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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Raymond Shaw

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

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

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

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.

Ted Denman

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

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

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

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!


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

Gene Bjerke

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.

Charles B

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

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

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?

Dee Sangrey

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

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.

Primo Rudy's Roadhouse

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

Diane Mc

I would answer not sure. Because of the issue raised here I’ve started booking in advance. In the past, except for Florida and a place in the summer in N Calif where we want a specific spot, I would wait until we were on the road for the day. Then depending on how far we wanted to drive would call and ask if we needed reservation. Our two main trips are CA to Fl for Daytona 500 (then to Keys for a month before the hurricanes) and CA to Indy500. We are actually leaving this morning, I’ booked every night about 2 months ago. Will be interesting to see how full parks are when we arrive, Going to Florida end of January encountered no real problems going across I-10.


My Wife and I try to look for new places to RV that are not huge Tourist Attractions or Tourist Traps. Mainly the areas that cater to Family and Kids.

There are allot of Great Places to see in America that fits this bill.

Still though, we will look to make reservations at RV Parks at least 3 and most times 6 months down the road. Sometimes a Year, to make sure we can get a space. In fact we just did that for Mobile, AL and the 2020 Mardi Gras Celebration! Mobile is the best place for Mardi Gras and there is plenty to do there besides Mardi Gras.


State parks are the secret. If your RV is 30 ft or less. Especially older parks in out of the way places. COE parks are required to keep ‘walk up’ sites.
Start looking at 3, not 6.


We prefer public parks, mostly state or federal. These seem to be much more difficult to get into, especially in our home state of Florida.