I scored a campsite on a weekend in a National Park! How amazingly lucky am I? Two available days at Hot Springs National Park and, get this, with electricity!
Check for National Park campsite cancellations
I wish I could say I had been trying for days but, no, not this time. I just went online and there it was. A cancellation! Truly a gift! This works for crowded national, state, and county parks, too. If the campground you want to stay at is full, keep checking back. This could happen to you, too!
Build trip around campsite availability
As some of you know, I write our weekly Campground Crowding column. I have not heeded the sage advice of our readers and am only now starting to make travel reservations for the year. I have not even tried to make reservations at a National Park a year or two years ahead of time. Starting this late, to score a campsite at a National Park, the trick is being willing and able to build parts of our trip around a few important places. Once I found and booked the campsite, I moved the rest of the trip around those days. In the past, I have been able to do that for several of the National Parks when they have been impossibly booked.
Try the list view
Some online booking sites show list view with their date availability. Once I have determined the sites that are long enough for our motorhome, I can search specifically for those that are available. That also allows me to see other sites that might be available if I am willing to move.
Please cancel your reservations (if you can’t make it)
This extraordinary gift was ours only because somebody took the time and effort to cancel their reservation. Canceling that early, they may have gotten all if not most of their money back. Even if you can’t get any money back, please cancel and do your fellow campers a favor.
Hmmm, I wonder if Shenandoah National Park has any cancellations…