The pandemic has certainly made it more challenging to find great spots to camp with your RV. It seems like everyone this year is finding the amazing RV life desirable, and taking up those coveted spaces in your favorite parks. We’ve put together some fresh tips for finding camping spaces that may help you if your favorites are full.
- Call the campground directly. Have your heart set on a particular location? Often the person in charge of online inventory does not update the website quick enough to catch open spaces. If someone cancels, you may be able to grab their spot before it is listed as available again. Another benefit of calling vs relying solely on online availability is that you can chat with the owners and employees, explaining your rig and family, and they might be able to find a non-advertised spot for you.
- Reserve a less desirable spot. Spaces next to busy roads, buggy creeks / ponds or park entrances can be seen as less desirable. In years past, these spaces may have remained vacant for the duration of the season, but with inventory shortages and high demand, if you see one of these spaces just grab it! Once you are there, you may find you don’t even mind the little nuisances.
Tips for handling noisy camping spaces:
- Bring a clip-on USB “sleeping” fan for each sleeper to keep on by their head to drown out noise during the night.
- Bring headphones or earbuds
- Position your RV, if possible, to block roadways for privacy, or bring privacy barriers such as tarps and stakes.
- Pick a non-holiday weekend. RV camping during these 2021 peak weeks can be especially hard:
- Memorial Day Weekend: Friday May 28th – Monday May 31
- July 4th: Falls on a Sunday this year, so this will be a busy weekend.
- Labor Day: Monday, September 6.
Try to travel between these “major” weekends if possible. If your schedule is flexible enough to take off Fridays and Mondays, for example, you may get ahead of those who are stuck with the holiday schedule for camping.
- Choose a late-summer date. Families with college-aged kids are trying to camp during the peak months, so their kids can hit campus mid August. How about the day after Labor Day, through the next weekend? If you can rearrange your kid’s classes or have them remote-attend the first few days, this may be a great option.
- Book next year’s camping trips now. Look ahead to 2022 and reserve some spots for yourself at your favorite sites and destinations. Even if you cancel later, you at least have something on the books. You will have many more options for parks and sites way in advance.
- Search for out-of-the way and smaller campgrounds. Many mom-and-pop-style campgrounds near big attractions have no web presence. You may find these on web directories such as yelp and yellow pages and not necessarily on Google.
- Plan your stays for during the week vs weekend. Perhaps you can make arrangements with your child’s teachers or your boss to do a bit of remote work during the trip, or move your workday to the weekends to accommodate. Since most campers vacate great sites on Sunday mornings, you will find that the ideal day to try to check in. Leaving on Thursday or Friday gets you ahead of the next weekend’s arrival crowds.
- Find undiscovered places that are not “major” attractions. Trying to RV camp near Yosemite or other big name national parks in the summer can be a fruitless quest. How about that tiny waterfall a few hours away you’ve heard about, or that smaller state park you’ve been meaning to see? Add them to your list too. A great tip is to use google maps and search “waterfalls” “hiking” and “lakes” to digitally explore where an RV-friendly area may be in a radius around the attraction.
- Consider dry camping. No hookups? No problem! Pack your RV with plenty of fresh water, set up a portable shower and cassette toilet, and fire up the generator and camping stove! Sometimes “roughing” it in your RV creates fun memories in spectacular locations, away from the crowds. Search for BLM land near your destination, or use an app such as Campendium to help you locate some reachable spots.
- Waiting lists. Finally, If you are absolutely set on a particular destination, you can request in many cases to be put on a “first available” list. Call the campground and (kindly) explain your desire, and even suggest leaving a deposit to be put first in line. Don’t be shy about making follow up calls, and importantly, try to be flexible so that if a cancellation happens quickly, you can be ready to hit the road.
Don’t let the lack of available camping places put a damper on your camping adventures this year, or keep you from getting the RV you’ve got your heart set on! Find your perfect RV for sale at RVT.com.
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