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Old 04-14-2014, 01:46 PM   #1
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How far ahead to make reservations

We will be retiring soon and are planning a 1 year RV trip around the US - generally spending no more than 2 or 3 nights in any one spot and only 1 night in many. Since we love to hike we expect to stay in state & national parks often but will have to utilize commercial campgrounds as well.

We are diligently creating a list of places to go so that we can create a general route and determine when we will be in an area so that we can make reservations for the most popular destinations. Once we have the major points that we don't want to miss we will fill in with lesser points that we can give up if the schedule gets wonky.

We will probably be getting Passport America and Good Sam memberships as well as America the Beautiful-Senior Pass. We know that some of the more popular destinations will require reservations far in advance - would love to hear which locations you've encountered this and how far in advance you would recommend making reservations.

Appreciate any & all assistance!
Cheryl
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Old 04-14-2014, 02:47 PM   #2
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National parks campgrounds fill up 6 months or more ahead in most cases. Other than that, most campgrounds have space or you can find nearby alternatives. When we travel, I like to go as the weather and interests take us, not going from one scheduled stop to the next. We've not had issues finding nice spots to stay. Often we start out the day and by afternoon start calling to find a spot for the night as we see where we might end up and how tired we are.
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Old 04-14-2014, 02:56 PM   #3
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We have found Holiday weekends to be the only time we have a problem.
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:18 PM   #4
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National parks campgrounds fill up 6 months or more ahead in most cases. Other than that, most campgrounds have space or you can find nearby alternatives. When we travel, I like to go as the weather and interests take us, not going from one scheduled stop to the next. We've not had issues finding nice spots to stay. Often we start out the day and by afternoon start calling to find a spot for the night as we see where we might end up and how tired we are.
Thanks! Because of what we hope to accomplish we will have to have some fixed points - but if we find that we are pushing too hard we will certainly change the plan. We are planners by nature and will have a list of "must see" and "would like to see" and some wiggle room for things we find by the side of the road. We'll be making reservations mainly for the big national parks that we'll be visiting during their main season. The smaller stops in between will be figured out the same day. I'm just trying to figure how far in advance I have to pin down the outline of the plan.
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:19 PM   #5
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We have found Holiday weekends to be the only time we have a problem.
I'm hoping that is mainly what we encounter!
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:32 PM   #6
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Forget the schedule you are retired. Fly by the seat of your pants. If you make reservations then you might miss something that you didn't expect. You have a year so enjoy it. It could turn into 13 monthes
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Old 04-14-2014, 07:47 PM   #7
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Mainly a Fall thing, but we have had trouble finding a state park on a weekend if a Major university is nearby and they have a home football game.
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:08 PM   #8
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How far ahead to make reservations

2 or 3 days in one location will quite often not allow you the scent of many local "roses". It will also tire you (BTDT) of the road when the joy is in walking the extra local trails and finding the un-advertised gems in out-of-the way places!

It aint how far you go or how fast, and it sure aint no darn race. Fewer stops and drinking-in more of the local flavors a bit at each stop is much more relaxing and fullfilling.

Saying you "were" somewhere does not mean you "saw" it, unless you actually do.

Make no reservations. Take only pics, leave only footprints, but never miss a busy BBQ place at noon in the South!

Happy trails!
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:17 PM   #9
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I also retire in about 3 weeks and as soon as I do some fishing on my lake during May, we plan to hit the road early June - September. We will head out West. On our previous long trips, we have always traveled before Memorial Day or after Labor Day and had no problems finding places to stay. DW thinks we should think about reserving sites but I want to just go and see what we find. We will most likely stay in private RV parks but will certainly consider state, COE, etc. if our coach will fit.
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:19 PM   #10
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We will be retiring soon and are planning a 1 year RV trip around the US - generally spending no more than 2 or 3 nights in any one spot and only 1 night in many.
For those one nighters, it may be easier to stay in a Walmart or similar setup parking lot. Why pay a CG just to park for the night? You can check out a website called "Allstays" if you are interested in this concept...
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:19 PM   #11
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We make reservations about an hour before we want to stop. If we made them days in advance we would have missed many cool places. We seem to always find an out of the way attraction.

Russell
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:26 PM   #12
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You would easily get into Yellowstone and Grand Teton Nat'l Parks without reservations. They even has campgrounds (no hookups) that don't even accept reservations. Two of them in Grand Teton, Colter Bay campground and Gros Ventre have 300 sites each. Arrive in the morning and you'll definitely get a site. We've been often with no problems. We stay outside the park but nearby so we can get there in the morning.

We've also done this for national forest campgrounds and state parks. If you can pull in the first part of the week many campgrounds always have some sites which they hold open for drive-ins and are not reservable.

There are usually plenty of campgrounds/RV parks in any vicinity and you'll find a space.

Here's a link to Yellowstone's campgrounds and note the ones that don't take reservations:

http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisi...ellowstone.htm
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:30 PM   #13
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Florida in the winter can require 12 month advance reservations for anything near the water.
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:32 PM   #14
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It is very rare that we make reservations ...only if we know we are going to a very popular area during a high use time.
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