Do You Have To Reserve Campsites Months in Advance? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-10-2015, 05:14 PM   #1
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Do You Have To Reserve Campsites Months in Advance?

It appears that here in Kansas, you have to put in for reservations for campsites in January each year or you end up with nothing other than "first come first serve" which doesn't work if you are driving a ways to get there.

My husband has an odd weekend (Thurs & Fri) unless they decide to change the days, the hours, etc. so we can't book months in advance. Is it this way in other states? I know our neighbor just got a little trailer and it just sits because they can't get a spot. They tried driving out but gave up on that because there were no open spots when they got there as all indicated open spots checked before the 30 minute drive were filled when they arrived.

We did manage to get a small gravel site for 2 days next week and reserved that about 6 weeks ago. So, you see, it pays to be small as the pop-up is about 18 feet extended so most of the fiberglass molded could get into the slot.

Lots of snowbirds in the park, originally KS residents that now domicile elsewhere flood the parks and this has been happening since the 1980s when we first started camping. We always ended up without hookups but we were younger. Gave up camping for a few years because of the frustration but started again when we moved to AZ.

So, trying to choose a new camper and get away from the pop-up but at this point, I just don't see making the purchase since it would just sit in the backyard.

I noticed the parks were closing earlier this year which I saw as yet another issue since last year when we did go out, we had a lot of choices of sites when we arrived but now, they are all taken until the park closes. As soon as it got cold, there were opening.

So, has camping weekends come to the point that you have to plan them in January in other states? I am SO discouraged. Maybe I should move to the woods and live in a yurt - year round camping!
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Old 08-10-2015, 05:38 PM   #2
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California state parks 8:00 am 7 months in advance for the peak season and weekends. By 8:30 most all good sites are gone. Forest service usually 4 months in advance will get you what you need if it isn't a holiday weekend. Its very hard here to just pick up and go. I haven used much private campgrounds or resorts out here so I can't comment on them.

What sickens me is the policy if rented and not used it doesn't get re-rented.
I like to use the states beach campgrounds and its amazing that sites get rented and no one shows up for a week and the much needed sites sit empty because the rich people can afford to blow out the week if they want to and the state does nothing to stop this practice. Ban them from renting for 5 years and see if this crap stops. I was talking to a camping neighbor once and for the same weekend he rented a beach site, mountain site and a site with their camper membership and at the last minute they just showed up where ever they landed and 2 paid for sites just were left empty, blocked from other users. His answer was it's his vacation and he would decide where he wanted to stay on his terms and not 7 months in advance as forced down his throat by the government policy. It just wasn't enough money to worry about. I just left and went back to my own site in frustration.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:06 PM   #3
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I have heard before that there are some issues in CA. Also, I suspect some of the people in the back of the park, where I would never want to camp, are homeless by the way their stuff looked and was set up. You could just tell that many around the entire park had been sitting on a spot for awhile. I know they are supposed to move after a certain amount of time but that can be worked out in a way to avoid ending up without a spot.

I don't actually know that if you are a no-show here whether they re-rent the spot or not since they would keep your money. The websites are not very good at explaining the process.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Cathy P. View Post


So, has camping weekends come to the point that you have to plan them in January in other states? I am SO discouraged. Maybe I should move to the woods and live in a yurt - year round camping!
Here in BC reservations open on March 1 and you can reserve 3 months in advance. If you are planning to camp on week-ends or during any week-days in July and August you will indeed need a reservation at most Provincial parks & need to make then well in advanced.

User population is growing but the number of Provincial parks is not.

In Oregon its 9 months in advance that reservations can be made which is why many who attend the Fiberglass Rally in Bandon held in July each year make their reservations in January.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:36 PM   #5
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Oregon state parks policy is that if you do not show up or contact them by noon the day after your reservation starts to make arrival arrangements, your reservation is voided and the site is again available. And NO REFUND!
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:12 PM   #6
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Reservations

Hey Cathy,
I have to admit I am somewhat surprised that campsites are so hard to come by in your neck of the woods, on the other hand the situation in California doesn't surprise me. I would think because of population the situation would be worse in the east. Some of the more popular New England camping spots do require a reservation 1 to 2 months in advance. I have camped at Dolly Copp campground ( National Forest campground ) in New Hampshire on at least 10 occasions and the campground has never been full. I've had the same experience at some campgrounds in Maine. Connecticut state campground sites can be reserved and some are designated as first come first served, if you can get there on a weekday before the weekend you have a good chance of securing a site. Most of the state, national park and national forest campgrounds in our area do not have hookups, ( which suits us ) I'm not sure if that could be a factor. I have to say we do make reservations when we know were going camping. Have you tried the COE campgrounds? There seems to be quite a few in Kansas and they are usually well run with hookups.
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:28 PM   #7
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Hmmm.. I was under the impression that if a reserved site wasn't occupied within the first 24 hours, in both CA State Parks and National Park campgrounds, that the reservation was cancelled. We once waited about 2 hours for one to get cancelled in Yosemite and were told we could have it for up to 3 days, the length of the cancelled reservation.


And I know it's that way at Silver Strand State Beach in San Diego as I overheard an argument between a camp host and a camper that arrived two days late for a reservation that had been cancelled and given to someone else.


What we do is scan the reservation lists for a general area rather than a specific location and always for sites for Sunday-Thursday nights. By looking at the last minute we also get into paces that have been booked closed for months.


If cancellation fees weren't so high I am sure that more would call in cancellations as well. Right now it's sometimes not worth the trouble.
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:18 PM   #8
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I stopped making reservations when I acquired my camper. Other than a rally, I travel across country without any deadline or schedules and stop when I get tired. Truck stops, rest areas, Walmart, CrackerBarrel have all welcomed me. If I need a longer stop, KOA will always find you a spot, or let you use their facilities and move on. Being flexible and not always requiring hookup allows you to camp just about anywhere. I stay at my own state parks because out of state parks charge non resident fees and the cost approaches a KOA campsite. There is also Passport America with thousands of 50% off sites, almost all available during the week but some restrictions may apply.
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:26 PM   #9
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It's that way in Colorado. We usually decide where we want to go in January, look at our summer schedule and then make all of our reservations the minutes the campground website is open to make them. Usually that is six months out. Here, most places require you to reserve for Friday thru Sunday if you want a weekend reservation, which can be frustrating if you want to go Saturday and Sunday night. Even if we aren't sure if we will use the reservation, we still make it, but I'm also fanatical about canceling at least two weeks ahead of time if we know we can't go, that way it opens up for someone else. And that way I also avoid the no show fees! That being said, we've only ever cancelled two reservations! I guess it's good that so many people want to get outside!
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I stopped making reservations when I acquired my camper. Other than a rally, I travel across country without any deadline or schedules and stop when I get tired. Truck stops, rest areas, Walmart, CrackerBarrel have all welcomed me. If I need a longer stop, KOA will always find you a spot, or let you use their facilities and move on. Being flexible and not always requiring hookup allows you to camp just about anywhere. I stay at my own state parks because out of state parks charge non resident fees and the cost approaches a KOA campsite. There is also Passport America with thousands of 50% off sites, almost all available during the week but some restrictions may apply.
Ditto!
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:07 PM   #11
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In California, it really depends on how you are willing to camp. State Parks often require advance reservations, as mentioned above..... but I full time in my Casita all over California and do not make reservations in advance. So far, 3 months into peak season, I have been just fine but I split up my time between boondocking, BLM, national forest camping and private parks and grab state park sites if they become available a week or so in advance.
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Old 08-11-2015, 12:02 AM   #12
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It's getting harder and harder to just take off on the spur of the moment. That said, we can usually find somewhere to camp if we go mid-week and camp at a Forest Service or other similar rustic campground. The fewer the amenities, the more likely you'll get a spot and also the more quiet and peaceful it will be.

When we plan a longer trip we sometimes make reservations, especially at the popular State and National Park Campgrounds. Many National Park campgrounds are first come, first served and it pays to get there early! Best advice I can give you is that if you can manage it, take your trips in the shoulder or off seasons when there are fewer people vying for all the camp sites. The rates can be lower then too!
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Old 08-11-2015, 12:13 AM   #13
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Cathy - what sort of campground are you talking about - State, CEO, BLM, County, private enterprise? Just for fun I went to Reserve America and entered Kansas and found lots of sites at Kansas State Parks open when I entered the arbitrary date of Aug. 27th for 3 nights. Of course you may be looking at different dates and for a very specific place, but it looked like there were things available. Am I missing something?
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:25 AM   #14
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We only make reservations when traveling in July and August, and only at destination campgrounds like Denali or Yellowstone or for specific events like a festival. We are rarely specific site conscious.

We have always managed to find a place to camp. Of course we have the advantage of rarely camping in July and August during the heavy period of family camping. That said, we are going to a festival this Wednesday and did make a campground reservation but though a familiar campground did not ask for a site though we did ask for cooked lobsters to be delivered to our trailer.
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