancel the rest of their stay. The park would lose too much money. This is a huge regional park with a hefty staff of maintenance people, mowers, landscapers, cleaners, electricians, security, supervisors, boat launch staff, beach attendants, check-in, reservationists, financial folks, people that cut and load firewood… the list goes on.


Even though there is a huge staff, they are still understaffed and under budget constraints. The reservation and check-in staff of three to four are already on the phone nine to ten hours a day. And that’s with online reservations available! Add last-minute cancellations and no one would get a call through! They have just added the option to cancel online, but that is still not alleviating the no-shows.

So what’s the answer to easing reserved but empty campsites?

What is the answer? Can campers be relied on to cancel in good faith without a refund? Evidently not. Can the park be more generous? They agree there must be a better way for the campers and for the park, but what is it? They have asked for suggestions from me and I am asking for suggestions from you.

Please use the comment section below to see if we, the users of the campgrounds, can come up with some actionable solutions. I’ll pass them on and we can keep the discussion going.


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.


  1. I think it interesting that RVers think they know better how someone should run their campground. If they say they are full, do you all drive thru to see if they are telling the truth? If I rent a motel room for a week, the motel could care less if I stay there or not, and they will tell you that they are full when you show up. As to how they deal with refunding me or not refunding me, or charging me for a “no-show” is their business. It is not a potential customer’s business how they operate their property. When we go back home to visit we rent a spot for two weeks. We may not use that spot half of the time, as we may stay somewhere else any particular night or nights – so the site looks vacant. RVers love to travel,, love the sights, and love the freedom, and evidently like to tell other people how to run their business.

  2. I recently planned a cross country road trip pulling our tiny trailer compared to driving our Subaru and staying in hotels. The cost of hotels is more than campgrounds but the cost of gas for driving was $517 and for the camper was $1988. The problem is that if something happens and I have to cancel I could potentially lose most of the money paid for the campgrounds and for the hotels, with AAA I can cancel, sometimes even on the day of the reservation and get all my money back. We planned this trip for September 2022 with our camper and had to cancel and lost a lot of money. Now that I am re planning it for next year it is looking like a better plan to go with driving and staying in hotels. Also with campgrounds you pay the full fee when you reserve it and with hotels not until you show up.

  3. In our flying club airplanes are reserved ahead. If a renter/pilot does not show up or call in the aircraft is released for another renter. If the plane is rented all is well. However if the plane is not rented by another member the original renter/pilot is charged the full renter rate for the entire period up to a maximum of 4 hours.
    This same type policy could be applied by campgrounds. Refunds only if the reserved no show space is fully rented.

  4. I just don’t see the issue. If you have paid for the site and don’t show up, or show up a couple days late who cares? The site has been paid for, it is NOT an open campsite.
    I have ZERO issues with no refund 7 days out, however a confirmation system before this 7 days would make it much easier for the campground to put the site back into inventory.
    Much ado about nothing.

    • Who cares? Other people looking for a site and would use the resource vs wasting it. An empty site that could be enjoyed is an unutilized resource. But if someone needs to explain that, then it probably won’t sink in anyway.

      To Nancy’s question: I agree that not giving refunds if cancelled on short notice is a problem as there is zero incentive for people. Many won’t take 5 seconds to do the right thing because they should…they need to be motivated.

      I like Cliff’s airplane example. This incents one to cancel as soon as possible to give the greatest chance a rebooking will occur and thus all your money (except perhaps a small booking fee) will be refunded. The longer one waits, the less chance of rebooking and less or no refund.

      • This action requires consideration for others and an effort from the party in question. Common courtesy isn’t common for most people these days, it doesn’t benefit the self centered. There is no thought about how this person’s inactivity to cancel an unused reservation would be appreciated by another. It requires some effort and obviously, this person holding the reservation could not be bothered over the amount of money that would be returned to the person as a refund.

    • Reality is that some (a lot) of people rent multiple sites at multiple locations just to be sure they have the pick of the litter. Cost be darned, they don’t give a hoot about your or my inconvenience at coming to a “full” campground just to find lots of empty sites. If you think I’m full of hooey let’s hear if others see this too.

  5. Stop treating campers like spoiled children. I have worked campgrounds and most visitors are too high and mighty and want everything their way. They must adhere to rules or lose out.

  6. Even if they don’t cancel, treat the no-show like any hotel would. So the site sits empty for that first night, but then it’s released back into the wild for others to book. If, and only if, they get a booking for that site, they can issue a partial refund to the originals, but I don’t think they should unless legally required to. That’s the penalty for not cancelling the reservation like a proper adult should.

    • Agree. This is the easiest way to handle this problem. In this day and age of cell phones, there is no excuse for not calling the camp. If they haven’t heard from you within 24 hrs of your arrival time, you lose your spot and it is up for grabs.

    • Agree! We recently canceled at a State Park as we had booked for 6 days but had company decide to come to our home so we canceled the last 2 once we were there. Told the office so someone could use it and also got a $50 check about a month later which was a partial refund. I think if someone doesn’t show and or contact to state a reason for a late arrival site should be opened to others the second missed data least by evening.

    • I agree! If it’s a no-show, the reservation is canceled at checkin time the next day. The exception being if they call before checkin time the next day and confirm they’re on the way but got held up by vehicle problems or bad weather.

    • This is becoming a common policy. The problem is, whatever campers who cancelled their plans because that Friday was booked. It doesn’t help them if you free the site up the next day.

  7. Campsite no shows- a staff member must verify arrival days or a week out by text with a simple yes no response and offer a 50 dollar gift card or refund if respond yes.thank them for responding and we will be canceling your reservation off our system( so you can rent it) it’s more up front work but they have a small incentive to respond and camp makes More money. They could throw in a bonus refund if the site rents.

  8. it’s simple. set up a swap feature. if people want to cancel, show those sites available for swap and the original camper gets most of their fee back only if someone books it.

  9. After reading the comments I believe a call or text from the Campground in advance to confirm your arrival is the best way for CG’s and Campers to communicate. But I would like to know what percentage is of campers who don’t show up. Of all the campers making reservations (and this is what we are primarily talking about) what percentage actually don’t show up? I’m going to guess its low. And how do you know a CG will refund you if they are able to rent the site out? Did they? or did they just say they did? Doesn’t Harvest Host have a system for vetting(?) their members so as to protect the Host from getting screwed? Would like to hear from multiple campground owner’s groups to see how they would like to see it handled.

  10. Re: Unused Site Reservations.
    The camper reserving the site may call or online donate or bank the time. The funds now returned are banked for use on a later date. This would give incentive to clear the site and the park could make money on a second camper who came “first served.”

  11. A lot of people say there is no problem getting camp sites. There’s an article in Oregon about people changing the reserved spaces, fist fights, and people attacking rangers. It is definitely crowded in summer.

  12. The issue is not a more generous refund policy, it is that the current policy is too lenient. If you chose not to show up, or if you CAN’T show up (hey, there might be legitimate issues), and if you do NOT notify the park of your change of plans, at least on the day of your arrival, then your credit card is hit with a $50 penalty. Some parks say show up at least by the day AFTER your reservation, or we will consider the site available to others. That does not help those who rely on the comfort of having a reservation, however.

  13. I see a lot of ideas for cancellations etc, but I don’t think this would alleviate the problem much as people are trying to schedule ahead. If last minute cancellation is done because of weather then the site may not be rebooked for the same reason or because potential rebooked did not want to chance last minute wait and booked something different. There are limitations in booking as it relates to expenses and planning especially in trying to keep prices reasonable. Unfortunately that same pricing will have sites booked and they don’t feel bad if their plans change And they lose a couple bucks.
    My 2 cents

  14. I think the best way to handle the cancellation of camping sites is that if folks cancel they will get their refund if the site is rebooked. If it isn’t, they don’t get a refund. But this way their site can be opened back up on line to other campers.

    • Problem is that if it’s busy season, or a large campground, the time and effort to do the paperwork, rebook, process new payment, process refund, etc., would not be worth the time and trouble.

      • Maybe all those reservation companies that take a cut now-a-days could do something useful and write a little programming code that would auto-manage all that. A good programmer could write that code in very little time. It would even benefit them because the original reservation fee is generally non-refundable and this allows another reservation to happen thus adding to their coffers.

  15. What if a camper was able to cancel their reservation right up to the same day but would only get a refund and or a partial refund if the campsite was rented out again by someone else? Because then the park would not be losing money for that particular site.

  16. Concerning open but reserved campsite. I’m sure there are lots of ideas this is just one. It Sounds like most late cancellations have reduced or no refunds so why bother making the call. If the cancelling camper is motivated they will make the call. Here is a thought. Full reimbursement if and when the space is re-rented. I’m sure an admin fee for processing could be charged to process the request.

    • I just thought of this solution also, but read yours as I was getting ready to post the same idea. Reservation systems could easily track whether a cancelled site gets re-rented, & an admin fee to cover the park’s cost to cancel & re-schedule would be reasonable. The earlier a camper cancels, the more likely the site would be re-rented & a refund issued, for part or all of their reservation, depending on how much of the original reservation got re-rented. This idea should be pushed by all rvers to the companies that develop campground software & to the park owners. If enough people push the idea, it may catch on & become standard practice.
      Park owners want sites filled, even though empty sites are paid for, because occupied sites generate additional revenue for the parks in things like park store purchases, firewood, boat rentals, etc..

  17. If they are no shows with no phone call after 24 hours they lose the spot and forfeit their whole fee (unless it can be reserved by someone waiting). Most times it can be reserved by someone else. If someone else wants it and reserves the spot then the original person only loses the deposit. The campground is still making out and the new person wanting the spot is happy and the no show gets at least the deposit back. This is only if the campground can get another camper in. If no one else comes to reserve it then the first person loses all the reservation money.

    • Well, on the ‘no show’ thing. Here is a possible where this would not work – they reserved a spot for a week. They are supposed to show up on sunday afternoon. There are not there by Monday afternoon. Could be a truck breakdown, a trailer issue, a thing with the family, but hey, they work it out, and now are on the road to salvage some of the vacation they already paid for. They show up on Tuesday afternoon to find that their site – which they paid for – and did not get a refund for – is now occupied by another camper. If I was the origianl camper I would be talking lawsuit.

      • I understand that problems on the road come up, but, there still can be a policy of “required contact” if you are 1)late or delayed 2) cancel last minute. Every Doctor I go to sends out a text message reminding me of my appointment, if want to cancel hit yes or no. No excuses, everyone nowadays have their cell phones attached to their hip! I always call the park office if I am running late, after 3pm check in. Just courtesy and making sure they know I am coming. Less than 5 minutes of my time!

      • There’s this handy little device called a “cell phone”. Nearly everyone has one nowadays. They can call and let the park owners know they are going to be late. If they’re “no-call no-show” after a certain length of time, then that’s on the people who reserved the site. It’s a courtesy thing.

      • I have been delayed both camping and non-RV travel multiple times in multiple countries for multiple decades. I have ALWAYS contacted the hotel or Campground and let them know that I am delayed. It is not that hard.

        In some cases I was not charged for the unused time. In some I was. My contact was not about refund, it was about managing expectations and being decent. If I make a reservation and then do not show/call/reschedule and the commodity is repurposed, the last thing I would do is threaten the host because of my failure.

      • If you can’t communicate to re CG your situation then that is a your issue. Put in the rental agreement that of you don’t call or text the situation you’re in then again it’s your issue in failure to communicate. Why is everyone making excuses for someone’s bad behavior.

        • The responsibility should fall on the camper making the reservation. If YOU can not make the reservation on the start date, YOU, as the person who made the reservation should call to confirm that You will be late. 24 hrs pass with no message from YOU, that site reservation should be opened to refill by another with no refund even if it is rebooked. The loss should fall on the offending party with no recourse. This should be in the initial booking document. Time to pull up the big boy/big girl panties folks, stop rewarding inconsiderate behaviors from the offending parties.

      • Then you call the campground and explain the problem and that you’re on the way. I feel that if you haven’t let the office know either you’re not coming or reason you’re going to come later by the close of the office the day your reservation starts your reservation goes back to the campground and you get no refund.

  18. A good idea would be to have only 1/3rd of the campsites on reserve statis. The reservation program is not working! The people who really want to camp will come and fill up the sites. Those who do reserve should be charged full price from the get go with no refunds for cancellation! If they pay the money, they’ll show up! Make it sting a little if they back out. Also having less spots on reserve will make it easier to manage reservations.

  19. Cancellation minimum 48 hours out, with extra fee charged for no-shows (as previous commenters suggest), and reservation system will not accept another booking from that individual until all outstanding fees are paid. Rangers / park staff to identify empty sites on a special early morning circuit check; those sites placed on FCFS list with priority for walk-ins at office 1 hour before gates open, serving existing campers inconvenienced by site hogging no-shows, sites are then added to general online inventory at time of opening. Double booking revenue pays for early staffing hours for checking for empty sites, updating computer records and serving walk-ins.

    • As another comment I made said, if it’s reserved and paid for, it’s yours even if you don’t show up. It’s not up to a park staff person to decide to rent it to someone else. It would be nice if someone called and said they were not going to show, but – – -. Yeah, you could say you will only take reservations for 25 or 35%, BUT, let’s face it, it’s a business. If it was your business, you are going to say no you can’t reserve to that person on the phone with the credit card number out, and HOPE that someone will show up and book the site? No, you wouldn’t do that. I get that all you people who dont’ plan ahead are upset that there is not place for your last minute trip, and I have done it many times myself, but just because you don’t want to plan ahead, does not make any campground responsible for holding spaces for people like you. When I called around and found it booked, I called another place, or, if nothing, I did the parking lot, rest stop, or free National forest camp.

      • It is not always that we didn’t plan ahead. I have tried to book sites at parks only to find that the park is booked totally full. We go that weekend just to drive through and check things out and find numerous sites, that we could have booked, sitting empty. So, no, it’s not always about not planning ahead and some of us don’t have the capabilities, nor want to, camp in a parking lot, or rest stop, or live close enough to a National forest.

  20. Release the space after 24 hours of check-in time and no plopping of stuff down to save it. But often, campgrounds have no host to take care of things, and many have no cell phone or other service to make changes.

    If I have a space that is undesirable, like next to a smelly vault toilet, can I move into a better one if no one has shown up to get it in 24 hours? With no host or phones, can I just move with no word to anyone? The guy shows up in two days and gets nasty, do I have to move again? The rules should be for everyone and clearly agreed to.

    I like 24 hours because I often go early the next morning, like 7 a.m.

    If no host, who would let recreation.gov know what is available if it isn’t canceled. Nearest phone service is miles away.

    I do think no-shows should be banned from making reservations, period–unless someone dies. Of course, they can reserve with a different name or have someone else do it.

  21. Well. Instead of refunding no shows, charge them more. Indicate on the reservation that no shows without cancellation will result in additional fees. Doctors do it. It works rather well. I bet that’d stem the tide

    • You’re right because the insurance will not pay either and it’s out of your own pocket for the no show appt. It’s legal.

  22. There has to be some incentive for cancellations rather than no shows.

    Give a generous partial refund but only if
    1) the original reservation was cancelled (the earlier the better the refund)
    2) Someone else rented the site after the original registration was cancelled.
    The second condition might only be required when the campground (or a specific level of services) is full.

    Automatic cancellations and Allowing someone else to rent a paid for site after a specific time is not necessary and creates another pressure on campers to arrive by a specific time and might result in a late evening hubbub after the curfew arrives and waiting campera set up in the dark.

    However if someone no shows their site could be rented to someone else on the second night unless they can in to confirm their change of plans (breakdowns happen).

    All of this is easy to do in the age of computers. It just takes intelligence, common sense, and a good computer programmer.

  23. About the no-shows – if the reserver doesn’t show and has not cancelled, they should be put on a ding list, with a penalty such as not being able to reserve at that (or other system campgrounds) for a specific amount of time. I recently cancelled a reservation the same day because we didn’t like the look of the campground and while not expecting one, we did get a partial refund. It’s just common courtesy.

  24. If campsite isn’t occupied in first 24 hrs, or late arrival notice provided, automatic cancellation with no refund. Check box on reservation form for agreement to policy.

  25. Thought I read your article thoroughly, but the only thing I picked up about the campsite side of reasoning for empty sites was itself empty. No reasoning on their behalf that I could see, except being to busy. If thats true simply change their procedures. What did I miss?
    I’m in agreement with many others. No reason to refund any amount within 48 hours of reserved date and check in time, also No shows by check-in time that site immediately goes to an open site.
    Better yet, quit trying to provide the public with every little luxury in life. “Go First Show, First Serve” like it used to be and be done with the whole issue. At the very least, have only half the sites, reserve, the others open sites.

  26. I think campgrounds should take some experience from the hotel industry. If a camper doesn’t check in by a certain time, the campsite is given away on a first come first serve basis. As for refunds the amount of refund should depend on whether the campsite can be filled by another camper or not. For example: if you cancel a certain number of days before your first reserved date and the campground is able to put another camper in your spot, you are given a full refund minus reservation fee.

  27. If the camper does not show on the FIRST night of the reservation then the camper loses the remaining reserved days (no refund) and the campground offers it as fcfs The campground isn’t out any money infact they just made a better profit and a camper is made very happy not to have to search any further It’s a win win

  28. I like staying at Corps of Engineers campgrounds. They have a policy at the ones I stay at that if you don’t show up within 24 hours of your reservation AND you don’t let them know you will be late, they let other campers reserve it.

  29. Have a policy that if you are a no show and have not called by 6PM, the spot will be forfeited and rerented to someone waiting that day.

  30. Maybe campgrounds should implement a cancellation policy that allows campsites to become available for walk-up or same day reservation if the person who made the reservation doesn’t show up or call within 24 hours of check-in time. If they cancel, give them a refund if it’s rented to someone else. If they don’t cancel, oh well.

  31. So I understand the need to keep those funds. If there was a policy to allow cancelations and “if site is filled” reservation will be refunded, perhaps that would work? Maybe add that cancellation policy – “if you need to cancel, and we can fill your particular site with a request and deposit, your full reservation minus admin fee will be returned”. This is subject to actual results. Or something like that?

  32. Just like at the airlines, if the guest does not show up within x number of hours from check-in, then the site should be forfeited and either put back in the reservation bank or given to those on a waitlist. It’s not a perfect solution, but at least it’s moving in the direction of more fair.

  33. I think like the state park policy we are hosting at that 3 strikes you are out (black listed). You can get a full refund up to 24 hours before check in. They wait till 20 hours after check in to mark you a no call no show. If you call AFTER check in to cancel get partial refund. A no show no call gets no refund. You are put on a list. If you do this 3 times you cannot reserve a site. You still have the ability to get a first come first serve site (no electric, no water). We noticed out of the 10 campgrounds (out of 19 total) within the park, that even with this policy MANY don’t call to cancel. It is sad because this is a busy place. Others waiting to visit and stay would benefit if the camper would just cancel.

  34. How about If no show and no contact from customer 24 hrs after checkin time, automatically release the site for other campers.

    Of course with BIG WARNING and SPECIFIC AGREEMENT of this rule and clearly mentioning NO REFUND when people are reserving and paying for a site would be needed.

    The park keeps the original reservation money and gets extra money for the next reservation made. Eliminates campers that might reserve from week days to over the weekend to come only on the weekend, provides better inventory to last minute travellers, etc.

    Now this could work ‘well’ if the park has a good automated system that they programme to do the automatic release, unless the automatic release was blocked during this 24 hrs window, either online by the customer himself providing reason and new expected show up date or by contacting the staff that do the blocking for them after providing to info – STILL WITH NO REFUND either way.

    I never administered a campground, wishful thinking?

  35. I think we need to keep in mind to not shift more administrative work to the park level, they are understaffed as is. How about the online reservation services pick up the load?
    1.Cancelations and refunds could be part of the reservation system at whatever parameters you choose.
    2. Tracking bad apples would be a simple task of hitting a “noshow” key at the park level and after 2 noshows without cancelation, ban them from the system.

  36. Ya know, every comment implies one thing. RV’ers need to communicate! A couple of the parks we stayed at this year, called us shortly after noon the day we were to arrive to ask if we were still coming. If we had said no, obviously that would free up the site for someone else. Easy-Peasy!

    But now I am going to throw a couple barbs. We have created this monster ourselves! How many RV’ers complain about over-crowding? So this drives people to make reservation as early as possible, even if they are not sure they can make them. This drives cancellation issues and campgrounds less than desired refund policies. Add to that the new ‘dynamic’ pricing we are hearing about and just like that – WE (RV’ers), CG’s and the RV industry have created a monster. Given the economy, it will be interesting where this all goes.

  37. I’m not sure what a perfect answer would be
    someone will always find a way to manipulate the system. I do think that maybe issuing a rain check, or escrow sort of system would be helpful. If you have to cancel your stay the funds could be put into an escrow account, that ties into your reservation account. The campground gets to keep the funds until your able to use them again. I know of a few private owned camp grounds that do this.

  38. I see this as more of a systems issue. Reservations should be reviewed each morning. Manually delete the reservations that did not arrive and check in. If the camp site is not filled on the first night, the reservation is canceled with no refund. Then open the site for reservations.
    How is this basic process so much more difficult then renting a car, hotel room, etc. I have had to call companies that we had a reservation and change it or some reason. 95% of the time it is understood. And the person or company will accommodate. I have lost two times the amount paid for the first night.

  39. Maybe a deal where they don’t get a refund but can CHANGE the reservation to a different date that is available could be an option for those that are past the 4day cancelation window. It might be an acceptable compromise. Many other places do that for a small administration fee.

    • We are staying this fall at a new RV Park in Milton, Florida off I-10 called Splash RV. Our FMCA Chapter (Coaches for Christ) is having a group of 25 or so RVs do a Rally there in the first week of November. Their policy is CLEAR: you make a reservation and there are NO refunds. Instead, you have up to one year to use that amount to stay in that Park. WOW – some of our best members didn’t like that AT ALL. But most of us understood the Campground’s position and decided we were SERIOUS about showing up! It does prevent “speculation reservations.”

  40. Very difficult situation! Bill at booking the entire site fee. If the camper has the courtesy to cancel by noon on the check in date, refund 90% and rebook the site. No call by noon, no refund. same for a late arrival. Call to inform of late arrival. From my experience campgrounds have increased their charges to the point that is it financially painful if you have to pay for a sight that you don’t fill. In my experience if you work with the campgrounds they are willing at be flexible. Otherwise it is the camper looking for a site that is hurt not the campground!

  41. For single night reservations a cutoff time of 5:pm would allow prospective campers the opportunity to use a site. A waiting list on a work up plan would let those without reservations to gain access.
    For longer stays the person making the reservation would be notified that they must show up at the specified time or contact the park to let the park know they are on the way and give an approximate time of arrival. message could be generated and sent to the reservation holder when they don’t show up by check in time that they no longer have that site available and a refund has been generated less a no show penalty.
    I would think that with a cutoff time for longer stays the park could then open that site to the next person in line.
    If the person who made the initial reservation shows up late without notifying the campground it’s to bad so sad. They get a full refund less a “no show” penalty all of which is clearly spelled out when they first
    made the reservation.
    Automate it!

  42. If I couldn’t make my scheduled camping date. I’d just call the campground and tell them I’m canceling and they could rebook the site. Wouldn’t be concerned about the refund, but rather someone else to use the site. I camp in mostly state parks or government owned campgrounds. So the money loss wouldn’t be worth it. Not that I’m rich, but rather be considerate.

  43. Do like the dr dentist offices do call a couple of days ahead n get a for sure answer of yes n if a no call your people on the waiting list if they dont show after a yes charge them more for a no show

    • This seems like a very good suggestion. Dentists and Doctors have used this for many years and some people are perfectly delighted to take a “canceled” slot in the schedule. There are some of us who have to plan ahead to get our RV out of inside storage and we could not do some of this until we got “on the road” – but if this were a common practice we would count on this being a “way to go.”

  44. I am currently road tripping in Oregon. When a consumer purchases portable beverages here (beer, sodas, etc) a 10 cent deposit is paid up front on each can. Guess what? There are no cans anywhere; the redemption centers are very popular.
    I propose a similar additional “deposit” be paid when making camping reservations. If the reserver doesn’t show by a certain time frame (no phone call excuses, even though they happen), then the site gets relisted online made available locally. No refunds. The reservation issuing entity can then use the “cancellation deposit” plus the reservation funds to fund the additional service personel or database required to reschedule the now available slot. If no “no show” occurs, then that “no show fee” deposit gets automatically refunded or just not auto- charged on the card. My point is that for reservation interruptions/ corrections/no shows to be processed quickly enough to benefit an arriving camper the processing time has to be compensated/profitable.

  45. If they allowed a refund only if the site was rented then everyone would get what they want, a full campground and a refund for people who can’t attend.

  46. There should be a system where people can submit that they would like to cancel that offers a full refund and that RV site is then placed on a special page to allow people to reserve it. If it gets a new reservation, the people get a full refund. If not the original refund policy applies.

    • I don’t think they should get any refund if the site isn’t rented because that means they didn’t give enough advanced notice for those of us desperate for a site almost anywhere in some states such as Florida in the winter. My circumstances normally do not allow me to plan 11 months in advance. And the once or twice that I could plan that far ahead, there was so much demand that I couldn’t get through on my computer until all available sites were taken.

  47. Zero refunds unless the park is able to resell the site. This would encourage people to always call and call ASAP to try to get a refund. On the state and nation reservation site, tag the repeat offenders to discourage bad behavior. Create waiting lists for at least weekend night so that people can make plans when there are openings instead constantly checking the website and clogging things up.

    • This is another great suggestion and VERY fair for everyone. Motivating the one who made the reservation to “do the right thing” is a tremendous way to help the entire system. It’s incredible how responsible people can become to get THEIR money back, even if a small amount in their overall budget!

  48. Instill a show by time or the site can be given to another camper, if rented to another camper a refund can be given if requested. No shows / no contact still get charged the whole fee. That way more sites are available to active campers. And no shows get penalized. Over time the no show rate wohld drop…

    • I disagree with this as plans change and life changes. A respectable amount of time given in advance for cancelling just makes sense.

  49. I think reservations should be stopped. It should all be first come, first served. Daily. That keeps all the sites open as long as possible and everyone has the same chance to get a site. People would be welcome to call and find out if, at this time, there any sites left? Easy answer for the camp host. Only so many can pay for the day. Yes or no.

    • What about travelers who don’t want to park in Camp Walmart? Georgia has this policy and I have never checked for a site in the last 4 years. 8 years ago in winter I did get a campsite- one of my last nights in a tent.

  50. What if you are a No-call to cancel within 48 hours, you forfeit your site and refund.

    Then the campground can rent the site again.

    There are so many RV’ers now, can’t believe they wouldn’t be able to recoup $$$ with 48 hour cancellation terms.

  51. First night is a must stay, over the period of the reservation you can be gone one night not counting day one. If you leave early the site is then open for anyone.

  52. My suggestion: If a reserved campsite isn’t occupied on the day of the reservation by the end of that day (12am) – it becomes an open and unreserved site for someone else to use ( ie first come first served).

  53. From a retired park ranger and fulltime RVer: I don’t buy the they can’t afford it reason. They charge a refund fee and the sites will get occupied with walk ins. Some agencies do have tight budgets but campgrounds don’t always make big bucks. They are an important public service. Agencies are doing what’s easy and not giving visitor services, which is their job. What RLF said about Yellowstone policy is how it should be, more agencies are doing this but we need to write letters asking agencies to implement a no show policy and provide more first come first serve. Making everything reservation is a thing from covid that needs to switch back to more half 1st come 1st serve at least.

    • What about travelers who don’t want to have to sty at camp Walmart? I haven’t bothered to check GA state parks for the last 4 years. 8 years ago I got a winter campsite as a tent camper. All other times I checked for, none available

  54. I think if they are unable to show, or cancel ahead of time, if they call and let the park know they can’t make it and there spot gets filled by someone else then they can be refunded at least half of not more. That way they make a little money but they aren’t putting anyone out either.

  55. I say the best option is for us who camp, we ask if there were any no shows and we can have a better site at arrival. We went camping a few weeks ago in-between Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake. We could see all these beautiful sites near the water and were empty. My husband looked online to reserve and they were all full. I feel that if given the opportunity I would have moved and even pay more for the water site location. They would make more money!

  56. When I last stayed in Yellowstone (fall 2015) the reservation was if you did not show up on the FIRST DAY your spot was cancelled. I don’t remember about the pre-arrival cancellation policy. We were on time! Seems fair that empty spots were given out after the first missed day.

    • Seems very fair, and good idea. Common courtesy to cancel if you don’t make it, and if you can’t give that, others would be happy to use the spot

  57. I have a favorite state park (Idaho) that I go to. The host gets a list of cancelled reservations the day after they are cancelled. Many of the cancelled sites are taken by campers who ask the hosts if any sites are available.

  58. I give a full refund minus 10% for fees. And I do that up until the day of reservation. If you don’t show up at all, I don’t refund your money. I have the simplest refund policy and it works. When you reserve a space at my RV park, you have to put 50% down. That is enough to cause most people to call and cancel if they are not coming and free the space up for someone else.

  59. If the site is empty and shows no activity for 24 or 48 hours, the reservation should be made null and void anyway. Let someone else enjoy it

  60. Go to a 30 day window for, and only a full refund. No partial refunds. Cheaters have screwed up the system for us all. And 3 year reservation band for no-shows.

  61. NO REFUND. Camp host keeps the money. You can’t cancel a air line ticket and get you’re money back.
    I would give one exception RAIN.

  62. The campgrounds should allow the reservation holder to resell the site at 90% to another party, with a small portion going to the campground for processing. That way the campground gets their money plus some, people can recoup reservation costs, and others can grab it at a discount.

  63. My brother had engine problems and got stuck just inside the campground he was leaving. They were fortunate to get the needed part and continue on the next day. but were late by a day to their next campground. While this is a true story, I can see lots of folks calling and using this as an excuse to show up a few days late

  64. The policy at our local campgrounds are that you have to check IN by the next days check OUT time. You could add an “unless other arrangements are made” clause for campers that may have had something unfortunate happen but are calling to check in… or hey, check in by phone, etc. like at an airport so the camper has to do something to actively show they are still coming.

  65. Campgrounds should open up the site if they are not there by a certain time on the 2nd day of the reservation….I believe that is what the Washington State Parks do

  66. Provide an option to issue a refund only upon acceptance of another reservation in its place. Now, if the campground is not full then the second reservation will be more expensive to cover possible lost revenue. I also agree with the 24 hour no show policy if no communication has been afforded then the site is available for rent. Too many campers want a site so do not leave it empty. I know my wife and I always call and communicate our schedule when we are delayed. It’s the respectful thing to do.

  67. Many parks I workamped at only charged for one day if it was made for multiple days. They paid for rest of days when arriving. If they did not show they lost that one day and site was opened to rent. Another park had a deadline to check in. If no show or call, it was opened back up.

  68. Easy, if you are past the refund deadline you can still cancel and if someone rebooks the site then you get refunded. If you know you might get refunded it would motivate you to cancel. Campsite would not lose money.

    • This is the way I too think it should work. You pay for the full reserved time, if you cancel and someone else can take the slot – Win-Win, you get some money back and someone else gets in. Unfortunately this doesn’t cover the issue of people that WANT to book a couple months in advance and someone has cheated the system by over booking. I think one should only be allowed to book one site per time period – but then what about the people that book multiple sites using different email addresses and credit cards – Ee Gads!!

  69. Wow, so much hate. I guess if I have a reservation and brake down making me late by a day or so i am out of luck. So many comments saying to lock people out of other reservations and give away their site right away. So, so wrong. It’s my money and it the check has been cashed … so to speak, and to sell my spot would or should be a crime.
    An abuse policy is one thing but a prepaid no show is another.

    • I think the point here was “no contact”. If you have problems and call the facility – no harm no foul, but not everyone would be that thoughtful.

  70. Not there after 24hrs? Open the site up for someone else to book. Still no refund to the initial party, so no loss to the park.

  71. How about mandatory licence plate numbers on your reservation. Computer would recognize duplicate number. then Verify number on arrival.

  72. Two no shows? You’re banned from camping at facility and any other one that reservation manages. If that’s rec.gov – you’re locked out nationwide.

    I suppose people will get around this by booking sites in other family members names. Maybe you could tie the registration to the license plate if they have a RV.

    It’s obvious the CGs are not all about refunds in any form. So, let them double dip. I honestly care more about securing a site than how much profit they make. Setup a way for hosts to resell the no showed spots. If there isn’t equipment from the original reservation in the spot within 24 hours it’s open to be rented.

    I will say this to my obviously frustrated first come first serve camping brethren….Never believe the campground full sign. Always go speak with a host.

  73. the refund system is the problem. We charge full price if the site is cancelled with in 1 day before the date they are suppose to come in. However, when they can just call their credit card company and contest the charges and have them reversed it’s still a no win situation.

  74. Maybe if the campground required a deposit along with the reservation fee, that would be returned to you upon checkout or if you canceled the reservation? That would motivate prompt checkouts and a clean campsite AND cancellations to open the campsite for others on the waitlist!!

  75. I forgot: send an email reminder for that site the same time that 30-day is reached, so the one who reserved may have a chance to cancel his reservation and have most of his deposit reimbursed.

  76. It is an urban park with local campers and the park keeps its rates low.” The market works if you let it… set the prices at market rate and people wil value the reservation because it will be valuable…All the issues listed stem from an artificially low price (understaffed, underfunded, not valued)

    • Great point! I would be much more motivated to cancel if paying market rate and I would add a deposit based upon days booked that is only refunded or deducted from cost at the end of the reservation dates. People just seem so inconsiderate these days. With all the technology available, is it really that difficult to set a reminder?
      I also think the original reservation should be refunded in part or whole minus a fee if the camp site is able to be booked after the cancelation.

  77. Simple to me. 1) Make a reservation- pay in full. Cancel outside of 30 days of arrival full refund. After that no refund-period. 2) if no show(or call) on first day then site is open to others. That should work for campground as they would end up with more money if someone doesn’t show up or cancel.

    • Very simple, Russell. Several parks we have booked over the years require a full payment rather than a deposit. Those of us not trying to game the system and who give a d..n about our fellow campers and campsite owners could work quite easily with just what you have proposed.

    • As long as the person is permitted to call and advise of a delay, their site should be held. I’ve dealt with breakdowns that didn’t only last a day before. I also think being able to get a partial refund if the site is booked for same dates after canceled.

  78. All the different reservation systems that the different national, state, county, and Private campgrounds own and operate must develop a better system that allows a potential camper to join a WAIT LIST when the campsites are fully reserved This will become activated when a campsite is cancelled and should automatically reach out to the WAIT LIST

    Now all we have to do is make sure that the campers that are not intending to use their campsite actually do cancel. We can assure that by informing all persons making reservations that if their sites go UNUSED during their reservation without a cancel notice, the credit card number that was used to make that reservation will be charged a PENALTY FEE…say double the original reservation fee.

  79. The state park I started out my camping days in IL and the one in AL I spent many days and didn’t use reservations. If you wanted a certain spot you took your camper out to the park earlier to rent your preferred spot and it sat there until you moved it. Many times I took our camper out on Wednesday paid my fees for Wednesday-Sunday and arrived Friday evening. When the kids were out of school DW and the kids got an extended weekend while I finished my work week. It was simple and worked.

    • It worked for YOU. While it is marginally better than the lock-up–the-weekends-with-reservations system, it does leave a park full of ‘phantom’ campers, where an empty tent occupies the best lakeside site. Actually several of them. While the actual campers who are there all week trying to enjoy the park are welcome to the unlevel sites near the dumpster. One campground that used this system had to resort to expensive citations for those caught doing this. It seemed extreme, but now I see why they did it.

  80. Go back to the old system. Instead of reserving certain sites you reserve camping time and get a choice of what sites are available. There are many times I can’t camp unless I change sites every other day which leads to open non used sites.

  81. Have a wait-list and only cancel with rescheduling nonrefund once new reservation is paid and confirmed by new camper

  82. Maybe if someone reserves a site for multiple days but doesn’t show up on the first day their reservation should be cancelled without a refund. This would allow people to get those sites on a first come first served basis.

  83. Diamond Lake SP in Oregon has a policy that no shows were released to anyone if not occupied by noon the day after the reservation started. That seems to be a good workaround for campers that are too inconsiderate to cancel their reservation just because they won’t receive a refund.

    • Is this Oregon SP rules in general? We were just at the Oregon coast and yes, one of the best sites in the park stood empty the entire time we were there. I just couldn’t understand how they got away with that.

  84. Put a policy in place and have to agree to cancel if not coming. If cancel, and can rent space, give a partial refund.
    If don’t cancel and no show or contact by a designated time, no refund whether rent the space or not.
    Seems pretty simple.

  85. Increase the price per night and offer a refund if canceled even the day of before check in time. If your park has a high demand, you will make it up in further reservations. What amazes me is that hotels and motels have a very clear policy of a deposit and a cut off time if the person doesn’t arrive that they forfeit their deposit. If someone doesn’t stay the first night of a full week trip without notifying then they forfeit their stay and the room is rented to someone else. Why don’t we follow the policies of hotel and motel reservations? Make a deposit, show up or notify someone if you aren’t going to, and if the site is open the next day, rent it to someone else. This is courtesy were talking about. You’re occupying something financially but not occupying it physically. It’s extremely selfish and disrespectful of your fellow campers to think you can just take some thing and then not use it. That campsite isn’t yours, we share it as a community of campers

  86. There needs to be a site where you can resell your reservation there same way you can resell concert tickets. Parks can agree to accept proof of transfer shown on whatever app or website that could handle this resell, like Ticketmaster or AXS and all the camping reservation websites can add a visible section to their website linking to the resell site.

  87. If something happens last minute, and there’s no refund, I just hang onto it. Why just give it up, they re-rent the space which was already paid for and get double the price. I paid for it. This year we got covid the day before, so no refund if canceling.

  88. Offer a partial refund if they call to cancel and the site is rented. This would encourage them to at least allow it to be offered. The campground could have a wait list. The part of the fee not refunded would be to cover the cost to maintain wait list

  89. Waiting list to rent the spot. Let’s say you want spot 4 and someone reserved it and decides they need to cancel, your on the list to take over the spot, the original renters gets a full refund and the new renter pays for the days they will be there.

    If spot 3 is rented for 5 days and new renter only wants it for 3 then renter pays for the 3 and the original renter still has to pays for 2 days…..

    Something along those lines, sure someone can make it work

  90. Have the campground post on fb their new cancelations. There are already groups on fb where campers post their sudden cancelations in hopes that someone can snag it up. It’s obviously not always convenient for a last minute trip, but other times it works out great.

  91. If they are a no show after 48 hours the remainder of their resvation is forfeited and put back in the system as available. There is a popular beach site and that is their policy. It is always full. One other campsite I stay at has numerous RV sites that are empty for a week with no-shows. It is a shame because others could use them. Use it or lose it. No refund for no-shows. Maybe then they will get the point. Also prohibit the no-shows from reserving for a period of time. No-shows who don’t make a simple call are lazy and selfish. Just my 2 cents.

    • But in most areas the problem is only on the weekends. By the time 24 or 48 hours are past, it’s irrelevant. Close the barn door on Sunday, who cares, the weekend is lost to other campers.

  92. Maybe if people want to cancel at the last minute the could be offered a credit of 50% of the fee to be used in the next 12 months.

  93. I have reserved spots where the deposit is equal to 1 night’s space rent and is non-refundable. If the check in time is 1pm, you have from 1pm -4pm to check in otherwise you forfeit your deposit and the site can be given to someone else, unless other arrangements have been made on advance for a late check in, which can be from an additional 2-3 hours to the next morning by 7am or so.

    • That’s not a bad idea. I wouldn’t mind that. Yes, I’d hate tying up credit card funds like that, but this makes it “hurt more” to the double reservers who don’t care if they pay for two spots and only use one.

  94. People who MUST cancel at the last minute are charged more than if they don’t show up at our state parks here. My suggestion: charge a cancellation fee, BUT if someone else books that site for the same days, refund the rest of their money! If it sits empty, they must pay for it. Would help a lot!

  95. I believe that no shows should be charged full amount for full days they were going to stay but the following day, someone new should be able to take and pay for spot. People get refund only if no show was due to medical emergency or crime.

  96. Depending on each state, if it’s not a federal law, they may not legally be able to accept rent for the same space more than one time. Which means say family A reserves a spot for the busy Holiday weekend. An emergency pops up amd they can’t make it, they lose the money they put down anyways and any additional money they agreed upon. The resort takes that “rent” money. Some states for sure, like CA, cannot accept rent from more than one person for the same space. If that’s the case, then just plan to fully refund (and ammendment your refund policies) any spots you can get rented and refund the original person. I know, they still should have called, but that is sadly how Americans can be. Sometimes we only think of ourselves and not always others.

    • Don’t refund original party that didn’t show up, the party that did gets to stay for free. One rent one spot. People that don’t care for others, automatically get to pay it forward.

  97. A stricter refund policy is needed. How about no refunds after 48 hours of making the reservation? Maybe travel insurance purchased independently by guests can help.

  98. If they don’t show up on the first day/night that’s it, they forfeit the reservation, simple, now you can reserve it out again. It’s not rocket science people !

  99. I use recreation.gov. Some of these places have no front check-in etc. No one comes around all these places to put up tags for reservations. I call to reserve. I met people who straight told me they didn’t pay and just stay there. I’m at a place now that seems OK, someone monitoring all sites etc…but past one’s not exactly. Criminals etc…the prices are cheap though. If you can’t find a spot somewhere with rec.gov learn how to haul your own water, get a generator, ice, etc… and just go to the variety for free campsite locators online.
    You like nature? Support it. Some of these places are so nice. You are contributing to upkeep and preservation…plan accordingly to avoid problems. I have lost out on a lot of reservations, but then I think it’s for a good cause…and I’m not at all rich. I live on the road.

  100. Hello
    I have myself seen numerous empty campsites this year. In Big Sur, Yosemite and places in Utah. It seems incredibly wasteful and unfair to those that want to camp but can’t because all reservations are taken, to learn that a HUGE number of sites are open.
    I feel it would be fair that if a campsite is reserved and remains unoccupied by the reservation by 7pm, then the site should go to a first come first served basis.
    Allowing for someone perhaps already staying but could only reserve for 1 night, they would be able to claim the site and stay longer. And/or allow for someone without a reservation to show up and possible score an previously reserved, but unclaimed site.
    That way the park system could charge more. Keeping the reservation payment and taking money to “flip” the unclaimed reservation to someone new.
    No wasted spaces, more money for the parks and happier campers.

  101. Many restaurants who offer reservations will tell you that they will only hold your table for 15 minutes before giving your table away to the next. I used to camp when there was no ability to make reservations and just to take your chances. My suggestion would be to give your guest a reasonable arrival or check in time and give NO refunds if they do not cancel 5 days prior. You may get fewer reservations but you will have the right to rent it to someone else too.

  102. The park should be able to offer refunds on cancellations if the spot gets picked up by someone else.
    If you cancel after refund period, but someone else rents the spot you should be able to recoup some if not all of your reservation. Maybe a small fee for the transfer.
    If raining and park attendance low, spot still gets full fee from original reservation. If good spot and someone wants to switch spots or reserve late because park was full, still get someone paying for the space.

    On the park side there is no advantage to resolving this problem. Less people, less work for overworked staff. Still getting spots paid for presumably.

  103. I worked at a place for 10 years that had a cancellation policy on our end. If you didn’t show by 11am on the day after your arrival date, the park could rent it out. No refund granted for people who didn’t call to cancel but it allowed other campers to enjoy the park. Some campers did book for an entire summer and come and go as they please. That should be completely fine and does not need changing. If they paid and want to come and go as they please, that’s their right. There aren’t enough campsites for the weekends in many of these places for everyone to come. Book early. If you don’t cancel, you take responsibility for your actions by loosing your money. The park should be able to rent out sites that don’t show. A good tip is to go early for non reservable campsites and check for crown land close by if it doesn’t work out. Set uo shop on crown land and pay dayuse for the parks immenities. Happy camping.

  104. My family had planned a trip last year but someone we were going with caught covid 5 days before we were supposed to go. Policy was no refund after 7 days. I called to explain and see if I could get partial and got a flat no. We waited to see if things would get better before going but last minute decided it wasn’t worth the risk or the trip. I admit I didn’t even think about calling back to cancel.
    I agree a 24 hour confirmation before hand would help and I would’ve told them no and they could’ve rebooked.
    I mean most appointments do the same. Or even a check in like hotels

    • This is not feasible for the campground. The costs associated with a campground running, don’t even touch the insurance costs. Lots of liability issues. I worked in the industry for 10 years and a system like that and the losses associated would be a cause for a campground to close. I believe that a good strategy for that would be to post on a buy and sell site and see if anyone is interested in taking your spot so you could get some of your money back for even a few of the days.

  105. Recreation.gov can make a wait list page. Original bookers could post their booking for someone else to buy (no markups allowed). You only get your money back if someone picks up the booking.

    • That is the most perfect idea ever!!! Front desk staff are so busy already with check ins and guests. If a system was created to electronically manage this, that would be so incredible. It could just send an email to front desk for the change in booking information and go through a trusted payee like PayPal. CANT STRESS ENOUGH… GREAT IDEA. Also ideal for the park because empty sites usually mean less purchases for wood and ice and supplies too which help the park run! So keeping sites full would support the park!

  106. What about an online check-in (not a full check in, just a “hey, we’re coming”) system? You get an automated text/email to remind you then you can check in up to 48 hours in advance and then there’s no excuse for you not to show up, and no refund. If you still haven’t checked in 24 hours after your check in, the site is released for other campers. I’m new to the RVing world and it’s been tough. We’re building but the county is WAY behind on approving permits. It is very frustrating to finally find a sight and then you get there and there are multiple empty spots. I have had several occasions where i have to check the availability over and over and pray very hard that something comes available. I do think that if you haven’t checked in on your arrival day, the following day the site should be released. In many cases here in Georgia, the campground phones don’t work. So you can’t call if you’re running late. .

    • I worked at a place for 10 years that opened spots up for no show campers at 11am the day after their arrival. First come first serve. Not perfect. But in the right direction.

  107. This is super frustrating and parks are made for people to enjoy yet they are empty. I often find I’m able to camp last minute and can’t find a site….in a totally empty park. This is a broken ridiculous system that generates profits for the park management company and the public who pays taxes for parks are
    Left shafted.

  108. When making initial reservations, put in a notice that a 48 to 72 hour message or text will be sent confirming their plans, and if no response is received within 24 hours, reservations and refunds, if eligible, for it will be under predetermined cancelation rates.

  109. If you don’t arrive the first night of your registration, or contact letting the park know you are arriving late, the remainder of your reserved site re-opens to the public and you lose your $$$. Easy.

  110. Couldn’t they send a refund if the site gets reserved after cancellation? At least it would encourage people to actually cancel reservations and it reopens it for others – win-win

  111. Best, of course, is cancel by 5:00 pm for a full refund.

    If they can’t afford that, how about cancel and lose part but get part back?

    If they can’t afford that, how about a system where you call and cancel and if someone takes your space, you get refunded?

    That’s win-win. People may get a refund (or partial refund), and the people who want a campsite actually get it (this could be both folks on-site driving in circles for a space and others trying to get a last minute res.)

    Yes, this is more work, and no more money. But, if you want happy campers, it would work.

    (And their might be some increase in revenue from others sources with more folks there).

  112. Something not addressed here is many people reserve more time than they ever intend to occupy. If you want the weekend you go on the Tuesday before and reserve 6 days. Then actually show up just Friday night and leave Sunday. The recreation.gov opens most things 6 months early but you can reserve whatever is the maximum stay at that point. If you wait until Friday exactly 6 months before someone will have already executed the Thursday trick, and so it becomes a Wednesday trick and finally a Tuesday trick. When some these cabins or sites are $15/night, maybe even discounted more for certain people, an extra $45-75 for 3 nights you won’t be there is nothing compared to the other costs you will have.

    Just like before at first come first served sites, you have to have a policy the site must be occupied on the first night. That is used to keep someone from driving up Wednesday and paying for a 5 day block then coming back on Friday to actually occupy.

  113. We recently spent a month in Ontario, where provincial parks are serious about no-shows. Everybody is required to check in at the main gate. If you show up after the gatehouse closes, they print a list of late arrivals, you initial when you do arrive, and still must check in person the next day. No shows forfeit entire booking. It cuts down considerably on folks who book at the earliest window (like a wed-sun) but only intend to use the wkend. They also charge rebooking if they booked earlier days but are canceling partials (again to counter the wed-sun when they only plan to use the wkend.) If you truly run into trouble, you can cancel via phone and not forfeit. For example, Trans Canada hwy 17 was closed for hours due to a multi car accident, with no other route open. They allowed us to cancel first night (no refund) without the forfeit. I noticed when I got to the park that they take those last minute cancellations and offer fcfs for folks just needing one night. Win win.

  114. Government should get out of the hotel business and get back to maintaining our parks and providing security. A private company can create and manage check-in policies that will keep the camping sites available and full.

    • Forget privatization. Keep hiring the dedicated workforce who have been running Parks forever. Forget the group that’s just there for the bucks.

      • I agree. Privatization isn’t always the answer. This isn’t a big government problem, it’s a people abusing the system problem. A private company won’t fix that, they’ll just swoop in, raise prices and look to make a profit from site fees and anything else they want to bring in. (Product/food sales) I like the idea of either losing your whole reservation fee for no shows or partial refund only if someone ends up occupying the site. Keep the parks accessible and as free from private profiteering as possible! We go there to get AWAY from the saturated private environment.

  115. I feel that we need to go back to a first come first served policy for the majority of sights and have a selection of reservations available. We have noticed also that many of our state and county campgrounds have empty (ghost) sites. We recently spent time at a state park in WI and wanted to reserve a site for a week, reservations were not available for most of the sites for the entire week we wanted. Upon arrival a good majority of the sites not only were empty but stayed empty all week. Our county parks just went to a reservation necessary policy, which you can drive in and reserve immediately, but cancellations not reported by reservee do not take effect until 24 hours from scheduled check-in date, and refunds are fortified at that time. Their hope is that people will keep their reservation. Not seeing any evidence of that yet.

  116. Why arent the sites released to other campers after so many hours empty? Most campgrounds include a clause for reservations cancellations or, non-cancellations rather, that informs the reservee that failure to occupy the site within so many hours of the reserved time will result in loss of the site. Of course extrenuating circumstances like late travel can be called in but a blatantly vacant site should be given to a camper who wants to use it. If providing short notice refunds hurts the parks financially then opening a vacant site to others seams to be a win-win for the present camper and the park.

    • Mostly the policy is in place to release, but a lack of plan for verifying who has checked in means staff can’t keep up with verifying occupancy in the park. I wrote about the checking system that worked well in Ontario. They also seemed to have far more staff on hand tho, so….

  117. I am a Manager at an RV park also. Some of What we have been experiencing is just people not showing up. We try to call and can not get in touch with them. Since they paid for the site we can’t book it to someone else. The next thing is people book so far in advance they forget so when we call its oh we aren’t able to come. Then we have had people book multiple places since they know how hard it has been to get sites then decide at the last minute where they are going. We have a very similar cancelation policy. We will charge at least the 1st night fee. That’s our side of things.

  118. There needs to be a policy that states, if you don’t show up for your reserved campsite on the first night of your reservation & don’t call/email the campground that you will be arriving later than the first night, you forfeit your right to that campsite w/no refund, so that another camper can enjoy that campsite.

  119. Offer a full refund if the site is rebooked! Not only will people cancel but they will share and invite others. Win win for everyone.

  120. I think a transfer without a fee would help plus a site that allows last minute travelers to grab these reservations that aren’t being used. It’s so hard to get a spot. So hard that some of us reserve 6 months in advance. The system definitely needs some upgrades so we can all go camping!

  121. I think all of these are excellent ideas! I’ve also found that if you speak with the campground they sometimes are willing to give a refund. We had to leave early from Arizona because of a weather system that was rolling in and the campground gave us a refund, much to our surprise! I try to always alert the campground if we are unable to make the reservation.

  122. Maybe the park could do a system like StubHub where a reservation could be posted and if it is picked up the original party gets part of their money back.

  123. They paid for the spot. Leave it empty. They can “use” it if they want. Camp ground isn’t losing money if it remains empty yet paid for. Also sure a No Refund Policy. But doubt that would help in this situation.

    • Go to a “full” campground with a lot of empty spaces looking for a campsite, and give up, and then tell me if you still think this.

      Yes, places have to stay in business.

      But, people also want to camp.

      It’s no fun getting turned away from a full campground.

      It’s ten times worse getting turned away from a campground that will never fill up.

  124. Why not keep a campsite open for the people who reserved it until something like 6pm and then consider it open for anyone to rent. For multiple day reservations when no one checks in at least by phone or email by 9pm the first night they should consider the campsite no longer theirs and available on a first come first served basis. It may sound harsh, but people need to be responsible. You can put it in your policy and be explicit when people make reservations so there are no questions.

    • I agree with you. Chances are if they’re not there on their first night, they’re not coming. Open the site to other campers!

    • I’m going to disagree a bit on when a paid campsite should be released. I’d suggest 24 hours after original checkin time be the cutoff. It’s not uncommon for me to get to my new site until late evening. 9 pm day of arrival release is way too early.

    • Yes!!! A wonderful idea!!! Kind of like air bnb checkin window…if not here with no contact or running late message then open site up for anyone….I also agree with the first come, first serve idea too. If someone has went out of their way to arrive and they are there and ready they should be given a spot!

  125. If you cannot make your reservation you should be allowed to transfer the site to someone else who will use it. I’ve seen so many posts about people trying to cancel but can’t because the online system requires x amount of days. Regardless of refunds you should be allowed to cancel thus providing “last minute” spots for others. On another note, those who leave their sites in disarray should be fined or be black listed from booking in the future. Our wilderness needs to be preserved for our future generations and the select few who choose to ruin it for others should be held accountable.

  126. I think alot of people really use Facebook reviews for campsites, I think if you cannot cancel your stay and get your money back then the campground should allow you to “sublet” the spot and see if you can find someone willing to replace you and pay you directly.

    • The only problem with this is that then you end up with “scalpers” that will buy huge numbers of sites and resell them, at a profit, online.

  127. This is easy. Add a wait-list and provide a full refund if someone from the wait-list picks up the cancelled reservation, regardless of when the reservation is cancelled. Offer some sort of refund for all cancellations. Maybe 10% (or whatever your margin would have been).

  128. Take a lesson from las Vegas, like hotels do if check is not within 2 hours from check in time then the park has the right to re-reserve the spot no refund, however it would have to be posted at time if reservation.

    • I agree with Tina. No-shows should have a limited time then rebook. No refund! From someone who has been told there were no sites available when in fact there were over 20 unused sites due to no-shows.

  129. You could let the person know that if the site is sold you will refund them 75% of their money that way you still get a late fee for them canceling and they get most of their money back if the site is not sold then they will be charged full price

    • Exactly. That’s how our beach rental cancelation works. If I cancel and they’re able to rebook it I get about a 75% refund. Of course I have to wait until after the dates to get the refund…but it’s worth it.

  130. I totally agree with Robin! If the site is NOT occupied by check-in time the following day, other campers should be allowed to move in.
    Also, offering 20% of the sites as “first come, first served”, might help too.
    We recently camped in the woods in a national forest because half the sites in the campground were reserved but empty and there were NO “fcfs” sites.
    Thank you for passing this on.

  131. Perhaps a place on the website for reservations that are not going to be used to post that the campsite will be available. Then if the campsite is picked up and paid for by the new campers then refund the previous reservation for a portion. The park makes extra money instead of losing money and campsites would not sit empty. Just a suggestion.

  132. I don’t mind the no refund policy. I would gladly give my reservation money to the state towards maintaining parks and staff. I must admit I have been a no-show on occasion, mainly because the state park DNR website can sometimes be a hassel to use. Realizing that this has become a problem for others will cause me to take action to cancel in the future.

  133. If you are more that 12 hours late your reservation is canceled, unless you call ahead and explain that you have been detained or the reason why you will be arriving late. ( Very simple. It’s called courtesy)

  134. Like some of the other comments, I think that if someone is a no show for a reservation it should be made available for booking again. There are some in good faith that will call a campground if they run into car trouble etc and are forced to arrive a day or two late for a reservation. But if there is no call and someone is a no show the site should be made available. As an avid camper I always am looking for last minute openings. Especially when summer booking fills up so fast.

  135. How about issuing a credit for future reservations? That would keep the money with the campground but allow others to have access to the site being cancelled. Might also need to institute something that tracks how many times you cancel. The more you cancel the less you get on credit.
    Or something that allows a waiting list for a campground. People might be more willing to cancel their site if they see that others are wanting it.

    • That is a good idea. The more cancellations accrued equals to eventually no refund at all. That would capture people’s attention for sure!! They would be more inclined to cancel at that point, I’d assume.

  136. I remember seeing signs stating must be occupied within 24 hours of reservation date. I feel if no one shows by noon the following day without a call the site should be opened up again. Arriving at a site at midnight was the norm when I was a child and also as my child was growing up. People work, load, and fight traffic so late arrivals are normal. However, I just camped in Texas and could only get one night. Several sites around me were empty and the loop behind only had one person in it. I missed out on really enjoying one of my State Parks. Confirming a day or two ahead of tie by phone or email isn’t always and option as I am out of cell range sometimes, but if I need to cancel I usually find a way.

    • I, too had a bad experience booking the campsite – didn’t get it and at the end I saw so many empty campsites.

  137. Perhaps a time limit for checking in should be in place such as “8PM-or call to say you will be late.” That way stand-by campers could have a chance if they wanted to wait. It may be advantageous for campgrounds to keep a no-shows money, but they make double if there is some kind of no-show limit on time to claim your space. I have seen frustration run high when it appears there is a place to camp and someone else’s ghost is making a campsite unavailable.

  138. I think a refund should be offered if #1 the reservation is cancelled so the spot can be flagged as available AND #2 the spot IS reserved and paid for by another camper. Recouping the lost fee is the issue. If the spot is paid for the original reservation should be reimbursed at 90%.

  139. A) No refunds policy. Period. This should solve a lot of it. Make people commit.
    B) Reservation follow-up policy. I know friends who work in fine dining restaurants and this has helped them to have a full room every night. Require people to call/email within 3-5 days of their reservation to confirm that they will be coming. No follow-up? No reservation and you lose your money. The site is then available to others who are looking last minute.
    C) It’s okay to play hardball on this one. People have been taking advantage of the soft policies of our parks for a long time. If you raise the bar, people will fuss at first, but then eventually rise to meet it. After a few years no one will care. They’ll just play by the new rules as if the old ones didn’t exist.

  140. Typical government problem – there is a creative solution where there is a guarantee of no loss.

    Change the system such that, if someone wants to cancel, they indicate that on their reservation. If someone else wants to buy that unused reservation, the person with the initial reservation gets their money back (minus some stupid convenience fee, right? $10 seems fair).

    That way if nobody buys the unused reservation the park isn’t out any money. If someone does buy the unused reservation the park still gets to keep that reservation plus an additional $10 reservation fee.

    This could all be done on line so there is no additional staff fee.

    Also, why would selling ANYthing at a park be nothing more than a profit center? Firewood, RV supplies, etc. Selling supplies and upgrades at a profit would mean more money for staff.

    • Really good idea – people get their money back – if it’s re-reserved, so park isn’t out any money, and everything can be done online. It’s better than private parks because so many don’t give any money back if you cancel.

    • I’ve seen this suggested a few times and I find that its the only real solution. I don’t get these people who won’t to penalise, there can be very legitimate reasons for not being able to make it. This gives you a chance to get all your money back and would also give someone else a chance to book last minute which is something our family would love to see since our careers sometimes prevent us from being able to book in advance, 6 months in advance! Cmon!. You could subscribe to get notifications if a site frees up. How awesome would that be?

  141. Stop giving out refunds unless it is three months out. Get all the money upfront. We full time and there are campgrounds that tell you when you call them to make a reservation that they want all the money upfront and no refunds.

  142. Easy solution. If the spot you cancel gets filled by another camper you get a refund or at least a partial refund if done in the week prior to your reserved stay.

    Online reservations, changes and cancelations done online get priority. Freeing up the small group covering the reservation line.

    Offer one day at half price for all online reservations.

  143. Here’s my idea. Make all provincial parks first come first serve , no holds. Then charge more to make up for this reservation fee that government relies on.

  144. Easy, have a check in time limit, like a hotel. You need to request late check in if you still plan on coming later, otherwise you forfeit your money.

  145. Maybe create an app where people can post a reserved spot for trade(not for profit) the original reservation gets money back(or most of it) and the new reservation pays the original fees. Everyone wins.

  146. It’s frustrating! There needs to be a “No Show” policy. Camp hosts say, ” But they paid for it.” So the money is more important.???? Not when you need a place to stay and someone isn’t considerate enough to be thoughtful. They think, “Well. I’ll just pay for it, so it’s mine! If I don’t make it, it’s my money. Grrr! There is so much more in life than money. Especially, with campsites. Camping is therapy. And, people with money think they have the right to hold up spaces. There should be time limits. If you’re not there, by 10pm , for example, the first night without a notification to the campground, you relinquish it. GONE! Someone else can take it. Yes,, there ARE contingencies: things happen. But. More often, people just change their minds. It is not fair, paid or NOT!

    • Things do happen but since when is making a 2 minute call to explain an inconvenience? I agree with you wholeheartedly!

  147. I know people who make reservations for multiple locations for the same time frame. They then cancel or not depending weather, smoke… sometimes they forget and eat the cost. This practice of double booking needs to stop.
    I like Ricky B’s comment/solution.

    You could try implementing a penalty such as loosing camping privilege’s for the season.

  148. A Very simple solution is –
    The renter must call the day of the reservation and confirm they are going to occupy. If they fail to and the site is not occupied by 6pm the day of the reservation the renter forfeits the spot and it is rented out to first come first served.
    A simple clause in the contract.

  149. We have been discussing the same issue since past few weeks , as we have faced the same problem ; hard to get a camp site. Suggestion from us – increase last minute and no show penalty.

  150. Require a deposit upon reservation then require Payment in full 15 days in advance. If it’s not paid in full they forfeit their reservation! I camp at the beach and they take my deposit and require payment in full 30 days in advance! Saves having this problem!

    • No! It doesn’t! Many public parks require payment in full in advance, but they still have this issue with no-shows!

  151. We often arrive late to a campsite (especially when people don’t get off work until 6pm) that we’ve been going to once a month in the Summer for 8 years. Where we camp is required that you reserve Friday and Saturday to camp Saturday, so there are often empty sites Friday night. No big deal.
    Our campsite offers a refund minus a $10 processing fee and then they put the site back up for walk-ins. This way, the park gets some money, people are okay calling in to cancel, and at least a walk- in gets a site.
    Our campsite also reserves 8 “walk- in” only sites of various kinds including electric, walk-to, and non-electric. Those are first come/ first serve but they’re usually gone by noon.

  152. Would the parks not still be ahead if, in prime months, the charged a larger reservation fee, and that was all you lost when cancelling let’s say 48hrs before arrival? I am on a notification list for many parks and then could book. They would get the my money plus the reservation fee? There are many people that go regardless of weather.

  153. Is suggest that if someone reserves and doesn’t show up within 24 hours the space is reopened to people who would want it. That way the park doesn’t have to lose revenue but gets the opportunity to sale the spaces twice over. There are plenty of us who’d love that opportunity. Changing the refund policy is a recipe for more abuse of the system.

  154. We ran into this issue last week. We couldn’t get a water site however found many to be empty the entire time. It was very frustrating. I checked Reserve America every day and found no openings. I asked at the check in booth why that might be as they only hold a reservation for 24 hrs. They stated that they put it in their system as available but evidently there is a disconnect on Reserve America’s end. Even more frustrating is you aren’t allowed to just book through the campground who knows that the sites are available – you have to book through R.A. who doesn’t show any availability.

  155. Just go back to first come first serve ..There was no problems with it that way .If people can’t get there in time to get to a good site then they should plan it out better ..Maybe perhaps have someone go there say a day early and get the site .That is what we do when we can .That way we have a good site

  156. Double dip. If someone has reserved and haven’t shown up and you have tried to reach them, rent the site. Let the new campers take it, with the understanding they may have to move to another site. If you don’t have another site to offer give the new campers the refund.

  157. I think a refund should definitely be given if there’s enough notice. However if it is a last minute cancellation, as long as the campground can fill the spot then a full refund or a partial refund should be given back. If it’s a no-show then you should still cancel them out and allow somebody else to go in, And if they do two no-shows in a one-month period or 30-day period then they should be penalized for 3 months of not being able to do reservations at whichever campgrounds they’re going to or they had the no-shows for.

  158. They could make more money by no call no show and re-rent the site after 24 hrs. I also bought a smaller (20 ft) off grid so I can field camp of needed. You need to allow for late arrivals and for folks to call if they get hung up due to breakdown, traffic, or weather but sites should not sit empty for days because of no call no show campers.

  159. Have an open waiting list? The camper may have the option to give or re-sell their site to another camper on the waiting list or someone of the camper’s choice.

  160. Have a cancelation board where a new camper could take over the canceled campers reservation and reimburse the original camper a 30% refund. What they would gain would be a new camper family that might use the campground way more then the original reservationist .

  161. If you cancel book that one site that’s undesirable or no show to that party. Freeing up the more desirable site to be rented

  162. As a camp host for the USFS I have always release reserved sites if not occupied the first night just as it states at every USFS campground I’ve ever been to. It reduces unused sites and adds to the revenue that supports that campground.
    If all government campgrounds followed this policy they would benefit greatly.

  163. I think reservations are a must. I have three kids and can’t just show up to a camp site hoping something is available. However, if there is no refund, then why make the effort to cancel ypur reservation? Parks should either provide a refund, maybe up to 24 hours in advance. Or like many others are saying, get a full refund if it gets booked the next day. Either way, if you don’t show, it should open up the reservation for others next morning.

  164. At a minimum send a day before a reminder with a one click cancellation action so it’s very easy to cancel

  165. It really is very simple. When reservations want to cancel within the non refund window, let them know that if they cancel their reservation and someone new reserves the site they canceled they will receive a refund minus a $10 process fee. If no one reserves their cancelled site they will not receive a refund for the first two nights but a full refund after minus a processing fee. This can all be handled by a computer program so there won’t be any cheating nor any human on the payroll, therefore saving the cost of hiring people to handle it. When I stay at a park and I really want to stay I have had to choose a different campsite for each day. It doesn’t really matter to me because I clean everything up and put everything away every day. This is another thing a computer program can handle when you first try to reserve a spot. The other thing you can do is have people put themselves on a waiting list and have the computer notify them when a site is available for them.

    • Say there’s a 100 campsites and campsite #3 is currently booked by people who would like to cancel.

      Then picture yourself rolling up on campsite #3 and thinking that the #3 campsite would be perfect for yourself.

      Would it be reasonable for you to be able to buy out the contract for campsite #3?

  166. Handle camping no shows like motels mostly do. If the “renter” is not there by 6:00pm, they forfeit their reservation and the space is released for others. But allow for late arrivals.

    • I totally agree with your comment, if they are going to be a late arrival then call the campgrounds and let them know they will arrive later but if not there by the next day unless notification is given then that site will be available for reservations by another camper and at that point no refund will be given! how hard is it to pick up the phone and notify the campgrounds office that camper would forfeit his refund, and in turn give someone else an opportunity to reserve, we haven’t camped in almost two years can’t get in the campgrounds we travel too but yet drive through it and there are campsites sitting empty .

  167. A refund on a percent basis. 100% 7-10 days and goes down to 20% @ 24hr cxl OR a booking fee returnd at ck in or cxl 48hrs prior, but rental fee is kept unless 2 weeks cxl is given.

  168. I make reservations for my job for college students and some places have 2 night minimums but we only need one night, I understand the campsite needing the income but it leaves a site open the second night after we already left. Finding a way to make it available to a waitlist would be ideal. I need to plan and reserve the sites months in advance but I know I only need one of the 2 night minimums required.

  169. Inflation….
    Need I say more…
    Ppl prefer to lose what the parks are charging, which has also gone up, instead of having a bigger hole in their pockets.

    • I retired to my new used camper from Illinois to Indiana. I did this because I knew my grands would not be excited to come see me in an apartment but living next to an amusement park would interest them. Some have lost their jobs completely. It takes a while to get that cash flow again. They call saying they don’t have the gas money or they had to go to the food pantry to survive. On a fixed income now I can’t afford to furnish them financially for the entire weekend. So the cancellation call comes in. And they don’t even have to pay for the camping! They can stay with me!

  170. Thanks for bringing this up. It is so frustrating to go through a camp area tired late at night and all the empty sites are reserved. And no one around to use the site. Yes go back to first come. Or if no show by seven pm then that site is up for grabs. I’ve so often parked over night illegally hoping a ranger would bust me so I could complain to someone. I usually leave very early and never yet been busted. Feels weird to do this, would much rather pay a fee and sleep deep without concern. This needs to change to first come first serve. Thanks again for highlighting this issue.

  171. Add a clause on the cancelation policy. Any reservation that is a no show the first morning 8 am after the day of required check-in will open the site available for reservation. That way people that are running late can still have opportunity to camp. If they are not there by 8am the website posts the opening. Hope this helps! Love, your fellower camper

  172. Although a refund may work for many mega RV res…its possible to make license plate limitations .. 3Rd cancellation and that plate is out of any refunds…ending abuses…

  173. I prefer to say that when you Reserve a site, if you don’t check in within the first 24hours, you forfeit the site. It then opens up and others can utilize it. Essentially, you snooze you lose.

  174. More walk-ups is the solution. Most CA State Parks offer zero opportunities for travelers who don’t book 6-12 months in advance. Controversial I’m sure, but I don’t agree with refunds at all.

  175. I say increase the initial charge for reservation, but upon checking in the discount applies. For those who reserved and not bothered to cancel stands to lose a lot more.

  176. Limit the number of reservations and the rest are first come first serve. Charge higher fees for a reservation. After 4pm on the day of reservation it becomes available to the first person in person on the wait list.

  177. Unless you call to keep your reservation, the site will be available for other campers 24 hours after you missed setting up. Either on-line or “walk-ins”. It is done at other camping places. 😁

  178. If someone cancels when they can’t make it regardless of the lead time. Someone else could use the site. Offer the people that cancel a partial refund based upon the people that reserve at the last minute.

  179. Let’s go back to what worked for years, no reservations. Let the people coming out have the sites. If that is too harsh then a site open for 24 hours pat the initial reservation date goes back on the market.

  180. It’s pretty straightforward in my mind. If there is no refund for cancelation, then the people who have booked it have no in incentive to do a cancelation.
    Maybe the park service can come up with other non financial incentive, like being eligible for early registration next year, or direct notification for site availavility during rest of season,or a discount on later reservation.

  181. Try a on line site where poeple can maybe or trade sites and dates, the camp ground could charge a small fee for using the site, some poeple would get some money back, others would get a site at a cheaper rate, just a thought.

  182. If the reservation misses a check in by 3 or 4 hours, rent the site to first-come campers. Explain on the reservation site that this will happen, and that there will be no refunds. Our parks are not ” Hotels” “Reserve at your own risk” and show up Ready to camp!
    If somebody books a site 5 months in advance…. why can’t they show up on time? And why should sombody else not be able to stay at that site? “No Refund for the lost reservation, and more money added from the new campers”. People who can outright pay for stuff 5 or 6 months in advance should weigh the risks before reserving and ruining fun for other families who need a spot. Put that in clear writing on your website, and I believe people will hesitate to reserve 6 months in advance, and more money could be made from folks who are willing to double your money because they are there and ready to camp! Parks need donations from people who don’t follow through with plans!

  183. Let others take the empty spots, and if that happens, refund the no-shows. If you can’t be bothered to all and cancel, you should lose the spot.

  184. I call BS they absolutely could afford it. Give the refund if it gets rented. In these popular areas there is always someone who wants it. Let there be a standby list for cancellations there are many creative ways to keep all parties satisfied.

  185. state parks have a stupid policy anyway. someone was leaving early and gave us their site that was paid for. we tried to go pay for our nights and they said we had to move because the site was already leased to that person even if they were not there. as if it were a land owner lease arrangement.
    completely stupid.
    after all the contact info you have to put in, they could find out if you are coming or not.
    if you don’t show up within 24 hrs. of the first booked day then someone can take the site and you lose for being unreliable. if you contact to cancel the day before then you lose half.
    I am tired of booking a site I don’t want just to take the family camping and show up and all the booked sites I wanted are empty the whole time I am there because people didn’t show up.
    Really making me not want to use campsites that have these stupid policies.

  186. I would set a time limit if they’re not there by 1:00 p.m. to claim their camp spot it will be rented to someone else.

  187. As a seasoned goer of campgrounds, I too am sick of empty reserved sites. This last trip, we actually dropped a deposit slip on an empty (yet reserved) site after talking with a park ranger. He let me know that if the original party arrived, we would be asked to leave. After a 6hr drive with kids in tow, this sounded reasonable to me. We ended up having a great 2 day stay without having to leave.

    Bottom line, I think if a party doesn’t show by noon on the second day of there reservation it should be forfeit to the next party seeking a site. Humans are hoarders and if left uncontrolled we may lose the ability to enjoy our parks all together.

  188. How about charge a large amount for the reservation. When you show up, you get most of it back. If you cancel, you get all of it back. If you no-show, you lose it all.

  189. This could be an opportunity for the campgrounds to actually make money. Keep a similar refund policy and REQUIRE campers with reservations to check in or somehow confirm intended arrival prior to 4 pm on the day of checkin. Campsite would then be able to charge 2x for the same site/date for no-shows. Unfortunately, this solution is really only beneficial when no-shows book several days and campers have a chance to respond.
    Regardless, it would be great to find a solution. It’s unfortunate we can’t just rely on people being considerate enough to cancel. Good luck on making change!

  190. Perhaps it would behoove the campground to reconfirm the reservation the day before and if they are not coming, open it up for new campers coming in. Have a wait list and call first on the list. Or leave it open and rent to daytrippers passing thru. I would think it would be more cost effective this way.

    • How would a campground confirm the reservation? Phone call? E-mail? That is a lot of labor on the campground’s end. IF reservations are needed, then just like hotels only hold until 6 pm. You want a late checkin? It will cost you more money and the empty site is sold to walk ins the next day. Just like hotels. Don’t like a 6 pm check-in time? Take an extra day vacation time or leave earlier…

  191. Due to the limited resource of available sites, sites with reservations need a timeframe window of 4hrs. (2hrs. on ea. side of expected “appointment of arrival time”). If the site is Not occupied within that window, the site becomes available for others. IF the site is rented, the campground receives extra income during the period the original reservation is paid for by the no-show (the existing cancellation & partial refund policy remains as it is now).

  192. There should be more fist come first serve spots. Not to eliminate reservations all together but it makes it extremely difficult when reservations are needing to be made months in advance just to get a spot. Life happens and sometimes plans made months ago don’t pan out.. plans change. Some people like myself enjoy a last minute, “hey let’s go camthis weekend”

  193. I don’t think double dipping should be allowed, meaning, the site is paid for, if the person can’t get a refund no one else should be amble able to pay and take the site, thus double dipping.

    Just recently our daughter had to cancel, she only got abt 1/2 refund, yet all the nights ended up with paid campers. That’s not right.

    If campergrounds aren’t giving a full refund, they aren’t loosing a thing.

    This who pay and don’t show shouldn’t loose thier spot, they just may not be able to make it the 1st night.

    I get not being able to camp due to full campsite, plan better, we have.

  194. Reduce the time for reservation down to no more than 3 months and for State Park provide priority to the residents.

  195. People shouldn’t be allowed to hold empty campsites over the weekend as this seems to be the busiest time of the week people get out to camp. Or have only a 2 day holding period with no refund, this will maybe motivate people to actually stay on their site as they won’t be getting a refund.

  196. How about travelling through to halfmoon bay, California where there are a ton of retirees who leave their halfmillion dollar rvs in spots then reserve an empty space for 6 mos out of the year next to it so no other campers can camp there. Weak, and they shut the gate after 8 to basically control who goes in and out, basically a gated community in a state park. And if you’re reading this i hope you get caught doing that. Because you were the rudest freakin people to me. You guys are the worst halfmoon bay, and rangers working there, I’m disappointed in you, and the rude elderly people living in that park.

  197. How about this, if a campsite is reserved, and the person(s) don’t show up, then make it immediately available after the check in time elapses (unless a phone call is received in regards to a later than normal arrival, ie traffic, etc). It may not fill up that day, but will most likely fill up for the next day. Or another scenario as above, but have a short list to call in case of cancellations or no shows.

  198. For instances when a person has reached the point where no refund is given and they lose all their money on the site, they just need a programmer to build into their online system (since lots use the same service) a way for someone to put their site back into the available status and if it gets rented then they get their money back for the days rented and lose money for days that don’t get rented.

  199. It is really a simple thing. NO RESERVATIONS period. First come first served. We have been in several parks this year from FL. NY, to WI, and now Canada. Many do not reserve sites and still are full. Make your reservations verify and check in by 2PM, if not site goes to first come

    • I really like this idea. My main concern is that it could be a real problem for people who are camping at multiple spots and may not have cell or wifi reception.

      • A phone call to an automated system would fix that…. enter your res number. Press 7 to confirm your arrival or 8 to make it available to other campers. People can find a phone.

  200. Let them cancel online, they get a refund if site gets rented, minus a surcharge for the change. If not rented, no refund

  201. I agree there should be a fee for canceling RV spots, but it should be really easy to cancel and not be a 10 step process, and just a fee and not the whole cost. Some program should be written so that you can offer up a site and the waiting list gets notified and someone agrees to pay for your site and take the reservation and then you get a refund minus a fee. At the very least there should be a way to sign up for text messages to remind ppl when they have a reservation and a link to cancel. Like, last day to cancel with fee, last day to cancel with partial refund, etc.

  202. Honestly I had one year when I went to jasper and spent all day trying to find a camp site. Since then I book within the first week they open reservations and book months in advance. Do i like it? No. But its the way the world works now. It’s my spot I paid for it. Even if it stays empty…. Deal with it, it’s mine.

  203. Use same rules but add a 24 hour rule. Take the payment and be clear that for multi-day reservations, if the first 24 hours are missed, they lose the site with no refund.

    • If they cant show up within 2-4 hours of the check-in… they should lose it with no refund. Most of these folks reserve like 3-6 months out and take-away from other families looking for spots. Plus our park system could use the donations from folks who can’t show up when they reserved 1-6 months out…. maybe less people will be reserving 1-6 months out if this was policy.

  204. I think if they would allow cancelations up to 48 hours prior with the first night lost if you cancel and as long as you call and cancel within the 48 hour window if the site got rented for the entire time you canceled then they would refund your money. That gives some incentive to cancel. Or I would also be fine with if you don’t call and cancel they will not let you reserve again! Of coarse unless there was a circumstance that you physically were unable to cancel.

    • I think the problem is, people are reserving and not showing up. It sucks because of they’ve rented for a week and don’t get there for 3 days, the site is still there’s. I say call the day before, reconfirm the Reservation and if they aren’t going to make it, refund with fees and rerent.

  205. Suggestion: Double the price of the campsite fee when booking and offer half of the fee back after actually showing up to camp. Example: a $50 per night site would be $100 to book online and after they show up, camp and check out, they would get refunded $50. There would be less reservations and no shows. If they don’t show up, the campsite just got paid for 2 nights! Also it would bode well on last minute cancellation too! Only offer half refund days 3-9, but full refunds 10 or more, that way if they cancel in that timeframe, you could still guarantee the site gets its normal $50 per night but opens the site for others to book and generates more money for the campsite. Basically it forces the no shows to pay up or loose money and still allows others to book, really a win win for everyone except the no show people.They either pay double the rate to no show (day 1&2) or only get half back (days 3-9) yet it still offers people to book over those cancellations.

  206. There should be a way that if someone cancels a site regardless of refund they are automatically released for someone else to reserve.. There are so many campers that look for last minute sites. They should not reflect reserved if someone has cancelled 8 or less days prior. Then the site is left empty when someone would reserve. I have logged into websites looking for last minute cancelations 2 days prior to no avail.

  207. A seperate website could be set up were campers who want to cancel their reservation could potentially sell it for the full price and a ticket could be issued that reflects the transfer of reservation to the new camper. The price would be the same so people do not reserve with the intent of trying to sell them for more.

  208. Allow campers to try to sell their campsite to the next person. If they can sell it, maybe they lose a small transaction fee. If they don’t sell it, campsite doesn’t lose.

  209. There must be an adequate refund system otherwise people won’t bother to cancel. I suggest 100% refund the first time, 90,% the next 80% the next etc. This will eliminate repeated non cancelers. OR a fine if you are a no show and restrictions on booking on rec.gov. for no shows.

  210. As a campground host we seen the sites rented and no one there,so we would call and see if they were coming and most of the time they were but every now and then they would just ask us to cancel the reservation for them because they forgot about it or they were camping elsewhere. Some times their camper was in the shop or their tow vehicle was broke down. As a camp host don’t be scared to call and check on reservation,cause you might just be able to make someone else happy.

  211. I think it should be first come first served. We have camped Corp of engineer Campground for 30+ years. There wouldn’t be no need for return policy. I been camping in Bath Co Virginia when I seen people come in traveling from PA. But was denied a spot because they hadn’t had a reservation. Needless to say that spot plus others remained empty. The people were only staying overnight.

  212. Go back to first come first serve. It worked back then.all of the out of states are doing most of it. I’ve been there for two weeks at a time with people wanting to camp but the empty sites were reserved and could not. That pisses me off to no end. We all took a chance and drove up get a spot if one was open.

  213. Rvers, which I am not, are ruining camping for low income families. Y’all don’t care if you reserve a site and don’t go. Even in this column the writer states that most of the empty campsites don’t have hookups, like they don’t matter. I wish Reserve America would get hacked and shut down for good.

    • Totally agree, campsites should answer their own phone and make their own bookings. They are the only ones on site that know what is going on

  214. Many times we have decided last minute to get away for the weekend only to find we need a res to get a campsite . However hiking thru the campground many of the sites were empty Saturday still w res for some party that never showed! First come first serve that’s the answer to happy campers. Michael Swofford

    • With respect first come first served would not work for all. We camp sometimes for a week or more. We can’t show up for long periods of time not knowing if we have a site or not. With that being said same sites could be set aside for FCFS definitely. Our family would never abuse the reservation system but we know people who do and they work it good to their advantage not caring about others at all.

    • It use to be if you didn’t show up the first night of your reservation you lost your spot. I think they need to go back to this. We were camping thus weekend and saw this happen no show. Then there were people looking for spots for overnight and couldn’t find any.Peopld traveling need to be able to pull in to spots not occupied .

  215. Do what hotels do. If cancel 7 days in advance you get a refund. From 7 to 24 hrs 50% refund. Reservations are good until 1800 unless you confirm late check in on that day. If not checked in by 1800 entire reservation is concidered canceled. There would be exceptions for emergencies, ie: accidents, breakdowns, etc. That can be covered by a phone call until arrival than proof provided.

  216. It’s pretty simple – you must be in your reserved campsite by 10pm the first night or you lose your entire reservation. Can’t do that? Make your own adjustments and stop thinking purely of yourself. Many people lose out because you can’t get it together or have have too much money and just reserve and then don’t care.

    • I work midnights and sometimes reserve the night before so I can arrive right after work. It’s not worth it for me to go at 4 pm. So that would really hurt me. I mean I get out of work at 6 and if going locally am setting up by 7 or 8 am then I go to bed.

      • I agree. We sometimes camp 2 hrs. away from home and reserve the night before so we can be there at 8 or 9 am and spend the whole day there. We have even paid for Friday thru Monday so we can get there early Saturday and leave late Sunday. So maybe a text from the park saying you have reservations, are you coming? If you click no, on the reservation site drive ups available should show for travelers.

    • I agree. Automatic cancel the reservation and have it as a first come first serve site. Our parks are very generous to give any refunds within 4-5 days out. even if it’s by noon the following day to accommodate the people that really were only delayed. It’s a small fee lost but most people know if a trip will be canceled a week out. Its really just inconsiderate of them to not cancel. Heck I give double the fee when I’m only doing my day trips. Its not a lot and those fees help pay for the upkeep of the places I love to go. it suck’s seeing an open spot vacant when many people including myself would gladly pay the fee to stay there.

  217. Full refund up to day of check-in. Establish a confirmation system so campers confirm arrival 1 week prior to arrival, otherwise open site to others. Confirmed arrival and no show? Fine them 30%!

  218. Sometimes we pay for an extra night at the front of the reservation to get the sites we want. Do not give the site away if people do not show up the first night. I paid for that site. Ur friends do the same.

  219. Refund policy doesn’t matter. Not one bit. Any argument saying that’s why sites are reserved and not used is absolutely ludicrous. If they don’t show and don’t cancel, they don’t get money back anyways. Come on people, use your head. It’s called common sense. It come down to no showers being disrespectful to people that would show up and use the site. If no notes have been made for delayed arrivals then after the first 24 hrs, that empty sire should be made available again. And, ready for this!? Rent the same site out a second time to someone who shows up, and the park made TWICE the money on one site. Refund policy has NOTHING to do with no shows.

    • Some of the coe parks already do that. If you don’t check in by check out time the following day, your reservations are canceled

  220. Camper notifies park that they wont be using site. Dates are noted by the park. If they fill it they issue a refund.

    • +1
      Two other options
      1. If you cancel, any unrefunded amount is credit toward a future reservation, use within 18-24 months.
      2. Add a penalty for no-shows – delay ability to reserve by 2-4 weeks, letting people who show up get priority.

  221. Treat the campsites just like hotels treat a reservation. You reserve a room and don’t call to let them know you’re going to be late, after 8pm they rent your room. If you don’t have the courtesy or good sense to contact them before closing time to advise them of your schedule, why would you expect them to hold your place. Nobody else would.

  222. Charge a refundable campsite hold fee. If they cancel the reservation (regardless of how late it is) , or if they show up, they get that money back.

    However if they do not cancel, and they do not show, they forfeit it.

    Call it something which explains its purpose too so people get its not just a money making thing.

  223. This is simple concert tickets get resold to avoid the refund issues. Create a buy and sell section on the web site. I have a site not going to make it so I list it and someone else buys it I transfer it to them. Issue resolved

  224. Who doesn’t have refund/ cancellation policies? However, if the Campground or Recreation.gov (Camp employees) could release the reserved empty sites after 24 hours, (offer first come first serve AGAIN!) open them up and sell the site again, everyone wins. Recreation.gov makes more money actually and we are all happy campers. We use to load up and hope for a spot and usually we were lucky.

  225. I would have then give credit for another time, if someone else reserves the spot. This allows the site to keep the money now, but open up the sites for others to pay for if possible. And that persons money could be use as at another time. If no one does reserve that spot then they loose it. I would give till a few hours before check in.

    This would all be done online only to free up the phones and staff.

  226. If you are a no-show for night 1, without calling to confirm you will be showing up for the rest of your reservation, you lose access to the rest of your reservation and someone may now book your site.

  227. We, too, have experienced many campgrounds posted as full that have many unoccupied campsites as we traveled across the United States. Very frustrating. I think the system is set up for failure. It pushes people into making reservations six months in advance that they might, or might not, use. But they make them “just in case”.

    Keep about 30% of campground spaces as first come first served. This allows for some spontaneous planning and keeps options available for people who haven’t planned 6 to 12 months in advance where they are going to be and allows for some flexibility and travel.

    If a campsite is not occupied by the second day at 1 p.m., the reservation is forfeited and the site becomes available on a first come first serve basis for the remainder of that reservation.

    Incentivize people to cancel in advance and make the system easy to cancel a reservation.

  228. Inform those who cancel at last minute, they ‘may’ receive a refund if someone else books the site. The campground already has the original booking fees, when (and If) the site is re-booked, half of the second booking fee goes to the park, and half goes back to the original booker. That way the park actually would make 150% of an original booking. EX: site 1 $20 a night for 3 nights = $60. Cancelation at last minute, someone else books the site = Another $60. Park gets $90 for 1 3 night stay, and cancelation gets $30 back. 2nd reservations made through the “contact me if site opens up” link.

  229. In many campgrounds they should just say if you don’t show up or call to say your going to be delayed by a day then that following morning they forfeit any refund and u open up the site to be resold that is double money for the park. Of course those with no phone service would have to come up with a different plan.

  230. Start a camping service similar to “Ticketmaster” (which allows users to purchase other users unused reservations for shows, sports events etc). Call it Campingmaster, let me purchase another persons unused reservation, that way they get their money back, and I get a camping spot!

    • Been going to Bishop for years first come first serve. We would have several camp sites 15 – 25 people. Now its to much of a hassle so noone goes. Past couple 0f years it’s reservations only .this year I got a hotel in town went to check out my normal camping site camp grounds were 2/3 empty and the camp host said they are reservations only. They should charge double for people that don’t show up. And have half the sites for first come. I always or did look forward to my weekly camping and fishing trip.

  231. How about using a 3rd party. That party is responsible for re-booking unused sights and gets a percentage of the camp fees in return. Seems like a win-win-win.

  232. There should be a refund policy for a taken over campsite. If you make it available again and someone else book it you could get full refund. There would have no impact to the campsite and people that are interested in the last minute would still be able to enjoy.

  233. No refunds of any kind inside 30 day window. Instead, the fee will be waved if someone else rents the site. This would encourage folks to be prompt about cancelations and would open the spots up to last minute folks who happened upon an extra day or so of vacation. Perhaps they won the state lottery allowing them to fill the tank of a rig that gets 4 to 12 mpg’s under load.

      • It’s not that difficult. Plan ahead. If you’ve made a reservation, plan ahead. Everyone has emergencies. I get that. But if someone were planning on arriving at 11pm and had a flat, well, maybe people should plan on arriving much earlier. I’m tired of all these excuses. There’s no accountability anymore. Everyone seems to have a “legitimate” reason nowadays. Too bad. I’m tired of them. People are too self centered and don’t care about anyone. If you leave for your destination in plenty of time and have a flat, well change the flat and still arrive before 10pm.

    • Price of gas or fuel should have nothing to do with it. If you want to camp you camp. Quit denying people that chance. Go back fist come

  234. Could late cancellations offer to re-sell their spots, like some apartments people who want to leave before the lease is up need to pay until another tenant is found?

  235. You have until 6pm to arrive at your reserved campsite on the first day of reservation. After 6pm it’s first come open to public. If this happens you get %0 refund and if it happens 3 times you lose the privilege of reservations and remaining future reservations for season are cancelled (with refund). The park may also collect camp fees from lucky campers that filled site after the no show.

    • Don’t agree with you here. A lot of times my family gets to the camping site late due to having to work that day. Wouldn’t be fair if we should up after 6pm and our spot was taken. We do always notify the parks that we will be a showing up late just so that we don’t run into the possibility of someone else taking our spot. I agree with others saying that if someone cancels a reservation without much notice, the only way they would get a full refund would be if someone else checks in to that site

    • Not sure how you would enforce the privilege restriction as online options would likely circumvent this, but I like the idea as too many folks who feel they have a right to reserve spaces a year out without making good on the reservation are the problem. Even if the campground gets their money for a no show, the problem of the site not being used still persists. Ultimately, the convenience of being able to book so far out is the underlying issue. Sadly, it’s being abused.

  236. Toni Warren
    42 seconds ago
    My family camped for two months, two yrs ago and the rule then was, you had to occupy the site or anyone could take it. If you didn’t have a camper or tent set up when you rented it and have someone in the campsite that same day…your site would be given away.

  237. If someone cannot make their reservation, there should be some type of transfer program where they can get a refund via the person who takes over the reservation.

  238. How about allowing people to cancel but they will only get a refund if the site can be resold?? That way everyone wins

  239. When a reservation doesn’t show, after a night missed with no phone call to the ranger station or wherever they check in, open the site on a first- come basis. If someone wants that site who is already there & they tried to get that site reserved online,, the rangers could have a waiting list started so if it becomes a “no show”, the ranger could let the first on the list have it.
    I rem e mber my folks standing in line to get sites at campgrounds. It could be done again for the “no-shows’.

  240. Keep the no refund policy but add a late cancellation fee inside of 24 hrs. Plus a No Show fee, enough that it is still advantageous to the client to cancel even though they don’t get a refund.

  241. There is a check in time for most campgrounds/RV Park (if there isn’t there should be). If someone hasn’t checked in by quiet time, at the latest, the reserver is charged for 1 night (the lost night rental) and the site is available to be rented the next day. Many public campgrounds that I have stayed it made it a requirement that the first night had to be occupied or the rest of the reservation was forfeited along with the first night’s site rent. It always made good sense to me. To be honest, I thought they all operated like that.

  242. As long time campers(I started as a backpacker when I was 16) my wife and I get into the woods as often as possible. We very rarely cancel, nature is beaumtiful in the rain as long as you’re equipped. If we can’t make it, we cancel as soon as we know we can’t make it. We just consider it a cost almost akin to a membership. You have to support campgrounds so they continue to exist. Simply pay up, whether you go or not,but cancel your reservation . Unless you are being held hostage,you’re the reason that site is empty. Release the site, if you get a refund, great. Otherwise pay your dues and don’t inconvenience other campers. The more people who live in nature,albeit temporarily, the greater the awareness of our environment, something we should be in favor of.

  243. You should have till 8pm to check in. If you don’t arrive before that then you forfeit your spot. No refunds.

  244. Its easy if a reservation doesnt show by a certain time make it available to rent. People can upgrade if they want. Or make it first come first serve cutout reservations altogether.

  245. I experience the site unavailability. I would say that you need to upcharge for registration, and get the extra portion back when you arrive, and give less return should they cancel. Too many book for 5 weeks to be sure they get the one or two weeks they want, and dont care about wasting the money for overbooking. Lastly, you can book x days out, if you are registered for a site already, the next booking should be x-plus 3 days out, and the next x-plus 6 days out thereby making it easier for the person getting their one booking.

  246. I suggest that if you have not checked in by the next following day of your reservation and/nor did you cancel the site it should be able to be available to someone else.

  247. Set up a transfer system online where people can “release” their reservation (partially or whole). Make it so the person releasing has a credit/debit/PayPal/whatever linked to the site to get their “refund” through and add a small transfer fee that goes directly to the campground (campsites are generally inexpensive so a 10% fee on a $25 site wouldn’t break the bank).

    It can be set up so that when you’re online looking for sites there’s an option in addition to the normal available sites there’s an available for transfer option. Transfers are final, no refunds.

    As far as who pays that fee, as an avid camper – if there’s no other sites available I wouldn’t bat an eye at paying something so nominal.

  248. Simple. To reserve a spot you agree to a $50 extra fee going on your credit card on file, for each night you had booked but didn’t show or cancel. Simply call or cancel online and the extra fee is waived. But if you don’t show and don’t cancel, it’ll cost you. The problem will be solved immediately.

  249. I agree that finding space has become a nightmare turning people off to camping. My daughter bring one of them. I don’t believe it should be first come first serve either usually we drive 6-8 hours that would make it impossible for us. How about after 24 hours no one shows up or calls they forfeit the site no refund. Thank you

  250. Our campground issues a full refund if we can rebook the site. If we cannot rebook, you get a partial refund up until the day before check in.

  251. I think the less favorable refund is fine. What I would like to see is the campground rules state that if the campers are not in their space by a certain time on the first day of their reservation it can become a first come site. We have gotten sites this way in different states. It might discourage weekend campers that book up all the sites but never show. Also keep track of the no shows and make reservations more difficult for these people. Campgrounds can also keep a small number of sites only available to book within a 2 week arrival period to the first date if the reservation.

  252. I should have the option to sell my reservation then. If I’m not going to get a refund 3 days out I should be able to sell it to somebody who wants it. Now that could be at a discount of what I paid say 75% of the cost. But that ensures that the site is going to be used.

  253. We camped for 5 days at a new york state campground recently. We reserved 2 sites, the one site the people goingvwith us had to cancel last minute. We did check about refund they said no they don’t refund. That was fine it was last minute. What they do that is wrong is this! Instead of an empty site I asked can we give it to someone? Such as next person that wanted it during the 5 days we were there could just have it?( already paid for anyway!) NOPE! they said I could cancel and they would resell the site! Umm no nice try new york! Not selling the same site twice for same days. So if people are angry sorry but new york gets enough in other ways they don’t need to double dip

  254. Is it possible to let them cancel last minute and get a credit for future use?

    And even if they can’t cancel the first day or two, can they cancel the backend of their stay if it is far enough out?

  255. Higher cancellation fees, not lower, will induce campers to provide enough notice so that the site is not wasted. Work it just like hotel systems.

    • I 100% agree, it’s not like if they cancel Thursday, that gives someone much time to plan to head over on a Friday. State Parks would make a lot of extra revenue to help with staffing and maintenance. I say fine the no shows. I see this way too much in California after trying to make reservations in an already impossible system.

  256. Just put a surcharge on the people that don’t cancel and show up. It is a win win. If they don’t cancel the campground gets more money. It also motivates more people to cancel and they can rent put that site to more people and make for money of the site.

  257. Charge the campers extra for no shows or not canceling on top of non refunds. Put them on a blacklist so they can’t book future stays. Don’t hold reservations til next day. There must be strict guidelines to confirm if campers are going to show or not. Have an automatic text message to confirm camping reservation if arriving or not like a Doctors appt. Obviously there are things out of peoples control that can stop them from being able to use their reservation but they have to let the campground know.

  258. We have been camping for almost 35 yrs and we have never seen prices of campgrounds so high in price as it is now. So between the price of gas and the cost of living is the main reason people are cancelling.
    Instead of not just showing up call and see if u can move ur reserv that way everybody would be happy.

    We just had to cancel due to one of our friends having a health issue . We either lost our deposit or use the reservation next yr. There was no return of any monies even though we cancelled out 2 mo prior to trip.

    • I had the same thing happen earlier this year I broke my leg. We have a reservation for next year on the books same spot. That works for me!

  259. For resorts collect 100% of reservation upfront. With cancelation fees of 100% if guest cancels less than 6 months ahead of arrival Date or is a NO SHOW.

    For campers plan ahead make your plans as definite plans as possible. BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE if you have any hesitation about your plans changing. Airline, Cruise Line Guests, Hotel guests etc… there are 3rd party licensed & bonded travel insurance companies that can be found on Google.

  260. My suggestion is you would give them 24 hrs to get into that space or it will be rebooked with someone else, and you’ll be charged for the balance of the full reservation, no refunds.

  261. In Indiana you have the option of paying a c small fee and use your remaining money to reschedule at a later time. Then the sites come open and others can use it.

  262. It’s time to revise the policy, they should have to put half the deposit down for the space, and if they don’t show up or cancel their reservation one week prior to arrival they forfeit their deposit. Do like the rental car companies use to do, put a hold on the amount needed to rent the spot until they check out. If they choose to leave early, that’s on them they should not receive a refund.

  263. Uh, maybe quit trying to run the forest like a business? Obviously if I am paying for something you don’t get to let someone else use it and charge them also.

  264. Simple. Hire an IT person capable of writing code to update reservation system to include a wait list for site. Campsites could make more money this way.

  265. Make a rule that, the party that has reserved the site but doesn’t show, has up-to 36 or 48 hours, on weekdays to notify the park they aren’t showing, or they forfeit t