Harder today to find space in an RV park without a reservation?


Our question is this: Is it harder for you today to obtain an RV park space without an advance reservation than it was 5 years ago?

There are a whole lot more RVers on the road than five years ago – at least a couple of million. Yet there are relatively few new sites in RV parks, making it more challenging for some RVers to get a spot in an RV park without advance reservations, often months, even a year ahead.

What about you? What has been your experience? Curious RVer minds want to know.

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1 month ago

We are retired. We can go camping during the week. We find most places are much more accessible if we schedule that way. On weekends, its extraordinarily difficult to find campsites and driving all over to locate one is essentially a not do good notion. We have never reserved a site anywhere but it is becoming something we recognize as a likelyhood for the future. And, we only own a small tow-along 20′ camper.

6 months ago

Absolutely more difficult to find spaces in RV Parks without far in advance reservations and yet sales continue climbing. The park I am currently staying at recently expanded with 50 new sites. Within one month it was full.

6 months ago

Our experience has been hit and miss. Certain times of the year are more difficult. If we are planning on an extended stay, we will try to get a reservation. I think we are also looking at the “shoulder” window. Explained below as after snowbirds leave and before family breaks. We like Cracker Barrel for over nights. Given the crazy sell going on with campers this year, I think it will be tougher for a couple years until the newness wears off and most of the “new” campers are tired of it!

Janet E
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Shhhhh🤫 let’s keep Cracker Barrel a secret. 😀

5 months ago
Reply to  Janet E

Too late. LOL

8 months ago

We left Texas last Friday to vacation in NM and Southern Colorado. We made reservations in Santa Fe going and Pagosa Springs “ small nice class A motor home park on the river” we left a day early to go check on our land in South Fork. Then we had plans to stay in Creede , Colorado two nights , but we got there and it had horrible gravel roads and very strict dog rules and the tiny dog park area was full of weeds, and you get in trouble if they are on the little green grass area. Nowhere to walk the dogs and we travel with three. The lady on the golf cart said “ good luck on getting your money back “ when I was not happy about the dog rules. We will not ever return to this park. So we left and started heading east toward Texas. We tried to get into the RV resort in Angel Fire , but completely booked, so we stayed one night in Taos , kinda scary park!! Then the next morning we got into Angel Fire resort. Yes, it’s definitely a lot more difficult getting reservations for nice parks where we like to stay especially in the summer months. We have been RV for 20 years for vacations and a lot has changed, or maybe I’m getting older and pickier!!
BTW~ mask are a state law in NM but not in Colorado, but most businesses do require you wear one. We met several couples that didn’t have a mask and were not allowed in shops!! Bring your mask while traveling you never know.

Raymond Shaw
11 months ago

We just finished a month and a half trip from New Smyrna Beach, Fl to San Antonio , Tx. We left Florida the beginning of February. We had no reservations. We spent two nights in Tallahassee at different parks, four nights at a park in Pensacola, 4 nights in a park near New Orleans, Then 8 nights at a park near Abbeville, La, , one night in a park in Mississippi, three weeks in a park outside San Antonio, Tx, One night in a park in Louisiana, one in Florida, and then home. We didn’t have reservations, at any of them. We did a lot of calling around, as we drove. Sometimes they were a little further from what we wanted to see, but not bad. With all that being said, I think that the next trip will be planned using reservations.

Barbara O’Brien
1 year ago

We have been RVing for over 20 years, full time the last 5 years (so far). When we first started, we could call ahead on the day of or the day before and secure a site. The last two years, I have started making our summer plans in January (we are typically on the road from June- October) and book all our sites by mid February. All our plans for this summer are done. Two places I contacted (Glacier NP and one of the nicer campgrounds outside of Seattle) told me I secured their last or almost last site. While we would like to be spontaneous in our travels, it is getting harder to do!

Jeffrey Phillips
1 year ago

The number of people RVing/camping continues to grow while the number of campgrounds is flat-lined. Supply & Demand – A Win/Win for campgrounds, but not so much for campers… Less availability, higher prices & more crowding!!
That said – In my neck-of-the-woods, the camping season is relatively short! Unless you make reservations “months” in advance, you’re going to be out of luck getting a camping spot!!

Larry Selk
1 year ago

We have been full time for about 18 months. We have a 40 ft 5th wheel so we always make reservations. If we had a smaller rig I’m sure we could go just about anywhere but long sites and 50 amp can sometimes be a challenge to get.

Ray Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Larry Selk

Wrong…a smaller rig means nothing when it comes to going anywhere without reservations.Been RVing for7yrs and have always gotten reservations too. Now sites are being occupied by tenters that occupy large rv sites which really upsets me,along with some vans that are permanent homes for some,who move around every week or so.This is just a few examples of why RVing has become more and more difficult to enjoy I could go on and on, but wont.Reservation nowadays is essential,if you can get one

Ted Denman
1 year ago

We’ve only been extended RV’ing for 2 years. Our RV is only 30′ long, plus toad. Our “reservations” are usually made during lunch the day of need. Sometimes we would simply pop into the campground. NEVER on Friday nights! Especially during July and August. We’re retired and love shoulder season camping. Much less crowded. This summer, we’ve made a months’ worth of reservations in SC, VA, MA, and ME, because we going late June, and most of July. If you need campsites to accommodate 43-45′ long RV’s, you are probably too late to make these reservations. Length and power needs will be your downfall.

Leonard (Butch) Brooker
1 year ago

We full-timed for 10 years and almost never had a reservation. Not anymore. We go to south Texas every fall and back every spring and getting a reservation is a must now. And I try to make it a month ahead to be sure. We had a first and I hope last nasty incident this Spring. I called a month ahead and made a reservation and when we arrived no one was in attendance, a sign said get an envelope and find a spot, and it was completely filled with RV’s that had been there a long time and looked like workers. We were tired and so ready to stop and very perturbed. We ended up at the Marble Falls TX WalMart. That was suitable as we were too tired to care but I spread the word on that RV park.

Einar Hansen
1 year ago

I remember about seven years ago friends of ours were taking there fifth wheel cross country for six months just to see the sites. They told me that they were able to call on there cell phone while on the way to most campgrounds in the morning and get a site for a night or two most of the time. And they really had no trouble. They kept track of the places that they stayed getting the name of the places and numbers just in case they were going to stay again on the return trip.
Well just last summer they wanted to do it again. When they got home my friend told me that getting a place to stay was hard to do now and that most places were booked and had no spaces open! they had to Walmart it!

JR Thornton
1 year ago

We don’t stay in the most popular places. We go on roads less traveled and off major highways. If we feel the need to visit a popular spot we use our truck but then back to our RV for the evening. We have had very little problems finding places without advance reservations and we tend to stay several weeks. And that’s how we roll!

1 year ago
Reply to  JR Thornton

Shssss, JR, don’t tell anyone, although most folks need the satellite hookups, the dog park, 50 amp to run the dryer and so on.
Ahh, we do the same as you , hope we meet up one day along the roads less travelled, surely in this age of everyone knowing what everyone else is doing, has to be America and Canada’s last great secret.

1 year ago

We don’t have a problem finding a place to stay. We wait until the Snow Birds leave.

Gene Bjerke
1 year ago

We have basically given up on getting advance reservations. We basically fly by the seat of our pants, and so far have been lucky. Traveling in the “shoulder” season helps a lot.

1 year ago
Reply to  Gene Bjerke

What is the “shoulder” season. Been camping 40 years and never heard that term.

Vanessa Simmons
1 year ago
Reply to  LindaH

After the snowbirds have flown and before the families start summer break in the spring and before the snowbirds arrive and after the families are back in school.

Charles B
1 year ago

Getting the spot we want has become much more difficult in recent years. We do not like making reservations because we have learned with experience we may not actually get to a place as originally expected. Changes in plans or mechanical problems are among the many reasons reservations may not work. Some RV parks may not refund a deposit even when they say they will. There are more and more RVers and fewer spaces. Many spaces are now taken by full-time residents who are retired and have found living in an RV to be an affordable way to live. In March 2019 we made a reservation for Dec 2019 in FL – they said they only had the one space left – we filled them up. Ridiculous.

Tad Fogel
1 year ago

I voted in the “somewhat more difficult” category as I generally book as far in advance as I possibly can when planning a trip or vacation spot. Finding spots at the last minute tends to be more difficult.

Dawn Woock
1 year ago

We traveled from Iowa to Florida in April 2019 and didn’t have any problems finding a spot to camp for the night on our way down to Florida or on the way home, except in Florida. Luckily we had a reservation for 1 week in Ormond, Florida. One problem we did have was, finding a RV campground on the internet near wherever we were heading for the day. We always found one, just by seeing a billboard for one or it would be listed on the interstate exits signs. How can you find these campgrounds ahead of time if they don’t come up on an internet search?

1 year ago
Reply to  Dawn Woock

Use the app “Allstays” on your smart phone

Chuck Dunn
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeanne

Need to pay for it if you use Android. Do have the app and it is good. Still like RV Wizard better

Dawn Woock
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeanne

I did and most of the ones we found were not on that either.

Charles B
1 year ago
Reply to  Dawn Woock

We use RV Park Reviews dot com

Linda Waring
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles B
Dee Sangrey
1 year ago

My spouse and I have been camping somewhere in something for all of our married life – coming up in 36 years. We’ve run the gamut of RV styles but two years ago decided to launch ourselves into full timing it. That being said – size matters. In the days of tents, pickup campers, small bumper pulls, finding a site was relatively easy with the exception of holidays. However, we now roll around in a 40ft, four slide behemoth. You just can’t slip that in anywhere. Many, many campgrounds do not accommodate that size. So we always make our reservations in advance, sometimes months in advance. More people and bigger rigs drive that need in our experience.

Sharon B
1 year ago

Florida is really tough. Trying to find a campground is impossible. I think that there should be 10%-15% of sites held and left for the residents . I believe there are some campgrounds that do this in other states. It’s terrible that we pay a high price to live in the subtropics to be left in the cold where we can’t enjoy our own state.

1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon B

Sharon, we share your dilemma north of 49.

Up here in Canada same thing. Canada’s national parks open for pre-registration early (I think late January) each year a sell out in days. It’s getting even tough to park awning to awning these days..

Primo Rudy's Roadhouse
1 year ago

I picked no change in the last 5 years, because I have always made a reservation.